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The Hopeless Ones

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One week before the Hogwarts school year started, Lily sat at a table with most of Gryffindor, as well as a good portion of Slytherin, and several Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws.

“Want to make the toast, Gryffindor Princess?” Percy Weasley asked, beaming at her.

Lily looked around the room, which was full of mostly people who had pledged loyalty to her in one way or another. She’d honestly been shocked when the Malfoys had offered to host a back-to-school party for the Phoenix Gazette, and even more shocked when most of her Gryffindors had shown up.

“Sure, I think that would be only fitting,” Lily smiled, and stood up on top of her chair. Everyone’s eyes turned towards her, even George Weasley, who looked at her with a slightly skeptical expression.

“Thank you all for attending the first non-school party of the Phoenix Gazette,” Lily said, doing her best to project an air of confidence despite the fact that she was seeing a face that looked just like the one she’d landed in Azkaban. “When we started the school paper, we anticipated that it would be a rebellious effort against Dumbledore and the people who support his program of censorship. We didn’t expect that it would bring the houses together like this. Look at us… Gryffindors, Slytherins, Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs dining together, just like it was before Godric Gryffindor and Salazar Slytherin had the fight that tore apart the relationship between the four founders of Hogwarts. May today’s party and dinner be a representation of the unity that is to come between-”

A flash of magic burst through the air, and Lily was shocked by the feeling that something cold and terrifying had entered the dining room of Malfoy Manor. The room was plunged into darkness, with a floating orb of magic far at the other end of the room near the door the only light source. In the chaos, Lily could hear the shuffling of feet as some of the party attendants ran towards the orb of light, and could feel someone’s hand grab onto hers, searching for support. She stood still, frozen, and unsure of what was going on. If this was a trick of someone on the Light Side to see if she could see the ball of light, a traditionally dark thing, she didn’t want to move, and if it was a Death Eater going rogue, she really didn’t want to move.

A few minutes later, the light in the room flickered back on, and Lily looked down to see a terrified Neville Longbottom clutching her hand. His face was deathly pale, and the faces of the remaining people in the dining room - nearly all Gryffindors, but not Hermione or Percy - were various degrees of shocked or scared.

“Don’t look up,” Neville whispered, voice trembling.

“Yeah, that’s like asking a Bowtruckle not to eat a fairy egg,” was Lily’s response, as she raised her head to look at the ceiling, and instinctively gasped. A Dark Mark was floating in the air, green and menacing, and its ghostly mouth had descended right over her and Neville’s head.

“Is it gonna kill us?” Neville asked, hands trembling.

“No. It can’t kill anyone. It’s just… a declaration of intention,” Lily said. She could feel anger rising in her. How dare someone she had dominion over as a Death Eater presume to interrupt a party she’d helped organize and terrorize everyone in a group of mostly children ? She pointed her wand up at the ghostly snake. “ Evanesco!”

Most of the Gryffindors turned to Lily in awe. “You can’t just vanish a Dark Mark!” said one of them, shocked.

“Uh, clearly I can, because it’s gone,” Lily stepped down from the chair. “Anyway, don’t worry - you’re all safe now. I’m going to go find Hermione and Percy.”

As Lily said that, Neville’s eyes went wide as he realized they weren’t in the room anymore. “Are they dead?”

“No, they’re not dead. I’d know,” was Lily’s answer.

“How?” asked George, arms folded over his chest.

Lily rolled her eyes. “Uh, because I’m the magically recognized heiress to Godric Gryffindor and the Gryffindor Princess? I can tell when people in Gryffindor die.”

Nobody pressed that, probably thinking that she’d learned this when Colin Creevey had died. It was true, but she didn’t feel any need to tell them why else she knew Percy and Hermione weren’t dead.

***

All Lily had to do to ensure that Hermione and Percy were alive was head into the other room where the globe of light had been floating. There she saw Hermione and Percy, as well as all the other students who had been able to see the light because they’d been Presented - mostly Slytherins.

“What happened, my Princess?” Eva Rosier asked.

“Someone cast a Dark Mark to threaten the lives of all of the people at this party who hadn’t been Presented,” Lily stated. Gasps came from the people in the room, as well as Eleta Dunlap saying “they might be future blood traitors, but they’re kids!

“Yes, I know, it was not okay, and myself and my father and the Inner Circle will work to investigate what happened. For now, though, I think you should all return to the main room. I need to get some air,” The students listened to her command, and all started streaming through into the dining room.

Lily had managed to keep up a calm facade, but her composure was fading fast. She walked out into the gardens of Malfoy Manor, and sat down on a bench, with her head between her hands. What if this had been something ordered by her father, and he hadn’t told her? The version of him that had resulted when he’d been united with Tom had called an eleven year old a Mudblood - a term that he’d previously said couldn’t apply to people under 17. She’d never dared to ask him why. She also hadn’t dared to interact with him much - despite sharing a home for the summer, not much more had happened than soft kisses. Mainly because she was scared. She didn’t understand. It didn’t feel like he was the same person. Her father would’ve noticed how upset she was, how scared she was. He would’ve fixed it. But this… mostly Tom Riddle person? He wasn’t doing anything.

She was so caught up in her thoughts that she barely noticed the shadow creeping up behind her. And by the time its hand latched onto her arm and she was pulled into a swirling vortex, Apparating to some unknown location, it was too late.

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When Lily came to, she was in a bed in a dimly-lit room. She reached out with her magic, desperately trying to get some sense of at least what family the house belonged to.

“Oy! I was sleeping too, you know…” A figure in a portrait at the other side of the room snapped up, glaring at Lily, but his gaze softened and then turned to shock when he realized who she was. “The heiress of Salazar Slytherin in our family home? Well, it appears that my good for nothing great-great-grandson has finally done something right!”

“Who’s your great-great-grandson? Who are you?” asked Lily, rubbing the sleep from her eyes.

“That is no way to address the patriarch of the House of Black!” said the man in the portrait in horror.

“So, Phineas Nigellus Black. Fuck - I know you - you’re in Dumbledore’s office too. Well, McGonagall's now. Don’t tell her who I am!” Lily ordered, her voice somewhat panicked.

She could swear that the man in the portrait was rolling his eyes. “Of course I won’t. Portraits of former headmasters are responsible for providing service to the current headmaster, but I interpret things the way I want. Certainly, cloaking the identity of the Heiress of Slytherin until the Dark Lord is ready to return is the right choice to serve the headmistress of Hogwarts, and the rest of the Wizarding world. But what are you doing here?”

“I don’t know, I was kidnapped!” Lily said in a shrill voice. “Presumably by your great-great-grandson! Who is he, anyway?”

“Sirius Black… the third,” Phineas Nigellus Black said, almost hissing the name. “Unworthy of both names, and unworthy of possession of our house.”

“But he’s in Azkaban!” Lily protested.

That provoked a laugh from the man in the portrait. “ Was. Until July. And now he’s here, with the blood traitor Weasley who can only enter our house because of the House of Black blood in his veins, as little as he may care for it.”

“Fred Weasley?” Lily asked, her voice turning into a whisper.

“The very same. Doesn’t look very happy, either. Then again, nobody does after leaving Azkaban,” The portrait smirked, and Lily drew the blankets up around her, breathing heavily. Fred was back. Wandless, sure, at least for now, but with every reason to hate her, as was the case with her godfather, who apparently was no longer in Azkaban. And she was stuck in his house, with minimal control over the Dark Mark, no ability to Apparate reliably on her own, and her only hope of rescue a father who’d neglected her all summer.

She pushed the blankets away, and stood up. She was the heiress of Salazar Slytherin, the princess of Gryffindor, and the Princess of the Dark Side. Clearly, the only thing to do was to pretend confidence until it appeared.

***

As Lily walked down the hallway and to the staircase, the portraits lining the walls whispered to each other, shocked by her presence in their house. The portrait of the woman above the staircase looked at her with interest, but didn’t comment, possibly because she’d gotten the memo that Lily wanted to surprise them.

She entered the kitchen of the house to find Sirius and Fred. Fred looked so unlike the trickster who she’d tricked at the end of her second year that she almost didn’t recognize him. He’d clearly hit puberty while in Azkaban, along with growing a beard, and his eyes were haunted. Lily felt a pang in her chest as the magic of the Gryffindor house settled between them, and she had to face that she was responsible for his current state. Fred glared up at her from his seat at the table.

“Lily, come sit with us,” Sirius said. Lily looked over the face, which she immediately recognized from the various wanted posters she’d seen around magical London over the summer. She’d never bothered to learn the name, though - she’d figured that the Ministry wasn’t really in the business of imprisoning anyone who wasn’t on the Dark Side, for the most part, and if her father hadn’t mentioned one of their people escaping it wouldn’t really be relevant.

“Godfather,” she said in a toneless voice.

“You have no right to call him that!” hissed Fred.

“Fred, let her talk. I’m sure she has a perfectly reasonable explanation for everything…” Sirius responded. Out of the two of them, Sirius looked much more respectable, despite having been in Azkaban for fifteen years.

“She doesn’t. She’s evil. You shouldn’t have let her come into your house. You should run far away before she destroys you like she destroyed me,” Fred hissed.

“Go to your room, Weasley,” was Sirius’s harsh response.

“But-”

“I said, go to your room. Clearly, I need to talk to Miss Potter alone,” Sirius glared at Fred, who stood up from the table and walked up the stairs to what was apparently his room.

Once they were gone, Sirius turned to Lily. “I’m sorry for the… unpleasant surprise,” he said, sighing slightly.

“Are you referring to kidnapping me or bringing me face to face with someone who hates my guts and thinks I’m the antichrist?” Lily asked, raising an eyebrow.

Sirius winced. “Both. But for the record, it was never my intention to make you scared that I was kidnapping you. I just needed to… get you to a place where I could explain things.”

“Yeah, and then I fainted because that’s what happens when minors who’ve never learned to Apparate get forced into being apparated with someone against their will and without foreknowledge of what is going to happen!” Lily snapped. “Seriously, you’re apparently my godfather… you’d think you could be a little more careful with my health.”

“I know… and I’m sorry. I’ve always been a little reckless. I’m sure Lupin would tell you that,” Sirius winced again. “I want you to feel safe here. I doubt you feel safe at the Rosiers.”

“Why, because Evan Rosier is a dark wizard?” Lily asked, folding her arms across her chest. “I’m close friends with their daughter, and they’re certainly better than the Dursleys were.”

“Oh, the Rosiers had a daughter after Corvus? How old is she?” Sirius was actually smiling now.

She is going into seventh year, and they had a daughter, they just thought she was a son.” Lily hissed. “But of course, you wouldn’t know that, because you allowed yourself to get stuck in Azkaban and landed me with the Dursleys.”

“I’m sorry,” Sirius’s gaze was soft, and Lily could almost believe him. At least, believe that he would’ve wanted to save the tiny 1 year old her who he’d thought was innocent.

“You know, son, you’re not exactly behaving as respectfully as one should towards the Heiress of Slytherin,” came a voice from the top of the stairs. Lily looked up, and she saw that the woman in the portrait was looking harshly at Sirius.

“You’re the what?!” Sirius thundered, standing up and slamming his hands down on the kitchen table.

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Lily looked up at the previously gentle man who had become so angry looking in the space of one minute. “The Heiress of Salazar Slytherin,” she said in a calm voice.

“But… how? Neither of your parents were heirs to him, I’m sure about it!” Sirius looked more anxious now, as he stood up and paced around the kitchen table.

“Yeah, well, neither of them became the Horcrux of the greatest Dark wizard of all time. The other Heir of Slytherin,” Lily folded her arms over her chest as she looked at him.

“But it’s gone. The scar’s gone. And the Horcrux is gone. The papers say so,” Sirius said, somewhat dumbfounded.

“Oh, come on, use some critical thinking, you worthless blood traitor,” Walburga Black’s voice came from the painting at the top of the stairs.

“Dumbledore… lies?” Sirius asked, in a quiet voice.

“Wow. Congratulations. You’re not a complete idiot. Yes, he does,” Lily said, rolling her eyes.

“The Horcrux is still there?” he asked.

“Not quite,” Lily said. In some sort of mood, she pulled her shirt off and pointed to the rune on her chest.

Sirius’s mouth fell open, and he gaped at her. Lily smirked as she saw a blush rise to his cheek. “You’ve made your point. You should put your shirt back on,”

“No, I think I’d rather not. I want you to know exactly whose I am.” Lily said, still smirking.

Looking a little entranced, Sirius looked closer at the rune. “This is dark magic, Lily,” he said in a soft voice.

Lily just blinked up at him.

“Did he put this on you when you were a baby?” he asked.

Lily just narrowed her eyes. “You’re a fucking idiot.”

Sirius took a step back, eyes wide. “ Excuse me?”

“I am the heiress to Salazar Slytherin through my father. My adoptive father. The Dark Lord. He protects me, and he marked me as his daughter. I know who I am, and I’m a princess. Not a puppet.” She stood up, glaring at him. “I’m safe. He controls the Rosiers. And when my aunt and uncle died last year? That was us.”

Sirius stepped back, and collapsed into his chair. “He really did it. He managed to claim you. How… I’m… I’m going to kill Lupin!” He clenched his fists. “Please, you have to listen. He doesn’t love you. He can’t love you.”

“Then why can’t Dumbledore, who tried to kill me, and in doing so destroyed the Horcrux inside me, even touch me?” Lily demanded. “If he didn’t love me, his Horcrux wouldn’t have been able to cast magic that protected me.”

“Listen to the Princess,” Walburga Black’s portrait lazily commented from the top of the stairs.

Sirius’s eyes moved rapidly as he grabbed Lily by the shoulders and looked at her. “Listen to me, Lily. Walburga, and people like her - Death Eaters, the Death Eater who attacked the meeting of the school paper - they don’t care about you, they just care that you’re on their side. And merlin’s beard, if you actually think their Dark Lord is any different, I pity you.”

In a second, Lily had drawn her wand and cast the dark variant of Incarcerous. “Don’t you dare touch me.” Sirius’s eyes widened as he felt the ropes of fire constrict around his chest. “ Imperio,” she cast, after she grabbed her shirt. She didn’t want to make him uncomfortable, not any more. Not if he was going to touch her. “Show me to the Floo gate, and don’t speak a word.”

Clearly furious, but either unwilling or unable to fight the curse, Sirius walked up next to Lily, and hands bound, showed her to the way to the Floo gate. Before she stepped onto the gate, Lily turned to Sirius. “Ward the house so Weasley can’t leave.”

Wincing from the pain of the fire ropes and perhaps of doing something he was so unwilling to do, Sirius pulled his wand from his pocket and cast a nonverbal spell into the air.

“Good. We’ll make a useful wizard out of you yet,” Lily told him, curling her lip in disdain. Grabbing him by the back of his shirt, she pulled him onto the Floo gate and threw a handful of powder up into the air. “Malfoy Manor!”

***

The ropes of fire seemed to be fading as Lily and Sirius landed in Malfoy Manor. Lily looked up, brushing ash out of her face and expecting to have to call for someone, but Bellatrix Lestrange was already sitting in the living room, smiling like a predator who had caught her prey.

“Well, well, my Princess, it appears you’ve brought us a toy,” she said, smirking.

“He dared to touch me,” Lily said, striding out of the fireplace and leaving Sirius in a crumpled pile inside the gate.

“What a pathetic blood traitor,” hissed Bellatrix, as her eyes narrowed. “Thinking he was fit to touch wizarding royalty just because he was designated your godfather by another blood traitor?”

“Because apparently, my own father couldn’t possibly care about me, nor could any Death Eaters,” Lily said as she rolled her eyes. She didn’t want to think it was true, but her father had been weirdly distant the whole summer. “He apparently broke out of Azkaban, along with Weasley, who is currently stuck in his house. And the first thing he did was try to ‘rescue’ me from the Rosiers by kidnapping me.”

“Wow. One blood traitor bound, and another unable to leave his house? The Dark Lord will be proud of you, my Princess,” Bellatrix’s eyes widened.

“Not that it’s any of your business, but I’m sure he will,” Lily answered. She took a look at Sirius, who looked both exhausted and mentally tortured, and then back at Bellatrix, who was grinning. “Make sure to take the sort of care of your cousin that is befitting of his actions. I’m off to see my father,”

 

Chapter Text

Lily nervously walked down the hall to her father’s office, mind spinning. Would he be mad at her for getting kidnapped? Would he read her mind to find out what Sirius Black had said to her? Would he dispute it?

She knocked on the door, heart beating fast in her chest. “Come in,” her father called.

“Lily,” he said in a soft voice as she entered the study and sat down in the chair at the desk opposite him.

“Father,” she answered, not really knowing how else to respond.

“You’re safe,” he said, voice, sounding vaguely choked up, and reached to clasp her hand across the table. “Thank the Blessed Lady, you’re really safe.”

“Sirius Black tried to kidnap me,” Lily said in a soft voice, avoiding his eyes. “Of course, he didn’t think of it as kidnapping me. He thought he was saving me.”

Her father’s eyes flashed red, and although that was sometimes scary to Lily, today it was a relief. “He’s a deluded blood traitor, and you don’t need saving,” She could feel him reaching into her mind to read the events that had happened, and could feel the current of magic flowing between their clasped hands. It was the most she’d felt of his magic in a few weeks, and she was flooded with both a sensation of wanting to grab onto it and hold it with her and anger that he’d been withdrawing from her. Which was then followed by fear, because he’d know that was how she felt since he was in the middle of reading her mind.

Images flashed through Lily’s mind of her time at Sirius Black’s house and her conversation with him, and she could tell that her father was looking at them. She could also see his other hand curl into a fist and its skin turn white as he got to the point in the memory where Sirius grabbed her shoulders. She could tell that her father was angry, but she realized in shame and further worry that she couldn’t read him well enough to know exactly what he was so furious about. She thought she had a pretty good idea though, as she considered, pit forming in her stomach, what that must have looked like to him. Nearly burning with shame, and barely stopping herself from trembling with fear that this could be her official, final fall from grace, she forced herself to remain composed so that she wouldn’t disgrace herself even further in her reaction.

“I’m sorry, father,” she said, relieved that her voice hadn’t sounded as weak and shaky as she felt. “I had thought only to unsettle the enemy, and perhaps to thereby gain an advantage if the man reacted foolishly to being startled… I never meant to allow his unworthy hands to further disgrace something honored to have been claimed as yours.”

She hoped it wasn’t obvious that she was on the verge of either sobbing or hyperventilating, not noticing that the way she rushed over her words would likely have already betrayed her nervousness. “I want to be good - to be worthy of being your daughter and heiress! I know I’m not doing a very good job job of it; I keep messing up and I don’t always understand how and I’m sorry but I promise I’ll do better.” She couldn’t bring herself to actually look up at him - it seemed far too daring considering the situation - but she was sure he would be able to judge the sincerity of her words. “Please help me learn to be a suitable heiress, my Lord?” She could only hope that it would be enough, and that he would be willing to help her and give her one last chance before he found her lacking and threw her aside as a wasted investment or failed experiment. She couldn’t help but remember the way the Tom diary horcrux had treated sex with her, how he’d claimed her and manipulated her, and how the man sitting in front of her was not quite him but not quite the person she’d thought of as her father either. What would a mostly-Tom’s methodology of teaching her to be a suitable heiress be?

Her father looked at her, eyes seeming oddly vacant, and she realized he was absorbing the meaning of both everything she’d said and everything she was thinking. He opened his mouth and then closed it again, clearly shocked by her words.

“My Lord, I-” Lily was about to apologize again when he cut her off, striding around the desk and standing up in front of her chair.

“You’re not going to say anything more right now. You’ve already said enough,” Lily was biting her cheek hard enough to taste blood, and it took everything in her not to cry now that she was face to face with the imposing figure of her father who wasn’t quite her father, towering above her.

“It’s clear that I have caused… issues… in the way I have interacted with you this summer,” he said, and Lily could tell from the slowness of his sentence that he was picking his words carefully. “I was not angry with you for the way that Sirius Black touched you. I was angry at him, because he is a traitor and unworthy of any relation to you… yet, likely recognized by the majority of Wizarding Britain as closer to you, since he is your godfather and would’ve been your legal guardian after the death of your parents had he not been imprisoned in Azkaban. You are already my heiress, and you have not done anything that warrants stripping of that title - I should not have let my discomfort with what happened between the diary Horcrux and you taint our interactions.”

Lily blinked up at him in shock. “You’re… not mad at me?”

“If anything, I don’t know what a part of my soul was doing behaving in the way he did,” was her father’s response. He held out a hand to Lily. “Come with me?”

Lily took his hand, not knowing where he was going to take her, but honestly not caring that she didn’t know.

***

They arrived in the throne room, standing right by his throne. Her father sat down on the throne and held out a hand to pull her up. Feeling a fluttering in her stomach, Lily took it, and he pulled her into his lap.

