Dumbledore takes his seat once more and the steward’s staff taps against the ground. The sound of metal on marble rings through the Wizengamot room. Once the ringing fades, there is complete silence and the steward speaks.
“Lord Hari James Potter.”
Hari breathes in and takes his first step. His shoes click tellingly on the floor and if every eye hadn’t already been watching the doors, they would be now.
He keeps his eyes straight ahead. This allows Hari to watch the moment Dumbledore sees him. The man’s face goes red from rage under his beard, pinching hilariously. There’s shock and awe written there, too. Pride swells in Hari. He’s made it.
Hari reaches the exact center of the room and turns on his heels to face the Wizengamot instead of Dumbledore. He looks up at them, at the faces awash with awe. Nerves are the only thing keeping him together. He wants to look to Draco, but he’d have to turn his head. His eyes seek out Blaise instead and the boy gives him a subtle, but encouraging nod.
“I hereby claim the title Lord Hari James Potter, Lord of House Potter. So mote it be.” He has to introduce each house separately, as well as his position as Hogwarts’ Heir. So he’ll have to do this seven times. The Potter seat glows and the crest appears in front of Hari in stunning blue magic for just a moment. He’s been accepted. Several people sit back in their seats, seemingly believing he’s done.
“I hereby claim the title Lord Hari James Potter, Baron of House Peverell. So mote it be.” What, did they forget his father also held that title? The Peverell seat glows and the crest hovers in front of Hari, fading after a second.
“I hereby claim the title Lord Hari James Potter, Baron of House Black. So mote it be.” There’s more surprised shifting at this, but they accept it quickly, just as soon as the magic accepts Hari. The black swirling lines fade away and Hari takes a breath to begin again.
“I hereby claim the title Lord Hari James Potter, Earl of Gryffindor. So mote it be.” Shocked silence reigns in the room as red magic all but surrounds him. But he’s still not done.
“I hereby claim the title Lord Hari James Potter, Duke of Slytherin, by Right of Conquest. So mote it be.” There’s whispering this time, people wondering how he could possibly have inherited both, but the magic accepts him, so they have no way of arguing.
“I hereby claim the title Lord Hari James Potter, Count of House Gaunt, by Right of Conquest. So mote it be.” The last of the green magic swirls around him, then fades away.
“I, Lord Hari James Potter, as Earl of Gryffindor and Duke of Slytherin, hereby claim my rightful position as Heir to Hogwarts. So mote it be.” Four magics swirl around him, red, green, blue, and yellow. The chairs of each Hogwarts founder glow brightly for an instant, than everything fades.
“I hereby vow to bring honor to my seats and Houses in my time serving on this esteemed body, as Lord Hari James Potter, Lord of House Potter, Baron of House Peverell and of House Black, Earl of Gryffindor, Duke of Slytherin, Heir Hogwarts, and Count of House Gaunt. This vow I shall keep, so mote it be.” The seats of each House he has claimed glow, then the layout of the entire room warps. He moves his eyes from Blaise to the location where the Potter seat will come to rest. It had taken quite a while for them to figure out how the magic would shift the room. It came down to some heavy estimations.
The Ministry members take up the whole of the right side. Noble houses are in the first row. The next several rows are Ancient and Noble Houses. The fifth and sixth rows are Most Ancient and Noble Houses. There is a small section of eight seats in the center of the sixth row, slightly separated, where the Founding Houses are. At the very top is a secluded area with only four chairs which look more like thrones. They are for the dead lines of Merlin and Arthur.
Center, sixth row, nine seats in. Where the Gryffindor and Slytherin seats had been. Instead, there is now a chair nearly as extravagant as Merlin and Arthur’s thrones. The seats for every house he claimed have combined to make it so. Because of this, the layout of the room has changed, seats shifting to fill in the gaps his Claims have made where the seats vanished to combine.
Hari lets a beat pass once the new seat has shone for everyone to see, then starts towards it. Up the stairs on the left of the center column, away from the Ministry and surrounded by Nobility. It may have made waves it he’d chosen to walk up the right side, but this way is traditional for a new Lord and he’s not sure he likes the looks on the faces of the wix in the smallest section.
