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Ancestry 10 - When Is A Bank Not A Bank?

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Ancestry 10 - When Is A Bank Not A Bank?








Harry went to the bank on their free weekend. "I need into the family vaults please," he said, presenting his key.

"That is the Potter family key, sir."

"Yes and I'm Harry Potter, the only one left alive."

"You're not," she said. "That's not his wand."

"I registered a new one the last time I was here."

"That's not on file." She put the key into a drawer. "It will return to he rightful owner tomorrow and you'll be charged with theft." She waved a goblin over.

He held up his ring hand. "No. I'm the Potter Heir, ma'am."

"That ring's not real," she snorted. "And you can't prove it is."

"Yes I can. The vault has a blood key." She glared. He looked at the warrior. "Are you going to allow her to steal from my family again?"

"As far as we know that's not the real heir's ring. And Harry Potter has different magic."

"Until they removed the horcrux from my forehead." The goblin warrior sneered at that, pulling a sword. "You try that. You go right ahead." The warrior lunged at him and Harry called up the Potter powers to end the backing of the bank. All the goblins screamed in pain. "As the Rightful and Only Heir to the Potter Family, we revoke our agreements with this bank for their continued theft against our family." An older female goblin came out. "Ma'am," he said with a nod. "Are you involved in their current theft attempt?"

"You're not the Potter Heir."

"I am the Potter Heir. I'm the only Potter Heir." He held up his hand and pointed at the ring.

"You're wearing more than one," she sneered. "That proves it. They're in the wrong order."

"That's the order they chose. Yes, Sirius adopted me before he died. I'm his heir and therefore the Black family heir. I'm the Peverell heir as they turned into Potters. Hell, I could claim a link back to Gryffindor himself if I wanted to as the Peverells came off his lineage." She glared. He glared back. "Stealing from the Potter family will not go down as good on your bank in history."

"They're in the wrong order."

"That's the order they wanted. That's the way they appeared on my hand when I stepped on the heir stones." She looked smug. "Fine. As the secondary Dumass clan heir, all penalties against the bank are hereby called. I believe you owe our family and clan so much that your bank should just fall in." Gongs went off.

He tapped the necklace. "My grandfather." He looked smug. "Anything else you want to try?" She tried to grab the necklace but it burned her hand and made her scream in pain as it disappeared. "I didn't know it'd do that," he said, looking at the necklace then at her. "Sorry but you did try to snatch it from me."

"You cannot do anything to us," she sneered.

"I can end all the Potter business with the bank and end all the agreements. Which means that you owe my family for breach of contract penalties. I found those last night. The ring's being very helpful about all that. Apparently Charlus didn't really like you guys a lot with how his spells are telling me all that you owe us. Which includes half the county apparently." She laughed but got pulled away from a male goblin. "Sir. Are you sticking up for their continued theft from my family?"

"What has happened?"

"I came in to get some money to go buy a new school uniform. She claimed my key, put it in a drawer, said I'm not myself, and that I'm not my father's child, and then called over one of your warriors to try to arrest me. Then that one tried to grab the heir's necklace I wear when I canceled all the contracts with the bank." He stared at him.

"So are you sticking up for them? The Potter crest is having a lot of gleeful happiness right now. Something about breach of contract penalties... something about Guild Dues...." The goblin huffed at that. "Something about breach of honor by coming against the family again and the Rule of Threes." He stared at him. "Do I want to do what he's telling me to do?"

"No," the goblin said, tipping his head up. "Our king would be most upset."

"So am I. That makes two of us. If you're sticking up for their continued theft from my family, even after the lawsuits, then you've broken the Rule of Three and the honor codes built into all contracts."

"How do you know about that?"

"I had to learn. I had to read them to understand that and then let Hermione explain the things I didn't know yet, so we both looked at the legal codes. We both did a small, intense study of contracts in the last month." The key landed in his hand and he tucked it into his pocket, smirking at the goblin behind the desk. Then at the older one again. "All I wanted to do was to go get a few new uniforms. You guys made it a production."

"You're still a child."

"I'm sixteen. Not a child. I'm also not the usual sixteen year old. Especially as I've never been a child or allowed to be a child." He stared at him. "Frankly, I was hoping I could enjoy my last few years of childhood but you guys have made that impossible. And that pisses me off. Worse than Voldemort at the moment to be honest."

The goblin winced at that. "Yeah, I'm that Harry Potter." He nodded. "And right about now, I don't care if I defeat him before he comes for the bank. Which I heard he tried last week. Pity I helped defend the alley."

"We can ban you from the bank."

"You can't ban me from my own items or money. And if you try that it's enforcing theft. Which seems to be the bank's problem in my generation. I didn't want to be antagonistic with you guys. I really didn't." Someone yelled and lunged at him so he ducked to the side. "I know better than to pull a weapon in the bank," he said dryly. "But do it again. Challenge me properly." He looked down.

