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The Black Book Universe

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May 7, 1989

“Dad, do I have to?” Harry tugged at his ear. His other hand was curled protectively in his chest, holding part of his familiar, Iris. Iris hissed nonsense in his ear as she curled and settled comfortably around his neck. Harry looked up to see his dad frowning lightly.

“Yes, you do.” Sirius paused. “What’s lesson number one?”

Harry scowled. “He nearly stepped on her! Iris is family too!”

Sirius nodded slowly. “She is. But it was an accident.”

“I know.” Harry reached up and nuzzled his hand along Iris’s head and body. He had finally coaxed her into her smallest size as fear of being stepped on had her instincts running high but her size was much too large for the day to day.

“I startled him,” she hissed in his ear, “I don’t know why though.”

Sirius looked from Iris to Harry before sighing again. “Harry, son. What’s lesson number two?”

“No mercy to those that harm the House of Black.” Harry frowned when Sirius raised an eyebrow.

“Which means?”

“Always protect the family.”

“Draco is very upset, son.” Sirius knelt down, holding his son’s gaze. “He’s your best friend and he didn’t want to hurt Iris. And, she reacted so quickly that he didn’t even have the chance to accidentally do so.”

Harry nodded. “Is he mad at me?” He whispered.

“Not at all. He’s worried you’ll be mad at him forever though.”

“I wouldn’t!”

“Then let’s go tell him.”

Sirius stood and led Harry from his room in Ravenswood back into main parlour, where Narcissa was comforting a distraught Draco. As soon as Harry entered the room, Draco ran over.

“I’m sorry! I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to!” Draco had tears welling in his eyes and Harry felt miserable.

He threw his arms around his best friend and said, “I’m sorry! It just scared me, is all.” Draco hugged him back, sniffling. “Iris is okay. She said she startled you.”

Draco then stepped back and grinned. “She did! I heard her!”

The boys ignored the shocked, but delighted gasps of the surrounding adults. Lucius looked smug at the implications. Harry was ecstatic.

“You can speak parseltongue too!” Harry reached up and grabbed Iris. “Iris! Draco can talk with you too!”

“I’m sorry Iris. It startled me when you spoke and I could understand you.” Draco reached out slowly to her and she nuzzled his hand affectionately.

Harry grinned at the adventures they could now go on and conversations they could speak in private. “Too bad Neville can’t speak parseltongue! We could get away with so much at Hogwarts.”

Sirius laughed a sharp barking sound and Harry shared a conspiratorial grin with his dad.

Chapter Text

September 1, 1991

Hermione was nervous and excited for today.

Witch.

There was power in that word that thrummed within her every time she heard it, read it, said it, thought it.

Witch.

After Professor McGonagall explained to her and her parents about Hogwarts and magic and the wixen world, Hermione begged her parents to go to Diagon Alley. She needed to see it, needed to know everything about the wixen world. Finding Flourish and Blotts was a light at the end of the tunnel; finally, there was going to be a book about everything she wanted to learn.

She had bought all the books she needed for this year but then she kept going. Between her and her parents, they bought nearly every history book, every cultural etiquette book, every book that had even the hint of explaining the intricacies of wixen culture and magic. Richard and Miranda Granger were not going to send their daughter to a new world without a thorough explanation of it. Professor McGonagall had tried to assure them that the integration of muggleborns into wixen society would be smooth but they could hear her hesitance. Smooth wasn’t the word she would have chosen but to say anything different would have made them worry. Too late.

In the weeks after, the Granger family learned all they could through books about the wixen world. The first time her last name showed in her potion book, Hermione ran from her room to show her father. After he furrowed his brow, tracing softly over the name, Hector Dagworth-Granger, he gathered everyone into the car and they drove all day to her grandparents.

Victor and Elizabeth Granger were settled comfortably in Virginia Water, Surrey. Hermione learned the importance of that word when she made the mistake of saying that to a classmate only to be scorned as a spoiled brat. After that, Hermione learned rather quickly not to mention how comfortable her family was and that, even in private schools, being comfortable was the quickest way to be teased.

