Chapter 16 Heirs
Harry was headed to Longbottom manor for a playdate. It was not about the fact both boys were heirs but that was a special bond. Sirius had worked closely with Neville's parents and was good friends. Alice and Lily had been confidants and Lily had been Neville's godmother. Augusta knew the boys could be good for each other and was happy Sirius suggested it. They had played as babies before both families had gone on the run. They weren't sure the boys would remember each other but it was still a good idea. Harry liked his cousins but it could not hurt for more. Though Charlie and Bill met Harry Sirius was still not willing to let Molly in on it.
Harry seemed happy about going. Sirius wondered if he remembered Neville at all. Harry was a little unsure about going any where new. He had been about going to the Malfoys the first time. But he didn't even ask if any cousin was coming.
Augusta smiled when they came through. "Welcome."
Harry answered before his Papa could. "Gran."
Augusta turned surprised but smiled. "You remember me child?"
Harry reached for her. "Gran. Biscs."
Sirius laughed as the woman took him. "It is usually cats."
Augusta assured Harry. "There will be a few with lunch. Neville here has been excited."
Neville was on the floor with blocks. "Har. Har."
Harry was scrambling to get down to him. "Nev."
Sirius smiled as he watched the boys. "I wasn't sure the boys would remember."
Augutta motioned him to sit. "Either was I. Neville though pulled out a toy he and Harry always played with when I told him."
Harry saw the toy knight. "Kni'
Neville nodded. "You."
"I haven't seen that toy come out since before they went into hiding."
Sirius and Augusta sat watching the boys. It had been rough months for both boys. Harry had his Papa back but he missed Daddy and Mama Li. Neville's parents may have been alive but they were gone for him. Though not catatonic their minds were beyond repair. He was lucky in he had his gran from day one and had come home to her unlike Harry. But there would be no happy reunion in his future. Augusta was cold in public but she genuinely was warm in private. She had done her best and was happy to see the boys together
When lunch was brought Harry's little face pouted as he saw no biscuits. Biscuits and cats he had memories for it seems. Augusta was an old blood, usually left the kitchen to elves but she had been making the biscuits since her son was this little.
Sirius laughed when his son was still pouting when done. "You didn't like your lunch?"
Harry shook his head. "Eat all."
"You pout Gran may think you don't."Sirius tried to sound serious.
Harry turned. "Sor Gran. I like."
The woman took pity and called an elf. "We are ready for dessert." And then told the little boy. "I didn't know if you buys would eat first."
Harry assured her. "Me eat. No bad manny. Grandpa A no like."
Sirius saw her. "My grandfather has tried instilling table manner on him. He has had to be reminded he is not even two."
"Seems he has better then a certain guest I remember." Augusta laughed as he blushed. The biscuits arrived. "You boys can have two."
Harry happily took one but he stopped before eating. "Thany gran."
Neville was as happy. "No have lon time."
Augusta had a few tears. "I promise to make them more often. Perhaps I will teach you both when older."
Harry and Neville seemed happy with the answer as they polished off their biscuits. Augusta had not made them since before Halloween. They reminded her of her son. But she knew Harry and Neville both loved them and had baked that morning. She was reminded that the biscuits were happy memories and Frank would want this. Harry wasn't ready to leave and ended up having nap time there. The boys later played in the garden and took turns riding Padfoot. Harry was sent home with a tin of cookie and a promise to come back.
It was almost dinner when they got back and he took his son to clean him up before bringing him down. He was surprised only his grandfather was there. Remus though had mentioned plans when they were leaving.
Arcturus saw the tin. "And what is that?"
Harry smiled. "Biscy."
Sirius looked at his son. "Maybe grandfather would like one. Though he will have to wait until after dinner."
Arcturus smirked. "I do not need reminding of table manners unlike some. I am too old for biscuits."
Sirius shrugged as he fed his son. "Your loss, more for us."
Harry was put off. "Good. Have try."
Arcturus ignored it but he mentioned. "I missed our lesson."
Sirius suggested. "There is time before he goes to bed."
Nothing more was said but the three headed up to the den after dinner. Harry even worked his magic on the old man and got him to eat a biscuit. Harry's chair was enlarged for Sirius to join his son. Harry insisted on Grandpa Orion helping the next game as Papa made him lose. Harry though drifted off in his Papa's arms before done and Sirius finished the game with his dad's aid.
Arcturus said as Sirius went to take his son to bed. "Seems you and your father make a fine team as well. Your skills are still rusty."
Sirius turned back. "I guess we will have to keep playing."
Sirius found Remus had actually stayed in muggle London. It seems Arabella was ill and he was worried about his godmother. Though the marauders and Potters stepped up when his parents died, Arabella was always a huge part. She had been more an aunt and second mom to him. She had helped take care of his mom when she was sick and Remus felt he owed it to her. He came home two days later and Harry was happy to see him. But his mind was on the old woman and planned to check on her again. He didn't like that she was alone.
