Grazhir :: Harry Potter :: Breakpoint :: 04 :: Reunion

04 • Reunion

They spent the following week catching up, which mainly consisted of Saiph telling Sirius all about the past five years while keeping a watchful eye on the twins when the house-elves were otherwise occupied (and frequently even when they weren’t).

Saiph had gone over those memories again, though he waited until Sirius and the twins were asleep. And he thought maybe, perhaps, his godfather-turned-father might possibly not be seeing things, but he really couldn’t be sure of that. Besides, he just didn’t think there was anything all that special about himself, and certainly wasn’t anyone to attract the eye of a man like Lucius Malfoy. Really, the man was probably as nice to him as he had been simply to please his master.

He was jouncing Adhara on his knee, smiling at her delighted laughter, when he decided to ask, “So, are you ready to meet Lucius? Well, assuming he agrees to come here.”

“I stand behind you,” Sirius said calmly, though he was busy playing a game of peek-a-boo with Altair. “If he can accept all of this. . . . Well, if not, then we can set about deciding on where to live, eh? I still wonder at times, though, about Regulus. Why he chose as he did, and what made him change his mind.”

Saiph shrugged. “If all else fails, we might be able to gain you asylum in another country, dad. Officials there might actually be willing to let you testify and prove that you’re innocent. I know the Americans practically make the whole innocent until proven guilty thing into a religion. Not quite as sure about other places.”

Sirius nodded and reached out to ruffle Altair’s hair affectionately. “You’d best be off, then. I will watch the twins.”

“Daddy going out?” Adhara asked with a pout, which immediately set her brother to pouting.

“Yes, I am, but just for a short while. I may even bring home a visitor. Now”—he paused to look sternly at his children—“I want you to be good for Grandpa Snuffles, okay? I don’t want to come home and have to hear any tales of bad behavior.”

“We promise, daddy!”

‘Sure you do,’ Saiph thought to himself. ‘You always do.’ He turned to his father and said, “You behave, too.”

Sirius slapped a look of wounded innocence on his face.

“The twins do that much more convincingly, dad,” Saiph said with a shake of his head. “The last time I left on an errand I came back to a pair of traumatized house-elves and a kitchen that looked like half the food supply exploded in there.”

“Cupcakes aren’t easy to make!” Sirius protested.

Saiph snorted and pulled Adhara into a hug. “Okay, sweetpea, down you go,” he said as he set her gently on the floor. A kiss was dropped onto Altair’s head before he left for his meeting with Lucius, which happened to be at a little café not far from where the man lived—muggle, of course.

He was enjoying a cup of tea and some biscuits at one of the outside tables when Lucius appeared and took a seat, then inclined his head in greeting. Saiph aimed a slight smile at the man and said, “It is good to see you again.”

Lucius arched a brow. “You look well.”

Saiph flashed a quick grin and nodded. “I’m not so sure how you’ll view my current circumstances, though. I made sure to have two cups brought out, so please feel free to pillage the tea.” And as Lucius was pouring himself a cup and fixing it to his liking, Saiph discreetly cast a few charms to make them uninteresting to the general populace.

“So, about these circumstances?”

He nodded and leaned back in his chair. “A lot has happened in the past five years. I found out just how annoying a normal life can be, for one thing. I got duped, to be blunt.”

“Whatever do you mean?” Lucius asked before taking a sip from his cup and eyeing the biscuit selection.

“Well, it’s one of those things that makes me wonder if we’ll be friends or not, to be honest. As a result of what happened, I’ve got two kids.” After taking in the understated surprise the older man displayed, Saiph went on to explain in brief about the circumstances of their birth. “I couldn’t leave them, not my own children. They shouldn’t have to suffer because of the vile actions of some unscrupulous girl.”

A split second look of consternation crossed Lucius’s face, making Saiph wonder if he was imagining things. “I fail to see why that would preclude friendship, Saiph.”

