Chapter 6: Living Legacy

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August 1881

Remus led the carriage across the Queen’s Bridge, and Harry and Rose glanced at the River Lagan mournfully. They’d grown up on the sounds and supplies of this river, playing by it as young children and walking by it as they grew older. On the rare days when the servants could relax, Sean had brought Harry to the river to have fun. It was a source of happy memories for them. And now, it would be the last bit of their home they said goodbye to.

The carriage suddenly stopped. The horses were restless. Harry looked up to see that Remus was still and looking ahead of them at the other side of the bridge. A figure was standing there – with sharp teeth in a sinister grin.

“The doctor!” Harry recognized. “The one that bit me!”

“That’s no doctor,” Remus said, pulling a short rod of wood from his sleeve – a magic wand, it seemed. “Come close and you forfeit your life, Rosier!”

“Don’t be so cold, Lupin,” Rosier cooed. “I just want another taste.”

“Over my dead body!” Remus challenged, riding toward him. Rosier leapt aside and threw his hand toward Remus, but the brunette ducked. A building behind him was struck as if by a cannonball, raining debris down toward the street. “GO!”

“HYAH!” Sean snapped, whipping the reigns while Remus returned invisible fire with his wand. Rosier dived out of the way and grabbed onto the side of the carriage, causing Rose to scream. Marie swatted him with the crop, causing him to slip, but he threw out his hand.

BAM!

The bridge cracked in their path, and Sean urged the horse to leap the dropping height, the rear wheels catching on the ledge before being shoved – Remus had stretched out his hands in both directions, pushing the carriage up while throwing Rosier away. He jumped the crack and joined them as they turned on the road into Sailortown.

“Go to the docks!” Remus ordered.

“But there’s no ships leaving here—”

“JUST DO IT!” Remus yelled.

CRASH!

The carriage jostled as the ground between it and Remus exploded, forcing him away. Sean drove the carriage onto the Queen’s road while Remus attacked the assassin. The drydocks were full of ships in various stages of completion. A loud bang startled the workers atop the SS Coptic, sister to the Arabic, and she screamed out as she slid into the river prematurely.

Out of nowhere, Rosier appeared on the top of the carriage, and Marie screamed as she was kicked off. Sean grabbed her arm to stabilize her while Rosier dropped down to the panel in front of the doors, smirking at the children inside.

Harry kicked hard on the doors, throwing them open and forcing Rosier to stagger back, but he leapt with impossible agility and balanced himself on the harness borders. Remus rode alongside the carriage and collected Marie, helping her jump onto the panel before grabbing Rosier by the leg. Rosier kicked him away and leaning against the carriage to reach inside and grab at Harry.

“RIGHT!” Remus ordered. Sean yanked the reigns to turn the carriage, destabilizing Rosier and making him slip down on top of Marie, who tried to kick him off the carriage. Harry kicked him hard in the face—

The horse leapt into the air, and they gasped as it passed over the rail, with the river in its path. However, it didn’t crash into the water. Instead, the horse rode across the water as if it were road.

Harry grabbed the safety handles of the carriage to brace himself as he kicked Rosier, causing him to fall off of the carriage and into the river. He grabbed Marie’s hand, and the carriage banged into the road on the other side, jostling them so much that Marie fell into the cab while Harry fell out.

A hard turn to the left sent Harry sliding off the panel, but Remus caught him and pulled him up onto his horse, riding ahead of the carriage toward the bay.

“Where are we going!?” Harry yelled.

“The cliff!” Remus replied, glancing behind them. “We need to get altitude!”

“AHHH!” Harry yelped as he was pushed off the horse toward the water as they turned along the rocky shore. Remus kept a tight grip of his arm and Harry tried to keep his leg up on the horse.

“I’m going to swing you!” Remus said. “Step on the ground and kick yourself up!”

“I can’t!” Harry protested.

“YES, YOU CAN!” Remus argued, dragging Harry down farther. Harry's leg slid off, and on instinct, his feet bounced hard on the ground, throwing him back up. Remus grabbed him around the waist and pulled him in front of himself, turning the horse down the beach road up the slow incline. The rocks to their left crumbled, but the horse easily jumped such a barrier.  

