Chapter Six: The Members of Magic (Part Two)
They both dipped back into the trunk, sorting through the scrolls carefully. Hermione started to arrange them in delicate piles of different nationalities or descent, but Harry just opened each one eagerly. The revelations about Peeves had given him quite a thirst for the family trees. To his delight, he found one that proved the arrogant Hufflepuff boy Zacharias Smith was descended from squibs and petty criminals, though Hermione didn't share his happiness, too absorbed in her sorting. Once or twice, she gave a gasp of awe at finding the tree of some ancient warlock that nobody in the world had heard of apart from her, and Harry tried his best to sound interested when she gave him a lecture on the famous wizards of fifth century Russia, though it was rather boring to say the least.
She was just taking him through the finer points of wizard descent when Mr Weasley came clambering over the crates nearby, wiping a hankerchief over his shiny head. "Now then," he said. "How are things going over here?"
"We found a dead something over there," said Harry, gesturing vaguely to the coffin, "but we also found this."
"It's all the wizarding family trees," Hermione explained promptly. "Some of this is fascinating stuff, really interesting. Here, this is the bloodline of the Russian Minister for Magic... and overthere is the tree of Ablaris Kex, he was one of the human traitors during the goblin riots... oooh, and look! This is a really special one, you see there? That was the cousin of Balrat Molrin, you know who he is, right?"
Mr Weasley stared at her for a moment, and then said, "I can't say I do, Hermione."
"Oooh, he was fascinating! He started up the society for werewolf protection after his brother became one," she gushed, the words bubbling from her mouth as though fighting to get out as fast as possible. "Something like fifty years before he died in a werewolf attack himself, it's in all the major history books, the meaning of irony I think. But he was a marvellous man, he did so much for werewolf rights, he wrote a book you know. I can't remember the exact title but it really pioneered - "
"Hermione," Harry groaned. "You're giving me a headache."
Mr Weasley smiled and reached down into the trunk, taking out a few scrolls and unrolling them on his lap as he sat down on a crate. "Ah, Julius Jones, he works in the Experimental Charms department... my my, I never knew he was half-blood." He opened the next one, and glanced down. His eyes widened behind his spectacles. "Good lord..."
"What? Who is it?" said Harry, eagerly. "Is it Malfoy? Is he a troll?"
"No, no," said Mr Weasley. "It's one of the Death Eaters... Augustus Rookwood, he worked in the ministry sometime ago." Harry and Hermione both glanced up and down the parchment open on Mr Weasley's knee.
Hermione raised her eyebrows. "All his family are pureblood... slightly odd names though. Beagle? Who calls their firstborn son Beagle? I bet that poor boy got teased... and look, Rookwood's cousin was called Romeo. That's rather a cliche, don't you think? If I have children I'm going to find some original names for them. Something like Tiger-Lily. I've always liked Tiger-Lily."
"Molly and I decided that if we had another girl we'd used Jessie," said Mr Weasley, polishing his glasses on his sleeve. "Though with seven children already, I think we've got quite enough to deal with." He chuckled, put the scrolls back in the box and took a few more out to read through. "Ah, Hermione, I think you'll be interested in this one..."
"Who is it?" she asked, leaning around to look. She gasped with delight. "Merlin! You found Merlin!" He offered her it, and she practically ravaged it, carrying her prize off to her piles to read with wide eyes.
Harry chuckled and sat back, scanning the scroll he'd just taken out. His eyes were drawn to a name at the bottom of the page, in black curled ink - Minerva McGonagall. Intrigued, he followed her family back through the ages, finding countless Scottish wizards and witches and warlocks, finding to his surprise that it branched off into the Pomfrey family, and the two women were very distantly related through an old grandfather several centuries ago.
"Hermione, look at this."
She reluctantly tore her eyes away from Merlin's descendants, to peer over his shoulder at the tree. Her face brightened instantly. "Oh, wow! Professor McGonagall! I always wondered who she was descended from... a lot of Scottish, but I knew that... oh look, Madam Pomfrey. Wow, this is really interesting, Harry. I'll swap you a - "
Both of them stopped talking and looked up at Mr Weasley. He was on his feet, a little way out of the circle of amber light, holding a family tree in his hand.
"What's wrong?" Harry asked, worriedly.
Mr Weasley looked rather pale. There was a confused expression on his face that Harry had never seen before. For a moment, he didn't answer.
"What is it?" Harry said. He stood up.
Mr Weasley bit his lip, still looking at the parchment. "I think we need to get Molly... and Ron... rather quickly..."