He shrugged. “Well, assuming I were to return to the suite you graciously arranged for me, you might not wish to have two little monsters in there. But, that’s not so much what concerns me.” Another lifted brow prompted him to say, “I’ve done something I probably shouldn’t have done. I’m pretty sure that . . . a certain someone . . . might be upset with me, especially given the warnings I received about temptation.”

Lucius narrowed his eyes as he had another sip.

“The universe hasn’t imploded, so I guess I got away with it.”

The blond sighed and set his cup down, a look of resigned understanding on his face. “You rescued him somehow, didn’t you.”

Saiph lifted his chin and said, “I did. Bloody complicated, too. And I made sure he was as good as dead until it was otherwise safe. So yes, my . . . father is alive.”

Lucius closed his eyes for a moment and audibly breathed out his nose, not quite making it a snort. “And does he understand your situation?”

“He does. He’s watching the twins right now, though I’d not be surprised to get back and find he’s managed to send my house-elves into hysterics again. And he understands well enough that he shan’t be surprised if I come home and have you with me.”

“And have you legitimized these children?”

Saiph gaped for a moment, then blinked. “Is this some obscure pure-blood thing I’m not aware of?” he asked suspiciously.

Lucius gave him a rather patient look before speaking. “To some degree, yes. Should something happen to you your children might be forced into some rather unsavory circumstances. It would not prevent them from inheriting, but. . . .”

He frowned; apparently it had been a mistake to ignore those books on history and pure-blood customs. Of course, having had Binns for a professor for so long made a person shy away from that sort of thing. “I’m almost afraid to ask if this is a complicated matter.”

Lucius shook his head. “And if you have not already made out a will, I would suggest you do. I say these things not to imply that you are in danger, but rather out of the desire to make sure you are prepared for obvious eventualities.”

“Yes, but, I inherited as—” Despite the spells he had cast, Saiph felt uncomfortable enough to lean in toward Lucius and quite nearly whisper, “I was Harry Potter then. I am a Black now, but that’s almost as much fiction as fact. Can I even legitimize my children as the offspring of my present self?”

“Previously there was no point in even bringing this up. Your . . . father . . . was thought to be dead. However, given that he is actually alive and well, he could perform the ceremony for you, thus solidifying your present identity. Then, you could do the same for your children, helping to further secure their future.”

“Oh. Okay. Um, I don’t think we should really be continuing this conversation here, so would you like to accompany me back to my present home?” he asked with a touch of uncertainty.

Lucius nodded and set down his cup, then wiped his hands on a napkin. Saiph quietly removed his spell work, and having already paid, rose and walked with Lucius to a unobtrusive spot so he could impart the coordinates, then apparate.

The house sounded quiet, but Saiph was suspicious considering how easily his father and children could get into trouble. After casting a quick look at Lucius he headed down the hall and poked his head into the kitchen; Ouzo looked up and gave him a toothy grin.

Saiph backed out and instead took the door leading to the sitting room, to there find that Sirius was reading the twins a story. And as the door shut behind Lucius all three of them looked up, the twins scrambling to their feet seconds later with a cry of, “Daddy!”

“Hey, monsters,” he said with a smile and crouched down so he could swing them up into his arms. “I want you to meet a friend of mine, okay? This gentleman is Lucius Malfoy, and you’ll be on your best behavior, right?”

They nodded fervently as they cast shyly curious looks at the man. “Lucius, these are my twins, Altair and Adhara, and I think you already know my dad.”

“Hello, Lucius,” Sirius said evenly, marking his spot in the book he was holding, then setting it aside.

“Sirius,” Lucius said with a slight inclination of his head.

Altair, the more bold one of the moment, said softly, “Hello, mister.”

Lucius stared at the twins for a few moments, rather assessingly, then said, “Hello, young man. And you, young lady.” To Saiph he said, “They are quite handsome, and I’m sure they are a credit to you.”

