All in the Family, p1
June 24, 2006
London, Greater London, England, United Kingdom
I, Sirius Orion Black, residing at 12 Grimmauld Place, London, declare this to be my Will, and I revoke any and all wills and codicils I previously made.ARTICLE I: Funeral Expenses & Payment of DebtI direct my executors to pay my enforceable unsecured debts and funeral expenses, the expenses of my last illness, and the expenses of administering my estate. Hopefully, I'll go out in a blaze of glory and spells and receive a hero's burial from the Ministry, making all of that a moot point. If I don't, try to guilt Dumbledore into footing the bill. Spending money on your own funeral just seems narcissistic to me.ARTICLE II: Money & Personal PropertyI give all my tangible personal property to my godson, Harry James Potter. If he does not survive me, it means that I royally fucked up my job as godfather and Lily's going to kill me all over again when I get to the afterlife. If such a case arises, I give that property to Remus John Lupin. Harry or Moony: Buy some new clothes, live it up in the family home, and do anything you can think of that would piss off my parents. Then make sure to tell mother's portrait all about it. In either case, the following legacies and bequests apply:
To Fred and George Weasley, I leave my Hogwarts school trunk and a sum of ten thousand galleons to go toward the research of new jokes and pranks, and the expansion of Weasleys' Wizarding Wheezes. Solemnly swear that you'll be up to no good with the money and make the world laugh, boys.
To Hermione Jane Granger, I leave the contents of the library at 12 Grimmauld Place. You'd likely end up reading and explaining them to Harry anyway, and you would appreciate them a lot more.
To Nymphadora Tonks, I leave twenty percent of my total monetary wealth prior to other legacies. You're the only blood family alive worth noting, Nymphadora. Well, with the exception of your mother and I doubt she'd want my money. Enjoy life, maybe quit your job… and for Merlin's sake, move out of that shithole flat of yours.
If Harry is still alive, I leave twenty percent of my total monetary wealth prior to other legacies to Remus John Lupin. Hopefully I can control my appetites for alcohol and muggle hookers between now and when I get offed so that's still a goodly amount of money. If not… mischief managed?
An additional sum of five thousand galleons is to be set aside for the future spouse of Harry James Potter. Lady, whoever you are, you're going to need some serious stress relief with his lifestyle. Enjoy some trips to really fancy spas or something, it's on me.ARTICLE III: Real EstateI give all my residences, subject to any mortgages to my godson, Harry James Potter. Harry, if you can talk Moony into it, give him a place to live. If not… sneak into wherever he's staying, take all his stuff, and move it into a spare bedroom anyway. If he does not survive me, I give that property to Remus John Lupin.ARTICLE IV: Residuary ClauseI give all the rest, residue, and remainder of my estate to my godson, Harry James Potter. If he does not survive me, I give my residuary estate to Remus John Lupin. Is anyone here sensing a theme yet? And the goblins can't give me an explanation for what this means in language I can understand, so if someone can figure it out, fill Harry in because I'm pretty sure he won't know either.ARTICLE V: GuardianOddly enough, the goblins didn't have a prewritten article for this and so I had to wing it. Since Dumbledore has cocked up any chance of my godson having a normal childhood, if this will is actually being recognized by the Ministry, it means that I have been cleared of criminal charges and would be named his guardian as per the will of James and Lily Potter née Evans. And since I don't want to go through the hassle of trying to figure out a list of potential people I trust to become his guardian, I hereby declare that my last act as Head of the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black is to emancipate Harry James Potter.ARTICLE VI: Head of FamilyIn accordance with those antiquated, patriarchal notions the Blacks were so fond of, my word still goes as far as inheritance of the Head of Family position goes. Sucks to be you and your hellspawn, Cissy. And you and Tonks, Andy, but I doubt you'd have anything polite to say if I reinstated you as a member of the family just so I could drag you into pureblood politics. Accordingly, I officially declare that my title should be passed on to my godson, Harry James Potter. Harry, just try the ring on and see what happens. If it burns your hand off, it means I was wrong. But if it doesn't, it means you inherit the entirety of the Black Family wealth. So… cross your fingers while you still have them?
Coughing, the goblin placed the parchment on his desk and took a sip of water before looking back up at them. "Before I continue, are there any questions?"
Harry blinked slowly. "Is there really a ring I need to try on that might burn my hand off, Carnac?"
"The Black family's headship ring has been known to… express its displeasure… with those who seek to usurp the rightful heir, yes." Pulling out a small black box, Carnac opened it before turning it to face Harry and Tonks. Harry furrowed his brow in confusion; there was nothing inside. "Luckily for your fragile human appendages, the ring is already in the possession of the family's new head and so I won't be forced to deal with the stench of burning flesh in my office today."
