Chapter 1: Sun, sea and sin
I don't own 'Harry Potter'
Warning: character switching gender temporarily
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Summer. A time of rest and relaxation for school students, and a chance to wind-down before the madness starts back up again in September. The summer break was almost universally considered to be a golden opportunity to have fun and let go of school-related worries, either by going on holiday, visiting friends or family, or even just lazing about and catching up on some hobbies.
For most people that is.
Rose Potter was not so lucky in this regard. The young girl, who was also known by the title of ‘The-Girl-Who-Lived’, and also known – to a select few individuals – as the unwitting victim in a completely unprecedented accident involving the mysterious Veil of Death and an explosion of Time-Turner dust, was not so happy with this summer.
Time travel shenanigans aside, Rose had been anticipating a summer filled with travelling, hanging out with her friends, and spending time with her parents. Granted she had experienced some of those things, but the time of rest hadn’t exactly panned out as she had hoped it would. She certainly hadn’t expected this disaster.
“Oh do grow up brother, and stop whining about your lot in life. You are not the only person who’s had to deal with unwanted life experiences, so start acting like the man you claim to be and shut up!”
“Whining? I’ll show you whining, you old hag! And for your information, I was only expressing concern for the poor girl who now has to put up with your screeching banshee voice!”
“Hag?! Banshee?! You want to hear screeching? Well, why don’t we talk about that fact that you clearly have no idea how to contribute, and how I am the only one helping the child!”
“How, by deafening her? She might be a saint for putting with the crazy witch you are, but anyone would go mad after having you spout shit at them for hours on end!”
“Shit?! I …”
Apparently even with decades apart from each other siblings are still siblings, and rivalries will defy logic and stand the test of time. Marius and Cassiopeia Black were brother and sister, and while they had gotten on well enough as young children – for Blacks, that is – Marius’ disinheritance had changed things irrevocably. Cassiopeia had been unable to see her brother under threat of being married off against her will, and Marius had grown bitter towards his birth family and avoided them like the plague.
Their childish sibling rivalry had grown and twisted as they got older, though everything had reverted back to how things had been as children, as when the siblings – now in their seventies with well-established careers – saw each other again for the first time in decades, they completely disregarded any and all etiquette and descended into immature arguments and sniping comments designed to wind each other up for no apparent reason.
Rose sighed, idly watching the two Blacks bicker like children instead of lecturing her on how to use behaviour to provoke certain responses as had been their scheduled lesson of the day. Originally it was supposed to be Cassiopeia by herself, but Marius had somehow turned up – Sirius was the most likely suspect – and the conversation had taken a swift turn for the worse. She tried to discern if they were finishing their petty argument any time soon, but when she caught sight of Cassiopeia breathing in deeply she wrote the lesson off as a lost cause.
The past summer was supposed to have been fun for Rose, until her great-aunt had made it abundantly clear that the girl would be spending two days a week with her at her home in Paris while she was instructed on how best to represent The Noble and Most Ancient House of Black in public, as a young lady of her station should.
As far as she was concerned, the idea was utter bullshit.
Rose had not looked forward to these lessons at all seeing as she had already known much of what she was expected to do. In her future she may had cultivated a reputation of a recluse, however her family power had still been wielded in the Wizengamot by her faithful friend and proxy Neville Longbottom. The point was, just because she preferred to avoid public appearances didn’t mean that she was ignorant on how to act during them.
She had long since been educated on ‘proper’ pure-blood behaviour – thank you Andi – but she'd despised acting like a doll and being used as a Ministry tool, paraded around in front of hundreds of people who had simply cowered in fear when the Death Eaters had attacked, who'd sat back on their arses and allowed an entire war to be fought by untrained teenagers. Rose really hated Ministry functions. Bunch of idiots.
A couple of them a year – at most – had been the extent of her social appearances, but she had a sinking feeling that she would be unable to get away with the bare minimum of work where Cassiopeia Black was concerned. She took comfort in the fact that her dad seemed to be in the same boat as she was, what with his determined assertions to his family that he would better the House of Black. To a certain point that is – the Blacks were always going to be known as crazy bastards to some extent.
Rose would now be expected to build and maintain connections in the name of her House and whenever high-profile functions were held an appearance would be mandatory. She supposed being at school for most of the year for the next six years was the silver lining in all this. No fucking way am I dressing up like a bloody Barbie doll to parade around for a bunch of morons who like to run their mouths instead of actually doing anything. No. Fucking. Way.
For the past month she had been subjected to lectures concerning the various topics she needed to be apprised in as Heiress Black (and Lady Potter, but as the Lady of her own House she could honestly do what she wanted and nobody could really say anything). Things such as etiquette, 'womanly' pursuits like needlework, music and reading (which was bullshit), duelling, dancing, traditional magical celebrations throughout the year, the political climate of the different Houses …
Though that last one was actually rather important, as Rose’s actions in the last year had inadvertently caused a plethora of Death Eaters to wither away and die or get arrested, leaving their families to operate under new Heads and rules. This was a scene that her future knowledge would be unable to assist with, as her memories were based on facts which were no longer applicable.
Cassiopeia was also determined to develop her Metamorphmagus powers – and how it pissed Rose off how she knew, and that she hadn’t thought of being spied on in such a way – and insisted that the girl study people. How people moved, how they talked, certain tells and habits, all so that she could learn how to use her gift to covertly observe others to her own benefit. Rose wouldn’t admit it, but she did enjoy messing with people this way.
(Her dads hadn't liked it when she transformed into McGonagall and scared the crap out of them, though the look of fear on their faces made her parent’s portraits cry with laughter.)
She looked towards the seventy-something-year-old duo bickering like toddlers and decided to get on with her current ‘assignment’ from her aunt sooner rather than later, and quietly retreated to her room without the so-called 'adults' noticing. She had the delightful 'task' – and yes, that was sarcasm – of getting the young cousin of the Italian Minster of Magic to lose face in public. The arrogant prick was in his mid-teens, constantly flirted with every pair of breasts he saw, and was so utterly sexist he thought it was his inherent right to touch simply because.
Rose would get him to act out by being the perfect ‘gentleman’.
Morphing to the opposite gender was possible though exceedingly uncomfortable. The feeling of certain parts of her body just … growing was disconcerting, though she adjusted fairly quickly and changed clothes. In front of her was now a teenage boy with lithe muscles, lightly-tanned skin, messy dark red hair and hazel eyes. She now looked like someone who could have been her brother if her parents had lived long enough to give her siblings. Well this isn’t messed up in the slightest.
She changed into a vest top and swimming shorts before donning some sandals and sunglasses, then set off through the hallways of the expensive villa resort in St Tropez where she and her aunt were staying. The little prick she was going to annoy was here too, as only the wealthiest and most connected families could afford to holiday in this area. It was beautiful, ostentatious, and obscenely expensive even for a single day. Rose hated it.
Just because she could afford to stay somewhere like here regularly didn’t mean that she enjoyed throwing galleons around like they were going out of style. She enjoyed the comforts of her ancestral home sure, but she had always been frugal since growing up with her relatives and despised the way that some people spent money. Her parents – specifically Sirius – could get this way with spoiling her, but she knew that Remus made sure than Sirius was careful with the Black money. Not that the Blacks were in danger of being bankrupt anytime soon. Stupid rich pure-bloods.
Rose walked past a floor-length mirror in the hallway and stopped for a moment, running her fingers through her short hair and using magic to style it to something stylishly messy. She took in her masculine appearance and considered her body, what with the clearly-defined muscles of her arms and shoulders and the tanned skin.
Personally she thought that this entire situation was ridiculous, and if her dads found out that she was being made to flirt with other girls in order to ruin the Italian Minister’s cousin they would not be happy to say the least. She also thought that Cassiopeia didn’t give two shits what anyone thought and would carry on no matter what anyone said.
(She was a strict woman but Rose genuinely respected her strength. Not that she’d ever admit it to the crazy witch.)
She took a last glance in the mirror, straightening up with her shoulders back, placed her hands casually in her pockets and turned down the hall, sedately walking along with a genial smile on her new face. Well, here goes nothing …
Or here goes everything … Holy shit, that bloke’s mental, does he not realise what he’s done?!
Rose had been expecting her ‘assignment’ to consist of flirting with a few random girls for a short while before the young Andrea Ricci – her target – threw a hissy fit and caused a scene. She was more or less right, but the resulting trouble was a little messier than she had initially anticipated.
The girl-turned-boy had spent about four hours in the company of four teenage girls who had all been victims of the pervert’s ‘affections’ for the past week, and in that time Rose had found them all to be very interesting. The girls were all students at Beauxbatons and had described the school to her in detail. (A few subtle compliments and gracious smiles had been more than enough to flatter them into speaking.) She'd scored a few points by not letting her eyes stray from their faces, even if the hormones she'd been experiencing more and more in recent weeks had reared their ugly heads while in the company of several gorgeous girls. Puberty is going to be such a bitch.
Rose had spent the day regaling the girls with tales of England and being home-schooled, and after a while the Italian git had exploded and aimed an illegal cutting curse at the group without thinking, trying to hit her specifically. Rose had shielded them without thinking as the idiot had been bound by one of the other guests.
Soon enough the French Aurors had arrived and had been quick to arrest him. There was more than a little dismay when they'd realised that Rose had been in the line of fire as well as the girls. In her teenage male disguise, Cassiopeia had seen fit to provide her with a complete fake background as her ward in case it was ever needed. (Say what you will about the woman, but she got things done. Fast.)
Her current identity was that of half-blood James White, godson to the well-respected Cassiopeia Black, which made him a pseudo-adopted member of the House of Black as well as Cassiopeia’s personal family. The older woman was more well-known on the continent, the French Ministry being very much aware of her reputation and what repercussions would follow if her ward was attacked and murdered by someone within their country.
The annoying teen was quickly sent back to his country with a severe warning for the boy to stay out of France, and the Italian Minister had been mortified when they realised the extent of the international incident that they'd nearly avoided.
Rose had simply enjoyed the moment when the girls offered their thanks by kissing her on the cheek. She had to maintain her role after all.
“Well then, it appears that while Marius and I were … catching up with one another,” Cassiopeia glared at her brother here as he scoffed with incredulity, “you went ahead and carried out the assignment that I set out for you.”
“Yes, Aunt Cassi.”
Rose stared at the woman. “Forgive me Aunt Cassi, but I’m not sure what you mean by ‘Why?’ Do you mean why did I carry out the task you set?”
“Indeed, why did you do it?”
Rose eyed her incredulously. “Because you told me to.”
Cassiopeia simply raised one elegant brow in disdain. “So I did, but are you going to just do anything I tell you without considering the consequences of your actions? Did you even think about the result of what you did, or did you just charge in without using your brain? Did you even consider why I asked you to complete such a task?”
Marius rounded on his sister with a thunderous expression. “For fuck’s sake Cassi! You can’t just ask her to do something then get pissed when she does it, otherwise what’s the fucking point of you being here?!”
Huh, he’s calling her ‘Cassi’ now. Apparently progress can be made.
She cleared her throat. “It’s okay Uncle Marius, I’m well aware of why Aunt Cassi is asking me so many questions.”
Rose smiled at her uncle before turning to the woman who stood with an impressively blank look on her face. The (once more) blonde girl resisted the urge to smirk in triumph, instead she started speaking.
“Firstly, I am not the type of person who will do something just because you say so. You may be family, but I do not know you nearly enough to act without question where your orders are concerned.
“When you told me what to do, I considered first and foremost the situation: who I was supposed to be ruining, and my location. The annoying bastard is the cousin to the Italian Minister of Magic, and we are in a high-profile location of magical France.
“I am aware that as of this moment, the ICW is currently in talks over international policy concerning private businesses. It is extremely expensive to expand one's business and open another branch abroad. The possible competition with international trade isn't an attractive idea to some places, so a plethora of non-tariff barriers come into play. Some countries simply don't want the competition that would come from foreign businesses selling there. Italy in particular is digging their heels in as they're loath to allow a possible major competitor to outsell one of their own companies.”
Rose paused and grabbed her glass, taking a sip of water before continuing. “Sirius and Remus’ upcoming shop will likely be a popular business once it opens, and research on continental Europe indicates a large interest for the type of products they will be selling, particularly in Italy. A possible secondary shop there will be highly beneficial to them. However due to current policies, it simply is not feasible at this time as the Italians are being very hard-headed.
“The French are actually rather interested in such a business venture, and Sirius’ contacts in the French Ministry have indicated a strong desire to buy from him. The French representative of the ICW has been arguing with the representative from Italy, as Italy actually stands to gain a fair few international connections if they allow foreign businesses to sell,” she explained, internally scoffing at the idiotic pride of the Italians. Stupidity at its finest.
“The spectacle today has now ensured that the Italian Ministry is suitably cowed, as they have earned the ire of both the French Ministry and the House of Black, who are known to be politically powerful in Britain. Italy will most likely be looking for a way to pay restitution to the Blacks, and will be easier to convince in terms of allowing a British business to expand into Italy.
“With a simple meltdown, young Andrea has caused weakness in his country’s position, led to both France and Britain looking down on said country, and offered a way for the House of Black to benefit personally from such a situation.
“Did I miss anything?”
She finished her explanation by tilting her chin up slightly, and raising a thin eyebrow as she sank back into the soft cushions of her chair, all the while remaining impassive in the face of her uncle’s narrowed grey eyes and the blank face of her aunt, who then smiled at her.
It was terrifying.
“Well done, dear,” she purred, making the hairs on the back of Rose’s neck stand up, “we’ll make a Black of you yet.”
The commiserating glance from Marius wasn’t reassuring in the least.
She huffed as her aunt walked off with visible glee. Oh well, just another day in the shit-storm that is my life.
Hopefully I haven't put too many people off by making it more slice of life-ish, but sorry if I have. I can't force people to like my work.
In case people are wondering about updates, there will be one chapter every week for the forseeable future. I have several other fics on the go so they'll all be on strict schedules so I don't lose focus.
Chapter 2: 'Duty' sounds like 'death sentence'
"Traditionally the House of Black has always been run similar to what you would consider to be a dictatorship. What the Head of the family says, goes, no exceptions. Every member of the family born with the Black name follows the word of the Lord Black to the letter without question.
"More often than not, even if a descendent is born bearing the name of another House the Blacks will still keep themselves apprised of the child, ensuring that the child's life is sufficiently acceptable so as to not reflect badly on the House of Black. Even with yourself, Arcturus did in fact make some enquiries as to your placement after that Samhain, though Dumbledore and his sycophantic supporters put a quick end to that line of investigation."
Rose watched as the older woman sneered at the idea of the former Headmaster and pondered her words. If Arcturus Black had succeeded in gaining custody of her, she probably would have been raised as the perfect Black with her grandmother's relatives. What a lovely mental image that is. I probably would have run away like Dad, living with those arseholes.
At the time of that shitty Halloween there'd been more than a few Blacks remaining; Arcturus, Callidora, Pollux, Cassiopeia, Lucretia, Walburga, Cygnus, Narcissa, and they were only the ones that hadn't been disinherited. Granted a few of them were the scum of the earth, but the point was the Blacks had been alive to take care of her. She could imagine the woman in front of her might have her primary caretaker as the only person on that list not married or widowed.
What if, indeed. She knew there was no point in thinking about what could have been; Rose knew how her life had played out in the past, and she knew how things had changed this time around since being thrown through the Veil. (She really needed to start researching again, her accident was too intriguing to ignore. Maybe the school library has something hidden away?)
She refocused as her crazy aunt gestured to the complicated diagram on the board. That is a lot of lines. What was the crazy woman up to now?
"However, just because the Lord Black was rather militant in his actions didn't mean he was uncaring of his family's feelings," Aunt Cassi explained. "Before the previous Sirius and Phineas, the previous Lord Black was Crucis Black, Phineas' grandfather. His older relatives died when he was a child, leading him to head the family at a young age.
"Unlike many of his predecessors, he was equally concerned with the happiness of his family as well as their political reputation; he allowed his oldest son to marry a woman from a lesser family, as the Tripes were barely known at the time."
The woman gestured to the family tree pinned to the left side of the board. "This kindness continued with his other children, allowing his three daughters to remain unattached and his youngest son to continue his dalliances."
"Dalliances?" Rose had long since wondered why Eduardus Black had been disinherited; she'd never found any reports of him, which was strange seeing as how the more recent arsehole generations of the Black family had quite happily admitted to removing the 'unworthy' parts of the family tree. Such lovely humans, indeed.
"Let's just say his preferred method of socialising consisted of warming the beds of high society men and their sons, and we'll leave it at that."
So he shagged his way through the Wizengamot and their male relatives. Brilliant. Go Eduardus .
"Don't laugh," Cassi glared, "it's so far removed from inappropriate it's ghastly. Anyway, Crucis was happy to let his grandchildren follow the examples of his children. His only granddaughter married into the Blishwick family – small, unnoteworthy, and they faded out of existence a few generations later – his oldest grandson married a Max, and the last grandson Arcturus died single and childless.
"Unfortunately his grandson Cygnus grew up to be a resentful little man who despised the fact that he wouldn't be inheriting the family any time soon if at all. He was a horrid man who decided to raise his children to be just as awful as himself. Crucis' son Licorus and his grandson Cygnus had both already passed away by the time he died, meaning the family fell into the hands of my grandfather, Phineas Nigellus Black. That was probably the start of the end for the family."
The woman paused and Rose kept quiet. She had a feeling her aunt had complicated feelings about the family history in recent generations. Not that she could blame her; Rose herself felt strange about the Black history and she hadn't ever met any of these people. Cassiopeia had grown up with Phineas as a grandfather and had had to live with the following two Lord Blacks after Crucis ruining things. It was no wonder she was off her rocker.
"Rose, my grandfather wasn't a good man, and he certainly wasn't a nice man. He was uncaring of the family's emotional fulfilment, but he understood politics, he knew how to build and maintain alliances, he knew what it was to be one of the most powerful magical families in Britain, if not the most. He was ruthlessly pragmatic in maintaining our status, and despite the dubious ethics he employed the results spoke for themselves.
"Unfortunately he was also prejudiced beyond belief and couldn't care less about compromising on his beliefs."
The blonde girl paused from her note taking and blinked up at her aunt who was smirking at her. Weird woman.
"Phineas Nigellus Black was homophobic – he was probably gay himself and stupidly insecure going from what we know about him – hated muggle-borns with a passion, and thought muggles to be the scum of the earth who should be slaughtered for the good of magic everywhere. Shortly after donning the Black Head of House ring, he kicked Eduardus out the family for his 'reputation', despite the fact that Eduardus had actually been rather good at keeping his activities a secret.
"His sister Iola was disinherited when she fell in love with a muggle, and he even quickly got rid of his own son Phineas when he expressed a wish to support the rights of muggles. All three individuals were magically strong and intelligent, potential assets to the family, but instead of compromising with them he 'pruned' the family tree and proceeded to ignore them for the rest of his life.
"You know what happened after that," Aunt Cassi gestured, "Sirius took over, disinherited Marius and Cedrella, married off Orion and Walburga, then handed over the reins to his imbecilic son Arcturus when he died. Not that his son Regulus would have been any better, but I digress. Arcturus completely ignored the disaster that was Cygnus and Druella's family, let Sirius and Regulus grow up with Walburga as a mother, and proceeded to disinherit Andromeda and posthumously disinherit Alphard for leaving money to your father Sirius."
"This family's recent history's a bloody disaster," Rose muttered.
The older woman huffed. "While your language is completely atrocious, I suppose your description is not entirely inaccurate."
Rose looked down at her notes while her aunt shuffled some pages on her desk. While this lecture was pretty interesting she wasn't sure how it related to her question about the Wizengamot and political relationships. If she wanted to get things done she needed a more active education on their government rather than just trusting someone else to make good decisions for her.
"The one thing Phineas did well was arrange marriages for political alliances."
"In the five most recent generations there have been over a dozen marriages with high-ranking families. The Flints, the Gamps, the Yaxley family, Burke, Bulstrode, Macmillan, Longbottom, Crouch, Crabbe, Potters, Prewett, Rosier, Lestrange and the Malfoys. Even Marius married a Selwyn despite Delia being disinherited, and the Weasleys still have a better reputation in France, even if they weren't allied to the Blacks. Not to mention Sirius' new wife as a member of the House of Bones.
"Every single one of those families has a seat on the Wizengamot. The Blacks managed to cultivate a reputation amongst families from every sect, light, grey and dark. Of course most of them were dark, but my grandfather managed to arrange marriages with such a variety of individuals that it boosted the family's reputation immensely from all angles."
Cassiopeia pulled out her wand and pointed to the complicated diagram on the board. "This shows how the families relate to one another. More specifically, which allies are allied to one another and other families, and how closely. For example, the Crabbes. They have traditionally been in a subservient position to the Malfoy family for generations ever since a Lord Malfoy saved the Heirs to both the Crabbe and Goyle families. In recompense the Malfoy demanded obedience, and the Lords Crabbe and Goyle pledged their families to serve the House of Malfoy from then on."
Huh. That explains that. I thought they were just being used as muscle by Draco for no apparent reason.
"If you were to gain the support of the Malfoy family, you would no doubt also secure the support of the Crabbes and the Goyles, as well have a higher chance of gaining the support of the Burkes."
"If you look at this, you'll see that some families have more ties than others, even if they don't appear to wield as much power overall compared to the more well-known names. The Burkes for instance have traditionally been a rather small family, though they have close alliances with the Houses of Goyle, Crabbe, Flint and Crouch."
The older woman stopped and turned to her with a smirk that sent a shiver down Rose's spine. Oh Jesus Christ, what now?
"As Heiress Black, it is your duty to maintain these alliances with members of the families close to your age."
Rose blinked. "I'm sorry, could you repeat that? I could have sworn you just said something about maintaining connections with such a ridiculous number of people when I already have to do the same for the House of Potter."
"Oh, don't worry my dear niece," came the airy reply with a sharp grin that did nothing to soothe her, "I'm sure you'll figure it out."
I actually hate her.
Rose tuned out the barking instructions of Cassiopeia – and she was suddenly so thankful she hadn't been raised by the crazy bat – and refocused on the warm hand in hers, making sure not to take out her frustration on the boy in front of her by crushing his hand.
Neville was far too innocent to bear the brunt of her temper.
She knew that Aunt Cassi was determined to hammer the idea of being a proper Heiress Black into her head, but forcing her to learn every little possible thing even remotely related to the role was exhausting. And ridiculous. Rose was going to be at school for most of the year, yet she was still being forced to learn about events she was highly unlikely to attend. Like balls.
Balls were sometimes held during occasions such as Yule or Midsummer, traditional occasions which were beloved celebrations of Magic, allowing families to invite like-minded individuals to their homes to celebrate whichever wondrous event was at that particular moment of the year.
Though more often than not balls were irritating excuses to parade around wearing metaphorical flashing signs for whatever status people wished to advertise at the time. Hey look, there's an incredible rich moron looking for a trophy spouse! Did you know I have at least three times as much money as you? I have an independent business meaning I can have both a fulfilling career and a personal life! Does anyone want to team up with me to spread idiocy and a lack of common sense to the masses?