Saiph smiled with pleasure and nodded toward a seat, then took one for himself, wedging the kids in with him. “Dad, Lucius has brought something sort of important to my attention, and I think we need to talk about it.”

Sirius aimed a narrow-eyed look at the blond briefly, then said, “Would this be a good time for the elves to look after the squirts for a bit?”

He blinked and looked at Lucius inquisitively.

“I doubt they would understand the thrust of the conversation,” Lucius offered.

“Which means they’d be asking a million questions,” he said, then hugged his kids closer for a moment. “How about you two help Ouzo and Arak make some cookies, hm?” He summoned a house-elf into the room and explained, then sent the children off after Ouzo produced a tea tray.

“So what’s up?”

Lucius explained, which was just as well, as Saiph was rather clueless in most respects, and Sirius slowly gained a look of realization on his face and started nodding.

“Frankly, I agree, and it’s not hard to do,” Sirius said. “Well, assuming that Lucius will stand in as a witness. Otherwise we’d have a problem.”

Lucius cleared his throat delicately and said, “Actually, two witnesses are necessary.”

Saiph looked briefly stricken. “Um, I don’t suppose. . . . I mean, do you think he’ll be very angry with me for having meddled?”

“I will simply have to explain and ask.”

*

Lucius had barely taken a seat when the door swung open in invitation, so he stood again and passed through, claiming a chair when his master indicated he do so.

“What is it?”

“My lord, I have made contact with Saiph.” Lucius went on to describe his visit, both at the café and the rental, then waited for a response. He was mildly surprised when his master actually smiled, and without the usual frigidity.

“I suspected he might try something like that. From what I gleaned of his mind, that young man desperately wanted the security of a family, and it is obvious that his unexpected windfall in children was not enough to ground him.”

“He was most defiant, my lord, when he informed me of what he’d done.”

Voldemort nodded. “Bring them all here, Lucius. I will tell him myself that I am not angered. And if they wish to reclaim the suite in your manor, I will adjust the wards. His present location cannot be all that secure, and surely he is concerned for the safety of his family.”

“Yes, my lord. I shall do so immediately.”

“I am curious, though, about your reaction to the knowledge that young Saiph has children.”

Lucius tried not to squirm and tried to present a blank expression for his master. “I think he has made the best of an unfortunate situation, my lord.”

Voldemort arched a brow, obviously not satisfied with an evasion.

Lucius bit back a sigh and capitulated. “I think . . . they’re adorable, my lord. They remind me of Draco when he was just a little thing, before Narcissa had a chance to. . . .”

“I see.” Voldemort’s lips twisted in amusement. “Bring them to me, Lucius. You may go.”

*

Despite Lucius’s reassurance, Saiph was feeling a touch nervous. Actually, he was desperately hoping his little monsters did not ask horribly embarrassing and impertinent questions of the Dark Lord. He could certainly imagine them doing so, with all the innocence of the children they were.

Sirius was fidgeting, but that was not unexpected, and started violently when the door swung open silently.

Lucius gestured them in, so Saiph took the lead and entered, pausing briefly to place where Voldemort was, then took a seat, adjusting Altair on his lap. Sirius sat in the next chair with Adhara, while Lucius remained standing as usual.

“Hello again,” Saiph said, then frowned. “Um, I’ve just now realized, I don’t know how to introduce you.” He glanced down at Altair, then back at Voldemort. “But, this is my son Altair, and Sirius is holding Adhara. Twins, this is. . . .”

“Mr Riddle,” Voldemort supplied.

Altair reached up and snagged his fingers in Saiph’s hair and pulled his head down, then whispered (or at least, Altair considered it a whisper), “Daddy, how come he don’t gots a nose?”

Saiph groaned and covered his eyes with one hand, then whispered back, “That’s not a polite question, peapod.”

“Your father is correct, little one,” Voldemort said, “and in any case, you are much too young to understand the answer. Now, to business. In the interests of our truce, and to facilitate your current position, I will stand as witness. And, as I’m sure Lucius has mentioned, I will adjust the wards to allow for your entire family to live within the suite you previously occupied, should you wish to return to that safety.

