A Secret Never Told
Among the Clans
Harry Potter glared at the front page of the Daily Prophet, over the top of which a shock of ginger hair could be seen, before turning back to the stove to turn the bacon he was cooking. "It was supposed to be a joke," he said, flipping the slices with his bare fingers. "Har har, there's getting to be a lot of us, we really fill things up when we all get together, it's like a gathering of the clans. Hey, why don't we call ourselves that? Easier than saying the Pack, and the Pride, and the Weasleys—the rest of the Weasleys—and the second Pride, the Jordans and the Davieses and the Thomases and the Pritchards, and, and, and…"
Shaking the excess grease off his hand, he reached for a knife and started slicing the cold potatoes which sat on a cutting board beside the stove, still talking. "Next thing you know, everyone's using it, it's showing up in the newspaper, pureblood parents are using it to scare their kids off to bed—people are asking me how they can join the Clans, what the rules are, whether they have to live the same way we do or if they can change things around—what are you asking me for? I don't know any more than you! It was a joke!"
A discreet snicker from the seat beside that of the man reading the newspaper made him change the direction of his eyes slightly. "What's so funny?" he demanded of his sister, who looked up from the nursing baby in her arms to return his glower with equanimity. "And if you say 'But you said it was a joke…'"
"I wasn't going to." Hermione Weasley adjusted her second son's position slightly. "What I was going to say is that this all sounds very familiar." She smiled. "Only last time, the word was 'Pack'. And after that, 'Pride'."
"And look where that ended us up," said Ginny Potter, motioning to the breakfast table before she got up to replenish the supply of toast. "Anyone need more juice?"
"Me," chorused the trio of redheads along the table's other side, with Esther Weasley throwing in a last-minute "Please!" and elbowing her ten-minutes-older brother David, who stuck out his tongue at her. Their cousin Nadia ignored the ensuing bickering with the queenly supremacy that only being five to the twins' three-and-three-quarters could bestow, instead picking up her little brother's cup and shaking it.
"Brian needs more too, Mummy," she said, turning her brilliant smile and the bright green eyes she'd inherited from her father on Ginny. "Please?"
"Yes, more juice all around. If you two stop it this instant." Ginny's mother voice, half-inherited, half-learned, sent the twins shooting back into their seats with their hands in their laps, and had Ron shivering as he folded up the newspaper and set it aside in favor of the bacon Harry was now delivering to the table.
"I swear, Gin, every time you do that, I'm right back at the Burrow again," he said, helping himself to three slices, then waggling the tongs at Hermione, who held up two fingers with the hand not supporting little Luke. "Listening to Mum yell at…" He trailed off as he set the bacon on Hermione's plate. "Never really going to be over it, are we?" he asked conversationally. "Used to it, some, but not over it."
"Not unless we forget them." Hermione glanced down the table at David and Esther, who were sipping from their newly-replenished glasses and eyeing one another balefully. Clearly they were only waiting for a chance to be away from parental oversight. "Which I don't see how we can, given where you're going to be in about half an hour." She laughed a little, though her eyes gleamed momentarily with tears. "Of all the things we used to discuss doing when we grew up, helping run the shop Fred and George founded was never anywhere on the list!"
"Neither was single-handedly, or single-Pride-ly, changing the wizarding world," Ginny pointed out, accepting the tongs from Ron to serve herself two pieces of bacon, then flicking her right wrist and using her wand to drop one slice on each cub's plate. "And we seem to be doing that pretty well just by existing."
"Some days a little more actively than others." Harry turned off the stove and set the fried potatoes in the center of the table, hooking out the chair beside Ginny's with a foot. "Wonder how their newest member is settling in, down in the other wing?"
Draco Black stood in the doorway of a bedroom where the sun lay in stripes along the polished wood floor and watched a little girl sleep, deep and dreamlessly, her golden hair spread out behind her on the pillow. A small sound from beside him brought a smile to his face as his wife joined him, fitting herself naturally against him and sliding her arm around his back. "Been thinking of you," he murmured, dropping a kiss on her temple. "Glad you're here."
"How is she?" Luna asked softly, nodding into the room. "Has she woken at all?"
"Not a bit, and no nightmares, either." Draco grinned briefly. "Not that I'd let her." The smile fell away from his face. "She's had enough to deal with. Even just living with that so-called father of hers, even if he never went after her physically the way he did after little Ken…" He clenched his fists, then exhaled a long breath and consciously relaxed. "The pureblood supremacists have a lot to answer for," he said, "but nothing worse, to my mind, than that nasty habit of teaching their boys that they were the ultimate masters of the world. That everything would always go exactly as they planned it, that nothing and no one could ever stand in their way."
