We're Getting Through This

Chapter 8

Chapter 8 is up! Thankyou all for being patient, I'm trying to get things to happen now and make it more interesting than just holiday stuff so hope you all are enjoying it. Please review and let me know what you all think.

After those meetings the days flew past in a mix of etiquette lessons, eating, duelling lessons, paintball fights, swimming, pranking competitions, hiking, more eating and various other time sensitive activities.

Harry and Sirius had attended a meeting at Longbottom Manor along with several other families and their Heirs in order to prepare for the Wizengamot meeting and to give Harry an insight of the number of discussions that took place outside of the hall. It also showed him the amount of compromises that needed to be done. If you were determined to put forward a new bill then you had to be prepared for people to side with you only because you had agreed to side with them on something else. The session had gone well though with each family able to give precise answers in response to the open discussion and the Heirs contributing more than once. In terms of strategy and tactics several of them made comments that could have been designed to go both ways which Harry understood but certainly didn't mean he approved of, he and Sirius had discussed it and thought it slightly underhanded. He had mostly stayed quiet, only putting forward an opinion when Sirius asked but he observed and understood the power of simple statements and noticeable pauses that made people uncomfortable and speak more than they should, it was also interesting to see how his guardian transformed before his eyes. Instead of being blunt and brutal he engaged in more quieter statements that made people think more and showed his upbringing and status, to Harry it was an eye opener as to how different could be.

Having not been informed of any other schedule Harry was surprised when Sirius asked Madam Longbottom for a private word after the meeting had broken up, he and Neville had taken a seat on the sofa by the wall in the purple parlour as they watched their guardians take seats a few feet away. Harry was even more surprised with what he witnessed after.

"Madam Longbottom, the House of Black has committed a grave wrong against House of Longbottom. I appeal to you know to allow us to make restitution for our sins and make amends and even allow an alliance."

They all witnessed her Ladyship stiffen and the teenagers exchanged nervous looks.

"And what can you do for the loss of our Lord and Lady?"

"My lady, it is my wish to banish Bellatrix Lestrange from House of Black and to call judgement down on her."

There was a stillness in the room and when Harry glanced at Neville he realised his friend was staring very hard at his gran and barely breathing.

"You would call judgement down on her?" Madam Longbottom said idly as she slowly reached for a teacup and sipped elegantly.

Sirius bowed his head.

"She has brought shame upon my House, she has given too much pain to too many people. Magic can determine the fate of her soul. The House of Black has held hatred for too long, it is time to change that."

Again silence permeated the room and this time not even Harry breathed. Sirius sat straight and tall in his chair, hands held on the sides and his eyes lightly resting on the tea set. Madam Longbottom sipped her tea and stroked the rim with her finger as she thought about what this meant.

Five minutes passed in such a way until she finally placed her cup and saucer back on the table.

"I assume this is not your only wish? What is the other?"

"My lady, we have deprived you of your son and heir as well as his lady. However we left Heir Longbottom without his parents, I wish to do well by him. I wish to take it upon my House to pay for the remainder of his education at Hogwarts, not only this but I have found a facility that has completed research into the cure for the curse that afflicted his parents."

"What do you speak of?" Madam Longbottom said sharply and she leaned forward.

"In South America, there is a facility that has been looking into treatments of those with long term exposure to the Cruciatus Curse. While they have not made waves, they are doing better than St Mungos. I would like to give you the option of sending them there for treatment."

There was no change except for a slight tremble in Madam Longbottom's figure as she leant back in her chair. Neville rose and quickly went to her side to clasp her hand.

"Gran?"

"I'm alright, dear boy." She said, her voice strong but her eyes tired. "Lord Black, I appreciate your research but we have gone to many doctors, many specialists. They have all said the same thing. There is no hope, it has been over ten years; my son does not walk his wife does not speak. I simply don't have that faith."

"I understand, believe me, I understand what it is like to have no hope. Only for life to continue as it has been, but this facility has risen. It provides muggle and magical means; it uses herbs and therapy. It can make a change."

Madam Longbottom was already shaking her head but it was Neville who turned to her, a plea in his eyes.

