Three owls sat out on the ledge, his own snowy constant companion Hedwig, a rather impatient looking barn owl, and a regal looking screech.
Harry walked over and as quietly and gently as possible opened the oft jammed window allowing the birds to hop in onto his desk. Harry stared out at the first glow of morning light on the horizon wondering, sighed and turned back to take care of his visitors and relieve them of their burdens.
The nondescript barn owl impatiently hopped forward and flung its mail, a copy of the daily prophet toward him and stuck out its leg in a no nonsense manner obviously expecting immediate payment. Harry placed a sickle in its pouch, told it to keep the change and before he could offer it refreshment it was already out the window.
Setting the newspaper aside, the regal looking screech owl stepped up and dropped a very thick envelope bearing a wax seal with a scripted letter L. Upon closer inspection it was from someone unknown to him, The Law Offices of Robin Leach Esq. A sense of foreboding filled him but he pushed it aside focusing on the task at hand, he set the packet aside and offered the owl respite and with a grateful bark it glided to the water dish, drank deeply then settled on the perch to rest.
Hedwig then hopped on his lap. She stared at him for a moment, as if evaluating him, then having apparently passed muster, she leaned in and nuzzled his cheek with hers. Harry was elated, even with a completely different face and body she knew and loved him just the same. He looked at her mail, it was a package from Hermione. Guilt and something else troublingly unrecognizable bubbled up in him at the thought of his best friend. Harry taking a deep breath opened her package and his senses suddenly came alive at the subtle and to anyone else unnoticeable scent of vanilla, old books, and fresh linen, to harry it was familiar, it was comforting, it was Hermione. Harry set aside the book and unfolded the letter and began to read.
I won't waste time asking how you are because I know you're far from fine. I wish I could say something, be it comforting words or a magic spell to make you feel better, but as you well know, sometimes words aren't enough and there are some things even magic can't fix.
I've enclosed an ever expanding journal, not for schoolwork, or as you call it ,the unspeakable horror, but for you to write down all your memories of Sirius. We can collect stories/recollections from Professor Lupin and others so you can remember him always. It is natural to mourn him, but honor and love him by remembering him fondly. Just like your parents, as long as you keep him in your heart and mind, he will never truly be gone.
If you want to talk about anything, anything at all, I am only an owl/phone-call away.
Harry set down the letter, he actually felt minutely better, his immediate grief was still as terrible as ever, but he could see himself and Hermione collecting stories from people, laughing together at his godfather's pranks and he and Ron smirking at his playboy antics. In other words he could see life beyond this misery, maybe not today or even six months from now, but someday.
Someday, the small warmth he had fleetingly felt was gone, there probably would never be someday. He was a dead man walking, now in more ways than one, between the prophecy and a foe who had almost a century of practicing the darkest and most powerful magic known to wizarding kind, his days were practically numbered.
Still, doom and gloom aside, it was a wonderful, thoughtful gift. It had the potential to become one of his most treasured possessions, right up there with his photo album and invisibility cloak.
He patted the journal fondly, Hermione and her books. Her research and studiusness had saved his and countless other lives, a hundred times over. His self induced allergy to studying needed to end, just because he had no chance against Voldemort didn't mean he would just lay down and die. His deatheaters while dangerous, were beatable, as he and his friends, along with the Order had proven that night at the Ministry. Hermione's gift was the unintentional kick in the arse he needed.
Harry next opened the rather sizeable package from the soliciter. He scanned the top page and for a moment and forgot how to breathe, the words, "last will and testament" and "Sirius Orion Black" stared coldly back at him from the page. Harry couldn't believe his luck, his appearance was already a cruel enough reminder that his godfather was gone, this packages untimely arrival was just salt in the wound.
Harry didn't want to read further, but despite the desire to never gaze upon this packet again, he continued reading, only years later did he realize that a compulsion charm, most likely at Sirius's request, had been placed upon the documents. It was a not so uncommon practice to include one to ensure the bereaved's participation despite their their grief. The powdered calming draught that Harry breathed in with each page displaced was Mr. Leach's Secretary, Mrs. Agatha Deen's personal touch.
It seems Sirius had never left but a barebones impersonal will. According to a note enclosed by Mr. Leach it was done in a hurry due to his criminal status. Harry looked at the date the will was finalized, by his reckoning it had been ratified shortly after the 3rd task. Harry was the main beneficiary with Lupin receiving a annual stipend of 850 galleons after all taxation and penalties due to his registered legal status as a dark creature.
The list of personal assets of Sirius's to be given away was heartbreakingly short.
To Harry he left his motorcycle which was at the time he drafted the will being refurbished by an A.W. Given his love of tinkering and all things muggle Harry was all but certain. A.W. was none other than Mr. Weasley.
He also left him his Hit Wizard gear, whatever that was, no location was given so he assumed Sirius had had it with him at Grimmauld Place.
Two bundles of paper were attached to his personal bequeathments, One a transfer of guardianship and second a form for declaration of emancipation of a minor.
That was it. Everything else fell under the banner of the Black Estate. The remaining pages were merely a compilation of all Black Properties, items, and investments. Harry was blown away there had to be fifty pages, consisting of the combined paperwork of one Black after another, apparently they had all been held in probate till the rightful heir was found, which with the death of Sirius, and his subsequent naming Harry his heir, made Harry the sole recipient.
A note was attached to the two forms once again from Mr Leach.