“Where is he?” Harry asked, looking around in fright.

“SEAN!” Remus screamed behind him. “JUMP THE RAIL!”

“Jump the what!?” Sean yelped. Remus rode hard toward the railroad track ahead of them and jumped over it, glancing behind him. The carriage horse leapt over it as well, and the carriage shook unsteadily as it landed on the other side.

“ROSE!”

“She’s okay,” Remus assured Harry. He jumped over a narrow set of stairs next, and Harry could hear Rose yelling as the carriage bounced down behind them. They were in a residential area now of small cottages with winding roads leading to a small graveyard.

Remus took out a whistle and shoved it into Harry's hand. “Blow that when I say,” he instructed, riding past the graveyard and turning toward the underside of the rail bridge. “NOW!”

PHWEEEEEET!

The thin blanket beneath the horse’s saddle fluttered up and off just as the skirts of Harry's costume had when it had been thrown to Dudley and Piers. From beneath, wide feathered wings burst forth at the end of the tunnel, and the horse kicked off at the end of the path overlooking the cliffside, flying over the water effortlessly. The horse of the carriage behind did the same, and wing-like sails struck out from the underside between the wheels for stability.

They were flying.

They were flying!?

Remus drove the winged horse up into the air, allowing Harry to see the lights of Belfast fade behind them under the bright red glow of the sunset that they turned away from out over the bay.

A moment of quiet allowed Harry to look onto the shore of Ireland in wonder, appreciating its beauty and majesty. These fields and streets had raised him. These beaches and bays had reared him. And he gazed over Remus’ shoulder at them in complete awe as the horses brought them higher into the cloud bank.

They were in the sky for about half an hour, long enough for the sun to fully sink beneath the horizon, before Remus steered them down to a soft field atop a mountain across the Irish Sea. He came to a stop and slid off the horse, then caught Harry who slid down.

“Are you okay?” Remus asked, looking Harry in the eye.

“Yeah, I think so.”

“You three alright?” Remus called to the carriage as Sean stumbled down from the driver’s seat.

“We – we – we were…flying?” Sean asked, looking stricken.

“Yes,” Remus said chipperly, patting his horse, who fluttered its wings. “It makes it easier to cross the channels, you know, and cuts down on travel time.”

“Flying?” Sean asked again.

Remus chuckled before opening the carriage. “You girls okay?” They both nodded. “Can you make a little room for Harry?”

“Of course,” Marie said, pulling Rose up into her lap. Harry timidly got into the cab again and Remus beckoned Sean over.

“You, too, in the floorboard. It’s cold up in the air and you don’t look steady enough to drive.”

“Where are we going?” Rose asked.

“Edinburgh,” he said.

“What’s there?” Marie asked.

“A bit of shopping, a healer for Harry, and a friend of mine,” Remus listed. “From there it’s a straight shot to Potter Manor up in the cairns.”

“Potter Manor?” Harry repeated. “Wait – my dad’s from Scotland? Petunia always called him British.”