“This is ours. It does not belong to some pathetic ghost of a 16 year old me. You do not belong to some pathetic ghost of a 16 year old me, and I do not belong to him either. And you are not an object, you are a princess. My princess, my heiress, and my bonded partner,” He reached a hand up under Lily’s skirt, and she squeaked as she felt herself grow wet in anticipation.

“Still yours like that?” she asked, as he pushed a hand inside her underwear.

“Do you still want me to be?” he asked.

All Lily could do was nod as his fingers pressed up against her, and then swirled around and into her. She pressed her head against his chest, needing to feel his heartbeat, feel the magic that made him him, not the hollow absence of something that could be so much more. She knew that stupid traitor Sirius Black would think he was just manipulating and hurting her, but it couldn’t be, because it felt so real. The magic from the rune etched into her chest felt like it was singing with happiness as he pushed her to the edge, and she collapsed even more completely into his arms. He gently played with her hair as he pressed kisses to her forehead and cheeks.

“Am I good?” she murmured.

He lifted her chin up and to his, and kissed her. “ Amazing.”

Chapter Text

When the Rosiers dropped Lily off at Platform 9 ¾, the tension was palpable. Hermione ran up to Lily to hug and kiss her, but the other Gryffindors, as well as most of the Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws, were in small groups of two or three, not speaking with each other, and none came up to Lily to speak with her. Percy stood with George and Ginny, all three bundled up against the unusually cold fall air. The Weasley parents were long gone, and Lily suspected that the three of them wouldn’t have all grouped together if they’d still been there.

A group of Slytherins, led by Eva Rosier, the new Head Girl of Hogwarts, walked up to Lily and Hermione. Draco stood next to Eva, observing the unusually asocial Gryffindors.

“Why are the lions forming packs?” he snorted. “It’s not like a Gryffindor would threaten their own with a Dark Mark.”

“They’re scared,” Hermione answered. “They don’t know who to trust. Or who’s on what side.”

“Well, surely the Heiress of Godric Gryffindor will manage to set them right,” Draco said, winking at Lily.

“I’ll try,” was Lily’s dejected response.

“Hey, where did you go after the party, anyway? Nobody saw you,” Eva asked. “My parents were a little worried.”

“I’m sure they were,” Lily said in a bitter voice, rolling her eyes. “I’m sure they definitely cared about me as a person, not just that they’d be killed if they’d somehow put me in harm’s way. Anyway, I went back to my house. Where did you expect I’d gone?” Lily rolled her eyes, not wanting to tell anyone about her brief abducting by Sirius Black. What would they think of their Princess if they knew she’d managed to get temporarily kidnapped by a blood traitor Gryffindor?

“Does anyone… have any idea what happened? Who cast the charm?” Eva asked in a low voice, but Lily knew all of the other Slytherins in the group had heard.

“We’re working on it,” was Lily’s response. “Now, come on, are we going to get onto the Hogwarts Express or not?”

“Yes, but you might want to know -” Whatever Eva had wanted to tell Lily was cut off, as Lily briskly walked past her and onto the train.

***

Lily and Hermione were soon hesitantly joined by Draco, Daphne Greengrass, Theodore Nott and Blaise Zabini in their train compartment. Lily kept Hermione’s hand grasped in hers, but stared out the window, not particularly keen on going back to Hogwarts. Going back there meant going back to a place where everyone would be paranoid, and nobody would be likely to believe that the Heir of Slytherin had truly been caught.

She’d already heard murmurings that maybe the Heir of Slytherin had been attending the back-to-school party and had been the one to cast the charm at the party, as she’d walked onto the platform. And now she had the deaths of a handful of students on her hands, as well as Sirius Black’s words, which nagged at her as she barely paid attention to the idle conversation taking place between Draco and the other Slytherins. She knew she wasn’t wrong that the Rosiers only saw her as a status symbol and a piece of royalty who would lose her value if her father thought she wasn’t behaving well enough, and she could tell from the interactions she’d had with the other Death Eaters over the summer that plenty of them thought the same. The one who’d acted out by casting the Dark Mark at the party without asking permission from her father or even informing him what they’d been about to do wasn’t some bizarre outlier. The Death Eaters could tell that something had changed, even if they didn’t know that her father had shoved half of his original soul that had been stuck as a dickish 16 year old back into his body.

“I just can’t believe the Ministry is going to have Dementors guard the school this year. It’s the most idiotic idea I’ve ever-”

Lily’s head swerved to attention and looked at Draco, who had apparently decided to talk about something actually substantive instead of what Quidditch players in the all-female league were the most attractive. “What?”

“Your father and the Rosiers didn’t tell you? Because of Sirius Black’s breakout, and his ‘casting of the Dark Mark at the back-to-school party’” - Draco said the last part while making exaggerated air quotes “the Ministry has decided to station the Dementors as guards at Hogwarts this year. To make sure nobody unwanted gets in… and maybe that nobody gets out. But that won’t work, will it? Slytherins are smarter than that,” Draco smirked.

“Of course it won’t work,” Lily said, but as she sat back into her seat, contemplating the surprise addition of Dementors to the halls of Hogwarts, dread filled her stomach. Dementors - still her greatest fear, and probably even more of a fear now that she’d seen how easily her father could forget her for most of a summer, seeing as the memory of him had been what had protected her from the Dementor and Boggart dementor she’d faced the previous year. Dementors - also former people, who’d had lives and souls and had been children of Magic, before something had pushed them over the edge. What sort of darkness did that kind of thing?

“Oh, shit,” came Daphne Greengrass’s voice, drawing Lily out of her thoughts once more. “Guys, grab your wands.”

Not one to ignore potential danger, but still completely disoriented, Lily drew her wand, as did the others in the compartment. She looked at Daphne Greengrass with a quizzical expression, and Daphne shook her head, mouthing Don’t look.

Anger rose in Lily’s chest. Not only had she been kidnapped, and the Death Eaters had been disrespecting her, but now a member of her true House was disrespecting her by presuming to order her to not do something? Lily scoffed and turned her head to the door of the compartment, and froze.

A Dementor stood outside of the door to the train compartment, which had mysteriously flown open, surveying the members of the compartment - and Lily had accidentally made as close to eye contact as possible with it. It let out a raggedy breath, sounding somehow ecstatic, and moved closer into the compartment. The lights began to flicker, and soon it was tilting its head up and trying to suck the air out of Lily. Skin clammy, Lily gripped her wand, knuckles turning white, and instinctively cast “Expecto Patronum!”

“My Princess, I don’t think-” Daphne fell silent as the silver-grey lion once more burst from the tip of Lily’s wand.

But this time, she didn’t curl up affectionately around the Dementor, and the grey of the Dementor’s skin didn’t turn to a more human color. She made a sound akin to snarling, and the Dementor ran away from Lily’s Patronus as the lion chased it down the train. Completely winded, Lily sat in shock as the lioness dissipated after chasing off the Dementor. “Why didn’t…”

“Maybe it doesn’t always work?” Hermione proposed, squeezing Lily’s hand.

Lily looked down at the bottom of the train compartment, scuffing her feet on the floor. “Or maybe I just wasn’t good enough.”

Chapter Text

The rest of the ride to Hogwarts was marked by mostly awkward silence and forced small talk, as everyone tried to avoid the most obvious topic, of the Dementors, and Lily felt stupid and awkward. It was likely that most of the people in the compartment hadn’t even known for a fact about the time she’d transformed Nova Prewett’s Dementor form back into a human, since there had been barely any Hogwarts students at the Death Eater meeting. She’d made her inability to do that on command a thing, instead of just something she’d intended to do. She felt like she’d failed Dark Princess 101.

When the Hogwarts Express docked at Hogsmeade Station, Hermione was the first to walk out of the compartment, followed shortly by Lily, Draco and Daphne. Hermione stopped short, looking to Lily for guidance and grabbing her hand.

“What?” Lily, still not entirely focused on the external world, turned towards Hermione.

“There,” Hermione said in a shaky voice, pointing towards the carriages.

Lily turned to the carriages, and blinked in confusion. “What’s that creature pulling them?”

“Thestrals,” said Eva, who had dismounted from the train shortly after Lily and the others. “You can only see them if you’ve seen a death and processed it.”

Hermione was still gaping. “Is this how they tell if any of the Hogwarts students have turned Dark?” she whispered to Lily anxiously.

“I think that’d be pretty stupid. After all, there was the horrible tragedy last year, and if someone was to say that witnessing and processing a tragic death makes you Dark… well, I’d have been Dark as soon as I processed the death of my parents,” Lily said as she climbed up into the carriage. Hermione, still hesitant, followed her, and Eva and Daphne climbed into the carriage with them, with Draco joining a carriage with Theodore Nott, Blaise Zabini, and another boy.

“How long have you seen thestrals for, Eva?” Hermione asked. Daphne’s eyes widened, but she didn’t say anything.

“Since my second year,” Eva answered, and then looked at Daphne. “It’s okay, Daphne. I’m probably the weirdest case of being able to see a Thestral ever.”

“What do you mean?” Lily asked.

Eva sighed, looking down at her lap. “I… didn’t exactly witness a physical death. But when I transitioned and my parents had been sending me letters all year saying that it was like their son had died and that I was as good as dead to them, and that kept on going all summer long, and I still managed to stay me and realize that maybe the old me was dead to them, and that was okay… I guess it counted,”

“Oh, Eva,” Hermione said, reaching out to hold her hand. “They shouldn’t have put you through that.”

“Yeah, well… they did, and now I’m stronger,” Eva politely removed her hand from Hermione’s grasp. “If you can see Thestrals, it means you’re strong. It means you’ve faced death, and accepted the reality of it. And the Light idiots aren’t exactly right that the only way to do that is to witness a death. Near-death experiences, that kind of thing… those can do it too,”

As the carriage started moving, Lily could see that several of the other students were looking at the Thestrals with confusion and fear.

"A lot of new people can see Thestrals," she noted, shivering a little.
"Good," said Eva.
Hermione looked at her with wide eyes. "Good? How is that good?"
Eva shrugged, and ran a hand through her hair. "Being able to see a Thestral doesn't just mean that you've seen death. It means you've seen it, survived it, and processed it at least to some extent. Therefore, it means that you're stronger than you were before you were able to see one."
"But isn't it awful that so many... well, children, have seen death at all?" Hermione asked.
Eva bit her lip. "I guess so. I can't really pay much attention to that right now, though, not with the Wizarding World at war."
"Without knowing it's at war," Lily responded in a quiet voice.
Eva let out a bitter laugh. "Oh, I'm pretty sure anyone who's reasonable knows that it's at war again right about now. Fudge just hasn't admitted it yet."
"Does anyone at the Ministry ever admit anything like that?" Daphne rolled her eyes.
"Well, we'll see what happens this year. After all, now they're able to think that it was some extremist opening the Chamber of Secrets, and the awful Death Eater who somehow snuck into the Phoenix Gazette's back to school party to cast a Dark Mark in the air," Eva smirked. "But they won't admit that anything is organized until it's staring them right in the face, and maybe not even then."
"And that's good for us," Lily muttered.
***
Eventually, the carriages arrived at Hogwarts, and the students walked into the Great Hall. Lily looked with almost amazement at the eleven year olds standing in a nervous line before the hat, remembering how recently she'd been one of them. And yet, so much had changed. She'd hardly come to Hogwarts innocent, but she'd certainly grown up a lot in the two years she'd spent at the school.
"Daphne's sister is being Sorted this year, right?" Hermione asked.
"Why do they even bother Sorting pureblood families? They're nearly all Slytherin," George commented in a sarcastic voice.
"Do you mean nearly all Dark?" Lily asked, raising an eyebrow.
"So what if I do?" George narrowed his eyes at Lily. "Us reasonable people need to distance ourselves from the deviants in Slytherin, and the families who have always been on the side of Grindelwald and people like him. I mean, look at what happened when Gryffindors went to the house of a Slytherin family."
Lily slammed her hand down on the table in anger, attracting the attention of most of the Gryffindor table. "And that kind of thing, Weasley, is exactly why we need to keep on promoting inter-House unity. Whoever it was tried to terrify us, and instead of running away from any kind of unity, we should band together more. I hardly think everyone in Slytherin approves of some random Death Eater casting a Dark Mark and terrifying twelve-year olds and other children."
"Whoever it was?" George raised an eyebrow. "With all due respect, my Princess," he said, voice dripping with sarcasm, "we know exactly who cast the spell. The same person who betrayed -"
George was interrupted by Professor McGonagall tapping a spoon on her glass and announcing the Sorting. The Sorting Hat was positioned on its usual stool, but Lily felt a different sort of energy coming from it. It didn't quite feel the same as it had in the past two years. Nobody else seemed to notice, except for Hermione. The difference became clear, however, once the Sorting Hat opened its "mouth" and started to sing.


In times of old when I was new
And Hogwarts barely started
The founders of our noble school
Thought never to be parted:
United by a common goal,
They had the selfsame yearning,
To make the world’s best magic school
And pass along their learning.
“Together we will build and teach!”
The four good friends decided
And never did they dream that they
Might someday be divided,
For were there such friends anywhere
As Slytherin and Gryffindor?
Unless it was the second pair
Of Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw?
So how could it have gone so wrong?
How could such friendships fail?
Why, I was there and so can tell
The whole sad, sorry tale.
Said Slytherin, “We’ll teach just those
Whose ancestry is purest.”
Said Ravenclaw, “We’ll teach those whose
Intelligence is surest.”
Said Gryffindor, “We’ll teach all those
With brave deeds to their name,”
Said Hufflepuff, “I’ll teach the lot,
And treat them just the same.”
These differences caused little strife
When first they came to light,
For each of the four founders had
A House in which they might
Take only those they wanted, so,
For instance, Slytherin
Took only pure-blood wizards
Of great cunning, just like him,
And only those of sharpest mind
Were taught by Ravenclaw
While the bravest and the boldest
Went to daring Gryffindor.
Good Hufflepuff, she took the rest,
And taught them all she knew,
Thus the Houses and their founders
Retained friendships firm and true.
So Hogwarts worked in harmony
For several happy years,
But then discord crept among us
Feeding on our faults and fears.
The Houses that, like pillars four,
Had once held up our school,
Now turned upon each other and,
Divided, sought to rule.
And for a while it seemed the school
Must meet an early end,
What with dueling and with fighting
And the clash of friend on friend
And at last there came a morning
When old Slytherin departed
And though the fighting then died out
He left us quite downhearted.
And never since the founders four
Were whittled down to three
Have the Houses been united
And they once were meant to be.
And now the Sorting Hat is here
And you all know the score:
I sort you into Houses
Because that is what I’m for,
But this year I’ll go further,
Listen closely to my song:
Though condemned I am to split you
Still I worry that it’s wrong,
Though I must fulfill my duty
And must quarter every year
Still I wonder whether sorting
May not bring the end I fear.
Oh, know the perils, read the signs,
The warning history shows,
For our Hogwarts is in danger
From external, deadly foes
And we must unite inside her
Or we’ll crumble from within.
I have told you, I have warned you…
Let the Sorting now begin.



Once the Hat stopped singing, more muttering permeated the Great Hall.
Lily smirked at George as he glared up at the Hat. "Told you so."
"It's just a stupid hat," He rolled his eyes.
The Sorting progressed fairly normally, despite the Hat's warning. "Greengrass, Astoria" was called, and a small girl with blonde hair hopped onto the stool, beaming. The Hat was barely lowered onto her head before it cried out...
"Gryffindor!"

Chapter Text

The rest of the Sorting ceremony continued more or less in an expected way, with several more students joining the Gryffindor table, including a girl named Romilda Vane who winked and blew a kiss at Lily as soon as she stepped down from the Sorting Hat.
Hermione rolled her eyes. "Does she even know you?"
"Nobody knows the Princess," was George Weasley's sarcastic comment.
"I'm just amazed that she very publicly flirted with you," Dean said. "I didn't know anyone was... that cool about people liking their own gender,"
Lily laughed as the Sorting Hat was picked up from the stool, and the plates at the table filled with food. "I'd like to think I paved the way, alongside my wonderful girlfriend." She squeezed Hermione's hand, causing her to blush.
George didn't seem very satisfied with Lily's explanation, or happy that there was someone who was flirting with her. But he was the only one who was openly being innapropriate, so she and Hermione ignored him as they ate their meal.
***
As Percy and the other seventh-year prefect lined up the first-year students to take them to the common room, Lily, Hermione and the other students rushed up to the common room. The mood had lifted from the somber one that had permeated Hogsmeade Station and the Thestral carriages, and most of the Gryffindors seemed to be ignoring any anxiety they had in favor of being excited about a new school year.
"Is it weird that they can forget what they saw so easily?" Hermione asked, hanging behind the excited Gryffindors a little bit.
"They're Gryffindors. What do you expect?" Lily scoffed.
"But it's hardly brave to ignore what's happening outside the Hogwarts walls," Hermione said, shaking her head.
"They're Gryffindor children. What do you expect?" Lily ammended her statement.
Hermione shrugged. "Yeah, I guess you're right."
As they walked up the moving staircases to the common room, Lily could tell that the portraits were somewhat less jovial than they had been in previous years. The Fat Lady was refusing to let students into the common room until they promised they hadn't been the one to cast the Dark Mark at the Phoenix Gazette's party.
"How does she even know about that?" wondered Neville, standing next to Lily and Hermione.
"I mean, I'm guessing someone mentioned it to another portrait, and news travels fast between portraits," Lily shrugged, and then forced her way to the front of the crowd, in front of the other Prefects. "Hey! Fat Lady!"
"The Chosen One speaks!" the Fat Lady said in a semi-sarcastic voice.
"Yes, she does, and she tells you to shut up. I really don't think anyone in this house knows the spell to cast a Dark Mark. And bringing it up over and over again is stupid... I mean, are you going to be doing that with the first years too?" She raised an eyebrow.
The Fat Lady was quiet for a few moments, until she sighed. "I suppose you're right. Come in, come in."
"Bloody finally!" Oliver Wood, standing a few rows behind the Prefects, exclaimed. "Soon, I'll be able to get to finishing up my master plan for winning the Quidditch Cup this year."
"You're obsessed with Quidditch," commented Angelina Johnson.
"Yes, Johnson, and if you want any chance of getting the captain position next year, you'll do well to follow my advice this year," was Oliver's response as the large crowd of students made its way through the portrait hole.
"I don't understand how you can be so obsessed at a time like this. I mean, the Death Eaters are back!" fretted Angelina.
"And that's exactly why we need to focus on beating Slytherin," responded Oliver Wood.
"By the Blessed Lady, you're right, they are children," sighed Hermione in a quiet voice.
Once they were in the Gryffindor common room, the students seemed to once again forget the threat of death lurking outside - or maybe inside - Hogwarts, and went to their usual behavior. Oliver Wood grabbed Angelina Johnson and Katie Bell and colonized a table, speaking in a hushed voice about his plans for the Quidditch team, students sat down on the floor to play wizarding Chess and Gobstones, and George Weasley sat down with a few other boys in his year, and they all started talking in hushed tones. Lily took one curious look at Hermione, who nodded, and the two of them went upstairs to grab Lily's Invisibility Cloak.
Once they were under the cloak, the girls walked back to the common room, and sat down next to George Weasley's circle.
"I think Romilda Vane is the sexiest. I mean, clearly she'd want to get in bed with the Princess. Lesbians are hot," commented one of George's friends. Hermione made a face under the Invisibility Cloak.
"Jordan, lesbians, by definition, don't want to fuck dudes," responded another one of George's slightly more sensible friends.
"Lay off him, he's just got a thing for lesbians. I mean, he fancies Johnson," commented George, rolling his eyes.
"Johnson and I are going to be married one day, and then you'll see she's not a lesbian," said Lee Jordan.
"I think Astoria Greengrass is the sexiest. I mean, there's just something about how innocent she looks, even though you know she comes from a dark family and is probably a total slut underneath... I wonder if her dad fucks her, or if that kind of special treatment is reserved for members of the purest bloodlines, like the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black. Or maybe her sister fucks her. That would be hot," laughed the other boy in the group.
Lily saw that Hermione was clenching her teeth and digging her nails into her palm, and reached over to hold her hand.
"They're eleven!" Hermione whispered, in a horrified voice.
"You like Astoria Greengrass?" growled George, as he sat up, speaking more loudly this time as the portrait to the common room swung open. "Everyone knows that slutty little Greengrass girl belongs in Slytherin."
"Watch your mouth, Weasley," said the seventh-year prefect, walking into the common room with Astoria Greengrass behind her.

Chapter Text

Astoria looked terrified as her eyes darted back and forth, looking around the room in an attempt to assess who agreed with George’s comment. The common room was dead silent, and George’s face was red. Rolling her eyes, Lily shrugged off the Invisibility Cloak, stood up, and walked over to Astoria.

“Hello, Astoria. It’s lovely to meet you. Your sister has done an excellent job on the Phoenix Gazette, and in the classes I share with her, and I’m looking forward to how you enrich Gryffindor House with your presence,” she said, smiling.