He reaches his seat and all the other Lords, Ladies, and Heirs stand as one to bow to him. The House of Potter isn’t the highest House in the chamber, despite its Primacy over the two Founding Houses, but his titles combined make him the most powerful person in the room. Hari supposes he shouldn’t be surprised that tradition will be a little warped and place him at the top of the hierarchy instead of the other way around.
Hari nods back in the way Narcissa taught him and sits. The other nobility follow, sitting in a ripple effect based on the primacy of their Houses. The Ministry officials have stayed seated through it all.
“At this time,” Dumbledore says in a shaking voice, “I call for the doors to be sealed and this session to begin.” He walks up and takes his place at the podium for the Chief Warlock.
Hari looks for Narcissa in the gallery and she offers a small smile and nod. He responds in kind, relieved to know he had done well.
His eyes seek out Draco next, finding the boy already staring at him. Draco’s smile is a little more obvious than his mother’s, but what can you expect from a thirteen year old boy looking at his best friend? Hari smiles back, then faces forward. The meeting is beginning.
“As is first on our agenda,” Dumbledore begins and Hari opens the file on his desk. He’d reviewed the papers within before coming, studying Lucius’ copy.
“Hem, hem.” All eyes turn to the Ministry section, glaring at some witch in all pink.
The Minister rises, “Apologies, Chief Warlock, but I question the wisdom of allowing a thirteen year old child to sit on our esteemed body.”
There’s a long beat of silence following his proclamation.
“Now, Cornelius—“ Dumbledore starts. Lucius cuts him off.
“Minister, do you intend to deny Lord Potter his legal right to sit on this body?” Lucius is standing, eyes slightly narrowed. It is an intimidating look.
“I—of course not. I simply mean that he is not yet of age.” Hari makes brief eye contact with Lucius and rises. He needs to defend himself.
“Minister Fudge,” Hari addresses the man, who turns to him with shock on his face. “It is in accordance with our laws that a Lord may claim his title and seat at the age of thirteen. These same laws declare that I have the right to make use of my seat beginning at the age of thirteen. I am thirteen years old. The magic has accepted me. I have my title and my seat. Are you denying me the right to make use of it as the law permits?”
“No, Lord Potter, of course not. My apologies, I simply was unprepared to see someone so young participate,” Minister Fudge bows neatly.
“Then perhaps you should review your history, as there are Lords as young as I documented throughout the lifespan of this body. And let us not forget one who helped create this body, Arthur Pendragon, the thirteen-year-old King.” Hari tilts his head at the minister, looking for all the world like an innocent, curious child. “Perhaps you could request lessons from Lord Malfoy. He did an exemplary job teaching me.”
Stifled laughter ripples through the chamber. The minister blushes and bows once more.
“I believe I will review on my own, Lord Potter. I apologize again.” He retakes his seat.
“Of course. If you ever need something clarified, I’d be more than willing to answer your questions,” Hari nods, giving the slightest smile and taking his seat again. He glances over to Lucius and Draco. Lucius is ‘coughing’ into his hand and Draco is turning pink and shaking from the effort of holding in his laughter.
“Right,” Dumbledore glares up at Hari, who simply crooks an eyebrow at him. “As I was saying, the first thing on our agenda is a bill proposed by Secretary Umbridge and dealing with werewolves. Miss Umbridge?” He gestures for her to take the floor.
Her voice is drab and droning and it kind of makes Hari want to cut his ears off. The bill contains several factual inaccuracies. Lucius has arranged a series of comments to be made by different allies, culminating with Hari.
Umbridge finishes spouting her lies and Lord Goyle stands.
“I see here you have detailed werewolves as being non-human. You are aware this is inaccurate, correct?”
Lady Zabini adds, “as well as the commentary of their proclivity for eating human flesh.”
“And the note on their ability to turn people without the full moon,” Lord Greengrass says.
“As well as the fact that you believe they can turn without the full moon’s presence,” Lord Malfoy finishes.
“I have to wonder where you got your information, Miss Umbridge,” Lord Crabbe asks.