Remus laughed. “No. James was raised in Scotland until he was seven, then spent five years in China with his mother’s family. His father’s family have been Scots for generations, as long as anyone knows. You’ll be safe at the Manor. I’ve been working hard to repair its wards. But we need some supplies and help first. We should be in Edinburgh before dinner. Hang tight.”

~~~

They flew at a gentler pace this time, and it was two hours before they could see lights below them again. The horses landed in between three large hills along a path and Remus re-covered their wings. Sean returned to the driver’s seat and they rode out of the park and back onto civilized streets. The buildings seemed to be taller than in Belfast, but it otherwise looked just the same, though older, with more traffic circles.

As they approached the castle, Remus turned them under the arch of an Inn’s inner yard, finally stopping and looking around.

“Well, it’s about time!” Harry looked out the window to see a dark-skinned Scottish woman in a blouse and simple skirt with her hands on her hips.

“We’re not even late,” Remus complained, dismounting. “I told you we’d be here for dinner.”

“Any trouble?” She asked, glancing at Sean as he helped Marie out of the carriage. “Who’s this?”

“Sean Figg,” Remus introduced, “and his mate, Marie.”

“Figg – Arabella Figg’s son?” the woman asked.

“Yes, ma’am,” Sean frowned.

“This is Amelia Bones,” Remus introduced. “She was Lily’s best friend.”

“Galloping gargoyles,” Ms. Bones said, looking at the children as they left the cab. “They’re the spitting image, aren’t they?”  

“Nearly,” Remus said, stretching. “Tom!”

“Mr. Lupin,” a hunch-backed innkeeper said, grinning toothily at them. “I’ll manage your horses. Best get inside. Supposed to rain tonight.”

“Doesn’t it always,” Remus sighed. “Come on. Let’s get some food.”

They walked under a sign reading The Leaky Cauldron into the dark but loud pub’s side hallway. Ms. Bones took them up the narrow stairs and onto the mezzanine, which was quieter and more private, and they sat down around a table in the corner near a small iron stove.

“Six soups, chef!” Ms. Bones called over the banister.

“Soups up!” he called back. A moment later, six bowls of soup levitated up and settled down one at a time before the patrons.

Harry stared at the bowl before biting his lips. “This is a magical pub?”

“Of course,” Remus smiled. “Mages need to have a place to drink, too.”

“Is that what you’re called?” Rose asked. “Mages?”

“Yes,” Remus nodded. “Hmm. I suppose this is a good time for some of those questions that I’m sure have been brewing. I did my best to explain my actions with the Dursleys. I hope you weren’t confused.”

Not confused? Harry thought. How could he not be confused? His entire world had been flipped upside down in two weeks. “You’re British,” Harry said softly, looking around at the pub. “My mother was Irish. My father was Chinese and Scottish. How do you all know each other?”

“Hogwarts,” Ms. Bones said.

“We all went to school together,” Remus explained. “There aren’t very many mages in any country. We’re rather rare, and magic is passed down through bloodlines except in rare cases like Lily and Rose. There’s not enough of us to have a school in each country or city, so all of the young mages in the United Kingdom go to the same school called Hogwarts. You two can go as well.”

He reached into his robe and removed another one of the nefarious letters that had been haunting Privet Drive for two weeks, setting it down on the table before Harry.

“Mages begin their magical training once they’ve started puberty. For the past 100 years, that’s been regulated to the age of thirteen – after you’ve had enough muggle school to know basic reading, writing, arithmetic, science, and history.”

“But why do I have magic?” Harry asked.

“Why?” Remus repeated, frowning and tilting his head.

“How?” Harry clarified. “I mean….where does it come from?”

Ms. Bones chuckled into her soup. “Oh, he’s definitely James’ son. Ever the philosopher.”

“Perhaps for tonight, we could just stick with more personal topics,” Remus suggested. “After all, your teachers at Hogwarts can tell you all about things like that.”

“Aunt Lily could use magic,” Rose said, “but mum couldn’t. Why?”

“There is an answer – a long one – but to put it simply, they were born that way. Lily – and you, too – are what we call ‘Muggle-borns’. Muggles are people without magic like your father’s family. James’ family on both sides has had magic for a very long time, which makes them what’s called ‘Purebloods’. Those in between like you, Harry, are called ‘Halfbloods.’ There’s a bit more to it, but that’s the basics.”

“So,” Harry said, “my parents when to school together and fell in love? Then what happened? I mean…how did they….”

Remus sighed and put his hands together on the table. “I figured you would want to know that. The truth is, it’s a long story. When I was a kid, there was a powerful wizard who decided to use his powers for evil. He wanted to take over the magical community, to rule over us. He was a terrorist and a murderer with a private army. He recruited mostly Purebloods, so naturally, he tried to recruit your father after school. James refused. The Potter family is famous for their healing skills. James wanted to help people, not hurt them. This wizard didn’t like that answer and started hunting James to try to force him to join him. He killed James’ parents at Potter Manor – James never found out how he even got through the wards.”

“Lily wasn’t about to let that happen, though,” Ms. Bones continued. “She was fiery and very protective of those she loved. Once she’d fallen for James, there was no stopping her. She and I became Aurors – magical police – to put a stop to the wizard. That made Lily his enemy as well. When she got pregnant, James tried to take her to China to hide, but this wizard – he found them and stopped them from leaving. James was able to save Lily, but he was badly injured. They went into hiding after that.”