“I… it is an honor, my Princess,” stuttered Astoria.

Lily gave another warm smile to Astoria, and then turned to face the room. “And I did not think I needed to remind you all of this, considering that we’re theoretically in the house of chivalry, but any sexist comments or comments that are inappropriate at all about our newest House member - or any of the other members of the House - will not be tolerated, and anyone making them will have to answer to me. Houses at Hogwarts are a family, and as the Heiress of Godric Gryffindor, I will not see this family become an abusive one, regardless of where our members come from,” She glared down George, who was clearly humiliated that Lily had been listening to him and his friends the whole time while they judged the new first-year girls on how attractive they were.

Lily looked around the room, where most of the members of Gryffindor were sitting or standing in rapt attention, and realized, beaming, that this wouldn’t have happened the previous year. Finally, the Gryffindors were mostly acknowledging her as the royalty that she was. She dismissed their attention with a wave of her hand, and then turned back to Astoria. “Would you like to meet my girlfriend?”

Astoria’s eyes went wide. “Yes! Was she really mentored by -”

“Yes, honey, the Rosiers have been helping her with her spellwork just like they’ve been helping me with mine,” Lily cut off Astoria with a warning look. The girl nodded, slightly shy.

Feeling oddly protective of the tiny thing, Lily grabbed her hand and lead her over to Hermione, who had found a chair to read in. Hermione looked up with a smile and waved at Lily and Astoria.

“Astoria, this is my girlfriend, Hermione Granger. Hermione, this is Daphne’s little sister, Astoria,” Lily introduced the two girls. Hermione reached out a hand to shake Astoria’s. Lily was a little annoyed that she hadn’t been able to think up anything better on the spot to make Astoria feel comfortable than complimenting Daphne, seeing as Daphne hadn’t been that appropriately defferential to her this year. Hopefully, it would get back to Daphne that she needed to continue making a good impression on the Princess in order to ensure her sister’s reputation and social status, and she’d step up her game.

“I thought you went by a different last name?” Astoria asked, sounding slightly confused.

Lily sighed. Clearly, neither the Greengrass parents nor Astoria’s older sister had been quite as clear as necessary about what was a secret and what wasn’t. “Let’s go up to the dorm, I’ll explain.”
Astoria looked absolutely ecstatic at the prospect of being invited up to the Princess’s dorm room, and beamed. Hermione looked a little confused, but went along anyway as the three of them walked up to the Slytherin girls’ third year dorm.

Lily smiled when she saw Hedwig sitting on top of the bed near the window, which was the one she would’ve chosen. She really was a good bird. She wondered if Hedwig had somehow communicated with the house elves what bed Lily would’ve chosen. The window bed was farthest away from the others, and cozier. Lily made a mental note to talk to Percy about finagling her way into the head girl suite, since there was no Gryffindor head girl this year and it would of course be only logical for Gryffindor’s Princess to have the suite in the absence of a Gryffindor head girl.

Lily sat down on the bed, and Hermione followed her. Lily motioned for Astoria to do the same, and once she was sitting, drew the curtains and cast a silencing charm so that nobody would be able to hear their discussion from the outside.

“So the thing is, Astoria, while all of Slytherin knows about who I am - and consequently who Hermione here is and who her true magical family is - Gryffindor doesn’t. The only people in the house who actually know about me properly are Percy, you and Hermione,” And hopefully not George due to a weird magical twin connection with Fred, Lily thought.

“Oh…” Astoria’s eyes widened. “But they call you Princess?”
“It kind of caught on, and then I ended up being magically recognized as the heiress of Godric Gryffindor, so it stayed. I am a princess here, just in a different way than I am in Slytherin,” Lily explained, making a mental note to chew Daphne’s ear off the next time they talked. How the hell had she not explained who knew what secrets at Hogwarts to her little sister? Granted, she’d had no real reason to believe that said little sister would end up in Gryffindor, but still. It could’ve ended up so much worse.

“I can’t wait until the Dark Lord wins and you’re recognized as a princess everywhere, ” Astoria said, looking a little starry eyed. Hermione chuckled nervously.

“Yeah, I think you’ll make a good addition to Gryffindor,” Lily said, sweeping the little Greengrass girl into a one-armed hug and causing her to squeak. Who cared if the Sorting Hat had decided to troll everyone by placing a Greengrass in Gryffindor? Lily was determined that she’d have a better time than the Weasley who’d ended up in Slytherin last year. Because this time, she actually controlled the kid’s parents.

Chapter Text

Lily was annoyed. The first Defense Against the Dark Arts class of the year, when she was going to be taught by someone she’d already had to undermine the authority of to keep the Dark Side safe, and it was with Hufflepuffs. A first class with Slytherins or Ravenclaws would’ve been much better - the Slytherins thought of her as their Princess, and the Ravenclaws had more interest in magic that wasn’t taught at Hogwarts, and interest in why she was thought of as royalty by two of the Hogwarts houses. But the Hufflepuffs? Their only focus was loyalty to their friends, not politics, social niceties or forbidden knowledge.

“Mum says the new teacher was friends with your dad, Lily,” Ron said as the Gryffindor third-years walked to Defense Against the Dark Arts.

“He was friends with my parents, too!” burst out Neville. “They were in the Order-” A raised eyebrow from Lavender Brown caused him to stop talking. “They knew each other, that’s all.”

“Yes, I know. He kept my father’s Invisibility Cloak after…” Lily didn’t say anything after her last word, hoping that the other Gryffindors except for Hermione would think she was sad. The truth was, she was only pretending to be sad. Her biological parents would’ve probably wanted to raise her without any powerful magic at all because that was “dark”, and would’ve wanted to raise her to destroy the one person who’d actually both cared about her and been able to act like it by saving her from other people who didn’t.

“Sorry, Lily,” Neville muttered. “Didn’t mean to upset you.”

“It’s okay, Neville. I just hope that this particular professor who was friends with my mother actually likes me,” Lily wrinkled her nose, thinking of her first interaction with Professor Snape.

The students filed into the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom, and chose their seats. Sighing, Lily sat down in the front row. Hermione looked at her annoyed expression curiously, and sat down next to her.

“Good morning, class,” Remus Lupin looked up from his desk and stood up. “Welcome to your third-year Defense Against the Dark Arts class. Unfortunately, due to the curse that may or may not be on this position, your education has been uneven at best and marred by incompetence at worst. I will seek to remedy this, for as long as I am permitted to teach at Hogwarts… by our erstwhile Headmistress, or by forces beyond her control,”

Lavender Brown looked like she’d already decided she had a crush on Lupin, Lily noticed, as she stared at him with starry eyes. Seamus and Dean were whispering behind Lily about how Lupin had acknowledged the curse on the position, and Dean raised a hand.

“Yes, Mr. Thomas?” Lupin said.

“Do you believe in the curse on the Defense Against the Dark Arts position?” Dean asked.

“It’s not really a question of believing or not, Mr. Thomas, it is a case of evidence. Twenty professors have preceded me, in as many years. Furthermore, more evidence indicates that dark forces are still alive and well in the wizarding world, and growing despite the downfall of Lord Voldemort. So yes, Mr. Thomas, I do believe that there is evidence both for the possibility of a curse, and sufficient forces to create one. Does that answer your question?” Lupin asked.

Dean nodded, looking a little shaky. The Hufflepuffs appeared to be faring much worse - they seemed outright terrified at Lupin’s acknowledgement of dark forces.

“One cannot defend oneself against the Dark Arts unless one admits that it exists. More pressingly… one must have a strong mind, and belief in oneself. The focus of this year’s Defense Against the Dark Arts curriculum will be a combination of theoretical knowledge that hasn’t been covered sufficiently, and practical lessons that will teach you how to resist and combat the Dark Arts. Starting with our first lesson of the year, Boggarts,” Lupin pointed with his wand to a cabinet in the room, which was rattling suspiciously. “Alohomora!”

The cabinet doors opened, and out floated a… full moon? “Riddikulus,” Lupin said in a clear tone. The spell hit the moon, and it turned into a balloon, which whizzed back into the cabinet.

“Boggarts. A visual representation of your worst fear. In order to defeat it, you must point

your wand at it and say the incantation Riddikulus clearly, and this is the key part - you must mean it. You must intend to show the Boggart that you are not scared of it, that you will force it to bend to your will and become something ridiculous.”

Hannah Abbott raised her hand. “Professor?”

“Yes, Miss Abbott?” Lupin asked.

“Isn’t… forcing something to bend to your will rather like the Imperius Curse? An Unforgivable?” she asked, in a shaky voice.

Professor Lupin sighed. “A correct analysis, Miss Abbott. However, forcing a Boggart to bend to one’s will and casting the Imperius Curse on a human require vastly different levels of magical intention, as well as different kinds. In addition, the Boggart is classified by the Ministry of Magic as a spirit, specifically a non-being, meaning that it does not have much legal protection. Even other beings, such as house-elves, merpeople and vampires don’t have as much legal protection as humans. Therefore, while you may choose to view controlling the Boggart as immoral, it will be rather counterproductive to your learning in this class, and I would require an essay explaining why.”

“Sorry, professor, no, it’s okay,” Hannah Abbott said. Hermione stifled a laugh.

“Miss Granger, since you clearly think this situation is amusing, you shall be the first to confront the Boggart,” Lupin said, and gestured for Hermione to walk up closer to the wardrobe. Lily balled her hands into fists, angry that Lupin had so much authority over her Hermione.

“Of course, Professor,” Hermione walked up, and Lupin cast Alohomora on the cabinet nonverbally. The cabinet doors flew open, and out flew a replica of Hermione’s own body. Only it wasn’t quite normal. The body was lying still, and the Mudblood scar was as it had been in second year, right after Crabbe and Goyle had etched it onto her.

Visibly fighting back tears, Hermione cast “ Riddikulus !”

The Boggart turned into Hermione in a ridiculously glittery outfit, with clownish makeup all over her face. Hermione giggled a little.

“Right, excellent job Miss Granger, 5 points to Gryffindor. Next!” Lupin called out for the next student, although his face was contemplative.

Chapter Text

Hermione sat back down next to Lily, and grabbed her hand. “I’m sorry,” she whispered.

“You don’t need to apologize,” Lily squeezed Hermione’s hand. “I can understand why that would be your Boggart.”

“But what if he-”

“He won’t find out anything, and we should finish this conversation when we’re not in the front row of a class,” Lily said, cutting Hermione off a little sharply.

“Miss Potter, would you like to go next?” Lupin asked. Lily flinched a little as he stared down at her.

“By all means, Professor,” Lily stood up, ignoring the uncomfortable feeling that Lupin probably knew that she wasn’t exactly the perfect Girl Who Lived of the Light side, and walked up to face the wardrobe.

She felt the typical chilling wind when the Boggart in Dementor form flew out, and steeling herself, cast the Riddikulus charm. Thankfully, it was effective, and the fake Dementor turned into an ugly cloaked lady.

“Interesting,” Lupin said, regarding Lily and the Boggart.

“Why interesting, Professor?” Lily asked innocently.

“I’d heard rumors that you could produce a corporeal Patronus charm. I would’ve rather expected that once faced with a Dementor, your instinct would be to produce that charm if you knew how to,” Professor Lupin shrugged.

“Wouldn’t it be a little strange for a third-year to know how to produce a corporeal Patronus, Professor? Also, you told me to perform the Riddikulus charm,” Lily answered, trying to still sound innocent.

“Well, yes, but I’m fairly sure that a good majority of this class would be able to perform that charm, at least in an incorporeal form, after proper training. In fact, given the current events at Hogwarts, and the emphasis of this year’s class on building up a mental defense against dark wizards and creatures, you will all be shortly learning the Patronus Charm,” Professor Lupin announced to the class, and then seemed to notice that Lily was still standing by the wardrobe. “You may sit now, Miss Potter. Miss Abbott, have you made a decision about whether you wish to face the Boggart or do the essay?”

Hannah Abbott blushed as Lily returned to her seat. “I’ll face the Boggart, Professor.”

***

The rest of the day of classes was much less interesting than Defense Against the Dark Arts. Lily had chosen Divination as an elective mainly to see whether there was anything reasonably dark or traditional about it, seeing as it was one of the classes that couldn’t easily be taught by relying purely on theory. It was a breath of fresh air to Lily that Professor Trelawney barely used the textbook that had been required for students who had chosen the Divination elective, instead telling them about how Divination was about open-mindedness and feeling things, but most of the other students didn’t seem to appreciate it.

“What a load of nonsense,” Ron rolled his eyes when the students who had chosen Divination were released from the class. “I thought this was going to be an easy class, but it’s just stupid.”

“Of course a blood traitor would have no grasp of Divination,” Draco snorted.

“You were just making up things about death that you knew she’d like!” Ron accused, pointing a finger at Draco.

“Or maybe I’m reading the atmosphere at Hogwarts,” Draco said, wiggling his hands mysteriously. “You’ll never know, will you, Weasley?”

“I hope our future isn’t as much doom and gloom as Professor Trelawney and Malfoy seem to think,” Hermione muttered as the Gryffindors made their way to the common room.

“Not as long as you’re on the right side of things,” Lily whispered in Hermione’s ear. Hermione giggled nervously.

Percy rounded the corner, nearly bumping into the group of students. “Miss Granger, I’ve been asked to pass on the message that Professor Lupin would like to see you in his office.”

An oohing came from the crowd, lead by Ron. Hermione glared at him, and then looked at Percy. “Can’t you make your idiot brother shut up?”

Behind Hermione, Draco snorted. “Yeah, Weasley, can’t you discipline your own family? Or is ickle Ronniekins too much of a blood traitor to listen to even you?”

“Enough,” Percy said, glaring. “Five points from Gryffindor for teasing your own housemate, Ronald. And ten points from Slytherin for disrespecting the Head Boy, Malfoy,”

Draco gasped, and Lily rolled her eyes. Did he really think that Percy being one of Lily’s followers at Hogwarts would make him immune to having points taken away from his house?

“I don’t want to go to his office,” Hermione whispered, squeezing Lily’s hand.

“I can come in my invisibility cloak?” Lily whispered back.

“No, he might figure it out. And maybe this is something I have to do on my own,” Hermione whispered back.

“Do you need me to escort you to Professor Lupin’s office, Miss Granger?” Percy asked.

“That’d be helpful, thank you,” Hermione smiled, clearly nervous, as Percy directed her towards Professor Lupin’s office.

After Percy and Hermione left, Lily turned on Draco. “What the hell did you think you were doing, Malfoy?” she demanded.

“I figured he’d be on my side,” Draco said.

“Bloody idiot. Come with me,” Lily grabbed Draco’s hand.

Chapter Text

Draco barely met Lily’s eyes as she dragged him to the Slytherin common room, embarrassed for a multitude of reasons. When they arrived at the door to the common room, Lily realized she didn’t know the password. Refusing to ask Draco, she took out her wand. “Alohamora.” Draco looked at her with shocked eyes as the door swung open.

“It never responds to that,” he muttered, when she rolled her eyes at his shock.

“One would think it sounded like you were actually surprised that the door to the Slytherin common room responded to the magic of the heiress to Salazar Slytherin,” Lily scoffed.

The other Slytherins in the common room did their best to pay no attention to Lily and Draco as Lily shoved him in the direction of her suite.

“You made yourself look like a bloody idiot, Malfoy. I hope you know that,” Lily hissed, after she’d shoved Draco into the chair near her bed.

“Yes, my Princess, I am keenly aware of this,” Draco winced.

“What were you thinking? I’d Legilimens you, but I think I prefer the humiliation of making you say it,” Lily said.

Barely meeting her eyes, Draco mumbled, “I thought he’d listen to me because I’m a member of your Inner Circle.”

“In public, in a hallway with members of all four houses standing there, not to mention the possibility of Professor Trelawney coming down from her classroom? For fuck’s sake, Malfoy. Yes, people who aren’t my Inner Circle are supposed to defer to the members of my Inner Circle - but only when it’s reasonable. And I’m not sure if you picked up on it, but risking the secrecy of who the fuck I am and the Head Boy being connected with children of “former” Death Eaters is not reasonable!” Lily paced around the room. “You’re lucky Percy wasn’t idiotic enough to treat you with the importance you seem to think you have. And you’re lucky he didn’t curse you for implying that his little brother a blood traitor.”

“Ginny’s a year younger than Weasley, and she’s on the right side of things,” Draco scoffed.

“Right, so you pick and choose what ages can be considered blood traitors and mudbloods depending on whether you like the person or not. I see how it is. Tell me, Malfoy, if Hermione wasn’t on our side, would you be bullying her and calling her a mudblood?”

Draco opened his mouth, but didn’t seem to know how to answer Lily.

“That’s what I thought. Get out of my sight,” Lily hissed.

After Draco had hurried out of her room, Lily collapsed on her bed, staring up at the ceiling. She realized her fists were still clenched. She was still angry, and scared. But not at or of Draco Malfoy. She still didn’t know how she felt about her father having called Colin Creevey a Mudblood - well, actually, she did, and that was the scary part. She didn’t like that he had - it wasn’t accurate in terms of the actual meaning of the term that he’d told her ages ago - and she never would’ve approved of her people at Hogwarts using the term towards at least anyone who hadn’t passed their OWLs. Of course, he was the Dark Lord and he didn’t have to hold himself to her standards, but she wished that if he held himself to different standards he would at least be truthful about what he believed. Would he even have cared about what Snape had done to her if it had been a different child of Magic he’d been abusing? If it had been someone like Colin Creevey?

She really didn’t want to think about it.

***

Two hours later, Lily awoke to the sound of someone knocking on her door, not realizing she’d fallen asleep. She sat up, blearily rubbing her eyes. “Come in, and if you’re Malfoy you better have a damn good reason,” she called out.

The door swing open, and Eva Rosier entered the room. Lily motioned for her to close the door behind her.

“My Princess, you might want to get up. It’s nearly dinner time,” Eva said timidly.

Lily got up, and fixed the bed with magic. “Thank you, Eva.”

“Are you alright, my Princess? If you’re unwell, perhaps you should go see Madame Pomfrey, or if you don’t want to do that, I’m sure one of us can take you to a Dark Side-affiliated Healer.”

“I’m fine, Eva. Just tired,” Lily answered. She was sure other people could feel it too - the suffocating atmosphere of Hogwarts, full of doubt and fear and desperation. How could that not make her tired?

Eva nodded, although Lily could tell that she didn’t exactly believe that Lily was fine. Whatever. It wasn’t any of her business anyway. Lily pushed past Eva, ready to have dinner.

***

Thankfully, Lily didn’t arrive late to dinner, which meant that nobody cared that she’d technically not been where she’d been supposed to be. The Gryffindor table was buzzing with activity - probably gossiping about Draco Malfoy having been thoroughly humiliated by his family rival. Lily found her seat in the middle of the table, between Percy and Hermione.

“Studying in the library again?” Hermione asked, smirking.

“Obviously,” Lily answered. That had become code for being in the Slytherin common room.

“I hope your study buddy was good,” Hermione said casually.

“I guess he made up for earlier,” Lily shrugged.

After a few minutes, conversation died down as people focused on their food, and Hermione lost her confident appearance. Lily reached under the table to grab her hand. “Are you okay?” she whispered.

Hermione shook her head in a way that would be barely perceptible unless you were looking for it.

“What’s wrong?” Lily whispered again.

Sounding choked up, Hermione whispered, “He might be onto us.”

Chapter Text

Lily and Hermione didn’t talk about the Lupin situation throughout the rest of dinner, or until they ended up in the girl’s dormitory, with several privacy charms around Lily’s bed. Hermione sat curled up on the end of Lily’s bed, anxious.

“Why do you say he’s onto us?” Lily asked Hermione, reaching out a hand to grab Hermione’s and coax her closer.

“I fucked up,” Hermione said, voice shaking.

“Maybe, but we’re not going to be able to fix it if you don’t tell me what’s going on, Hermione,” Lily squeezed her hand. “Also, if this is about the scar on your arm, you didn’t fuck up. That scar’s not a punishment for anything. It was Crabbe and Goyle who were the fuckups.”

Hermione rocked on the bed, still curled up into a ball. “This is all because I contacted Lupin in first year. He still knows what Snape did to you. He knows that he didn’t manage to tell Dumbledore about what happened. He can tell how… well, kind of mindless Snape is now, so I really don’t think he thinks that Snape was the one to cast a spell on him. He can also tell how much the Slytherins practically worship you. Put that together with my fear of being seen as a Mudblood and….” Hermione squeaked, “He probably knows who you are, or at least has a good idea.”

