Harry Potter and the Return of the Heirs
By J.C. Vascardi

Disclaimer: All characters and places featured in this story which relate to Harry Potter are the property of J.K. Rowling, various publishers, and Warner Brothers. No money is being made on this story and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended. The only things about this story that I own are the storylines, places and characters which are not featured in the books.

Rating: This chapter, probably PG-13. However, this story will contain slash and it is entirely possible that future chapters may end up being rated R. So, don't say that you weren't warned.

Spoilers: Not many in this chapter, but there is the potential for spoilers from Stone, Chamber, Azkaban, Goblet, and Phoenix.

Author's Note: This story takes place during Harry Potter's sixth year at Hogwarts. I will be trying to follow the Order of the Phoenix canon as much as possible. I may however deviate from the canon occasionally if the story I am trying to tell would be better served by doing so. Now, I would also like to say that I am an American, so while I will try to use some of the British terminology that I'm familiar with to make this story more real, there will likely be instances when the characters may sound a little more American then they would otherwise. For those of you who care about such things, I apologize in advance.

Feedback is very much appreciated. I know some people who don't understand why feedback is so important to authors like myself, but I truly enjoy hearing from my readers, because it is really the only profit I make for writing the story. I took the time out of my rather hectic life to write the story, so even if it's only a very short note, I would love to receive as much feedback as I can. I am always open to any suggestions that my readers may have and if I like the suggestion, then I will try to incorporate it into the story. Even if you don't like the story, please feel free to let me know the reasons why, so that I can endeavor to improve both my writing and the story. You can contact me by email at JCVascardi@yahoo.com.

Chapter One

As the moon rose above Privet Drive, a teenage boy with a mess of raven black hair sat alone in his small upstairs bedroom. He was sitting at his desk, looking through a leather-bound photo album. The boy, sixteen-year-old Harry Potter, sat in silence as he looked at the wedding pictures of his good friend and former Care of Magical Creatures teacher, Rubeus Hagrid, to Madame Maxime Olympe, the Headmistress of Beauxbatons Academy. Hagrid had wanted to invite Harry to the wedding, and would have likely asked Harry to stand for him as his best man, but Professor Dumbledore decided that it would be far too dangerous for Harry to leave the Dursley's during summer break and travel to France for the wedding. So, Hagrid sent several pictures of the wedding and, while it wasn't quite as good as actually being there, Harry was glad that Hagrid had found happiness nonetheless.

It was a very peaceful moment, until suddenly the silence was broken as a very loud voice yelled from downstairs, "BOY!! GET DOWN HERE!!"

Closing the photo album, Harry jumped up from his chair and left the room. Within moments he was downstairs in the kitchen.

"Clear the dishes," said the same voice that had called him.

The voice belonged to the large and bulky mass of a man that was Harry's uncle, Vernon Dursley. Vernon, his wife Petunia, and their equally bulky son Dudley were sitting at the dining room table, having just finished dinner. The Dursleys hated having Harry in their home, so, over the past month or so, they'd gotten into the habit of eating dinner without him. They would then have him come downstairs, clear the table, wash the dishes, and then he could eat the leftovers of the night's meal. Of course, that was assuming there was anything left after Dudley finished eating.

Without saying a word to the Dursleys, Harry began to clear the dishes as quickly as he could. The Dursleys retreated to the living room to relax after dinner as Harry began the task of washing the dishes. Half an hour later, Harry was finished with the dishes, so he took the single dinner roll and the single cold slice of roast beef that was left from dinner and used it to make a small sandwich. It wasn't a very satisfying meal by any means, especially considering that he'd missed breakfast and lunch because he didn't finish his chores on time during the day, but Harry was used to not getting fed much by the Dursleys. Harry didn't starve to death, however, because his friend Ron's mother, Molly Weasley, was always sending packages of food along with the frequent letters that Ron and his brothers sent over the summer.

Harry was about to go back upstairs when his Aunt Petunia called, "Boy, get in here!"

"Yes, Aunt Petunia?" Harry asked as he walked into the living room, having just finished his meager dinner.

Vernon answered instead. "I got a raise at work and I'm taking the family on holiday to the south of France."

Harry knew that this would likely not include him, and shortly thereafter that suspicion was made quite clear when Dudley said, "You're not invited."

Harry was about to tell his relatives to have fun, even though he was secretly wishing that they'd all become shark food when their plane crashed into the sea, when his pet snowy owl, Hedwig, came flying in through the open dining room window and landed on his shoulder. As Harry took the letter from Hedwig's leg, his uncle, acting as if he had not even seen the owl fly into the room, said, "Of course, now the only question is what to do with you? I don't want you and your unnaturalness alone in my house."