“I will also say that I had every expectation, my young friend, that you would find temptation too difficult to resist. Having said that, I commend you for what was obviously a well thought out and executed plan. To that end, be assured that I am not angry with you.”

Saiph breathed a sigh of relief and dropped a kiss on his son’s head. “Um, when should we do this?” He reached over to place a hand briefly on Sirius’s knee, as his father’s leg was jittering nervously.

“It will take a short while to gather up the necessary components. I suggest that I alter the wards now so we can move there, and Lucius will join us once he has everything required.”

“Okay,” Saiph said agreeably. “And I could summon my house-elves then?”

Lucius nodded. “Of course. Phobos can familiarize your elves with their new situation, and help to transfer your belongings. He will remain ready to assist you regardless.”

“Lucius, escort them to the floo in fifteen minutes time, then fetch what we need and join us,” Voldemort said and rose, then quit the room.

Sirius let out an explosive breath and hugged Adhara tightly to him. “Well.”

Saiph gave him a crooked smile.

“I will collect what we need for both ceremonies, Saiph. Sirius and I can stand witness for the children, as I doubt my master will remain for very long at the manor.”

Saiph nodded. “How much will I owe you? For that matter, what about the fact that we’ll be living in your house? I can’t just keep mooching off you, especially now that there’s four of us, and two elves.”

Lucius raised his brows. “Technically, Saiph, you are family.”

“Uh, right, because of Mrs Malfoy.” He glanced at Sirius, who shrugged.

“You’re the head of the Blacks now, Saiph,” Sirius pointed out. “And Lucius is correct. Technically we are family, even if only through marriage, as Narcissa is my cousin. It can be considered an insult to insist on reimbursement.”

He laughed weakly. “I think I need some serious tutelage in pure-blood stuff.”

“Well,” Sirius said, shooting a sidelong look at Lucius, “I think you do. I’ll teach you as much as I can, but you know I ran away from home, and then I was . . . indisposed for over a decade.”

Saiph gave his dad a suspicious look. “Right. I’m going to bow to greater experience for the moment and not press the issue of money. But if there’s ever anything I can do for you, Lucius, please let me know, though I admit I can’t think of anything off the top of my head.”

Lucius nodded. “I will look into, if feasible, making it possible for you and your family to be able to enjoy at least a part of the grounds. My main concern is that Narcissa not be able to interfere in any way.”

“Not Draco?” Saiph asked curiously.

“He might have been under Narcissa’s influence for too long, but he is not actually a bad child. He simply needs to understand better how the real world is. The older he gets the more I fear for him.”

Saiph narrowed his eyes, thinking back to a long ago conversation. “Do you mean. . . ?” He trailed off, unsure if Lucius would become upset with him for having brought up the issue of Snape, especially in front of Sirius.

“Yes. And there is no one at the school to keep an eye on him. Now that you are also a father, I believe you can better understand my concerns.”

“Daddy?” Adhara said softly. “Who’s Draco?”

“He’s your cousin, sweetpea. Five years younger than I am. Perhaps someday you’ll meet him, but we’ll worry about that later, okay?”

The next few minutes passed mostly in silence, then Lucius led them to the floo Saiph was familiar with. On the other side it was just the four of them, plus Voldemort, who was seated by the window. Saiph gave him a quick nod of greeting and said, “I’m going to set the twins up with a nap. Dad, will you bring Adhara?”

And while he noticed additional doors he was not familiar with, he entered the bedroom he had used in the past and pulled back the covers before setting Altair down. Sirius set Adhara beside her brother as Saiph summoned his elves.

“Ouzo, Arak, I have two jobs for you. We will be moving here, so one of you will need to begin packing our belongings. The other needs to stay here and keep an eye on the twins while they nap. A bit later on there will be another house-elf, Phobos, to give you some help with packing and bringing all our things here.”