Shit, okay, so this was bad. Lily wanted to cry or scream, felt like she’d failed her father, but she knew that wasn’t sensible. She was a leader, and leaders had to take care of other people, and at least seem like they were in control, while they fixed problems like these. “Well, he hasn’t told anyone yet, so clearly there’s something holding him back,” Lily said, attempting to keep her voice measured and calm. “He probably wants to rescue me, not destroy me. Besides, we rather… have a secret weapon,”

She smirked as she thought of Sirius Black, trapped in Slytherin Manor, probably under the watchful eye of his “evil” cousin. Wouldn’t Lupin just hate knowing that his only remaining loyal and alive best friend was a prisoner of the Dark Lord? She had a feeling that if he found that out, and if the life of the worthless blood traitor was under threat…. He’d either hold off on revealing her secret, or barge in and do something standardly Gryffindor stupid, thus screwing himself over.

“You mean the fact that he’s a werewolf?” Hermione asked.

Lily blinked at her in confusion. “What?”

Hermione, some of her confidence back, smiled. “For some of the time while you were in the “library”, I was actually in the library. I mean, come on. His name literally means Wolf Wolf, his Boggart’s a full moon, the yearbook from his seventh year of school has him nicknamed as “Moony” and there’s some joke about a “furry little problem” scrawled into the margins, and also I spotted some weird Potion ingredients that I didn’t entirely recognize in his office. I looked them up at the library, and they’re the ingredients of the Wolfsbane Potion. I think he’s probably a werewolf.”

“Probably?” Lily shook her head, snorting. “God, how hasn’t the entire Wizarding World figured it out?”

“The weirdest thing is his first name,” Hermione shook her head. “I mean, werewolves are a highly oppressed group of magical individuals. What sort of idiot would name their werewolf kid Remus?

“Maybe his parents hated him. It’d explain why he’s always in such a mood,” Lily snorted, the tension briefly diffused.

“But there’s another secret weapon?” Hermione asked, more serious.

“It’s kind of a long story…” Lily said, and then explained what had happened after the Phoenix Gazette’s party.

Shocked, Hermione leaned forward to squeeze Lily in a tight hug. “I’m so glad you’re safe. I can’t believe he actually thought that would work.”

“I know, right?” Lily rolled her eyes. “Then again, I guess he’s probably gone a little crazy from having been cooped up in Azkaban for so long. I’m honestly really glad now that the Ministry didn’t decide to assign me to a magical relative… it could’ve been a wildcard like him.”

“I know!” Hermione shuddered.

A pounding of feet sounded on the stairs, and Lily and Hermione startled. Breaking the enchantment, Lily turned around to see Percy Weasley standing at the entrance of the girl’s dormitory.

Percy?” Hermione asked in an incredulous voice. “What are you doing here?”

Panting, Percy turned to Lily. “Lily, you’ve been summoned to the Ministry of Magic. Effective, well, immediately.”

“What? Why?” Lily demanded.

Percy gulped. “There’s been a… custody dispute. Professor Lupin… he’s asserting that he should have legal and magical custody over you.”

Hermione looked at Lily, horrified. “Oh my god.”

Lily squeezed Hermione’s hand. “It’s okay,” she whispered. She then turned to Percy. “Let’s get this over with.”

Chapter Text

Percy had Lily lead him to the Slytherin common room, so that Eva and Evan could be informed of the hearing and come if they wanted to. Most of the Slytherins eyed Percy suspiciously as he walked into the common room, but the crowd parted so that they could walk over to Eva.

“Rosier, the Princess has been summoned to a custody hearing at the Ministry of Magic, where Professor Lupin is asserting that he should have custody over her. As her foster sister, you’re allowed to come if you so should choose, as is your brother.” Percy said, in a rushed tone of voice.

A glare appeared on Eva’s face. “How soon?” she demanded.

“Like, as soon as everyone arrives, pretty much. Percy had to run up the stairs of the dorm to tell me,” Lily answered.

“He… ran up the stairs… ?” Lily could see confusion on Eva’s face, but she shook her head. “Never mind. That’s not important. Yes, of course, I would be honored to attend, My Princess. However, I’m not really sure my little brother should attend. We want to appear respectable.”

“That makes sense,” Lily answered

Percy nodded. “Of course. Come on, let’s go to the Headmistress’s office, we’re supposed to use her Floo gate.”

“Do you know if the Headmistress is in favor of the traitor’s claim?” Eva asked Percy.

“No idea…” Percy sighed. “But she’ll be at the hearing, because the Ministry wants to hear from Lupin’s boss.”

Eva offered a hand to Lily, and Lily took it, relieved to have the comfort, and they walked to the Headmistress’s office.

***

McGonagall was shamefaced as she accompanied Lily and Eva through the Floo network gate and to the Ministry of Magic. After a few minutes of complete silence, Lily looked at McGonagall in curiosity. “Headmistress, did you know that Professor Lupin was going to do this?”

“I did not,” she answered, looking firmly ahead as the three walked to the courtroom. “He simply informed me today that the Ministry would be requesting my presence for the hearing.”

Eva, behind McGonagall’s back raised an eyebrow. Lily repressed a smirk. The headmistress did not exactly seem pleased at having had her day interrupted.

They finally walked into the courtroom, and Lily looked around. There was a Ministry clerk at the head of the courtroom, and the Rosiers sat on one side. The other side was occupied by Remus Lupin, as well as Nymphadora Tonks, who Lily had barely remembered was married to Lupin, and two older adults who Lily didn’t recognize.

“I didn’t want to get their help, so he decided to get a position at Hogwarts and then basically sue for custody. Of course,” Lily muttered, irritated.

Eva instinctively walked over to her parents, and Lily followed, but was stopped by the witch at the head of the courtroom. “Please sit in the front row with the Headmistress, Miss Potter. It’s nice to meet you - I’m Amelia Bones.”

Probably related to Susan Bones, a Hufflepuff witch in her year, Lily thought. She could see Mr. Rosier’s expression darken as Amelia Bones introduced herself. “It’s nice to meet you too, Madam Bones. Although I regret that it’s in these circumstances.”

“Understandably, Miss Potter. Now that we’re all present, shall we proceed with the hearing?”

Upon receiving nods from the Rosiers, Lily and Lupin, Amelia Bones turned to Remus Lupin. “Please state your case, Mr. Lupin.”

Professor Lupin nodded, and stood up. “Honorable Madam, I have previously submitted the documentation showing that per magical marriage customs, I am legally married to Miss Potter’s godfather, Sirius Black. My witnesses, Ted and Andromeda Tonks, signed the record and will attest to the validity of the marriage. Per magical custom, if an orphan has no living relatives, custody automatically falls to their godparents. I believe that living with Nymphadora Tonks and I would be a much more appropriate arrangement for Miss Potter than living with two unrelated individuals who were formerly suspected of being Death Eaters.”

Lily gasped. “But you said in your letter to me that you’re married to Nymphadora Tonks!”

“Mr. Lupin?” Amelia Bones raised an eyebrow, looking at him.

“It’s true that I am married to Nymphadora Tonks in the legal records of non-magical Britain. But the legal records that matter in wizarding world custody disputes are those of the wizarding world, and I was holding out hope that somehow this would all turn out to be a big misunderstanding and my husband was innocent,” he answered.

Mrs. Rosier got a glint in her eye. “For how long have you been married to the former Miss Tonks, Mr. Lupin?”

“I don’t see how that’s relevant,” Lupin sputtered.

“Please answer the question, Mr. Lupin,” Amelia Bones said.

“Since March 24th of 1990, so for a little over three years,” he answered.

“Her seventeenth birthday? And her parents, your witnesses, approved this, as is required for individuals under eighteen… how odd,” Mrs. Rosier smirked slightly.

“Your point, Mrs. Rosier?” Amelia Bones asked.

“Isn’t it obvious? Remus Lupin went after a barely of age witch, thirteen years younger than him, and was probably in a relationship with her prior to her coming of age. And the only witnesses he could provide for his marriage were the kind of people who would approve of such a relationship. And now he’s trying to become the legal guardian of a young witch so he can groom her in a similar way.” Mrs. Rosier shrugged. “Additionally, he shows nothing but contempt for wizarding customs by committing bigamy. Can you really permit him to raise a magical child in such a chaotic environment?”

Lily gasped, mostly for dramatic effect. Amelia Bones turned to her. “Are you alright, Miss Potter?”

“I… I just realized, when he visited Hogwarts to interview for the Defense Against the Dark Arts position, he made me hug him. I thought it was just normal adults being annoying, but…” Lily trailed off, leaving it to the imagination how else his behavior could be interpreted.

“Respectfully, Emma, if you are so concerned with adults potentially grooming your foster child, then why didn’t you do anything about Severus Snape sexually assaulting her at Hogwarts on at least one occasion?” Lupin hissed.

Next to Lily, McGonagall’s fists were turning white as she clenched them.

“Is this true, Miss Potter?” Amelia asked.

“I don’t really want to talk about it… but yeah, when Snape was possessed by He Who Must Not Be Named in my first year of school, he… did,” Lily answered.

“Possessed? That’s a joke. Maybe he was possessed towards the end of the year, but he wouldn’t have been possessed for the whole year without knowing about it. He saw someone who looked like a young version of his first love and decided he had to have her, that’s what happened,” Lupin hissed. “Amelia, you have to see that they’re covering up for him! Because they’re all in the same sick pure-blood supremacist club!”

“Mr. Lupin, please calm down,” Amelia said, but she looked worried.

“I won’t! He’s back, it’s so obvious! He’s not just some sort of ghost! He’s alive again, and he’s trying to slowly take over the Wizarding World from the inside, starting with hurting the Chosen One so she breaks and he can mold her into what he wants!” Lupin shouted, his face turning red.

“It’s clear that you are mentally unfit to parent Miss Potter right now. She will remain living with the Rosiers, and you will stay behind while we address these… serious allegations towards a respected professor at Hogwarts. Minerva, please take Miss Potter and Miss Rosier back to Hogwarts,”Amelia Bones said.

McGonagall nodded, and Eva walked back over to her and Lily. “Come on, girls, let’s go,” McGonagall said, teeth clenched.

Chapter Text

“Are you okay?” Eva asked Lily, once they were back at Hogwarts.

“No, I’m furious,” was Lily’s answer. Eva nodded, understanding, but didn’t ask who Lily was furious with - probably because she didn’t want to know.

They parted ways at the Slytherin common room, where Eva went in to tell her brother what had happened and Lily headed back to the Gryffindor common room to talk to Hermione and Percy.

Steaming, Lily headed on her own to the Gryffindor common room. She wanted to tell her father about what had happened, but there was no way she was going to be able to easily get out of Hogwarts with Snape under suspicion and McGonagall so concerned for her. She smirked a little thinking of how the Rosiers would certainly have to be the ones to tell her father about what happened first, and how she expected he would react. Her father wouldn’t be happy, and he was kind of famous for treating the messenger like the person who caused the problem in the first place. And in this case… well, the Rosiers hadn’t been respectable enough to instantly fend off a deranged werewolf from getting to have a custody hearing about Lily. That gave her some amusement, at the very least, knowing that someone was going to be screwed because of what had happened, even if it wasn’t Lupin.

She reentered the common room to see a very concerned Percy and Hermione waiting on the couches. Hermione instantly ran up to hug her. “Is he going to get custody?” she asked.

“No, he was deemed to be mentally unfit for being my guardian,” Lily smirked a little bit, and then lowered her voice to whisper to Hermione. “We need to talk about what happened, though.”

“Okay,” Hermione gave a small nod. “I’ll tell Percy what happened and then we can go?”

Lily gave a small smile to Hermione, and then walked past her and up the stairs to the girls’ dormitory, where she grabbed her cloak. Grabbing Hermione’s hand, she tugged her out of the common room, and then put the invisibility cloak over both of them.

“Where are we going?” Hermione asked.

“The Chamber of Secrets,” Lily answered. She could see Hermione shiver.

They headed to the Chamber under the Invisibility Cloak, and fairly soon they’d arrived. Lily took off the Invisibility Cloak and sat down, patting a tile next to her.

“Snape’s probably going to be fired,” Lily said simply, then pulled out the Marauder’s Map. Snape was heading to McGonagall’s office, where the headmistress was pacing. “Lupin eventually did get declared incapable of taking care of me, but not before he told a member of the Wizengamot that  Snape had sexually assaulted me. There’s going to be an investigation, and given that it’s Amelia Bones - who the Rosiers don’t seem to like one bit and who seems to be sort of friends with Lupin - I’m pretty sure Snape will get discovered and fired. And then maybe chucked in Azkaban for a bit. Who knows.”

“Oh yeah, it would definitely be a good idea to put a convicted child abuser in a prison that just had a breakout this summer,” Hermione said, sarcastically.

As Lily watched the Marauder’s Map, Snape entered the headmistress’s office and a second later, the two disappeared off the map. “There we go,” Lily sighed. “Oh yeah, also. The reason Amelia Bones finally decided that Lupin was crazy? He went off in the middle of the courtroom about how Voldemort is back and trying to destroy the Wizarding World from the inside by destroying and then corrupting me, and then accused the Rosiers of being in a “sick pure-blood supremacist club” with Snape,”

“Wow,” Hermione sat staring off into the distant, looking a little empty. “But, um, Lily, isn’t it maybe good that Snape is going to be put in prison? After what he did?”

“Really?” Lily hissed. “He’s one of two Death Eaters at Hogwarts, and the head of Slytherin. He’s already been broken by my father, you’ve seen how he’s changed. And he’s not going to do it again.”

“But aren’t you happy that your rapist is going to be fired?” Hermione asked, her voice turning up slightly.

“It’s not about me!” Lily noticed that her voice was raising, and the same anger that she knew so well by this point was building up in her. “It’s about the cause, and the fact that Hogwarts is really light right now. And even if people in the wizarding world as a whole don’t approve of Dumbledore’s actions, most of the teachers at Hogwarts do. We need as many people on our side as possible. Are you really questioning the decision of my father and I to deal with Snape’s behavior privately instead of oust him from Hogwarts?”

“I…” Hermione fidgeted. “I just hope he cares about you as a person.”

“How fucking dare you,” Lily hissed. The anger was building up inside her, and almost against her will, she felt herself lifting her wand and her mouth opening. “Cru-”

Hermione screamed before the curse was even cast, and it broke Lily’s concentration and fury. She lowered her wand, both wanting to rush towards Hermione and to get her out of her sight. “Please just… leave,” she whispered. “Find Sinistra, go to Bella, or something. I don’t want to hurt you, and I think I might be about to.”

Hermione nodded meekly, and ran out of the Chamber.  Lily lowered herself further onto the floor, wrapping her arms around herself and dropping her wand. How did this keep on happening?

Chapter Text

After a few minutes of sitting on the floor of the Chamber, Lily decided there wasn’t any point in wallowing in her emotions. She stood up, threw the Invisibility Cloak back over herself, and walked out of the Chamber, heading to the Slytherin common room. She was sure that Percy at the very least would cover for her and say she was already asleep if McGonagall came to check in on her. She knew there was no way she could successfully leave Hogwarts right now, with McGonagall “concerned” for her and the person who usually covered for her presumably at a Ministry hearing. But that didn’t mean she couldn’t have fun.

And who would complain if her definition of fun was a little twisted right now? Nobody who mattered.

Most of the Slytherin students were already in their dormitories, and the few who were still in the common room were absorbed with homework and not particularly important to Lily. Impatient, she grabbed a first-year boy by his collar, and pulled his face to hers. “Get everyone. There’s a special event tonight, courtesy of your princess.”

The boy nodded, terrified, and headed up the stairs to his dormitory. The rest of the unimportant students were looking at her with awe. Slowly, the common room began to fill with Slytherin students. Lily looked around the crowd, and called out, “Where’s Evan Rosier? I want Evan Rosier.”

The boy, if he even was in the common room yet, didn’t seem particularly interested in answering her summons. Eva stepped forward. “My Princess, if someone in my family must be punished, I can take it.”

“No, Eva, it’s not going to be you. Because I actually like you. But I might decide to punish both of you if you don’t shut up now,” Lily hissed the last few words, and looking scared, Eva stepped back. Whispering grew throughout the room, and Lily smirked.

Evan was eventually dragged forward by two other second-year boys. Lily smiled at the boys as they dropped Evan in the center of the room. He looked up at her, horrified. “What’s going on?”

“Address me by your title, you brat,” Lily hissed.

“I’m sorry…” he whimpered.

“You will be,” Lily said, drawing her wand.

She then turned to the crowd of Slytherins. “Evan Rosier and his wife have failed the Dark Side. If you are worthy of learning the details, you will, but if you don’t learn further details, all you need to know is that they have disgraced themselves in the eyes of your Princess. Although I do intend on punishing the Rosiers when it is practical, Evan Rosier’s son and heir presumptive is an acceptable stand-in for now,”

The Slytherins looked horrified, as Lily pointed her wand at Evan and cast a variety of curses that left him screaming and bleeding. She had by no means cast the full gamut of the worst spells she knew, but she was still satisfied, and Evan was still pretty broken. She also knew it would be a bad idea to break the Rosier boy completely. Even if he was useless right now, she didn’t want to alienate a prospective future Death Eater so completely that he’d rebel against the cause. Now, the Rosier parents, she could easily mess with much more severely, as they were already Marked and thoroughly controlled by her father.

Most of the Slytherins looked appropriately horrified and scared of their parents committing similar fuckups. Lily smiled, and looked around the room. She still felt the power inside her demanding more, almost seeming disappointed at being used on only one person. “Desdemona. Cassiopeia. Follow me to my suite.” They were Bellatrix’s daughters - she was sure they could take her at her most intense, and would like it, and on top of that it gave her a sense of perverse satisfaction that they were Hermione’s foster sisters.

When the door closed in Lily’s suite, the twins both dropped to their knees, looking up at Lily lying on her bed and awaiting instruction. In a teasing voice, remembering the many times she’d seen them sharing a bed when it wasn’t strictly necessary, Lily asked, “So… if I were to ask you two to compare your relationship to the one between Bellatrix and Narcissa… who would be which one?”

Cassie blushed. “I would definitely be Narcissa, my Princess,”

“I thought so,” Lily answered, which caused Cassie to blush even more. Feeling a bit awkward herself but determined to not let it show, she beckoned the twins closer. They moved closer to her, onto her bed, close enough for her to grab Cassie’s head, burying her hand in her hair and pulling her between her legs. Cassie squeaked, obviously pleased. Lily looked at Desi, and after appraising her appearance, ordered, “Strip.”

Desi obediently removed her clothing, and made a surprised but pleased noise in turn when Lily put a hand on her behind and pulled her closer, then inserted her hand between Desi’s legs so she could fuck her. Both girls looked and felt pleased, and Lily was happy to know that her analysis of how the twins would behave was correct. After she’d thoroughly fucked Desi, and Cassie lay between her legs, having brought her to climax several times, she flipped both of them over, pushing them into the soft bed. They looked at each other, excited, as Lily conjured a knife and enchanted it to make delicate cuts on both of the girls.  Somehow, they seemed to enjoy that even more than the overtly sexual parts of their encounter. Lily smirked, taking note of that and thinking about how she’d have to play with them more often. Maybe they could even teach Hermione a thing or two about being a good girl.

The night wore on, and slowly, Lily’s intensity gave way to a softer touch. By two A.M, Cassie and Desi were curled up on either side of her, with Lily stroking their hair as the three girls drifted off to sleep in the ridiculously large suite bed.

Chapter Text

The next day, Professor McGonagall announced at breakfast that Potions class was cancelled for the day, and the block that class would normally be in would instead consist of a study hall headed by the Prefects. Oddly enough, when Lily looked over at Hermione to see her reaction, she didn’t shrink away from her gaze. If anything, she looked… proud? Lily didn’t really know what to make of the change, but it seemed positive and she didn’t have the undercurrent of anxiety that she usually did, so she supposed that either Sinistra or Bellatrix had done a good job of helping her feel better.

Oddly enough, Hermione seemed to be one of the few people in the school who was happy that morning. Many students received letters from their parents, and looked stressed about the contents of them. In the Potions-class-turned-study-hall, the Hufflepuffs and Gryffindors were studying together, and Lily sat next to Susan Bones, hoping she could get some information out of her.

“Do you know what’s going on?” Lily asked after reading some of her Potions textbook. The Gryffindor prefect who was supervising the study hall, and looked like he had a hangover, clearly couldn’t care less about whether the students talked as long as they didn’t disturb him.

“I’m… I’m not supposed to say I know, but I do know,” Susan whispered to Lily.

“Well, if it’s important news about the Wizarding World, I think it would probably be important for me to know,” Lily said, shrugging.

“Promise you won’t tell?” Susan squeaked.

“Promise,” Lily nodded, with absolutely no intention to follow Susan’s request unless it would benefit her to do so.

“My aunt… she works at the Ministry of Magic, she’s a member of the Wizengamot. She apparently was the judge at a hearing yesterday, and the result of that hearing was that Professor Snape was discovered to have…. Raped a student. So he’s fired.” Susan said the word “raped” in an even quieter voice.