Hari stands once more, “Perhaps I can shed some light on that, Lord Crabbe.” Lord Crabbe bows subtly in appreciation. “It is a flight of fancy from the muggle world that werewolves are vicious, dangerous killers. It is a trend in their novels that werewolves would consume human hearts to survive and that they are capable of transforming and changing others on nights other than the full moon. In some literature, this is only a partial transformation, while in others, they fully become wolves, like an animagus would.
“It seems to me that Miss Umbridge has gotten her information out of works intended to be taken as fiction, rather than bothering to consult any scientific literature. In fact, it was well known before the mass introduction of muggleborns into wix society that werewolves are perfectly safe human beings at all times other than the night of the full moon, at which point, they should lock themselves away or, in this advanced day and age, take the Wolfsbane Potion.
“Miss Umbridge, have you bothered to read Newt Scamander’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, or do you admit to having made all this up?”
“Well, of course I did not make this up!” She gasps as if horribly offended. It’s not difficult to see that she’s actually just angry at being called out. “That book is old knowledge and has since been proven false. Why, just look at the statistics.”
“Miss Umbridge, am I correct in assuming you are including werewolf attacks that have occurred at the hands of one Fenrir Greyback, a known outlier? A werewolf who sought out being bitten and who has forcibly turned others to create an army for the late Tom Riddle, also known as Voldemort. This man,” Hari tilts his chin to look down his nose at her, “was a murderer before being turned. And outliers should always be either noted in the statistics or removed to allow a more reliable average to be found.”
“I-I… of course he was included, he is a werewolf, and certainly not an outlier. Just look at the numbers!”
Lady Zabini sighs, “Miss Umbridge, this is getting tiring. Lord Potter just stated that Fenrir Greyback is a known outlier. Arguing that he is not an outlier based on statistics that include him is foolhardy.”
“I would call for a vote,” Lord Malfoy calls.
“Seconded,” Lord Nott says.
“The motion is carried,” Hari completes. Everyone takes their seats and Dumbledore sets his hands on either side of his podium, barring anyone from being able to see it.
“All those in favor of passing this bill.” The room is silent except for the sound of wands being tapped on arms of the seats.
“All those in favor of discarding this bill.” The tapping is louder now and Hari knows they have won this round. Of course, he didn’t have any doubt originally, but this only confirms it.
“The bill has been discarded,” Dumbledore announces and Umbridge mutters angrily in her seat. Hari glances at her, irritated, but turns back to Dumbledore. It’s already almost twelve-thirty, the silly woman managed to talk for over two hours about her lies, and Hari wants lunch.
“We will adjourn for one hour. The doors will seal at one thirty,” Dumbledore calls and taps his wand at the top of the podium. Hari rises and briskly makes his way out of the room through the back entrance closest to his seat. He’s certain there are others around him hoping to speak to him but—oh, there’s Draco.
“Lord Potter, you were brilliant!” Draco cries and barely bows before throwing his arms around Hari.
“Can we do this later? I’m absolutely starving,” Hari groans. “I was this close,” he holds up his thumb and forefinger almost touching, “to having to cast a silencing spell at my stomach, I swear.”
Draco laughs, “let’s go eat. We’ll talk over lunch. Father wanted me to ask, would you rather go with the Lords or with us?”
“You,” Hari says without hesitation, “I’ll be here often enough over the school year, there will be plenty of opportunities for me to eat with them.”
“And being an Heir isn’t a good enough reason to have excused absences from school,” Draco sighs dramatically and leans onto Hari’s shoulder. “Come on, everyone will be waiting.”
Draco drags Hari through the building to a large chamber with several circular tables and two long buffets. “This room is specifically for Heirs. It’s not blocked by magic or anything, but it’s sort of just understood that the kids come here and the parents go to the other room.”
“A more relaxed area for us, then?” Hari smirks.
“Exactly,” Draco nods. They make their way through the buffet with lunch foods. Everything looks divine, even more-so than the food from Hogwarts. Hari glances to the dessert buffet.
“I have got to remember to save room for that.”
Draco laughs, “yeah, but your appetite is pretty much up to where it should be, so that shouldn’t be an issue.”
“I think I’m hitting a growth spurt,” Hari admits. His bones have been aching slightly the last few days.
