May 15th, 1998
It had been a full two weeks, and Harry Potter was still having trouble believing that the war was really over. The rest of the wizarding world seemed to share his sentiments, because it was the first time in two weeks that Harry actually had a moment to himself. Between numerous funerals, cleanups, and not to mention rounding up Death Eaters and supporters, days had seemed to pass three times faster than usual.
The good thing was that it didn’t give him time to dwell on things. The funerals had been hard enough, and Harry felt that if he stopped and started thinking about everything that had happened in the last year, hell his whole life actually, he would need to be locked up in St. Mungo’s for the rest of his life.
“Good work, Potter,” called Gawain Robards, as he went to his office. “Take the next two days off, alright?”
“Yeah, you got it,” said Harry, trying not to frown. He knew Robards was being considerate, but Harry honestly had no idea what he was supposed to do with time off.
As it did turn out, when he returned to Grimmauld Place that evening, he had a letter from Gringotts waiting for him. And that letter, was the start of everything.
May 18th, 1998
Harry was not looking forward to another day of meetings. He had already spent way too much of his time in those with everyone from Headmistress McGonagall to Minister Shacklebolt. Not only did that take time away from Teddy, his godson and the only person Harry felt comfortable around these days, but it usually meant he had to make decisions and think about things he was trying to ignore.
Professor McGonagall had extended an invitation to come to Hogwarts to do a NEWTs year to him and others in his year. While many like Hermione had accepted, Harry knew he couldn’t return to Hogwarts, as much as he had thought of it as his home at one point in his life. Learning and education were not paths he wanted for himself.
Kingsley, on the other hand, wanted to make his temporary assignment to the Auror Department permanent. But Harry didn’t want to be an Auror either. After the Battle of Hogwarts, the smarter Death Eaters had decided to surrender. It honestly hadn’t surprised Harry, considering many had joined and remained out of fear of Voldemort and seeing him dead had made it very clear that they had picked the losing side. Instead of fighting further, they had surrendered and were currently awaiting trial in Azkaban. The more stubborn ones had tried to run, but hadn’t made it very far since the beaten down wizarding populace had not forgotten the atrocities wrought upon them this past year and had assisted Robards and his men to their utmost ability. Those raids had killed off most of the violent Death Eaters who had actually managed to survive the Battle of Hogwarts.
Currently, only petty criminals and some of the Snatchers remained at large, which was why Harry was considering turning down Kingsley’s offer as well. While it was rewarding work, he did not wish to jump back into a life of hunting down Death Eaters and dark wizards, when he’d done his fair share all his life. He wasn’t sure his sanity could take it.
In all honesty, Harry just wanted to do something meaningful with his life. The war had been devastating on Britain. St. Mungo’s was struggling to treat those affected and swamped with trying to handle orphans, Muggleborns and others left alone after the war. The Ministry was no better, trying in vain to control their own internally crumbling bureaucracy. While Kingsley had been working like a madman to bring things to order, the Ministry was still rather unstable. All of this was not even mentioning the extensive property damage, breakdown of businesses all over the country, and an oncoming economical crisis.
His meeting that day was with Gringotts, and they’d invited him for a sit-down about some very important matters. He had no doubt they wanted to talk to him about his break-in and the heavy damage he had caused. He was surprised it had taken them this long to bring the matter up. It was going to be a long day of appeasing the goblins and their wounded pride.
To his surprise, when he did arrive at Gringotts, he received a lot of frightened looks, as opposed to angry or even joyful at the prospect of seeing him punished. He was already confused before Head Goblin Kord walked into the wide, spacious office that Harry had been led to.
“Mr. Potter,” greeted the goblin dressed in gold robes. “I am Kord, the head goblin of Gringotts in Britain.”
“Good morning, Kord,” said Harry politely.
“Please, sit,” said Kord, indicating a chair in front of his desk.
Harry nodded and sat down, trying not to let his curiosity show. Kord took a seat opposite him and surveyed him through his thick monocle.
“Let me begin this meeting by assuring you that Gringotts does not hold you responsible for the damage caused by your break-in. It is why you did not encounter any resistance in your dealings with us these past weeks,” he said. “We were saddened to learn that the person responsible was one of our own. He has been appropriately dealt with.”
Harry’s eyebrows flew up. “Right,” he said uncertainly, though he was relieved that they weren’t holding his vault and the contents hostage. “So, why did you want to meet with me?”
Kord paused and looked distinctly uncomfortable. “I was expecting you to bring legal representation with you to this meeting, Mr. Potter,” he said.
Harry vaguely remembered their letter mentioning bringing someone to represent him if needed. “I don’t have one,” he said honestly, wondering if it would have been a good idea to bring Hermione, even though she had left for Australia the day before.
“You are going to need one,” said Kord. “Or several.”
“Am I being accused of something?” asked Harry coldly.
“Hardly,” said Kord. “What do you know about the Death Eaters and their alliance to the one they called the Dark Lord, Mr. Potter?”
That wasn’t what he was expecting. “What?” asked Harry, taken aback.
“Do you know what they pledged him along with their support?” asked Kord.
“Apart from their loyalty? Whatever he asked of them, I suppose,” said Harry.
“Not quite,” said Kord. “The Dark Lord had several followers but only a few were part of his inner circle. Those that were, pledged their name, wealth, and fealty to him as their lord.”
“Right,” said Harry, remembering that the inner circle consisted mainly of the pureblood fanatics while there were plenty other Death Eaters who were just murderers that had joined Voldemort. “They shouldn’t be a problem, though. All of them are in Azkaban or dead.”
“Which is precisely a problem,” said Kord. “By right, their lord owned everything they had. Since you then defeated their lord, it all passes to you.”
Harry’s eyes went wide. “Er, what?” he asked, unsure of what Kord was telling him.
Kord leaned back in his chair. “All the wealth and titles pledged to the Dark Lord by his inner circle are now yours, Mr. Potter,” he said.
Harry stared at him thunderstruck. “How many?” he asked hoarsely.