"Are you challenging me?" The goblin shuddered, getting away from him. He looked at the older one again. "It's up to you guys to fix it. Because this is the third time you've stolen from the Potters in my generation. Within a few months. I can go back farther and should've used the Rule of Three when I found out you looted my parents' house days after their funerals then sold some things off."

The old one shrank away. "And while I don't fully understand why Charlus is so damn happy about that Rule of Three...oh, he said it's in the contracts. Which you breached. As well as the honor code built into it that vowed that your Horde would deal fairly with the Potter clan." He called a contract to him from their files on him, looking at it. "There it is," he said with a grin, pointing at it. "That's in all Potter contracts from what the ring says. Is it wrong?"

"We owed your grandfather a debt."

"And you repaid it by screwing over my family. Is that how the Horde sees honor?" He frowned. "I thought you guys had a real code of honor. Apparently the history book on you guys was wrong." He walked off. "That's fine. I'll find another bank."

"We're the only wizarding bank."

"I was raised muggle, what do I care?" he quipped as he walked off. A few more warriors tried to attack him and he avoided two and then kicked the other one before he hit him. "I'm not going to pull my wand in the bank. I know better." He stared at one. "Let me go tell others." He walked off happier with that. He found a reporter he hated in the alley lurking around.

"The Potter family has ended all contracts with the bank for dealing unreasonably and unfairly with us and their continual thefts." He stared at her. "Including all that support the bank's charter. Even after the lawsuits." She gasped and went to tell that story. He went to the clothing shop. "Madam, is there a way I can pay for things without having to go to the bank? They just tried to tell me I'm not me and tried to steal my money again."

"Yes, Mr. Potter. We can do a draw slip. We often do." He grinned and put down his trust vault's key to let her have the number. She ran it and it went through then she fitted him. The bank slip had already went through when a goblin came in to protest that. Harry stared at him and the goblin, being young, backed out. "What happened?" she hissed.

"They tried to steal from us again so I ended all the contracts with the bank." He looked at her. "I'm really tired of that stuff. Especially after the lawsuits. They actually tried to tell me I'm not me. While I'm wearing the ring."

"Oh, dear."

"Yeah, but I can find another bank plus sue them again for anything that disappears. The breached all the contracts we had signed with them." He grimaced. "Maybe they need to turn the bank over to a better generation of being."

"Goblins are warriors," she said.

"I'm told that's a slur word but I knew that. That doesn't mean that they're dishonorable and so much of a problem. I thought I was free of problems," he told himself. "Now I'm sorry I defended them the other night. It won't be happening again."

Madam Malkin patted him but fitted him and let him go back to the school.

In the bank, a ghost appeared, looking at the arguing goblins. "Yes, I took Harry over to enact what the family would want," he said smugly, looking at a goblin he knew. "You've screwed up with the family and unlike many of us, Harry doesn't forgive. He was taught not to by those ones who raised him." He looked at the old woman. "You deserved worse and he prevented me from having him grab you by the face to melt that off."

She walked off whimpering. He looked at the king again. "You're failing miserably at fixing your Horde's problems. I don't know why. I don't really care why but the Horde that used to run the bank should probably come back. It's the only way we'll let him renegotiate any of those contracts I had him end." He looked smug. "Including your charter."

"He is still a child and acted like one," the king said.

"He's sixteen, not a child. And no, I had a lot of fun doing that. Wanted to do that when you tried my part of the family. Definitely after you tried to take the Potter titles when James had to take over. I have no idea what your people's problems are with the Potters but it'll end or we'll just end you.
"It won't start a new war because we'll help Dumass pull all the magic we loaned to you over the centuries. As a matter of fact," he said, floating to the circle to end that. "I, Charlus Potter, the Familial Protector of the Potter family and the one in the Crest, do hereby pull back all loaned energies from this bank until they reform themselves as honorable beings."

A few laughed but then a floor caved in upstairs. He looked at the king. "Sometimes screwing with the humans is the wrong idea. Especially if they're not taught to care about others. Harry was never taught to care about others. It's a credit to his mother's year-and-a-half with him that he does after all that's happened." He faded to go talk to his relative to calm him down since he was upset that he had hurt others.

The king looked around. "Go shore up the things that'll fall in." He went to talk to the elders who had stepped down for them. "The Potter family ended all contracts and the ghost in the crest took back their loaned energy." He sat in front of the very old king. "The Potter heir claimed theft. Again. Cited the Rule of Three thanks to the ghost in the crest telling him about it."

"He's right."

"He's sixteen and looks like a child."

"So? He's still right and showed honor. He defended us. He still defends us." He stared at his great-grandson. "You're an idiot and you've let the bank do worse than anyone else has since we started a war over pineapples." The new king nodded, looking down. "He's right, the only way to fix it is to take back over but I didn't want to do that."

"You'd have to beat me."

"Or I'll kill you," he offered. "That feeling exists. I'm feeling human and almost Dumass-like at the moment. If they destroy us we deserve it because we lost all honor." His great-grandson snorted but got up to go talk to someone else. So he had someone hit him on the back of the head. He went to look at his relative. "Perhaps many of you should start your own horde," he told him. "Quit embarrassing this one."