That was not the answer Harry had been expecting, especially given the sixth and final section of Sirius's will. "What? How? I mean… I'm the heir. You just said that. How could someone else have come in already and taken the ring?" It wasn't even as if Dumbledore was up to his old tricks and had collected the ring already in some strange attempt to 'help' him; the goblin had specifically said that the ring was in the possession of the new head of the House of Black…
Carnac offered a toothy grin as he tapped the parchment with one claw. "No, the late Lord Black said he wanted you to be his heir. He also said that he believed his family to be patriarchal. The latter is not true, and therefore neither is the former." Leaning over, the goblin opened one of his desk's drawers and withdrew a roll of parchment that he spread out on his desk to reveal a large and complex family tree. "The Noble and Most Ancient House of Black practices absolute primogeniture, meaning inheritance by the first born child without regard to gender. Sirius was the last remaining member of his branch of the family, forcing us to turn to a depth-first search in hopes of finding an heir. The disinheritance of Phineas Black, Alphard Black, and Andromeda Tonks née Black complicates things slightly, but in the end-"'Luna likewise found Narcissa to be attractive, and she fits with my requirements for a proper Lady Potter. Additionally, a simple depth-first search puts her at the head of the line to succeed Sirius as the head of the Black family. Marrying her would add considerable political power and assets to our cause.'
"Narcissa Mal… err, Black has the ring. Doesn't she?" It was more a statement couched in a question; Harry didn't even need Carnac's nod to know the answer. After all, Illyria had told him as much yesterday and she'd yet to be wrong about anything yet to the best of his knowledge. "Fantastic. Not that I really wanted to add the Black family to the mess I'm going to be responsible for, but I've got this sinking suspicion that it's going to royally screw up things as far as his will goes."
"You wouldn't be wrong, Master Potter." Digging the will back out from under the family tree, Carnac pressed his claw to its center again and did… something… that created a second copy as he drew his hand to the left. With a spare to work with, the goblin grabbed the nearby quill and began crossing out large swaths of the will. "Article Six, as previously discussed, is unenforceable for quite obvious reasons. Article Three is likewise illegitimate on account of him not personally owning any real estate; all that he believed to be his was in fact owned by the family as a whole and passed on to Lady Black when she assumed the headship. Article Two will be… problematic. While Lord Black did maintain a personal vault with us after it was bequeathed to him by Alphard Black, the majority of what he believed to be his funds…"
Harry had a good idea of where this was going. "Were in fact the family's funds, and went to… Lady Black. As did Hermione's books, since they're probably considered the family's property just like the house they're inside." That got him a grunt and a nod. "Okay. Not much I can do about that, is there? What about the rest of Article Two? And Article Five, for that matter?" The latter being a slightly higher priority than the former, because Harry was pretty sure that emancipation would allow him full access to all of his family's assets, making the loss of the Blacks' money and property… not quite immaterial, but far less of a blow to their future plans.
An answer to that question required Carnac to go digging in his desk again, pulling out an envelope that he tore open. Tugging out the letter it contained, he read it quickly before crumpling it up and tossing it back over his shoulder. "I took the liberty of consulting with our legal department about Article Five before sending for you. It wasn't his right to decide your future that was in question so much as the language he used when doing so. He ceased to be the head of the Black family the moment that he died, and so attempting to invoke that title as a form of authority was… a questionable decision, to be polite. In the end, though, it was decided that given he was in fact your legal guardian and therefore had the right to emancipate you, what self-assigned titles he wished to proclaim in the process were utterly irrelevant."
"And the rest of Article Two? Since I'm seeing a lot lines being drawn there?"
"He left behind barely enough to fulfill the bequest intended for your future spouse; roughly fifty-five hundred galleons in all." While a not inconsiderable amount of money, it was obviously far less than Sirius had expected to hand out upon his death based upon the numbers thrown around in his will. Carnac went digging for another letter, reading it just as quickly before letting it join the other parchment on the floor behind his desk. "Rather than try and determine the legality of voiding some clauses of Article Two but not others, it seems we're going to invalidate the entire article and fold the money in question into Article Four. That being said…" Carnac trailed off, shooting a glance back over his shoulder. "There is a chance, however, that certain bequests from Article Two may in fact go forward despite the late Lord Black lacking the authority to bestow them." After a slightly longer pause, Carnac looked back over his shoulder again and sighed. "Lady Black? I believe this is where you wished to take over?"
A throaty chuckle emerged from the shadows in the corner of the room and then Narcissa Black stepped forth, making Harry's jaw drop. While they'd met briefly two summers ago at the Quidditch World Cup, the woman standing in front of him was almost unrecognizable. The long, straight blond mane that matched her son and husband's had given way to pitch black curls, cut short enough for the ends to brush against her shoulders. The expensive-looking but very traditional green robes he'd last seen her in had likewise disappeared, replaced with clothing that was no less formal but quite obviously muggle in origin. Which wasn't to say that she didn't look good wearing a black suit jacket over a dark red blouse unbuttoned to show a hint of pale cleavage, paired with a matching black knee-length skirt. Just… different. Very different. "I believe so, yes. After all, you'd probably make a right mess out of trying to seduce young Mister Potter here on my behalf."
Smaller than I generally prefer to toss up for any one post, but it is a natural break point between the two themes explored in this scene while also creating a neat little cliffhanger. Also, I've had the weirdest stuff happen in the past when I try to clone my old hard drive to my new one as part of upgrading my laptop. So this way, even if I have to sit there fussing with Time Machine for a few hours to fix my computer up, this will be somewhere safe I can retrieve it from.