“At our current estimate?” asked Kord, consulting a roll of parchment from his robes. “At least twenty-three of them owe you their loyalty, including fourteen of the Sacred Twenty Eight. You have your Potter and Black family inheritances, of course, so that makes…”
“Twenty-five, including fifteen of the Sacred Twenty-Eight,” said Harry, his throat dry.
Kord nodded shortly. “And then, there is the undiscovered bloodline,” he said.
“Eh?” asked Harry.
“The Peverell family,” said Kord. “We were finally able to trace the Peverell bloodline after it came to light that the one called the Dark Lord was the last heir of the Gaunt family before he adopted his persona. The second Peverell brother, Antioch’s family line ended with the Dark Lord, so the title now passes to the descendants of the third brother, Ignotus.”
“I’m related to Ignotus Peverell?” asked Harry, and then felt foolish because it was obvious since he had the cloak. “Right.”
“While the Peverell line doesn’t come with a Wizengamot seat and it precedes the Sacred Twenty Eight alliance, what it does provide you is the extensive estate that still remains to be inherited,” said Kord.
“Why didn’t Voldemort inherit it?” asked Harry.
Kord still flinched at the name, but pressed on. “Like I said, it was only after his death that even we goblins realised the connection,” he explained. “He certainly never came to us to check, and it wouldn’t be amiss if he actually had no idea of his own connection to the Peverell line.”
Harry blinked thoughtfully and finally nodded. “So, the Peverell estate comes to me now?” he asked.
“Yes,” said Kord. “It is a very valuable estate, Mr. Potter. More valuable than both the Potter and Black family combined.”
Harry sat back in his chair in shock. Kord gave him a few minutes before clearing his throat.
“Now, you understand the full scope of things, don’t you, Mr. Potter?” he asked. “Some of these houses still have existing heirs, so there is no doubt that it will be up to you to deal with them,” he said. “Apart from their wealth and titles, you also receive authority over their seats on the Wizengamot. I do not have to impress upon you what this means.”
Harry blinked and wiped the sweat beading on his forehead. “I need an attorney,” he said finally.
“Yes,” said Kord. “And a good one, too. He will have a monumental task before him if he is to help you navigate through this particular quagmire.”
“I don’t suppose you could recommend me someone?” asked Harry.
Kord paused. “There aren’t many left,” he said. “Ever since the Dark Lord’s return, the houses haven’t had use for them. Your best bet would be the Verdant firm. They are the last ones left who have previous experience in these matters. The others mostly deal with petty criminal matters or the like. Their offices are not far from Ollivander’s.”
“Thank you,” said Harry.
Kord clicked his fingers and a large stack of parchments covered his desk. With another click, they were all shrunk and placed into a thin manila envelope. He slid it towards Harry with both hands. “Show him this,” he said. “I have no doubt he will contact us for further details. And of course, you shall have the goblins’ silence while you deal with it.”
Harry took the manila envelope and put it away in his robes. “Thank you,” he said again and stood up.
Kord stood as well and bowed. “Of course,” he said. “Good day, Mr. Potter.”
“Good day, Kord,” said Harry, and left his office woodenly.
The bright sunshine outside the bank disoriented him momentarily, but he took a deep breath and walked down towards Ollivander’s. His mind was whirring at the implications of what he had learned, and he was in a daze by the time he arrived at the cluster of offices near Ollivander’s. He found a sign denoting the offices of Verdant, with a note telling him to ring the bell for assistance. He rang the small brass bell nearby, which tinkled beyond the frosted glass doors.
Nobody answered, and Harry was about to ring the bell once more when he just decided to try and open the door. To his surprise, the handle turned easily and the door swung open with a creak. The hallway before him was a little dark, but he could see an open office door beyond the darkened lobby and the row of closed rooms. Harry made his way towards the office, stopping short in the doorway when he noticed a woman with long golden blonde hair packing up the office in boxes.
She had her back to him, so Harry knocked on the office door lightly to get her attention. She whirled around at the sound, and Harry’s memory vaguely provided him the name that went with that face.
“Daphne?” he asked. “Daphne Greengrass? From Slytherin?”
She looked even more surprised, blue eyes widening. “Potter?” she asked. “What are you doing here?”
“You’re an attorney?” asked Harry.
She raised an eyebrow. “No,” she said. “We were in the same year at Hogwarts, remember?”
Harry went pink. “Y-yeah, I know,” he said hastily. “I meant, are you one now?”
She shrugged delicately. “I suppose,” she said. “But your timing is rather poor. Today is the last day Verdant is in business.”
“Why?” asked Harry.
“This was my father’s business,” said Daphne. “Unfortunately, he was murdered by Death Eaters two months ago.”
“Oh,” said Harry. “I’m very sorry to hear that.”
Daphne smiled a little. “Thank you. Believe it or not, hearing it from you actually comes across as sincere,” she said. “Did you need an attorney?”
“Yeah,” he said.
“There are a few others here in Diagon Alley,” said Daphne. “I can give you a list if you want.”
“Do any of them have experience with title and estate planning?” he asked.
Daphne stopped short. “Not as such, no,” she said. “This firm was one of the last ones standing that was capable of those matters. It’s been sort of a mess since my father died, so I don’t really know how else to help.”
Harry nodded, understanding better than she probably knew. “Is your sister alright?” he asked, concerned.
She stared at him in surprise. “How did you-?”
“We were in the same year at Hogwarts,” he said, repeating her words.
“Yes, but we never even spoke,” she said, still puzzled.
“Well, my experience with Slytherin was either Snape or Malfoy, neither of which was pleasant,” shrugged Harry. “But I at least knew about other people in our year, especially in the later years.” He suddenly remembered the last time he’d seen her. “You were there, weren’t you,” he said. “At the Battle of Hogwarts. You were among the Slytherins who stayed.”
She looked a little embarrassed. “It’s not a big deal,” she said, glancing away. “It wasn’t as if there was another place for me to go. I wasn’t much of a fighter, so I mostly just looked after the wounded.”