He went to talk to the board, shocking them greatly. He had retired years ago. His great-grandson had won the battle but he was a miserable being without honor. He sighed as he walked in. "We have done much wrong since I wanted to go play with the children. We've had two families now calling us on it and harming us, and our honor. We will have to rebuild much with the humans to survive. Because otherwise we should just close the bank for good. Perhaps sell and then move to a warm island."

One looked at him. "We were called to an emergency meeting."

"They probably filmed it." He let a guard get that to show them. The guard found them trying to edit it and stopped them. The board saw it and heard the report of it being tampered with. The old king looked at the board. "Charlus Potter was known to be fair but mean if you crossed him. This current Potter is affected by him easily as he's sixteen."

"He looks younger," one said.

"Yes that came out in the trial against Dumbledore," the old King said, making them all hiss at that. "We've proven we are not worthy to be saved as all of us are pushing him toward taking out Voldemort and then taking over. So what do we do? I don't mind retiring to a warm island with the children."

"The ones we took over for would probably want it back," one offered. "We should break up the arrogance and farm them out to other clans."

"They probably wouldn't want them. We've been doing this now for two decades. It showed in what Dumass was able to do to us." A few winced at that reminder. "I'm sure they tried against other families and clans. Do we want to go down fighting or let them repair it for us, or repair it ourselves, children?"

They shared a look. "We can repair our honor." The king smiled. "Your heir?"

"I had someone hit him on the skull. If he's awake he's got a headache. Which I appreciate as I'm going to remove him from the family." He looked at the warriors coming in and sneered. "Don't tell me he's trying things." One lunged at him but the old king was good. He'd been a warrior for a few centuries.

These young ones were young. One got a few lucky blows but he did win. "Hmm." The old king wiped his blade off then put it back into the holder. "Well." He looked at the board. "You're the honorary council of this horde."

They shared a look. "We will repair our honor and ask some of the older staff to come back to the bank," one said. "The ones who did not have problems with humans and think they were so much better."

"We will send the arrogant young to other clans or to start their own," another decided. "Including your heir."

The old king nodded. "If I let him live, he should probably hide. Who do we send to talk to Potter and Dumass? Because looking into it, Dumass has at least the other curse scroll he showed us and another nine charges that wasn't on that. He could easily reclaim his energy and our bank will fall into the subway system. Which would mean the alley would as well as they're built on top of our foundation."

"We should ask to borrow bankers from the other clan that has some," another offered. "That way we can show we're rebuilding with a group that has known honor. The humans will feel more secure in us."

The old king nodded. "Not a bad idea." He looked around. "Who wants to go talk to Dumass?" No one said anything. "We really must make amends and find the rest of their things we've stolen. Plus the Potter things we've stolen. And make amends that we knew something was irregular in his home life but did not do what we should have done. Which led to him being harmed." They nodded. "Who do we send?"

"Blackrock," one said. "He's always treated the humans honorably until they proved they're not." He looked around. "We probably earned that gross name of goblin this time." The old king nodded as he left them to make new plans.

***

Harry looked up at the sudden quiet, nodding at the being in the doorway of the common room. "You can join us as long as you're not here to invade," he said dryly. "Who did you need to see?"

"You, Heir Potter," he said, coming in and putting his briefcase down. "I'm Blackrock. I retired thirty years ago to just be a fussing grandfather. Until you and others proved that so many have done wrong." Harry relaxed at that. He sat across from him at the table. "The ones who have done that have been banished to start their own clans. Including the new king. He was ambitious and wanted to provoke a new war so we'd win."

"Not many wizards use modern muggle weapons," he agreed. "I'm sure you guys can."

"Yes, we can," he agreed. "Which was their point, to provoke a new war so they could fix the losses from before." He grimaced. "They're now not part of our horde or the bank."

"Thank you for letting me know. Does this mean I won't have to fight my way out of the bank next time?"

"Yes. All that was stopped and the one who started it earlier, the teller, is also banished. The one that your heir sigal burned is retired and in shame."

"Thank you for letting me know."

"We want to remake the contracts you ended earlier. Plus pay off our debts."

Harry winced. "The ring was influencing me."

"We're aware. Charlus showed up to nag us himself. He said he had." He looked amused. "Your sire was always a human that spoke his mind and meant what he said. We appreciate that."

"So do I but I don't find a lot of it."

"Us either," Blackrock said. "I've brought a copy of the contacts that you canceled so we can go over the reparations and then remake them as some are important."

"I'm all for a pleasant relationship with the bank for myself. I can't speak for my cousin," he said, touching the pendant.

"I'm going to see him later on to make amends. I'm aware of where he's living and how dangerous it is. I'll take a warrior to guard me."

"That's cool. Though if it's daytime the others don't know who he was," he said quietly.

"I figured. He was always good about protecting us all." He pulled out the contracts to let Harry look them over.