Harry opened the letter and read it before he said, "Problem solved."

"What was that?" Aunt Petunia asked.

"I said 'problem solved,'" Harry said as he held up the letter he just got. "My friend Ron's mum and dad have invited me to spend the rest of the summer with them."

Vernon snatched the letter from Harry's hand, as if he didn't believe what Harry had said, and after a moment he asked, "Weasley? Aren't they those people who destroyed my fireplace two summers ago?"

"Yes, but..."

"Out of the question. I don't want them in my house again!"

"They won't have to come anywhere near the house," Harry said. "You'll notice that it mentions a portkey at the bottom of the letter."

Vernon glanced quickly at the bottom of the letter, before he asked, "What the hell is a portkey?"

"It's a magical transportation device," Aunt Petunia answered before Harry could. After a moment, she clamped her hand over her mouth when she realized what she had just said and cast a terrified look at her husband.

This was the second time in his recent memory that Harry had heard his Aunt Petunia volunteer information about the wizarding world. The first time was last summer after the Dementor attack, when he was trying to explain to his Uncle what Dementors were and Aunt Petunia said that they guarded the wizard prison, Azkaban. Even now, almost a year later, Harry still found it extremely odd that his Aunt knew that. She had told him at the time that she'd overheard Harry's dad telling her sister about it once, but Harry thought that his Aunt would have forgotten anything that had to do with the wizarding world. After all, it had been over sixteen years since she could have heard that word, and it was especially odd that she would remember it, considering how much she loathed anything to do with Lily and James Potter.

Vernon scowled at Petunia for a moment before he said, "I thought you weren't allowed to do magic outside of school."

"I'm not," Harry said. "Portkey doesn't count though, because I don't have to cast any form of spell. I just have to touch it at the designated time tomorrow evening and I'm off to the Weasley's house. You won't see me again until after school lets out next summer."

"Well then, go pack that trunk of yours, boy, and good riddance!" Vernon said as he threw the letter back at Harry. Harry just smiled sweetly at his hated relatives before turning around and leaving the room.

Sixteen-year-old Ryan Cromwell was sitting in a chair in the living room of his grandmother's small cottage, reading a large, leather-bound copy of 'Shakespeare's Complete Works'. Ryan was born in London, but for reasons that she never really explained to him, his grandmother Lucinda packed him up and moved with him to Asheville, North Carolina when he was ten. That was classic Lucinda Cromwell though, as she oftentimes made decisions for other people and just expected them to go along with it, with little to no explanation.

Some people would find that to be extremely annoying, but few people question it, because while Lucinda was nowhere near being the most powerful witch alive at the time, she was considered by quite a few to be somewhere in the top twenty. She had also gained lots of respect through her long and successful career as an Auror, and her late husband, William Cromwell, had been a very generous philanthropist in both the Wizarding and Muggle Worlds. After he died, she continued his philanthropic pursuits, so most people tended to overlook her somewhat overbearing personality because she obviously had a big heart and was always willing to help those in need.

Ryan continued to read quietly, rather engrossed in 'The Tempest,' when Frances Simmons, his grandmother's part-time housekeeper, walked in and cleared her throat, causing Ryan to look up. Noticing that Frances was wringing her hands and had a decidedly distressed look upon her face, Ryan closed his book, stood up, and asked, "Is something wrong, Frances?"

"Oh, Mr. Cromwell, sir, I am so sorry!" Frances said as she started crying.

"I asked you to call me Ryan, remember? Now, what's wrong?"

"I just came from your grandmother's room," Frances replied through tears. "Oh Gods, I'm so sorry!"

"Why? What's wrong with my grandmother?"

"I'm afraid she's dead, sir," Frances said.

"D-dead?" Ryan stuttered after a moment. "Are you sure?"

"Yes, Ryan, I'm sure," Frances said. "I was going into the room to change the sheets, as she is usually downstairs in her laboratory by now. When I went in I found her still in bed. I thought it was rather odd, so I got a little closer and that's when I realized that she wasn't breathing."

"Well, maybe she isn't dead yet," Ryan said in a desperate tone of voice. "Call a healer over here!"

"There's no need for that, Ryan," Frances said. "My mother was a healer for over fifty years, so she taught me everything she knew. I tried every spell I could think of, but she didn't respond. It's too late, Ryan, I'm so sorry."

"Oh Gods, NO!" Ryan exclaimed as he dashed from the living room and bolted up the stairs with Frances following close behind. Arriving in Lucinda's bedroom, it was just as Frances had said. Lucinda was lying on the bed, eyes closed, and as Ryan sat down next to her and grabbed her hand, he realized that she was indeed dead, as her hand was ice cold. Having always been very close to his grandmother, as she was the only mother he'd ever known, he threw himself down on her chest and began sobbing.