“Where did they go?” Harry asked.

“A place called Godric’s Hollow down in England,” Remus said. “One night, the wizard showed up there. He found them through a spy. He tried to kill Lily, but for some reason left her for dead and went after James. He was protecting you. They fought while Lily used the last of her magic in the way I described earlier – to protect you through her bloodline. James was killed, but he cast a powerful curse with his death, and when the wizard tried to kill you, that curse activated. The wizard was defeated, but at the cost of your parents. The curse left its mark on you.”

He nodded to Harry's wrist, and Harry lifted his sleeve to look at the lightning-like scar. “But where was this?” Harry asked. “I mean, it wasn’t there before. I had a birthmark there of a clover.”

“Clover?” Ms. Bones repeated.

“He means this,” Remus said, pulling out a small charm on a decorative string. Harry looked at it. It was three spirals attached in the centre. He turned it over and saw that it looked just like his birthmark. “It’s called a triskelion. It’s the symbol of the Potters. It’s the ancient Celtic symbol for eternity. I couldn’t save your parents that night. By the time I arrived at the cottage, they were dead. I found you, bleeding, distraught, trying to ‘wake up’ your father. You didn’t understand. How could you? You were just a babe. I wanted to take you myself. I brought you to my home, but Dumbledore—”

“Who?” Rose interrupted.

“The Headmaster of Hogwarts, a powerful good wizard,” Ms. Bones explained.

“He met me at home and explained about Lily’s spell and James’ curse. He figured it out by examining their bodies and the cottage. He tried to heal your scar, but all it did was cover it up and cause that mark to appear. He also tried to disguise you so that you could be hidden more easily – to ‘change the way you looked’, but the spell backfired and all he managed to do was affect your eyesight. He’s a powerful wizard, but your parents magic and your own were going haywire, interfering in all of his efforts. He knew that you would be safe with Petunia, so I took you there. I tried to keep an eye on you, but I couldn’t get too close without arising suspicion. Almost as soon as I dropped you off, people were hunting me down to find you. I had to go to China just to get away from them.”

That explains his clothes, Harry thought. “So that’s why you didn’t raise me or visit?”

“It was too dangerous for anyone to get close to you from our world,” Ms. Bones said. “Even our government had to stay away, or they would have drawn suspicion for intervening with a Muggle family with no known mages. We had no choice but to leave you to your aunt. Rosier was just the beginning – Voldemort had hundreds of followers.”

“Voldemort?” Harry repeated. “Is that his name, the one who killed my parents?”

“Pseudonym,” Remus corrected. “No one knows his real name. Some say that he was French because the name has meaning in French – Thief of Death, whatever that means – but no one knows for sure. What we do know is that his followers are still out there. Plenty of them scurried away into hiding as soon as he died, but they’ve still been following his teachings, including hunting you down. They think that because James’ curse killed Voldemort, that you, the tamer of that curse, can undo it and bring him back.”

“That’s impossible, though,” Ms. Bones assured him. “No magic can bring back the dead. Besides, your magic is still young. It’s taken this long for it to recover from what happened that night. It’s been passive all these years, nothing as explosive as Rose. I think it’ll grow faster now that it’s not working so hard to keep you alive through their nonsense, but that’ll take time.”

“I don’t understand,” Harry admitted.

“Magic is…complicated,” Remus said. “It’s capable of a lot, but there are rules to it. Different families have different types of magic – like specialties. The Potter family is known for their healing powers. Your magic has been healing you and saving you all these years – mending bones, salving bruises, warding off infections, managing hunger. It’s been quite overworked thanks to the Dursleys. Now that you’re away from them, your magic will grow quickly, so it’s all the more important to get you trained up.”

“Hey, wait,” Rose said, frowning. “Where’s my letter?”

“Next year, cub,” Remus said. “You have to be thirteen to start Hogwarts.”

“Did you go?” she asked Sean.

“Me? I’m not a mage,” he refuted.

“But they know your mother,” she pointed out.

“Arabella isn’t a mage,” Ms. Bones said. “Her family is too weak for that. Magic comes in different strengths. The Potter family is powerful. The Figg family is weak. They don’t have enough magic to cast spells, but they have enough magic to detect magic and sense it – they can see ghosts and magical creatures and things like that.”

“I asked Sean to keep an eye on you years ago,” Remus revealed. “He was the right age to start work as a servant, and he could look after you without anyone suspecting him because he’s not a mage. His mother was very helpful to us during the war against Voldemort as a spy. People like the Figgs, who don’t have enough magic for spells, commonly still have a place in our world – just…a less grand place than mages.”

“We’re often servants,” Sean admitted. “But after a few generations, our magic can get strong enough just from being around magic to rise up into the ranks of mages. I don’t have enough magic for that, but maybe my kid will.”

“Our kid,” Marie corrected.

“Eh!?” Sean panicked. “We’re not even married, love.”

“Is that a proposal!?” she beamed happily.

Harry stood up slowly and went to the rail, ignoring their banter. He didn’t feel anything at all – or rather, he felt so much all at once that he couldn’t even understand it all.