What a fucking joke.
Despite only being eleven there was no doubt she'd end up with more offers of marriage that what was acceptable – she didn't care that girls used to get married at her age, it was gross, end of discussion. Any possible marriage of hers would only happen when she was seventeen and out of school. There was no way she was going to deprive herself of an education (even if it wasn't really needed) just because some self-entitled bastard tried to tell her what to do. No thank you.
While her new – and deeply unwanted – education was at the very least designed in a way to build Rose a spine of steel, it was so annoying at having to do it. She already knew that nobody would be able to force her into anything, so what was the point?
The point was that she was known to be part of two Noble and Most Ancient Houses, and the vast majority of her close friends and relatives were also fellow members of the magical aristocracy. She had to learn how to interact with them in a manner befitting a Black. Rose had known there would be certain expectations when she donned the Heiress Black ring, but considering the Lord Black was Sirius she hadn't thought there would be much to do.
Of course her mad great-aunt had quite happily fucked that up for her, though to be honest she should have expected a little more from the family that had given both Grindelwald and Voldemort pause. In her defence she'd been a little more focused on preventing the Black family falling into the hands of various related arseholes to be more worried about what being Heiress Black would entail. Thank fuck Lucius Malfoy didn't gain control of the Blacks. He probably would've bought more peacocks.
"You should relax Rose, you're doing great with the steps."
She looked up to see the kind blue eyes of her cousin and godbrother and tried to smile, though judging from his concerned expression it was more of a grimace. Not that she could help it; this was something she'd never been that good at, and ironically had been something that Neville had excelled at even in his clumsiest moments.
Dancing was something that she despised. Actually, it wasn't the dancing part, it was the implications behind it. Practising steps with Neville was fine, and taking a spin over a dance floor with a cousin or a friend had never bothered her (even she and Draco had partnered up during her scant forays into the public eye in her past-future), but learning to dance for the sole purpose of cosying up to brown-nosing morons made her skin crawl. I suppose I could always 'accidentally' step on someone's feet …
The girl sighed quietly. "Sorry, Nev. It's just not really something I like that much. Dancing isn't really my forte, and being made to learn this just to socialise kind of annoys me. I mean, I don't want to act like I'm looking to get married or anything, I'm eleven for crying out loud."
Her friend grinned, though with a flash of sympathy in his eyes. "You know, seeing as how you have a lot of friends – male friends – of a similar status to you, you could feasibly get away with just monopolising their time to avoid anyone you don't want to deal with.
"Besides, your dancing isn't that bad."
Rose eyed him with a raised brow and his lips twitched before he amended, "Okay, I'll admit it baffles me how you walk so gracefully but can't even go four steps without messing up. Is there a reason for that?"
She stuck her tongue out very immaturely and enjoyed his laughter, grinning as Cassiopeia started berating them loudly from her place at the side of the floor.
"I'll have you know I'm perfectly graceful, thank you very much."
His lips twitched. "If you say so."
Rose forcibly relaxed her shoulders and fell into the position of being led. The problem with her grace was that it revolved entirely around physical combat; ever since the war she'd been on edge and prepared for an attack, which had eventually resulted in her being inordinately graceful in her everyday life.
She didn't think people would compliment her stance so much if they knew she was making sure she could retaliate in less than a second.
"How are your parents doing?"
Neville visibly brightened at the topic. "Great! Mum's started teaching me some charms to use in the greenhouses, and Dad's taking me to visit some muggle gardens in London next week. I want to see if I can incorporate some muggle species into the first greenhouse, or maybe even do some cross-breeding to see what happens. You know …"
Rose smiled at her cousin as he started geeking out over plants and realised she hadn't tripped as she listened to him. She focused on the impassioned words with a smirk.
I can do this.
I know some people might seem put off at the lack of a proper plot, but I did warn everyone about how it would mostly focus on Rose's life rather than time travel. That's not to say some plotlines won't appear, but they won't always be the focus.
Another thing to mention after a recent review reminded me, if something offends you in some way and think there should be a warning (I will usually try and leave warning for any issues I feel need to be addressed) please let me know so I can correct this. I myself am very open-minded and liberal in listening to other people, so sometimes I miss things that others might find offensive. Not because I don't care, but because I don't even blink an eye at hearing or reading about certain things.
Btw, you guys have no idea how hard I fought the urge to sleep instead of posting this chapter. My new job is completely mental, and my feet are throbbing from running around all day. Oh, the joys of adult life lol.
Until next time. Happy reading!
Chapter 3: Escape? You mean retreat.
The sight of a young woman with ice blue hair wearing a faded band T-shirt and ripped jeans, sprawled out on the grass of Hyde Park might have been cause for some concern for the park’s visitors if it weren’t for the sheer genius that was the Notice-Me-Not Charm.
Rose had all but ran to her parents and pleaded for escape. Not long after, she took advantage of their helpful distraction and swiftly escaped the house as soon as she heard the stern voice of one Cassiopeia Black echo through the hallways of the no-longer dilapidated building of Number Twelve Grimmauld Place.
She’d quickly morphed into the most obnoxiously muggle appearance she could come up with, changed into the first very modern and non-magical clothes she could find, and promptly escaped out the front door when Cassiopeia went to the cellar to berate her Gryffindor nephew for the racket he was making. Thank you, Dad. Your sacrifice won't be forgotten.
The Black Heiress was admittedly enjoying learning about the family that she’d never known before, but saying that Cassiopeia was a harsh taskmaster was like saying that Hermione liked books – not inaccurate, but severely understating the depths of the situation. Her lessons had only been happening for about six weeks, but they had pretty much hit the ground running since Rose got off the Hogwarts Express from school and hadn’t stopped since. And Rose was sick of it.
While some might ridicule her escape from the clutches of her stern aunt, Rose preferred to think of it as a well-needed strategic retreat. With her adult mentality and intelligence she was leaps and bounds ahead of the other children, and if she actually deigned to use all of the skills at her disposal then she could easily walk into the Ministry and gain the necessary qualifications to become an adult in the eyes of the law at that very moment. (The fact that she was already an adult was something that the Ministry wouldn’t be privy to until she deigned to inform them – goblins enjoyed making life harder for the Ministry.)
Amelia had strongly advised against this though, as the scrutiny on Rose would be a nightmare to deal with. The suspicion of an eleven-year-old girl passing practical NEWT exams would be a disaster for her plans to remain relatively unknown in terms of her abilities, to say nothing of what the Department of Mysteries would do with her.
Rose loved her old job but she was well aware of the not-so-pleasant facets of her workplace, especially when it came to something like time travel. Often those who'd found themselves displaced in time and informed the Unspeakables were ‘drafted’ into the department and tended to disappear off the face of the earth. Unless they had the skills to create a new identity and avoid detection they were picked up quickly to avoid things such as paradoxes and time distortions.
She had no doubt that she was not the only person who had ever ended up in their younger body but she had never heard of such an occurrence, meaning they too had the – very wise – idea to keep their heads down and not draw attention to themselves in any way.
The fact that she knew certain things about deaths, events, and inventions made her head a very valuable and dangerous place with a wealth of information, hence why she was very motivated to stay on top of her Occlumency exercises and not merely rely on her rings. If anyone else found out the true depths to her knowledge she would be, quite frankly, fucked.
And turned into a lab rat for the rest of my life.
Three people knowing the truth was enough as far as she was concerned, though she may be tempted to tell a future spouse if she had such a relationship. Maybe. She still found it difficult to trust so intimately, even with family members.
Hence her escape from Aunt Cassi. The woman was terrifyingly intelligent, keenly intuitive, and a formidable woman in terms of politics. All in all, a consummate Slytherin.
Rose didn’t trust her. At all.
She might admire her resolve, and she more than respected the woman’s prowess with her magical abilities and political reputation, but she had only recently met the woman. It wasn’t like with her dads who she knew would put her first, or even Amelia’s relationship with her parents as a safety net, this was a woman who knew how to use others to her benefit and would have no qualms doing so. Scary witch, indeed.
The fact that she was using Rose as a way to recover the family reputation was more than enough evidence to prove it. The woman was ruthless, and despite being old was dangerous – it took her no time at all to discover that Rose was a Metamorphmagus and decide to cultivate the gift for the sake of the House of Black. Rose was admittedly impressed with her speed. Reluctantly.
The body of a pre-teen she may have, but Rose was more than capable of fending the woman off or deflecting to less dangerous topics. She was a woman who’d spent a great many years being unable to explain the details of her job to her friends and family, and she knew how to avoid speaking about something she didn’t want to. Just because she could do it didn’t make it enjoyable though, and the constant throbbing of her head was an unfortunate side-effect of all the mental manoeuvring.
She was frustrated and feeling stifled, and if pressed too much she might just hex someone. Hence the – completely justified – retreat from Aunt Cassi’s numerous plans and her day of enjoying the sunshine in the guise of a young woman of questionable reputation, laying under the shade of a tree in an undignified manner which suggested she was either drunk or high. Or both. Or would have if she weren’t fending off suspicions with a surreptitious use of wandless magic.
All hail the miracle of magic. And I’m now talking to myself inside my head. That can’t be good.
As it was, Rose Potter was enjoying the summer day without the risk of sunburn, and was resting her eyes as she enjoyed having absolutely nothing to do except listen to the cacophony of background noise, consisting of laughing families, running water from the stream, and various birds chirping at one another. Her current body was about eighteen to twenty, with straight ice-blue hair just past her shoulders, and under the currently closed lids were deep green eyes, a shade or two darker than the ones she'd originally inherited from her mother.
Her parents and Amelia quite enjoyed her forays into wacky hairstyles and body modifications while Aunt Cassi disapproved of something so improper, though eventually conceded that as long as nobody discovered that it was her she could do as she wished. Which she would have anyway, permission or not. Marius also seemed to support her experiments, though apparently for no other reason than because it annoyed his sister. (Say what you will about the insanity and strength of the Blacks, Rose thought one of their defining features was their pettiness.)
The park was certainly more relaxing than listening to everyone freak out because Sirius thought it was a good idea to have his wedding the day after her birthday, not to mention two days after Neville’s birthday. It was currently the twenty-ninth of July, which meant things were going to be crazy for the next three days straight. Tomorrow was the first half of her joint birthday celebration with Neville at Longbottom Hall, which would then continue at Grimmauld Place the day after.
After that would be Sirius and Amelia’s wedding which she would definitely admit to being excited about; not because of the wedding per se, but more the fact that her dad deserved to be happy after everything he’d been through, and she would personally hex anyone who caused trouble. (Which also included him – she had promised Amelia, after all.)
Everyone even remotely involved with the event was fair game, everyone that is, except the (terrifying) task force that was coordinating the wedding. Ever since her divorce, Narcissa Black (as she was known once more) had opened up and revealed a subtly sarcastic sense of humour and a sharp mind, and had teamed up with her sister Andromeda, Cassi, Amelia, and Amelia’s closest friend Beth Abbott nee Davis, in order to plan out an extravagant wedding fitting for the new Lord Black in just five months.
Invitations, decorations, clothes, location, seating plans … the women were startlingly adept at churning out plans at a steady rate in time for the August wedding, though Amelia was encouraged to relax and let the others plan out the stress-inducing event to perfection.
(Rose had always agreed with her male friends that women were insane, and this was just more proof in her eyes.)
Cassiopeia was frightening in her capabilities to handle both Rose’s new education and Sirius’ wedding, though Rose suspected that the woman had a well-hidden soft spot for her tempestuous nephew. She was determined that Sirius have a beautiful wedding, and Rose could see the care that the elder Black was putting into the preparations.
The wedding itself was to be the event of the summer, what with the media attention that her dad was still subject to as a falsely-imprisoned Lord. Sirius was milking it for all it was worth however, and the Ministry was still bending over backwards to ensure he didn’t initiate a legal attack on them. Mature adult he may be growing to be, the man was still a Marauder and was content to keep them scrambling in panic. Vindictive bastard.
The wedding was going to be huge as was expected for the oh-so-proper union between a Lord and a Lady Regent of two powerful Houses. For some reason the couple had elected to make it a large political event despite disliking such things. She had a feeling that Cassiopeia had been involved with this decision, but to be fair Rose could see the benefits of doing things this way. The Black reputation was still in tatters and the Bones family only consisted of Amelia and Susan, so the influence of both families was vastly diminished from what it once was. A large wedding would only help their image.
Many different families were being invited to start building alliances once more, and Sirius was actually being mature enough to recognise that ignoring the dark families wouldn’t end well. He had ensured that invitations were sent to families of different alignments and those of differing social status to prove that the ‘new’ House of Black was all about equality. (Though Rose suspected it had more to do with making his ancestors roll in their graves.)
Rose was expecting to see a good few of her classmates at the wedding, what with many of her friends coming from well-known families. Neville and Draco had received invitations on account of being part of the House of Black, and she knew that her Slytherin friends were also invited. Sirius was a little leery of Blaise coming, though that actually had more to do with his mother’s marital ‘habits’ – he had no desire to see one of his new friends mysteriously drop dead.
The Weasleys had also been invited on account of Cedrella Weasley nee Black, even if she'd been thoroughly disinherited. Whether or not any of them would actually come was another matter entirely, but Rose would wait and see.
The Boot, Corner and Diggory families were friends of Amelia, as were the Abbots and Greengrasses. Tracey would probably tag along with Daphne, and the Patils and Browns were neutral enough towards both Sirius and Amelia to warrant an invitation on the basis of future business proposals, among others.
That didn’t include the multitude of Ministry workers who were Amelia’s friends and colleagues, as well as those who were too important to not invite. Thankfully this list no longer included Dolores Umbridge who was enjoying her new abode in Azkaban prison.
Rose honestly despised the asinine, finicky laws that favoured pure-bloods for no reason whatsoever, but that didn’t mean that she was unaware of them or was unwilling to use them to her advantage. She remembered when they'd had to break into the Ministry to steal the locket from the toad, and how the ugly pink woman had claimed to be descended from the Selwyn family. As an adult Rose had discovered this to be entirely untrue and was well aware that pure-bloods had a tendency to look rather unfavourably on those who claimed to be one of them; it actually counted as Line Theft, which was a crime that was very harshly punished.
A quick and anonymous letter to the newly elevated Lord Gaius Selwyn – younger brother to the late Julius Selwyn, Death Eater extraordinaire – had started a quiet yet fervent investigation into the life of Dolores Umbridge that hadn't ended well for her. The Selwyn family were not pleased with her claims, as a small dose of Veritaserum had proven that she had already made such assertions.
Though the falsifying of family history wasn’t her only crime; evidence of bribery, compromising of evidence, and possession of illegal artefacts (including the infamous blood quill) had the bitch on a one-way trip to Dementor Wonderland as Rose had taken to calling it. (Sirius found it hilarious and could talk about it more without clamming up so much.)
Not to mention that she was actually a half-blood – oh, the irony – and she had actually faked some of her exam results to get her job. The Minister was still an imbecile of the highest order, but a year of Amelia pushing him into using his brain had made him realise which way the wind was blowing and he quickly cut his losses with his Senior Undersecretary and tossed her aside. Point one for Fudge.
(Rose would ordinarily want Fudge out of the way and gone, but considering Amelia had managed to become this timeline's version of Lucius Malfoy influencing the moron, it was better to have him where they could keep an eye on him. Keeping enemies closer, and all that.)
Amelia had essentially saved the day when she swooped in and solved everything by ‘suggesting’ to Fudge that one of the assistants in the DMLE would be perfect for the newly-vacant role. Lo and behold the idiot had listened, and now one Hestia Jones was now the Senior Undersecretary to the Minister. Hestia was a woman who Rose remembered as a member of the Wizengamot Administration Services in the future. She had originally joined the Aurors before realising she didn’t enjoy it that much, and quickly transferred to something she liked more, though why she thought mountains of paperwork were a good thing baffled Rose to no end. (Maybe she and Percy would get on well?)
Her initial Auror training was why she had been part of Rose’s guard in the future, and why the Order had had no qualms sending her on dangerous missions. Now her Auror training was a point in her favour for her new job: she had the skills to adequately protect the Minister should she need to. Her almost-unnatural ability to finish her paperwork ridiculously quickly and efficiently meant that she could co-ordinate Fudge’s schedule and correspondence so that (hopefully) he wouldn’t fuck up so much – Rose wasn’t holding out much hope, but stranger things had happened, she supposed.
Hestia was also technically a pure-blood, having four magical grandparents, and her maternal grandmother was a Fawley and was therefore part of a House of the Sacred Twenty-Eight that was extinct in the name. Not that many people cared all that much about such a biased list, but the facts were in her favour, and she could technically become Lady Fawley if she wanted to.
Rose sighed and opened her eyes, turning her head in the direction of the clear, rushing water. Even while trying to rest she couldn’t turn her brain off. She'd come here to relax and have a break from the ever-lasting insanity that was her family, but even now she couldn’t calm down. She knew that she could use her Occlumency shields to clear her mind, but the mind arts were similar to muscles in some ways – you had to allow time for healing and rest before using them again or you risked injury. Rose had no desire to mess her mind up, so she simply huffed and watched the water, regulating her breathing and using muggle meditation to soothe her head.
The park was infinitely more peaceful than Grimmauld Place which was where she met Aunt Cassi – because she had no desire to let anyone she didn’t trust in her ancestral home just yet. She just wished that people would realise that an eleven-year-old body wasn’t suited for so much mental stress.
“You picked a good spot.”
It was a good thing she recognised that voice or she would have jumped a mile. Rose turned her head to see tawny hair and amber-flecked green eyes, a kind smile, and the ever-present cardigan that her dad liked.
Remus Lupin was an infinitely kind man, but he was incredibly intelligent too, and the knowing and tired look on his face spoke of the chaos at home without needing to say a word.
“Hey, Dad. How’d you find me?”
“The necklace. It’s got a tracking charm on it.”
She huffed with a smile. “Of course it has. So how bad is it?”
Remus hummed before replying. “I wasn’t aware that a woman of her distinguished age had such magical power and force. A few walls might need re-painting.”
Rose snorted. Cassiopeia and Sirius were both headstrong in their own ways but had vastly different ideas on how things should be done. Their arguments were monumental and something to be remembered, and Grimmauld Place was forever having repairs done to it from over-zealous or ‘accidental’ spell-fire. It was a good thing that money wasn’t an issue or Sirius would be broke with how often he was buying building and decorating supplies. I believe the term is ‘trigger-happy’. Or would that be ‘wand-happy’?
The man’s lips twitched before he walked over and sat down next to her, gently moving her so her head was in his lap. Fingers began running gently through her hair and she closed her eyes, just feeling the soft repetitive motion as she finally calmed down.
No further words were spoken and the father and daughter duo simply enjoyed the scenery together before Rose drifted off peacefully, finally calming down from her hectic life. Remus simply carried on stroking her hair, never once moving.
This is more of an overview chapter because I kind of wanted to address some of what's been going on in the wider world. I know it isn't as exciting as some other things I could have done, so sorry about that.
Next week will be a double update for the first major event of the story: the wedding! (Double updates will only happen for chapters that lead on from one another too much to be kept separate, so don't expect it to happen too often.)
Until next time!
Chapter 4: A beautiful union (of impending madness)
I don't own 'Harry Potter'
Warning: mentions of suicide and suicidal feelings
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Magic was truly a blessing and Rose would never be persuaded otherwise. Without magic, brushing curly hair that reached inches past her hips would be a nightmare, but with liberal hair-care charms and a floating brush doing its job autonomously her blonde locks were steadily smoothing themselves and gently laying against her back.
Once finished she looked over the dresser where she had a small collection of jewellery from the Potter vault; generations of Potter men – because she had been the first Potter female born in centuries for some reason – had had excellent taste when it came to shopping for their spouses. In her room she had a small selection to choose from that were suitable for girls her age.
It was the day of her dad’s wedding and she couldn’t wait, even though she was slightly dreading the political aspects of the event; as Lord Black and Lady Regent Bones/the Head of the DMLE, there was a certain expectation of Sirius and Amelia to host a spectacular event that would no doubt have a continuous undercurrent of political expectations. Rose had no doubt that most of the people who’d accepted invitations had only done so to mingle at the reception and make connections. Two-faced arseholes.
She snorted. If they’d had their way the couple would have had a small, intimate gathering if they hadn’t eloped outright. Amelia was a serious and stalwart Auror at heart, and Sirius was Sirius, enough said.
Rose looked at the assortment of glittering gems and metals, before selecting tiny diamond studs for her ears and a simple silver bangle engraved with protection runes – it wasn’t paranoia if you’d lived your life with people out to get you. She also included the rose necklace she'd gotten from Frank and Alice for Valentine's. The jewellery would be completed with her Heiress Black ring; Cassiopeia had asked (told) her to reveal that title as Sirius would soon be taking up his seat in the Wizengamot.
After he took back control of the House of Black from Amelia he would be in prime position for when she revealed herself to be Lady Potter. Then she could appoint him proxy and start putting forth ideas herself. Augusta may have had voting power – the simple act of her voting would have registered two votes automatically without stating which ones, hence why nobody had realised her votes had switched proxies – but she hadn't put anything forward in respect for Rose’s desire for anonymity.
What with Draco’s very public acknowledgement of his title and the plethora of Death Eater deaths and arrests forcing seats to switch bearers, she wasn’t as worried at announcing her title as Head of House Potter. Peverell was another matter entirely, as the infamous family may not be as well-respected but the crazies after the Hallows were still a problem. Once she was of-age and had a stable reputation she would own up. And enjoy the madness.
After putting the rest of the jewellery in a warded drawer she turned back to her mirror with her clips and indigo hair ribbon. Magic was once more a life saver, but even with a liberal use of spells her hair still took a good half hour to sit securely. Rose turned her head back and forth getting a good view of her new style; her riotous curls were now tied up in a simple yet messy bun, with a few strands hanging down and framing her face. Her forehead was more or less bare, meaning she could get in another dig at the idiots who persisted in believing The-Girl-Who-Lived crap. Good luck with finding the scar, fuckheads.
A quick glance at the clock showed it was one; the ceremony didn’t start until two-thirty but she had to be at Black Manor at half-one for a few photos with the bridal party, as well as help co-ordinate the hundreds of guests who’d already begun to arrive. Thankfully she’d already eaten a hearty lunch with her dads before starting to get ready. She knew it was tradition for the bridesmaids to get ready together but Amelia had persuaded her to stay with her parents so that she could help Remus wrangle Sirius. She just knew he would start panicking soon enough; at lunch he’d been strangely blank, mechanically moving to eat without engaging anyone. Hopefully he was getting into his robes already as he too would be getting pictures at Black Manor.
The girl walked over to her wardrobe where the garment bag was hanging; she opened it slowly before carefully removing the dress. Putting it on was easy and she moved over to her full-length mirror and examined her reflection. The dress was a floor-length dark indigo that matched her ribbon. The design was simple, flowing over her chest and down to the floor, cinched in at the waist with a thin silk band of the same colour. The dress had two layers to it, with the under layer an entire strapless dress beginning an inch below her collarbones. The second layer sat on the top half of the dress, a sheer indigo lace section with wide straps, embroidered with delicate flowers.