Harry stared then sighed. "Hermione?" he called. She came down the stairs and looked over his shoulder. "You do this better."

"You're good at it, Harry, you're just still learning." She looked at the goblin. "May I sit in to help him?"

"If he wishes." She settled in with him to go over things and tell him what they were if he didn't know. Some of those were in archaic legal language so hard even for people who read it to understand it. He did have to explain a few.

Harry frowned. "That one would bother the Black family too, wouldn't it?" he asked quietly. The goblin nodded. "I should probably talk to the other Black heir. Can we move this to a classroom and get Draco up to look at that? That way he knows it's being remade?"

"That's reasonable. It does affect his family as well through the Black trusts."

"Thank you for understanding. Hermione?"

"I'll get Malfoy. You guys go to the private study room in the library?" Harry nodded at that idea and helped clean up the files so they could do that. She ran off, going down to slytherin territory. "Harry needs Malfoy about something that'll impact the Black family legally," she told a seventh year slytherin outside the house. "We have a bank dverger in to talk about the contract; they're going to the private study room in the library."

"I'll send him, Granger. Why would it do that though?"

"Harry was the heir. He wears the ring."

"Oh. I didn't know that." He went to find Draco. He was studying. "Malfoy, you're wanted in the library by Potter and someone from the bank about a Black matter."

Draco blinked a few times. "Why?"

"Granger didn't say. Just said that there's a banker here to talk about it."

"I wonder what got screwed up this time." He went to straighten himself up quickly then hurried to the library while looking calm and collected. He headed into the private study area, finding them thanks to a pointing Ravenclaw. He knocked then walked in. "Potter. Master banker," he said with a nod.

"Come in, Mr. Malfoy." He joined them by sitting on Harry's free side.

Harry looked at him. "I ran into a huge problem with the bank and the Potter ring told me to cancel all the contracts with the bank." Draco looked upset with that and pissed off. "It's been fixed and we're redoing it."

"All right. Why would you do that?"

"The ring said to do that."

"Oh, that reason. Yes, quite a few of them are quite firm in the belief that they're always right."

Blackrock laughed but nodded. "Charlus Potter was fair until something happened against him. Then he gave one chance and moved to destroy things. He's the one in the ring."

"I've heard stories from the ancestors' portraits about how a Potter nearly destroyed the family once."

Harry looked at his hand then nodded. "Same Potter. He said your female ancestor deserved it for trying to use him sexually that way."

Draco shook his head. "That figures." He looked at the contract then at Granger.

"I'm helping him with the reading. We're both learning it. I can step out since that doesn't just concern Harry."

"No, it's fine, Granger." He grimaced but went over that one. "Is this the original or the new?"

"Original," Blackrock said.

"This is Blackrock. He said the bank's being fixed."

"That's good with the way things had happened." He frowned. "Our ancestors were incredibly naive."

"That was the last Potter-Black heir," the goblin admitted. "She was shrewd and knew we'd get better earnings but linked it to their interest so we worked for their best interests as well. We both benefitted."

"My parents' investment person does that. He's paid based on how much money he earns for their investments."

Draco looked at her. "You can do that in the muggle world?"

"Yes. There's a lot of ways to invest. I barely know anything but I have a small CD for college fees and the like started."

Harry looked at her. "I know nothing about that. The Dursleys considered it weird and wrong to talk about money unless they were bragging." He went back to the contract. "Is that a reasonable thing to restart?" he asked Draco.

"I'd like to see the interest go up some," he admitted. He smiled at the banker. "Things are more expensive these days."

"I can raise the interest payment schedule by five percent," he said, making notes of what it was on some paper Granger had in her bag.

"I can see that," Harry said, looking at Draco, who shrugged but nodded. "So we can restart it that way?"

"We can though there are penalties involved in breaking the original. Mostly on our end." He let Harry see that, seeing him grimace. "You'd end up getting about five galleons from this one."

"I guess I'm okay with that. I really don't like hurting people for no reason."

"I can understand that and it's honorable, Mr. Potter. A warrior does what he must when he must but not against the unarmed or the not-involved." Harry relaxed and grinned, nodding at that.

Draco looked at him. "That's not exactly a Black trait, Potter."

"Well, I wasn't raised a Black. Or a Potter." He looked at him. "I'm kinda happy I still care that others get hurt," he said quietly.

"I suppose that's a good thing, yes." Not something he was used to thinking about but it was a good thing. He noticed Harry's hand and stared at it. "What's that from?"

He looked then at him. "Umbridge. She had a blood quill."

"Sorry."

"Not your fault. That was hers and I hope she'll rot in some form of hell for it."

"Hopefully soon," Hermione said. "Because she deserved it for a few other things she did." Harry looked at her. "She did, Harry."

"I get that. I'm glad someone got them free too." He looked at the banker again. "Sorry. I know time's valuable."

"It's fine. It's good to settle things." He went over the other contracts. The bank would end up owing Harry about twenty galleons over all. All the vaults would be restored, all the money would be restored. All the property restored.