~~~

Without even remembering going to bed, Harry awoke the next morning on the floor of a room of the inn. There were two sets of bunked beds, and Remus and Sean were fast asleep on both bottom bunks. It was still dark outside, but Harry could feel that it was around five when he normally woke up for chores.

Chores, he thought to himself as he wrapped the blanket around himself and stood at the window, looking out at the empty streets. What will happen to the house? What about the other staff? What about Petunia? Would she become a nun, or die in a poorhouse? And what about my father’s house? Remus said he's tried to repair it, but he also said that he was in China for years. I feel like I can trust him, but I don’t know why. Is he familiar? Do I remember him on some level? Was he really friends with my father?

A cold rush went up Harry's spine and he shivered against it, closing his eyes tightly.

~~~

Hazel eyes stared out the window at an unfamiliar street, frowning at the whispers he could make out from the people below. He could tell what they were saying, but….

“I know that it’s hard, Jamie,” a patient man said, “but you have to give it a chance.”

<<No,>> James said in Mandarin. <<Why can’t I just go back home? Why do I have to go to this school? I’m already ahead of them. And they won’t want someone like me around.>>

“Don’t say that,” the man said softly. “And speak in English. You need to get used to it again.”

“My English isn’t as good,” James argued, turning to face the dark-haired man. “I’ll be a fool. They won’t want me here. Please, father, just let me go home.”

“Jamie, you’re the last Potter,” his father said. “You’re to inherit our estate – an estate that’s been in our family for two thousand years. You want to give up an estate that’s older than the Chrysanthemum Throne just because your English might be a bit choppy at times?”

“They don’t teach martial arts here, and magical theory is only in the first year. It’s inefficient. All they care about is that stupid sport. Hogwarts is five-hundred years younger.”

“It has its own tradition and history,” his father argued. “And you are part of that history. You’re half-Scottish, James. I know that you connect better with your mother’s heritage, but can’t you try? Just give it a chance, please? For me?”

“Shall I play in the dirt with the other barbarians?” James scoffed, looking away. “Would you prefer I wear a skirt—”

“—kilt!—”

“Father, I don’t look like them at all. I don’t belong here! You cannot force a duck to burrow in roots. My blood may be Scottish, but my face is not. I’ll never be enough for them.”

“Enough?” his father repeated, looking into his shaky eyes. “Is that what you’re afraid of? That they won’t think you’re Scottish enough? James, you’re half-Chinese and half-Scottish. They’ll never expect you to be fully either.”

“They accept of me in China,” James pointed out.

“You have been here all of one day. Give it a chance. You don’t know anything about this world. Open your heart and let it in. You may find that you have a Scotsman hidden under all those silks and proverbs. You are my living legacy, son.”

~~~

The Leaky Cauldron concept art by Julia Blardat

“Do you always wake up this early?” Remus asked. Harry opened his eyes and slowly focused on the amber light that painted the street. Another strange dream? Were they dreams? But what else could they be?

“Servants’ life,” Sean yawned. “So, where are we off to?”

“A bath,” Remus announced. “We all smell like road, and Harry has charcoal on his arms and ankles.”