Pairing the dress with one-inch black strappy sandals her outfit was complete. All she’d done for makeup was a little eyeliner, mascara, and clear lip-gloss. She surveyed her reflection, cataloguing the differences between her life now and before. She was inches taller, a healthy weight, and no longer looked like the carbon copy of her parents that invited subconscious comparisons. She also looked like a high-class young lady as opposed to an abused child. Aunt Cassi might complain about the lack of sleeves but the dress was conservative enough for Rose.
Rose was ready so she set off to find her dads. Hopefully things would be okay.
This was not okay. This was a nightmare, and she needed to be at the manor in twenty minutes, not to mention that Sirius himself had less than an hour until he was needed there. Unfortunately he didn’t seem to be in the best mental state right now, and the other men who were going to go with him were hiding in the kitchen downstairs, probably drinking firewhiskey if her suspicions were correct.
The groom-to-be was in bed, curled in a ball under the duvet with the lights off and curtains drawn, not responding at all. Even Remus had given up with an exasperated eye roll, turning towards the kitchen with well-hidden anticipation. His words weren’t much help either.
“Tag, you’re it.”
Shitty werewolf. She was so going to get her own back when Sirius went on his honeymoon. Though that meant him getting to the actual wedding first, which was going to be a mammoth task if her intuition was right. Bollocks. At least magic can get creases out.
She huffed before spelling the curtains open and removing her shoes, clambering up on the bed and leaning backwards against the man-shaped lump.
“You know, when I was originally thirteen you offered to let me live with you. It'd been twelve years and I didn’t have any memories of you, but I agreed immediately. You wanted to be there for me, and even though you weren’t in the best position you tried, and that was more than anyone else had done for me before.”
The lump twitched.
“When I first saw you in Grimmauld Place I honestly hated Dumbledore. That house was full of your worst memories and yet he still made you live there. All that happened was you swapping one prison for another, and I hated it. You were the closest thing I had to a family and I wanted you to be happy. I hated that I couldn’t do anything, and I tried so hard to come up with something.
“Instead I got you killed at the end of the year.
“I don’t think I’ve ever hated myself quite that much. I … I thought about ending it, you know? I figured I had enough poisonous ingredients in my trunk to kill myself pretty quickly, then I could see you again … I was so tired.”
She took a deep breath, closing her eyes as she felt the man’s arms around her waist, squeezing like a vice.
“Then I hated myself even more because I was weak. You’d survived more than me and you didn’t give up. So I decided that I'd live for you because you weren’t around to be happy anymore, so I’d have to do it for you.
“The war made it worse, and when I was forced to die for everyone I hated that I had to break that promise to you. When I ended up surviving I decided that everyone could go and fuck themselves. When had they ever wanted to help me before? When had they ever helped you? I decided that I was going to live how I wanted, screw the consequences.
“Since coming back I’ve carried on that way because of everyone. You died, so I promised myself that I’d live. Mum and Dad sacrificed themselves so I could live, not survive, so I want to have a full life. Remus died fighting, and he was so brave. I never wanted to be a coward.
“But I was scared. So scared of letting you guys down. Scared of having something only for it to be ripped away, scared of losing myself, scared of regretting …”
She turned around in his arms, blue eyes meeting tear-filled grey.
“Being scared is natural and I’d be more concerned if you weren’t. But now it’s time to live instead of survive. Amelia is a smart woman – scary smart, if you ask me – and she isn’t the sort of person to agree to something just because someone else wants it. If you want this life you should take hold of it with both hands and don’t let go, because you’ll regret it otherwise. It’s better to know rather than regret what could have been.”
Sirius looked at her gravely and asked, “Speaking from experience?”
Moments from her original life flashed in her eyes; Cedric grinning at her in the maze, Charlie smiling as he announced his engagement. She closed her eyes and smiled, though there was nothing happy about it. Blue eyes opened. “Yes.”
The man grimaced and his eyes softened, moving so he was lying parallel to her, holding her closely as she hid her face in his neck. He breathed in and out, calming down slowly.
“You really are smart, aren’t you? I don’t know what I’d do without you. Remus, too. We’d probably fall apart with you around to keep us steady. I hate the fact that you’re the one looking after us, but I’m so grateful we have you and I can’t tell you how proud I am of you.
“I love you so much, Bambi.”
She blinked back her tears. “Love you too, Dad.”
A few minutes passed as father and daughter took advantage of the peace and their time together.
“But if you get snot in my hair, I will hex you in the balls.”
He laughed until his stomach hurt.
Rose would be forever grateful that the woman her dad was marrying was Amelia Bones. Feared, respected, and a woman that people listened to above all else. She could only imagine the bullshit she’d have to experience otherwise. The stupid photographer was probably going to get a major complaint for his company because of his behaviour, especially his actions towards Rose.
Trying to subtly interrogate The-Girl-Who-Lived about her life was a pathetically foolish move, especially in front of Amelia whose reputation preceded her wherever she went. The idiot was soon put in his place, and Rose was admittedly impressed that he managed to capture so many pictures while shaking as badly as he was.
“What an idiot! Did he really think he could get away with it?”
“Who knows, but I agree with you. I bet children could tell you how bad that was. You don’t have to put up with that everywhere, do you?”
Rose shook her head. “Not everywhere, but enough that I learnt about disguises on purpose just for the sake of peace.”
The incredulous looks she got in return prompted a wry smile. She was currently stood with Hannah and Susan, her two Hufflepuff friends also acting as bridesmaids. They were wearing identical dresses to Rose, though they had styled themselves slightly differently.
Susan’s auburn hair was hanging down her back in a thick, messy braid. She had in some tear-drop pearl earrings, and adorning her finger was the Heiress Bones ring, a small gold band with a trio of flat citrine gems set in the centre. Meanwhile Hannah had opted for a relaxed look, with only half her blonde hair pinned back with an indigo barrette, while the rest fell just past her shoulders in loose curls. She had opted for a thin silver chain on her wrist, and had no rings associated with titles as her older cousin was Heir Abbott.
After dealing with the idiot photographer she watch as the moron was clearly cowed by Amelia and the other bridesmaids – Emmeline Vance, Alice Longbottom, and Beth Abbott. Emmeline Vance had been a member of Rose's guard in the Order, and if she remembered correctly worked in the Ministry somewhere doing god knows what. Rose's godmother looked so alive at the moment, clearly excited at the prospect of a wedding, and once more Rose was reminded that plagiarising someone else's work wasn't always bad. The friendly brunette woman next to Amelia was Hannah’s mother and Amelia's childhood friend. Beth's usual smile was nowhere to be seen now though, as the woman clearly made her displeasure at his behaviour known and promptly sent the photographer packing to take pictures of the men.
“Honestly, doesn’t he realise how inappropriate that was? Not a lick of sense, that one,” she huffed. “Well come along girls, we’d best get ready for the ceremony. You can wander around a little near our room and direct anyone you see, but don’t get lost.”
Rose liked Beth. She was warm and kind but firm in her actions. She knew how to get things done, and get them done quick. Even Amelia was deferring to her. Though that may have been the onset of pre-wedding jitters that Rose could spot. She was hiding it well, but Rose was well acquainted with concealing emotions.
Her father’s soon-to-be-bride was pale and pasty, and her breath was a touch too shallow to be normal. Merlin, I hope she doesn’t faint. Sirius was bad enough to deal with, but at least she was familiar with the inside of his head and what made him tick. Amelia may have become an unexpected friend over the past year, but there was still too much distance between them to judge her well enough. Hopefully her friends would be enough to calm her. Or the man who’d just appeared and hugged her.
John Corner was – if she remembered the family tree right – the great-uncle of Michael Corner, and the uncle of Amelia. John had never married or had children due to not being Heir, and had instead dedicated his life to researching Transfiguration.
Seeing the proud woman cling to her uncle in a panic, Rose turned away from the private moment and excused herself. The small room the bride was waiting in was just off from the rear entrance to the manor. The bridal party would then make their way across the grounds, using the hedges to hide from the guests until they turned a corner into the open space being used for the ceremony.
At the moment the guests should be waiting and mingling whilst waiting for the bridal party to arrive. The location had been selected because of the abundance of flowering shrubs and bushes dotted around the field, not to mention the large – and extremely extravagant – fountain that would be to the side, giving the guests a tasteful background to witness.
Rose found a few stragglers and quickly directed them to the field. She called Tippy the elf and checked off the new guests.
“How many are left to come, Tippy?” She hoped there weren’t many, the ceremony was set to start in twenty minutes and everyone had to be on standby in five.
“Tippy has no names left, Miss. All guests have arrived.”
Thank fuck for that. “That’s great Tippy. Do you remember the plan and what you have to do now?”
The unusually serious – though compared to Dobby, every elf was serious – nodded resolutely. “Tippy and other Black elves raise wards, protect Black Manor.”
Rose nodded and the elf vanished with a crack, and after a minute she could feel the saturation of magic in the air, almost coating everything with how dense it was. As Lord Black, Sirius could raise the wards on the property from wherever he was on the grounds, but with so many people invading the manor it was better to have an extra line of defence. House-elf magic was exceedingly strong, not to mention difficult to sense unless trained.
They’d already made sure to move everything valuable and expensive to the upper floors and sealed off everything but the ground floor; anyone trying to break those wards would be automatically relocated to an underground cell with magic-dampening wards and runes. (The place might belong to Sirius now, but it was still a Black property.)
Rose strolled across the grounds and back to the dressing room commandeered for Amelia and her party. The ceremony would begin in fifteen minutes and then her dad would have a wife.
Good luck Amelia.
This fic will have more serious moments as it explores more of Rose's life after the war and how it affected her, but I promise it won't be overwhelming and depressing. It'll still be happy and upbeat, but I wanted to get into more of her after the changes that have happened.
But first the wedding! Make sure to check out the second chapter I've uploaded today, it's a double update for the wedding.
Also, I've got a deviantart account now. I'm using it for pieces of my (terrible) art and family trees. My account name is anime-otaku20, and there's now a family tree for the Black family up, as well as a quick one for Hestia Jones. I'll be adding family trees for other families and characters as I go along, and I'll let you guys know in the notes as I go along.
Chapter 5: Matrimony and second chances
I don't own 'Harry Potter'
Warning: mentions of Pagan celebrations/traditions; the wedding has elements of Christian and Pagan celebrations. I've tried to include the correct procedures after researching the topic, but I apologise if I've offended anyone.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Having an adult mindset was certainly useful in practical matters, but Rose hadn’t anticipated its usefulness in emotional family matters. If she had been her original twelve-year-old self she may have succumbed to immature jealousy over how her dad was looking at his bride. Immature, yes, but understandable when you consider how possessive abused children can become with people they see as theirs.
As it was Rose felt none of that as she walked to the edge of the field with the other bridesmaids and Amelia, who was walking arm-in-arm with her uncle. Everyone stood and watched as the official druid walked around and blessed the large circle being used for the ceremony, before inviting all present to move into place. Her baby cousin Flora walked around the circle grinning, cheerfully throwing rose petals as she did. Rose watched as John led Amelia to the front and passed her hand to Sirius, before retreating to his place in the circle, as did the bridesmaids. She was stood to one side with the others, while the groomsmen on the other side consisted of Remus, Frank, Cyrus Greengrass, Draco, Neville and Michael Corner. Little Flora and Janus Black were the flower girl and ring bearer respectively, and they had already sat down to ensure the toddlers wouldn’t act up.
Of course, Sirius was also present in his new tailored robes of a dark red wine colour, almost black, layered over a white shirt and indigo vest and trousers with sturdy boots. He looked the quintessential pure-blood, a perfect example of a Lord. His hair was combed back and tied at the back of his neck with a thin ribbon the same colour as his robes, and his posture was impeccable. The only thing that detracted from the severity of his appearance was the expression of complete and utter wonder at the woman next to him.
In his defence Amelia looked a vision in her dress. The white dress was simple in design, with a simple strapless dress that flowed from chest to floor, covered with a second sheer top layer decorated with detailed lace that also fell to the floor, with three-quarter off-the-shoulder sleeves. It was exquisite in its simplicity, and Rose couldn’t get over how this woman was the same person as the ferocious Auror with a fearsome reputation.
Her blonde hair was pinned on top of her head, held together in a plethora of plaits and twists that made up a simple bun. Small clips with diamonds were scattered throughout, allowing her hair to glint with the sunshine as she moved. Her makeup was exceedingly simple, just enough to enhance her natural looks without distorting her face, and poor Sirius didn’t seem to know what to do.
The bride turned towards Sirius, and though she couldn’t see her face, the dopey grin she saw on Sirius’ was more than enough to reassure Rose. She could hear the official start the ceremony, but all she could pay attention to was the sheer joy on her dad’s face. She caught Remus’ eye and the two shared a small grin before the tuned back in to the ceremony.
(Magical ceremonies honestly didn’t take that much time, though if you wanted to enact a soul-bonding ritual it would definitely be a lengthier process as those were binding for life without a way out. Regular ceremonies could be broken at any time, though divorce was less common in the magical world due to the social stigma of being a divorcee.)
The man conducting the ceremony had such a droning voice, and if she thought she could get away with it Rose might have thrown her small bouquet at him to liven him up. The bridesmaids all had smaller versions of Amelia’s full-sized flower arrangement, and Rose thought the flowers were utterly gorgeous, in a mixture of colours though primarily blue. There was quite a variety, the bouquet containing forget-me-nots, violets, flowering almonds, magenta zinnias, heliotrope, and stephanotis, all held together by curling ivy.*
The druid had already invoked the protection and blessing of Mother Magic and invited the balance of the four elements, and the feeling of warm magic in the air was soothing. (It was a shame the man was so boring; Rose actually enjoyed magical handfasting ceremonies when they were lively.)
She focused once more as her baby cousin Janus got up and walked over to the bride and groom with the rings, a serious expression on his face. Or as serious as any four-year-old could be, anyway. He toddled back to his seat with his head raised and chest puffed out with pride, and it was all she could do to not squeal and run and hug him. He was too adorable and judging from the cooing women and grinning men everyone else was of the same opinion.
Rose looked over at the couple who had elected to write their own vows. It wasn’t as ‘proper’ as the official vows, but they deserved a little freedom with their wedding, especially with the political circus it had turned into.
“Personally I thought we would have been married by now, but ten years of stupid decisions and mistakes certainly slowed things down. Better late than never, though.” Sirius was grinning like an idiot, and Remus closing his eyes in exasperated fondness really tested Rose’s control over her giggles, though some of the audience weren’t as reserved judging by the tittering.
“So much has happened, and I’m still honestly shocked that you’re standing here in front of me agreeing to be my wife. We’ve certainly taken the long route, but if you had ever given up on me I wouldn’t have begrudged you your happiness. You deserve the world Amy, and seeing as how you’ve actually chosen to be stuck with me, I’ll do my damn best to give it to you and more.”
Sirius cleared his throat and glanced down at the ring in his hand before lifting his eyes to Amelia’s tearful brown ones. He gently took her hand and slid the ring onto the correct finger.
The thin gold band glowed quickly before the light faded and Amelia took over.
“When we first met, I couldn’t decide if I wanted to bang my head against a wall or strangle you.”
The laughter was louder this time and Rose could see Cassiopeia smirk in the crowd. Her dad didn’t even look embarrassed, instead he just stood there with an unrepentant grin on his face.
“Then it turned out you weren’t messing around, and you were actually a brave and loyal man, and the sort of man I wanted to spend my life with. The years might have gotten in the way, but I never considered reneging on my agreement; you proposed, and I said yes.
“I’m not going to lie and say things didn’t change, but my feelings for you certainly didn’t, and that’s why despite the ups and downs I’ve never once regretted agreeing to become your wife.”
The blonde woman took Sirius’ hand and slid the matching wedding band onto his finger, taking a moment to watch it glow.
The official cleared his throat. “Under the sun, and in the eyes of Mother Magic, these two souls have come here today to be joined as one for as long as their love shall remain. We bear witness to this powerful union, and may we give our blessings for the future happiness and success of this bond.”
He paused to direct their hands together, and waved his wand over their clasped hands. Ribbons of varying colours appeared and wrapped around them, glowing with magic as the marriage bond took place.
His words were repeated by the guests as the new Mr and Mrs Black kissed each other very enthusiastically, ignoring the cheers from the audience.
Rose clapped and cheered with the rest of the guests, catching the eye of Remus and grinning with him before flicking her gaze back to the happy couple. Good for you, Dad.
I f this weren’t a wedding, I’d murder the bastard mutt with my bare hands. I take back every nice thing I’ve ever said about him!
Rose loved Sirius dearly but right now she kind of wanted to strangle him. There he was, cheerfully networking with a bunch of snobby Lords and Ladies, and the idiot casually dropped the bomb that she was his Heiress before retreating to the dance floor with his new wife and leaving her to fend for herself. It wasn’t as if she could interrupt either, as it would be incredibly rude to do so, not to mention she wanted Amelia to have a happy wedding day. And Sirius, too. Deep, deep, deep down in the depths of her soul.
In the end she got stuck introducing herself as the Heiress presumptive for the House of Black and it took all of her willpower not to hurt them, magically or with her bare hands. Over and over again, she had to spout lines of diplomatic bullshit to build decent relationships and not offend anyone.
“Of course, I’m delighted that I have the opportunity to establish the Black family in the eyes of my peers.”
“Betrothals? I must confess that I would prefer to focus on my studies for the time being, though the possibility remains that offers could be persuasive enough for me to reconsider.”
“Absolutely not! I hold no enmity whatsoever as being Heiress presumptive. I am after all also responsible for the continuation of the House of Potter. Allowing a future sibling to inherit the title of Lord or Lady Black is something that will allow me to focus on my birth family, and will also benefit the House of Black. My father is an intelligent man to plan in such a way.”
The news that Rose Potter was in fact the blood-adopted daughter of Sirius Black was a startling revelation that left the guests reeling and sent some reporters running from the reception early, eager to fan the flames of gossip. Between Sirius being wrongfully convicted and Rose being who she was, the media was going to go crazy over their relationship.
Rose was getting more than a few speculative looks from some of the older Lords who hadn't actually been Death Eaters and so had remained alive and well. Unfortunately, just because someone hadn't supported Voldemort openly didn’t mean they hadn't agreed with him. She could see their greedy eyes following her as she walked, calculating her worth and how best to get her into their families. Rose just ignored them and tried to show the guests that ‘Black’ didn’t automatically equate to ‘insane’. (Cassiopeia was determined that their family would get their reputation back, even if they had to drag it up from the gutter with their metaphorical bare hands.)
Not even the sappy look on Sirius’ face as he danced with Amelia, or the adorable couple of Remus and Charity, or even the amusing sight of a tipsy McGonagall and Flitwick were enough to cheer her up. She knew that she had a duty to her family, but she just wanted to have fun and celebrate her dad’s marriage.
“Ah, so this is your new friend! Isn’t she just the cutest!”
The very lively, very charming, and very improper voice spoke from behind her, and Rose turned to see just who had come over to see her and completely ignored all formal etiquette. She sounded awesome.
Stood behind her was Blaise, looking very nice in slate grey robes and wearing a look of bemusement and predatory anticipation on his face. Next to him was the owner of the voice, and all of a sudden Blaise’s reactions made sense. The infamous Black Widow, aka Alessia Zabini, was stood before Rose in all her tempting glory, adorned in a simple bronze floor-length strapless dress, black curls pinned back wildly and a wide and infectious grin on her face. It was easy to see where her son got his looks from. Wow, she’s hot.
Rose curtsied gracefully. “It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Lady Zabini. My name is Heiress Rose Potter-Black.”
The woman actually pouted at her introduction. “No, no, no! You simply must call me Lessi, or even Alessia if you must. All these silly British manners are so boring! Little darlings like you should have fun cara, not be so stuffy! What can I call you, my dear?”
If it were anyone else Rose would have bristled at the familiarity, but Alessia Zabini was simply candid about her behaviour and didn’t care who knew about it. Rose loved her.
She grinned. “Rose is fine, Lessi. I’m not too keen on etiquette myself, but my aunt’ll murder me if I don’t at least try.”
Alessia caught sight of Cassiopeia and let out a deep laugh, loud and natural unlike the reserved ladies around them. Rose was starting to see how so many fell for the woman; her voice was a little husky and deep, her sharp eyes lidded just enough to be sultry, and that was before even considering her well-developed physique. The girl could see all the men in the immediate vicinity eyeing Alessia with poorly-concealed interest, and their wives and female companions were none too happy about it.
“Ah dear, you are a treasure! You must come to visit soon, Blaise has told me all about you!”
“Hopefully nothing too incriminating,” she said with a smirk in her friend’s direction which was returned in full.
The woman laughed enthusiastically. “Oh my, it’s been a while since I’ve seen such fire in a young lady. I wonder …”
Alessia tilted her head and narrowed her eyes, smirking lazily and enticing even more men – and women – to gaze at her hungrily.
“I think I will teach you!”
Sirius whipped his head around to stare at them in horror.
Rose blinked. “Okay.”
Sirius tripped, Alessia cackled, and Blaise grinned smugly.
It’s amazing the carnage a simple word can cause, Rose thought, watching the guests scrambling with the announcement of a connection between The-Girl-Who-Lived and The Black Widow. She grinned.
From then on she was left more or less alone, the very idea that she was going to be under the tutelage of Alessia Zabini (though Rose still couldn't figure out if the woman had been joking just to cause mayhem or not) and was currently a student of Cassiopeia Black made her something of an exhibit that nobody wanted to get close to. It was however unclear whether people were more concerned for her, or concerned about what she would become. Either way she was left alone and finally got to socialise with her family and the other guests.
Frank and Alice looked so happy, and the two were doing extraordinarily well for only eight months of recovery. They could walk by themselves once more, though Frank required a walking stick and Alice had a small stutter, but they were more or less recovered. Their stamina had taken a sizeable hit and they could no longer be Aurors due to random tremors, but considering where they'd started it was a miracle.
It was pretty funny watching them talk about their miracle recovery potion and watch Remus squirm and try and keep a bland smile on his face. She had tears in her eyes as he got more and more uncomfortable as they praised their ‘hero’. He caught her eye and shot her a glare that promised retribution, which honestly just made her snort and she had to pass it off as a cough. Charity Burbage didn’t look all that believing, and was looking suspiciously between the two of them and the Longbottoms. At least she was smart enough to keep quiet.
Rose did manage to get a dance out of both her dads which was hilarious with Remus; the height difference between them was a little awkward and the two of them nearly fell over once before she was caught by Sirius and miraculously transitioned into a dance between them.
Eventually she escaped the politicians and found some others her age.
“Oh good, someone I can talk to that isn’t completely Quidditch-obsessed.”