Hermione cleared her throat. "There's still some things we think may be missing from Dumbledore's theft and maybe the Ministry's theft from Harry."

The banker looked at her. "We cannot turn over vault contents to someone not on the list without a court order, Miss Granger."

"Which is perfectly reasonable. But can we note in that last contract that missing familial property needs to come back to the family if found to be stolen by someone? To keep things like Dumbledore down in the future?"

"That should be understood but may not be an unreasonable clause." He let her write out what she was thinking and put it into better language, getting Draco changing a few words on her. "That moves it to the present tense instead of the past tense, which would mean modern theft not older ones, Mr. Malfoy."

"Would that matter if we found more in Dumbledore's stuff?" Hermione asked.

"Not particularly. It'd be found in the modern age." She nodded and Draco looked smug. He added it and the contract updated.

"Can we add in a way to verify that someone is allowed if something like what happened when I went to the bank to get new uniforms happens again? They even denied that my ring was mine. One told me they're in the wrong order."

Draco looked then pointed. "Your Potter ring should be primary and on your ring finger on your left hand. The only ring that should sit there is that one and the wedding ring."

"They said Dad wore his behind his crest."

"Yes, it should be," Blackrock said.

"That's the way they landed so I put them on that way when I take them off for showers."

"No, you should shower in them," Draco said. He looked at him. "Didn't they tell you that?"

"No, they haven't explained that stuff yet. They've explained other things."

"They probably assumed you knew," Hermione said.

"That could be." Harry rearranged them under Draco's picky gaze. Two tried to wiggle back to their old order. Harry sighed but let them do what they wanted to do. Draco snorted. "That figures. Stubborn, every one of those families."

"It does run in the family," Harry agreed.

Hermione nodded. "Yes you are." She got back to the contract. "Is that a marriage contract?"

"There's one on file to make sure that a future spouse is good for the family."

"So nothing like Sirius' mother can happen?" Harry guessed.

"Exactly, Mr. Potter. Your wife would need to agree to that sort of contract and prove herself worthy of the family."

"Which probably means she'd have to be proven fertile?" Hermione asked.

"Indeed, but there have been non-heirs adopted. Heirs born by surrogate magically as well, Miss Granger. We do have a way around that."

"I know about IVF from a few tv shows," she admitted.

Draco looked at her. "What?"

"They can take an egg and seed from a couple and mix it to create a future child, then implant it in a mother who'd carry it," Hermione said. "Instead of doing it all inside the wife and having her carry it."

Draco blinked a few times. "So if I married a woman who couldn't carry a child, they could take our child and put it into a mother who could carry it." She nodded. "And they'd fertilize it in a hospital?"

"In a lab. They'd do it under a microscope to make sure it did implant the sperm into the egg." She drew that out some paper, complete with stick figures labeled.

"Huh," Draco said, nodding a bit. "That's interesting. We have a magical way of that but I had no idea how that happened or that muggles could do that."

"Muggles have much technology that can do what we do magically," Blackrock told him. "Including most of the functions of a floo."

"Video calling," Hermione said with a grin and a nod. "My mother has a few friends she skypes with. That's calling like we do but using a real-time film of the other person so you're talking to their living time image," she told Draco. "So it's just like talking on the floo."

"Wow," he said, nodding at that. "That's very weird."

"Phones can be handheld and cordless these days," Harry told him. "They fit in a pocket."

Hermione nodded. "So you can do that anywhere."

"We need to do that with the floo," Draco said.

"Someone's probably trying," Blackrock said. He went back to it. Draco did utter the goblin slur but Harry glared at him.

"That's a slur like what you call Hermione is. He's here in peace and being honest with us."

"Sorry," Draco sighed. "I've never heard you noted any other way."

"Many haven't," Blackrock agreed patiently. "We're used to it."

"Yes but I'd only use that word if I was very mad with people," Harry said. "My bad language comes out swearing at Ron." Hermione snickered at that. "And sometimes reporters."

"That's actually a reasonable stance, Mr. Potter." He went back to it, not adjusting anything for that momentary insult. They all knew Malfoy's father would have used that insult even if he had known. They put up with it most of the time. It took a few hours but they worked it all out and he went back to the bank to report that to the newer new king.

This one actually had a business degree, had run a few businesses well before all this, and had proven he was good at combat. The old king was staring over his shoulder to make sure he did the right things. They were pleased that Potter had corrected Malfoy to not piss them off. They considered it weird but Potter seemed like a pleasant young man until you pissed him off.

Draco looked at the other two. "Are you two finally dating?"

"No idea why I would," Harry said. "And I think of her like a sister."

Draco frowned. "You don't like girls?"

"Haven't gotten to that point yet," Harry said dryly.

"That's weird."

"No, that's due to all that being me means," Harry said dryly, looking at him. "I'm getting there it's just slower, Draco."

"Well, if you do, you may work well." He went back to his house to think about that while going back to his homework. Potter was very weirdly open about some things but not about things that most people were open about. And he was weirdly protective over other things.