“Hence, a voracious appetite.”
“I don’t know about voracious, but certainly normal for a teenage boy,” Hari allows.
“Teenage boy appetite equals voracious appetite,” Draco points out and Hari tilts his head.
“Okay, you win that one.” They find their seats with the others. “At least my stomach can handle all this food now.”
“Right? It tastes better than it looks,” Pansy gushes.
“But the dessert is the best,” Daphne adds.
“Eat!” Blaise orders, “and we will gossip about what the heck happened in there. That was so beautiful!”
Hari laughs and takes a bite of food, “honestly,” he says after swallowing, “the whole werewolf thing was planned.”
“I don’t care if it was planned or not,” Blaise huffs, “it was still wonderful seeing the old fart go down.”
“Is she always like that, then?”
“Always,” Pansy groans, “and I’ve been dealing with her since Christmas.”
“Oh, how wonderful,” Hari mutters sarcastically and rips through some chicken.
“Okay, but did anyone else notice how the minister thing had no planning?” Daphne asks.
“Oh,” Draco starts laughing and almost chokes. “That was the best thing I’ve seen all summer.”
“Right?” Blaise is practically bouncing in his seat.
“You played up that childhood innocence thing,” Draco says, “and it made it look like you weren’t even trying.”
“Ah, yeah,” Hari turns pink, “I may have done that intentionally.”
“You remember when I said how your titles are the reason you’re going to rule the world?” Pansy asks. The group nods. “I was wrong. Your cuteness and absolute savagery are the reasons you’re going to rule the world. This whole Lordship thing just gives you a stepping stone.”
“That’s exactly it!” Blaise crows. “It’s like he was born to this.”
“Just keep using the cute to your advantage and it’ll all go swimmingly,” Daphne promises, patting Hari gently on the hand. Hari rolls his eyes but is grinning wildly on the inside. Hey, if it works…
“Is there treacle tart up there?” Hari asks when he’s finished his plate.
“Of course,” Daphne nods. “Let’s go get some.”
Hari gets three slices to start. And then has to go back for two more. It’s just really good, okay?
A chime rolls through the Ministry and the group sighs. Hari eyes flicker longingly to the dessert table.
“You can have more at dinner, Hari,” Draco promises and leads him away by the hand.
“Are there any surprises we should be ready for this afternoon?” Blaise teases before they split up.
“No,” Hari shakes his head. “None planned, at least. The next thing on the agenda is really boring, actually.”
The others groan.
“Like this morning wasn’t bad enough?” Pansy whines, “Aside from you breaking up the monotony, that was the dullest morning yet. Mostly because of who was speaking.”
“Sorry,” Hari says, “but at least it isn’t her speaking this afternoon.”
“That only makes me feel slightly better,” Daphne sighs.
“We’ve gotta go,” Draco taps his toes at the group. “See you later, Lord Potter.”
“See you guys!” Hari hurries off to the entrance to his section and settles in quickly. At exactly one-thirty, Dumbledore orders the doors to be sealed.
The next bit of legislation is an amendment to an already tedious law. The amendment doesn’t really change anything as far as Hari can tell and Lucius had agreed. Hari has already decided not to vote for it. Despite all this, the presenter talks for his whole allotted hour and a half. Someone presents an hour long counterargument.
It doesn’t pass.
The last portion of the afternoon is someone in the Muggle Artifacts department speaking about cars. He hears Draco’s voice in the back of his mind. Red hair and hand-me-down robes? He must be a Weasley.
The speech doesn’t take it’s full allotted time, but then someone else steps up to fill the empty space. Apparently, the Wizengamot is picky about timing. In the end, they approve more money to be spent to support the study of cars. Hari finds it somewhat pointless given the advanced forms of travel wix have, but he can see why it would be beneficial for them to understand muggle technology, so he approves it.
“And that,” Dumbledore stands, “is the last bit on our agenda for the afternoon. We will reconvene at seven to review the schedule for the next session and distribute materials.” He taps his wand on the podium and everyone files out yet again.
“Okay, you were right,” Draco falls into step beside Hari, “that was terribly boring. Was it just me, or did that entire first two and a half hours do nothing whether or not it passed?”