Rose had found an interesting mix of Fred and George, Cedric, Draco, Fay Dunbar and Daphne. Draco and Fay hadn’t even noticed her appearance, so caught up in their debate as they were, and even the older boys had started to edge back towards the heated discussion of the Quidditch League standings. Daphne just looked disgusted with them and turned her back on them, taking Rose’s arm and pulling her away. Rose didn’t care too much; she liked Quidditch well enough but she didn’t follow it.
“How’d you like the wedding Daphne?”
Her friend finally cracked a smile. “It was a beautiful ceremony, and it’s nice to see a wedding between two people who are actually in love rather than marrying for politics. Though it’s a little mad how many people are here, I swear I’ve seen at least five business deals hashed out in corners already.”
“Yeah, Dad was kind of hoping that that would happen and that the Blacks would get a small popularity boost from it. It would have been better if we were all here to show a united front as it were, but you can’t force people to attend a wedding if they don’t want to.”
The Black family was certainly diminished from what it had once been, and it was at a size where the absence of a single member really stood out. Cygnus had flat-out refused to attend the wedding, and while Sirius didn’t really want him there he was pissed off that his uncle had actually told others that the family was going under. When Cassi found out her reaction had been terrifying, and Rose wasn’t holding out much hope for Cygnus' continued existence.
Even Marius’ entire family had attended even though he'd been worried about explaining the existence of magic to his daughter’s family. Apparently Flora had taken the decision out of his hands when she'd started floating at her aunt’s house in front of everyone. Apart from an initial moment of panic, the family had soon been caught up on the facts and were surprisingly accepting of the truth. Rose was relieved, especially that Scarlett wasn’t jealous of her cousins; the idea that her relatives could have a relationship like her mother and aunt wasn’t nice to think about.
“Oh, you mean Draco’s grandfather? I've never met the man, though I'm apprised of hearsay concerning his character.”
Daphne’s tone was polite but you could see a glimmer of curiosity in her eyes. The Slytherin was the perfect young lady in public, but when nobody was around could be utterly hilarious and inappropriate. Hence why Rose saw no problem in telling her the truth. She was a good friend.
“The stupid bastard thinks that Dad’s ruining the family just because he was an idiot as a teenager. Which he was, granted, but he at least understands the idea of maturing. Cygnus is just bitching because he was never in the running to inherit the family unless he offed everyone else, and that he only had daughters. He’s a misogynistic wanker who hates that a Gryffindor is Lord Black, and that he had the gall to name me his Heiress. As a girl, of course I’m completely unsuited to run a family; I should just go ahead and marry a good man who can take charge of everything, as clearly I’m unable to.”
Her friend scowled, lip curling in a sneer. As Heiress Greengrass, Daphne would eventually run her own family, and the idea that she couldn’t do it just because she was female was beyond irritating for her.
Daphne’s words were dripping with disgust, and Rose was morbidly curious as to what would happen if she were to ever meet Cygnus Black. Perhaps her dad should start preparing a spot for his burial in the family cemetery already. Sooner or later someone was going to take too much offence to the git.
A small commotion caught Rose’s eye and she noticed that the bride and groom were about to head off.
“Never mind him Daphne. Now, let’s go and send off the new married couple.”
Daphne smiled at the sight and walked with Rose arm in arm towards the mass of people. For once, Rose hoped that things would go well for her family and sent a prayer for their continued happiness as she waved at her dad and his wife as they left the grounds.
“Let’s go get some cake before the boys eat the rest of it.”
Rose snorted and followed her Slytherin friend, smiling all the way.
I hope I didn't offend anyone with my mentions of Pagan elements, though I will be adding more elements like this later again. If I've written anything that offends anyone, please let me know so I can correct the story.
Any, back to a single chapter next week. Hope you guys liked the wedding, and see you next week!
Chapter 6: Please don't kill my friend
I don't own 'Harry Potter'
Warning: discussions of Rose's sexuality; see notes for more
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
The Pottery was extraordinarily quiet in the wake of the wedding, and it was unsettling how much Rose had gotten used to hearing her more enthusiastic dad constantly making noise in the background. Even with him staying at his own properties or with Amelia he came over enough for it to be his home, too. He did have a workshop in The Pottery, and when he was working in the workshop with Remus she could usually sense his magic and feel his presence, and though Remus was still there the lack of noise was unnerving.
She was currently laying on the floor of the one of the spare rooms on the second floor which she had re-appropriated into a study for herself. The thick blue carpet was delightfully soft, and she would have fallen asleep if it weren’t for the incessant reminder in her head of the mountains of homework she still had left.
The history essay in particular was actually something she had to work for, as Professor Yaxley was a proper teacher who set proper work for the students to do. (Rose had a feeling she could've given Binns a black piece of parchment and he wouldn't have noticed.) She was surrounded by open books, all splayed out across the floor as she lay on her back and composed her essay using a special dicta-quill that mimicked her handwriting, courtesy of her future-past boredom. Speaking instead of writing might be considered cheating, but Rose was out of fucks to give to be honest. As long as I do the bloody work, who gives a crap?
As she finished the paragraph she was ‘writing’ – sue me – her faithful friend Hedwig swooped in with a letter which she dropped on Rose’s chest before perching on her bent knee.
“Hey girl, thanks for the letter. Do you want some of these?”
The Potter summoned some of the new owl treats she’d gotten from Diagon Alley which were supposedly of a ‘premium’ quality, whatever that meant. Her owl looked the offering with baleful eyes, before ruffling her feathers and eating them rather ungratefully. Seriously, you can’t just eat bacon, you know. Hedwig lifted her head and glared at her as if reading her mind. She huffed.
Her female elf appeared with a crack, smiling happily at her. “What can Miffy be doing for Miss Rosey?”
“If it’s not too much trouble could you make some bacon for Hedwig, please?”
Miffy beamed and nodded. “Miffy can be making bacon for Miss Hedwig! Toppy just got good pig meat!”
“Thank you Miffy.” She turned to her haughty owl. “Go to the kitchen Hedwig and you can have bacon. Okay?”
Hedwig barked and nipped Rose on the finger gently before taking off out the window, presumably to fly around to the kitchen. She was followed by Miffy leaving, and Rose was left to wonder how she managed to constantly be emotionally blackmailed by an owl. Dad was right, she is a queen. Bloody owl.
Rose finally sat up and picked up her new letter. Her name was written in small and concise letters, an aesthetically pleasing script if somewhat simple. She recognised the handwriting though, and she opened the envelope with a grin, already anticipating the subtle dramatics of her Slytherin friend.
I could have sworn that you took my mother up on that spur-of-the-moment offer of training that caused your father no shortage of horror, and as such you really should begin said training as soon as possible. Or simply just visit.
If only to save me from a combination of disgust and boredom.
My mother has found a new suitor it seems, and the idiot appears to be entirely ruled by his hormones – it is entirely disgusting. He cannot fathom why my mother pays attention to me, and keeps giving my mother flowers with contradictory, if not offensive, meanings. Clearly, he is beyond uneducated in such matters, and has not even begun to understand how unattractive his ignorance is.
As such, it is well within my right to invite you to spend a week with me at our estate in Sicily. I will not be held responsible for my actions if left alone with this new simpleton, and I have yet to find a good enough reason not to end the fool.
I understand that your father will be back from his honeymoon a week from now, and as such this opportunity will give you a chance to see the sights, and grant you a reprieve from your great-aunt. (Judging from your face at the wedding, you are in dire need of one.)
Aside from this letter, I have enclosed a charmed two-way parchment so that you can send an answer immediately and we can hash out the details for your trip to Italy – today.
I thought that summer was supposed to be restful?
Your (somehow still sane) friend,
Rose snorted. Blaise was a master of the understated, and if she was reading this right then her Italian friend was on the verge of emulating his mother and offing someone out of sheer irritation.
She'd never found out the truth behind The Black Widow’s husbands, but she remembered in the future hearing something about a couple of them that made her a little suspicious. Having discovered that two of them were linked to organised crime and illegal human trafficking, Rose had the sneaking suspicion that Alessia Zabini’s motives extended far beyond monetary gain. Alessia had enough wealth as it was from her birth family and her first husband’s family, so there was really no need for any more. There was most likely a link there somewhere, but it had nothing to do with Rose so she would leave it alone. Besides, if Lady Zabini had seen fit to systematically rid the world of unrepentant scum then she was pretty okay with it. If they deserved it then they deserved it, simple as.
She looked back at the letter and rolled her eyes. Blaise obviously wanted her to join him and distract him from Alessia's new target. It was nice of him to phrase it as relaxing and having fun for a week, at least. The only problem was that Blaise wanted her to visit today.
It had been two weeks since the wedding and there was only two weeks until school started again, yet she still hadn’t done her summer homework. If she went to Italy for a week she’d be wasting family time when Sirius got back writing pointless essays. Unless …
Turning around, she saw her other dad looking somewhat fidgety in the doorway and she waved him in.
“What’s up, Dad?”
“Well, Charity – Professor Burbage – has invited me to the theatre, and I was wondering if you’ll be okay by yourself tonight?”
Hmm … “At least someone in this house is getting lucky.”
His face flushed a deep red and he seemed to choke on air. “Rose!”
She grinned at him. This was so fun; she couldn’t really banter like this with anyone at school – save Blaise – and it was nice being able to let out her sense of humour without anyone questioning her. If Cassi heard her … well, she didn’t want to think about it.
“Don’t worry Dad, you don’t need to explain the birds and the bees to me, you know. I’m already well acquainted with the particulars.” She waggled her eyebrows for emphasis.
He groaned and slapped a hand over his face. “You’re twelve. You’re twelve, and you shouldn’t know about this.”
She laughed. “Actually, the longest relationship I’ve ever had was based entirely on sex.”
Remus lifted his head and gave her an odd look like he was trying to figure something out.
“Didn’t you like him?”
The girl raised an eyebrow. “What makes you think it was a man?”
“Oh. Didn’t you like her then?”
The man only blinked before moving on! She pouted a little. She'd wanted to throw him off, but apparently the idea of her being with other women wasn’t off-putting to him in the slightest. Good to know.
“Actually it was a man. It doesn’t bother you, though?”
He frowned. “Doesn’t what bother me?”
“The idea of me with another woman?”
Remus widened his eyes before walking over to the carpet and sitting next to her, throwing an arm over her shoulders and pulling her against his side.
“I could care less. As long as you’re happy I’m not too bothered about who you’re with. Me and Sirius might be a little over-protective –” He stopped at her incredulous expression before amending his words. “Okay, very over-protective, but if you want to be with someone then we’ll support you no matter what.”
“You’re welcome, Bambi.”
The two sat in silence for a moment before Rose remembered the pleading letter from her friend.
“About Professor Burbage, if you want to spend the week with her or something you should.”
The man looked at her suspiciously. “And why is that?”
She huffed. ‘A little over-protective’, my arse.
“I just got a letter from Blaise inviting me to spend a week at his estate with him and his mother. I don’t want to seem like I’m abandoning you or anything, but I was wondering if I could go?”
“It’s fine, Bambi. You’re not abandoning me, you have your own friends and want to spend time with them. As long as his mother is fine with it, then I am too. Do you have any way of contacting them?”
He held up the blank parchment. “It’s spelled to be two-way, so I just need to write on it to contact Blaise.”
Remus smiled. “Okay, then let’s see if you can’t get in contact with Lady Zabini.”
She lay down the parchment and dipped her quill in the ink before writing at the top of the sheet.
Blaise, are you there?
Rose! Please tell me you are coming to save me from the pain of male idiocy? I’ll pay you in chocolate …
Yes Blaise, I am coming to Italy for a week. Dad wants to know if your mother is okay with this, though. Also, how am I getting there?
We have a small flat about ten minutes from the Leaky Cauldron which has a fireplace for flooing. Our estate only allows entrance from certain fireplaces, and the flat is warded to keep strangers out.
If we meet at the pub this evening, then we can walk to the flat then floo to Sicily. My mother will be coming to pick you up in London, as well.
Great! What time do you want to meet?
If we meet at seven, then when we get to my place we can go to dinner.
Okay, sounds good. You’ll have to show me the food.
Don’t worry Darling, I’ll show you everything. A cute angel like you needs help before you find trouble. I consider it my duty to entertain beautiful young ladies ;)
Rose watched in abject horror as her friend’s playful side reared its ugly head in full view of her dad. Now, while Rose was more than acquainted with her friend’s casual flirting – which he did simply for the entertainment value – her parents were still a little wary of him, especially after her Christmas necklace.
Blaise, I’m going to kill you.
She turned to see her dad looking entirely unamused. Her gently took the parchment and quill from her and began writing.
Hello, Mr Zabini. This is Remus Lupin, Rose’s father. I would like to have a chat if that’s okay?
The girl took one look at the words and sent a silent prayer to Italy.
Good luck Blaise, you’re going to need it.
Over a thousand miles away in a manor in Italy, a young man suddenly got a sense of foreboding as the ominous words appeared on the parchment.
Once Blaise had profusely – and very, very courteously – reassured Remus that he was not in any way attempting to seduce his daughter, Remus very politely requested that the Zabinis arrive half an hour earlier in order to discuss the trip to Italy. Which translated to Remus wanting to intimidate the shit out of her friend and make sure that she would be safe in his presence. She pitied Blaise; her dad was ordinarily very mild-mannered but he could get very scary when he wanted to.
Rose shook her head imagining the meeting that evening before turning back to her homework assignments. She’d almost finished her History essay, but she still had Potions, Transfiguration, Astronomy and Herbology left to do. They were all pathetically easy, but it was already five in the evening and she still needed to pack for Italy.
Then again … Rose glanced up at the ceiling in the direction of her room thoughtfully. She had recently come to the realisation that she was as much a Black as a Potter, and while Potters were rather dedicated to achieving their goals the Blacks took things to a whole new level. They used any means necessary to get what they wanted and didn’t give two shits about things like legality or who got in their way.
Rose wasn’t someone who stepped on others for what she wanted, but she did not care in the slightest about laws. Her personal philosophy was ‘it’s not illegal if you don’t get caught’. Considering some of the shit she used to do for her job would have gotten the average person arrested she couldn’t really be blamed. Or so she told herself.
She got up and made her way to her room and over to an innocuous drawer covered in a multitude of wards. Once opened she pulled out her glittering gold Time-Turner before activating the wards again. She grinned at the contraption as she put it on and made a note to get a few Pepper-Ups.
Technically my work will be done by the end of the day.
With several twists of the contraption, the day reversed itself around her.
Holing herself up in a spare room with books, food and potions wasn’t ideal, but she finally got all her work done by the time she originally went to her room. Using a Time-Turner all the time wasn’t advisable in the least because it aged you as you used it. Meaning that if you relived every single day for an entire week, you would age two weeks in one, and so on and so forth.
Rose only tended to use it for answering her insane amount of mail if it piled up too badly, and at most relived one day every week, if that. She had a system in place for finishing her work – usually – and hated relying on something with detrimental effects to her body.
Of course its potential in pranking couldn’t be overlooked; her parents had learnt that the hard way after she rewound time once or twice to set up traps for them without them realising. Sirius’ screams from the bucket of ice-water had been like music to her ears.
She mentally shook her head and went back to packing her spare trunk. This wasn’t a formal occasion so hauling along a pristine trunk with the Potter crest on it would be old Draco levels of posturing. (She still shuddered at the memories of “my father said”, and “my father will hear about this”.)
This was going to be a week of having fun, having a front-row seat to the bizarre relationships of The Black Widow, and trying to stop her friend from becoming a murderer before he was a teenager.
That is, if Remus didn’t kill him first.
He still wasn’t convinced that the Italian boy was entirely innocent in his intentions but she had pointed out that he was only twelve, and unlike her didn’t possess memories of being a twisted adult. The only reason Blaise was like that was because his mother had a reputation of seducing men and killing them for their money. Or so people said. Rose wasn’t touching that situation at all.
Eventually he relented and went to get ready for his date, as he was going to meet Charity after dropping her off with the Zabinis. Rose wished him luck, though the werewolf didn’t seem to appreciate it. Maybe asking him if she was going to get some new siblings any time soon wasn’t the most appropriate thing to say. Oh well, at least he’s happy.
She finished packing and set out some clothes for the next day. Italy was going to be great.
While some people might be questioning the warnings, I had it pointed out to me that some people might want to be warned of anything not het. I also figured out that apparently quite a few people missed the few hints that Rose wasn't straight in the first story. I mentioned a couple of times that Rose didn't care about gender when it came to romantic partners, but I think people managed to skim right over that without even taking it it. I'm not saying that all my readers missed this, but I have had more than a few messages from people who completely missed it.
If the fact that Rose might have a female partner in the future bothers you, then I'm afraid there's nothing I can do for you. I'm not going to apologise, because I personally have absolutely no problem with any sexual orientation or relationship structure as long as all parties involved are happy and consenting. People shouldn't need to apologise for who they are, and if you find it disgusting or whatever word you can think of, then tough luck. Rose is a fictional character yes, but she's a human who has layers to her that aren't defined by her sexuality. As far as I'm concerned, nobody is defined by their sexuality. Who someone is attracted to has no bearing on their personality, and Rose potentially having a same-sex relationship isn't going to define her as a person.
I'm very likely (never say never, and all that) not going to write mature scenes or smut for this fic, at least until the characters are of a legal age - which is very far in the future at this stage. If romance of any sort pops up in this story, it will mostly be emotional for Rose because of her circumstances. Other characters can probably expect things similar to the adult couples of this story, just with more hormones.
Sorry about the rant, but I've heard a few comments recently about this topic and it's got me riled up about it. Sorry!
Also, about the pairings - most of the characters are twelve right now. Rose might be an adult mentally, but I can guarantee her peers don't have the same perspective on romance and marriage that she does. Things are going to take a while.
Again, sorry about the ranting, and I hope you guys are liking it. Thanks for all the support :D
Until next time!
Chapter 7: 'Interesting' doesn't equate to 'fun'
Well, fuck. So much for a relaxing holiday.
Rose desperately hoped that her smile wasn’t as plastic as it felt, though judging from the side glances from Blaise she wasn’t as successful as she’d hoped. After an entire year at school together the boy was fairly good at reading her reactions and could probably tell she was uncomfortable, if not the exact reason why.
This was only the second day of her trip to Italy and she had already been reacquainted with the consequences of her actions as a member of the Crazy House of Black. (And yes, the ‘Crazy’ should definitely be an official part of the family’s title.) It wasn’t as if she cared about her family’s actions specifically, it was that she had expected to have an opportunity to relax instead of having to push herself back into the mindset of a calculating Heiress. Why does this crap always happen to me?
The Zabini family was apparently rather large in Italy – like what the Blacks used to be before they went insane and/or died – and her friend had quite a few cousins dotted around the country. One such cousin, Maria Donati nee Zabini, was an admirer of Alessia and had decided to spontaneously visit the family estate at the same time as Rose's visit. This woman’s visit wasn’t the issue. The issue was that she had brought her close friend along.
A young man named Andrea Ricci.
The annoying little prick who was the Italian Minister’s cousin, and the same moron who she’d annoyed so much in France that he'd tried to kill her and had gotten arrested. He'd only avoided prison time thanks to the quick talking of his cousin, though the teen was now studiously avoiding both France and the United Kingdom to prevent any more conflicts and subsequent problems for the Italian Ministry. Which promptly failed upon meeting her. Moron.
Having to pretend that she didn’t know him personally was a pain, but it was hilarious when he realised that she was related to the famous Cassiopeia Black and was therefore a member of the family he had unintentionally slighted. He'd rapidly paled at the knowledge and Maria had luckily grabbed him and spun some excuse about wanting to go drinking before the two of them disappeared like smoke.
Alessia just looked highly entertained by the entire situation before she announced that she was going to lunch with her new suitor, and promptly strolled away with an amused glint in her eyes. The woman clearly kept up-to-date with scandalous gossip and was enjoying every minute of it. Sly woman, indeed.
Blaise took her out to the porch where food was waiting for them before he finally decided to indulge his curiosity.
“So. Not that I’m complaining or anything, because I’ve met Andrea before and he’s an imbecile of the highest degree, but why exactly did he escape your presence as quick as he could without running?”
She smirked at him. “Thanks to Mr Andrea Ricci, in the last month Italy has suffered quite a blow in reputation because he fired an illegal cutting curse at someone while at a holiday resort in St Tropez. Thanks to that, France and the UK have managed to more or less coerce Italy into caving into our demands for allowing business expansion into Italy.
“Foreign stores who want to open another branch in Italy usually can't because of Italy's stance on such things. Though now, thanks to Andrea, the Italian Ministry basically had to give in or allow their Minister’s cousin to go to prison.”
She took a sip of her drink briefly before she carried on. “The reason he reacted that way to me personally was because the person he attacked is a ward of the House of Black. My great-aunt Cassi’s godson actually, whom she even adopted. I think realising that I’m next in line to inherit the family he pissed off was more than a little terrifying for him.”
The boy blinked for a moment before he let out a loud laugh, almost like a cackle which was eerily similar to the Blacks when they lost it and made everyone aware of just how off they were. (Even Cassi, a woman who held herself to traditional standards of appropriate behaviour, had a tendency to cackle like a stereotypical muggle witch whenever something went her way. It was disturbing to say the least.)
“Oh my God! That’s amazing! He’s always coming over with Maria acting as if he can do no wrong, but he went and fucked up so badly that it caused an international incident. At least now I know why my mother’s been so cheerful whenever someone mentioned him recently.”
As she watched one of her closest friends laugh himself silly at the story of Mr Ricci’s idiocy, she pondered exactly how close she and Blaise were. He was light years ahead of their peers in terms of maturity, hence why the two of them got on exceedingly well to the point that their conversations weren’t even censored in private and tended to embarrass their friends with their blunt words.
Blaise had his secrets as she did, but he was very frank with her concerning his opinions on certain topics, though she knew that if she wanted to be able to count on him more then she had to give him something to work with. She wouldn’t be telling anyone else about her trip through time unless she was in a serious relationship with them, but the truth of her appearance was something that would probably come out eventually. Metamorphmagi were rare and considered desirable to quite a few individuals, and it was best to reveal that information on her own terms to avoid trouble.
The only reason that Dora (she finally got to call her Dora!) managed to avoid most of the hassle was because she wasn’t in line to inherit anything and her mother had been disowned, and as harsh as it sounded it was true. Or at least it would be until people realised that Andromeda – and by extension, Dora – were once more members of the House of Black.
She would probably start by telling a few people that she could trust so that if she was found out she would have back-up; those with actual common sense (rare as it was in their backwards-arse society) would quickly realise the implications of her being able to change every facet of her appearance, and though she was used to it she had no desire to weather suspicion from every angle by herself again. If she wanted to change things she needed allies.
Rose’s goal once she realised that she had arrived in the past was to fix the timeline but she was far from naïve. Simply killing off a Dark Lord and removing a manipulative old man didn’t ‘fix’ anything. She may have taken out – inadvertently or not – the larger players of the opposition, but the figurative chessboard was still in play. She had no desire to emulate Dumbledore in the slightest, but she had no qualms employing some good old-fashioned Slytherin cunning to take out her families’ enemies. (Enemies that were genuinely dangerous that is, because the Blacks had made enemies out of too many people to count at this point. Apparently they’d enjoyed pissing people off a little too much.)