But then, her position in society changed again when Grandpa Granger found out that his little granddaughter was a witch.

Witch.

He had gathered her close and hid some soft tears in her hair. Witch. His little witch. The Dagworth-Grangers finally had a wix in the family. Grandpa Granger explained that Hector Dagworth-Granger was his grandfather and his parents were wix but he, and Dad, were squibs. In the muggle word, her grandfather dropped the first part of his last name, just so wix wouldn’t recognize him as a squib.

They went to Diagon Alley again. Except this time, Grandpa Granger was with them. He squeezed Hermione’s hand when they walked through the cobblestone wall; Hermione squeezed back. After hearing the word squib, Hermione turned to her treasured books to learn more about squibs. She didn’t know how much Grandpa Granger remembered but she did know that he was probably in the wixen world until his eleventh birthday and it seemed sad that this was the first time he was back here since. But she couldn’t dwell on that since they went straight to Gringotts. Hermione was nervous around the goblins but Grandpa Granger had explained some of the proper etiquette. They were ushered into a private room and Hermione experienced magic for the first time.

She pricked her finger and spilled some blood on leathery parchment. It glowed brilliantly before declaring her the Heiress to the Ancient House of Dagworth-Granger. Then, before Snarlak could take the paper away, it glowed even more brilliantly, streaming a rainbow of lights, before settling into a brilliant scrawl: Hermione Jean Dagworth-Granger, Heiress of the Most Noble and Ancient House of Ravenclaw.

The bank became a flurry of activity then. Hermione was introduced to Rugnut, the account manager for the formerly inactive House of Ravenclaw. A full ancestral workup was done to her, then her parents, and Grandpa Granger walked smugly out the front door after learning his son unintentionally married the non-magical descendant of Rowena Ravenclaw herself. The Horde agreed to keep her inheritance a secret until Hermione was able to claim her seat in the Wizengamot—they were mostly appeased because Rugnut was finally able to invest the House of Ravenclaw’s assets.

The last few weeks of summer were filled with magical lessons for both her and her parents. They did a tour of the magical properties of the Dagworth-Granger estate, led mostly by Doxy—who Grandpa Granger was so happy to see alive and well. Grandpa Granger hadn’t been back to his childhood home since he was eleven—after not receiving his Hogwarts letter, his parents withdrew to the muggle side of their titles to help establish their son in the muggle world.

And now all of this knowledge was about to be tested. Hermione had changed into her uniform as soon as she boarded the train. Grandpa Granger did not want her muggle upbringing to hinder her in the magical world and he warned her that people would not think her a direct descendant of the last Lord Dagworth-Granger. They all learned that in the past ten years the Black Family had brought into fashion muggleborns claiming their magical inheritance so some people might think that’s exactly what she did. It was one of the many reasons her other magical heritage was being kept silent—either purebloods would think she’s a jumped-up muggleborn pretending to have a place in magical society or they would try to exploit her or worse. Hermione thought the first two options, at the same time, were likely to happen but did not think anything would be worse. (Her grandfather and father, however, had many discussions about what to do if someone tried to hurt her and asked Doxy to keep an eye out for her.)

Hermione strolled down the train, peering into some of the compartments before she saw three subdued boys who looked like they were all first years to her. She decided this would be a good compartments to try making friends.

She took a deep breath, tried to steady her nerves, and opened the door. “Do you mind? Everywhere else is full.”

The three boys stared up at her before the boy with black hair nodded slowly. She breathed a sigh of relief. Hermione felt nervous as she sat down but still introduced herself, “Hello my name is Hermione Granger.”

She held her hand out to the boy nearest her, the blonde one. She didn’t introduce herself with her full name and titles—Grandpa Granger said that she should but she was worried it would be another comfortable situation. Hermione wanted friends. She was a witch, finally going to a school that would challenge her, but she dearly wanted friends.

The boy with black hair jumped up and took her hand. Except, instead of shaking it, he turned it over, and bowed over it. Hermione flushed and felt her heart jump and her stomach fill with butterflies; it was like being in a movie, an old time movie with a dashing hero.