Harry stepped forward, his eyes wide, wondering what on earth it could be to get Mr Weasley in such a confused state. "Why? What have you found?"
Mr Weasley held out the tree he held. "Something rather important," he said quietly.
Harry took it. He found his fingers were shaking as he scanned the page up and down, looking for something relevant. It was the Weasley family tree. All red-haired, all freckled, all with large numbers of children on each stem. He couldn't see anything odd at all.
And then he noticed a corner of the parchment was different to the rest. A dark-haired line had crept in from the side. And there was something else that made his jaw drop.
Right there, in the bottom corner, was a face he knew very well. He'd seen it everyday of his life. Everyday. When he woke up, and got out of his cupboard, went down the hall... and looked in the mirror over the telephone...
His eyes flicked upwards. LILY POTTER nee EVANS. And then up again, to a grandfather he'd never known, JOSEPH EVANS, and then... he looked across, down a line to a second cousin - MOLLY WEASLEY.
Something flashed suddenly deep within his memories. His first day, on the Hogwarts Express, sitting on the train with Ron. Swapping sweets like brothers. "Are all your family wizards?" He remembered Ron's reply so well. "Mum's got a second cousin who's an accountant, but we don't talk about him."
He then glanced at his mother's picture. Dark red hair. A mix of her father's scarlet, and her mother's dark brown. Lily Evans's hair was a deep, blood-red... while her sister looked far more like their mother. Petunia Dursley, nee Evans, was dark-haired and horse-faced.
His shocked eyes then travelled to the face underneath Lily's. His own. Smiling pleasantly, as though welcoming him to the rest of his life.
Mr Weasley's hand pulled the parchment down slowly, and the two of them locked eyes, both of them equally as hollow and shocked as the other. Harry then realised that Mr Weasley was related to him. Family. Uncle Arthur. Was it uncle? Did it matter?
"Why didn't you tell me?" he said, in a choked voice he didn't recognise.
"I had no idea," Mr Weasley whispered. "None at all... Molly never said... well, I know about her second cousin, but... I didn't know that you... and... Merlin, what are we standing around here for? Come on, we have to tell them... Hermione, put down that family tree, we can study Paracelsus's dynasty later, this is important." He grabbed Harry by the arm, though he hardly had to drag him to the ladder at all. Harry was quivering with shock by this point. What would Ron say?
He barely even registered the fact that Hermione was running after them, asking, "What? What? What could be more interesting than Paracelsus?" and Mr Weasley was saying something about getting it checked out at the ministry, something about muggle DNA tests. Harry was just numb. He had family... he didn't know whether he dared to believe it... He had cousins now. Mrs Weasley was, what, second cousin? Twice removed? And Ron... third cousin once removed. Ron and Ginny. And Fred and George. Third cousins once removed.
"I've got family," he said, numbly, not sure who he was saying it to at all.
The floo powder network that day was rather busy, all thanks to somebody on the records as "Mrs M. Weasley", who made numerous visits and calls. She talked to Dumbledore, and then Lupin. She visited Fred and George, she used the muggle phone in the kitchen and spent quite a lot of money ringing Charlie in Romania and Bill in Egypt. She then visited her mother, she called on Dumbledore again, she sent an owl to Hagrid, she tried to ring the Dursleys who wouldn't answer the phone, for some reason she then called Snape who didn't sound very interested at all. She spent a few minutes convincing Moody to let her contact him, and then he suggested she get the family tree verified before getting excited and telling anybody. But it was rather late then, so she rung several thousand more people, and only then did she leave the old muggle phone in the dining room and go through to the kitchen.
Ron had flatly refused to believe it at first, until the owl came from the Ministry of Magic to confirm that the tree was authentic. Harry was related to the Weasleys.
"Yes... yes, it just came, just now, I'm holding it right now. Oh, Dumbledore, it's great news... really great... oh, of course... as soon as things are ready, just go ahead... yes... I will, I will."
Harry listened idly to Mrs Weasley's third conversation with Dumbledore, absent-mindedly eating a jam sandwich he'd made himself. It wasn't very good, and the jam was running down onto his fingers. Mrs Weasley spotted this and wiped it off absent-mindedly, then knelt back down by the fireplace to talk to Dumbledore.
"Of course. So he's expected to arrive soon?"
Ron had been staring at Harry for about half an hour now, absent-mindedly eating grapes from the bowl in the middle of the old table. The news didn't seem to have sunk in yet. As Harry glanced at him, Ron looked up again and handed him a grape. "You're my cousin."
"Third cousin once removed," said Hermione's voice from down the table.