One of the problems in the past-future was how exactly those in power had handled conflict and allowed themselves to become corrupt to the point of useless. To truly rectify the problems of their society the people in charge had to change things for the better, and she didn’t have the power to force them to. She needed to delve into political alliances for this to have any chance of success, and it sure wasn’t going to be a quick mission. (Though it was pretty funny when people realised that for the first time ever, the Black and Potter families – traditionally dark and light, respectively – were now working in tandem with one another – their faces were vaguely reminiscent of being hit with a Confundus Charm.)
In order to start dealing with everything she needed people in her corner. She forcibly calmed herself before turning to her still-grinning friend.
“At least, that is the official story that the House of Black will abide by.”
The Italian turned to her with narrowed eyes. “Official,” he repeated impassively. “And unofficially?”
She paused for a moment. “Have you never wondered why I’m blonde with blue eyes, while my birth father had black hair and hazel eyes, and my mother was a redhead with green eyes?”
He raised an eyebrow. “Everyone has wondered that, but considering that you’re a dead ringer for your paternal grandmother there’s no question of your paternity.”
Rose grimaced at that. What she hadn’t considered when she decided to go blonde for the fun of it, would be some rather nasty questions concerning the fidelity of her parents’ marriage, until a random student – which had been her in disguise – had brought up the fact that she simply took after her Black heritage more that the Potter part, which she couldn’t have unless James Potter really was her father. Soon enough people were more than a little concerned over her potential character as opposed to her parentage, given the general reputation of the Black family.
“I wasn’t born with this colouring, it was actually like those stupid books said before they were retracted.”
Her friend opened his mouth and went to speak before she focused her magic under her skin and changed. There was no one around – she had made sure to ‘feel’ the area with her magic – so she wasn’t too concerned, and she morphed to her old appearance of messy black hair and poisonous green eyes. Luckily her hair was past her hips now, so the weight pulled it to a slight wave unlike her dad’s bird’s nest.
She felt the tingle of magic as her appearance settled and mentally cringed. This visage of hers was the one where everyone had thought that they knew her simply because she was the carbon copy of her parents. They'd treated her as an extension of them and it pissed her off. Being compared to dead people and coming up short wasn’t something that had done much for her non-existent self-esteem. Arseholes, the lot of them.
Blaise had a shrewd look on his face and she hoped that she hadn’t made a bad call in revealing the truth to him.
“You’re a Metamorphmagus,” he stated.
“Since my dad Sirius adopted me as a baby, though my core was blocked as a child by my birth parents and the block wasn’t lifted until I was ten so I didn’t find out until then.” Not a lie, though she'd left out quite a bit.
“And your reason for telling me?”
“I trust you.”
He narrowed his eyes. “And your less altruistic reason for telling me?”
“I am Heiress Black.”
“… And Lady Potter.”
The boy stared at her for a moment before letting out a heavy, put-upon sigh and looking towards the sky.
“You don’t do anything by halves, do you Rosa?”
“No, I don’t.”
Her reply in perfect Italian got his attention and he looked at her blankly before smiling ruefully and shaking his head. After a moment he smirked at her.
“I think things will be more interesting this way.”
She snorted. “Interesting doesn’t mean good, you know. Haven’t you heard the Chinese proverb, ‘May you live in interesting times’?”
Blaise just cackled.
After lunch her friend whisked her away to a more secluded part of the house and had her demonstrate her ability to alter her appearance in a myriad of bizarre ways. Between having multicoloured hair and eyes, changing her body shape and size, and switching genders, he gradually coaxed out the story of what really happened in France and found it hysterical that it was her who his cousin’s friend had offended. Even better was that she had an entirely separate identity forged by her aunt that was legitimate (more or less). Though he was less than impressed when he realised that the situation meant that she was the one who had been attacked.
“So you weren’t hurt?”
Rose side-eyed Blaise, currently sporting a dark red, straight bob and silver eyes. “No Blaise, I wasn’t hurt. I used a shield to protect myself and the girls.”
“Shields are a lot more advanced than our level.” It was clear to see why he was a Slytherin, she thought.
“Technically, I was emancipated at the age of ten thanks to being Lady Potter, and my family’s library is very extensive.” She paused. “And the Black library is uniquely detailed.”
“Uniquely detailed,” he deadpanned. “You mean filled with books that don’t adhere to common Ministry laws. The Blacks don’t exactly have the greatest reputation, and all the diplomacy in the world won’t disguise the fact that you lot just do what you want.”
The redheaded girl pouted. “Not all the Blacks are like that.”
“Yes, they are. The Blacks all have one thing in common: whenever they find something that interests them they give it their all, regardless of morals or laws. You father Sirius enjoys inventing and pranking, hence the shop, and Andromeda is one of St Mungo’s best Healers.
“That doesn’t even include your aunt Cassiopeia’s reputation as a Spell-Crafter and Warder. Arcturus Black was a fearsome Curse-Breaker, as well any number of other examples. It’s obvious in the newer generations too, even if they don’t bear the Black name.
“Neville is beyond brilliant at Herbology, Draco is still a prat but is weirdly intuitive when it comes to Potions, and from what I’ve heard Ronald Weasley is a master strategist and chess player. Though why he can’t apply those skills to the real world, I’ll never know.”
He gave her a look. “I don’t know what your obsession is yet, but I bet you have one.”
“… I like researching magical theory. It gives me a broad spectrum of topics to choose from, and I like finding new ways to think of things.”
“You’re a researcher.”
He grinned. “So how many illegal books do you have?”
She tried, but she couldn’t quite contain the embarrassed flush that crept across her face. She didn’t mind her friend knowing as it was clear that he didn’t really care, but it was worrying that people could find out about her less than legal habits and get her in trouble. Sirius was trying hard to get people to see the House of Black as a (mostly) reputable family and didn’t need his pre-teen daughter getting arrested for possessing illegal artefacts. Even if they were only illegal because the Ministry had been full of incompetent arses for the better part of its centuries-long history, but that rant was for another day.
“Surely you jest, Heir Zabini. A Lady such as myself would never have such items within her possession, don’t you agree?” she demurred, and fluttered her eyelashes at him innocently to complete the picture.
He snorted then burst out laughing before grabbing her and spinning her around, all the while still laughing uproariously at her words. Rose smiled; Blaise was someone who was so used to tempering himself that he hardly ever let loose. She was glad that he could relax every once in a while, as it really wasn’t all that fun to stay serious all the time.
There was a reason that she'd made it a point to spend as much time as she could with Teddy doing whatever he wanted. She hadn't cared if he'd wanted to play pretend as a little kid, or draw pictures with her, or even mess around with pranking, as long as he'd had fun. Seeing him happy had been a very effective stress-reliever for the adult Rose, as had looking after her friends’ children.
After morphing back to her usual appearance they split up to go and get ready for dinner with Alessia and her new beau. As she watched her friend retreat to his room she realised that he was probably her best friend in this timeline.
Blaise had never been somebody she was close to, either in school of after the war. As a fellow student he'd been content to fade into the background of Slytherin, letting him further his own goals without drawing attention to himself. After graduation he'd more or less run back to Italy and Rose had seen less than once a year at various events. Not that she'd gone to many herself.
There were no expectations in her relationship with Blaise. She had no idea how he'd been in school and so had nothing to compare him to, consciously or not. Their friendship was a brand new experience for Rose and she loved navigating a new situation unrelated to the war. Blaise was fun.
She smirked. At least things will be ‘interesting’.
I quite like the idea that, even when Rose plans for some normality, life continues to mess with her lol. And Blaise - among with many, many others - was so underdeveloped in canon it was sad.
Hope you like it, and see you again next week!
Chapter 8: Communication is the key – or the road to murder
It was a well-known fact that goblins were greedy little misers, annoying little fuckers who legally robbed wizards blind while mentally – and sometimes literally – rubbing their palms together with gleeful abandon while watching their victims scramble in panic as their gold disappeared like sand slipping through fingers.
It was another well-known fact that if a goblin grinned at you with their teeth bared and an amused glint in their eyes, that something was about to go very, very wrong. And not for the goblin, either. Goblins weren’t humans, and therefore did not adhere to the same behavioural patterns as humans. This included perceptions of humour. What a goblin found to be funny was usually not funny at all for humans. Usually because whatever the goblins found amusing was something that would liberate no small amount of gold from their unsuspecting targets.
Rose Potter knew damn well that the shitty bastard on the other side of her desk was about to make her life even more complicated, but for the life of her she couldn’t figure out why. Her investments were soaring – with a surreptitious use of her knowledge about which companies would be booming in the future – and she was still paying the bank to help her with certain tasks. Sorting through the mail of The-Girl-Who-Lived was no small thing, not to mention helpfully stonewalling certain individuals who tried to get information about her from the bank. Nosy shitheads.
(She knew donating so much of the proceeds of the basilisk would get her in good standing with the goblins. Bribery or not it was bloody useful, and allies are allies no matter what race they are.)
No matter what some people thought, goblins did not accept people as ‘friends’ to the goblin nation. Some goblins might find certain humans to be somewhat acceptable, but that was because both parties had things to gain from the partnership. Humans were almost universally despised by goblins and vice versa, and the mutual loathing wasn’t too difficult to understand when you read into the history of goblin-wizard relations. Goblins and humans did not become friends.
This was why so many at Gringotts found the friendship between Rose Potter and Manager Sharpfang to be utterly baffling. She was just another stupid human even if she wasn't rude to them, and he was an intelligent and capable warrior. To the bankers it didn’t make any sense whatsoever. Especially given that they both indulged in societal etiquette and spoke very politely to one another. The pair regularly conversed using polite diplomacy beyond greetings which the other goblins simply didn’t bother with. They knew their job and couldn’t understand how a few pretty words could be useful.
Of course it would have helped if the two had revealed that they were just as twisted as each other.
The two of then enjoyed doing things to their own benefit that would fuck with their enemies, hence why Sharpfang had enjoyed helping her to unblock her core and fix her status. The freer she was the more carnage she could cause, and he could sit back and watch the pathetic humans panic as their plans fell apart around them.
Rose could sympathise with the feeling hence why they got along so well. Sharpfang was apparently something of an enabler for her; he gave her the tools to cause mayhem and enjoyed the fallout. Rose was well aware of his personality.
It was thanks to this fact that Rose knew something exceedingly annoying was going to happen. For her.
Her manager enjoyed causing havoc, and by the look on his face he was about to unleash untold mischief with her as the unwilling victim. They had already partaken in the usual pleasantries so there was nothing left to do but deal with it. Fuck it all, best get it over with.
“Manager Sharpfang, it’s a pleasure to see you in person once more, though your countenance concerns me somewhat. Are there any issues that I should be apprised of?” Translation: What am I doing here bastard, haven’t you heard of owls? You look like a bloody death omen right now, what are you playing at?
“Lady Potter-Peverell, it is indeed nice to catch up face-to-face, thought I do hope I’m not taking up too much of your time? As Heiress Black you must have a busy schedule.” Brat, I know I’m causing trouble and I don’t give a shit. How’s life with Cassiopeia Black?
She resisted narrowing her eyes. “Certainly not, Manager. The House of Black is quite easily able to accommodate Gringotts into its day. An establishment such as this, a pinnacle of our world, cannot possibly be ignored. Business is going well, I presume?” Fuck you. The Blacks are batshit crazy and I need a break. Even a bank is better than a crazy old lady. So exactly what have you done, anyway?
He ‘smiled’ at her. My, that is a bloodthirsty grin. What’s he done? “Quite. Working in such a business is certainly time-consuming, though the rewards far outweigh the detractions. Speaking of work however, it has recently come to my attention that your influence could be stretched even further than it currently reaches. As your manager, it is my duty to assist with your assets to the best of my ability.” Hard work ends with seeing idiots cower in fear, what’s not to love? By the way, I’ve done something you’re going to hate.
“I don’t think words are enough to express my gratitude, though I am still puzzled as to your meaning.” Fuck. You. What did you do?!
“It has recently come to my attention that as a descendent of a certain family without a current Head, you yourself will be eligible for the position at the moment another Heir or Heiress for the House of Black is discovered. That is, after another. As the family has gone so long without being claimed, I took the liberty of contacting the individual currently first in line.” Did you really think taking me into the Chamber of Secrets wouldn’t backfire on you? Idiot. I wonder what they said in the letter.
Rose looked between the terrifying grin of her manager, teeth and all, and the parchment letter in the desk addressed to her. You fucking, shitty goblin. I’m going to kill you.
“Words escape me, Manager. I simply cannot express my thanks in adequate detail. This is an unexpected opportunity indeed,” she said sweetly, words dripping with poison. It took an enormous effort not to grit her teeth.
Rose mentally cursed the goblin in five different languages, just managing to keep the politely interested look on her face. Gearing herself up, she picked up the unassuming letter and looked it over. The messy scrawl on the front spoke of someone clearly unconcerned with British customs concerning written correspondence, and the envelope was of a very low quality without a proper seal of wax on the back.
The blonde girl didn’t really give a shit about putting on airs, but it was generally considered ‘proper’ to write with perfect and aesthetically pleasing calligraphy when writing to others; the flourishing characters generally gave an impression of a put-together and respected individual. The envelopes were usually hand-crafted with expensive parchment to subtly show off wealth and status, and the wax seal usually held a House or business crest for the same purpose.
That the writer hadn’t bothered with any of it spoke of someone who was completely ignorant of such things or someone who couldn’t care less. Rose thought it was probably a bit of both; this letter was obviously from the American witch first in line to inherit the Gaunt family, and American magicals tended to look down on the supposed ‘dated’ customs of the British. The writer probably wasn’t fully aware of the subtle nuances in how people were perceived by their writing, while also holding fast to the American way of doing things.
If only I could get away with doing crap like this. If I tried though, Aunt Cassi would kill me, resurrect me, and kill me again. The woman’s as mad as a hatter.
It was lucky that Rose was the recipient and not an uptight traditionalist as, while she wasn’t offended in the slightest, someone else might not have taken the letter as well as she did. Rose remembered well that not everyone had the same opportunities growing up to learn the traditions of magic, which was something that she wanted to change earlier than her past life.
She resisted the urge to sigh and/or face-plant on the desk and opened the letter.
To Whom It May Concern,
It’s recently come to my attention that I’m in line to inherit an old House and the titles and assets that come from it.
As I’ve already told Gringotts, neither I nor my family have any interest in this House whatsoever.
I’ve already had a contract drawn up and signed (which is included with this letter) removing myself and my relatives from the line of inheritance, and allowing yourself to run the family when you’re able to.
Before you ask, I am very sure of these actions. My ancestors may come from Britain but I have no desire to get involved in your politics.
Good luck with the House of Gaunt,
Well that was blunt. She barely resisted the urge to snort. The Noble and Most Ancient House of Gaunt. Please. The Gaunt family was such a disaster that even the bonus of political power wasn’t enough to entice the rightful Head. Ms Jameson didn’t even need to live in Britain to wield voting rights, yet she still didn’t want it.
Not that Rose could blame her to be honest. The Gaunt family was well-known to be horrendously inbred, which didn’t exactly invite the best reputation to those in the family. Rose was lucky that her connection was quite distant with her great-great-grandmother being a Gaunt. Elpis Gaunt had actually been rather lucky as well, as her parents had been second cousins as opposed to first like the majority of her relatives. Not that that was much better, but the Gaunts were hardly the only family to marry their second cousins – see Exhibit A: Orion and Walburga Black.
Rose had seen the Gaunt family tree more than a few times, and if she was correct Ms Jameson was descended from Elpis’ sister. Elpis had been the third child of four: Deimos, Aporia, Elpis, and Castor. Deimos was Marvolo Gaunt’s father, making her quite closely related to the one and only Tom Marvolo Riddle – which was something that she desperately tried to forget, honestly. Aporia Gaunt ran away from the family to America as soon as she could, and was the Gaunt who Ms Jameson was descended from. Elpis was Rose’s ancestor, and Castor sired just one daughter who, in true Gaunt fashion, was married off to Marvolo. Which was entirely too disgusting to contemplate.
The Gaunt family reputation had been in tatters for at least a century, but it was still respected as a member of the Sacred Twenty-Eight. The list was generally considered to be pile of dragon dung but in some circles still held great sway. Rose was only just a member of the ‘elite’ group as a member of the House of Black, as the Potters did not count – go, Henry Potter.
The discovery of a long-lost Heiress or Head to a House of the Sacred Twenty-Eight, and one with such a prestigious history – because they were descended from a Hogwarts founder – would actually be a boon to the magical community and would likely prompt searches for Heirs of other ‘dead’ families.
The fact that Rose Potter was a Gaunt could go either way.
She had a decent reputation right now, so the fact that she would continue the Gaunt family could help sway opinion on the family in her favour. However, it could also go the other way and get her condemned as a ‘dark’ witch who would grow up to be the next coming of Voldemort, as per the usual idiocy of magical Britain. All hail the land of brainless sheep.
Rose picked up the contract that came with the note, and her eyebrows nearly ascended into her hairline at what the other witch had done. As of right now she had no children or siblings, and her parents were only children. She only had one grandparent alive that could inherit, and the American had managed to get every single blood member of her family alive to relinquish the right to inherit, meaning that Rose was the only person left alive who now could. The contract couldn’t be revoked as they had made magical oaths with blood freely given, meaning that their line no longer belonged to The Noble and Most Ancient House of Gaunt.
Well, this is a point in my favour. As much as Rose had wanted to avoid this particular inheritance, she wouldn’t deny the possible advantages when it came to political power. The Black family would never be hers unless Sirius failed to impregnate his new wife – and considering he was still able to sire children and had ten years of celibacy to make up for, she rather doubted it – which meant that she could take on another title aside from being Lady Potter and Lady Peverell.
Becoming Lady Gaunt would meant reaching the maximum of titles according to the law but would bar her from inheriting a family if she married the Head of another House and they died – which she sincerely hoped wouldn’t happen in her second adult life, but she knew the benefits of preparing for every situation. She wouldn’t even be able to become a fully-titled Lady of her spouse’s family if she married, as her own titles would supersede the one from marriage.
That wasn’t really a problem though, as she had no desire to force someone to give her a title anyway. If she married someone who was a Lord or Lady then she would become Lady in name only – which meant having no real power at all in the family, and simply being known as the person who married the Head of the family and would help continue the family line. A courtesy title.
Considering how titles worked though, if she took on the responsibilities of the Gaunt family she would have to have at least three pregnancies to carry on the names. If her future spouse had a title, that was potentially another one as well. Well, I always wanted a big family.
She looked back at the contract. It essentially gave the option to choose when she took on the title, if she did at all. Time was a good thing in her opinion.
The shift in tone got his attention and his eyes narrowed at her serious demeanour. Gone was the casual yet polite banter from before and now they were talking serious business. That was one thing the goblin appreciated about his time-travelling diminutive client – she might be hilariously entertaining but she knew when to stop fucking about, and she always asked pertinent questions about her assets. He wished other humans would do the same.
“Ms Jameson has been kind enough to provide a copy of a contract drawn up and signed by her family and the American branch of the bank. It states that neither she nor any of her relatives – present or future – have any right to inherit the House of Gaunt. They have even removed themselves from the family entirely if I’m reading this correctly.
“I am now the only person alive to inherit this family. I’ve done enough research to know that I’m the only magical person alive descended from Elpis Gaunt, meaning that I’m the only person who could possibly inherit the family. The question now isn’t necessarily if I should, because I know myself well enough that I can admit to finding the political power quite attractive, but rather when?”
The goblin was looking at her shrewdly. “Elaborate.”
“You and I both know that Albus Dumbledore being dead doesn’t change how the masses see dark magic. ‘Dark’ is synonymous with ‘evil’ at this point, and it’s ridiculous. The problem is if ‘The-Girl-Who-Lived’ suddenly becomes associated with another dark family: the fallout would be disastrous. The Potter family would probably lose a large amount of respect – those of the light faction would see me as a traitor, and the dark would think me pandering and being ignorant of the true nature of magic.
“The only reason being Heiress Black didn't screw things up was because Sirius was a Gryffindor and currently has public sympathy from being in Azkaban. Not to mention marrying the Head of the DMLE.
“If I’m to be associated with the Gaunts, then first people need to know the truth: dark magic, culture, history, gifts like Parseltongue, and the reality of blood status. All these things and more need to become common knowledge before I’m even able to become Heiress Gaunt, let alone Lady. If it isn’t I’ll be metaphorically slaughtered.”
Sharpfang looked at her for a moment before gracing her with a maniacal grin.
“Well, you’ve certainly thought things through,” he cackled. He sobered quickly. “Though you are right; if you do things too quickly the Ministry is likely to brand you a Dark Lady and ruin you. I’m curious though, how do you plan to rectify the situation?”
She blew air out her mouth and ran her fingers through her hair, messing up the wild curls even more than usual.
“That’s the problem. There is no quick fix. When I came back I decided to fix the shit storm that the world ended up as, but simply killing people off doesn’t do anything. That’s just getting rid of the symptoms, not the problem. If I want to sort things out the government has to change, and that’s a long-term goal for years ahead now.
“The Gaunt problem can be fixed by spreading knowledge, and I can probably manage that by using the Prophet and by publishing anonymous books. If I control the flow of information – and get other people to help – I can probably even the playing field for dark magic enough by the time I graduate.”
Sharpfang paused a moment before he started laughing uproariously at her. She rolled her eyes and waited for him to get under control again. Shitty goblin.
“That may just work, my Lady. Is there anything else you want to discuss today?”
“How about the reason as to why you couldn’t just send me this information in a letter?”
“Because that way I’d miss out on the entertainment.”
I've actually just put up a family tree for the Gaunt family and how Rose is related up on my deviantart (anime-otaku20) if you want to check it out. I always wondered why we never saw anything of Harry's relatives through the Potter family. I remember in canon Sirius saying that all pure-blood families are related in some way or another, but nothing was ever mentioned about any cousins or distant relatives. Such a shame, but I guess that's what sites like this are for :D
I hope you liked my foray into Rose bantering with the goblins about being sneaky, and I'll see you next week.
Chapter 9: Family goes beyond blood
Growing up knowing that your parents had died before you ever truly knew them was a rather depressing state of affairs for anyone to deal with, but having someone to love and care for you certainly helped to soften the cruelty of life.
Susan Bones was a girl who’d always known about the existence of her parents and what sort of people they’d been in life, but the joy of learning about the people who gave their lives for her was always tainted by the fact that they would never learn anything about her in return.
Harvey Bones and Eleanor Bones nee Sykes had never had any portraits made so the closest the girl had ever gotten to her parents were the marble headstones in the family cemetery. Their final resting place was both a source of comfort and a painful reminder of her status as an orphan, but Susan always made sure to dutifully visit whenever she could. She had no desire to take the easy route in life and ignore her problems.