“Thank you for doing that,” he said, sincerely.
She chuckled, her demeanour growing considerably warmer with the gesture. “It’s ironic you’re thanking me, so please stop,” she said. “Astoria is fine. We were spared after our father was killed since we were both purebloods and could be used as breeding stock to further any of the numerous Death Eater lines.”
Harry winced at her blunt words, spoken in such a matter of fact tone even if they were true. At his wince, she smiled a little. “Don’t worry, Potter,” she said. “My father was killed because he refused to pledge his fealty to the Dark Lord, and since the war’s over, I’m just happy my sister and I are alive because of you and what you did. So, how about you tell me why you need an attorney and I’ll try and see if I can help.”
“Really?” asked Harry, surprised.
Daphne nodded firmly. “I understand you might hesitate considering we don’t know one another that well, and I’m not even fully qualified, really. But if I can repay the favour, I would be happy to do it.”
“Thanks, Greengrass,” said Harry, and then paused. “What do you mean, not qualified?”
“I mean, I don’t have a licence to practice as an attorney,” she said. “My father had been grooming me to take over the business, but without authorisation, I can’t officially get involved right now.”
“In other words, you are still qualified, aren’t you?” asked Harry. “At least, more than anyone else at this moment in matters of title and estate planning? Apart from having a licence?” he added when she opened her mouth to protest.
She chuckled again. “Why don’t you come in and tell me what it is that you want and I’ll see if I can help?” she asked.
“Thanks,” said Harry, walking into the office and closing the door behind himself. As an afterthought, he raised his wand to cast some privacy charms but before he could do so, a small seal glowed on the closed door.
“Don’t worry,” said Daphne, clearing some boxes off a chair and offering it to him. “The offices are all warded for privacy.”
Harry put away his wand and sat down. “Right, of course,” he said. He took out the manila envelope and handed it to Daphne.
She took it and paused. “I should inform you that this conversation will be entirely confidential but I cannot examine documents until you officially hire me,” she said. “It’s to protect both of us.”
“I trust you,” said Harry, before he could think too much of it.
Daphne looked startled. “Merlin,” she said, shaking her head. “You don’t know the first thing about me. You shouldn’t be so quick to offer your trust, Potter. It will be the ruin of you.”
Harry went scarlet. “Sorry,” he said. “It’s just...what you just told me. About your father and all, I feel like you might actually be the best person to trust right now.”
“And what proof do you have that any of what I said was the truth?” she asked. “For all you know, I could have been a Death Eater in hiding who was trying to ensnare you by making up a story that would get your sympathy.”
“No,” he said confidently. “That, I would have known.” No matter how harsh her words or how calm her demeanour, Harry knew grief when he saw it. Especially in those who had lost parents. Not to mention, he had seen her at the Battle himself, tending to the wounded.
Daphne sighed and shook her head. “Regardless, you should be careful,” she said. “Before I open this envelope, why don’t you tell me exactly what it is that you need?”
“The inner circle of Death Eaters pledged their wealth, fealty and titles to Voldemort. Since I killed him, it has all passed to me,” he said shortly.
Daphne dropped the envelope in shock. “Oh,” she said. “You need an attorney.”
Harry chuckled. “Yes,” he said.
She bent down and picked up the envelope with shaky fingers. “You have two options right now,” she said. “If you are on good terms with Minister Shacklebolt, use it to find a lawyer outside Britain who is an expert in these matters. That is your best bet.”
“And what’s the other option?” asked Harry.
“You hire me instead,” said Daphne. “I will need about three days to get a licence approved, and I cannot promise you the same level of expertise as my father but you can be assured of my loyalty and silence.”
“What changed your mind?” asked Harry curiously, remembering her vehement refusal to even consider it before.
Daphne’s jaw tightened. “Both my parents died because of Death Eaters,” she said, grimly. “My mother died in childbirth with Astoria due to a prolonged curse placed on her by the Death Eaters in the previous war because my father refused to join them. When he also refused them this time around, they tortured and murdered him,” she said. “And now, everything they had, everything they took from the wizarding world is in this envelope.” She smirked at the envelope in question. “I would love nothing more than to see it used to restore what was lost to our world.”
Harry surveyed her closely. She hadn’t been wrong when she had said that they hadn’t even spoken once in the six years they’d been at Hogwarts, but he remembered her. Specifically, he remembered some of the more uncouth of his classmates remarking on her appearance. She was definitely beautiful with long blonde hair, big blue eyes, milky white skin and a pretty face and body. But there was a look of such determination and intelligence in her features that he nodded slowly.
“I don’t need to tell you that this won’t be easy,” he said.
She smiled at him and set the envelope down. “I am prepared for a fight, Potter,” she said, holding out her hand.
Harry grasped her hand and shook it. “Good, let’s get started,” he said. “And call me Harry.”
22nd May, 1998
It took exactly three days for Daphne Greengrass to get her licence. She had explained that there was no formal education for an attorney offered in the wizarding world, just an exam set by the Ministry to get a licence to practice. She had sent off her application on the same day after he’d come to her, and her exams had been set for the very next day. Her results came in two days later, with her brand new licence.
The day after Daphne got her licence when Harry arrived at the offices of Verdant, he found that the darkened lobby had some light in it and an older witch with greying dark hair and round glasses sat at the reception, writing something down. She looked up when Harry entered and got to her feet.
“Mr. Potter,” she greeted. “Miss Greengrass is in her office.”
“Thank you, er-,” he paused.
“I’m Maribeth Cooper,” she said. “I worked with the late Mr. Greengrass until his death. Miss Daphne got in touch some time ago saying that the firm wasn’t shutting down after all and my job was there if I wanted it.”
Harry smiled. “Has she informed you of what we are doing here?” he asked.
“Yes,” said Maribeth. “You are the only client we have, and I have been sufficiently informed. Do go in. I shall be along with some tea and scones momentarily.”
“Thank you,” said Harry, and walked towards the office.
