The Will of Alphard Black

Grimm Sister

Story Summary:
Alphard Black was a second son groomed to take a step back from the Head of Family responsibilities of the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black. That sole fact made up the bulk of his identity. That was why it shocked the ever-living hell of him when his favorite daugther challenged everything. It changed everything, and when Sirius ran away he seized his chance to let her know.

Chapter 01


The Will of Alphard Black

Alphard Black had been a younger brother groomed to take a step back from the Head of Family responsibilities in the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black. He toed the line, he did not set it or even maintain it. He had not been brought up to it. He was a respectable member of the Black Family, and that sole fact made up the bulk of his identity.

Alphard Black had never wanted the responsibility of his older brother and certainly not the duty required of his brother-in-law. He had not been surprised at his sister Walburga's marriage, though it had turned many heads in the wizarding world and even a few within the family. Walburga was born to make herself into the matriarch of the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black, and her grim determination to provide the reigning heirs to the family name had known no bounds despite the dramatic age difference between her and Orion. Orion was by no means weak or easy manipulated, and he was raised to command the family, but no one stood at chance when Walburga Black nee Black had made up her mind.

For that matter, the wife chosen for him was a woman who was not contradicted easily. She raised his daughters in the same vein and selected their husbands with the kind of precise care that would ensure their status would equal that of Walburga and exceed her own oft-lamented position, though never questioned as she was but the first daughter and third child of the secondary Rosier line.

So much was understood in Alphard's life. He never questioned it. That was why it shocked the ever-living hell out of him when his favorite daughter questioned everything.

Andromeda was the love of his life. From the moment that she was placed in his arms, he had known that this daughter would be his. The first, Bellatrix, had been taken under his wife's wing and Alphard knew that he would never have the chance to raise the first daughter of his family, the one inevitably destined for the greatest share of legacy and succession. As a second son, Alphard knew that he would be the one to take the second daughter under his wing. Even Druella would permit it.

Andromeda was his. While Bellatrix endured a terrible tuition under his wife and Narcissa fell into the middle of their dogfight and probably ended up little more than spoiled from their bribes in fighting over her, Andromeda blossomed under his exclusive wing. She grew up smiling, responsible, clever, outspoken and almost shockingly kind. She floated about the Family Reunions, fully confident without her older sister's need to dominate them. She was charming and winning.

Andromeda was also trouble, especially when Walburga's oldest boy seemed to realize abruptly that he could cause trouble at these functions. She laughed and encouraged him, even feeding him secrets that would aid his mischief. Alphard would never forget the conversation he overheard them having in an otherwise abandoned corridor during the July Gathering of 1970.

"Of course it was brilliant, Sirius," Andromeda said, "I'm just saying that you need to think...properly. You don't put frogspawn in Aunt Charis's tea, you put rosemary. She's allergic and won't admit it. However, my mother, the hostess, is aware and Aunt Charis knows it. Imagine watching her punish her cousin for what she sees as an attempt to poison her but will not admit was done with rosemary, to which she will not admit an allergy. Hours of subtle entertainment watching the feud escalate and untraceable to you because pinning down a culprit would require both women to admit what they pretend doesn't exist."

"I see," Sirius said with a truly wicked grin. "You're an evil genius, Andy, aren't you?"

"I just appreciate the subtle distinction in mischief that is difference between enjoying a bottle of merlot by the fire all night versus chugging a car bomb," she replied with a warm, mischievous smile.

"What exactly is in a car bomb?"

"When you don't have to ask, and only then, will I consider giving you one," Andromeda told him with a laugh.

Alphard was not entirely sure how to respond to his favorite daughter's conversation with one of his favorite nephews. It was reassuring that, however very different she was than most of her family, she knew them and felt a part of them absolutely. She knew the family inside out, and she knew how to survive and thrive within it.

It was actually something of a relief.

And watching Charis turn on Druella was first rate entertainment. Both women were masters of the kind of jibes only the truly aristocratic could wield properly.

"Quite a tip you gave young Sirius there," he told her when the party was over and he was certain that they were alone in her room.