***

Harry was pacing in an unused hallway away from everyone else, and not near the Room of Requirement either when Hermione found him thanks to Dobby coming to get her to stop him. It had been days since he had been this worked up about anything. He didn't pay her a bit of attention but she watched him pace and yank on his hair. "Harry?" she asked quietly.

He flinched, staring at her. "I don't know what to do about anything!"

"You're young and still learning things. It's not uncommon to not know what you're doing about something. I have that problem to this day sometimes. So it is something we can break down and handle in smaller bites? Is it a huge problem that we'll need to do major things for? Or was it the cousin or the bank?"

He huffed and grabbed his bag to hand the letters over. "How do I handle that? I know there's probably protocol."

She looked at the letters and the marriage contracts involved. "Have you even met any of them?"

"No!" He huffed. "People are expecting things of me again, Hermione."

"Including you having hair so quit yanking on it, Harry." She reread the letters. "Well, as you don't know them you can send back a polite letter. Be honest that you're not looking for a long term relationship right now and that you have not met them and would not think of marrying someone you haven't met."

"How do you do that?" he asked, staring at her. "Did I miss a class somewhere?"

She smiled. "Sometimes women handle that easier with tact," she quipped. "Come on. We'll go sit and write them out so you can get Neville to make sure they're this side of insulting but tactful. I'm sure he's learned too."

"He knows about all this stuff that I have no idea about."

"So ask him for his advice," she said.

"I did, he gave me an odd look for not understanding something."

She nodded. "He was raised as the family heir and you weren't. I'm also doubting your aunt used tact around you." He slumped but followed her to the library to work on that. She looked at Neville. "Can we have you read over a few letters he has to write?" she asked quietly. "Harry's never had to write tactful 'you're a moron leave me be' letters."

Neville blinked. "I didn't think about that." He looked at Harry. "Someone sent you a mash note?"

"Marriage contracts," Hermione said.

Neville grimaced, taking them to look at. "Be extra tactful for this one. She's the top matron in London's society circle." Harry shuddered. Hermione sat them down at that table to write out the letters stating that at this time Harry is not seeking any new relationships as he has some hard things coming up and he would never consider marrying someone he hadn't gotten to know as a friend first. It made him seem young and a bit naive but not too bad.

Neville looked it over then nodded. "Now, write it in better handwriting on parchment." Harry took it to do that as his was better. Neville grinned at Hermione. "I saw the one you had to send."

"Thankfully that's over with." Harry nodded at that. "I wonder if anyone told that stinky arsed snake lover."

Harry looked at her. "He'd probably want to try it." He went back to writing, making Neville giggle at that. "Neville, is there a way to learn how to do all that stuff you grew up knowing?" he asked, looking at him. He had just dotted some extra ink so had to start over. "I'm so lost with everything."

"I just picked it up here and there, there wasn't a formal class, Harry. You'll pick it up."

"I feel like I'm making enemies."

"Sometimes you do because they want unreasonable things. Mum had a mortal enemy because she refused to date that woman's brother, who was already married and in another country. The sister wanted him to break up his current relationship and go after Mum instead. She did it without his permission. Mum ended up dueling her once or twice." Hermione gave him an odd look. "Truth." He grinned. "Mum's diary was full of ranting about that woman and how her brain did not work."

"I feel like the cousin from another country who has no idea what's going on," Harry told him. "I don't know the right jokes, I don't know what things mean, I don't know the people, I have no clue about any of this."

Neville grinned and nodded. "That's something that you learn over time, Harry. No one expects you to have more than manners since you just recently took over. I'm shocked you've only gotten three."

Harry's eyes went wide and he called Dobby. "Dobby, are there other pieces of my mail hiding somewhere in the castle?"

"Yes, Harry Potter, sir. Always for students."

"Go get them so I can make sure they're not like these and time sensitive?" Dobby nodded, going to talk to that elf who sorted all that.

"That figures," Hermione said. "It really does."

Neville sighed but nodded. "It does." He went back to his homework, which Hermione got another book for him for. "Thanks, Hermione."

"Welcome, Neville." She grinned at Harry. "Should I mention the herbology paper, Harry?"

"Please don't," he sighed, looking at her once the pen was back in the ink. "Just...please don't." She grinned at that. "I'll do it tonight." He went back to rewriting the letters so they looked nicer. "Isn't there some sort of dicta-quill to do this for me?"

"A copying spell. Quill to quill," Hermione suggested. "But I have no idea if it'd be in better handwriting." She looked around. "Luna, do you have good handwriting? Harry needs to write a few 'no thank you' letters." Luna came over to take them to handle for him with a grin for Harry.

"Thank you, Luna!" He gave her a brief hug.

"Sometimes you've got to do it," she said, going over the letters and changing a few things so it read easier. Dobby handed over the others and she copied them, with slight changes to each so they didn't look copied, to have Harry sign and then send off. Dobby poked her so she looked at him. "What?"