The door was ajar, and he glanced inside to see that the messy office had been cleaned and tidied up. Daphne sat at her desk, poring over a stack of parchments. Unlike their first meeting when her hair had been in a messy ponytail and she had been dressed in slightly shabby robes, Daphne looked like a different woman altogether. Her hair was in a tight bun on the top of her head, a few wisps of her hair hanging around her face. Her face was properly made up and she was dressed in fitted navy robes.
She looked up when Harry knocked and beckoned him inside. “Good morning, Harry,” she said.
“Morning, Daphne,” he said, and sat down in a chair. “How’s it going?”
She sighed a little and sat back in her chair. “Good,” she said. “Gringotts is very thorough with their record keeping, which is very helpful. I have already sent off requests for more details and they’ll get back to me before the day is over. In the meantime, I have a concise list for you.”
Harry took the roll of parchment she offered him and read it quickly. It was a list of the families who now owed their name, loyalty and wealth to him.
“It’s like a who’s who of scum, isn’t it?” asked Daphne. “My father was tortured because he refused to do the exact things these morons did. Well, that and he didn’t want to join the Dark Lord, of course. But you can see why it wouldn’t be a good idea to sign everything away to someone else.” She paused and smiled viciously. “Of course, now, you hold the leash.”
“I doubt they want to be loyal to me,” said Harry, setting the list down.
“They have very little choice,” said Daphne. “You could also order them to be executed, if you want.”
Harry glanced back at the list and frowned. “Most heads of those houses are in Azkaban or dead. The ones left are heirs who are not of age.”
“Yes,” said Daphne, dropping the smile and regaining her serious demeanour. “In a way, that is good for us. Eliminating them is within your rights, but I don’t think you are the kind of person who wants to do that.”
Harry chuckled. “Yes,” he said. “You have another option, I assume?”
Daphne nodded and pulled out a long roll of parchment. “These are all the assets owned by the Potter and Black families. I have also added up everything from houses that no longer have a viable heir. As you can see, it is a fairly substantial fortune.”
Harry read through the list and his eyes grew wide. “Is this number correct?” he asked.
“Your Potter and Black funds were high enough already, but after the death of the Dark Lord, the Gaunt and Peverell estate money also got added to it. The Gaunt estate was nothing more than a pittance but the Peverell estate was quite extensive, as Head Goblin Kord no doubt told you already. Add to that a few defunct houses like Crouch, your personal funds are quite high, as you can see. You and six generations of your family won’t have to work and could live their lives lavishly,” she said.
“Right,” said Harry, shaking off his shock.
“The good news is that you won’t lack for money,” said Daphne. “So we can actually let the rest of the heirs and such have their estates and wealth to themselves.”
“We do nothing?” asked Harry.
Daphne smiled. “There are fifty seats in the Wizengamot. The Sacred Twenty Eight seats get two votes each, as does the Minister of Magic. Everyone else gets one vote. You understand that this vote will count on every change in law, every trial, and any and every Ministry decree.”
Harry paused. “How many votes do I have?” he asked.
“57 out of a possible 80 votes,” said Daphne. “With all the seats that owe loyalty to you.”
“That…” Harry shook his head as the implications began to sink in. “That’s why we can afford to let them remain where they are.”
“Like I said, you would still be their lord,” said Daphne. “They cannot defy you, because doing so would rid them of their title and wealth immediately. They know that very well, so they wouldn’t have a choice except grit their teeth and do as you say.”
Harry started to laugh and couldn’t stop for a few minutes. Daphne let him have the moment, and chuckled a few times herself as Maribeth came in with tea and scones.
“You are such a Slytherin,” he asked finally.
“Thank you,” she said, sipping her tea. “I’m surprised you are taking this so well. I expected an honourable denial somehow.”
Harry picked up his own cup and smiled at Maribeth in thanks as she left. “I very nearly was Slytherin myself,” he said, and then focused back on the matter at hand. “As much as I don’t like the idea of them having any say whatsoever, using them to bring about the change they fought so hard to prevent sounds better and better.”
“I thought you might enjoy that,” said Daphne. “If word is to be believed, Hermione Granger intends to join the Ministry after her final year at Hogwarts to fight for creature rights. Now, imagine what fifty-seven votes could do for that.”
Harry paused in sipping his tea and set his cup down. “I have changed my mind,” he said suddenly. “I want to renegotiate our contract.”
Daphne stared at him in shock. “What?” she asked.
“We agreed on your fees but now I have some changes,” he said.
Daphne was stone-faced as she pulled out the contract they had signed after their first meeting. “What would you like to change?” she asked.
“Your fees,” he said. “They are now doubled, with an added bonus.”
Daphne looked at him in shock. “Harry, you were very generous already,” she said.
“If this is what you did in after only one day of having your licence, I want Verdant on permanent retainer for me,” he said. “The money will give you a chance to hire more people, and with all that will come our way once this is all set in motion, we are going to need it.”
Daphne smiled slowly. “Alright,” she said, and waved her wand. The contract was altered, and both she and Harry signed it once more before Daphne put it away.
“About the funds in their vaults,” said Harry. “The heirs,” he clarified. “What do we do about it?”
“The wealth they hold is still substantial, but I wouldn’t recommend taking it away from them,” said Daphne. “People care a great deal for money and if you want their loyalty, money is a great way to keep it. Of course, it will also help when we need to pull their leash a little.”
Harry grinned and started drinking his tea once more. “I want to set up a trust for my godson,” he said.
“I can do that,” said Daphne, writing it down. “It is pretty straightforward.” She set her quill down and surveyed Harry. “Honestly, we should focus on settling this thing with the heirs first. I heard a rumour when I was the Ministry to take my exam.”
“What did you hear?” asked Harry.
“As you know, the Wizengamot hasn’t been in session since the fall of the Dark Lord,” said Daphne. “And rightly so, because nobody even knows where to start. However, I heard that Minister Shacklebolt will be calling the first post-war session of the Wizengamot at the start of June.”
“If it’s true, we definitely need to sort this out before then,” he said. “June is almost upon us.”