Arak popped back out; Ouzo had always been better with the kids. “We’ll figure out where everything goes later on, Ouzo. Now isn’t the time.” A quick look at the bed showed that his children had drifted off without even an argument about horrible, nasty nap time, which made him smile. “We’ll be in the next room if you need anything.”

“Yes, master,” Ouzo said, then went to the bed to tuck the children in, so Saiph and Sirius returned to the sitting room and took seats.

“Doors have been created into additional rooms,” Voldemort commented absently. “There is even a small kitchen. I don’t expect that this arrangement will last forever, but for now you can rest assured that you and your family are safe.”

“I’m really grateful,” Saiph said. “I’ve felt a bit exposed living in England again, even in muggle areas. I don’t think I’m ready to even consider what could happen should we come to the attention of the false Dumbledore.”

Voldemort turned his slit-pupiled gaze briefly on Sirius, then directly to him. “I am somewhat surprised you have not asked about Pettigrew.”

Saiph blinked and shifted in his chair. “That’d be a bit presumptuous of me, don’t you think? Besides, with someone like Fudge in power, who is to say that. . . .”

Voldemort chuckled, again bringing to mind the rustling of dry leaves. “Fudge is on his way out. And I think you have wanted to ask, but have not yet figured out how.”

Saiph half smiled. “Yeah, okay, I have.”

“Consider it done. He’s barely of much use to me anyway. I might appreciate having obsequious underlings, but he takes it to a level that makes even me irritatingly queasy. The person I suspect will take over as minister will be a lot harsher on those accused of . . . villainy. Even so, I believe that Pettigrew’s downfall could be engineered prior to that, and Lucius could once again be the quiet voice in the background to push my agenda.”

“I . . . wouldn’t know how to thank you if Sirius could be declared innocent.”

Voldemort arched a brow. “Simply by staying neutral, my young friend. We, neither of us, have any idea just how much of that prophecy Saxeten shared with you was created out of whole cloth. If there is any shred of truth to the idea that only you can defeat me, or vice versa, then it behooves us to cooperate with each other.

“Perhaps at some point we can see if there is a true prophecy. There is a reason you survived, Saiph, despite us both being ignorant of that reason. For all we know the true enemy has always been Saxeten.”

Saiph shuddered and wrinkled his nose. “I really don’t wish to find out that I’m supposed to kill the man, and that’s the only reason I lived through the killing curse. That’s just as bad as it being me needing to kill you. I don’t want to kill anyone.”

Voldemort nodded. “I understand your position. Unfortunately, I do not at the moment have anyone working in the proper position within the Department of Mysteries. Rookwood was ineffective.”

Lucius chose that moment to appear, stepping out of the fireplace after it flared to life. “My lord, I have brought what we require.”

“Then let us begin.”

Twenty minutes later Voldemort had taken his leave, which left Lucius to play gracious host. He took them on a quick tour of the altered suite, then called Phobos in and instructed the little creature so that there would be no problems with the changes about to take place.

Given that, Harry recalled Arak long enough for her to take Phobos temporarily in hand, then went with Sirius to retrieve the children for the next ceremony. Ouzo was sent back to the house to help the other two elves while the adults took care of legitimizing the twins, denominating them as proper members of the Black family.

Shortly thereafter Lucius took his leave, at which point Saiph rounded on Sirius and said, “What is going on? I saw the way you looked at him when I said I needed to know more about pure-blood stuff. It’s like you’re trying to throw us together or something. He’s a married man for Merlin’s sake, and to your cousin! And I still can’t quite believe that he’s even the least bit interested in me.”

Sirius ignored him for a moment, seemingly engrossed in tipping Altair upside down and jiggling him, then said, “He is the best qualified person to instruct you. He is very well educated and informed. Slippery, but well suited to the task.”

“That’s beside the point! Dad, I’m incredibly grateful that you’re so supportive of me. I need that from you, I do. But this goes above and beyond the call of duty. Just a week ago you were totally wary of the man, and suddenly you’re acting like it’d be fantastic if we hooked up?”