The hero in question said, “Pleased to meet you Miss Granger. I am Hadrian James Potter, Heir to the Most Noble and Ancient House of Gryffindor.” He smiled at her and she noticed he had sparkling green eyes. “You can call me Harry.”

Her flush turned brighter, torn between swooning and embarrassment because she did not introduce herself properly at all and what if they resented her for it?

The two other boys quickly followed Harry’s example. Draco Lucius Malfoy, Heir to the Noble and Ancient House of Malfoy and Neville Harfang Longbottom, Heir to the Noble and Ancient House of Longbottom. Her eyes widened—she was practically surrounded by Wixen royalty. Her memory had already supplied the extended family trees of each boy as they introduced themselves—Grandpa Granger and she read a book on the noble and ancient families so she wouldn’t accidentally start a blood feud. But was it too late? Would they think her rude or dumb for not properly introducing herself? Her flush deepened.

Then Neville said, “Oh, sorry, we were formal. We’re friendly, I swear.”

She nodded, still blushing. “I’m sorry, I just—I didn’t realize—Grandpa told me—” She tripped over the words and she saw the boys share a glance. Oh no! They must have already thought her weird and rude… Hermione abruptly stood up. She curtsied neatly and said, “I apologize for not formally introducing myself. I am Hermione Jean Dagworth-Granger, Heiress to the Ancient House of Dagworth-Granger.” Her blush still stained her cheeks. “Please call me Hermione.” Please still be my friend?

Harry’s mouth dropped open and for a moment, Hermione feared the worst. But then Draco asked, “You did an inheritance test then?”

Hermione nearly sighed in relief. They weren’t kicking her out of the compartment. They weren’t yelling at her for not introducing herself properly the first time. They might still want to be her friend!

“Yes,” she said, “But actually, my great-grandfather was the last Lord of my house. My grandfather still remembers much about the wixen world.”

“Merlin,” Harry said. “That means Lord Hector Dagworth-Granger was your great-great-grandfather!”

Hermione nodded, slightly surprised that Harry knew her family tree.

“Wow,” Neville whispered. Draco nodded in agreement.

“I read all his books for potions studies,” Harry said, “Great Aunt Cassie made me.”

Hermione also read all of his books; she was very proud of her many greats grandfather. But she was hoping that “Great Aunt Cassie” meant who she thought it meant. She tilted her head, following Harry’s family tree in her mind’s eye. Dorea Potter nee Black was his grandmother, which would make any siblings of hers his great aunts and uncles.

There was only one way to confirm. “Do you mean Cassiopeia Black?”

Harry nodded, eyebrows quirking up into his messy black hair. “Yes, she’s my great-aunt.”

“Oh!” She couldn’t believe it! She sat up straighter, excited and nervous. “She wrote the most interesting book on magical ethics. Do you think she would mind if I wrote her with questions? My grandfather and I read it thoroughly but some of the concepts were beyond us. The magical repercussions of harvesting plants for light and dark potions was fascinating but we couldn’t find any other books to cross reference her findings. She talked loads about her experiments but in other books, they took such hardline positions on light and dark magic. And we could barely find any books about dark magic at all. And...” She trailed off, blushing again. Hermione always forgot to breathe when she had an idea but she didn’t want to intimidate her, hopefully, new friends with her intelligence. She had plenty of experience of cruel little children telling her to shut up.

Harry looked a little dazed. “You want to write to Great Aunt Cassie about magical ethics?” Hermione nodded, smiling hopefully.

Then Neville murmured, “Merlin, she’ll be thrilled.”

Harry nodded slowly. “Yeah...yeah she would.” He sounded a little shocked but then said, “Yeah. Um. I can tell her that I met you on the train, if you’d like?”

Yes! Hermione grinned widely. They didn’t seem scared of her, or about to make fun of her, or anything, and Harry was going to write to his Great Aunt that he met her, so now she could ask Ms. Black all the questions she had.

“That would be wonderful! Thank you Harry.”