“I suspect the first session will focus heavily on making sure we actually have a functioning Wizengamot with enough seats,” said Daphne. “The Minister won’t risk holding trials or changing any laws until the Wizengamot is functional.”
“I know,” nodded. “Kingsley has been using the Minister’s wartime power so far, but I guess people won’t stand for it much longer.”
“Which brings us to your Wizengamot seats,” said Daphne. “Once we have the loyalties of those houses, it’s likely that the family matriarch will sit on the seat until the heirs are of age. But then there are other seats that are no longer extant, so we will need to figure that out too.”
“Let’s do that now then,” said Harry.
“Okay,” said Daphne. “As you know, the Sacred Twenty Eight seats are the only permanent seats on the Wizengamot. The other twenty two seats are elected through a nomination followed by a vote of the full Wizengamot every four years.”
Harry hadn’t actually known that, but he nodded along. “Sacred Twenty Eight first,” he said, picking up the list of the current Wizengamot. “Abbott.”
“Viable,” said Daphne, consulting her list. “Hannah Abbott’s father sits on the seat, and he has a son who is younger than Hannah who will likely inherit.”
“Her mother was muggleborn, wasn’t she?” asked Harry, remembering the news of her being murdered in their sixth year.
“Yes,” said Daphne. They were both quiet for a while, before Daphne cleared her throat. “Next.”
“Avery,” said Harry, frowning darkly.
“In Azkaban, and good riddance too,” said Daphne. “He has a wife, Bianca, and a fifteen year old son named Marshall.”
“So, Bianca will hold the seat until Marshall is of age,” said Harry, and looked at the other list. “Oh, but they signed it all to Voldemort.”
“Which makes them loyal to you,” smirked Daphne. “Next?”
“Black, but I hold that one,” said Harry.
“You might need to nominate someone to hold it,” said Daphne. “It’s technically not proper to sit on more than one seat.”
“Andromeda Tonks, then,” said Harry. “She can hold the seat until Teddy, my godson, is of age.”
“She was formerly Andromeda Black, wasn’t she?” asked Daphne. “Then that’s perfect. You can make the nomination when the Minister asks you about it and no one will protest if she’s placed on it. Who’s next?”
“Bulstrode,” said Harry. “Is that Millicent’s family?”
“Yes,” said Daphne. “It was her father who was the Death Eater, but Millie is actually a half blood since her mother was a muggleborn. Millie’s father murdered her mother on the Dark Lord’s orders last year.”
“He was killed in an Auror raid a few weeks ago,” said Harry. “Does Millicent have any other family?”
“No, it’s just her,” said Daphne. “Her father also signed everything away to the Dark Lord. She won’t put up a fight, to be honest. She hated her father and the Dark Lord with a passion.”
“Alright, then we can just ask for her cooperation,” said Harry. “Burke is next.”
“The older one is in Azkaban, and the younger brother runs the shop in Knockturn Alley,” said Daphne.
“Yeah,” grimaced Harry. “There wasn’t enough proof to arrest him as a Death Eater but I doubt he’s innocent.”
“A fight for another day,” said Daphne. “In the meantime, you can have him be loyal to you and do as you say.”
“I’m fine with that,” said Harry. “The Carrows are next, eh? Amycus and Alecto are dead, thankfully.”
“Yes,” said Daphne, face going dark with anger. “I wish I could have been the one to kill them, to be honest.” She sighed and took a deep breath. “The twins, Hestia and Flora, are of age. They weren’t a part of the main family but with Amycus and Alecto dead, they’re the only ones left to inherit it. The girls were not involved in Death Eater activities, so one of them will hold the seat.”
“The Carrows still signed it away, though,” said Harry. “The loyalty rests with me then?”
“Yes,” said Daphne. “Flora will likely inherit it being the older twin. Whoever she marries will take her name and hold the seat until she has a son or another heir. If she doesn’t marry or bear an heir, then Hestia will be eligible.”
“Got it,” said Harry. “Oh,” he stopped when he saw the next name. “Crouch.”
“Yeah, that’s the extinct one,” said Daphne. “You got the wealth, so I’m guessing you were the closest relative left. Any idea who you’d want to nominate?”
“None whatsoever,” said Harry. “Any other relatives?”
“Unfortunately, Barty Crouch Sr. was an only son, as was his father so there are no cousins. His mother was Charis Crouch, formerly Charis Black, which is how you’re related,” said Daphne, consulting the Black family tree.
Harry followed the line as she traced it. “Charis Black had two sisters, eh?” he asked, noticing the names.
“Yeah, one of them married into the Longbottom family,” said Daphne. “The Longbottom family has a seat already, and Neville is the only viable heir. The other one…”
“Cedrella Black who married Septimus Weasley,” said Harry, remembering the tapestry in Grimmauld Place. “She was blasted off the tree.”
“Yes,” said Daphne, and then paused thoughtfully. “As the current Black family head, you can ask her status to be restored, which would give her descendants the seat.”
“It would go to Arthur Weasley?” asked Harry.
“Well, yes and no,” said Daphne. “The Weasleys are a Sacred Twenty Eight family but their seat has been empty despite having a number of viable heirs because the marriage of Cedrella Black and Septimus Weasley led to a whole lot of bad blood among the purebloods. The Black family at the time was powerful enough to quash any claim made by the Weasley family, even to their own seat.”
“So, if I restore Cedrella Black’s status, then the Weasleys would have two seats?” asked Harry.
“Yes,” said Daphne. “Arthur Weasley will likely hold one and hand the other to one of his sons.”
“Probably Percy,” said Harry.
“Isn’t he the third son?” asked Daphne, confused.
“Arthur’s seat will pass on to Bill, who’s the oldest,” said Harry. “Charlie might be returning to Romania, so Percy makes sense.”
“Alright,” said Daphne. “Either of them, really, are suitable so it’s up to you to nominate the one you think is right.”
“I have to nominate them, not Mr. Weasley?” asked Harry, startled.