Her aunt Amelia was a strong woman who’d always made sure to impress on her that facing your problems head on way the best way to deal with things. Susan didn’t want to dishonour her parents’ memory or disappoint her aunt by being a weak person. Her family had suffered so much for what they believed in, and she wasn’t going to disgrace that by letting herself be someone that constantly needed rescuing.
She wanted to be someone that didn't have to rely on people she couldn't fully trust for help. Like their own government. The girl still hated that her parents only died because of Ministry incompetence; it was why she respected her aunt so much, as the woman worked tirelessly to for efficiency in her workplace.
A few months after the murders of James and Lily Potter there had still been Death Eaters and supporters at large but the Ministry had grown lax in its excitement at Voldemort dying. Everyone had been so happy at the surprising turn of affairs that nobody seemed to care the vile murderer hadn't been the only problem. They hadn’t thought to pay attention to the situation, and it was this utter stupidity that ended with several individuals being killed before the Ministry came down from their 'end of war' cheer.
If they had been paying attention then her parents would still be alive.
The Bones couple had been well-known for being capable fighters with respected jobs in the Ministry. One day not far into the new year of nineteen eighty-two they’d been visiting Diagon Alley - supposedly still under Auror protection, but for some reason left alone – where a raid was soon started by Death Eaters, and the Bones family lost two members leaving Susan an orphan.
The Bones family, considered a strong family of good blood and reputation, had been all but decimated in less than a year. Susan’s uncle Edgar Bones and his wife and children had all been killed a few months before the ‘miraculous’ Girl-Who-Lived incident, her grandparents had faced similar fates just before Rose became an orphan, and then her parents died months after. Amelia and Susan were left the only members of the once-large family.
Amelia had tried hard to raise her niece to the best of her ability and she’d succeeded as far as Susan was concerned. Susan appreciated her aunt’s dedication so much, especially as she got older and realised the pressure the woman was under; having to work long hours at the Ministry, as well as teach a young girl about life and magic didn’t leave her aunt with much of a social life.
Susan had once asked her aunt if she had a partner, but the utterly miserable look in the woman’s eyes had prompted her to change the subject quickly. The girl had been shaken by the conversation that showed her aunt wasn’t as infallible as she’d always assumed. It'd been terrifying for her – she’d already lost every other member of her family and the prospect of being completely alone wasn’t something she even wanted to contemplate.
That was the moment that Susan decided she wasn’t going to sit back and wait for others to help, she was going to save herself instead. She made the decision then and there to become a strong person like her aunt and parents; she needed to become an Auror so her aunt wouldn’t be alone anymore.
Amelia Bones was a normal human, Susan knew that, but coming home to her aunt sitting next to an empty bottle of firewhiskey in the summer before her first year of school had definitely been a worrying experience.
“Susan, there’s something I’ve never actually told you. It just wasn’t a good idea, not to mention it’s not a happy topic. Or at least it wasn’t.”
The older woman turned to her with a weary face. “You remember about Sirius Black, right?”
Susan nodded cautiously, wondering what a mass-murderer had to do with her aunt’s lack of composure.
“He’s innocent.” Amelia’s shoulders slumped and she shut her eyes tight as if to block out the pain. “He’s innocent, and he was never even given a trial. He’s spent the past decade in Azkaban despite never being proven guilty.”
The girl drew in a sharp breath with eyes widened. Innocent? A man spent ten years in prison despite being innocent? Oh Merlin, how could the Ministry do that?
“But that’s not everything.”
Susan looked back at her aunt who looked wary and tense all of a sudden.
“He’s my fiancé.”
Learning that her aunt was actually engaged – had been for an entire decade – and that the infamous Sirius Black was her fiancé, had been one of the most bizarre experiences in Susan’s life to date.
Finding out that the man was also the adoptive father of Rose Potter was also a shock. Susan had long been informed that the so-called ‘factual’ books about the other girl were complete farce as the Potter Heiress was supposed to be with her muggle relatives, not living a pampered life in a magical family as the books often ‘reported’.
Actually meeting the girl in person was enough to make her discount every page of the books as complete and utter trash.
“Heiress Bones, it’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance.”
Susan looked at the shorter girl in front of her and tried not to gape unattractively. Her light-blue eyes were startlingly bright against the backdrop of her pale skin and platinum-blonde hair, and the girl was beautiful in a way that made Susan immediately want to fidget and play with her hair. If there was someone to make you question yourself, Rose Potter was that person.
Her clothes were obviously expensive though slightly old-fashioned, as if she was wearing something from decades ago. (Susan would eventually come to learn her blonde friend was an unrepentant cheapskate that couldn’t be bothered to buy new clothes, but at eleven was nothing but awed.)
Blonde curls cascaded down her back to her hips, swaying slightly whenever she walked, and the redhead was taken away by how comfortable the other girl looked in herself. She hadn’t seen anyone so graceful since Daphne, but she’d been like a ballerina from the start. (Susan still didn’t have any idea how Daphne did it, it wasn’t fair!)
The only issue Susan had with Rose Potter right now was how much she resembled her cousin Draco Malfoy. He was an obnoxious idiot who made her want to test her aunt’s duelling tips on him. Whenever she'd seen him the blonde boy hadn’t seemed to realise that he offended people left and right, with a very different definition of ‘cunning’ to everyone else.
“Heiress Potter, the pleasure is all mine.”
That was weird. It almost seemed as if the other girl was trying not to wince. Was there something wrong with the situation?
Before she could reply, her aunt and Mr Black left hand-in-hand to spend some time together and Susan wondered what sort of man her aunt was marrying.
Those words shocked her into physically jolting, and looking back on their encounter years later, she noted that that sentence set the tone for the rest of their relationship. Rose would shock Susan, and Susan would unknowingly forego any and all etiquette from sheer bewilderment. (Until she adapted to the insanity, anyway.)
“I - I beg your pardon?”
“Dad. He's a besotted bastard. I genuinely pity Amelia having to deal with his crap on a daily basis.”
Rose turned to her with a bright smile and a glint of amusement in her eyes.
“Welcome to the family!”
… Auntie, help.
The other girl turned to her and cocked her head as she casually ate an insane amount of ice-cream. That can’t be good for her.
“Erm … I was wondering something. I mean, I don’t want to offend you or anything, but, it’s just –”
She paused her rambling and took a deep breath before squaring her shoulders, turning to her fellow eleven-year-old with a questioning look.
“Why are you blonde with blue eyes? You know, considering your parents.”
Rose blinked before snorting and choking on the dessert, actually inhaling some of it if the pained squeak was anything to go by. After a couple of minutes of clearing the ice-cream from her nose – and Susan was genuinely concerned at this point; that looked like it hurt – the blonde girl grinned at her and pulled out some photos from a shrunken bag.
“Voila, meet the reasons for my appearance.”
Susan peered at a still muggle photo of a young couple, the man having dark auburn hair and blue eyes the exact shade of Rose’s eyes. The woman had blonde hair darker than the girl sitting next to her, but with green eyes she’d seen reflected in pictures of Lily Potter.
“As for my particular shade of blonde hair, I have my great-grandmother to thank for that.”
The other girl pulled out a photo and handed it over as she leafed through the rest. The Bones Heiress studied the stern blonde woman with brown eyes who was almost glaring at the camera. She didn’t look all that friendly to be honest.
“This is your great-grandmother?”
Rose nodded. “Yep. Violetta Black nee Bulstrode. She passed on her blonde locks to several of her female descendants in that specific branch of the Blacks. Aunt Cassi and my grandmother Dorea were both blonde, Dad’s mother Walburga too, as well as Narcissa Malfoy.”
Susan studied the girl who was now her family. She was so comfortable in herself, and from the brief conversations they’d had – though Susan very much felt as if she was out of her depth – Rose seemed to be pretty open to different types of magic.
“You, um, seem to be very open to being a member of the House of Black. You know, despite the Potters being, err –”
The readhead was coming to the realisation that that smirk existed to give her heart palpitations.
“True the Potters are a light family, but just because someone is inherently dark doesn’t mean they’re evil. It’s the same with spells, intent matters so much more than whether it’s light, grey or dark.”
Rose shifted and turned to her, adopted a serious expression as she began lecturing. “A person’s core has no bearing on their personality as what type of magic a spell uses does on its result. A cutting or a levitation spell are simple first-year light charms, but they still have the capabilities to slit someone’s throat or levitate something heavy on top of someone and kill them respectively.”
The blonde girl finished her brief but intense explanation and Susan was flabbergasted. Her aunt might not have ever been hateful towards dark magic but she’d always assumed there was something to be avoided because of what she’d heard. Clearly, ‘common knowledge' wasn’t always actual knowledge.
“Bambi! Stop annoying Susan and give your darling father some attention.”
“Please, the only attention you need is from professionals who deal with the human mind.”
“Amy, she’s picking on me!”
As she listened to the caustic banter between father and daughter, most of Susan’s mind was replaying Rose’s words over and over again as she began to reassess her opinions of what magic was.
(Rose had no idea this brief explanation was the root cause of her redheaded friend becoming one of her staunchest supporters in the following years.)
“So, what’s up?”
Susan was rightly confused given that the makeshift family was supposed to be spending the day together: her, Aunt Amelia, Rose, and Sirius. Rose’s other dad Remus Lupin had left to spend the day with his girlfriend, but not before Rose waggled her eyebrows suggestively at the man. Susan had blushed bright red and left the room to the sound of a playful argument between father and daughter. While she couldn’t imagine having such a personal relationship with a father she could understand that it was Rose’s business.
She’d been shown around Grimmauld Place which apparently used to be quite the dump, by a smiling Rose and a strangely proud house-elf. Kreacher was very old and had traditional views but he seemed to adore Rose for some reason. She wasn’t about to ask about Black family business though – her aunt might be a Black now, but even she wouldn’t be privy to everything. Blacks were possessive, and blood meant a lot more to them than being family by marriage.
The two girls were now in the tapestry room, and the family tree was rather daunting with how it sprawled across the walls, detailing the infamous family all the way back to the thirteenth century. They were eating some snacks provided by Kreacher and Rose looked to be trying to tell her something.
Susan put down her plate and turned to Rose, blue eyes meeting brown. Susan wouldn’t admit it but the other girl’s beauty was daunting and she was quite envious. She wouldn’t let it come between them though, especially after Rose had once looked thoroughly confused after someone complimented her. That she couldn’t understand she was attractive was just another result of being told she was worthless as a child, and Susan couldn’t find it in herself to be too jealous of that.
“Dad and Amelia are married so we’re practically family now. I’m not someone who generally likes keeping things from family if I can, so I’d like to tell you something about me, though I’d like it if you kept it to yourself.”
Susan blinked. “Is it dangerous?”
“Not really, I mean, any magic had the ability to be dangerous if it’s used with that in mind, but not specifically. It’s more of a Family magic thing, I –”
Rose paused, bewildered. “Susan?”
“Rose. Family magic is generally kept secret for a reason. It’s kept in the family so others can’t take advantage of it.”
The blonde girl sighed. “I know Susan, but the point is my ability isn’t going to remain a secret forever. It’s physical magic, and already one person found out without me knowing. Luckily they were family but I’d rather not risk it again. It’s useful magic and a lot of people find it to be an attractive quality. Sooner or later people are going to find out, and I’d like to have people on my side when they do. I'm also not the only one who has it.
“But most importantly you’re now my family. You might not be a Black by blood but you are by marriage. My ancestors might not have thought you to be family, but between my dad and I the old stuffy traditions aren’t going to last too long. I don’t like the thought of lying to family. I’ll admit that I have secrets which you’ll probably never know because they are dangerous, but I don’t mind sharing others.
“I trust you.”
Susan felt warmth blossom in her chest as she realised the other girl really and truly thought of her as family. This wasn’t an ill-conceived decision, this was a thought-out plan because of Rose’s own ideas about such things. She knew that this moment was also politically important even if Rose herself didn’t realise it. Rose was asking for her trust and Susan was eventually going to be Lady Bones. Rose was going to be Lady Potter and she was close enough to Lord Black to speak for their family. Susan could offer her – and her family’s – friendship, or she could step back to just being acquaintances.
“Okay. So what’s the issue?”
“Two things, actually. First, I’m already Lady Potter, and though my vote in the Wizengamot wasn’t ever publicly acknowledged as changing proxies it was being used by Augusta Longbottom. I also emancipated myself at ten without anyone knowing.”
Susan’s eyes were wide. “How did you not end up in Slytherin?”
Rose just grinned and casually changed her hair to royal blue and eyes to bronze. In a corner of her mind Susan noted they were the Ravenclaw colours. The rest of her mind was focused on how her friend just changed her appearance. Without a wand.
“Secondly, I’m a Metamorphmagus.”
“… Did you make yourself look like a female Draco Malfoy on purpose?!”
The tension was immediately broken, and the discussion swiftly ended with Rose on the floor and tears in her eyes as she laughed hysterically.
Susan just looked at her dazedly. Auntie, I think this family’s insane.
I hope the line breaks weren't so confusing; I tried to make it obvious but I think it came out a bit weird. This chapter technically took place in two separate time frames as I'm trying to improve my writing by showing what happened in the past rather than just summarising. Sorry if it got too confusing!
Happy reading! :D
Chapter 10: Humans are complicated
Rose looked in the mirror admiring her current deep blue hair and bronze eyes – Ravenclaw solidarity at its finest – and pondered the ability of a Metamorphmagus.
The ability was something that was more prevalent centuries ago when the magical population was vastly bigger than what it was now. Due to widespread witch trials during early modern Europe the number of magicals drastically decreased as well as those of non-magical communities.
A common misconception was that the witch hunts killed far more people who couldn't use magic than could, but the major – and most disgusting – problem came when you considered who it was that suffered most for the magicals.
Magical children generally had hardly any control over their magic before they were instructed properly, and while accidental magic sometimes acted independently to save someone, if a child didn't know exactly what it was they needed to do in a certain situation their magic couldn't do much of anything.
(If it could her childhood would have been far better.)
Before the witch hunts, not many families had as stringent rules and stipulations for their children. Allowing children the opportunity to independently explore and learn about the world had been very common, and it was only when they lost their children and other relatives to fanatical accusers did older Houses start to enforce the strictest rules they could think of on their families in order to keep them closer so they could ensure their survival.
The magical population took a sizeable hit during that time period, which was only exacerbated by the several Dark Lords from the fifteenth century through to the nineteenth century. Gellert Grindelwald might have been the height of terror for the twentieth century, and Voldy might have thought himself to be the most powerful and terrible of all time – arrogant, much? – but the truth was that they were simply the most well-known because of how recent they were.
Just off the top of her head she could name half a dozen Dark Lords that had plagued their world, some of whom had actually done more damage to their world in far less time that it took Grindelwald and Tom to rise to power.
Horrific relations between goblins and wizards could be attributed to fifteenth century arsehole Yardley Platt, a man that had taken great pleasure in slaughtering the creatures for sport and pinning the blame on his enemies. Without a definite culprit talks between the two races had been fraught with anger and violence, sowing the seeds of suspicion which would eventually culminate in the beginning of several goblin rebellions.
The fifteenth century was also the time of Ekrizdis, the wizard that built the fortress Azkaban. The man slaughtered muggles and magicals alike if they came too close to him and got in his way, and the general consensus was that he was insane. Considering he actually built Azkaban which was found with an infestation of Dementors, and that the investigators never told anyone what they found there, there was a good chance it was true. (The fact that the Department of Mysteries had some of the original reports and memories was something she would never breathe a word of – she wasn't stupid.)
Emeric the Evil popped up during the seventeenth century to start slaughtering people indiscriminately. He was actually one of the owners of the Elder Wand, and Rose had a feeling the moron had succumbed to the temptation of the powerful wand and decided to go out and prove how strong the thing made him. If you ignored the fact that he caught the attention of someone vastly stronger than him who painted a field red with his insides, he succeeded.
Even as recent as the beginning of the nineteenth century had another Dark Lord that had more of an impact on their world than Voldemort. Owle Bullock was both physically responsible for killing close to a thousand as well as indirectly responsible for thousands of other deaths. He was the author of Secrets of the Darkest Art, the book that she, Hermione and Ron took on the Camping Trip From Hell (the capitalisation was very much needed). It has specific and step-by-step instructions on how to create Horcruxes as well as all manner of mind-destroying black magic.
Bullock created the book by kidnapping and using various witches, wizards and creatures to experiment on to get the best results to publish. The fact that said book had many spells that eroded mental reasoning and spells used to kill people, meant that over time the book became highly regulated and restricted because people were using it too much. The more they used it, the less logical they became, and the more tempting the mind-destroying spells became.
Magical common sense at its finest.
Dumbledore's ex and Tom might think they were the best of the best, but in truth they were the most recent, simply adding to the culling of their population rather than starting it.
They were fucking stupid.
Her Metamorphmagus abilities were proof of that. More people used to be able to do it because they weren't so inbred. Pure-blood supremacy wasn't exactly a new thing, but their population used to be a lot bigger and so there were more prospects for a potential spouse than there was now. Not only did this allow for more political alliances, but the children were generally a lot healthier. In particular, things like birth rates were higher and infant mortality rates because of health defects were lower. One just had to look at how many families had gone from having on average four children per marriage to just one or two. Problems with fertility weren't a joke.
Centuries worth of marriages to people who were closely related had led to the Metamorphmagus ability amongst others dying a slow death. The ability to morph one's appearance was a Family ability, which meant you had to have a certain proportion of both Family blood and magic.
Rose originally only had a Black grandmother which wasn't enough to allow her to morph from birth. To be a Metamorphmagus in the Black family you had to have a Black parent bearing the Black name (being a Black magically), hence why her adoption from Sirius triggered the ability. Ordinarily his blood could have been a problem because of his parents being so closely related, but her maternal lineage had enough muggle blood to essentially refresh the blood from any problems.
The Family magic also played a big part in her abilities. At the time of her adoption, her dad was technically Heir Black despite not wearing a ring or recognising himself as such. Orion and Regulus Black had both been dead at that point in time, meaning Sirius was the only prospect for inheriting the House of Black as his grandfather Arcturus hadn't disinherited him. She was adopted directly into the main branch of the family which typically has the strongest Family magic compared to other branches. Rose inherited Black magic and blood from the direct line of succession, which when combined with her non-magical blood from Lily's ancestors meant her blood was cleaned and then bolstered with the ability to change her appearance.
Family magic honestly made things way too complicated. Trying to figure things out with muggle genetics or percentages just didn't work when Magic made its own decisions. Rose was born directly as Heiress Potter, as opposed to her deliberately seeking out the Lady Peverell ring and taking the magic into her body without being born with it. She wasn't born as Heiress Black, and thanks to whatever her dad had done recently – a binding contract or Vow, maybe – she wouldn't be Heiress Black forever. The Black magic had been forcibly entered into her body during the adoption rather than being born with it, though it wouldn't leave after she stepped down from being Heiress. She would always be the daughter of a Lord Black.
By percentage and using non-magical genetics, she was more Black than Potter going by Dorea and Sirius' parents, but magically she was more Potter because she had been born into the Potter family, not to mention now being Lady Potter. Having the full magic as Head of House Peverell also meant she was more Peverell than Black despite not having a family member bearing the Peverell name for centuries.
"That is so fucked up."
"What's so fucked up?"
She turned to see Sirius casually leaning against the doorframe to her bedroom.
"Nothing much, just that if you go by percentage I have more Black blood because of the adoption and Dorea, but magically I'm more Potter because of heading the family."
The man scrunched his nose up as he went over her words. "You're right, that is fucked up."
Rose snorted bitterly. "Story of my life."
Sirius cocked his head to the side and narrowed his eyes as he looked her. She tried not to squirm in place as his silver orbs focused on her intently. The Black eyes had always unsettled her a little, the colour strangely intense and intimidating, and she hated feeling like an open book whenever her dad looked at her.
"You know," he began slowly, "I don't mean to pry, but is there something wrong I should know of? Ever since you got back from Hogwarts you've been kind of … restless. Not to mention unhappy. You're definitely not as upbeat as you were months ago. What's going on?"
She tried not to wince at the knowledge of her mood, realising that she obviously wasn't hiding it as well as she thought if her dad had managed to notice despite being so focused on his new wife.
"It's – I mean, I …"
Rose trailed off with a frown, trying to figure out how best to voice the problem that really didn't have a solution. She already knew she was pretty fucked up, so what was the point in reiterating it?
The feeling of hands on her shoulders made her look up to see a distinctly worried look on Sirius' face. He gently directed her to the small sofa next to her dressing table and sat down, pulling her into his lap so he could wrap his arms around her tightly. A part of her mind told her she was much too old to be needing comfort like this. The other part of her mind flashed the middle finger at the first part as she buried into the warmth below her.
Fingers were gently running through her curls and Rose took a moment to marvel over how different Sirius Black was in this lifetime. The man that she'd known before would never have been able to sit down for hours at a time to work; his focus had been far too erratic, and she'd never seen him so settled and confident in himself before. Even if she was having trouble, at least she could see the benefits of her actions in her family.
At the sound of her dad's voice she took a deep breath and let it out slowly. Here goes nothing.
"I … you know that my adult life wasn't exactly what you'd call perfect. After the war, I was … well, let's just say I wasn't handling things well and we'll leave it at that. Becoming an Auror sucked, but when I managed to blow some things up in training that were supposed to be unbreakable, an Unspeakable saw me and got in contact, and the rest is history.
"I loved it, even if I quickly came to the realisation that my education in school and my approach to learning had been far from perfect. My colleagues helped me out even as we worked on projects, and I was so busy between work and looking after my godson that I didn't really have time to think."
She paused and bit her lip. "It helped, not thinking. I'd had to participate in a war, had to actually be at the forefront and fight, and after a while I ended up falling into the mindset that it was my job. My goal.
"I haven't really escaped that mentality since. I need a goal to function properly, otherwise I start getting lost in my own mind and getting antsy. Ending up in the past provided no end of things to fix that I could directly deal with. Voldemort, getting you out of prison, the Longbottoms … I had the ability to do something about them.
"But now, I'm ... lost. I know Aunt Cassi's training me to be Heiress Black, and there are things I can do to help certain situations as Lady Potter, but there isn't exactly a problem I can work on fully fixing.
"To be honest, I feel pretty useless."
In the wake of her words there was silence, just the distant chirping of birds outside her bedroom window interrupting the tension in the room. As much as she didn't want to say anything she didn't want to be someone who kept secrets upon secrets from her family. Of course there were things she wouldn't tell anyone about her past life, but she wouldn't disrespect her parents by acting as if they couldn't understand anything about what had happened to her as an adult. Besides, she wanted to be selfish for once and have parents to lean on. Was it so wrong for her to wish that?
"I'm so sorry."
Rose blinked and lifted her head, turning to meet pained grey eyes incredulously. Why was he sorry?
The man’s eyes tightened with pain. "See, that's just it. The fact that you can't even recognise your problems aren't your fault is worrying. If we hadn't let things get so out of hand you would have grown up happy and well-adjusted, not having to do things to cover up war-related problems."
"But that's not your fault," she interjected. "Yeah, you might have been in prison, but me ending up in a shitty household wasn't because of you."