"Because so often, with the way their worlds were structured, the first thing they met that didn't follow those rules was one of their own children." Luna laid her head against Draco's shoulder. "And their most usual reaction to that was to get angry. Which isn't right, not at all, but I can understand it, at least a little." Her voice dropped half an octave, becoming somehow booming and masculine without waking the sleeping girl. "How dare you defy me? I created you! Now be what I expect you to be, or you'll be sorry!"
"Ignoring the fact that children are more akin to forces of nature than to anything which might conceivably become a recognizable human being in the near future." Draco laughed under his breath. "Cubs and other Clan-children, doubly so."
"Yes, speaking of which." Luna tugged at Draco's shoulders, starting him moving down the hall. "Dobby is listening for her, he'll tell us when she wakes, and Meghan will have her hands full keeping track of Irina and Jacob and Liam over breakfast, especially when her shift at St. Mungo's ran late last night. Besides, you have three lessons scheduled today, and there are bound to be reporters who want to talk to you after yesterday. And Moony firecalled while you were upstairs, he's hoping you can spare him some time around ten, since he has a free period then…"
Draco sighed, allowing himself to be tugged. "Probably he either wants to shout at me or tell me how proud he is," he said. "Or both. Maybe even a few words about apples and trees, and about not believing one's own publicity."
"Is it such a bad thing to do, really?" Luna paused at the top of the stairs, glancing back towards the open door beyond which Lucasta Runcorn was sleeping. "Stealing the children like her and her brother, the ones who need to be stolen?"
"No, but only when we have proof. And places to put them all." Draco looked around at the spacious hallways and commodious rooms of the house which had once been known as Malfoy Manor. "Though I have to admit, if the Clans keep growing at the rate they have been…"
Assistant Professor of Herbology Neville Longbottom said something under his breath which would have earned him a smack on the back of the head from his wife as his mother-in-law called his name from partway up the marble staircase which led down into the entrance hall of Hogwarts. "Good morning, Letha," he said brightly, turning to face her. "How are you?"
"I'm quite well, thank you." Professor Aletha Black beckoned him nearer. "Can you spare me a minute, or does Pomona need you right away?"
"No, I'm early." Mentally, Neville cursed the fact that he never had, even after so many years as a member of the Pride, learned to lie convincingly. "Is something the matter?"
"Why don't you tell me." Aletha spread out the newspaper she had been carrying under her arm, pointing at the headline. "I'm sure Remus or Danger, or both of them, will be stopping by the Manor Den later this morning to get the whole story directly from the source, but I have a full day of classes, so I thought I'd just ask you." She folded her arms. "What in the world was Fox thinking? Or was he thinking at all?"
Silently, Neville reached into his pocket and extracted a photograph, handing it across.
Aletha accepted it and glanced at it.
Her second look was decidedly less casual.
Neville breathed a quiet sigh of relief and tossed a salute in his father-in-law's direction as Sirius Black appeared along the balcony above them, trotting down the stairs to join them, fastening his Auror-red work robes as he came. "Morning," he said through a yawn, the silver-gray eyes he'd bequeathed to his daughter Meghan roving over his wife, the newspaper, the photograph—
A snarl started low in Sirius's chest, followed by a trio of half-understandable curses. Aletha looked up at him, her own brown eyes as cold as stone. "Usually I object when you use language like that," she said. "This time I'll make an exception." She turned back to Neville. "Scratch everything I just said," she informed him. "This is a perfectly good reason to make a few waves through the Ministry and get an unpleasant headline or two in the Daily Prophet. Maybe now Arthur can finally get that mandatory reporting bill pushed through."
"Don't hold your breath." Sirius scowled at the photograph. "And the best part is, I'm probably related to whatever piece of slime did this. Just tell me he's been arrested already, would you? I'd hate to get an official reprimand for going out and punching his teeth in." He blew out his breath at Neville's nod. "Well, that's something at least. Though these days, just because he got arrested doesn't mean he's going to stay arrested. It's enough to make you understand why the Ministry used the dementors at Azkaban all those years—surprised the hell out of me when I found out there was an actual reason behind it…"
"Magic, in its most basic form, is the conjunction of belief and power," said a precise voice at the edge of Ken's hearing—or was it at the edge of a dream? He couldn't tell. "While depriving lawbreakers of their wands robs them of a great deal of their control over that power, the power itself remains with them, and we have no way of removing it short of very drastic measures indeed."