“Yes,” said Daphne. “You are the head of the Black family, remember? You legitimise them and then make the nominations.” She smiled a little. “You can always discuss this with them beforehand, you know.”
“Right,” said Harry, feeling a little foolish. “Next is, oh wait. If they get the Crouch seat, can they also inherit the Crouch wealth?”
“They will, if you order it,” said Daphne.
“Please do that,” said Harry.
“Alright,” she said, making a note. “I’ll write to Gringotts after the Wizengamot votes. Who’s next?”
“Fawley,” said Harry.
“Not involved,” said Daphne. “Straight as an arrow, that family. They mostly held neutral beliefs.”
“Flint is next,” said Harry. “He’s in Azkaban. Marcus is, anyway.”
“Yeah, he’s got a younger brother,” said Daphne. “Fortunately, he’s only twelve, so his mother will hold the seat. They also signed everything away, so they’ll do as you say.”
“Well, after that it’s Gaunt, but we know how that went,” said Harry.
“It’s actually a bigger problem than you realise,” said Daphne.
“How so?” asked Harry. “Voldemort was the last of his line.”
“Exactly,” said Daphne. “And no one will want to claim the seat for fear of that implication. You might actually have to hold onto it until you bear an heir.”
“Great,” said Harry, sarcasm dripping from his tone. “I thought it wasn’t proper to have two seats.”
“It’s not but they’ll likely make an exception this time,” said Daphne. “No one wants to claim a seat with no wealth and such a bad reputation.”
Harry groaned in annoyance but nodded. “Oh,” he said, when he saw the next name. “Greengrass.”
“Right, that would be me,” smiled Daphne. “Fortunately for you, I think I’ll vote in your favour.”
Harry couldn’t help but chuckle. “I appreciate it,” he said. “Are you and Astoria the only heirs?”
“Yeah,” said Daphne. “The next person to hold the seat would likely be my heir.”
“Ah,” said Harry, and hurried to the next name. “Lestrange.”
“Dead, all of them,” said Daphne. “I could sing.”
“You and me both,” said Harry.
“It actually took me a lot of work, this one,” said Daphne, searching around for something. “Ah, here it is! So, get this, the line ends with Rodolphus and Rabastan since neither of them had children. However, there is another line. The Corvus Lestrange line.”
“Never heard of it,” said Harry, startled that there were more of them than he realised.
“Long ago, the last Corvus Lestrange went to the States and he died without an heir a few years ago,” said Daphne, reading the newly found document. “However, he had a half sister named Leta Lestrange, who was from Britain and went to Hogwarts. Leta Lestrange married another wizard but they had no children.”
“So that’s where the line ended?” asked Harry, trying to follow it.
Daphne shook her head with a smile. “The man she married was called Theseus Scamander,” she said.
“Why do I know that name?” asked Harry.
“He was the older brother of Newt Scamander, the man who wrote…” began Daphne, but Harry remembered suddenly.
“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” he said. “Right, wait, there was an old Auror named Theseus Lestrange in the hall of heroes at the Ministry’s Auror Department.”
“Yes, that’s him,” said Daphne. “He took Leta’s name when they married but they died without an heir, and Rodolphus’ branch of the family had much more of a right, so they got the Lestrange seat. However, with both lines dead, the line goes to Theseus’ only living relative.”
“Newt Scamander gets the Lestrange seat?” asked Harry, incredulously.
“Well, he has a claim to it, anyway,” said Daphne. “The most legitimate claim there can be.”
“Is he still alive?” asked Harry.
“Yes, he and his wife live in Dorset,” said Daphne. “He has a son, who unfortunately passed away two years ago from an illness. But he has an heir.”
“I didn’t know we had a Scamander at Hogwarts,” said Harry.
“He went to Beauxbatons, actually, since his mother is French,” said Daphne. “Rolf Scamander, Newt’s only grandson. He’s three years older than us and there are rumours that he is currently in Dorset to study with his grandfather. He’s the only legitimate heir to the Lestrange seat that I can find.”
“If he does claim it, he will have to do as I say, huh?” asked Harry, and looked uncomfortable. “I don’t like that.”
“Well, you can always release the Lestrange seat from their fealty,” said Daphne. “It will mean two less votes, though.”
“I can at least meet with him before the Wizengamot convenes and see if he’s interested,” said Harry. “If he does claim the seat, I will release the Lestrange family’s fealty and hand him control.”
“Alright, I’ll contact him for a private meeting,” said Daphne. “What will you do if he refuses?”
“I dunno, convince him to hold onto it until he has an heir, I guess,” shrugged Harry.
“That’s a good plan,” nodded Daphne. “Who’s next?”
“Longbottom,” said Harry. “Neville will probably claim the seat, now that he’s of age. Macmillan is next. Does it go to Ernie?”
“His father is still alive and well, so probably not yet,” said Daphne.
“Malfoy’s next,” sighed Harry.
“I heard you personally applied for a full pardon for all three of them,” said Daphne. “That was unexpected, to say the least.”
“Yeah,” said Harry. “Still, Lucius signed everything away, didn’t he?”
“He did,” said Daphne. “He’ll do as you say, though I doubt he’s thrilled at the prospect.”
“I don’t care, honestly, but yeah, it’s not like he has a choice,” said Harry. “What about Nott?”
Daphne gritted her teeth. “Yeah, that bastard is still breathing free air,” she said. “I guess none of what he did last year was technically illegal since it was authorised by Hogwarts professors. Even if that meant torturing first years.”
“Yeah, I don’t like it either,” said Harry, with a frown. “There are a few people like that. Robards said they claimed they were only doing as their teachers instructed, which is true.”
“Regardless, he has to do as you say,” said Daphne, with a vicious smirk. “Ollivander should be next, right?”
“Yeah,” said Harry. “Doesn’t Mr. Ollivander have two children?”
“Yes, a son and a daughter. I hear the daughter’s frail, but the son inherited the seat and will likely run the business too after the current Mr. Ollivander retires,” said Daphne. “It goes without saying…”
“Yeah, I know they aren’t Death Eaters,” said Harry. “Parkinson.”