Harry took the grape blankly, put it in his mouth and chewed vaguely. "I didn't know we were related."
"Me neither," said Ron. He blinked into the fruit basket. "I can't believe Mum didn't tell us."
"Oh, one moment, Albus," Mrs Weasley said, turning away from the fireplace. "I had no idea either. I didn't think Joe started a family or everything, but - " She turned back to the fire, and continued her conversation with Dumbledore.
Ron took another grape. "I still don't believe it. I think it's a wind-up."
"Ron," said Hermione, putting down her book of useless facts and watching him with a raised eyebrow. "That trunk is enchanted. It can't be cheated or lied to."
"But... we don't look anything like each other," said Ron, vaguely, as though he didn't really believe his own excuse.
"Harry looks like his father," said Mr Weasley, coming into the paper with a newspaper and a cup of tea in an old chipped saucer. "Though there are some vague similarities. If you look at the back of Harry's neck, there's a mole just there. If you find a mirror, you'll see you've got one in just the same place, Ron. Bill's got one, I think, the twins don't, Ginny has, and so has..."
He fell silent, and with a short, rather disdainful sniff, he sat down in a chair and started to read his paper as though the discussion had never happened at all. Harry toyed with a grape. He wanted to ask an awful lot of questions he knew he really shouldn't. He glanced up at Mr and Mrs Weasley, and Ron, and tried to imagine them as family. It was so easy. Easy enough to give him the courage to talk, and the words came out of his mouth before he'd thought too much into it.
"What's happening with Percy at the moment?"
Mr Weasley glanced at him over the top of his paper, surprised by the sudden question. He looked as though nobody had dared mention that name to him in a long time. "I... don't know."
"Have you spoken to him?" Harry asked.
"I - Well... not in... friendly tones..." said Mr Weasley, who still looked as though he'd been dunked repeatedly in a bucket of water.
"Does he want to make up?" Harry took another grape, trying to keep his tone casual. He had the feeling that if he could get this to sound like the innocent questions of a frightened child, he might be able to help things. Just a little.
"No," said Mr Weasley, with a flicker of sadness in his eyes. "And I have the feeling he never will."
"Why? Does he still think you were a traitor to Fudge?"
Mr Weasley nodded. Everybody else was watching them talk as though they were fighting to the death, except Hermione, who was eating a biscuit and reading her useless facts book with an expression that suggested she'd uncovered the meaning of life.
"Percy values his career more than his family," Mr Weasley continued with a sigh. "He also forgets that had he not been headboy, he most likely wouldn't be where he is now. His family was his first loyalty. Then Dumbledore. And now Fudge..." He rubbed his balding head wearily. "I hate to think where he's going to end up next."
"When did you last speak to him?"
"About a week," Mr Weasley replied. He took the tea his wife gave him gratefully. "I have a good mind not to try and contact him again. There's no point, Harry..."
"Could I talk to him?" asked Harry.
Mr Weasley looked up from his paper, surprised. "I don't think you really should, Harry... I'm sure he'd be far less than delighted to know the boy he blames for 'causing uproar in the modern magical world' is his third cousin."
"Once removed," Hermione said from behind her book.
Harry nodded. He decided not to push the subject - but maybe some other time he'd try again. He didn't want to have a divided family, even if he was rather new to it.
Mrs Weasley stood up from the fireplace, brushing ash from her knees. "That was Dumbledore. He says that the Order can use the house for a headquarters again, and so a few members will be here fairly soon. They're flying. And Harry can also spend the rest of the summer here, with us, if his aunt and uncle allow it."
"Oh, can I?" said Harry, eagerly, his enthusiasm returned in an instant. "Please, Mrs Weasley, I'll do anything!"
She smiled. "I thought you'd say that. I've already told Dumbledore. He's checking with your aunt and uncle now, though I have a feeling they'll say yes."
Harry beamed. He turned to Ron, about to say something, but Ron was getting to his feet. He circled the table slowly to Harry's side, and paused, looking very strained.
"Can I have a hug?" he said, after a moment, as though pained by the request.
Harry grinned, stood up, and the two of them embraced like brothers. Ron was beaming into Harry's shoulder, and then Hermione, Ginny, Mr and Mrs Weasley joined in too. Harry could feel himself squashed in between everybody, somebody was patting his back, his glasses were slipping down and then somebody pushed them up. His face widened in the biggest smile to cross his face in an awful long time.
"I hate to break the moment," said Hermione's voice, sounding muffled, "but we've left Tonks upstairs and there was just a loud bang, I think she's broken something."