Frances looked on for a moment, before coming over and gently rubbing her hand in circles over the young man's back, trying her best to comfort him. Finally she asked, "Is there anything I can do for you, Ryan?"

Sitting up and wiping his eyes on the sleeve of his shirt, he looked up at Frances and said, "If you could take care of packing my belongings, I'd be grateful. With Grandmother dead, I'll have to move back to London with my Uncle Charles."

"Of course, Ryan dear," Frances said. "I shall miss you and again, I'm very sorry for your loss."

"Thank you, Frances," Ryan said as he dried his eyes a second time while Frances turned and left the room. Taking a deep breath, Ryan stood and walked over to the bedroom fireplace. He grabbed a handful of Floo powder from the vase on the mantle, threw it into the fireplace and said, "Cromwell Hall, Yorkshire," as he stuck his head into the flames to inform his Uncle Charles of the bad news.

Harry's Journal - August 7, 1996

Well, this is the first time I've actually sat down to write in this thing. This journal was part of my joint birthday present from Hermione and Ginny. Ginny didn't know what she should get me for my birthday, so she pooled her money with Hermione and they bought me a new eagle feather quill and a few jars of various colored inks. Hermione figured that giving me just a quill and ink with nothing to use it with seemed odd, so she then added this journal. Ginny was, for obvious reasons, rather leery about giving me a diary, but after Hermione's assurance that it was totally mundane, she relented.

I am so glad to be away from the Dursleys, although I am a little mad that the portkey took me to Grimmauld Place instead of the Burrow. It's hard to be back in this house now that Sirius is dead. I suppose I should at least be thankful that Kreacher hasn't shown up, because if I saw him right now, I'd get in big trouble. Not only for underage wizardry away from school, but also for using an Unforgivable, because I think I'd Avada Kedavra that wretched elf on sight. I know Hermione would frown upon that, but he deserves it after his betrayal.

On a more pleasant note, Ron's, Hermione's, and my OWL results arrived about a week ago, shortly after I arrived. We all sat down in the sitting room and opened them together. Hermione, of course, got O's in everything, although considering how much she studies, that really doesn't surprise me.

Ron's results were also a rather pleasant surprise, for both Hermione and I as well as him. I honestly think he thought he'd done worse then he actually had. Ron managed to get three Outstanding OWLs &mdash in Defense Against the Dark Arts, Charms, and Care of Magical Creatures. Mrs. Weasley was very happy about that. He got three Exceeds Expectations — in Astronomy, Transfiguration, and, believe it or not, Potions. I think not having Snape around may have been a big help. Acceptable in History of Magic and Herbology, and a Dreadful in Divination.

As for me, like Ron, I was pretty surprised with my results. I'd expected to get an Outstanding in Defense, but the rest of my results really shocked me. I have to thank Hermione profusely I guess, because she's probably the reason that Ron and I didn't do as badly as we'd expected. I expected the Dreadful in Divinations, because, quite frankly, I hate that stupid class. I got an Acceptable in Astronomy and History of Magic, which I'd say is pretty good, especially in History considering I can never stay awake in Binns' class. I got an Exceeds Expectations in Herbology and Transfiguration and Outstanding in Charms and Magical Creatures.

The really shocking grade though — an OUTSTANDING in POTIONS!!! I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw it. At first I was upset about that because it meant that I'd have to take Snape's class again, but then I thought, 'Maybe I'll get extremely lucky and Snape will be so shocked to see my name on his class register that he'll drop dead and we'll get a new teacher.' Wishful thinking I know, and I should probably cut him some slack because of the danger he puts himself in for the Order's sake, but it's hard to put the way he's treated me for the last five years out of my mind.

I can't wait for Hogwarts to start. The couple of times that Dumbledore has been around he'd hinted that we should expect a few surprises this year. I just hope they're the good kind of surprises. Of course, going off to Hogwarts also means getting out of this dreadful old house and away from the shrieking of Mrs. Black, who we still haven't been able to silence. Her portrait is still stuck on the wall downstairs and, try as everyone might, we can't find the necessary charm to remove it. I guess they don't call it a permanent sticking charm for nothing.

Speaking of Mrs. Black, she's just started screaming again, so I can't concentrate on writing anymore. I wish that old hag would just shut up!!