"Gran. I know. I know its hard. But anything is better than what they are doing now." He knelt in front of the chair and Sirius walked over to Harry to give them some space. "There isn't any harm in sending them, they cannot get worse but they might get better. Please, I want to hear my mum say my name again and hug my dad."

"Neville, they might never be like that."

"But this place will give them a shot. St Mungo's makes them comfortable; they provide the basic care. But they are too busy to give actual treatment. This could be our miracle. Please."

"Neville…I just…I don't think I have the strength to face another disappointment…another false hope…It's too much for my soul."

"So let me hope, let me be the strong one. If they come back to us as they were no then there is no harm and we can safely say we did all we can and we can just make them comfortable. But they would want us to try."

Madam Longbottom sighed deeply and placed a hand on her grandson's cheek.

"May I think about it more, my boy? I need…I need some time."

Neville nodded frantically, simply delighted his Gran hadn't said no and he rose with a smile and pulled her into a hug.

When they pulled apart, Madam Longbottom rose and held a hand out which Sirius hurriedly took.

"I agree to your first two restitutions…the third…give me time."

Sirius bowed over her hand.

"Of course my lady. Would you like to be present at judgement?"

"Yes." Came the quick reply and Madam Longbottom was back to being the formidable lady that they all knew. "I want to see that."

"In that case I will send you formal notice to attend the ritual."

"Thank you, Lord Black. Perhaps in the future we can discuss an alliance but right now I believe our connection is amiable just as it is."

Sirius nodded looking understanding but didn't look disappointed which Harry took to mean he didn't expect and alliance in the first place.

As The Longbottom's led them back to the fireplace Neville started asking about the organization.

"We have enough for the Farm to be working now, Remus is thrilled to be meeting with Anna Martin in a couple of days to talk more about actually systemizing the place and we've also had a couple more people make their interest know." Harry said, diving in eagerly.

"Of course, we still have the issue of some of the families wanting to join. No matter how safe we try and make it there is always going to be an element of danger unless we remove them entirely." Sirius continued.

"While it's understandable they want to be with their partners. Some have children and Remus in particular is very unsure about that. If they were also affected with lycanthropy, it would be different but a scratch can make all the difference and Remus is firmly against it."

"Humph, completely understandable of course. But parents who love, will never harm their child. Instead, they do everything for them, just like Mr Lupin's own father." Madam Longbottom said with a sniff.

"We should bring that up to him, maybe it'll change his mind." Harry said looking at his guardian for guidance.

"Perhaps, at the very least it might open his eyes to the fact that it's their decision."

"I wish you gentleman well and look forward to seeing you at the birthday celebrations." The grand lady said with a downward tilt of her head.

With another bow, Sirius and Harry said their goodbyes and returned home. Settling into the kitchen for a late lunch Harry finally asked the questions that had been burning up since Sirius had started to talk.

"Why-"

"Restitution, Harry. We wronged them and we needed to make up for it. I should have done it as soon as I was free but you were much more important. It's a very old custom but its about manners as well and simply doing what is right."

"But it wasn't us that committed the wrong, surely it was the Lestrange's and it should be them who have to pay?"

"Nope not how it works, think back to our Family lessons, about the primary, about the roles of the minor and betrothals etc."

Coodly and Mipsy brought over some sandwiches and cake while Harry strained his memory to consider the vast information that had been shoved into it in the last month.

"House of Black had House of primacy over the Lestranges because they were higher up in society…and the Lestranges have French descent. That means they absorbed into the House of Black. So you took on their debt? So to speak?" Harry asked still unsure.

"In essence, yes." Sirius said taking a bite of his cheese and chicken sandwich. "Basically we took on responsibility. While the Lestranges are still their own House Bella owes her loyalty to the House of Black first. And as Head I am responsible for her actions. When it comes to making restitution, it is the Houses opportunity to make an alliance and allow us to ask forgiveness for wrongs done. Years ago, it would have been an offering of betrothal but for some reason I don't think either of you would want that."

"I am thanking you for your foresight." Harry said diplomatically, raising his water to his guardian.

"Indeed, now paying for his education is a start and allowing them to witness the ritual will go a long way I imagine. I do hope that they take the chance to let the Longbottom's go to Healers Mountain."