Sure enough, a few seconds later there was a sheepish call of, "Um... Mrs Weasley? Was this vase expensive?"
"One moment," Mrs Weasley shouted back, in an exasperated tone. "You'll all have to make your own tea while I sort this out... Arthur, there's food in most of the cupboards and you can conjure - yes, just a minute Tonks! - anything you want. Don't make a mess."
She hurried out of the kitchen as Tonks started to moan about broken ceramics all over the floor. Mr Weasley smiled at them all.
"Well, what shall we have?"
"Chips," said Ron, quick as lightning.
"I'd prefer something healthier..." said Hermione.
"Have we got any pizza?" asked Harry.
"Chicken nuggets," said Ginny.
"We can't have all that on the same plate," said Mr Weasley, smiling. "Your mother would tell you all of."
"No she wouldn't," said Ginny, "she'd just tell you off."
Mr Weasley chuckled. "I'll do pizza and chips. Yes, and some nuggets, Ginny, and pasta for Hermione, but you'll all have to help. I'm not a very good cook."
They all looked rather excited at cooking their own food, especially Ron who asked if they could maybe have burgers as well, but Mr Weasley drew the line. Hermione was put in charge of salads, and was the only one who went about the muggle way of doing things apart from a little conjuring work. Everybody else chose magic. And it went terribly.
Harry's pizza somehow managed to spread itself up the walls, and ended up with more cheese on the floor than on the dough. Ginny's transfiguration charm went terribly wrong, trying to turn apples into chicken. In all fairness, she did conjure chicken. Unfortunately, it was a live one. Everybody ran around the kitchen for five minutes trying to capture the escaped, plucked and roasted chicken, eventually managed to corner it. Ron beat it with a frying pan as Harry tried to transfigure it back into an apple. For some reason, it exploded.
So with the kitchen covered in cheese, tomato, bits of apple, cuttings from Ron's chips, ketchup and the spaghetti hoops that Ginny had attempted, they all sat down to eat. Only Hermione was clean. Everybody else was wearing most of their dinner.
"That went well," Ron concurred, taking one of his burnt chips from the plate and eating it.
Hermione raised an eyebrow at the ketchup splodges all over his forehead, absent-mindedly toying with a piece of pasta on her fork. "I don't know what you count as 'went well', but I've seen monkeys do a better job of feeding themselves."
"Rubbish," said Ron. "I think we did fine. For a first attempt."
Harry picked up a slice of pizza to eat, but the toppings just slid off onto the plate with a loud slop, some of it splattering up onto his already mucky jumper. "Ooops," he said.
"Oh, it's no harm done," Mr Weasley said cheerily. He'd made a sandwich, but he'd tried to do it the muggle way like Hermione, "just for the fun", and his fingers were now covered in plasters and marmite. "A few good strong cleaning charms and we'll be right as rain."
There was a series of very quiet knocks on the door. "I'll get it," said Harry, standing up and leaving his pile of pizza ingredients. Carefully, he left the kitchen and crept down the hall, desperately trying not to wake Mrs Black. Cringing at the loud creak the door made as he twisted the handle, he eased it open.
Professor Dumbledore stood on the front step, his long white beard shimmering in the evening glow, a pleasant smile on his face. "Good evening, Harry," he said, quietly.
Harry smiled, trying not to remember the time when he had smashed up Dumbledore's office in his rage about Sirius. "Evening, professor." He stepped back, opening the door carefully for Dumbledore to come in.
"I must apologise, Harry," said Dumbledore, as Harry closed the door behind him. "For my poor research sixteen years ago. I, like the rest of us it seems, had no idea that - why is there melted cheese in your eyebrows?"
Harry smiled. "We were making pizza."
"Ah, I understand completely," Dumbledore murmured, returning the pleasant smile, his eyes twinkling.
Harry lead him through to the kitchen, where everybody else greeted Dumbledore happily. Mr Weasley jumped up, wiped some of the marmite off his fingers onto a teatowel and then shook hands with a sheepish, "I must apologise for the mess. We were making dinner and Molly normally does the cooking..."
Dumbledore chuckled. "That's quite alright, Arthur, a little mess never did me any harm." He sat down on the only clean chair next to Hermione, stole a chip from Ron with a smile and then said, "Well. A new, and I'm sure well-welcomed member to the Weasley family."
Harry grinned. "Didn't you know, Professor?"
"I had no idea," Dumbledore admitted, his blue eyes sparkling even if the mild darkness of the kitchen. "It did come as a shock when Molly Weasley's head appeared in my fireplace. I was folding my socks at the time and lost my place, though for such good news, I'm sure we can overlook that little problem."