"You don't disapprove, do you, Dad?" Andromeda asked, looking up hopefully at his face, afraid of his reprimand.

Alphard had smiled at her then. "We're in this together, Andromeda. By all means, terrorize your aunts to your hearts content, but never under any circumstances give that boy alcohol." She had giggled, and their bond had grown.

Raising Andromeda was the first responsibility that belonged solely to him, that was placed in his control and power. She was also the first person on whom the younger son of the non-primary line of the Black Family attempted to assert his will.

It was when she came home from her last year of Hogwarts and, the moment that they were alone, pulled him into her room and seemed to burst with girlish excitement. "Dad!" she practically squealed in a way that he had never seen her act before. She had even relaxed her posture and was practically dancing with glee. "I've got to tell you. Don't tell Mum, all right, but I met this amazing guy!"

Alphard Black felt cold. His favorite daughter did not seem to notice. "He's so brilliant, Dad! The way he talks...I've never connected with anyone the way I do with him and it's just - effortless for him! He's going into the Ministry now that we're out of Hogwarts, and he's already impressed the hell out of Barty Crouch. And he talked me into trying a job at the Department of International Magical Relations - just think! All these years dealing with the Family has been preparing me perfectly to work in liaisons to foreign countries - I have a shot an internship with the representatives to the International Confederation of Wizards! And he's coached me through it every step of the way, and he's so funny! He's the most genuinely good man that I've ever met, and, more importantly, Dad, he makes me a better person. He's just -"

"I hope," her father cut off her rambling, "that you have not taken such a leave of your senses as to fall in love with this boy."

"Dad," Andromeda gasped in surprise. "Daddy, what do you-"

"You know that you are not available, Andromeda," Alphard told her firmly. "Tell me the name of this young man so I may have the proper discussion with his parents."

"Dad, you can't be serious about that Dolohov match," Andromeda said, sounding as if she fully believed this truth. "I mean, please! I know Mum says but you - "

"His name, Andromeda," Alphard told her without wavering.

"Ted Tonks." The moment that she said the name, Andromeda changed. She sounded neither giddy nor uncertain now. She immediately regained her perfect posture and even thrust herself slightly forward in the dignified pride her family had perfected over centuries but rarely used to defend Mudbloods. Her eyes held a strength that he had never seen there before, that he had thought had not been passed into her genetic make-up.

Alphard Black drew back his hand and, for the first time in her life, slapped Andromeda soundly across the face.

She turned back, touching her face with the back of her hand and gaping in horror at him. Though she did not say it, Alphard could hear her cry out for the father she knew, the daddy he had been to her and not his other children. "You will never see this boy again, and you will not be taking a job at the Ministry. It will certainly not be in an underling position to a Mudblood British representative."

It was the first time that Alphard had wielded his authority and asserted his will as a male of the Black Family. It did not succeed.

Two weeks of screaming fights that shook the house and three duels between Andromeda and Bellatrix that nearly destroyed it later, Druella practically blasted a hole in the wall expelling Andromeda's personal belongings out of the front door and into the square. Andromeda's words upon the threshold rang through the house for days, "Be ashamed of me if you like, but I will not be a mindless trophy wife like the lot of you. That would be a disgrace to my potential." She left the house with dignity, waving her wand to effortlessly assemble her belongings into the Hogwarts trunk they had thought she unpacked for the last time, and Disapparated with a plop that Alphard did not know punctured his very soul for many months.

Not until a week later, when Alphard stumbled into the room that held the Family Tree Tapestry and saw that Walburga had blasted his favorite daughter off of it, did he realize that he would never see his daughter again, never think with pride that he had raised a daughter who would glide among the Family effortlessly and charmingly with quiet loyalty but no conformity.

It was then that he realized, looking at where his secondary branch connected with the direct line, that he had been protected by being the second son not designed to wield the power of the Black Family's collective will. With that authority came the responsibility for what came of his decisions. With the power over Andromeda's upbringing he became solely responsible for her behavior - and for losing her.