He was surprised a day later when Araella asked him for lunch. They had a two way journal a squib could use. Her fireplace also had floo but could be traced. Harry wanted to see the woman so he and his Papa came along.
They were shocked on arrival to see muggle firetrucks all over the road. "What is happening?"
A muggle near by. "Oddest thing two houses caught on fire. I have never seen them go up so fast."
Another said. 'And across the road not even next door."
Remus' pulse was racing as he spotted the house. "No. No."
Sirius put a hand on his arm. "She'll be fine." He called Kreacher using a spell to block muggle view. "Get Moody here with men."
Harry was confused and looked. "An and Unc hou where?"
Sirius realized in shock what the house was. "Who would do this? Harry is not here."
Remus was shaken. "How did they know? That note wasn't from her."
Moody arrived with his men. "What happened? How did you know?"
Sirius told his boss as the aurors took the scene from the muggles and cleared it. "We called you."
Moody cast a look at both houses. "We will find out."
Sirius was fuming. "This is him."
Remus agreed but wondered. "He can't hope to pin this on you or take Harry."
Sirius had no idea but they needed to find out. The couple were horrible but they had a baby Harry's age. They would not wish this on any child. Holding his son Sirius knew Harry should not be here but he could not leave and his son was clinging to him. Harry was too young to really get what was happening and would be more upset if they sent him away. Harry was one who had always picked up on emotions more then most babies and tension. It was some of his Potter blood showing. At times like this Sirius wished his son did not.
Moody came over and motioned to Sirius. Knowing something was wrong he handed his son to Remus and went to speak to the man. Remus knew he would be told and his focus was on his godson for now.
Moody was pale. "Three adult bodies were found. The Dursleys and unfortunately…."
"Arabella." Sirius finished for him while looking at Remus. "But their baby?"
Kingsley came over. "A neighbor mentioned he was being babysat. Petunia was late picking him up."
Moody added. "Muggle authorities will take him. I understand there is an Aunt."
Sirius was ashen. "Who? I don't get this. Albus had no idea the couple didn't report Harry missing."
Kingsley shocked him. "We traced whose wand it was. It was on file."
Moody was shocked when he read. "Fletcher?"
"This can't be. He would not harm a fly. He is a thief not a murderer. He wouldn't even go into battle."
Moody had his own doubts. "We will have to find him. I have a feeling he had persuasion."
Sirius went to Remus who had let Harry down on the grass. "I am sorry."
Remus was gray. "I know I have you two and Fleamont but she was family. I killed her."
Sirius tried to calm him. "You didn't. This is not your fault. You did not start this."
Remus reminded him of the journal and having his doubts Arabella had sent them. Sirius hated telling him but he was right. The bodies had been tested and they were dead before the fires had started. Arabellla had not written. Albus had found out and he had lured them here. They were in no risk and it could not be pinned on them. He seemed to want to make Remus suffer by being here. The muggles were sent to a muggle morgue but Arabella woulds go to St Mungo's for magical autopsy. She would be buried with her husband.
Harry broke up the talk as they realized he had crawled to Arabella's. "Figgy? Snow? Petty?Wher?"
Sirius tried to pick up his son. "I am sorry Harry but Aunty is gone."
Harry avoided him. "Snow? Petty? Ori? Mo?"
Remus saw his confusion. "Her cats. Harry loves them."
Sirius remembered picking up his son and he had been surrounded by cats. "Oh Merlin."
Harry tried to go into the ruins. "Snow? Ori? Petty? Mo? Come."
Sirius picked up his son. "Harry I am sorry."
Harry sobbed. "Wher Papa? Wher?"
Kingsley quietly told Remus. "There were a few next to her. They didn't leave her even in….."
Harry though spotted something. "Snow."
Sirius saw white fur and he took his son away. "You don't need to see."
But suddenly there was a "Meow."
Moony was shocked when they lifted rubble and found three cats alive. "How did they survive?"
Harry beamed. "Snow, Ory and Co."
It seems Pettipan and Moisy, or Petty and Moi as Harry called them, had been killed and a few others. But Snowy who was Arabella's breeding female had managed to shield herself and Orchid who Harry had called for. The third Coco he was no less happy to see. Against his usual cat opinion he sent an elf to bring all three cats as he knew his son would not rest if they were not all brought. At home they could see the shock of the others at the cats and how upset Harry was. Harry allowed Wallburga to feed him a bottle to calm him as his Papa explained.
Walburga snarled. "Why bother with muggles and a squib? No one cares."
Remus growled. "Arabella was my godmother. She didn't deserve that. She protected Harry."
Arcturus calmed him. "We appreciate it and we will see to her funeral. But they seem unlikely targets."
Sirius thought. "Albus punishing Fletcher for the botched kidnapping. And used the muggles as tools."
Remus was lost in pain. "Punishing me."