Harry nodded having been told about the facility a while ago, it was one that Sirius had spent several weeks in last year for therapy. Then another thought occurred.

"What is the ritual that you mentioned?"

For the first time since that morning, Sirius looked more sad than serious.

"Judgement. Its very old. Very dark magic, Harry. I'm not proud to be doing it."

"Then why are you? No judgement from my end but why? And what will happen?"

"Because my cousin is an evil person. She and her husband are evil and no amount prison or even therapy is going to change that. She doesn't deserve to have magic, my family's magic thrumming through her veins, protecting her as a daughter of a Black. Judgement is when I call upon the Black magic to test her, to test her loyalty and strength. If it finds her lacking it will remove itself from her."

Here Sirius hesitated and stared down at his hands.

"If that happens, and I have little doubt that it will. She will die."

"But…How?" Harry asked in bewilderment.

"You underestimate the power of Azkaban, Harry." Sirius said with a shake to his head and that haunted look once again appearing in his eyes as he remembered that place. "It drains everything from you, your life, your soul, you very essence of being. It does drive you mad. You have nothing to look forward to but more of the same, you relieve your darkest moments, an endless cycle of pain and horror. I was innocent, and I clung to that belief, but that wouldn't have been enough for me to survive. I was always Head of the Black Family during my time and it helped to keep me surviving if only barley."

"You're doing that thing when you talk as though Magic is real." Harry said gently.

"That's because it is, magic lives in everything. It provides life, existence. In this case think of magic has your muggle vaccinations!" Sirius cried out with new energy as he realised a way, he could explain it better.

"Vaccinations?"

"Yes exactly, you have vaccinations that protect you from everything, correct? Especially when you were a baby?"

"Well yes, and elderly folk get a yearly flu one too."

"Right now, imagine if you didn't have any vaccinations at all, would it be dangerous?"

"Very." Harry said, remembering a newspaper article of a child dying of chicken pox when he was 5 because he hadn't had the injection.

"Well me taking the Black magic away from Bella is similar to her having no vaccinations after spending all her life with them. Our bodies, are so used to having magic that they can heal and cure us without much help. Do you remember times when you were younger that you never really got sick? Or bruises faded quicker than other children?"

Harry nodded again this time with more understanding.

"That is because our magic takes care of us, it wraps itself around us and does everything it can to protect us. I'm taking that away from my cousin.

Harry breathed out slowly as he suddenly realised the consequences of Sirius' words.

"Are you having doubts?" He asked a few moments later and watched as his guardian shook his head minutely.

"No, as I said she is an evil person but if she had not sworn loyalty elsewhere maybe she wouldn't have gone completely bonkers."

They shared a grin.

"But I will be responsible for her death, there is less than a 1% chance she could survive this and that is still something I need to come to terms with."

Harry nodded in understanding and they both attempted to smile brightly as Theo came through the door, a crème-coloured envelope in his hand.

"Hello, why has you to looking so glum?"

"Judgement." Sirius said bluntly, lifting his glass up in mock salute.

"Ah." Came the response as fifteen-year-old settled on one of the other chairs." In general, or for a specific reason?"

"Bella. On the 6th of August."

Theo immediately got up and started to fuss around the cupboards. Harry watched him in amusement.

"Seriously? Hot chocolate? It's 20° outside."

"Two things you can have in either weather is ice cream and hot chocolate." Theo said. "Don't be stupid and enjoy it." He continued as he dumped a tonne of sugar and added some cream and marshmallows along with four heaped spoonful's of chocolate powder. Two minutes later the kettle had boiled and Theo carried the mugs over with great solemnity.

"Do you want to talk about it?" He asked bluntly.

"I think I'm done to be honest. This is what is happening, no more to discuss." Sirius said with a shrug.

"May I introduce a topic that's connected to it then?"

Sirius looked at him curiously but waved him on.

"Are you going to do the same to the Malfoy's?"

"I want to do it to Lucy." Came the immediate response. "But as he is finally in jail I think it would be better to simply leave him there for a spell. As for Narcissa, I don't know the full extent of what she has done. I don't even know if she bares the mark. And junior is just a kid following in Daddy's footsteps, he doesn't truly believe it. He just says the things that his father does to seem more important, believe me. I've seen fanaticism, Draco Malfoy is not it."