“Bloody hell,” Lily whispered back. “I guess they don’t have a replacement yet?” Inside, she was stewing. Snape was a Potions master, and theoretically a brilliant wizard! If he’d had any sense at all, he would’ve been able to keep Ministry officials from figuring out what he’d done, or at least make it so that only the kiss had been discovered, not the rape! Everyone was so incompetent.

“She thinks they might hire the old Potions Master, Slughorn, back, if he accepts,” Susan said. “She doesn’t think he’d be a very good choice though. Also…”

“Also what?” Lily raised an eyebrow.

Susan blushed a little. “Well, surely you know about the second bit.”

“I actually don’t think I do. Be a dear and tell me?” Lily asked, smiling kindly at the Hufflepuff.

“I suppose I should tell you before a Slytherin beats me to it,” Susan said, her voice breaking up slightly. “G-Granger’s parents were murdered. Apparently everyone at the Ministry thinks it’s Death Eaters who did it. Targeting relatives of Muggleborn Hogwarts students. And, well, um, you know, it’s not the first… act of terror that’s happened recently. What happened to your aunt and uncle, and the Dark Mark at the Phoenix Gazette party… she thinks he might be back,” Susan covered up her mouth with her hand after saying the last bit, eyes darting around the room to make sure nobody heard her. Thankfully, pretty much everyone was talking to a friend or absorbed in reading the Potions textbook, relieved to have a pleasant Potions class for once.

“Does Hermione know? About her parents?” Lily asked.

“I… I mean, I’d assume so? You see how she’s been acting this morning, right? She doesn’t act like this usually. She’s obviously trying to put on a brave face,” said Susan.

“Yeah. I guess so. I can see why she didn’t want to tell me at breakfast,” Lily said. She couldn’t show how she actually felt - kind of horrified. It wasn’t like she objected on principle to Muggles being murdered, but had she pushed Hermione there? Had Bella or Sinistra pushed Hermione there?  If Bellatrix had killed Hermione’s parents out of the same kind of anger Lily had had last night…

And would Hermione regret it? She didn’t care about the fate of two Muggles she’d met before, but she did care about Hermione.

“Yeah,” Susan said, looking down at her feet. “I guess… I guess she’s an orphan now, just like me.”

***

Lily didn’t bother trying to talk to Hermione about what had happened with her parents for the rest of the day, finding her after classes in the common room instead. When Lily walked over to Hermione, working on a Charms essay in the corner, she smiled. “Hi Lily, how are you doing?”

“I’m fine. It’s you I’m worried about,” Lily answered. Toying with the hem of the Invisibility Cloak in her hand, she said, “Follow me.”

“Of course, my Princess,” Hermione said, and followed Lily outside.

Once they’d walked away from the prying eyes of the Fat Lady, Lily threw the Invisibility Cloak over them. “We’re going to go to Sinistra’s office, and we’re going to use her Floo gate to go to Malfoy Manor. That’s where you ended up going last night, right?” Of Sinistra and Bellatrix, it seemed much more likely that the Lestrange witch would’ve either put the idea in Hermione’s head to kill her parents or done the murder herself out of fury.

“Yes, that’s where I ended up going,” Hermione asked. “You told me to.”

Lily was unsettled. It wasn’t like Hermione had never called her by her title or been happy in her presence before. It was more that she hadn’t said anything about what had happened with her parents. She was sure she had to know, which meant she either was distraught enough to pretend to be the perfect loyal Muggleborn on the Dark Side, or… actually happy about what had happened?

When they arrived at Malfoy Manor, Lily barely paid any attention to Narcissa, instead dragging Hermione to one of the empty bedrooms and sitting down with her on the bed. “Did Bellatrix kill your parents?”

In response to Lily’s question, Hermione burst out laughing. But it wasn’t her normal kind of laugh - it was a panicked-sounding one. “No. No. I was the one who killed them.”

“You. But they’re…”

“Muggles,” Hermione cut her off. “Them being my parents ties me to the world full of people who want to destroy wizard kind, or would if they knew about us. “Having them for parents and accepting them and their traditions is - was - the only thing that could reasonably still define me as a Mudblood. I doubted you, Lily. I doubted the Dark Lord. That was wrong. I’ve been trying to come up with solutions to this question, how to be a member of the Dark Side and a member of the Granger family, and none of them have worked. This solution did. I don’t have questions anymore.”

“You didn’t love them? They didn’t care about you?” Lily asked. Was this going to break her soon?

“They couldn’t love a witch,” Hermione hissed. “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live,” she quoted, staring around the room. “Presenting yourself to another deity isn’t exactly monotheism. And sure, they said they’d be okay with it if I was gay, but I went off to witch school, started participating in idolatry, and then I “became” gay. Which I guess suddenly counts as a sickness if it happens as a result of doing idolatry,” Her voice was bitter. “After I’d been Presented, and tried to wear my star necklace because they insisted on it, I couldn’t. It was like my own magic - like Magic - was rejecting it. Because of what it meant. Because it meant they wanted me to be a different person in different seasons of the year. It’s not like I’ve ever been religious, I didn’t think my parents were religious - but I guess in trying to answer their questions about how magic could exist, they turned to the Torah’s explanations.”

“I’m… I’m so sorry, Hermione,” Lily said, leaning forward and hugging her. “I had no idea. I didn’t know you were going through this.”

“It wasn’t relevant during the school year,” Hermione said in a flat voice. “Until it was. Until they noticed over the summer that something was different and wanted me to affirm my faith by having a bat mitzvah, when I’d already turned twelve and not had one. Affirm their faith that I should die instead of being a witch. And my own doubt made me not care about what you wanted, as long as things were proper.”

“That necklace…” Lily asked, speaking carefully. “What happened to it?”

“I don’t know,” Hermione shrugged. “Probably burned in the “freak” fire.”

Chapter Text

After speaking with Hermione, Lily took Malfoy Manor’s Floo gate to Slytherin Manor. Hermione had looked at her with a little anxiety as she’d told her she was leaving, but hadn’t said anything about the meeting, which was good.

Hands shaking a little, Lily knocked on the door to her father’s office. “Come in,” he called out, and she walked inside.

“Hello, Father,” she said, and sat down across the desk from him. “I presume you’ve heard the news?”

“The news that the Rosiers and Snape were absolute failures who allowed Remus Lupin to discredit one of our Death Eaters at Hogwarts? Or the news that your formerly Mudblood girlfriend has finally chosen a side?” he asked.

“… Both?” Lily winced a little. Why had her father changed so much? He’d flirted with Hermione, and done something in a dream with her the previous year - granted, something that she was unaware of having actually happened, but still - and now he was readily using the term Mudblood to describe not-of-age Muggleborns, including Hermione. Of course, he was the Dark Lord, so she had to follow him, but she was so confused.

“Ordinarily, given what her actions lead to, I would forbid any contact between the two of you, and and order you to make her become another victim of the Chamber of Secrets,” her father said, and Lily shivered. “But since Severus Snape and the Rosiers were also instrumental in the fuck-up, and your girl has just about made up for her brainless action, she can stay.”

“Thank you, Father,” Lily said, her voice quiet. Was that what Bellatrix had told Hermione? That if she didn’t kill her parents, she might end up killed herself for her obstruction of the cause? She knew her father was a Dark Lord and this sort of thing wasn’t exactly supposed to be a surprise, but it still didn’t match up with the person she’d known in her first and second years of school. Had he lied to her? Now that his plan to throw the wizarding world into disarray had started, and she was unable to go back to her aunt and uncle or any friends of her parents, was he showing who he truly was?

“Stop catastrophizing,” her father said sharply, causing Lily to look up at him with confusion in her eyes. “I’m sure you knew who I was when you let me adopt you your first year of school. If not… well, I suppose you really are as stupid as you’ve seemed sometimes.”

“I… I’m sorry,” Lily whispered, doing her best to prevent traitorous tears from coming out of her eyes. “I’ll be better, my Lord,”

“Good,” he said, nodding curtly.

“May I go?” Lily asked, barely managing to contain her tears.

“Yes, you may,” her father answered.

Lily walked out of the office, doing her best to be as composed as possible, and when she was finally outside, rushed to the Floo gate and took it back to Malfoy Manor and then Hogwarts. Sinistra looked at her with some concern, but Lily didn’t speak to her, throwing her Invisibility Cloak over herself and heading onto the grounds of Hogwarts.

She had to prove that her feelings were good for something - that the fact that she cared about the “mudbloods” wasn’t a weakness, but was instead having hope for people who’d ended up in a terrible situation but could still prove themselves worthy of being Magic’s Chosen. She wasn’t that different from a Muggleborn, anyway. She’d been raised by Muggles, just like them. The only thing that made her different was that her blood status was half-blood. Hermione was brilliant, and the pure-blood Weasley twins were awful. Blood status didn’t mean shit.

The one thing that made her specifically special, that wasn’t anything to do with her blood, wasn’t a blood-linked trait - it was linked to her feelings and her empathy for people who had turned into Dementors, because she was so afraid of becoming an Obscurial and going that far herself.

So she headed to the boundaries of the Hogwarts grounds, determined to find a Dementor and free the person inside, like she’d done with Nova Prewett.

She stood at the edge of a lake where a lone Dementor floated, a little bit away. Attempting to summon happy memories, she pointed her wand at the Dementor. “Expecto Patronum.”

A small whisp of silver emerged from her wand, and the Dementor moved closer.

Shit. Lily felt her anxiety growing, and a sense of desperation. She had to be good enough. She needed to be good enough.

She tried for the memories of happy times with Hermione, but she couldn’t keep her thoughts happy. She kept on thinking of how broken her Hermione was, and how her father had admitted that he’d almost ordered her murder upon finding out what had happened with Lupin. The Dementor glided closer, and more - that she hadn’t seen - emerged from the shadows, drawn by her anxiety and desperation.

What protects you, Lily thought. She tried to think of the day the Death Eaters had pledged fealty to her. It had worked before. But she came up against the same issue. After what her father had said to her - after it had become clear that she wasn’t as important to him as she’d thought, just like Sirius had said - she couldn’t summon the energy to produce a Patronus. Heart beating in her chest, she felt like her breath was being stolen. Was she going to die here? Destroyed by her own incompetence, her inability to do the thing that had once worked for her? The Dementors circled above her, and she felt herself losing consciousness. Her eyes started to close, but as they did, there was a flash of bright white light, and a wolf stomped into the circle of Dementors, chasing them all off and running into them until they dissipated. Finally able to relax without fearing losing her eyes, Lily’s eyes fluttered closed as strong arms curled around her, picking her up.

Chapter Text

When Lily’s eyes opened, she found herself lying down on a makeshift cot in a room she didn’t recognize. Looking around, she saw chocolate on the nightstand next to her, which she eagerly grabbed. As she ate the chocolate, she slowly regained more consciousness, and became aware of a hushed conversation - well, really a one-sided conversation - going on in the room next to her. At first, she thought the man was talking to her, because he was using the name “Lily”.

“Come on, Lily, you need to fix this. Change back. She needs you. You’re her mother, and god knows she needs one right now,” She recognized the voice - Professor Lupin’s, pleading, and tried to process what she was hearing. Her mother? No, she had to be hallucinating. That happened after Dementors, sometimes, she was pretty sure. She stuffed another piece of chocolate into her mouth, hoping that would make things clearer.

“Fine. We’ll do this the hard way,” She heard Lupin mutter an incantation she didn’t recognize, and there was a crashing sound as something that sounded like it was metal crashed to the floor, followed by a person.

The door opened, and Lily knew she had to be hallucinating - because in it stood Professor Lupin next to a woman who looked practically like a grown up version of her, but with bright red hair - and owl feathers in it. She froze, mid-chew, and gaped at her. “Wh-who?” she managed to ask, with chocolate still in her mouth.

“Oh, sweetheart,” The woman rushed forward and embraced her, and for once being hugged without being asked felt right. “I’m your mother,”

Lily swallowed the chocolate and shook her head, trying to clear it. “No, that’s impossible. You’re dead. The bond of blood charm wouldn’t have worked if you were alive. Who are you really?”

“Well, um, you know me by Hedwig,” the woman said in a shy voice, and all the pieces came together. The crashing metal thing - Hedwig’s cage. The feathers in her hair - Hedwig’s feathers. The uncanny way Hedwig had looked at her when she’d been shopping in Diagon Alley - the look of someone who knew her, not just a particularly intelligent pet/familiar.

Lupin sat down on a chair near the bed, as Lily’s mother moved away from her, a little self-conscious. “It’s okay, Lily, you don’t have to explain,” he said, and then turned to the younger Lily. “Your mother was an unregistered Animagus, along with your father, Peter Pettigrew, and Sirius Black. I’m a werewolf, and my friends all became Animagi so that they could help me when I was transformed during the full moon. We called ourselves the Marauders. When Voldemort attacked your parents in Godric’s Hollow, Lily transformed into her Animagus form, an owl, and escaped. The bond of blood charm was from your father’s sacrifice, not your mother’s. Since that night, before today, your mother was stuck in the owl form due to the trauma, and unable to transform back. I had a theory, and I used the spell to confirm it.”

“But Peter Pettigrew showed up on the Marauder’s Map while in Animagus form!” Lily exclaimed. Sure, he wasn’t showing up anymore, because he’d finally had the courage to transform back when Ron “lost his pet rat” and come crawling back to her father, but he had shown up while he was in rat form. “Why wouldn’t the map have shown her on it?”

“Ignoring the fact that you have something you probably shouldn’t have as a student at Hogwarts…” Lupin said, “she would’ve also been labeled Lily Potter on the map. When would you have been looking for yourself? And if you did, hasn’t she nearly always been right by you, thereby overlapping on the map since it was the same name?”

“I… I guess so,” Lily muttered.

“Or maybe, you know, I didn’t show up because I was so traumatized that I was unable to access my human mind, so I showed up as Hedwig. Do either of those theories make sense, Lily?” Lily’s mother asked her.

“Um. Yeah. You showed up as Hedwig, whenever I actually looked for you,” Lily answered.

“See, Moony? Our map isn’t exactly perfect,” Lily’s mother laughed.

“Why were you trying to get attacked by Dementors, Lily?” Lupin asked, looking at her suspiciously.

“I wasn’t trying to get attacked by Dementors. I was trying to use the Patronus Charm,” Lily answered.

“Right,” Lupin said, still sounding suspicious. “Well, next time you decide to walk headfirst into danger to test your magical prowess, I might not be there, so be careful.”

“That’s not what I was doing!” Lily said, defensive. “And why are you talking to me like this? You’re not my father.”

“No, Voldemort is,” Lupin responded.

Lily’s mother’s face twisted into a scowl, but it wasn’t at Lily. “How the bloody hell could you have let that happen?” she yelled at Lupin, and then slapped him. “You - Sirius - you and Sirius were supposed to take care of Lily if Voldemort killed me and James!”

“Wait, what do you even remember from the past ten years?” Lily asked.

“N- not much,” Lily’s mother admitted.

“Sirius was accused of spying for Voldemort and revealing your location to him. He got sent to Azkaban, and broke out this summer. I managed to talk to him one time after the breakout, before someone kidnapped him for having too much information and being too connected to your daughter,” Lupin hissed.

“But Pettigrew was our secret-keeper. Clearly, it was too fucking much to ask for you to tell Dumbledore that, get Sirius freed from Hogwarts, and fulfill your obligation of taking care of our daughter,” said Lily’s mother, sarcastic.

“I-” Lupin started speaking, but Lily cut him off.

“Pretty sure he was too busy grooming Nymphadora Tonks, considering that they married on her seventeenth birthday, in the Muggle world,” Lily shrugged.

“I tried to get custody of you! The Rosiers -” Lupin protested.

“Stop blaming everyone else for your failures, Lupin,” Lily’s mother said sharply. Lupin looked shocked. “Yes, you were a failure. You failed me, and now apparently my daughter has been turned to the Dark Side?”

“It wasn’t hard after everyone failed me and Dumbledore stuck me with Petunia and her family to build character!” Lily yelled.

“He what? I’m going to -” Lily started standing up, but wobbled on her feet and sat back down, frustrated.

“He’s not headmaster anymore. You’ve missed a lot. He also got stripped of his Wizengamot seat and Order of Merlin, because he cast an Unforgivable on me,” Lily said.

“Please tell me he at least gave you the Invisibility Cloak?” Lily’s mother asked. Lily nodded.

“Good. Then we’re going to the Shrieking Shack. Just you and me. I don’t exactly trust my best friend right now,” Lily’s mother said, with a disdainful glance at Lupin.

Chapter Text

“This was where we - the Marauders - used to meet, when we were students at Hogwarts and needed to hide Remus’s transformations,” the elder Lily said, looking down at the floor of the Shrieking Shack. “Of course, it’s kind of a mess now. Scourgify.”

Under her mother’s direction, the shack began to clean itself. Smiling, and probably relieved to be able to use magic again, she used a nonverbal conjuring spell to create flower-shaped candles, which she levitated to various places around the shack so it was better-lit. When the shack was clean, well-lit and with cushions on the floor, Lily sat down, and motioned for her daughter to do the same.

“He really got married to a seventeen year old? Like, seventeen to the day?” she asked.

Lily nodded. “It’s… kind of uncomfortable, honestly. Seems like he might have taken advantage of Andromeda and Ted Tonks’ trust of him to hurt their kid. He had to have already been romancing her before her seventeenth birthday.”

“God, I can’t even imagine how Sirius must feel. If he even knows,” the elder Lily said, shaking her head.

“You said God…” Lily said, then paused, trying to figure out how to get her point across. “Which God are you talking about?”

The elder Lily looked at the younger, a little confused. “I guess, just, the Christian god I was raised with. What do you mean, what God am I talking about?”

Oh boy. Lily was filled with even more hatred for Sirius. He came from a family of magical traditionalists - by all rights, he should have known about Magic-the-deity and talked about Her. And yet, he didn’t even mention anything about his family’s spiritual beliefs to Lily. Disgusting. “Well, there’s a deity that I worship, and that a lot of people at Hogwarts worship. A personification of Magic, basically. A goddess - mother goddess kind of - who gives us all our power and connections to each other. I’ve gone through a thing called Presentation, where a child either presents themselves or is presented by their parent to Magic, and is basically either accepted or… isn’t, but that only really happens if someone’s trying to make a joke out of Presentation or if someone who doesn’t have actual guardianship over a child tries to present them. Um, in that ceremony, I was also declared heiress to… well, my father,” Lily looked down at the cushion under her, fearing rejection.

“I’ve never heard of it,” the elder Lily said.

“Sirius was Presented,” Lily responded.

“So this goddess… this Magic…. decided that Voldemort had the right to be your father?” the elder Lily asked.

“Well. Yeah. Thing is, I was his Horcrux for a while. When he tried to kill me as a baby, the curse rebounded because of the protection that my biological father’s death had given, and the rebounding split his soul, and I became the vessel of an accidental Horcrux, created by his murder. It’s gone now, but that’s the story behind Dumbledore casting an Unforgivable on me. He thought I might be a Horcrux of Voldemort’s, and he hoped that casting a Killing Curse at me would kill the Horcrux bit but spare me. When the soul bit died, he - it - also cast a bond of blood charm, and now Dumbledore can’t touch or kill me,” Lily felt like she was rambling.

“How did the darkest wizard of all time cast a charm that deep and true love was required for?” the elder Lily asked, blinking.

“Because he loves me,” Lily answered. “I guess it’s pretty hard to share a brain and body with someone for eleven years and not end up loving them.”

“I… this is a lot,” the elder Lily said. “You really think he loves you?”

Lily nodded, feeling small. He had to. The charm wouldn’t have worked if he hadn’t.

“Do you know the prophecy? Did Dumbledore tell it to you?” the elder Lily asked. Lily shook her head.

The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches. Born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies… and the Dark Lord will mark her as his equal, but she will have power the Dark Lord knows not… and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives. Lily, what if he marked you as his equal by making you the heiress to Slytherin, not by giving you your scar?”

And what if the power he knows not is the power I had to turn Dementors human, Lily thought. “That’s a good point. After all, it kind of seems like I didn’t need to be marked as his equal by him killing me - the prophecy had already declared me as such. Was anyone else suspected as a possibility for the prophecy?”

“Well, there was another person suspected, who could’ve fulfilled the prophecy, the child of Frank and Alice Longbottom, but that child turned out to be a boy, so no. You were the only possibility,” the elder Lily answered.

She then put a hand on Lily’s shoulder. “Lily, I know this is going to be a hard question, but… how did it go? When the Horcrux died instead of you?”

“We both ended up in a white train station. He told me that I had to go on and live my life,” Lily answered.

“And in doing so, you sealed his fate. Neither can live while the other survives,” the elder Lily said. “The prophecy’s already been fulfilled. Neither of you will need to kill the other.”

“Wait, so is that you giving me permission to not kill the person who murdered your husband?” Lily asked.