Harry then realised that Dumbledore was wearing one stripey red and yellow sock, and a spotty green sock on the other foot.
Arthur smiled, handing Dumbledore a plate of burnt chips. "I found the parchment, and it was quite a shock. I don't think any of us believed it at first, until we had it verified. But good news now, very good."
"Has the rest of the family been told?" asked Dumbledore as he took a chip, nipped off the burnt bit and popped it into his mouth.
"Yes, those who would want to know," said Arthur, smiling, though when he turned his back to get a glass of orange juice from the cupboard, Harry saw that he looked rather sad behind his glasses.
There was a further knock at the door which distracted them all. Harry jumped up again and crept to open it, and when he did, he found Professor Lupin and -
"Oh. You're here," said Harry.
Snape rolled his eyes, then turned his exasperated glare on Harry again. "The headmaster wishes to see me Potter, however, you can rest assured I'm going to leave as fast as I possibly can."
"Shhh, keep your voice down," said Harry, frowning. "You'll wake Sirius's mum. Come in."
The two wizards stepped in, and Harry shut the door, leading them through to the kitchen. Snape sneered as he saw the spaghetti hoops splattered all up the walls, but Lupin didn't seem to mind, sinking into a chair. He had to perch right on the edge of his to avoid sitting in a small heap of beans.
"Do sit down, Severus," said Dumbledore, pleasantly, gesturing to the empty chair.
Snape cast a contemptuous eye over the ketchup-covered chair, sighed, and then drew his wand from his sleeve. "Scourgify," he drawled.
It was the first time Harry had ever seen Snape worried. The expression on his face was un-nerving. There was the look of cold realisation in his eyes, as though he'd been waiting for this to happen for a long time and dreading it all the same, but next second, he had forced his face into a grimace and pushed the wand back up his sleeve.
"This house is disgustingly repressive on dragonheart string wands," he sneered. "Somebody else do it."
Hermione took out her wand, and was about to do the charm, but Lupin beat her to it, the charm cleaning the chair completely in a few seconds. As Snape sat down on it, Lupin shrugged mildly. "Odd. Mine's dragonheart string, and it seems to work fine."
Snape glared at him across the table, a look of deepest loathing on his face. "Don't look too pleased, Werewolf," he hissed.
"Severus," said Dumbledore warningly.
Snape fell quiet, and still glaring at Lupin, he sat back in his chair. Harry and Ron swapped meaningful looks. As Dumbledore leant forward to inquire how everybody's holidays were going, Ron muttered sideways to Harry, "Did you see...?"
"Yeah," Harry said quietly. "What do you think happened?"
"I dunno," said Ron, talking under the pretext of a long drink of orange juice. "Lupin's worked..."
"I know." Harry took one of Ron's chips. "What can stop a wand working?"
Ron was about to reply, but Dumbledore was talking to all of them, and so they both turned to listen. "Thankyou," said Dumbledore. "Now, you are all aware of today's marvellous discovery. Because of this, some new opportunities are open to us. Mostly concerning Harry's - "
But once again, he was broken off as there was a series of knocks at the door. Harry got up and headed wearily for the door, considering just leaving it open so that anybody could come and go as they pleased. He grasped the handle, pulled it open and said, "Just come in, don't bother wiping your f- " And then he stopped abruptly, his face dropping in shock.
"I got 'em," said Mundungus Fletcher, grinning up at him from the front step. "I 'ad to use a bit a force with these two though, but I reckons they'll be fine."
Harry's shocked eyes travelled to the two people tied up, gagged and levitating on Mundungus's left. Percy Weasley and Uncle Vernon both glared at him furiously, and it was hard to say who looked angriest. Fred, George, Charlie and Bill Weasley all stood behind Percy, grinning from ear to ear.
"Why - why have you tied up my uncle?" Harry said, still in shock.
"Dumbledore's orders," Mundungus beamed. "I - "
"Mundungus, I mentioned nothing about tying them up," said Dumbledore's voice from behind Harry. "I told you to request they come here, on their own free will."
"Well, yeah, but... I gots 'em, didn' I?"
Dumbledore rubbed his forehead wearily. "If the ministry hears of this, Mundungus, they are not going to be happy."
Mundungus chuckled. "Yeah, but I'm guessin' that these two aren't that 'appy either. Get 'em inside, lads, and watch you don't 'urt 'em."
Fred and George stepped forward, each taking the rigid Percy by an arm. "Oh, we will," they said together, grinning.
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