Harry looked down and saw that he did, indeed, still have the remnants of the coal cellar buried under his fingernails. How many days had it been since he’d properly washed? He couldn’t remember. Marge’s cruelty had kept him exhausted, starved, and unkempt as part of her punishments.

“Did you get hot last night?” Remus asked Sean as he pulled on his brown robe, glancing at the sheet on the floor between them.

“No, why?” Sean frowned. Remus looked up at Harry, who didn’t return his gaze.

“Never mind. Let’s grab the girls and go. These beds are lumpy. I know a better place nearby.”

They dressed and left the room but didn’t go downstairs. Remus spoke with Tom the Innkeeper about his carriage and horses before guiding them upstairs and out through an upper exit. It seemed that there was another hill astride the Leaky Cauldron, so they passed over a short walkway to a walled garden neighbouring a graveyard and church.

At the other end of the path, though, was something that Harry was quite sure shouldn’t be there – an Asian building straight out of a postcard or traveller’s book. It was three stories tall of dark wood with white screens and windows. It seemed to have been plucked from the Orient and placed obscurely next to the ruin of a manor house.

“What on earth?” Rose asked in confusion as they approached the building.

“Eastern sailors have a direct path to Scotland through the Arctic Sea,” Remus explained. “As long as they can navigate the ice, they can completely avoid the much longer Silk Road Passage. After Fleamont Potter married Ann Wen, more and more Eastern mages began traveling through that passage, using magic to aid them, and they settled in Edinburgh. There’s something of a town for them just on the other side of that Japanese bathhouse.”

“That’s a bathhouse?” Harry asked in awe. He’d though it was a mansion of some lordly millionaire.

“Aye,” he said, “one that can especially tend to your needs. They have healing waters here. Come on.”

They entered the magnificent structure and were welcomed by people in robes who spoke an Eastern dialect that Harry assumed was Japanese. Ms. Bones was apparently fluent in the tongue and negotiated their fee and stay. A moment later, the attendant hurried out of the room behind a half curtain and returned with two other people – a man and a girl about Harry's age.

“Ah Remus!” the man greeted, making a circle with his arms in front of him and bowing.

“Ah Wei Jing,” Remus chuckled, reflecting the movement.

“Shushu Lupin,” the girl greeted, bowing to him.

“My daughter, Cho Xiang,” Wei Jing introduced.

“Xiaojie Xiang,” Remus said. Harry realized suddenly that these strange words were titles of some kind, but he had no idea what any of them meant. “I don’t know if you’ve met Ms. Amelia Bones?”

“I have not had the honour,” Wei Jing smiled, bowing to her.

However, he stopped halfway and stared at Harry in shock. Quite suddenly, Wei Jing dropped to the ground, sitting on his legs, and bowed down to the floor with his hands bent before him, palms to the ground.

“Wen Xu Gong Gongzhi,” he said seriously as his daughter quickly mimicked him.

“Oh, um,” Harry blushed before dropping down. Remus quickly grabbed Harry by the underarm and pulled him back up.

“Harry – no – eh – Ah Wei Jing, you flatter. But Xiao Xu doesn’t understand.”

“Oh, forgive me,” Wei Jing said, standing and bowing to Harry, much to the teen’s bewilderment. “Please, follow me. I’ll take you to a suite where Gongzhi and his party may recover from your long journey.”

“Eh—”

“I’ll explain later,” Remus whispered, guiding Harry with a hand on his back.

They went into a side hall and climbed an impressive wooden staircase up two stories to hallways of sliding screen doors. Around the next corner, they climbed yet another staircase to what Harry felt was probably the top level.

“Gongzhi,” Wei Jing said, stepping to the side of the door with his daughter.

Remus pushed the doors open, bringing them into a garden with rooms around it like a courtyard. It had a roof, but with open pillars under the eaves to allow natural air that smelled so clean and fresh that Harry smiled. It was just starting to rain lightly, dripping off the tile roof rhythmically away from them. Wei Jing and his daughter hurried forward, opening doors to reveal matted rooms to the left and right, and a wooden sitting room ahead with a spectacular view of the ocean beyond Edinburgh.

“WOW!” Rose squealed, hurrying toward the window.

“Ah – Rose,” Ms. Bones said. “Don’t go inside with your shoes on. You’ll get the mats dirty.”