Before she could defend him the man spoke up again. "Bambi. I know full well that I'm not one hundred percent responsible for you ending up in that hellhole, but my own stint in a hellhole was enough to show me how I could have done things better. Not to mention the Mind-Healer sessions."
He paused and looked her in the eye, pain and regret so evident in the silver orbs that it made her feel sick.
"I was a horrible child. I was selfish and loud, doing what I wanted without any thought of the consequences. I was … I was a bully, there's no other way I can describe it. I was cruel and callous, and the mere thought of anyone doing any of the things I did to others to you makes me want to puke.
"The thought of you looking at me like my classmates did terrifies me."
Rose swallowed and took a deep breath. "I'm not going to lie, when I found out what sort of things you did in school I wanted to cry. For years I'd been on the receiving end of things like that, and the idea that people I looked up to were bullies was horrific to consider.
"But you're still my dad. All three of you. The fact that you can all recognise how horrible you were without having someone forcibly change your perceptions means you've matured.
"I'm also never going to look at you the way others did, because I don't need to forgive you for anything. You might have disappointed me and made be upset, but you've never once made me the focus of something like that. I'm not a victim so I don't need to forgive you."
Grey eyes looked suspiciously wet as Sirius' arms pulled her closer and held on tight, almost as if he couldn't quite believe what he was hearing. Rose could understand but she hadn't been lying about her not needing to forgive him. Forgiveness came from someone that had been wronged by the person in question. She hadn't been wronged by him. Sure, he might have acted more than hastily going after Pettigrew, but she knew full well that he'd only done so to get revenge for her and remove a threat. Granted he hadn't been thinking nearly straight enough, but the sentiment had been there.
"I could sit here and thank you all day and it still wouldn't be enough. I don't care what you think about having problems with your mind, you're my daughter and I love you regardless. Even if you decided to drop out of Hogwarts and run away while telling everyone to literally fuck off, I wouldn't care at all. I'll support you no matter what. You're an amazing person, and never let anyone tell you otherwise."
She snorted even as she blinked back tears, still bewildered that someone could know of her messed up mind and still want her. Rose thought over his words and grinned evilly.
"So, you'll support me no matter what?"
Sirius smiled. "Of course I will."
"Even if I elope with someone when I'm older?"
Suddenly the smile froze on his face, and a look of untold panic and dread flooded the silver orbs. She could almost see him lose control and felt a little bad for messing with him.
Just a little.
"NO WAY IN HELL!!!"
Poor Dad. Denial is no way to live.
Like I said up top, sorry for my weird logic and if it doesn't make sense. The main point was that her life actually doesn't make sense, which is pretty much par for the course with this fic lol.
Another thing which I forgot to mention on my last chapter, there's a quick family tree for Susan on my deviantart at anime-otaku20 if you want to check it out.
Let me know what you think :)
Chapter 11: What did I do to deserve this?
Rose had long since prided herself on her intelligence as well as her ability to accurately predict events based on the information that she had at her disposal. Granted things didn’t always go exactly how she’d imagined, but she could usually more or less estimate the general direction of a sequence of events based on a few facts. Usually.
This was not something that she'd predicted.
At least this proves I really am a Potter beyond all doubt. The portraits of James and Charlus Potter looked like they'd like to be anywhere other than where they were right now. Unfortunately the paintings of their wives had a firm grasp on them to prevent escape, and the Potter men were left with identical expressions on their faces, looking an amalgamation of utterly miserable, bored out of their minds, and close to falling asleep.
Rose could empathise. A lot. They look like how I feel.
She had thought it was a good idea to ask her grandmother’s portrait about some political ideas and Lily had apparently agreed and perked up from her own frame. The girl hadn't quite understood the frantic expressions on her father and grandfather’s faces until she had been overloaded with a political lecture on the best way to secure alliances, how to gain control of debates, and the methods used to gain approval in the Wizengamot, all the while trying to avoid falling asleep from the info dump Dorea had blessed them with.
From all accounts, Dorea Potter nee Black had not been politically inclined in the slightest, quite content to live a simple life and marry the son of the man who had ensured his family was stricken from the ‘ultimate’ list of pure-bloods. (Rose had never quite managed to figure out how Dorea hadn't been disinherited for marrying a child of Henry Potter, but the glint in Dorea’s eye when asked was enough of a warning to avoid that particular topic of discussion.)
So when Rose had asked for a few pointers from her – she was still a Black after all, and the sister of the infamous Cassiopeia – she had expected some tips, maybe a new perspective or two to work from. She had not expected an hour-long lecture on the importance of familial alliances and how best to maintain them.
She didn't like being blindsided like this. Merlin this woman is mad. Charlus Potter, I take my hat off to you.
“Of course, the House of Black has built in clauses in their marriage contracts which stipulate favours, alliances, and whatnot. They’re usually slipped in with political endeavours in mind.”
“Wait a minute,” she interrupted. She vaguely noticed four sets of eyes snap to her, but she wasn’t paying attention to them. Her mind was racing. Does she mean …
“Do you mean to say that any family that has a marriage contract with the House of Black also has an automatic alliance with them?”
Dorea arched an elegant eyebrow. “Of course. When I was younger having an alliance with the Black family was a fortuitous turn of events. It’s only within the last few decades that the family has dwindled in both power and intelligence.” She sighed. “Arcturus always was an incompetent imbecile.”
“Do the alliances have a specified length, like they’ll only last for a certain number of generations, or are they revised on a yearly basis, for example?” Rose was intrigued. This could be useful.
Charlus broke in. “From my own marriage contract, there wasn’t a length of time set in place, most likely because no-one could really see the Blacks falling from grace. They were always a powerhouse, and imagining otherwise was sheer stupidity. Until it wasn’t, of course. No offence.” He directed the last part at his wife with a grin, which she returned if a little ruefully.
“Oh … methinks that Bambi has an idea.” Her dad was grinning at her, and she flushed a little at the obvious pride in his voice.
She cleared her throat, studiously ignoring her mum hitting her husband over the head for embarrassing her.
“You know that I want to do things that require a certain amount of political power, and I might be a Potter but I’m also a Black. Sirius is doing what he can for the Blacks and soon he’s going to be voting for the Potters, too. But it’s still my responsibility to make sure that the Potter allies stick with me and make sure they know that Sirius isn’t going to turn into a crazy Black and take over the Potter family.”
She stopped, watching with a grin as her dad started laughing hysterically. Even her mum was giggling at the idea, while her grandparents were fighting smiles.
“Well, we all know that’s not going to happen. Sirius would be a terrible dictator and he’s crap at doing his paperwork. He’d give up after a day.” She finished with a smirk.
Judging from the sound of even louder laughter, James now smacking the floor of his portrait, they were all in agreement over that.
(In London Sirius Black was suddenly overcome with a bought of sneezing while doing his paperwork, causing him to put his quill through the parchment. “Oh, come on!”)
“Anyway. What I meant was that Sirius and I will be working together for political projects, so it would be best for him to start looking over the inter-family marriage contracts to get up-to-date with the alliances. There were quite a few contracts with Blacks marrying out, or others marrying in, so he could feasibly get some ready-made support on the Wizengamot.”
“You’ll need to be careful. If he tries to use those alliances too much they’ll see it as coercion. If he wants to build the alliances properly he’ll need to do it outside of the Wizengamot, too. Not to mention that some of the alliances were set up to be seen as favours, meaning that if Sirius gets someone to do something for him they’ll see it as the House of Black owing them a favour, which could be dangerous.”
Dorea was right. The Black family was such a pain in the arse compared to the Potters.
Dorea’s eyes widened and Charlus snorted. Oh, she said that last part out loud. Oops?
“Oh come on, you have to admit it’s true. Since the beginning of the nineteenth century, the Potter family has only married five other wizarding families, compared to the dozen or so families the Blacks married.”
Charlus frowned. “Five? I thought there was four?”
“Warrington, Greengrass, Black, Jones, and Gaunt.”
“What the hell? The Gaunts have been extinct for decades!”
Her mum’s bewildered expression was mirrored in three other faces, and Rose got a sinking feeling in her stomach. She mentally went over all the different conversations she’d had with her mum’s portrait and cringed. She’d mentioned in tears the first time they spoke that her mother should have got an inheritance test, but if she remembered correctly James had said something to piss Lily off, and they all got distracted and forgot about the conversation. Rose couldn’t remember bringing it up again. Well, fuck.
She hadn't told her.
“I forgot to tell you, didn’t I? … Aw, shit.”
Her dad looked bemused. “Forgot to tell us what?”
Forty minutes, a dozen artefacts, and a hastily drawn family tree later, there was dead silence in the room at the knowledge that Lily – the supposed muggle-born – was a Gaunt. A member of The Sacred Twenty-Eight, and a descendant of Salazar Slytherin.
The silence was broken as her dad once more started laughing uproariously. It was probably a good thing he was dead, because it didn’t look like he was getting enough oxygen laughing like that.
Lily was still frozen with shock, and even the usual display of her husband’s idiocy wasn’t enough to jolt her back into reality. Dorea looked contemplative, while Charlus was snickering at his daughter-in-law’s expression. Rose was just grinning at the mental upheaval she’d just introduced her family to.
“So Potter and Gaunt. Is there any other family you’re going run that we should be aware of?” Dorea’s dry voice cut into the laughter, and the rhetorical tone clearly wasn’t supposed to be answered.
Rose blinked. She was Lady Potter-Peverell, didn’t her grandmother know that?
“Did I forget to tell you that as well?”
“Forget to tell us what?” The blonde woman looked incredulous, and Rose was quite proud of herself for breaking the Black composure.
“You forgot the Peverells.” James was grinning at his mother.
He just laughed and turned to wink at Rose.
Dad, you’re such an idiot.
She sighed and settled down to explain everything else about her titles to her grandparents. It was going to take a while
“Hello, my second dad’s beloved wife.”
“I’m not helping you hide a body.”
Rose blinked before she pouted at the blonde woman.
“I haven’t killed anyone. Besides, if I had I wouldn’t ask you for help. I have loyal house-elves after all. I’m sure Kreacher’s disposed of a body before, he’s been with the Blacks for decades.”
Amelia paused with her glass in mid-air, turning to Rose with an incredulous expression. She looked at her for a few seconds before huffing out a laugh.
“You do realise that I’m the Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, don’t you? If you’re going to say things like that make sure it’s not in public.”
Wow … those words were dryer than the Sahara Desert.
Rose was impressed – and not a little happy. The woman looked a lot more upbeat since her wedding and subsequent honeymoon in the Caribbean. The Black family had their own island over there, so the couple got to enjoy the sights without dealing with all the regular tourists and non-magical rules.
It was nice to see how the relationship between her and Sirius had relaxed her; it was obvious that the woman had focused so much on her career to forget about her disastrous engagement, even if she’d stayed single for ten years. (Perhaps her subconscious had insisted that she stay faithful to her fiancé despite the circumstances?)
“I’m not stupid. I’m not going to admit to something illegal where I can get arrested.”
Amelia looked at her intensely for a moment before she put her glass down and turned to her.
“Rose, I know that as a former Unspeakable you probably have a very different idea of what constitutes ‘legal’ to most people. I also know that you aren’t stupid. As long as you don’t do anything to hurt people, or start doing archaic rituals and sacrificing people, I’m not exactly inclined to question what you do in your spare time.
“When we’re in public, I’m a member of the DMLE and I have to act upon what I discover by law. That being said, when we’re in private I’m your dad’s wife, and I’m quite happy to help my husband’s daughter with her studies in magic.”
If she meant what Rose thought she did it was a rather touching sentiment. And an unexpected opportunity. She had to be sure though.
“What do you mean by ‘magic’?”
Amelia smirked. “Let me put it this way. The Bones family is an old family who have historically been rather open to different types of magic. The restrictions on dark magic didn’t only have an impact on the dark families. Even the light used to learn about a variety of topics.”
No shit. Rose resisted the urge to scoff in disgust. All the restrictions on dark magic were just asking for trouble. Banning something just made it more tempting as something illicit and dangerous, and it made mistakes more likely. If it was taught in a controlled environment with the consequences properly highlighted people were less likely to do stupid shit. “Now boys and girl, we don’t make Horcruxes because they make you even crazier than a fucked-up Black.” Her lips twitched at the idea of a lesson like that.
If Amelia was going to offer such help then she would be an idiot not to grab hold of the opportunity. She’d have to be up front with the woman, though. Rose took a deep breath and let it out slowly.
“… I’m a member of four families, two of which are dark, one is grey, and one is light. Black, Gaunt, Peverell and Potter, respectively. My mum was unknowingly descended from a Gaunt squib. My magic is probably quite a dark shade of grey, and my trunk is home to quite a few questionable books.”
“I see.” The woman didn’t even blink.
“I’m also a Parselmouth.”
She looked at Rose questioningly. “Was Lily a Parselmouth?”
Rose shrugged. “Mum never actually saw a snake in her life so she never found out. She might have been, or the ability might have been dormant until the Gaunt magic interacted with the Potter magic and 'activated' so to speak in me.”
Amelia rested her chin her hand, elbow on the table. She took a sip of her juice before looking Rose in the eye.
“But back to the beginning. You came here to ask me something before I started that discussion. What’s up?”
Rose leant back in her chair and went over her words. I hope she agrees. It’ll be a pain in the arse if she doesn’t work with me.
“Dad’s going to publicly acknowledge having the Potter vote at the Wizengamot session in October so the Potter family can start putting forward bills. To do that I’ll need support. I need to start going over the older House of Potter alliances, one of which is with the House of Bones. You helped by not mentioning anything in Dad's trial about how I got Pettigrew, but I’d like to know if you consider the alliance between our families to still be standing.”
The blonde woman narrowed her eyes at Rose, clearly contemplating her words.
“You’re going to start with something big, aren’t you?”
Indeed she was, and while the project might not take off for a while she could start to push forward the idea that the House of Potter had a decidedly light-grey neutral perspective. It would help if she could have an alliance with at least one family of each persuasion – dark, grey and light. Dark was already assured with the Blacks, and she could probably entice Draco to ally with House Potter. Hopefully the Bones and Longbottom families would work with her to represent the light families, and she had a few ideas for grey.
Her musing was interrupted by Amelia clearing her throat.
“And if I were to say, The Noble and Ancient House of Bones will stand with Lady Rose Potter of The Noble and Most Ancient House of Potter?”
“Then I would say, The Noble and Most Ancient House of Potter gratefully accepts the alliance offered by The Noble and Ancient House of Bones.”
Rose spoke the formal words, and she fought a grin at the shrewd wording of Amelia’s informal vow. She was accepting the House of Potter as long as Rose was Head but her children would have to broker their own deals. It was a fair idea; there was no guarantee that Rose's future children wouldn’t be stupid, unfortunately. It would have to be repeated when Susan took over, but that was years away as her classmate wanted to graduate before taking over.
Despite what some people thought, not every deal was carried out with stringent magically-binding Vows. Alliances especially were more drawn out with carefully-worded written contracts detailing what a partnership between the Houses would consist of. There were too many variables when it came to potential situations that would mean going against the alliance otherwise. It was better all round to use common sense and have a long discussion concerning the particulars, as opposed to strictly binding people through magic.
Rose snapped her attention back to the woman.
“The Bones family are now your allies, barring an official contract which we can do whenever. I’m guessing Sirius did the same thing with the Blacks, and I know that the Longbottoms will likely renew their alliance given your friendship with Neville. You’ll probably be able to get the Malfoy vote in your corner, and your friendship with the Zabini Heir can only be a good thing. They don’t pay much attention to British politics but they still have the power to vote. Is there anyone else?”
“My great-aunt was a Jones, my great-grandmother was a Greengrass, and my … great-great-granduncle – I think – married a Warrington. The first family has a child in my year, Heiress Greengrass is my friend, and Heir Warrington is a couple of years above me.”
Amelia cringed in sympathy. “You’ve got quite a bit of work to do.”
“I know,” Rose sighed. “I know it’ll help, but between my schoolwork and this I’m not going to have much spare time.”
Amelia smirked. “Do you want be to call Cassiopeia over?”
“Why are you so mean to me?!”
Firstly, sorry this is a day late, but yesterday I was so tired I literally got in from work, had dinner, then fell asleep. My social life is practically non-existent at this point lol.
Secondly, there's now a Potter family tree for this fic on my deviantart, so check it out if you want.
Until next time!
Chapter 12: The circus called 'Politics'
“What am I, a fucking circus act?”
“Your language is atrocious.”
“Hello pot, meet kettle.”
“Can’t you two get along?”
The party of three walked along Platform Nine and Three-Quarters trying to ignore the gawking and whispering, as apparently witches and wizards just didn’t understand the concept of subtlety. Some were outright craning their necks to catch a glimpse of the well-dressed trio as they looked for a certain family.
Rose resisted the urge to swear knowing she had brought it on herself. A week ago she had very obviously waltzed into Gringotts with her Potter Head ring showing, and the goblins obviously caught on as they began addressing her as Lady Potter in voices that carried across the bank. As per usual with magical idiocy, everyone was a gossip, and the news that she was now a Lady spread like wildfire through social circles within days. Especially because they were trying to figure out what was happening with her Wizengamot vote.
Because it’s oh-so-difficult to figure out. Bloody morons. Why am I surrounded by idiots wherever I go? Did I kill puppies in a past life or something?
Anyone with the slightest common sense automatically thought of Lord Black – her dad – using the Potter vote, but the sad reality was that common sense was scare in their society. Rumours now included her attending the Wizengamot herself (despite being at school), having a muggle proxy (despite this being impossible), and even that she was betrothed to a mysterious stranger who would be running her family as Lord or Lady Consort Potter in the future and was starting by voting for her (despite her being twelve).
She bristled quite angrily at that last assumption. More often than not, Potters did allow their spouses to take on equal duties running the family, but it was her family. She had already made arrangements with Gringotts and her family lawyer to ensure that being the spouse of a future Lord or Lady Potter didn’t automatically grant them ruling power with their title. Some might call it petty, but she knew herself well enough to know it was just her Black side coming through. By and large, Black spouses did not have family power unless they proved to be extraordinarily cunning. Besides, there was no guarantee that any of her descendants wouldn't marry an idiot and/or arsehole; she wanted to protect her family even if that family was decades in the future.
Her past life was more than enough proof that sometimes people were selfish bastards who just wanted money and power, and she damn well wasn’t going to put her family in a position to be robbed blind. She’d had a close friendship fall apart after the jealous git wanted to be Lord Potter and there was no guarantee it wouldn’t happen again. Even if she married a decent person she didn’t want her assets so vulnerable. People were arseholes and envy was much too common to ignore. The Potter family would stay hers, no matter what anyone else said.
She had informed the new Chief Warlock that Lord Black was now her proxy on the Wizengamot, and she had asked – with her lawyer – that he keep the information to himself until the next session. From what she remembered of Tiberius Ogden, he was a fair man that had actually resigned in disgust after Umbridge had been sent to Hogwarts. She had high hopes for him. Better than Albus-I-can-use-this-family’s-vote-without-legal-approval-because-I’m-Chief-Warlock-and-nobody-will-find-out-Dumbledore. Wanker.
Looking around the platform, she could feel her hands twitching for her wand with all the eyes on her. She knew that she looked quite different to last year but this time she was a Lady with expectations on her. Though it was ironic that the most annoying expectations came from her being an Heiress and not a Lady.
The House of Potter was an old one but it was quite relaxed in terms of expectations of its members. The House of Black however had standards, and her position meant that she was expected to act and dress in a certain manner. Or so Aunt Cassi’s endless lectures had told her. She was glad that she would be at Hogwarts this year as the woman was clearly insane, and she wasn’t sure how much more she could cope with. She wished Uncle Marius luck – he would need it.
It wasn’t that she didn’t like her – because she did, even if the older woman had a few screws loose – it was that she hated having to be the proper pure-blood princess. She was perfectly polite, thank you, and hated having to put on even more airs for the sake of diplomacy. There was a reason she became a hermit in the future. People suck, plain and simple.
Rose caught a glimpse of their reflection in one of the train windows and took a moment to admire their appearance.
Remus was wearing muggle clothes, but the fitted slate trousers, white shirt and light green cardigan (the same shade as his eyes) were quite striking, and the tall man was drawing no few appreciative glances from woman. With his facial scars faded, a healthier glow to his skin, and an innate happiness to him, the man was turning into quite the catch. (Not that Rose thought his new appearance made him any more attractive; he'd been perfect the way he was before, and if the stupid women thought he was only a catch because of his clothes, she’d hex them.)
Sirius looked the quintessential pure-blood Lord, and she’d spent a good ten minutes this morning taking the piss out of him for dressing like a snob. She’d regretted it when he turned her hair Slytherin green but thankfully he'd reversed the charm. He was wearing black trousers, leather boots that ended an inch below the knees, and a grey tunic underneath open robes of indigo, almost black. His hair was tied back at the base of his neck, and even though he was only 5’9” he was an imposing figure through presence alone.
She of course had become the doll of Cassiopeia, and was wearing a slightly old-fashioned dress that was aesthetically pleasing but also easy to move in if she had to duel; the Blacks were always dangerous no matter what they wore. It was a light blue that matched her usual eye colour, with long sleeves, a collar that rested at the base of her throat, and a skirt that fell to a few inches above her ankles. The fabric was covered with hand-sewn thread in a slightly darker shade of blue, covering the dress in swirling patterns that looked like fire. The waist had sewn-in black ribbons that worked as a corset on the back, hugging the dress to her developing waist. The ensemble was finished with calf-high lace-up boots, and an elaborate hairstyle consisting of plaits and twists across her head that ended in a large high bun, a few curls falling free to frame her face.
(Traditionally long hair was the standard fashion for women of high society, though it was never worn down in public. To do so was utter scandal, and the only reason she'd gotten away with it last year was because she'd been eleven, and only the Potter Heiress – supposedly. The Potters were much laxer on etiquette and she'd been just about toeing the line of propriety. Her intelligence and general behaviour had made up for a lot. Now she was a Lady she had to wear her hair up in public. Wearing your hair up was a signal that you were a woman rather than a girl, and she had no doubt that she would be receiving some unwanted betrothal contracts thanks to that fact. Lucky me.)
If the stares were anything to go by she looked simultaneously attractive and dangerous which was what they’d been going for. She wanted to be taken seriously by the magical world and to do that she had to behave a certain way. It was why she thought that children raised without magic should be instructed earlier in life as they’d be better off if they knew how to act and why. Not that she personally gave a crap about it, but magical culture was different for a reason and she would respect that.
Her musing was cut off by the arrival of Amelia and Susan, and they all greeted each other with the appropriate public (bullshit) formality before Susan left to find Hannah. Sirius and Amelia were making quiet conversation, and the crowd had suddenly become hyper-aware that they were now in the presence of Lord and Lady Black. The two of them were seemingly unaware of the atmosphere they were causing, but Rose could see her dad twitching in irritation.
“Shall we give them some privacy?”
She looked at Remus and nodded, taking his arm as they wandered down the platform. They didn’t speak to anyone as nobody approached them, and they didn’t spot anyone they knew until they were next to the entrance to King’s Cross.