"You can call Narcissa in though, can't you?" Harry said suddenly, remembering his lessons and they both turned to look at him.

"What do you mean?"

"As Head of the House. You can call in any family member to question them, because you're in charge. Remember Remus said that is was a scary thought?"

"Ah yes, good one Prongslet. I suppose it is a good option for us to have, and they fall under my reign. Could make it very unpleasant for their gold situation."

"How?"

"Again primacy, when my cousin married into the family we gave the House of Malfoy a substantial dowry. I'd bet anything that they invested it instead of taking it into their own wealth. That means that any wealth that has been added to it due to the investments can still be retrieved by the Black family. If I choose to annul their marriage, we can collect it all back. It would make a dent in their bank account, though probably not a big one."

"Would put their backs up though." Harry said idly.

"Exactly, though I think I need to talk to Cissy before I do that."

"Cissy?"

"Hmm, she was one of my favourite cousins. Very soft, elegant and determined to be above it all. Andy was all over the place, fun and determined to do it her way, very bright and thought things through. Bella was mad and bad even then, happier to create disturbances and always wanted to be a part of my parents punishments. Narcissa was the littlest of the three, was the perfect little pureblood heiress but when she was younger, she knew how to have fun. She had enough of me pulling her hair one time and spelled my own to look like snakes for two hours." He said with a chuckle.

"You've missed her." Harry asked quietly.

"Yes, or at least I've missed the camaraderie that we had when we were younger."

"If I may say so then Sirius, I think you should invite her to tea. Somewhere nice in Diagon Alley. In the invitation use all the bells and whistles, she won't be able to refuse her Head of House. And you can talk to her then without any pretence."

"A good idea, Theo. Harry why didn't you think of that?"

"Well excuse me for not thinking."

"Hmm your forgiven." The older gentleman sniffed superiorly as the teenagers exchanged eye rolls. They all took a drink when Harry remembered something else.

"Padfoot, you didn't seem to expect an alliance in the first place."

Sirius shrugged and shook his head with a small smile.

"Not really, an alliance has to be built on trust and friendship. And that will no doubt take a while for us. An alliance is not something you simply enter into quickly and just because your friends. You have to make sure you understand each-others' views, especially in the wizengamot."

"So it has to be so much more than simply siding on a few deals?"

"Oh its so much more, yes. So you're absolutely correct in that I didn't expect her to agree to an alliance. In fact she might never, but at least we are making restitutions and that's what matters."

At that moment Remus came shuffling in, a slightly embarrassed smile on his face as they all gaped at the many shopping bags hanging from his arms.

"I can explain?" He offered holding them up slightly, then a frown settled as his eyes locked onto the mugs still on the table. "You had chocolate! Without me! And I thought we were friends!"

Sirius and Harry both immediately pointed at Theo.

"He did it!"

Sirius gasped dramatically.

"Jinx!"

Theo instantly burst out laughing and the others weren't far behind as they watched the Heir of Notts face go bright pink.

"Master Remi sit sit. I get you one." Coodly said waving the man to a chair as clicked his fingers and sent the bags off to another room.

"Thank you Coodly. At least one of you likes me." He said with a grin.

"Oh come off it, we didn't know what time you'd be back. What did you get?" Harry asked as he reached over to shove his uncle slightly.

"Oh I took a stop inside a few of the charity shops, bought some books and records and a couple of new hoodies. Then I took a look in at the butchers and grocers, they have some fresh peaches that were superb and oh my goodness is sound like my mother!" He cried out looking suddenly panicked as the others all cracked up once more, the look faded from his face as he watched them all fondly for a moment.

"How were the Longbottom's?"

They filled him in on the day's events and he nodded solemnly as the fate of Bellatrix Lestrange was revealed.

"Padfoot, are you sure?" He asked gently.

Sirius looked his friend dead in the eye and nodded firmly. With that final action they all made a conscious effort to change the conversation, Coodly and Loksly bustled around them. Injecting comments here and there and keeping the mugs filled with hot chocolate; doing anything to keep the atmosphere light and carefree after the gloominess of the morning.