"Those was in mail room."

"Oh, so they're late with responses. I can add that. Thank you, Dobby." He nodded and left her to doing secretarial things for Harry. She made sure they knew that the mail had been kept from Harry and he had sent this back as soon as he knew it existed. "One's a double sender." Harry moaned but came to look at them.

"No, I don't want to rent out her daughter's womb either," he complained, cracking Luna and Ginny up. "Thank you, Luna."

"Welcome, Harry. This is work for a woman anyway and you don't have one of those."

"Not looking like it'll be soon either." He went back to his seat to start on some of the homework he knew he had. Neville handed him the herbology book Hermione had gotten him so he sighed and got into that paper. He paused. "One of them had a note about children being a spare and an heir for any titles."

Hermione looked at him then at his hand. "Yes it appears you're going to have at least four children probably." His eyes went wide. He slowly shook his head. "At least no one expects you to give birth to them, Harry. Just calm down. You have a good bit of time before then and you can pick a few other family heirs for some of them. Like if Draco has a child that's not like a younger him, then that's an heir."

"I didn't think about any of that." Neville grinned at that. "Neville, how many do you have?"

"Three." He looked at him. "We know, Harry. I'll have to have at least three kids." Harry slumped but went back to his paper. "It feels like a lot of weight but you've got to realize that you're going to live your life however and if things aren't totally what they could be then you can change it. Even if you only have one heir they can wear the same rings you do."

"I'll need to find a way to teach them how to do these things," Harry said, rubbing his forehead. "Not the scar," he joked.

Hermione snorted but dd a health telling charm then got him some water. He was a bit dehydrated.

Ginny looked over. "You're doing a credible impersonation of my mum, Hermione."

Hermione glared at her. "I am not! I have not smothered anyone."

"True." They shared a grin while Harry moped.

Draco stomped in looking pissed off. "Ask him, Hermione."

"Malfoy, is there some sort of formal quill for formal letters so you can write it and have it copied in better handwriting?" she asked him.

"Most of us use a regular fountain pen for that, Granger. It does look nicer and doesn't drip."

"You can?" Harry asked. "What about other types of pens?"

"Not in this community," Draco said smugly. "Get a mash note?"

"Marriage contracts he had to turn down," Neville told him.

"My mother said she got one and nearly had that person run out of society." He went to his own friends to start his own homework. They gossiped about the earlier scene. "Didn't they teach you to write polite letters in muggle school?" he asked them.

A nearby Ravenclaw looked over. "Please look at my application, thank you for your time, and those sort. Not no I won't marry you ones."

Draco grimaced. "Was he tactful?"

"I helped him," Luna said from her table. "My handwriting's nicer, Malfoy, and I did make it tactful."

"That's good. Him being rude will come back to haunt him some day. Probably for all the Black family heirs."

The Ravenclaw smiled at him. "They also talked about how to get heirs for his rings. Including that some day your heirs may take the Black title."

"I'd hope so but I'm only having one. It's in the family's will." Harry looked over. "It is."

"Do they all have clauses like that?"

"No. My great-grandfather hated his siblings so he kicked them all out and said that we could each only have one heir. If they died young we'd have another one," he said dryly.

Harry looked so confused. "Can they actually demand that?"

"Yes. It's not totally enforceable but you can put anything in your will. You can have your heirs go to weird things in the moonlight once a year to keep their inheritance."

"That's happened in royal circles too," Hermione said with a nod. "There's a title out of Germany that's been on hold because the grandfather's will said who the heirs had to marry and have children with, including their race and religion. So they've been together for something like twenty years but haven't married so it wasn't violated until it went through the courts.

"The judge decided the heirs had lived up to the will so it was now complete and then the other heirs tried to step in so filed against them to prolong them being able to marry. Everyone acknowledges that they're all but married and the family mostly welcomes her but until all the court cases are done they can't risk a civil or religious ceremony. Or else those unsavory cousins will get it."

"Why would he care about his heir's wives that way?" Draco demanded.

"He was a racist prick during the last world war. Sided with Hitler."

"Oh, that sort. We have a few of those." She shot him a look. "I've heard a few sneering at my mother about a possible wife for me not being British enough."

Harry looked over. "You're being arranged?"

"That way I mate with someone suitable but who isn't from the local bloodlines."

"I hope it's happy for you," Harry said. "And that I never have to face that."

Draco snickered. "You don't have to, Potter. Your family doesn't care. Well, the Black family would but the Potters definitely don't. Your own mother was as muggle as Hermione."

Harry looked back at him. "Not exactly since her lineage is why I met a cousin named Dumass." Malfoy winced at that. "But no one knew, probably including Mom and that Dumass." He grimaced. "The bank found a few of them."

Hermione looked at him. "Is that why Professor Snape was ranting about them?"

"Yes. Probably." He nodded. "I put him in touch with my cousin so he could ask about potions ingredients."