“Nope, not just you,” Hari groans, “the whole thing was pointless either way. Your father confirmed that, too.”
“Oh, wonderful,” Draco grumbles. “Can we just gorge ourselves on dessert instead of a real dinner?”
“No,” Daphne sweeps in behind them and pushes them towards the dinner buffet. “You are going to at least eat something healthy first. Preferably a meat and a carb.”
“So… a small helping of that chicken looking stuff?” Hari asked.
“Yes. It should be pre-cut,” Daphne nods, pleased. Hari takes the smallest piece he can find and Draco does the same. Within ten minutes, they’re loading up their plates at the dessert buffet.
“We have a whole hour to eat as much dessert as we want,” Draco chatters happily.
“I have to say,” Hari grins, “I’m quite pleased.”
“Don’t forget that you have to go back to collect your materials,” Blaise warns. “We’re not required to.”
Right, only Lords and Ladies have to be there for this part.
“Spectacular,” Hari huffs and angrily takes a bite of chocolate cake. It’s moist and perfect and the frosting is divine. “Well, enjoy your extra half hour with the dessert table.” He glares at Draco who seems all too smug.
“When will you be announcing your intent to try, uh, Oldie Moldie?” Pansy asks and the group blinks at her. “We haven’t given him a subtle nickname yet! And you knew who I was talking about.”
Hari bursts into hysterical giggles, “it will be on the agenda for the next session. Although, it’s labeled as something about goblins, instead.”
“And when is the next session, again?” Daphne pokes at her pie curiously with her fork before taking a bite. She makes a surprised but pleased sound and chomps away happily.
“The third,” Hari looks at her curiously. “They’re always on the third, seventh, fifteenth, twenty-first, twenty-eighth, and thirty-first.” She should have known that. She winks at him and tilts her head slightly to indicate someone behind Hari. Hari waits a long moment, then peeks quickly. It’s the Longbottom Heir looking utterly confused by everything, as usual.
Hari shrugs and takes another bite of cake. Somehow, he manages to clear his plate before the chime goes off for the third time that day.
“Well, I’m off.” They all wave to him, still chowing down on the delicious treats. Hari rolls his eyes at them and hurries off.
The doors seal for the last time that evening and papers are already on the small stand in front of Hari’s seat. He flips the file open to read over the agenda.
There’s several items he doesn’t really care about, but the very first is one that reads ‘Goblin Announcement of Charges Filed’. He smiles slightly at that and listens absently to Dumbledore prattle on about who would be speaking and how the session would be structured. Which is to say, he offers a list of names and rambles about nothing for a half hour. Finally, they’re allowed to leave.
Hari scampers out to find Lucius, whom he hasn’t spoken to since early this morning.
“You did very well today, Lord Potter,” Lord Nott tells him. “It was quite impressive.” The man bows and Hari accepts it with the expected nod.
“Are you looking for someone?”
“Lord Malfoy, actually. He’s my ticket home,” Hari smiles cheekily and Lord Nott chuckles at him.
“He should be right this way.” The taller man leans in slightly, “if you behave as if you are speaking to me, the others will not ambush you.”
Hari smirks, “thank you, again, in that case.”
“It is my pleasure.” Hari’s certain it is. After all, just being seen with Hari will raise Lord Nott’s status in the eyes of the other Lords and Ladies. “Here you are, then.” He gestures towards where Hari can now see Lucius.
“Lord Malfoy,” Hari calls politely. Lucius turns and his lips quirk. He bows politely before addressing Hari.
“Are you ready to go, Lord Potter?”
“I am,” Hari confirms. “Lord Nott was kind enough to help me find you.”
“Ah,” Lucius’ eyes gleam, “thank you, Lord Nott.”
“Any time,” Lord Nott assures him before taking his leave.
“Come, Narcissa and Draco should already be at home.” Hari nods and lets Lucius lead him to the nearest apparition point. The crowd of Lords and Ladies there waiting to get home part to let him through. Hari nods to as many as he physically can without looking like a bobble head. An instant later, he feels as if he’s being pressed through a tube and they’re outside Malfoy Manor.
Hari’s birthday is almost over.