“I thought you were supposed to be clueless. You aren’t supposed to notice when I try to manipulate the situation.”

Saiph growled and flopped into a chair.

“Daddy?” Adhara asked. “How come we don’t gots no toys?”

“They’ll be here soon, sweetpea. Come sit with me and cuddle.” Saiph reached down and lifted her up, then snuggled her into place on his lap.

“You not fighting with Grandpa Snuffles, are you?”

“No, we’re not fighting. Don’t you worry.” He gave her a squeezy hug before staring at his father expectantly.

Sirius glanced over, sighed, and said, “All right. I didn’t know it before, but then I never cared to look. You know how I feel about Slytherins in general. I may not be the most aware guy, but today has opened my eyes, okay? There’s nothing wrong with getting to know him better, even if it never leads to anything. Hearing him talk about his son showed me a side of him I never expected to see.

“Coupled with the fact that everything else has turned upside down. . . . Well, you never know what might happen in the future. Speaking of which, if Peter gets captured and secures my innocence, I wonder how Remus would react. And hey, I wonder if Dumbledore is worried about the current owner of the house. Maybe they’re not using it any longer?”

“Nice change of subject,” Saiph said dryly.

“No, I mean it. Think about it. My will left everything to—” Sirius paused. “To Prongslet. But he’s, uh, no longer with us, so it would have gone to Bella, that lovely cousin of mine who tried to kill me. You remember her, right?”

Saiph scowled and covered Adhara’s ears. “Dad, really. Don’t say that sort of thing around the twins.”

“Sorry.” Sirius produced a sheepish grin. “The point is that Dumbledore probably isn’t using the house any longer. He’s probably worried about security.”

“If you’ll remember, I already cleaned out everything of interest well before the Order even began using that house. What does it matter?”

“Oh, yeah. Still, if they’ve pulled out, we could slip in and claim the house, preventing him from ever using it again. It legally belongs to you. Well, and Kreacher.” Sirius sneered.

“There is no way that . . . that thing . . . is ever getting anywhere near my kids.”

“I wasn’t suggesting it should. In my opinion, we ought to—” He stopped, obviously thinking better of what he had been about to say. “You know.”

“That’s great, but you’re still totally off the subject. You’re matchmaking, and I’m your victim. I refuse to take up with a married man. It’s just not going to happen.”

“And what about Remus?” Sirius blithely persisted. “He’s frighteningly intelligent, but then so were James and Lily. We were all duped. Dumbledore made fools of all of us. I can’t leave Remus like that.”

“Or Tonks?”

“Or Tonks!”

Saiph sighed, then brightened when Ouzo popped into the room with several toys in hand. The twins immediately wriggled free and headed for the elf. “Fabulous. Ouzo, their room is just through that door”—he pointed—“so if you could keep an eye on them for a bit while they play?”

“Of course, master.” Ouzo skittered out of the way, making the twins pout, and coaxed them away by dangling the toys just out of reach.

“Okay, dad, look. We’ll find a way to check about the house, but even if they have left, I don’t know what we’re supposed to do about the fidelius charm on it.”

Sirius flipped a hand negligently. “That house has been in the family for generations. It’s magical. All you would need to do is properly claim it and any outside enchantments would be broken. Of course, you do that and anyone would realize it existed. A new fidelius would need to be cast to keep it hidden. Either way, Dumbledore would know something was up, so. . . .”

“Let me get this straight. You don’t even like the house, but you’re willing to try to snatch it out from under Saxeten’s nose, even if only to be spiteful.”

“Yeah, that about covers it.”

“I think we need to discuss that with Lucius and Voldemort to get their opinions. Yeah, Saxeten might think Bella claimed the house. He might also decide, in all his evil glory, to blow up half the neighborhood just to make sure that Voldemort’s forces weren’t getting any use out of it.”

“Hm, good point.”