“Pansy’s the only one,” frowned Daphne. “Her mother died when she was young and her father is in Azkaban right now. She was no angel this past year, but like Theo, she gets pardoned for obeying orders.”
“Well, like Nott, she still has to do as I say,” said Harry, with satisfaction. “Were you two friends?”
“Hardly,” snorted Daphne. “She hated my guts, but knew not to say that to my face. Parkinson family’s finances are in shambles, you see. She was clinging to Malfoy, hoping for a betrothal which still might happen, to be fair. Either way, she hated anyone she thought would be a prospective future Malfoy bride.”
“Right,” said Harry. “The less said about that the better. Huh, Prewett? That was Molly’s maiden name.”
“Yes, Molly Weasley was a Prewett,” said Daphne. “Her grandfather had two children, Molly’s father and Ignatius Prewett who married Lucretia Black. Ignatius and Lucretia had no heir, so that’s not an issue. As I understand, Molly Weasley’s younger brothers are dead.”
“Yes,” said Harry, glancing down at the watch on his wrist that had once belonged to Fabian Prewett. “So, one of the Weasley brothers gets it?”
“Yes,” said Daphne. “The nomination will be tricky, but you could likely make it. Speak to the Weasleys about who would be the most appropriate.”
“I will,” said Harry. “Rosier is next. Is Felix Rosier the last one alive?”
“No, he has a daughter who is still ten. As I understand it, he is currently in St. Mungo’s,” said Daphne.
“That would be my fault,” said Harry. “He tried to attack me during a raid two weeks ago and I blasted him through a wall. He will be put on trial after he recovers.”
“In the meantime, his wife will hold the seat, so they will do as you say,” said Daphne. “Since they signed it all to the Dark Lord.”
“Rowle,” read Harry, moving on with a nod. “Thorfinn Rowle is dead. Was he married?”
“Yes, and has twin sons who are six,” said Daphne. “It’s the same as Rosier. Who’s next?”
“Selwyn,” said Harry. “He’s in Azkaban.”
“Three children,” said Daphne. “His wife will hold the seat. Shacklebolt should be next.”
“Does Kingsley get four votes?” asked Harry.
“No,” said Daphne. “No Wizengamot seat is allowed more than two votes. It’s why you can’t have one person with more than one seat.”
“I get it,” said Harry. “No more than two votes by one seat, so while it wouldn’t be against the rules if you held more than one seat, it’s still a loophole, so it’s not considered proper.”
“Yeah,” said Daphne. “In cases where the Minister also happens to have a family seat in the Wizengamot, they are granted three votes, instead of four,” said Daphne. “If he has heirs who inherit the seat while he’s still Minister, then it will likely be put to the Wizengamot but they’d keep it at three votes, probably.”
It made Harry’s head spin, so he moved onto the next name. “Shafiq?” he asked.
“A good family,” said Daphne. “They went into hiding two years ago, but have returned recently, as I understand. No connection to the Death Eaters and definitely didn’t sign their fealty away.”
“Good,” said Harry. “Slughorn. Is it the Professor?” At Daphne’s nod, he moved onto the next name. Horace Slughorn was definitely not a Voldemort supporter and would not have signed away anything. “Travers.”
“Dead,” said Daphne, and Harry nodded as he knew that. “He has a son who’s thirteen.”
“So it’s like Rosier and those families, right?” asked Harry. “We have already settled the Weasley thing, so it’s the last one: Yaxley.”
“Corban Yaxley is in Azkaban,” said Daphne. “He had no children, but he has a younger brother who was killed for not joining the Dark Lord. The younger Yaxley brother has a daughter.”
“So, she’ll inherit the seat? What do we know about her?” asked Harry.
“She graduated from Hogwarts four years ago and is a Healer at St. Mungo’s,” said Daphne, looking at her notes. “She seems to be fine, from what I can tell. She will inherit the seat, but since the Yaxley name was signed away, it is up to you to deal with her.”
“Invite her to a personal meeting too,” said Harry. “That does it for the Sacred Twenty Eight, right?”
“Yeah,” said Daphne, looking at her list. “Avery, Bulstrode, Burke, Carrow, Flint, Gaunt, Lestrange, Malfoy, Nott, Parkinson, Rosier, Selwyn, Travers and Yaxley are those from the Sacred Twenty Eight who now fall under your authority. That makes it fourteen. Not to mention the others like Crouch, Gaunt, and the Black family’s.”
“What about ones who aren’t Sacred Twenty Eight?” asked Harry.
“Crabbe, Dolohov, Goyle, Jugson, Macnair, Mulciber and Rookwood,” listed Daphne, with a disgusted frown.
“Crabbe Sr. is in Azkaban and Vincent is dead. Is there a mother in the picture?” asked Harry.
“No, without Crabbe Sr. the family is extinct,” said Daphne. “Since it isn’t a Sacred Twenty Eight seat, they will most likely lose it.”
“If it isn’t a permanent seat, then how have they held it for so long?” asked Harry. “I thought you said the non-permanent seats change every four years.”
“They do, except people keep voting in the same families,” said Daphne. “The Minister will ask for a nomination on this one, so if there’s someone you want to place there, this is a good chance. Someone else is bound to put up a candidate as well, so you can always refuse too.”
“Got it,” said Harry. “We’ll see how that goes then. Any of the others extinct?”
“No,” said Daphne. “Dolohov, Goyle, Jugson, Macnair and Mulciber all have heirs who were at Hogwarts this last year. But since some of them are of age, they will likely sit on those family seats currently. Which is good for us, of course, since they have to vote they way you tell them.”
“So, what does the tally come to now?” asked Harry.
“With your own seats and purely by making them obey you, you will have 39 out of the 80 votes, assuming you get Lestrange and Yaxley as well. With Crouch, Weasley and Prewett, you might get 6 more, so 45. You will have mine, which makes it 47,” said Daphne. “Those like Longbottom, Abbott and Fawley have 8 votes that will likely swing your way, depending on what’s being put to the Wizengamot. Same goes for Shacklebolt and Shafiq. It comes to 57, like I told you before. Vote is by majority, so those are very good numbers in our favour. There are several other non-permanent members in the Wizengamot who will vote your way as well, so I think it should be fine.”