"So the Ministry went after the other half of the equation instead," Ms. Crystal's voice took over. "Take away people's belief in a better tomorrow, or a better yesterday for that matter. Force them to accept the way things are as the way things always will be, simply because they can't remember or conceive of anything more than they have. Horrible from an objective standpoint, and in the case of mistakes being made, but very practical if you're the one tasked with keeping control over a load of immoral, obscenely powerful, overgrown juvenile delinquents…"
Ken scooted further down in the bed between the two small and softly breathing forms which had cuddled up to him sometime during the night, letting the confusing grownup words slide past his ears. They weren't important anymore. He wouldn't ever have to listen at doors and around corners again, and try to figure out from the scraps he understood how long he should stay away from his father this time. His biggest problems from now on were going to be keeping Butler the dog from stealing his food right off his plate and teaching Rory and Rosie it wasn't nice to swing the cats, though to be fair, the cats didn't seem to mind being swung, given the way they kept coming back to wind themselves around people's legs and purr.
Being a Weasley, he thought drowsily, was going to be very, very different from being a Runcorn.
In his mind, a family tree like one of Mother's—or was she going to be his mother anymore, now that he belonged to the Clans? He could ask Ms. Crystal at breakfast, which, judging by the good smells sneaking into the room, would probably be soon—spread itself out in an array of colors. He had a lot of uncles now, he knew that much (though not as many as he once would have had, which had made Ms. Crystal look sad when she told him so), and a lot of aunts to go with them, and a whole lot of cousins. And some of those uncles and aunts had very famous names, the sort that appeared in the books his sister would sometimes read to him, the sort his father had liked to put with the same rude words he used for the name Weasley. Names like Harry Potter, Hermione Granger-Lupin, Meghan and Draco Black…
He'd never realized before yesterday that Cassie's music teacher was the same person as the clever spy in Callie's storybooks, the one who'd pretended to be his own blood father and made sure the Death Eaters got tangled up with each other instead of being ready to fight Harry Potter and his Pack and Pride (more words that Ken usually heard used together with the rude ones). And there was one very, very important thing that hadn't been in the books.
He had his magic stolen, Mr. Fox did, before he started being a spy. All the time between when he pretended to die and when his sister came to be with him, he didn't have any magic at all. And he was still a spy, and a hero, and tricked the Death Eaters, and even their Master.
And earlier on in the war, Mr. Padfoot, Sirius Black, he lost his magic, and even got stuck as a dog, but he never gave up. He just kept fighting. And he could have kept fighting, and doing important things, even if he never got his magic back, because he's not just an Auror. He's a writer. He wrote a lot of those books Callie used to read me.
And you don't have to have magic to be a writer. You just need a good imagination.
I might be a writer someday. Or own a restaurant, or help run a shop, or teach something I know how to do, but I think I'd like being a writer. And since I'm Clan now, no matter what I am, I'll be a fighter too. He smiled at the coincidence of the two words rhyming. A warrior, who fights against evil.
But first I have to grow up.
He tucked the covers closer around himself and whichever twin was cuddled up to his front, removing a small thumb from a mouth by feel, then reaching around behind him to do the same thing to her sister. He had a feeling he'd be doing that a lot for the next few weeks, and months, and maybe even years, but that was all right. It was just part of being a big brother.
Ken Weasley. The words sounded good inside his head. He thought they would sound even better said out loud. Ken Weasley, and my little sisters are Rory and Rosie, and our mum's name is Crystal, and our dad is Percy…
Part of him would always be Kenelm Runcorn, whose older sisters were Calanthia and Lucasta, whose mother was Persis and whose father was Thackery, but that was all right. There was enough room inside his mind for both of them.
As long as Father doesn't come back anywhere except inside my mind. A little chill of worry ran through his happiness. If he was angry just because I said no to him, how much angrier would he get now, when I don't belong to him anymore at all? And would he try to hurt Rory and Rosie, or my new mum and dad, or maybe even Mother and Callie and Cassie like I was worried about before?
But if he could think of that, Ken knew, so could the Clan-adults. He didn't need to be too afraid. Everyone who was Clan would be looking out for him now, and for his sisters, both sets of them, and his mum and dad, and probably even for Mother.
Because that's the other thing Clan means. You look out for each other.
He sighed deeply and slid back into sleep. Breakfast could wait a little while. He was busy enjoying being safe, being happy, being among the Clans.
This was originally intended to be seven unrelated scenes. It has just become an interconnected story. Hope you enjoy! But please do remember, this is an AU of the future of the DV. I will not confirm or deny that anything in this story will or will not happen in the mainverse…but it sure makes you think, doesn't it?
Yes, I am working on Surpassing Danger. No, I don't know when the chapter will be ready. Yes, I am still posting on this site. No, the emails aren't currently working. Yes, I do have two original novels (A Widow in Waiting and Homecoming) and a Christmas special out there. No, they haven't made it big yet, but a girl can dream, can't she?
I think that covers everything. Thanks as always for reading, and please take a moment to review with one line or moment you liked (or didn't, if something struck you wrong)! It really does matter!
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