The elder Lily shook her head sadly. “I think I’m a little bit beyond giving you permission for everything, based on all that you and Remus have told me. But if he truly loves you, and doesn’t intend to kill you… I can’t with good conscience tell you to kill him. Unless you choose to kill someone who loves you, no one will be able to kill him. Because you’re the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord. And I can’t tell you to make that choice.”

“Fuck,” Lily cursed, provoking an amused smile from her mother. “He manipulated me into fulfilling the prophecy. He lead me to believe that he’d already sacrificed himself for me, but -”

“But the white train station has been talked about in literature as a place of transition between life and death. It’s where people whose future isn’t set stay until their future is set and they either live or die. Nothing was set in stone,” the elder Lily said.

Nothing was set in stone. She’d chosen to fulfill the prophecy, instead of just letting the Horcrux to kill himself to spare her. If she’d refused, if she’d had the heart, the power that the prophecy described… or even the intelligence to see what might happen as a result of her decision… either she or her father would have still had to kill each other.

And she was still the only one with the power to end him. The question was, did she want to?

Chapter Text

That Friday evening, Lily and Hermione went to Malfoy Manor.  It had only been a few days since the murder of Hermione’s parents, and of course, the Ministry was slow-acting to find her new guardians since it was the middle of the term and Hermione was a Muggle-born. But instead of staying at Malfoy Manor, Lily grabbed another handful of Floo powder and shouted out the words “Lestrange Family Mausoleum”, hand clutched in Hermione’s, and jumped into the fire.

“Where are we?” Hermione asked when the dust settled.

“Paris, France. Specifically, the Lestrange family mausoleum in the Cimetière du Père-Lachaise,” Lily answered, walking out of the Floo gate with Hermione behind her.

“Um. Why here?” Hermione asked. “You’re not going to kill me, are you?”

“What? No!” Lily squeaked, and then realized how ominous it must have seemed for her to bring Hermione to the mausoleum of her magical family. “I needed a place to think. Away from everyone.”

“Everyone except for me?” Hermione said, a soft smile growing on her face. “And you chose a mausoleum. That’s very…. you of you.”

“Wow, incredible job using your words,” Lily said, sarcastically. Hermione rolled her eyes, and for a moment it felt like they were normal. Not like  she was trying to find a place contemplate the most serious decision of her life.

“My mother’s alive,” Lily burst out, not wanting to delay it anymore.

“Your… mother?” Hermione looked at her with huge eyes. “How?”

Lily explained what she’d learned about her mother being an Animagus, and what they’d discovered together. “We’re pretty sure that I fulfilled the prophecy. Fate, Magic… nothing will make me or my father have to kill each other, and given the kind of person that he is, I wouldn’t be surprised if he really had known what needed to happen and made sure I fulfilled it. And now I know that not only am I the person who survived the Dark Lord killing me and that was why I was the Chosen One, but that I really was and am the only person who can kill him.”

“Wow…” Hermione said, in a soft voice. “That’s… a lot.”

Lily looked around the mausoleum, a haunted look on her face. “In 1927, there was a battle at this mausoleum, between a man who was once thought to be the darkest wizard of all time and many Aurors. The man was named Gellert Grindelwald. In order that he and his followers could escape, he cast a spell called the Devil’s Protection - a spell that tends to only work for dark witches and wizards, and creates a protective ring of fire that only people loyal to the caster will be unharmed by. If my father were to cast a spell like that, would I manage to pass through?”

“I don’t know, Lily,” Hermione said, still quiet. Not entirely meeting her eyes, Lily cast Legilimens, wanting to see what her girlfriend was actually thinking.

Hermione’s mind was a chaotic mess of emotions and thoughts, that Lily wasn’t entirely sure how to decipher. The most prominent thought in Hermione’s mind was of when she’d killed her parents, and Lily focused on that memory. She narrowly avoided wincing as she watched Hermione’s parents begging and pleading with her to spare their lives, and Hermione coldly saying that if they’d wanted her to spare them, they should’ve treated her like she deserved as a witch, someone inherently superior to them. It wasn’t like she didn’t agree, but it was more that the thoughts and emotions that were bleeding into her memory were disturbing. Hermione was thinking about how she’d killed her parents for Lily, to prove that they believed in the same things, but now Lily was doubting her allegiance to the `Dark Lord, and if Lily defected, did that mean that what she’d done had been for nothing?

When Lily emerged from Hermione’s mind, she could see that her eyes were wide, and she was blushing - she could tell that Lily had been reading her mind. Lily leaned forward and hugged Hermione tightly, as Hermione whispered “I’m sorry.”

“You don’t have to apologize,” Lily answered, running her hands through Hermione’s hair. Even if her father was the leader of the Dark Side, Lily was Hermione’s leader, and the leader of the younger generation at Hogwarts, and she had to take responsibility for her girlfriend. “And what you did wasn’t for nothing. You still took your future into your own hands and disposed of people who were basically implying that you should die according to their self-forced religious beliefs because you were given a gift by Magic and chose to embrace it. I sided with my father because I agreed with his principles, not just because I wanted a father. You’re still going to have done something that was important. You escaped a house where you were mistreated because of a fundamental part of who you were, and I’m sure we can make it so that you end up in a magical household this time and are treated at least semi-properly - like I think all Muggleborns should have the option of. Even if I do end up deciding that I’m not on his side, that doesn’t mean I’m going to abandon all of my beliefs - and I’d still be the heiress of Slytherin and Princess of Gryffindor.”

Hermione nodded, small against the background of the huge mausoleum. “When you do decide what you’re going to do… you’ll tell me, right?”

“Of course,” Lily answered, although what she was really thinking was, Of course, as long as I can be sure that won’t fuck up my plan.

Chapter Text

Lily and Hermione stayed in Paris for the rest of the night and Saturday, crashing at the house of a relative of Aurora Sinistra’s who wasn’t exactly a Death Eater due to living in France, but was related enough to be safe. Lily knew it would piss off the Rosiers to have to make excuses for her, but she really didn’t care at all. She needed to get away, and stay away for a while. They didn’t discuss anything about the Dark Side, and it was almost like Hermione had never found out about Lily being the daughter of the Dark Lord - except for the fact that they’d displaced an ally of the Dark Side from her bed.

When they returned to Hogwarts on Sunday, Lily’s magic prickled in excitement as she sensed something different. Someone she felt a connection to had entered Hogwarts while she was gone. And with the level of excitement she was feeling, she was pretty sure it was a Death Eater.

“Is everything okay?” Hermione asked, as she stepped out of the fireplace behind Lily, dusting off her uniform.

“Everything’s fine,” Lily answered, and then turned to Sinistra. “Did anyone new come to Hogwarts in the past two days?”

“Oh! Yes, my Princess, forgive me, I assumed you would’ve known. Horace Slughorn -” she said the name with a grimace “- and Vivian Avery have both been brought to the school as candidates for the Potions Master position next year. They will both be teaching, each of them half the houses in each year, and the school board will make a decision about who gets the position next year based on their performance,” she answered.

“Who’s going to be teaching third-year Gryffindors and Slytherins?” Lily asked.

“Slughorn is teaching Gryffindors and Ravenclaws in your year, I believe,” Sinistra answered.

“Thank the Blessed Lady that Gryffindors and Slytherins aren’t both being taught by Slughorn,” Lily rolled her eyes.

“I’m sure you’ll be in for an interesting rest of your year regardless, my Princess,” Sinistra said, sighing a little. “One of the things that Horace Slughorn was the most famous for was his little club of the students he thought of as most interesting and promising - the Slug Club, he calls it. I don’t know if our new headmistress will let it come back, because honestly it was creepy and I don’t think she wants bad PR after what happened to the old Potions Master, but regardless, I’m sure he’ll have quite the fascination with you. He highly admired your biological mother, and well… everyone on the Dark Side knows about him and your father.”

Everyone? Lily certainly didn’t, unless the extent of what “everyone knew” was what McGonagall had mentioned to her in her second year about Horace Slughorn helping him run his little group of sycophants. “Right. Good to know,” she said, and grabbed Hermione’s hand before she walked out of Sinistra’s office. She wasn’t sure whether she hoped Slughorn’s admiration of her mother was like Snape’s obsession with her.

***

The next day, Lily braced herself to head to Potions Class with Professor Slughorn. Her father had never mentioned anything about him being an ally of the Death Eaters, so maybe Professor McGonagall had overstated his connection to her father, or people were just mistaken and he’d never bothered to correct them. Of course, she didn’t exactly expect that to be true anymore. The person she’d sworn loyalty to and been declared the heiress of in her first year at Hogwarts was quite literally a different person than the one who now was the Dark Lord. She desperately wanted to believe that the current Dark Lord still loved her and didn’t just think of her as a tool, but in the end, she wasn’t sure if it mattered.

When she walked into the classroom, her stomach started feeling queasy. Horace Slughorn immediately looked up at her with an intrigued look, and she could see ingredients written on the board next to him - fire seeds, powdered graphorn horn, billywig stings and chirzpurfle carapace. She wanted to be able to handle whatever Slughorn threw at her, but her mind was back in her first year, when she’d brewed the Antidote to Uncommon Poisons shortly before Snape had raped her. Her father had saved her from Snape doing anything like that again, but before that day she’d fucked up enough to make it so that a Death Eater would eventually be fired from Hogwarts and imprisoned in Azkaban. The fact was, she didn’t think she could trust Hermione with anything more than she’d already found out. Even the things she’d already told Hermione about her doubts were probably too much.

She attempted to evade Slughorn’s attention, finding a seat and busying herself with reading the textbook entry on the Antidote to Uncommon Poisons in much more detail than was realistically necessary.

“Are you okay?” Hermione whispered, sitting down next to Lily.

“Just anxious,” Lily answered. “It’s a new teacher after all.”

“I’m sorry…” Hermione said, head lowered.

“It’s fine,” Lily snapped. Hermione had been the one who’d told, but Lily had been the one who’d given her the information, so Lily was the one who was to blame. She probably couldn’t trust anyone.

Horace Slughorn was clearly fascinated with Lily - as well as Hermione and Anthony Goldstein - but managed to tear himself away from staring at Lily and Hermione long enough to instruct the rest of the students enough to get them to complete their potions. Hermione and Lily worked in silence through a particularly uneventful Double Potions class, and after dismissing class, Slughorn called them and Anthony Goldstein to him, to speak with him before they headed to their next classes.

“I would be honored if the three of you would attend the first meeting of the new Slug Club on Friday evening,” he said, handing out three silver tickets with - was that the Slytherin family crest? - and the details of the event on them. Anthony Goldstein grabbed the ticket, looking at it with big eyes. Hermione accepted it with a smile and a thank you, while Lily took it and thanked him more quietly.

Anthony looked like he was about to ask a question, but Slughorn cut him off. “Don’t worry, Goldstein, I won’t be asking you to perform any magic to impress me this Friday evening,” he said, chuckling.

Anthony laughed, a little nervous. “Greatly appreciated, Professor.”

Chapter Text

Standing in the Gryffindor girl’s dormitory by the floor-length mirror, Lily watched Hermione fiddle with her dress, anxious about the party. “Who do you think will be there?” she asked.

“Hopefully at least some Slytherins,” Lily answered, idly running her hand along her body. She’d chosen a silver dress that was just slinky and sexy enough to be eye-catching but not enough to be inappropriate. Her mother, sitting on Lily’s dresser in owl form, clucked, clearly not thinking the dress was appropriate. Too bad. She was an owl.

Lavender Brown, sitting on her bed, made a humphing sound. “Most Slytherins are children of Death Eaters. Slughorn has avoided those ever since the first Wizarding War.”

“Your point being?” asked Lily, rolling her eyes.

“There won’t be many Slytherins at the Slug Club party,” Lavender Brown said, shaking her head and returning to studying her Herbology textbook.

“Good to know,” Lily answered in a fridgid tone, grabbing Hermione’s hand. “Come on, Hermione, let’s go.”

***

It did indeed appear that Slughorn had opted against inviting anyone who was a child of a Death Eater - with the exception of Lily, since she was both the Chosen One of the Light Side and the foster daughter of the Rosiers. Most notably, Percy was present at the gathering, but not Eva. Lily also noticed Eleta Dunlap at the party, as well as Flora and Hestia Carrow, relatives but not children of the Carrow siblings. Those three, as well as Blaise Zabini, were the only Slytherins at the party. Every other house had three girls and three boys in attendance - at least, three people who looked male and female.

Slughorn was deep in conversation with Anthony Goldstein when Lily and Hermione entered the room and sat down. Hermione stiffened up, and Lily looked over at her in confusion. “It’s nothing,” Hermione said quietly, and they took their seats.

“I wonder if your cousin managed to keep her faith when Grindelwald’s army fell,” Slughorn was laughing, and Hermione’s fists were clenched.

Before Lily could say anything, Hermione jumped into the conversation. “Professor, with all due respect, I believe it’s rather disrespectful to make jokes about a Jewish witch’s faith in the face of not only her freedom to exist as a witch being challenged, but also the death of six million of her other people around the globe having recently transpired.”

“You think the defeat of Grindelwald challenged the right of wizardkind to exist?” Slughorn narrowed his eyes at Hermione, and the eyes of everyone in the room, except for the fairly apathetic Slytherins, were also on her.

“I-” Hermione didn’t seem to know what to say.

“Please leave this dinner party, Miss Granger. I was under the impression that a Muggle-born Jew would be against the ideologies of Grindelwald’s army and Death Eaters, but I suppose I was wrong,” Slughorn wiped his mouth on a napkin.

“Gladly, Professor. But I’m not Jewish, I’m just a decent person,” Hermione stood up, and pushed her chair in.

The room was silent for a while after Hermione walked out, and Anthony eventually broke the silence. “Thankfully, my family did manage to keep our faith after both wars,” he said.

Undeterred by Hermione’s attempts to get him to be more sensitive, Slughorn barreled on, looking at Anthony with interest. “How do you square it, anyway, being both a wizard and Jewish?”

Anthony’s face brightened, eager to talk about his beliefs. “Well, my family is all pantheist Jews, which means that we regard the universe and Earth as a manifestation of our God. Magic is a part of our universe and very connected to the Earth, so we see our magic as a special gift from God and something that must be treasured and respected,” he answered, and then smirked a little. “I mean, come on. Hanukkah is all about a flame burning for seven more nights than it was expected to. What’s more magical than that?”

Shrugging helplessly, Slughorn looked around the room, then picked up a bottle of red liquid and poured more of it into his nearly empty glass. “Firewhiskey?” 

“I’ll take some,” said Percy from the end of the table.

“But you’re - oh, what the hell, you’re of age, knock yourself out,” Slughorn said, sending the bottle sliding down to Percy’s side of the table with magic.

Percy picked up the wobbling bottle and poured himself a small bit of firewhiskey. “Cheers!”

“Actually, please don’t,” Slughorn amended his statement. “I’m responsible for supervising you all tonight. But I’m sure you can handle yourselves.”

“Wasn’t planning on it,” Percy laughed as he knocked his firewhiskey back.

As the evening wore on, Slughorn continued to make a fool of himself as he got more and more drunk. After he finished rambling semi-coherently about good times with the old Slug Clubs, and all of the benefits he got when his favorite students became famous, Lily found an opening for the question she’d been dying to ask all night. “Professor, why did you use the Slytherin family crest on the invitation, not the House crest?”

Slughorn grinned in response, expression sloppy. “Well, dear girl, it’s because I’m a descendant of Salazar Slytherin,” Seeing the horrified looks from the majority of the room, he quickly scrambled for cover. “Not the Gaunt line, of course. I’d never be affiliated with horrible dark witches like Gormlaith Gaunt. I’m a descendant of Martha Steward, the daughter of the founders of Ilvermony School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.”

“So you’re not a pureblood?” Blaise Zabini said, looking at Slughorn with a squint, like he could tell his blood status just from looking at him.

“It’s not like it matters whether you’re a pureblood when it’s that far back and you’re a descendant of Salazar Slytherin himself!” Slughorn said in a boisterous voice. “Besides, the Dark Wizard who might be terrorizing Wizarding Britain again and who has always championed blood purity is a half-blood, and he was the Heir of Slytherin!”

The room instantly became silent, with everyone in the room daring nervous glances at each other. Lily did her best to mimic the others, while Slughorn put down his most recent of many glasses of Firewhiskey, smoothed his napkin, and said under his breath “… I should not have said that.”

Chapter Text

Shortly after Slughorn’s reveal, most of the students started making excuses and leaving the dinner party. Eventually, it was just her, Percy, and a very drunk Slughorn who was half asleep on the table. Percy looked over at Lily, raising an eyebrow, and Lily shrugged. “Probably go?” she mouthed.

Percy’s face was conflicted, but he stood up and walked out of the office. Lily waited a few minutes, anticipating that perhaps Slughorn’s excessive drunkness and tiredness had been an act and he wasn’t actually as tired as he looked, just avoiding talking to anyone in the aftermath of his idiocy. He didn’t stop being either asleep or fake-asleep for a few minutes, and eventually Lily decided there was no point in waiting for him.

Taking out her wand, she quickly cast the Stinging Jinx at Slughorn, which appeared to either wake him up or get him to realize that she wasn’t leaving. He looked up at her with a glare and a now swollen face. “What’s your problem?”

“I just think it’s kind of odd that you decided to advertise that you were a descendant of Salazar Slytherin the year after the Chamber of Secrets was opened by the heir of Slytherin and a poor first-year Muggleborn died, along with several others,” Lily shrugged. “Are you trying to get negative attention, or something?”

“It’s almost like you’re threatening me, your Highness,” Slughorn drawled, sounding much more awake.

Lily was surprised that he knew of her as the Princess of the Dark Side, but refused to show any fear or shock.

“What, are you here to kill me for revealing that your father is a dirty half-blood, just like you and me?” he smirked.

“He doesn’t care what blood status someone is, as long as they behave appropriately,” Lily answered, stumbling over her words, and not entirely sure how true they were.

“Then why, little Princess…” he asked, looking directly into her eyes, “did he make you kill a Muggleborn last year?”

“He didn’t. It was up to me,” Lily answered, defensive. “Colin Creevey joined because he didn’t understand anything about the world Lady Magic had put him in, and he was a waste of magical education.”

Slughorn made a tsking sound. “You say he was ignorant of magical culture, and yet you killed him because he did not deserve magical education. Isn’t there an error in your logic, Princess?”

“I don’t owe you an explanation for anything,” Lily spat, and stood up.

“No, but you might owe Minerva McGonagall or the Wizengamot one,” Slughorn shrugged. “Everyone who knows who you really are… they think you’re a helpless victim, but I know better. You’re a Slytherin, through and through, with all of the connotations of being one.”

Lily refused to beg him for the names of the people who apparently knew who she really was. “What’s your game, Slughorn?”

“I’m not some movie villain who’s going to monologue about my plan to destroy the world,” he said in a sardonic voice, rolling his eyes. “That, little princess, you’ll have to find out for yourself.”

“As Heiress to Salazar Slytherin, I compel you to never reveal any information, from this point on, that would damage the Dark Side or members thereof,” Lily hissed. She could feel her magic twisting around him and putting him in the magical equivalent of a choke hold. He smirked.

“I suppose you won’t be finding out your father’s secrets from anyone, then, dear girl.”

***

When Lily returned to the Gryffindor common room, it was abuzz with activity and conversation. The Gryffindors froze when she entered the room, clearly anxious to see how she would react to what had been shared about the man they all thought was her mortal enemy. Ignoring people’s glances at her, she looked around the room for Hermione, and when she didn’t find her, headed up the stairs to the girls’ dormitory.

Hermione was sitting on her bed in the dormitory, staring at the wall, deep in thought. Lily sat down and put a hand over hers. “Hey, how are you doing?”

Hermione looked over at Lily, and Lily could see that she’d been crying. “I tried to stand up for people who are sort of still my people, at least you know, genetically, and got kicked out of a dinner party. And I couldn’t even get dinner in the Great Hall, because it was over. How do you think I’m feeling?”

“Not well, I’d imagine,” Lily said, then cupped Hermione’s face in her hand. “But I’m an heiress to two of the founders of Hogwarts, which I’m pretty sure means I’m able to command house elves, so I’d be willing to bet that I can get you some dinner.”

“How do you do that?” asked Hermione with big eyes, temporarily stopped from crying.

“I’m not sure. Um,” Lily looked around the room, then said in as brave a voice as she could manage, “As Heiress to Godric Gryffindor and the Gryffindor Princess, I summon a House Elf to show me to the Hogwarts kitchens.”

There was a loud popping, and a male House Elf appeared in front of the girls. “Good evening, Mistress Gryffindor. My name is Pitts.”

Hermione looked at Lily with an awed expression, beaming. “Wow! Hi, Pitts! Thank you for coming!”

“The little miss does not need to thank Pitts. Pitts’ job is to serve Hogwarts, and the bloodline of the founders of Hogwarts,” the elf said in a matter-of-fact voice, then looked at Lily again. “Does the mistress wish for Pitts to transport both her and the little miss?”