Harry shook his head, a small smirk of disbelief on his face. “I still can’t believe it, you know,” he said.
“Well, get your head around it quickly, we have to move fast,” said Daphne, waving her wand and clearing her desk. All the files and documents arranged themselves neatly and flew to a filing cabinet behind her. “I will contact the Death Eater families first and get them to sign new contracts to reaffirm their fealty to you.”
“That won’t be easy,” said Harry. “But like you said, they won’t have a choice, will they?”
“Precisely,” said Daphne. “Those like Rolf Scamander for the Lestrange seat, and the Yaxley seat will be slightly different contracts, depending on how those meetings go. You have to speak to the Weasleys.”
“I’ll do it as soon as I can,” nodded Harry.
“We won’t have to make them sign any contracts, but since you will be making the nominations, it’s better to have it sorted out beforehand,” she explained. She stretched her arms lightly and sat back in her chair. “Well, that’s that on the Wizengamot thing. Was there something else?”
He paused and considered it. “The thing is, I have to make a decision about my future soon,” he said. “I assume you aren’t going back to Hogwarts.”
“No,” said Daphne. “I’ll do my five NEWT exams next month at the Ministry, but that’s all.”
“Yeah, I was thinking of doing the same,” he said. “But in my case, it was recommended because the Auror Department wanted me.”
“You’re thinking of leaving the Aurors?” she asked, in surprise.
He nodded. “I feel like there is so much more I could do with all of this at my hand,” he said, and raised his gaze to her in determination. “You said you wanted to restore what was lost to our world, didn’t you? What did you mean?”
Daphne smiled widely at him. “You noticed that, huh?” she asked, and then appraised him thoughtfully. “Do you know what a Borogove is?”
“Is it a tree of some sort?” he asked, confused.
“No, it’s a made up word,” she said. “You know my father would always say that people like the Dark Lord who ruled through fear, murder and mayhem, were always predisposed to losing because they fundamentally misunderstood what it meant to rule. Back in our fifth year when you and Dumbledore were running around claiming the Dark Lord’s return, my father started writing this book. He called it the Plight of the Borogoves.”
Daphne stood up and went to the bookshelf in the office and pulled out a handbound book.
“Borogove is a nonsense word, really,” she said, as she sat back down behind her desk with the book in her hands. “But my father said that a borogove is what becomes of the people in a land of war. Not soldiers who choose to fight, mind you, but everyone else. And the land itself for that matter. You must have noticed it, right? How darker the world seemed to get once the Dark Lord’s return was made public in our sixth year?”
Harry nodded at once, catching on to what she was saying. He remembered the tangible sense of fear in the air, the quietness and stillness of previously bustling and happy places. The look of terror and paranoia in the eyes of everyone from children to the elderly. “Borogove, huh?” he asked. “Yeah, I get it.”
“My father said that once the Dark Lord was defeated, someone will have to shake up the borogoves and return them to being human once more,” she said, and shook her head with a smile. “It sounds silly, but…”
“No,” said Harry, feeling himself smile too. “I think I understand how he felt.”
She looked surprised, but pleased. “He wrote this book, it’s more like a blueprint really, of ways in which the world could be revived,” she said, and opened the book. “Like here, he talks about one of the basic things to do would be to revive Diagon Alley. It sounds absurd but think about how Diagon Alley used to be before. It’s a place almost everyone in Britain visits at least once year.”
“I think I know what you’re getting at,” said Harry. “The war might be over, but everyone is still wary as if expecting a Death Eater to jump out from behind the bins.”
“You can’t blame them, really,” she shrugged. “But if they were to see a lively, safe Diagon Alley with open shops all over, the perception would begin to shift, wouldn’t it? Most people continued to make money this past year but they stopped spending it because no one thinks of going shopping if you’re likely to get killed. The economy begins to stagnate if people don’t spend.”
“Yeah,” said Harry. “One of the best things I remember is visiting the Weasleys’ Wizarding Wheezes back before sixth year and how lively the shop was compared to the rest of Diagon Alley. All because there was light and laughter inside and out, no matter how bad things were.”
“Humans are resilient creatures, witches and wizards even more so,” said Daphne, wisely. “We are born smarter than Muggles, gain basic comprehension skills faster, we age slower, live longer. We have every advantage even before magic gets involved, but frequent conflicts are very bad for a society’s development. Or so my father hypothesised, anyway.” She smiled sadly. “His theories sound more like a fantasy, but honestly, with the kind of sway and wealth you have, I think it may not be as out of reach as I might have first thought.”
Harry nodded along. “I like it,” he said. “What else?”
“Well, charity is a big thing,” said Daphne, flipping through the book seemingly more enthusiastic now that Harry was onboard. “War always leaves orphans, so looking after them and securing their future is very important.”
“The orphans are housed at St. Mungo’s, aren’t they?” asked Harry.
“Yes, but they are beyond capacity at this point,” said Daphne. “Think of it this way. You can donate a whole bunch of money to an overworked and overcapacity hospital, or you can use one of those massive mansions you inherited and turn it into an orphanage.”
“I want to do that,” said Harry, at once.
Daphne laughed. “I know, just one step at a time, okay?” she said. “There is a lot that can be done. But this is basically what I meant when I said I wanted to restore what was once lost to the world. The war won’t really end until it ends in the minds of the people.”
Harry was silent as he considered her words carefully. “Alright,” he said, in a calmer voice. “First, we get the Wizengamot in order. That will make it easier to bring change. It will take a lot of time, and I’m sure none of it will be easy, but I am willing to do it.”
“Well then,” smiled Daphne. “I think you know what you are doing for the rest of your life, aren’t you?”
Harry smiled back, his heart feeling lighter than it had in a long, long time. “Turning Borogoves back to humans.”