"Ah." She nodded. "That makes sense." She got back to her homework, giving Harry another sheet of parchment to make notes on. "I'm stealing some of yours later."

"That's fine, Hermione. Thank you for the lending." He got back to his notes for his paper.

Ron stomped in and leaned down to get closer to Harry's head from across the table. "We've got a huge problem, Harry."

"An attack?" he asked, looking concerned. "Already?"

"With the team, Harry. The headmaster has said that no girl can play sports." He looked around, then cleared his throat. "Malfoy, Greavy, the headmaster just told a few of the girls on the Hufflepuff team that girls can't play."

"Excuse me?" Malfoy demanded. He looked at him. "You saw him doing it?"

"Walked past him doing it." He looked at the Ravenclaw chaser, who was looking livid. "He was complaining it'd get them hurt because they're girls and hurt their later fertility."

"Like hell," that chaser said, going to check on that. He came back steaming mad. "He's going to announce it at dinner." He looked at his housemates, who grimaced. "Team meetings tonight I'm guessing." He looked at Malfoy.

"Yes we will be," he agreed. "We only have one."

"I'm still banned," Harry reminded Ron. "Thanks to Umbridge."

"Shit," Ron muttered. "Who can replace Ginny?"

"I hope we can get this stopped," Harry said. "It's ridiculous."

Ginny looked at him. "He hates women and has proven it repeatedly. He thinks we're worse than house elves." A few other women nodded. "So, ladies?" She looked at Hermione.

"We've proven we're not that delicate or that weak. What's he going to do, pull you off your brooms? That's a voluntary extra-curricular activity. Only the heads of houses can say that. Check with Snape though. He'd know the rules the best and be the one most likely to stick to them." Ginny went to do that with that Ravenclaw. She looked at Ron. "Creevy?"

"Can't play seeker. He can play chaser but not seeker."

"The only other one that can is a second-year girl," Harry said. "I'll go back if someone can get me unbanned. You know he hates me too."

"Point." He went to talk to the rest of their team.

"I think the school's going to fall in," Hermione quipped. "It's nicely stopped all the inter-house fighting." Draco gave her an odd look. "We're proving we can work together."

"Yes we are. For now in our own welfare."

"That happens in the adult world too," she told him. She wrote her mother a letter and took it to send with the others for Harry. A few wouldn't send so she'd tell Harry to have Dobby or a house elf to deliver them. The headmaster glared at her as she came down from the owlry. "Just sending out letters to a few people."

"All outgoing mail it so be checked, Miss Granger."

"Really? That's not in the rules." She stared at him. "It's also against the law." He glared harder. She just stared at him until he huffed off and tried to have the owls recalled. Which she defeated by body binding him for a short period. McGonagall caught her. "Telling me I can't mail letters out without his permission. He's worked himself into a tizzy. Also, did you hear he hates women enough that now they can't play on quidditch teams?"

She blinked a few times. "That's unreasonable. Both of them actually."

"Yes. Well..." She waved her wand at the man. "He's proven he thinks women are less than house elves." She walked off. "The owls are already out of view."

"I'll unfreeze him in a moment. After I get the nurse down to check him to make sure he didn't hurt himself when he fell. Five points off, Miss Granger."

She shrugged but kept walking.

***

That night, Snape looked at his floo. "I'm going to channel an eleven-year-old Malfoy," he decided, calling Lucius. "I'm going to quote your son and start with 'wait until my father hears about this'."

"You're in a good mood," Lucius said dryly. "What's happened now?"

"The houses are not fighting and are working together. The headmaster has now claimed that all outgoing mail has to be checked by him personally and that women are unable to play on quidditch teams due to it harming their future fertility. Pomfrey tried to protest that one but he threatened to fire her if she said another word. I actually found myself agreeing with Ginny Weasley earlier."

"Strife does make strange bedfellows but that's going a bit far," Lucius said. "I'm going to call a new review of his newest policies." Snape handed them over with a smirk. He read them and blinked a few times. "What?"

"He has reestablished the ban from girls on their monthlies going to class because they'd bleed everywhere by not banishing it fast enough."

"They no longer do that."

"That point was raised. Including that there's multiple ways of doing that. Including newer washable versions." Lucius grimaced at that. "What does the school board want us to do?"

"Persevere right now. Is it worse than Umbridge?"

"He hasn't tortured a student yet. He's not wearing her nauseatingly pink sweaters while shedding cat fur everywhere."

"Not much then." He disappeared, calling the other school board members to talk to them. "At this rate they should get Dumbledore out of house arrest and bring him back," he muttered.

"Could that be the point?" Narcissa asked. She took the notes and snorted. "That man knows nothing about women. You just make us more stubborn by such things. Then we destroy things socially and politely."

"Or if you're Granger apparently you start a civil rights movement as she's got a sit-in planned tomorrow in the great hall."

Narcissa laughed at that. "It's good she has role models." She went back to her crossword puzzle. Her son's letter appeared a bit later and she read it then handed it over to her husband. Who added that to the talk with the other board members.

***
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