“Yes please, Pitts,” Lily answered. As she grabbed onto Pitts’ arm, Hermione said, “Thank you, sir!” and grabbed onto Pitts’ other arm.

Both Hermione and the house-elf were looking around in shock when they landed in the kitchen. “You can do side-along apparition inside Hogwarts?” Hermione asked in a shocked voice, while Pitts said, “The little miss does not need to call Pitts sir. Pitts is a servant of Hogwarts and the bloodline of Hogwarts’ founders.”

“Do they pay you?” Hermione asked, raising an eyebrow.

“House Elves are not payed, Miss,” Pitts answered.

“Then you’re not a servant, you’re a slave!” said Hermione, her voice horrified. “Don’t you want to be free?”

“Pitts is happy to serve Hogwarts and the bloodline of Hogwarts’ founders,” the House-Elf said matter-of-factly, and then lead Lily and Hermione further into the kitchen. Many House-Elves bowed and curtsied, addressing Lily as “Mistress Gryffindor”.

“Hermione didn’t get dinner tonight. Can you make some for her? And maybe something for me too?” Lily asked.

“Of course, Mistress Gryffindor!” a female House-Elf said, curtsying.

“Pitts is sorry to hear about the mistreatment of the little miss. Is there anything he can do?” asked Pitts.

“Probably not,” Hermione said, seething, while the House-Elves cooked up dinner for her. “It’s clear that wizardkind really doesn’t care about those they perceive as lesser…”

Chapter Text

When Lily walked into the Great Hall the next morning to eat breakfast, Slughorn wasn’t at the head table. Just like had happened the day after Dumbledore had cast the Killing Curse at Lily, the students were all clustered around various issues of the Daily Prophet. Lily walked to the Gryffindor table and sat down, where Hermione and Percy both looked very uncomfortable.

“Someone at the Daily Prophet really likes sensationalism,” Percy said in a tired voice as he pushed his addition of the Daily Prophet towards Lily.

Lily didn’t even need to open up the paper to find out which article he was talking about. On the front page, there was an article with the title “SECRETS OF THE DARK LORD REVEALED”, with the byline of By Rita Skeeter. She skimmed through the article, which discussed how a “drunk teacher with a mysterious connection to He Who Must Not Be Named” had revealed several secrets about the Dark Lord, such as what his birth name was (Tom Riddle) and his actual blood status (half-blood). There were several “quotes” from Hogwarts students who had apparently been present when the teacher had revealed the secret, but they mostly seemed to be made up or exaggerated.

“Who let this woman write an article?” Lily asked, raising an eyebrow. “She’s making a fool of the Prophet.

“The Prophet made a fool of itself when it published that article about Dumbledore last year,” Ron grumped from next to Percy.

“And that’s what Mum always says, right?” Percy said, raising an eyebrow at his younger brother.

“Well yeah, of course,” Ron answered, a little confused.

“Are you going to be okay?” Hermione asked Lily in a quiet voice, as she read the article.

“Somehow,” Lily answered.

***

After answering the questions of many Gryffindors about the secrets revealed about her “mortal enemy”, Lily informed the Gryffindors that she was going to go to the library because she actually needed to study Potions. In the common room, she grabbed her Invisibility Cloak, and noticed her mother as Hedwig staring at her inquisitively. She was pretty sure her mother was asking her if she wanted her to accompany her somewhere. Lily shook her head and grabbed a scroll of parchment - for appearances - as well as her Invisibility Cloak, and headed out of the Gryffindor common room. As soon as she was alone, she slipped the Cloak over her head and headed to Sinistra’s office.

She needed to go see her father, and tell him what had happened. She knew that with his new attitude towards her, it wouldn’t go well for her, but she also knew that showing up with her owl for the first time ever would cause even more suspicion, and probably her mother actually dying. Even seeing him without him finding out about her disloyalty or the fact that her mother was actually alive would be nearly impossible. But she couldn’t put this off forever, and she’d look at least somewhat loyal if she updated him about Slughorn. Who knew, maybe he’d be pissed enough to not bother using Legilimency on her or he’d use it anyway but his anger would blind him. This new version of the Dark Lord certainly seemed more volatile than the one she’d met in her first year.

“Are you alright, my Princess?” Sinistra asked, when Lily walked into her office and took off the cloak.

“I’m fine. But I need to get out of Hogwarts,” Lily said, and without further speaking to Sinistra, walked to the Floo gate and called out “Malfoy Manor!”

There was no one in the sitting room of Malfoy Manor, so Lily went straight to Slytherin Manor. Immediately upon walking into the house, she could feel an oppressive presence - not quite like the Dementors, but almost what felt like the angry version of a Dementor - instead of sadness and fear, the atmosphere of the mansion radiated anger and fear. Lily knew it wasn’t very good to be happy that her father was experiencing such overwhelming emotion, but she did think it would make it less likely that her secrets would be detected.

Her father wasn’t in his office, or his bedroom. Eventually, she walked into the door frame of the throne room, and saw her father lounging on the throne, with Nagini curled up underneath his feet. He looked impossibly pale, almost like he was wasting away. Just from his birth name and blood status being revealed.

“Father?” Lily called out, as timidly as she could manage, from the doorway of the throne room.

“Lily,” He said her name, sounding reverent and somehow far away. “Come here.”

“Of course, Father,” she answered, walking up to his throne.

“Sit with me,” he said, patting his legs. Obediently, Lily walked up the steps of the throne and sat on his lap. He reached out a cold hand, turning her face sharply towards him.

“It was Slughorn,” Lily said in a quiet voice. “He got drunk at a Slug Club meeting and told the entire group… well, what he said. He knows I’m your heiress, and he talked like he had some sort of plan. I ordered him using family magic not to reveal anything that could damage the Dark Side, but I don’t know what else I can do to help you.”

“You’ve already done quite enough,” her father said, his voice chillingly flat.

“I’m sorry, my Lord,” Lily answered, hanging her head in what she hoped appeared to be a show of deference. In reality, she was avoiding his eyes, because she knew he always found it easier to read her mind when he was looking in her eyes.

“If it hadn’t been for you and your little slut, Snape wouldn’t be in Azkaban. He’d still be teaching at Hogwarts, and Horace Slughorn would not have humiliated me to the whole Wizarding World!” He hissed. “Tell me, your Highness. Do you think the Death Eaters who are pureblood supremacists will follow a half-blood?”

“They’ve made vows to you…” Lily said in a quiet voice.

“They have. But I want acolytes. I want to be feared. They will not fear a half-blood,” he hissed.

“I think a lot of them feared the Chosen One…” Lily muttered.

It seemed to be the exact opposite of the right thing to say. In a flash, her father had turned her around and pinned her to the back of the chair. She didn’t dare look at him as he cast various spells, but she knew what was happening as she felt something hard pressing against her naked backside. “You are not feared,,” he hissed, breath cold against her ear. “Except for by children, Mudbloods, and blood traitors.”

Lily didn’t want to, but her body shivered with anticipation as he touched her in a mockery of softness. She could sense a sick sense of pleasure coming from her father as he easily pushed two fingers inside of her vagina, but didn’t allow her to come, instead taking the wetness inside and shoving it inside her ass, which he started pounding into. “This is the kind of love you deserve for what you’ve done,” he hissed.

“Father… please,” Lily called out, crying, as she felt sticky blood spilling down her leg.

Thankfully, it didn’t take very long, and he came inside her pretty quickly. Still holding her by the waist, he whispered, “What is it that you’re begging me for? Do you want me to make you feel good, even after what you’ve done?”

“I… yes,” Lily winced, knowing it was the least incorrect answer.

“Slut,” he hissed. “But fine. You are still my heiress,”

In a dizzying split second, they were back in his bedroom. Lily could barely control her muscles as he laid her down on the bed, and then started meticulously kissing her all over her body. Despite herself, she moaned for him, and she could feel him smirking against her skin. His mouth eventually descended between her legs, licking at her and making her much better than her rational self wanted him to. She felt like she wasn’t in control of her body, as it involuntarily produced wetness and responded to his touch. She felt exhausted by the time he was finished, and had lost track of the times she’d orgasmed. Pain and pleasure mingled in her memories as he kissed her forehead and tucked her into his bed, and she drifted off to sleep.

Chapter Text

Lily woke up a few hours later, muscles heavy, and the rune on her chest satisfied for the first time in weeks. It made her shudder to think that what he’d done had satisfied her like that. Like she’d practically become addicted to his magic, and addicted to being fucked by him, even if it was in as degrading a way as it had been a few hours ago.

Her father was nowhere to be seen, so she walked to her room, where she got a non-wrinkled Hogwarts uniform, and put it on. She didn’t think it would be a good idea to try to talk to him more - and in truth, she was also terrified of slipping, and hated the atmosphere of the mansion - so she found the nearest gate and Floo’d back to Malfoy Manor.

This time, Narcissa was in the sitting room. When Lily entered, she hurried to her feet and curtsied to Lily. “My Princess,” she said.

“You can sit down, Narcissa, it’s fine,” Lily said, a bit bemused by Narcissa’s sudden increase in formality.

“Thank you, my Princess,” Narcissa said, and sat down.

“Is something special going on?” Lily asked, raising an eyebrow.

Narcissa practically gaped at her. “I… the petition Lucius and I made to the Ministry to adopt Hermione will most likely be accepted. We’re hearing back on Monday, but the Ministry employee I spoke with earlier told me it was just a formality and she would be shocked if we were denied.”

“When was this petition made? Does Hermione know about it?” Lily asked, doing her best not to seem shocked.

“The Dark Lord personally asked me to make the petition the day after her parents died, my Princess. I thought you would’ve told her,” Narcissa answered, still looking confused.

“Well, I didn’t know about it. I guess he was waiting until it was official one way or another,” Lily answered, shrugging and trying to look like she didn’t care.

Narcissa smiled softly, looking like she wanted to be motherly towards Lily but didn’t know how to or if she should. “You’re not surprised that he didn’t tell you, are you?”

“How-” Lily asked, but Narcissa was shaking her head. “Let’s not speak here. I can take you to Bella’s room.”

Confused, but willing to follow the lead of Narcissa, who seemed to care about her, Lily shrugged. Narcissa held out an arm for Lily to side-along Apparate with her, and soon enough they were in Bellatrix’s room, where Bellatrix was.

“If you wish, my Princess, she can leave, of course,” Narcissa said in a quiet voice.

Lily looked at Bellatrix suspiciously, but aside from her reputation as her father’s most loyal servant, she did seem to have the same defeated-looking expression on her face as Narcissa, but with a glimmer of hope upon looking at Lily that her sister didn’t have. “She can stay.”

She then turned to Narcissa. “Why did you want us to have this conversation in Bellatrix’s room, instead of yours?”

Narcissa laughed, but it wasn’t cheerful. “Lucius has servitors in every room in this house that report back to him if anyone says something he or his master wouldn’t approve of. My forte is mind arts. Bella is much better at dissipating his shielding spells and golems without him realizing what he’s doing.”

His master?” Lily asked, eyes darting to the Dark Mark on Narcissa’s arm. “Not both of yours?”

Bellatrix’s eyes were downcast, and Lily could tell that she didn’t entirely like what Narcissa had said, but a small prod into her mind revealed that she wasn’t going to actively fight against her or turn her in to the Dark Lord.

“His master,” Narcissa answered. “Truthfully, your Highness, I’ve been disillusioned with him for a while now, but over the past few months, he’s barely been acting like a Champion of Magic at all. Just a Dark Lord.”

“He knows that I don’t approve of Lucius’s parenting,” Lily said in a quiet voice, sinking into the mattress of the bed. “And yet, he specifically instructed that you and Lucius become Hermione’s new adoptive parents.”

“If it helps, my Princess, I don’t think it was just that… Narcissa is my sister, and it makes sense for the aunt of my foster Presentee to adopt her,” Bellatrix said, not entirely meeting Lily’s eyes.

Lily didn’t need to ask to know why Bellatrix wasn’t meeting her eyes. “He had this planned all along, didn’t he? Including the part where Hermione’s blood parents… went away.”

“Yes, My Princess,” Bellatrix answered, then winced as if she expected pain. When none came, she looked at her Mark with wide eyes. “Why…?”

“He’s losing his control over us. All of us,” Narcissa answered. “It’s a good thing, Bella.”

“And who’s gaining the-” Bellatrix started, but then her eyes locked with Lily’s, and Lily felt more of a connection than had been there before. She reached out with her magic, testing what she could do to Bellatrix’s Mark. Just as she hoped, she was able to activate it, which caused Bellatrix to let out a small yelp.

“We made vows to both of them. And you and I, Bella, we’ve clearly demonstrated that our loyalty is to her over him,” Narcissa explained, while Bellatrix looked at her Mark in shock.

“Will he find out?” she asked.

This time, it was Lily who answered. “Not if he keeps on acting the way he is,” She then explained the suffocating atmosphere she’d felt at Slytherin Manor, like her magic had been actively telling her not to stay there.

Bellatrix looked up at Lily, truly seeing her for the first time. “You really are the Chosen One,” she said, breathless.

Shocked by the fact that her father’s once most loyal servant had turned to her side, but not wanting to show that she thought she deserved any less than perfect service from Bellatrix, Lily smiled. “Yes, I am. I am Magic’s chosen princess.” It felt right to say it - righter than it had felt when she’d read similar words on the book her father had given her.

Bellatrix curtsied deeply, leaning forward to kiss the bottom of Lily’s Hogwarts robes. “My Princess,”

“Narcissa, you said that you’re good at Mind Arts. How good?” she asked.

Narcissa looked shy as she admitted “Very good, my Princess. In fact, I think that my aptitude for Mind Arts is the reason that my lack of devotion to your father hasn’t been noticed.”

Thinking back, Lily realized that she really hadn’t been very good at reading Narcissa’s mind. She’d gotten impressions of her feelings, but that had mostly been due to body language or her tone of voice, which she now realized could be faked. Narcissa was a daughter of the House of Black, and a Slytherin - there was no way her emotions were actually as evident as the ones she showed on her face. Her underestimation of Narcissa had almost been a huge problem, and she was sure that her father’s underestimation of Narcissa would be an even larger one.

“How did you get so good?” she asked.

Narcissa shrugged. “It became a useful skill around my father,” she answered, but Lily couldn’t read any of the underlying emotions, and when she actively tried to use Legilimency on Narcissa, she found herself coming up against a barrier, and pressure grew in her head until she withdrew the spell.

Narcissa looked at her with a wry expression. “And now you know how good at it I can be. I don’t usually have this level of shielding around you, but I can raise it with little effort, or otherwise disguise my thoughts with a method that requires more finesse.”

“Can you teach me?” Lily asked. “Otherwise… well, I mean, around him, a secret’s only as secure as the person least able to keep it.”

“Something you would know well,” Narcissa nodded, her expression somber. “Of course, my Princess. Although I do think you’ll rather be a natural, as you’re a natural at Legilimency.”

“I’ve practiced Legilimency!” Lily protested, earning a soft chuckle from Narcissa.

“Yes, I’m sure you have. But you’re also gifted - Magic has surely given her chosen Princess a natural advantage in this area. The most nearly all wixen your age can do is vaguely pick up on the emotions around them, and that’s after a lot of effort,” Narcissa explained, and Lily nodded. It was a relief to know that she was extraordinary, and more or less by her own rights, too - if her father’s power was fading, a simple connection to him wouldn’t mean that she stayed magically powerful.

“I mean, all of the wixen your age have only gone through two Formation Rites, if that,” Bellatrix’s distaste for the non-traditionalist education at Hogwarts was evident as she jumped into the conversation. “Powerful abilities at rare forms of magic, such as Legilimency and Occlumency, only tend to become evident when someone is either Bridging age or close to it.”

Lily looked down at her feet. “I haven’t had a Dedication. My father never had me have one, and I didn’t want to ask him for it if he didn’t think I was ready. Hermione hasn’t had one, either. Are we supposed to have?” she asked.

“When was your Presentation?” Bellatrix asked, raising an eyebrow.

“Mine was first year. And Hermione’s, obviously, was our second year,” Lily answered.

Bellatrix’s eyes turned into a glare, and again, she looked furtively at her Dark Mark, like she expected it to flare and cause her pain. “Children in Traditionalist families have their Dedications as soon as is reasonable, which is age eleven. Granted, there is supposed to be a year between the Presentation and Dedication, if they’re not combined, for someone who has been adopted into a Traditionalist family or is otherwise deciding to take the traditionalist path, but not more than that! He should’ve given you your Dedication sometime in your second year,” Bellatrix hissed.

“Maybe he was testing me to see how good I would be at getting him his Horcrux back before he would let me have a Dedication,” Lily muttered darkly.

“If that was the case, he risked making a mockery of our culture in the way Mudbloods do, and offending the Blessed Lady!” Bellatrix exclaimed.

Narcissa sighed. “See what I mean?”

“Well, he called me a slut, and he’s sticking my girlfriend with a Death Eater who he previously condemned as behaving inappropriately towards children of Magic after I asked him to, so I wouldn’t be surprised,”

The words came out of her mouth almost instinctively, and Bellatrix and Narcissa both gaped at her. “He what?” demanded Bellatrix. “What sort of monster is he?”

“A Dark Lord who isn’t a Champion of Magic?” Lily asked, voice dark. “Alternatively, one who wants to demoralize me because he can tell he’s losing power and is scared of it.”

“Bloody hell, he’s acting like such a teenager,” Narcissa cursed.

I’m a teenager,” Lily objected, irritated.

“And it says something that you’re approaching all this with a more level head than he is, doesn’t it, my Princess?” Narcissa asked.

“I suppose so,” Lily muttered. Some part of her still wanted to defend her father - probably the literal part of her that had his rune on her - but she was able to override it. “I mean, he did absorb the sixteen year old half of his soul. And it’s taken him over.”

Bellatrix’s expression was heartbroken. “Do you think that we… could save him? That maybe the other Horcruxes are more stable, and if they were added back, they would overpower the sixteen-year-old half of him? That maybe some part of him is good?”

“He’s never been good,” Lily said quietly, shaking his head. “He’s just been good at pretending to care.” Well, with the exception of the minute part of his soul that had been attached to her, but at this point, it was pretty clear that he’d only gained the capacity to love because of his connection to Lily, someone whose unorthodox capacity to care about others had enabled her to bring Dementors back to life.

Chapter Text

Soon after their conversation about whether her father was redeemable, Bellatrix mumbled her excuses and Apparated back to Lestrange Castle. Lily looked at Narcissa, nervous. “I can’t tell Hermione about any of this unless she’s trained in the Mind Arts. And I’m sure she won’t be a liability in… other ways,”

“Bellatrix can attempt to train her in Occlumency,” Narcissa answered. “Provided she doesn’t go too far with it, it can be deniable to the Dark Lord what she’s doing. And you… Lily, you have Legilimency abilities that are better than nearly everyone, with the former exception of Severus Snape and the possible exception of the Dark Lord himself. All that’s needed to teach Occlumency is the ability to perform Legilimency, and knowledge of how to perform Occlumency. And well, I’m sure you wouldn’t want me invading the mind of your girlfriend.”

“But that would mean I’d need to wait to teach her Occlumency until I knew it myself,” Lily said in a slow voice. “Leaving her mind unguarded and vulnerable to the Dark Lord until that happened. Which could take a while.” She thought about how in second year, her father had entered Hermione’s dreams and… well, she didn’t know what the things he had done counted as now. She didn’t want to think of her father as having done that crime, but he was a Dark Lord. And Dark Lords did what they wanted. Regardless, she knew that when her father wanted someone, he didn’t just stop wanting them. And she knew the ways he punished people - people like Hermione, who had failed him. She didn’t want Hermione’s mind to be unguarded.

“Teach her at the same time you teach me,” Lily instructed Narcissa.

“My Princess, are you sure?” Narcissa asked, appearing anxious.

“Yes, I’m sure. Contact Draco, tell him to have Hermione go to the manor,” Lily instructed her.

Narcissa was startled, but she bowed her head in acknowledgement and grabbed a piece of paper to write a short note on, then fed it into the fireplace in Bellatrix’s bedroom, which Lily realized must have been a modified version of a Floo gate.

“She’ll come through here,” Narcissa explained. “That way, Lucius won’t be able to track her movement.”

Noting the bitter tone in Narcissa’s voice, Lily looked up at her, biting her lip. “Narcissa… I know Lucius is abusive to Draco. Physically. Is he abusive in any other way?”

“I…” Narcissa stuttered, clearly not wanting to tell Lily the answer to her question.

“You wanted to make sure you could see Hermione before she became your and Lucius’s daughter, privately. You could’ve just had her come to the sitting room, like she has many times before, safely, and then come to Bellatrix’s room for Occlumency lessons, but you want Lucius to have no indication of her being in the house. You were horrified upon hearing that my father called me a slut - he called Hermione one too. And I think we all know by now that certain forms of punishment are not foreign concepts to him. You are my Death Eater, Narcissa. Answer my question. Has Lucius sexually abused Draco, and do you think he’ll sexually abuse Hermione?” Lily demanded, staring Narcissa down.