It was Mr Black's wish that in order for you to better protect yourself in the event of his demise that you be able to legally use magic, and have access to all benefits that come with being a legal adult. To do so you must first have your current guardians fill out the form signing away guardianship and you yourself must sign your consent, Mr Black has already filled it out, and once filed (retroactively) he will become your official legal guardian, you then can complete the second form for emancipation, using death of guardian, as grounds for emancipation. The ministry being what it is we are confident with the means left to us by Mr Black we will be able to have you legally, albeit covertly, declared an adult and free to do magic within one to two weeks. R. Leach
Harry was stunned, apparently Sirius had put a lot of thought, and if he was interpreting things correctly, money to bribe some corrupt ministry officials, into making this happen. To perform magic and even apparate without fear of reprisal from the corrupt ministry would be such a asset to have with Voldemort and his lackeys out for his blood.
Harry had a quill in hand, ready to begin filling out the forms, yet his hand paused, hovering milmeters above the page. Harry silently cursed his own stupidity. He had sworn to himself that he would no longer rush head-on into things. He wanted nothing more than to be free from the ministries yoke, but he wanted to know what the consequences were as well. The last magical contract he had been unwillingly apart of during the tournament, had fine print that if he would have violated the terms would have cost him his magic and life. He set the quill down, he would deal with this when he could think objectively, not now, not when he was half mad from grief.
He grabbed the latest issue of the Daily Prophet and flopped down on his bed to see what the latest news was, what he read upon the front page had him shaking in silent rage.
Sirius Black: Black in Name and in Deed
During the recent altercation between ministry operatives and the newly resurrected He Who Must Not Be Named it has come to this reporters attention that his first victims were in fact members of our own esteemed nobility. Lucius Malfoy, Gregory Goyle Sr., Tiberius Nott, and Ministry employee Walden McNair were apprehended as accomplices to Lord Thingy and placed in custody. Ministry workers handling their arrest however noticed they were listless and unresponsive and had the men transferred to St. Mungo's for closer observation. After a number of hours they slowly regained their sense of self, chief mediwizard Septimus Flint, after a array of tests determined that they were all suffering from heavy prolonged exposure to the Imperius questioned all were entirely horrified at what they had done and placed the blame upon the Dark Lords most dangerous servant, Notorious Mass Murderer Sirius Black. They report being cornered by the escapee and his cousin Bellatrix LeStrange nee Black after a meeting of The Brotherhood for the Preservation of Wizarding Ideals and being placed under the curse and forced to fight against the ministry during the recent battle.
A devastated yet still dignified Lord Lucius Malfoy upon his release issued a statement, "My strong political and social agenda has always made me a target of the Dark Lord, and while I proudly believe in the superiority of pure blood, I would never condone the use of violence." We at The Daily Prophet wish these poor men a speedy recovery and can only hope that Sirius Black and ilk like him are soon brought to justice.
Harry couldn't believe it, not only did they all get away Scot free but Sirius even in death was blamed. Harry felt physically ill, the reality that there was no justice in the wizarding world, while not surprising, was devastating nonetheless. Sirius had been right that night back in third year, the only way to get justice served was to do it yourself. Dumbledore and the Order had tried the lawful and acceptable way and their apparent triumph had been effortlessly overturned by gross corruption and willful ignorance. The government responsible for ensuring that criminals were brought to justice was a wholly owned subsidiary of Deatheaters Incorporated.
Harry sighed, he knew that the Order bringing in the deatheaters alive was both the right and wrong thing to do. It was morally correct to show restraint and to only use lethal force when your own life was at stake, to kill should be a last resort. The reality however was that the deatheaters were all unrepentant murderers and rapists, hell-bent on purging the world of muggles, muggleborns, and magical creatures, if they didn't deserve death... Harry shook his head, who was he to decide who deserved to live or die, he was just a teenager, just Harry.
Still, try as he might, he found he couldn't wish anything but death upon Voldemort and his followers for all the pain and death they'd caused.
Harry seeking a distraction began to read through the papers of the Black the last of the Blacks had all died within a relatively short span of time. Harry gave a great sigh of relief, apparently Mr. Leach had taken the time to sift through all this and compile a list of assets.
Grimmauld Place,(Deed and Key enclosed)
Blackmoor Manor, (Deed and Key enclosed)
Blackwater Plantation, Jamaica (Deed and Key enclosed)
The Blackthorn Inn, Knockturn Alley (Deed and Key enclosed) *Current Lease Holder:William Cutting
Kettle's Cauldron Foundry (15%)
Drear's Abbatoir De Magi (89%) *Majority Shareholder
Silver Arrow Broom Company (25%)
Ogden's Finest Distillery (46%)
Prophet Publications (5%)
The rest of the investments had either been toward now defunct businesses and thus completely worthless or had been sold and liquidated upon the previous owners demise. Each verified share certificate, included paperwork detailing what the business was, what its current share value was worth, and the charted profit and losses for the last twenty years. Harry knew next to nothing about handling personal finance, much less navigating the world of high finance. He would have to owl Mr Leach to see if he could recommend an accountant who could manage all this.
The list of assets and heirlooms was rather sparse. That however made sense to Harry. A family such as the Blacks wouldn't want written proof of ownership for most of their prized possessions, if what they had disovered during the cleaning of Grimmauld Place was any indication of the types of collectibles they kept.
Harry continued leafing through the assets folder when his eyes seemingly froze on the second to last item. Hatred clouded his vision, the spiteful little piece of shit had been integral in the deception that cost Sirius his life, and ruined Harry's chance to ever have a family. Harry felt his hand crumpling the the Bill of Sale before him and growled out the name upon it in a voice not his own but that of his dearly departed godfather. "Kreacher!"
A crack like that of a whip broke the heavy silence in the smallest room of number four Privet Drive.