- Character Bashing
- Dark Themes
- Death-Minor Character
- Discussion-Child Abuse
- Hate Crimes
- Alternate Universe
Lord Black stood in the doorway watching Harry and Draco. They were studying for one of Hermione’s quizzes in the solar room. Harry made a smart arsed remark about the subject matter, and his companion smirked. Sirius hated having to dampen the mood. With a sigh, he stood straight and knocked lightly on the door frame.
Their attention both snapped to him. Harry must have seen something in his expression because he stood quickly. “What’s wrong?”
He waved his hand. “Sit down, Harry.” He looked to his cousin “We have something to discuss.” With that, he laid a parchment on the table.
Draco picked up the document. His face grew pale and a light tremor could be seen, causing the paper to shake. “He’s invoking the old marriage laws.”
Harry moved closer to Draco, gently taking the paper from him. As he read it, he could feel a growing horror. In school, he’d once watched a film documenting slavery in the colonies. This was not unlike something that could have been about a runaway slave during that time period. He looked to his Godfather. “Can he really execute her for leaving him?”
“If Narcissa were anything other than a member of the Most Noble and Ancient House of Black, yes.” He sat next to his cousin. “We were once one of the wealthiest and most influential families in the wizarding world. To marry a Black was to marry power. In order to prevent our daughters from being used against us, women from our House have strict clauses written into their marriage contracts. That allow the Lord Black to reclaim and protect our members if need be.”
“So that’s why the wording was so important when I went to the bank?” Harry ran back through what he’d said in his mind. “She’s now a Black and not a Malfoy, even though she’s technically still married.”
Draco’s voice was bitter, “My father will use that technicality. He’ll kill her if he can, and claim that as her legal husband it’s his right to dispense discipline. As the Head of house Black you could then claim weregild, but it won’t bring her back!”
“I’ll protect Narcissa. That’s my responsibility.”
“She’ll have to hide from him for the rest of her life.”
Sirius chuckled darkly. “I could always call him out for a duel.”
Harry had read back through the parchment. “Are our marriage laws really this…”
He searched for the right word and Sirius beat him to it. “Antiquated? Terrible? Yes, they are Harry, and it’s worse for muggleborns and half bloods. A wife can be beaten to death for any perceived infraction. Because Narcissa is a Pureblood, Lucius had to notify the DMLE and the head of Narcissa’s birth family of his intent. If he gets his hands on her, and he won’t, the end result would be the same.”
“Where is my mother? Is she safe?”
Sirius stood. “She’s not even on the continent, and that’s all I’m going to say for now. I saw this possibility coming as soon as Narcissa asked for sanctuary. Your father has never been known as a man to let things go, so I took the steps needed to protect her. Your mother and I may not always see eye to eye, but she came to me for help. I’ll do my best to protect her, Draco. You have my word on that.”
Harry waved the paper. “How do we change this, Sirius? Can women even file for divorce?” He realized that he’d never thought about marriage laws, or really any laws, other than those that had directly affected him.
“Divorce is practically unheard of. It’s only an option for the wealthy and powerful since the Wizengamot has to pass a bill allowing each divorce. It’s almost exclusively used by a husband to get rid of an older wife he no longer desires. I don’t know of a single instance where a woman has managed to even get a bill in front of the Wizengamot. I’ve already filed a petition for Narcissa but it’s a longshot.
“As to changing or creating laws, it requires a seventy five percent majority vote. It’s difficult at best.”
“It’s why they fought so hard to keep Hermione from having a seat.” Draco shoved his school books away. “People have lost their minds over her being Marked by the Goddess of Magic. We haven’t had an Avatar in generations and now it’s come in the form of a muggle born. Traditionalists are split between revering her and hating her. People like my father would love to discredit her, but they really can’t.”
Sirius agreed. “Her power as Lady Ravenclaw can’t be underestimated either, nor can her connection to the Horde. The goblins have made it very clear where they stand in terms of Hermione. Add in a seat in the Wizengamot and your friendship, and you’ve got a lot of old Pureblood families worked into a frenzy.”
With a puzzled frown, Harry contemplated this. “Why would my friendship with Hermione upset the Purebloods?”
Draco explained, “You’ve got the Potter vote; as well as Slytherin, Gryphindor, and Peverell. The Black vote is clearly yours. Longbottom is due to claim his title. Luna is your friend and so the Lovegood vote is yours. Bones is neutral, but far more likely to side with you.”
“While Arthur never wished to play politics, Bill has picked up the Weasley vote. On the other hand, Muriel Prewitt gave her vote to Percy. So that’s one for and one against.” Sirius nodded to Draco. “It’s clear where your loyalties lay, and the Malfoy vote will be yours someday. Abbott and Greengrass are neutral, and a lot of the neutral houses are more likely to side with you at this point.”
Draco took Harry’s hand. “You’re powerful, and gaining more power by the day; both political and magical. Hermione is Lady Ravenclaw and Chosen by the Goddess. Giving her a vote not only adds to her power, but yours. It’s not hard to see that within twenty years you’ll have the power to all but rule our country.”
“You mean become the new Dumbledore? No thanks!”
Draco glanced at his cousin and their eyes met. They shared a look of understanding. Both had been raised in this world and understood the political machinations that ran underneath every facet of their lives. He ran his thumb over the back of Harry’s hand. “You aren’t Dumbledore. You want to help people and fix things.”
Harry shook his head. “Dumbledore probably didn’t start out as a nutter. I’m betting that he seemed totally normal and rational, and that he wanted to do the right thing. Bloody hell, he honestly thought he was doing the right thing, even at the end! I don’t want to be that, Draco. I don’t want that kind of power. I never have.”
“I know.” Draco huffed. “My father would give anything for that kind of power, and I would have once. The fact that you don’t want it probably means you’re better suited to it than anyone.”
When Harry only kept shaking his head, Sirius interrupted. “Harry, listen. If you want this world to change, then you need to step up and do it. You’ve got the power, use it. I didn’t want it. I just wanted to live my life and look at what happened? My best friend dead, his son left with the worst people possible, and falsely imprisoned for over a decade. If I had stepped into my role as the Heir of House Black, I might have averted that. I’ve found that inaction is just as damaging as doing evil.
“With our help, you have the chance to rewrite our laws and make our society better. Dumbledore didn’t share his power, Harry. He sat like a chess player directing the board. We were all pawns. Can you really see Hermione letting you push her around? You’re likely to get that dagger of hers shoved up your arse!”
Green eyes lit with amusement. “She’s often the boss of me, not the other way around!”
Sirius and Draco laughed because it was true. Sirius ruffled his hair. “There are far worse people you could listen to.”