After a while the talk turned back to the Farm - as they were affectionately calling the organization – and the progress they had made with it.

"I still don't think that its good idea." Argued Remus determinedly.

"Come on, Moony! This is getting ridiculous. We can't be breaking families up."

"We won't be breaking them up, if anything this will keep them together far longer because no one will end up dead."

"You don't know that, you experienced one thing but they are living another. It's a different set of circumstances that could help families."

"Padfoot don't go that way, to have children so close to lycanthropes is an unmitigated disaster and we both know it."

"No we don't know, we don't know because this sort of thing has never been done before. Come on, you said it yourself that your wolf feels more comfortable and easy going when he's got company."

"Its too dangerous, one scratch and lives can be ruined!"

"We have precautions. Wards, runes, different buildings too. The children will be fine, there won't be any accidents."

"But why tempt fate, it won't do anyone any good if there's a mistake?" He argued.

"There won't be a mistake, we will take all sorts of precautions and the kids will be fine!"

"I won't be like Greyback!" came the raging response and a long silence permeated the air. Remus looked utterly furious with himself and stormed out quickly.

Sirius leaned forward and smacked his head repeatedly on the table.

"Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid brain."

He leaned up again as Harry put his hand down to stop him.

"I'm alright. Well I think that's me out who wants to go next?" He said faux cheerfully.

Harry rolled his eyes but got up to go and find his Uncle who was hiding out in Lily's garden. It was the one that Harry had spoken to Flobsy about when they first arrived, since then the gardening elves had changed the gardening areas that that originally housed four fountains; apart from viewing it and giving approval, Harry had mostly left them to it. Now he looked around in contentment at the wonderful area of peace that the elves had managed to create.

A simple circular fountain stood in the middle with a lily in the middle allowing six points of water to come out in a pleasant trickling, it wasn't too large and had a thick edge to allow people to sit for a moment. Water lilies were prevalent in the fountain of course, pink, white, yellow and blue splashes made a kaleidoscope of colour that drew the eye almost immediately. There were 6 different petal shaped flower plots coming out of the middle although walkways had been placed to allow for space and each had a different flower in it. Royal purple lavender, bright sky-reaching sunflowers, delightfully cheerful daisies, rich violet bluebells, light blush-pink dahlia's and gorgeous crimson gerbera's. The smell was incredible but not overwhelmingly so and the riot of plants could cause any stone heart to smile. Harry once again marvelled and the wonders of magic, knowing from his days in Aunt Petunia's garden that none of these flowers were in bloom at the same time and yet with a little house elf magic, here they all were.

Moony was sitting on the ledge of the daisies, staring into the fountain. He barely moved as his nephew settled opposite him and the two sat in silence, feeling the sunshine and getting thoughts in order with no hurry on pressure between them until Remus was ready.

"I know I'm not like him before you say anything."

Harry hummed as he leant his head back to enjoy the sun. Memories of his dark cupboard and hard-working in burning heat slowly fading from his mind.

"I just can't bare the idea that someone might be injured, it'll be up to me to make sure they're all okay."

Harry made another accepting noise.

"I've never had to be so in charge before. And the only time I've ever been so concerned with anyone else is when the rest of the Marauders started to try to become animagi and then their first night with me."

"Its scary."

"Bloody terrifying more like. And I know we're going to make sure to have precautions up but I can't stop that what if!"

"I get it. No matter how many times someone says its going to be okay you can't help the thought that they're lying."

Remus nodded as he kept his eyes on the fountain as the sparkling water burst out and for another few minutes that was the only sound present.

"Moony, we both know you'd never hurt a child. With Wolfsbane you're equivalent to a puppy/teddy bear with just a few sharper teeth. Families need each other to live, the parents deserve to have their kid with them in a place hat is safe and secure and the farm will be. It'll be even more protected than Potter and Black Manor by the time we're done warding it, we can get through it no doubt. However, this is your decision, you're the Alpha and if in the deepest part of your soul you don't want to do it…you feel you can't do it…then don't and we will understand."

Rising from the edge, Harry squeezed his Uncle's shoulder before moving back inside to leave Remus to his thoughts.