Hermione had just come through with her parents and the moment she spotted Rose her face lit up, though she adopted a calculating expression almost immediately. Her eyes rove over the blonde girl cataloguing her state of dress and demeanour, before settling on her now-visible Head of House ring with widened eyes.
She had always known that her bushy-haired friend was smart, but apparently getting her into a House with other academically-driven children had done wonders for the girl’s mind. Hermione had clearly noticed her appearance and understood its significance, and Rose watched as her eyes glanced around and took notice of who could see them. Way to go, Hermione. Could have been a snake with that cunning.
Said girl straightened her spine and walked over to her and Remus with determined steps before stopping a few feet from them. She then dropped into a deep curtsy, just slightly wobbly, but one that still conveyed the appropriate level of respect. Rose felt so proud, even as she inwardly cringed at the pure-blood crap.
“Lady Potter, it’s a pleasure to see you once more. I trust that your summer was to your liking?”
“Miss Granger, it’s lovely to see you again. And yes, my summer was enjoyable. And how about you, did you find Cannes to be as you expected?”
Please kill me now.
Rose had returned the curtsy, though hers was smaller because of her higher status, and the two girls had amusement in their eyes as they noticed the taken aback expressions on those around them. The magically-raised individuals were now being given definitive proof that a muggle-born child could learn about magical etiquette to an appropriate level; Rose knew this wouldn’t automatically change things but it was a step in the right direction. At least that nauseating conversation served a purpose beyond making me want to ram my head against the train.
(The problem with the stifling formality was that it was what society expected of them. Of course, hardly anyone actually spoke or acted like that all the time, but it had to done at least initially to show that you actually knew about it. When you were respected enough you could start to relax a little, but it was all about showing off what you knew to everyone else. Because it would be much too simple to just talk properly. God, I just want to go home.)
After trading a few pleasantries and introducing all parties, Hermione led Rose and Remus to her – quite bewildered – parents who were looking at Rose with narrowed eyes. Ah, they probably think I’m some sort of prissy princess with this dress. Really, what’s wrong with jeans and a t-shirt?
“Mum, Dad, may I present to you Lady Rose Potter, and Mr Remus Lupin. Lady Potter, Mr Lupin, may I present my parents, Mr Christopher Granger and Mrs Emily Granger.”
“Hermione, why are you talking like that? Hi, my name’s –”
Hermione kept her hissing tone low, and she quickly grabbed Mr Granger’s hand from reaching for her friend’s. Rose personally didn’t give a shit about ‘proper’ behaviour, but having a man touch a Lady without permission – especially an unmarried Lady – was not done. At all. It would essentially say that she was ‘easy’ and she had no desire to be called a whore at the age of twelve. (The only reason Cedric and Charlie had gotten away with it was because she'd so obviously been a child in demeanour, and because they'd either been alone or surrounded by people who didn't care. Luckily.)
“Hermione! What are you doing?!”
“Hermione, as long as we’re in private or nobody can hear us I don’t care if you speak ‘properly’. You can talk to me as just Rose, you know? It’s beyond stupid, anyway.”
Before Mr Granger could start ranting, Remus – bless you Dad, you really are a saviour – jumped in to the conversation with his quiet but calming voice.
“Mr Granger, the reason why your daughter suddenly grabbed you was because you were about to touch a Lady without her permission. In our world it’s bad enough to touch any woman randomly, but a Lady has certain expectations of behaviour.
“And yes, by Lady we are referring to Lady with a capital L. In the magical world there are plenty of families who have titles and are essentially members of the landed gentry or aristocracy. They have political voting power, investments, assets and such, and are expected to behave appropriately.
“The reason your daughter was speaking so formally was her attempt to prove to the magically-raised people that muggle-raised individuals also have the capability to learn such etiquette, as there are currently no classes on the topic. She also did so admirably, I must say.”
Remus directed the last statement to Hermione, and Rose smiled as her friend beamed with pride. Her dad was right though, as she had behaved just as someone from a magical background would, though she knew to convey her status. She'd also managed to diffuse a potentially disastrous encounter without drawing attention to them.
Mrs Granger looked incredulous. “Landed gentry?”
“Yes, Mrs Granger,” Rose took over. “My family can be traced back to the twelfth century and they’ve had quite a bit of political power for centuries. My great-grandfather actually worked as a member of our governing body during World War I. But I’ve gotten off track.
“The problem is that magical society has an entirely different culture and has had since the late seventeenth century when they split from the non-magical world, so what you think of as common and appropriate behaviour isn’t necessarily the same for magical Britain.
“I’m the Head of my own family because I’m an orphan and there’s nobody else alive from my birth family. As the Head of the family, there’s a lot of rules and such that I’m supposed to follow, and I’ll definitely have to marry and continue the family line when I’m older.
“About touching me, though. For magical people, touching someone without their permission is a big no-no, but especially for females. If you’d grabbed me it would have basically said that I’m ‘easy’, especially as girls have actually gotten married at my age in the past.
“Our society is kind of comparable to Victorian England, I suppose. I guess the best way to describe it would be you should act the most polite and diplomatic you can possibly be just to be sure, though magic definitely has its own set of rules.”
The couple looked completely baffled that such a that such a society even existed. She could admit that she’d found it a bit weird when she first found out about it, but she had been proud to be a witch and didn’t want the traditions to die out.
Remus cleared his throat. “If you’d like, when the kids leave I can answer some questions you might have?”
The couple looked visibly relieved at the offer and nodded. Before they could reply they were interrupted once more, this time by Sirius.
The Grangers looked at the newcomer with surprise, but Hermione just smiled and curtsied again.
“Lord Black, it’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance. My name is Hermione Granger, and I am a classmate of your daughter and Heiress.”
When she got up she offered her hand to Sirius, who smiled and bowed with a flourish, taking her hand and kissing the air above it.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Miss Granger. It’s so nice to meet a classmate and friend of my daughter.”
He stood up and winked at her, and Rose had to bite her tongue to stop laughing, taking note of a similar struggle on Remus’ face. Dad, you sneaky, conniving, little shit.
Sirius had just said blatantly, and quite loudly, that the muggle-born Hermione Granger was a friend to his daughter, and therefore a friend to the House of Black. It wasn’t really an official thing, but being considered a friend to a House of higher status than you meant that you were more-or-less allied to them and under their protection. That Sirius had said so for a muggle-born of no inherent power was bold and was like waving a flashing sign in the air that the newest version of the House of Black was doing things its own way. There are so many Blacks rolling in their graves right now.
Hermione had clearly understood the implications and had paled, shocked into silence. Before she could say anything they heard the clock chime for fifteen minutes to the hour, and the Granger family bid a hasty goodbye and went to put Hermione of the train.
Rose turned to her dad with a brow raised, unimpressed by his unrepentant grin.
“And your reason for that?”
His grin sharpened. “I think you seem to forget that I’m a Black too, brat, and I know damn well you’ve got all sorts of plans cooked up. I’ve been speaking to Dorea as well, you know, and Amy is my wife.
“I also know that that girl is a genius and you’ll probably recruit her for some of your plans. Being friends with both the Potter and Black families will mean she’ll have double the protection and nobody’ll be able to do shit at her inclusion with your political take over.”
Rose flushed. “Sorry.” She did tend to underestimate him. She looked at him with narrowed eyes. “You know, it’s probably a good thing you never tried to become Minister. You’d either revolutionise Britain or start a war.”
“He’d probably do both,” Remus piped up with a grin.
She held a hand against her mouth to stifle the giggles, though apparently the two men could still hear her and they smiled at her gently. They walked over to her in unison and enveloped her in a hug. It wasn’t entirely proper, but she could see quite a few women and a couple of men soften at the familial scene.
Rose pulled back and looked at her parents – one day she would make it so werewolves could adopt children legally – and smiled at them.
“Good luck with the business and the Wizengamot.”
Sirius groaned. “Urgh, don’t remind me. Politics is such crap.”
“Suck to be you, Lord Black. Remember to write every week, Bambi.” She bit her lip at Remus’ retort and Sirius’ wounded expression.
Sirius glared at his friend before he turned to her. “He’s right though, make sure you write, and remember, if you want to come home you can. We’ll send you some sweets and whatnot, so don’t worry about sneaking out for chocolate, Bambi. And if you do sneak out, don’t get caught.”
With that the whistle blew and she hugged the men once more.
“I love you.”
“Love you too, Bambi.”
She got on the train and turned to look out the window towards her parents. She felt the train start to move and waved at them, carrying until she lost sight of them. Rose sighed and turned around, walking down the train, wary of the other passengers.
He was right, politics is crap.
First things first, I just want to mention that some of the inspiration behind the magical politics and whatnot comes from Ellory and Umei no Mai. Both authors are incredible and you should check out their works if you can :D
Secondly, I can't remember if I mentioned this in previous chapters, but I did a family tree for the Bones family and a quick digital sketch on my deviantart account. My username is anime-otaku20, so check them out if you want. (But please don't hate on the drawing too much, I'm not an artist and it's the first ever piece of art I've willingly shown people, not to mention my first go at digital art.)
Also, in case you hadn't notice there's a double update today! Going by how the chapters have worked out, there'll probably be a double update next week, too. It's just how they wrote themselves. Make sure to read both :D
Chapter 13: I am perfectly proper. (I will also kill you.)
This is fucking ridiculous. Bunch of arseholes.
To say that she was pissed off was an understatement, even if her face gave nothing away. Between her own training to calm her emotions and Aunt Cassi’s endless lectures, Rose was pretty adept at keeping her calm. Outwardly at least, as on the inside her mind was circling through an impressive array of swear words in several different languages.
Rose hated being a spectacle, and though she knew full well that she had to act a certain way to keep the Potter family respected, she hated pretending to be some high-class snob who couldn’t even say what she wanted in public in case she was heard. The consequences wouldn’t be nice.
The only reason her dads had gotten away with acting like little shits in school was because they hadn't been orphans. For all the animosity between him and his family, the fact that Sirius had been a Black had kept him fairly well-protected from the repercussions of his actions, as nobody wanted to deal with that family if they could avoid it. James had been sheltered quite a bit by his parents as they’d tried for close to two decades to conceive before Dorea fell pregnant. This had led to them spoiling him a tad too much, hence why he became the teenage prat he was. He'd managed to get away with his behaviour because his parents and family had been well-respected, and his mother especially feared for being a Black.
Rose on the other hand was the only Potter left, and while her actions could be protected as a Black, as a Potter her actions would reflect entirely on the family. There was no-one to protect her as a Potter so she had to act properly or face the Potter reputation turning to shit. Which was not going to happen. At this point she had too much respect for her parents and grandparents (not to mention all the other portraits she regularly spoke to) to let everything go to hell.
However, just because she acknowledged the reason for the bullshit didn’t mean she enjoyed said bullshit. She’d been walking along the train for barely ten minutes and was already beyond irritated, fingers twitching for her wand. By now everyone had apparently discovered that she was a Lady, and unlike last year when they didn’t know what she looked like, this time they knew exactly who to gawk at.
I swear to fucking god, if these people don’t stop pointing like I’m some sort of zoo exhibit, I’m going to –
“Hello, Rose! Are you –”
She turned her head and resisted the urge to groan. Cedric-bloody-Diggory was stood there in all his good-guy Hufflepuff glory, looking like the perfect gentleman as he stood a polite distance away from her in the corridor. The image was completed with a slightly concerned look on his face as he took in her expression, and she wanted to snort at the overall picture.
He’s like a bloody romance novel hero. Or a knight. Maybe I should get him a sword. Or not, he’s so adorably innocent he wouldn’t get it.
He frowned. “Are you okay Rose? You’re looking a little stressed.”
She barely stopped herself from gaping at him. It'd taken her friends nearly a year before they could tell her moods, and even then it was hit or miss. She’d only met Cedric at the end of the school year and seen him a scant few times since then. How on earth does he do that?
Rose cleared her throat. “I’m fine, Cedric. I’m just a little … tightly wound from all the …”
She trailed off, waving her hand trying to find the right words. A nap wouldn’t go amiss right now.
“Staring? I get why it could be tiring, but I doubt you weren’t expecting it, Lady Potter.”
He finished with a teasing smile and she flushed a little in spite of the pang in her chest. This wasn’t the time to get upset about speaking to her no-longer-dead first love. Cedric wasn't on the ground with a vacant gaze, she wasn't surrounded by Death Eaters, and they weren't at the start of a war.
Things were already so much better than her past life and she refused to allow her memories to rule her life. She hadn't spent so much time changing things just to let her messed-up mind destroy everything. That didn't even touch on being around Cedric.
Cedric was a complicated subject for her. The boy she'd thought she had a small crush on, only to realise that she'd probably been in love with him when he died. His was a death that she felt even more guilty for than the Potter murders. As a baby she hadn't been able to do anything, but at nearly-fifteen she hadn't been powerless; she could have saved him. Pushed him to the floor, blasted him away with a spell, anything.
She enjoyed spending time with him in this second chance at life, but she hated being reminded of his murder and tried to avoid him. It was a difficult dichotomy, and once more she inwardly cursed the contradiction of humans. There was nothing simple about interacting with Cedric Diggory, and she couldn't help but consider him to be a physical manifestation of the problems that came with her time travel; things existed in balance, and Cedric was both uplifting and depressing.
That didn't even touch on her feelings for the boy. She wouldn't lie to herself, and she knew that there was some part of her which was still in love with him even if he wasn't the same Cedric she had once known. She still liked him, but she was in no way physically attracted to him. He was fourteen – a child – and she really couldn't bring herself to entertain any romantic thoughts about someone who was underage. Romance would have to wait until she was older, and any prospective partners would have to be at least seventeen for her to seriously consider them.
She cleared her throat and raised her nose in the air. “Be that as it may, Heir Diggory, a Lady such as myself does not welcome such unrestrained and uncouth attention. It is much too reminiscent of undignified gawking at a circus exhibit, and I personally despair over the lack of poise and grace amongst our peers. I dread to think this disastrous train journey is setting the tone for the upcoming year.”
Rose watched as the boy widened his eyes in shock before breaking down in laughter. She let a smile play about her lips as she watched the Hufflepuff bend over clutching his stomach. It was amazing the difference two years can make, as the Cedric she'd known had never been so open in his actions.
“Heir Diggory, I fail to see what amuses you so concerning my words. Surely I am well within my rights to make my displeasure known in such a manner?”
He was laughing even harder now and she was starting to worry about him. I don't think that shade of red's normal.
After a few minutes he calmed down and got his breathing under control, though he still had a visible flush on his face. He grinned at her and shook his head.
“You're utterly mad, Rose,” he laughed before frowning suddenly. “Are you, I mean … am I still allowed to call you Rose? You're Lady Potter, and also Heiress Black, and –”
She cut in. “Do you want me to call you Heir Diggory all the time?”
He blanched and shook his head.
“Well then,” she said with a smile, “you can carry on calling me Rose. In private or amongst friends, anyway. I really don't like it, but I'd prefer it if you address me as Lady Potter in proper public situations. I'm trying to regain the reputation of my families and I don't want to ruin things by acting improperly.” Not where anyone can see me or know it's me, in any case. I really don't care about this etiquette crap, but I suppose it's a means to an end.
Cedric grimaced. “Ouch. Good luck with that. The Diggory family is old but it's not really distinguished so we don't really have to worry about that stuff. I mean Dad's technically a Lord, but he doesn't really bother all that much with politics. But yeah, I don't mind being 'proper' in public Rose.”
He finished with a grin and sparkling grey eyes, and she couldn't help but smile back at him. He was such a genuine person that she couldn't help but calm down around him. Neville was the same. Was there something about the badger mentality she was missing?
“Anyway,” he carried on, “you should go and find your friends and cheer up. You know, before we get swamped with work again.”
She huffed a laugh and said goodbye to Cedric. They waved at each other and departed in opposite directions, each looking for their friends.
Let's just hope they treat me the same.
“Lady Potter, it's a pleasure to see you once more. I trust that your summer was enjoyable?”
Rose pasted a polite smile on her face as she imagined all the different ways that she could wipe that smirk off her best friend's face. Bite me, arsehole.
Blaise was such an annoying shit on the best of days, but when he felt like causing trouble there was simply no stopping him. As it was the smug git had a gleam in his eyes and a smirk on his face, and Rose was sorely tempted to magically remove his mouth – the Black library had some rather unique spells whose potential for revenge was intriguing.
Her Italian friend should count himself lucky that some of the people in the carriage weren't part of their study group; those individuals knew well what her personality was and how she and Blaise could act together. They wouldn't be surprised at the two of them trying to magically and verbally one-up each other.
Said individuals included her dear cousin Draco – who had finally ditched the dodgy hair gel, praise Magic – and her Housemate Su Li. Su was currently eyeing her with barely-hidden amusement, and Draco was smirking at her like the prat he was. (It didn't matter what life she lived in or what events had happened, it seemed that every Draco Malfoy existed to wind her up for no other apparent reason than the universe's entertainment.)
If the compartment had just been the two Slytherins and lone Ravenclaw she wouldn't have batted an eye about giving Blaise the literal finger and calling him a wanker, but seeing as how there were two other occupants she restrained herself. Just barely.
Sat on side next to Su was Padma Patil, the extremely serious girl who was also Su's roommate. Padma hadn't wanted to get involved in their group last year as she hadn't thought them to be a genuine study group. Considering all of them had the highest average scores in the end of year exams, the Indian girl might change her tune and join her twin this year.
On the opposite side next to Draco and Blaise was the unfortunately-orphaned Theodore Nott, and Rose couldn't help the stab of guilt that shot through her even as she noticed that her classmate currently looked the happiest that she'd ever seen him, and that included after the war.
The Nott family was one that had been deeply entrenched in Voldemort's madness since the beginning what with Theodore's father, Caius Nott, having been one of the original Death Eaters. He had actually been a classmate of Tom Riddle and had bided his time and carefully manoeuvred things for their 'cause' over several decades. Rose had eventually learned that Nott Sr. had gone into politics on the orders of Voldemort and had slowly but surely built up his power to help him. People might have later considered Lucius Malfoy to be the most politically powerful Death Eater, but he'd only managed to get as far as he had because of Nott ensuring that the dark sect was so powerful.
He'd managed to avoid Azkaban during the first war by having too much power to be questioned – which meant that he'd blackmailed everyone into silence – and had even avoided prison during the Second War because he hadn't been well enough to go to Azkaban without dying. His (likely blackmailed) personal Healer and lawyer had managed to argue for house arrest instead of a prison sentence, though considering the opulence of Nott House it hadn't been much of a punishment.
One thing Nott Sr. hadn't ever avoided though was being branded with a Dark Mark. The idiot had more-or-less waved his bare arm in Voldemort's face until he got a nice little ownership brand, and that had been some time during the fifties. Close to four decades of such a bond had meant the link between Voldemort and Nott Sr. had been very deep, and when the goblins had happily destroyed the last of Voldy's soul Nott had been one of the first to bite the dust.
Not that she felt bad at all for his death, especially as the bastard had been responsible for the murder of his wife several years previously. Lady Nott's murder had remained 'unsolved', though Rose wondered exactly how many galleons it took to equate murder with such a status.
Theodore had born witness to his mother's murder, which was why he'd been one of the few students able to see the Thestrals when she'd originally taken Care of Magical Creatures. The only thing that had saved him from being beaten like his mother was his older sister Adelaide.
Adelaide Nott was currently nineteen, and though she had never been in line to inherit in the patriarchal Nott family she had willingly remained in the abusive household to try and protect her brother, even after she had come of age. Since their father's death the girl had taken temporary control of their family until Theodore was old enough to take over. Rose thought the woman was incredibly brave for someone who'd been raised to be a perfect Slytherin.
Rose smiled at the compartment for a moment before speaking with the appropriate – and irritating – respect, even as she wanted to gag at the formality.
(Everything was about how it was introduced. Blaise had spoken first and started with perfect etiquette and behaviour, meaning he’d set the precedent for their interactions. If he’d been casual, they would have spoken casually. Now though – thanks, Blaise – she'd have to maintain the polite persona before she could work her way down to normal.)
“Heir Zabini, it's a pleasure to see you once more as well. Thank you so much for the enquiry, and to answer your question my summer was indeed delightful. The opportunity to observe unusual specimens in their own habitat is something that should never be dismissed.”
It sounded like she was talking about wild animals but it was actually about Blaise. In Sicily she'd made a dig that seeing him in Italy was like watching a wild animal in its natural environment. He'd looked at her weirdly but laughed all the same. That was an agreement, no matter what he'd said after.
He grinned at her. “Indeed, Lady Potter. Such opportunities shouldn't be missed for anything.” He turned and looked at their classmates with such a fake smile that she barely resisted the urge to snort. “Ladies and gentleman, might I introduce the delightful Miss Rose Potter, Lady of The Noble and Most Ancient House of Potter, and Heiress of The Noble and Most Ancient House of Black.”
Blaise turned and gestured at each person as he spoke. “Lady Potter, I'm sure you are acquainted with your cousin, Mister Draco Malfoy, Lord of The Noble and Most Ancient House of Malfoy. Might I introduce you to Mister Theodore Nott, Heir of The Noble and Ancient House of Nott, Miss Su Li, of the Ancient House of Li, and Miss Padma Patil, of The Noble House of Patil.”
After a few rounds of awkward greetings they were all settled and sat in an uncomfortable silence. Except for Blaise, that is. If she'd known this was how he'd react she never would have 'accidentally' left him alone with his mother's new suitor. It had seemed a funny thing to do at the time, but now Blaise was deliberately making things as painful as they could possibly be.
She needed a conversation topic that everyone could join in on, and that everyone was genuinely interested in … or invested in. Hmm … that might work.
Rose shifted in her seat slightly, drawing attention to herself subtly without doing something so 'unladylike' as clearing her throat. (Rose personally thought that it was still better than hexing someone to get their attention, but Aunt Cassi hadn't seemed to appreciate her joke.)
“Does anyone have any idea about the new Defence teacher this year? I hope that they'll be capable.”
Immediately the tension drained away in the compartment, and the students were all united in the discussion concerning who would be following Quirrell and Lockhart and whether or not they'd even be adept at the subject.
She looked Blaise in the eye and sent him a look that pleaded forgiveness. The boy was blank-faced for a few seconds before he smiled and nodded. Thank fuck for that. Rose really couldn't be dealing with Blaise Zabini-level of revenge for much longer, not with her self-appointed mission to amass political allies and power so she could steamroll over the rest of the Wizengamot. (Not that she would ever admit to doing that; even if her ideas were clearly for the good of others she'd probably still get branded a Dark Lady.)
As far as she was concerned Blaise Zabini was a worthy adversary when it came to causing mayhem and he was not someone she wanted as an enemy, even as a second-generation Marauder.
She caught sight of a smirk on his face and glared back.
That didn't mean he had won, though.
In case people haven't realised, this is the second chapter of today's double update. Check out the first if you haven't :)
Next week we'll finally be getting back to Hogwarts, so I'll see you guys then.
Until next time!