“Sorry,” Harry said, immediately attempting to step out of his shoes, but Remus put a hand on his shoulder and smiled gently.

“Ah Wei Jing, Xiaojie Xiang, thank you,” he said, doing that circle bow again. They returned it and bowed again to Harry, who tried to bow back but Remus stopped him again, before leaving and closing the doors behind them quietly.

“Why do you keep doing that?” Harry asked. “It’s rude—”

“It would incite competition,” Remus said.

“Huh?”

“If you bowed back to them, they would feel compelled to bow even deeper to you out of respect.”

“Respect?” Harry repeated in confusion. “What – for me?”

Remus hummed thoughtfully. “More for your family than you specifically. Wei Jing’s family, the Cho’s, are of a lower social status that your father’s mother’s family, the Wen’s, back in China.”

“What does – what is ‘ah’? I thought that was like a greeting or something.”

“It’s an honorific,” Remus explained. “It means friend. Honorifics are like titles, but in far eastern languages, you use them all the time, not just for formality, unless you are extremely intimate or closely related to the other person.”

“So that girl – Cho —”

“Her first name is Xiang, surname Cho,” Remus corrected. “Xiaojie means ‘miss’. You would call her either Jiemei Cho or Xiaojie Cho to be polite. However, she’d probably want you to call her Wanbei because she’s of a lower social status.”

“What!?” Harry coughed in disbelief. “No way! I’m a servant!”

Remus’ expression softened and he put a hand on Harry's shoulder. “Not anymore. And you never have to be again. You’re in your father’s land now, Harry. You inherit his status, especially in this community. Your grandmother’s family is one of the most influential Chinese magical families. They’re like royalty back in China. They’re treated with the utmost respect. Wei Jing called you Wen Gongzhi. ‘Gongzhi’ means ‘young master’ as in superior. It’s a high form of respect. It’s what people used to call your father as well.”

“Why didn’t they call him Potter?” Harry asked.

“Europeans did. The magical community is very complicated about names. Hierarchy isn’t determined by your father’s rank, but by the parent who had the most power. Your father, being biracial, had two names – Wen Xu Ning in China and James Potter here in Scotland. Those from China like Wei Jing referred to him by his Chinese name. Those from Europe referred to him by his Scottish name, and even they were very respectful. Your grandfather’s family was one of the oldest magical families in all of the UK, and one of the most powerful. James was a Lord in his time, a title that you will inherit when you come of age.”

“A…Lord?” Harry echoed. “Me? No. There must be a mistake.”

“There’s no mistake, Harry. You are your family’s living legacy. And I’m here to help you bear that burden. So is Rose – and Sean and Marie and Amelia. You’re not alone. It’ll feel like a lot right now – overwhelming in ways. But we’ll guide you through it.” He sighed and looked around. “First thing’s first, though. You smell like a cellar and you haven’t had breakfast. Teaching you everything that you need to know will take years, but making you look the part of the Heir of the Potter and Wen Clans – that’s much faster and easier. Come on Xiao Xu, let’s get you cleaned up.”

“Xiao Xu?” Rose repeated.

“Ah, I forgot,” Remus chuckled. “Wen Xu Gong is your Chinese name.”

“And Xiao?” Harry asked.

“Little,” Remus smiled. “It’s what your dad called you – Xiao Xu Gong, his graceful little prince, Xiao Xu for short since it’s cuter and humbler.”

“What did he call you?” Harry asked.

Remus looked down with an affectionate grin. “Lang’er….But that’s not appropriate for you. We’ve only just met again. Why don’t you just call me Remus? We can worry about honorifics once you learn a little Mandarin and can say hello without cursing someone’s family.” Harry gasped, and Remus laughed out heartily. “I’m kidding! I’m kidding! Come on.”

~~~

NOTE: I really hope I'm using these Chinese honorifics correctly. I'm more familiar with Japanese honorifics. Please correct me if I'm using any Chinese wrong.

EDIT: I changed the names of Cho and her dad. I've found more authentic names - Wei Jing Cho and Xiang Cho. Cho can be a Chinese surname, but it's a first name typically, and Xiang means water.

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23 Apr, 2021 23:21

This story is awesome!