Harry smiled. It spread across his whole face and crinkled his shining green eyes. Hermione’s mum had the boys talk with her before she left but Hermione really didn’t think anything of it—how could boys compare to magic and school? And besides, she really just wanted friends; she never had that many close friends before and that’s what she wanted. But Harry was really cute, and sweet, so it was entirely possible that Hermione was developing a little, teeny, weeny, tiny crush. That she would absolutely be telling no one. Ever. And definitely not Harry, because then he wouldn’t want to be her friend. And she really, really wanted to be his friend.

Chapter Text

Harry turned to the girl across from him and Hermione. She had straight, black hair and a slightly pointed face. Harry inclined his head to her and said, “I’m Hadrian Jame—”

“We know who you are,” a boy to the right of her said.

Harry frowned. His dad and grandpa had warned him about this, about people who thought they knew him because of his family. But he was starting to worry that more people believed that Boy-Who-Lived nonsense and would think that was him. He had to figure out a way to stop that quick. Until he had a plan, he fell back to his parents’ plan: politeness.

Putting on his most Lord Arcturus Black the Third, Duke of Blackmoor face he could muster, he said as politely as he could, “Well you have me at a disadvantage, because—” But before he could finish, the boy interrupted him again.

“Is it true that you survived the Killing Curse?”

A hush fell down the table and Harry could feel everyone lean in for his answer. He clenched his fists. He opened his mouth to speak, to politely tell him to shut up, when the boy continued, “Is that why people call you The-Boy-Who-Lived?”

“No one I consider a friend calls me that terrible name,” he snapped out quickly, before that horrible boy could interrupt him again. Harry heard a collective intake of breath from everyone who heard. Maybe this wasn’t the most polite way to get people to stop saying that, but Harry thought that it would at least be very effective. Harry sat up straighter and projected his voice a little, hoping most of the table would hear and then pass it along to the other houses. “My first mother, Lily Potter, the late Duchess of Gryffindor, defeated You-Know-Who. Anyone who says any differently is a liar, a coward, and probably a blood purist who cannot believe the truth that muggleborn witch saved us all.” Harry looked back to the boy across from him. “She saved my life. I was just a baby and I was not struck by the Killing Curse because then I would obviously be dead.”

“But Dumbledore said…” A girl farther down the table and probably older tried to interject but fell silent under Harry’s glare.

“Dumbledore wasn’t there though was he? In fact, of the four people who were there that night, I am the only survivor so I think I have the right to decide how we should remember the murder of my parents.”

No one within earshot said a word. Everyone even stopped eating and Harry was sure the professors at the head table were watching, wondering what was going on. Harry didn’t turn to look though, he knew if he saw Dumbledore’s face he would get angrier. “My mother defeated You-Know-Who. She and my father gave their lives to save mine and I won’t have anyone belittle their sacrifice by calling me that—that rude and mean—”

“Epithet?” Hermione supplied.

Harry nodded. “Right. Anyone who calls me that epithet is not my friend.” He lifted his chin higher and finished, “My name is Hadrian James Potter, Heir to the Most Noble and Ancient House of Gryffindor. My grandfather, the Lord Gryffindor before my father, was also sorted into Ravenclaw, so I belong here even though Godric Gryffindor was one of my ancestors.” Harry swallowed and smiled faintly. “And, if you’re a friend of mine, you may call me Harry.” 

Everyone in earshot was silent before a few people chuckled. One of the older boys said, “Well now that we got that cleared up, let’s eat!”

Conversations started to flow all around them but Harry still felt tension from everyone seated immediately next to him.

Until the girl with black hair across from him snorted. Harry caught her eye and she started giggling. “It’s a pleasure to meet you Hadrian James Potter, I’m Isobel MacDougal.”

Harry smiled. “It’s a pleasure to meet you Miss MacDougal. Please call me Harry.”

Isobel turned to Hermione. “Is he always this formal?”

Hermione blushed before smiling prettily. “Yes. It’s part of his charm.”

Harry grinned broadly at Hermione. He had charm. He could have more charm. He grabbed Hermione’s hand and raised it to his lips. He didn’t kiss her hand because he was too nervous that would be too much but he did say, “Thank you my lady,” because she was his lady. Or, at least, he hoped she would be one day.