This along with the fury at her defiance - and far more, at her desertion - kept him from protesting on her behalf when his wife and Walburga ensured that her final prediction would not come true. No one in the wizarding world would employ Andromeda Tonks, as she became only a year after leaving her home. They married on the anniversary of the day that her mother had expelled her from her lifelong home. It was a large, public and even extravagant ceremony to which half of the wizarding world, including every single member of the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black, was invited. Alphard knew that they would not attend, and, by extension, he would not attend.

But he could do no work, could not muster words to speak to anyone, on the day that he stayed at home while his favorite daughter married a man that he had never met, a man that she had chosen over him. He knew that, whatever happened between them, she had been hoping that he would come. She had reached out her hand to have them both. She must have known that her mother would never accept him, but she had asked her father to look at Ted Tonks before condemning him.

Alphard knew this from the weekly letters that she sent to his office. At first he had not opened them. Then, one day, he had snapped and read every single word in one very long night. From then on, whenever he would receive them he would lovingly save them and pour over the words of his favorite daughter, the love of his life, his darling Andromeda. She was never surprised or discouraged that he did not respond, though he could imagine that her husband could not understand her grim resolution to continue to write to him.

Those letters were how he learned that, confined to the household chores she had mocked her sisters for being content with, she had perfected them to an art form. She opened a small business in her neighborhood selling her enhanced cleaning tools and self-help books on everything from cooking to cleaning to keeping a garden. She published under a different name and, quietly, started the small business Mrs. Shower's All-Purpose Mess Remover. Ted's sole salary at the Ministry did not allow her to expand it, and without being able to afford more stringent protections against the War on Voldemort, Alphard Black considered reaching out an unrequested hand to help his favorite daughter survive and prosper. Especially when, only a year and a half after their marriage, his daughter wrote to him that her first daughter had been born.

Of course, he knew that he could not do it. Not while he was alive. Especially when he learned that he was expected to die very soon, he considered leaving Andromeda her proper share in his will. But he knew that Druella and Orion would have it voided immediately.

Then, when his nephew Sirius, Andromeda's playful protégé, ran away from Orion and Walburga, Alphard seized his chance. He confirmed quietly with every magical law authority not connected with his family. Only in the direct line could a will be cancelled by even a wife with such bargaining power as Druella, and almost nothing could prevent the inheritance to the direct male heir of the Black Family, disinherited by his parents or not. Orion and Walburga could not stop him giving money to Sirius the way that Druella could stop him from giving Andromeda her inheritance.

That only left spending the rest of his life pretending to hate his favorite daughter, the one to whose marriage had become reconciled long ago. It was that she abandoned him to the rest of the Blacks that he could not forgive. He wanted to visit her home, meet her daughter, shake her husband's hand as he should have done all those years ago. He knew that he could not. He was a man of the Black Family. He was a second son of an ancient line whose responsibility was to toe the line of Orion's making.

That was all that Alphard had without Andromeda. Without defining himself as Andromeda's father.

As she learned that he was dying, Andromeda sent ever more desperate entreaties for news, for life, for some sign that her father still loved her. She wrote, in one of the last letters that he received, that while she felt bereft even of those she hated like Bellatrix and her mother, she had only even tried to stay for him. The loss of her father had left her incomplete, her life cracked. She wanted him to reach out his hand to her before he died.

He could not. He knew that he could not.

However, when the Will of Alphard Black was read, the humiliated executor of his estate was forced to deliver a large envelope to the disinherited and disgraced Sirius Black at the home of the Potters where he had come to visit for the Christmas Holidays. Inside were two keys to vaults in Gringotts, every well-worn letter from Andromeda that Alphard had ever received, and a short note to his nephew.

Vault 713 belongs to you. I request that you pass along the key to Vault 118 to your cousin Andromeda along with the letters enclosed here. Please tell her that I am more sorry than she could ever know that I did not have the courage to do in life what I should have done for her all along.

Alphard Black would have been vastly amused to learn that he was, posthumously, scorched off the tapestry like his favorite daughter. He and Andromeda were in it together again at last. Once his life was over, his debt to the Family was paid, and he was free to be Andromeda's father again.