Harry opened his arms. "Mooey."
Remus took the baby into his arms and held him."Cub."
He went up stairs with Harry and no one stopped him. The three new cats trailed after. The cats were in shock from the fire and seeking comfort from the two they knew. Sirius knew as much as he wanted to comfort his friend for now he had to speak with his family. He knew he was lucky to have so much family though he never said it enough. He and Harry were really all the man had now.
Arcturus surprised him. "We will arrange a funeral for her. It seems we owe that much."
The funeral was planned for three days later. It was determined she had her throat slit by a spell like the Dursleys, the fire a cover. Dudley had been collected by his father's sister who saw to a funeral for her brother and his wife. The Blacks had seen to a funeral as promised. She had left what she had to her godson. The house had been insured and she had money both muggle and in a wizarding vault from her husband. Remus could be comfortable but he never wanted it like that. The cats had been sent to Fleamont. He said he was happy for company and Harry could see them often. Five was a lot for one house, with Zar and Fox, nor would the other three be separated. Harry seemed okay with that.
The day of the funeral Remus was to be accompanied by Sirius and Harry but doubted any others. But Arcturus and Walburga decided to come to honor her aid. There would be an auror or two as well as Malfoy security to be careful.
Remus was surprised to find a few others. "I didn't think….."
Minerva reminded him. "Even if a squib she was in the order."
Filius agreed and assured them. "Albus has been detained."
Harry smiled when he saw someone he remembered. "Hag."
The big giant smiled. "I am happy to see you."
The three from school, Augusta but not her grandson, Remus and thee Blacks were there. Dedalus ,Emmaline and Elphias appeared as well. Besides Albus and his brother, the only missing members were Sturgis and of course Fletcher. Sturgis lived in Ireland the past months and had not made the trip though he had sent regards with Emaline which she passed along to Remus. Remus did not blame the man and was simply touched the others had come. Arabella's aid sometimes got over looked due to her status. A surprise even more was an order of Merlin third class was placed in her stone. It was almost unheard of for a squib to get even the lowest order. It seemed Lucius had played a hand in that for her.
The Malfoys had not come but they allowed their townhouse to be used for a small lunch after. Fleamont came to the lunch accompanied by Severus. The graveyard had been thought to be too much. Moody though called Remus aside before they sat.
"I have news."
Sirius knew it was serious or he wouldn't do it here. "Fletcher?"
Moody sighed. "We found him."
Remus didn't like the tone. "He got away?"
"He was dead." Moody shocked them. "He hung himself."
Sirius realized. "All evidence of why he killed them is gone."
Moody agreed."He was under the imperius. But the wand used was not registered. We can't link it."
Remus growled."Albus covering his tracks. Did he make Fletcher kill himself or was that Fletcher?"
Moody wasn't certain."The spell may not have worn off. There is no way to tell. It is likely Albus covering."
"But Fletcher may have. Killing innocent people would have been too much guilt for him."
Moody agreed. "He didn't have the stomach for it. Why Albus used him I don't know."
"May have thought Fletcher would do this and save having to kill him." Sirius was livid.
Moody assured them. "We are watching him. We will catch him."
Remus hoped so. "I won't hold my breath."
Walburga appeared. "Lunch is waiting as is your son."
Their minds went to why they were really here and they went in for lunch. They would focus on Albus later. Peter and now Fletcher. The fact the man was using the order as weapons against each other made them sick. Harry went into Remus' arms when they had lunch and the very least it was a nice tribute to the woman. After the Blacks went not to Grimmauld but Black Manor. For now it was thought safer. Sirius had for a moment thought Potter manor but knew this was right. Harry was confused as he had never been.
Harry looked around. "Wher?"
Sirius kissed his son."This is our main home, where Grammy usually lives."
Walburga smiled. "You will be staying here for a bit."
Harry worried. "Kreak? Grandpa O? Kits?"
Remus smiled at his priorities. "They are all here and your toys."
Pollux appeared with Tonks. "It seems a full house."
Harry went to Tonks. "Ton."
Tonks took him. "How about we explore?"
Sirius was surprised. "I didn't expect you and certainly not her."
Arcturus explained. "Harry needs his training and this seemed safer for now."
Andromeda and Ted were at home which had strong wards. If it got risky they'd join her mother on the coast or Narcissa. But she agreed for her daughter to come for a few weeks. It would be good for her and Harry and not just for training. Against all previous thought Fleamont was brought as well. They could not hide forever but for now this was the smartest plan. Harry would be happy to have all three grandpas. Them and Orion and Tonks would all make the temporary move easier on him. Fleamont brought the extra cats.
Arcturus grumbled. "The barn at least. Two is plenty indoors."
Sirius shared a look with Remus. "These three old men under one roof. We may not survive if too long.
AN: Well you demanded blood you got it. No knight bus driver this time. Hopefully enough blood to stop the fluff review boycot.