Sixteen-year-old Draco Malfoy emerged from his morning shower, and after drying his hair and wiping the excess water off of his skin, he wrapped the towel around his waist and went into his room to get dressed for the day. Having celebrated his sixteenth birthday only two days prior, Draco just couldn't help but think of his mixed feelings in terms of his next birthday. On one hand, he was happy that he was only a year away from his age of majority, which meant that he'd finally be able to do magic whenever he wanted without having to worry about the underage restrictions along with learning how to Apparate and the like. On the other hand, though, he also dreaded his seventeenth birthday because he knew that his father would very likely invite the last person in the world that Draco would want attending his birthday party.

If he told anyone that, they'd probably assume that he was talking about his arch-nemesis, Harry Potter. The truth of the matter was, however, that the last person that Draco would want at his birthday party was his father's master, Lord Voldemort. He never told his father, because he knew that his father would kill him for such a betrayal, but Draco made up his mind a long, long time ago that he was not going to follow Voldemort. Over the years, his father had done everything he could to convince Draco that it was his duty to follow Voldemort; that he would be betraying the honor of the Malfoy family if he didn't follow Voldemort. Lucius had even gone so far as using the Imperius and Cruciatus curses on Draco several times in order to convince him that Voldemort was the best thing to happen to the wizarding world and was it's only hope for survival.

Trying to convince Draco that he had to follow Voldemort wasn't the only reason that Lucius used the Cruciatus on his son, but it was definitely one of the main reasons. Draco has always allowed his father to believe that he had every intention of giving his loyalty to the Dark Lord and willingly accepting his Mark. It was for that reason that Voldemort was the absolute last person that Draco wanted attending his seventeenth birthday party, because he knew that Voldemort's 'birthday present' for Draco would be his Dark Mark. Draco wanted absolutely nothing to do with Voldemort, and that's why he feared the arrival of his seventeenth birthday. He'd always been told that Voldemort only gives his Mark to those people who agree to follow them of their own free will, but Draco couldn't help but think that somehow his father would see to it that Draco was Marked no matter what.

This birthday, however, had been by far the best he could remember in a while. His father was out of town for an extended business trip, so his mother decided to take him on a two-week vacation to Martinique. From what Narcissa had told him, Draco knew that her parents had gone to Martinique on their honeymoon and had then taken her along with them when they went back for a second honeymoon several years later. Narcissa loved it so much that she decided it was a place that she absolutely had to share with her beloved son. Spending quality time with his mother was definitely enjoyable, but what really made Draco happy about the trip was that Lucius was not around to place him under the Cruciatus Curse.

Narcissa and Draco left on their little vacation a week before his birthday, so after spending the last nine days relaxing on a tropical beach, Draco's normally deathly pale skin did get a bit more color to it. He was still pretty pale after spending most of his childhood indoors, but it was certainly an improvement. Narcissa told him that he looked much better now and she was quite happy that he didn't resemble a walking corpse anymore. Draco laughed at that and had to agree.

Draco had always enjoyed spending time alone with his mother, because when he was alone with her, he didn't have to put on the act that he put on in front of everyone else, especially his father. Lucius was insistent that Draco not show his emotions, saying that showing one's emotions was a sign of weakness and that Malfoys, especially Malfoy men, must never, ever be weak. If Draco showed emotion in front of Lucius, he'd be liable to be placed under the Cruciatus Curse for several minutes as punishment. With Narcissa, however, it was totally different, because she encouraged her son to show emotion and to not be the stuck-up spoiled brat that her husband tried to make him.

She fully understood that Draco must act a certain way in public, even if Lucius isn't around, in case word were to get back to him somehow, but when it was just the two of them, she encouraged Draco to be his true self and not hide behind the cold and unfeeling mask that his father had always insisted upon.

Draco had just finished getting dressed when there was a knock on his door and the kindly voice of Narcissa Malfoy asked, "Draco, darling, are you awake?"

"Yes, mother," Draco said as he opened the door and smiled at her.

"An owl just arrived for you, dear," Narcissa said. "Judging by the seal on the back, I'm pretty sure it's your OWL results."

Draco took the envelope from his mother and, after breaking the seal, he removed the parchment from inside, scanned over it, and then breathed a sigh of relief.

"What's wrong, Draco?"

"Well, I got O's in everything," Draco said. "Now I don't have to worry about father killing me."

"You never would have had to worry in the first place, my darling," Narcissa said as she pulled Draco into a hug. "I would never allow him to kill you. Congratulations though on your OWL results. You do your former Ravenclaw mother proud." After a minute longer, Narcissa ended the hug and smiled at her son before asking, "How about we go swimming for a little while before breakfast?"

"Sounds great," Draco said with a smile.

"Okay, just change into your suit then and meet me out on the beach in ten minutes?"

"Okay," Draco said as his mother flashed him a smile and left the room.

To be continued...