Narcissa’s lip trembled. “Yes,” she answered, in a whisper.

Barely containing the rage in her voice at Voldemort and Lucius, Lily continued staring at Narcissa. “I’m sure you know this, but you are to ensure that Hermione is hurt the least amount possible by your husband, while not attracting negative attention from the Dark Lord. She is mine, and if she is hurt in a way that could be reasonably avoided, it will be your pretty head on the line.”

“Of course, my Princess,” Narcissa answered, her voice hoarse. “I… have you considered revealing information on the Dark Side to say, McGonagall? Or someone else on the Light Side? I wouldn’t exactly recommend it, but they might be able to end the atrocities.”

Lily shook her head. “I am the chosen princess of a deity who, well… Her Champion was my father for a while. If I want to actually end this, actually have power and be able to protect the people I love, I need to do what She wants. And She wouldn’t want me to side with the light side, people who destroy all the traditions and treat magic as a parlor trick. Regardless of how horrified they might be by the actions of people like Lucius and my father. And besides…” Lily squared her shoulders. “I don’t want to side with them. They abandoned me for ten years with people who were horrifically abusive to me, and planned to raise me as a sacrifice, and they’d abandoned me with the Dursleys because they wanted me to be conditioned into thinking I wasn’t worthy of being more than a sacrifice to destroy Voldemort. The only thing that’s ever actually been there for me has been Magic. I’m not going to turn away from Her now.”

Narcissa nodded, hands still shaking slightly. “I just… you’re a child. And you’re not going to have someone like me. Someone to protect you from the worst of your father’s punishments.”

Bitterly, Lily shook her head. “I’m not a child anymore. I stopped being a child when I killed Colin Creevey and incriminated Fred for his death. And I don’t deserve someone to protect me from him.”

Narcissa’s mouth opened, whether it was in shock at Lily’s statement or to say something, Lily didn’t know. But she didn’t say anything, merely pointed to the fireplace. Lily turned around.

In the fireplace, Hermione stood, covered with soot, and looking at Lily with a horrified expression. “I’ll protect you?” she squeaked out.

Chapter Text

Great. How much did she hear? Lily wondered, looking at Hermione with competing feelings playing a tug of war in her heart. The Dark Princess in her was furious that things weren’t going to plan, and that Hermione now probably knew something that could endanger her, Lily, Narcissa and Bellatrix. But the side of her who cared for Hermione in a way that wasn’t just fire, who sent her away sometimes because she knew that she couldn’t always control herself, pitied her.

“That’s… very sweet, Hermione,” Lily answered, trying not to sound as unsteady as she felt.

“So you’ve decided? You’re going to work against him, from the inside?” Hermione asked.

Lily nodded, feeling a little terrified. She hadn’t intended for Hermione to find out like this. She hadn’t intended Hermione to find out at all, unless she was confident that she would be able to shield her thoughts from the Dark Lord.

Hermione then turned to Narcissa. “And Lucius… you and Lucius are going to be my adoptive family?”

Hermione wasn’t stupid, even if she was a little naive sometimes, and Lily could tell that she knew what the implications of the conversation she’d overheard between Lily and Narcissa were. And to her eternal credit, she hadn’t broken down crying. Lily wondered if somehow, in the back of her mind, Hermione knew that she’d already been violated by a much older man - or maybe the Mudblood scar on her arm was close enough to what Lucius wanted for it to feel like it would be nothing new.

Narcissa nodded. “He’s not exactly a good father. That’s why I wanted to call you here. The skill that Princess Lily has, Legilimency, there’s a counterpart. It’s called Occlumency, and it allows the caster to shield their thoughts from a Legilimens or other similar things, like Veritaserum. To be honest, what’s gotten me through decades of marriage with Lucius has been various kinds of Mind Arts, but most importantly Occlumency and Legilimency. And obviously, now that you know about Princess Lily’s true allegiances and plan to sabotage the Dark Lord from the inside, Occlumency ability will be vital to ensure your survival and hers.”

“Gotten me through decades of marriage…” Hermione echoed, expression haunted. She looked like she was about to cry. Reacting almost-instantly, Lily swiped her wand through the air, creating a barrier that obscured Narcissa from both viewing and hearing Lily and Hermione’s conversations. Finding a chair in the corner of the room, Lily sat down and beckoned for Hermione to sit on her lap.

Hermione curled up in Lily’s lap, and Lily curled a protective arm around her. “Is this what it’s like for everyone like us?” Hermione asked Lily, a few tears running down her face.

“What’s this?” Lily asked, trying to be gentle but at the same time feeling hot anger towards the people who had hurt and were still hurting Hermione.

“The way people are treated. You, me, Narcissa, Nymphadora, Eva…” Hermione was shaking. “Does everyone like us just have to barely survive this world and the men in it? Eva almost died because of how her parents reacted to her transition. Nymphadora was probably more or less raised to be Lupin’s future wife. Nova and Ginny were hurt by women, but how much of that was because they were trying to make them perfect for a Dark Lord or Dumbledore? I’m not an outlier for having scars, mine are just visible.”

“Kind of fucking ironic, isn’t it, when most of the men you’re talking about, who’ve hurt us, claim to be devoted worshippers of a deity who is a woman?” Lily snorted.

Hermione buried her face in Lily’s robes. “Is it stupid that this is what I’m crying about?”

“No. You’re crying about it because it feels hopeless, right?” Lily asked.

Hermione nodded, small.

“It’s not,” Lily insisted. “It can’t be. Narcissa is teaching us how to fight back, and I have a plan. My father is losing his power, and I’m gaining what he’s losing. It’s not hopeless.”

Hermione nodded again.

Lily looked at the barrier between them and Narcissa, and then back at Hermione. “Ready for Occlumency lessons now?”

***

“Do you know where your cousin is held captive?” Lily asked Narcissa, after she and Hermione had finished a grueling Occlumency lesson. She’d assumed that he was held captive in Slytherin Manor, but she realized she’d never actually figured out for sure where he was, since her only instructions had been for Bellatrix to “take care” of him. She really knew nothing about what decisions her father made. She was in the mood for torturing someone, but there was no way she was going to go to Slytherin Manor right now with her defenses this lowered.

“He’s in the dungeons of Castle Lestrange, my Princess,” Narcissa answered, and Lily smirked. Good. A man she could hurt without risking anything or betraying anything about what she was feeling. It would be perfectly acceptable for the Crown Princess of the Dark Side, heiress of Salazar Slytherin, to ruthlessly torture a former member of the Order of the Phoenix.

“Come on, Hermione. We’re going on a field trip.” Lily said, then grabbed Hermione’s hand and stepped into the Floo gate. “Castle Lestrange!”

***

Castle Lestrange was a little drafty, but nothing that Lily couldn’t handle. She found herself in one of what she was sure was many kitchens, but thankfully, Bellatrix’s husband happened to be reading a newspaper at a table in the kitchen. “My Princess,” he immediately said, bowing to her. “Hermione.”

“Big house,” Lily remarked, smirking.

Rodolphus shrugged. “It happens when you’re technically the earl of Breadalbane and Holland.”

Hermione looked at Rodolphus in shock. “Wait, so I’m technically nobility?”

“Technically. Sort of. Not really, since you’re not legally adopted into the family. But I certainly think you should be,” Rodolphus said.

“What a sweet father,” Lily said in a bitter voice, a little disillusioned with most men at the moment. “Anyway, I want to see the prisoner. Where is the blood traitor Sirius Black?”

“Of course, my Princess,” was Rodolphus’s response, as he held out a hand for her to apparate to the dungeons.

Chapter Text

As Lily and Hermione descended into the dungeons of Castle Lestrange, Lily was excited. Somehow she doubted that her dear grandfather knew about how his husband had disregarded wizarding tradition by marrying someone in the Muggle world and trying to claim both marriages as valid. She smirked, sure that this would be more unsettling than a simple torture curse. She couldn’t wait to torture the beloved husband of the man who had put a dent in her picture-perfect image of being the princess of the Light Side.

Sirius was in a small cell, with just a straw pallet and a chamber pot as amenities, and there were steel cuffs encircling each of his wrists, which Lily presumed removed his ability to perform magic. She didn’t feel much magic coming from him at all.

“Lily!” Sirius’s eyes were wild as he stood up and ran to the edge of the cell, clutching the bars in his hands, a picture of desperation. “Thank God you’re here.”

“Which God is that?” Lily scoffed, voice full of contempt. “The one who your husband’s Muggle marriage was performed in the name of? Or the actual goddess who gave you the birthright you’ve so disregarded?”

“What?” Sirius looked at Lily, his expression blank. “Remus married again? In the Muggle world?”

“Yes. He married Nymphadora Tonks,” Lily answered.

Sirius burst out laughing. “Bloody hell, Lily, you really are just like your father.”

Hermione looked at Lily with a confused expression. Lily rolled her eyes. “I’m not a joker like James Potter. I’m Lily Slytherin. He’s not my father. And I’m not lying to you.”

“You’re actually serious?” Sirius asked. Lily nodded. “That bastard.” Sirius hissed, slumping against the straw pallet in his cell.

“They married on her seventeenth birthday, with Ted and Andromeda Tonks as witnesses,” Lily said. “The same people who married the two of you, apparently. And then, get this, Lupin tried to make the Ministry give custody of me from the Rosiers to him, because he was tangentially related to me and your husband. Probably because he wanted to do the same thing with me that he did with Nymphadora, just, you know, he’d have to divorce you first, and the fact that you’d escaped Azkaban and were a violent criminal would be the perfect way to make that divorce go through.”

Sirius shook his head in shock. “No wonder Lily and James decided not to have him as their Secret Keeper. And after all we did to support him, he turns out to be like this…”

“You married the perv. And because of that, I had to sit through a Ministry hearing where they decided whether or not he’d become my legal guardian. And because of that, a Death Eater was removed from a position at Hogwarts, and we lost our only adult on the inside.” Lily didn’t want to let Sirius know there was another Death Eater employed at Hogwarts, in the case of him getting out and revealing that to the Light Side, however slim the chance was with him in the magic-blocking cuffs. “Crucio,” she yelled, hurling the torture curse at him.

She relished how he screamed, begged for her to stop, told her that he still believed in her and that she didn’t have to hurt him. The only thing that gave her pause was when he yelled “Your mother’s alive!”

She stopped the curse, and as soon as she did, Sirius started babbling, talking about how Lily Senior had survived the attack on Godric’s Hollow because she was an Animagus, and that she was a white owl Animagus - the owl Lily currently knew as Hedwig. It seemed that he thought that if he gave her useful information, he’d be exempted from the Cruciatus Curse. The funny thing, though, was that he clearly thought she was torturing him because she wanted some sort of reaction out of him, when the only reason she was torturing him was because she could and she was sadistic.

“I knew that, you idiot,” she cut him off, rolling her eyes. “I’ve met her.”

“You - how?” Sirius stared at her in shock.

“Doesn’t matter. All that matters is she’s on my side. And you’re not. There’s only one way you’ll get out of this jail cell, and only one way I can save you. I doubt you like being cooped up in a dungeon and intermittently tortured by your least favorite cousin.”

“Wh-what way?” Sirius asked.

Lily smirked. True, her mother wasn’t exactly quite on her side as much as, say, Bellatrix, but that would come with time. “Pledge to follow me, and fight for the right side. The side that preserves traditions, and actually has power. The side that your only remaining family that isn’t either a child abuse apologist or dead is on. Take my Dark Mark. Declare 12 Grimmauld Place to belong to me. And you’ll be free.”

Your Dark Mark?” Sirius asked, raising an eyebrow. “As opposed to his?”

My Dark Mark. A Mark I control,” Lily wasn’t sure if she was bluffing or not. She supposed she would see when she tried to mark him. But if she really was gaining the power that her father was losing… it should be possible.

Sirius sighed, then looked up at Lily with tired eyes. “What the hell. It can’t be worse than Azkaban.”

Lily unlatched the bars of the jail cell with a waved hand, and then walked in. She took out her wand and put the tip of it on Sirius’s forearm, choosing his right arm instead of the normal left, and muttered the Latin words she’d heard the Dark Lord say while marking Death Eaters. She closed her eyes and focused on what the Mark would look like on Sirius’s arm, how much he would belong to her, and how he’d said that he would. She felt a massive amount of energy surge through her, and her vision whited out. As she fell into Hermione’s arms, she heard her godfather say, “What the bloody hell.”

Chapter Text

When Lily came back to awareness, she was spread out on a bed in one of Castle Lestrange’s many bedrooms, a luxuriously soft blanket on top of her. She blinked her eyes open and sat up, trying to remember what had happened, but the last thing she remembered was falling into Hermione’s arms after attempting to Mark Sirius. And neither Hermione nor Sirius were here, but at least the rune on her chest wasn’t burning, so she was pretty sure the Dark Lord hadn’t figured out what she’d tried to do.

If she strained, she could hear an argument, and she realized that it was between Bellatrix and Rodolphus. She clenched her fists, a little scared of the fact that the person who she knew supported her was arguing with the person who Castle Lestrange belonged to, who was a member of her father’s Inner Circle, and who would probably not hesitate to tell her father what had happened to gain political clout - or who knew, maybe do something worse. It was a little strange that his twin daughters were so sexually masochistic at such a young age, but maybe that was just because of the inbreeding that the Lestrange family was known for.

“… rebelling against our Lord, the Champion of Magic! We can’t support her, at least not if we want to be favored by the Blessed Lady in our next life. And Lady Magic is a powerful and vengeful goddess, I don’t think I need to remind you of that,” Rodolphus was hissing to Bellatrix.

“For the last time, Rodolphus, I did not end up with horrible parents because of disobeying the Blessed Lady in a previous life, and I wasn’t put in Azkaban because of that either! Humans have free will, and my parents and the Light idiots will be punished for using theirs in disgraceful ways. Besides, she clearly is the chosen heir! She Marked someone at age thirteen, prior to Dedication even, and her Mark includes a phoenix. A symbol of rebirth!” Bellatrix hissed back at her husband.

“She’s a daughter of Slytherin, of course she can, power is not an indicator of favor - look at Dumbledore!” protested Rodolphus.

“Oh, please. You think any skilled and properly Formed Dark Witch or Wizard couldn’t beat Dumbledore in terms of power, if not for his possession of the Elder Wand?” scoffed Bellatrix. “The only reason he’s so powerful is because he has it and because a wizard who should be able to take him down can’t because of some childhood fear!”

“Don’t speak that way of our Lord,” was Rodolphus’s response, but it didn’t sound like a command, and his voice was tinged with fear.

“I did, and nothing happened. He can’t hurt me for saying the wrong thing anymore, or thinking the wrong thing. His power is fading, and being given to Princess Lily,” Bellatrix scoffed. “If the Dark Lord was truly as powerful as one who is intended to fulfill the prophecy is supposed to be, wouldn’t he be able to instantly tell that one of his Inner Circle is wavering in his devotion? Wouldn’t we be dead on the spot, or tortured for eternity? And yes, you’re wavering, I can tell. We’re Bonded.”

Lily could hear Rodolphus sigh. “I… I suppose you have a point. But what does this mean?”

“Well, I rather think that’s up to the Princess,” was Bellatrix’s curt response.

***

Deciding she’d heard enough, Lily got out of the bed, and walked into the library where Rodolphus and Bellatrix had been having their… conversation. Rodolphus’s expression was a mix of disbelief and awe, and he stood up to bow to her, kissing the bottom of her robes. “Lady Champion,” he murmured as he stood up. Lily was confused - didn’t that title belong to her father? - but she didn’t want to dissuade any loyalty from one of her Death Eaters, and besides, it felt surprisingly right, more right than “Chosen Princess”.

“Where’s Hermione?” Lily asked, looking at Rodolphus. “And where’s my newest Death Eater?”

“Black is… in his own room, in the guest wing of the castle,” was Rodolphus’s answer. “And Hermione is further in the library, reading.”

Upon looking, Lily could see that the arguing couple had cast a barrier between them and Hermione, blocking noise so she couldn’t hear what they were saying - but apparently they hadn’t thought to block noise on all sides. “Take us to him,” she instructed Rodolphus.

“Of course, my Lady,” Rodolphus said, and after Bellatrix retrieved Hermione, extended an arm to each of the girls so he could Side-Along Aparate them to Sirius’s room. Lily was a little suspicious that maybe him addressing her as Lady Champion and “my Lady” had been a ruse so he could make her complacent and deliver her to her father for punishment, but she figured she was being needlessly paranoid and took Rodolphus’s left arm while Hermione took his right.

Thankfully, they did arrive in Sirius’s room unharmed. Lily’s godfather stood up and bowed to her like Rodolphus had, also addressing her as “my Lady”. It still felt right.

“I want to see your Mark.” Lily instructed Sirius, and he nodded, rolling his sleeve up. Lily reached out a finger to trace the delicate Mark on his arm, a gesture Sirius winced at. Indeed, there was a Dark Mark there, proudly gleaming up at Lily, but it wasn’t quite the same as the normal Mark that was on Death Eaters who belonged to her father. In addition to the snake descending from the skull, there was a phoenix, gripping the snake’s body with its talons, with wings spread. Hermione, Bellatrix and Rodolphus all also looked at the Mark in awe, and eventually Lily removed her finger from the Mark, satisfied with what she’d apparently made and still a little shocked.

“I suppose this means you really will have to dedicate yourself to that Magic goddess,” Sirius said, smiling up at Lily and attempting to diffuse some of the tension.

Shit. Yeah. She really did.

Chapter Text

Lily and Hermione returned to Hogwarts Sunday afternoon, with Hermione still looking at Lily like she was some sort of goddess. Truth be told, Lily didn’t really mind, even though she was just as amazed by what she’d done. She wondered if this was what it had been like when her father had made his first Dark Mark on someone, if people had looked at him like he was a god. With the combination of that and being the prince of Slytherin House, no wonder he’d turned into the kind of Dark Lord he was now.

“I guess tomorrow I find out if I’m going to be living with the Malfoys,” Hermione said, in a resigned voice, once they were back in the Gryffindor common room.

“Yeah,” Lily said, looking down. It was ironic that despite the Ministry being famously neutral or light-aligned, her father could still have so much influence over it. Then again, she supposed he rather was like Horace Slughorn in terms of his tendency to collect people - only better at it, because you couldn’t just leave the Dark Side.

“Whatever happened to Ginny?” Hermione asked, furrowing her eyebrows and pretty clearly worrying that something similar to being adopted by the Malfoys or Remus Lupin had happened to her.

“She’s got the Snydes for guardians now,” George answered, sitting down on the arm of Hermione’s chair, and glaring. “Which is just lovely, considering that they’re pure-blood supremacists and really into incest.”

“Isn’t that most of the Dark Side?” Lily snorted, and Hermione looked at her with confusion.

But George smiled approvingly, although his expression looked like he was trying to figure out why he still didn’t like Lily. “More like all of the Dark Side.”

“The Snydes were the family that Dumbledore threatened to place with me after my aunt and uncle died,” Lily said, shaking her head. “I really hope they’re not going to hurt Ginny.”

“They better not. Or I’ll Avada Kedavra them. I don’t care if it’s ‘unforgivable’,” George said the last bit in a mocking tone, then looked at Lily with a little concern.

Lily shrugged. “I’m not going to go telling people that you’re evil because you said you’d kill someone who abused your sister. Hell, I think abusers deserve Azkaban or death, certainly much more than anyone who casts spells in self defense or the defense of others to neutralize them.” Little did George know that she had been the one who’d cast the Killing Curse on her own guardian. She could tell him that to bond with him, but that seemed like a terrible idea considering the connection he might have with his twin.

“Amen, Girl Who Lived,” George said, high-fiving her, although there still seemed to be doubt in his eyes. “I’d certainly say that He Who Must Not Be Named counts as someone who has been abusive to you.”

You have no idea, Lily thought as the conversation around them continued.

**

The next day, Hermione was pulled out of Potions class to be updated on the Ministry case. It appeared that the administration of the school knew that Potions was really the most useless class with Slughorn in charge. Sure, the class was fun, but they weren’t following the curriculum in the slightest, as Lily knew from what Hermione had complained about. Of course, when Hermione came back into Potions, she was putting on a smile, but Lily could tell that she wasn’t actually happy, and she knew that the Malfoys were her new official guardians.

“I’ll make the best of it. Just like you’re doing,” Hermione said in a quiet voice as she slid into the chair next to Lily.

And Narcissa will protect you, or I swear by the Blessed Lady, she will feel my wrath, Lily thought, squeezing Hermione’s hand.

One thing was sure - Narcissa wasn’t going to be able to protect Hermione completely. Even if she was teaching Hermione Occlumency. So Lily needed to continue to develop her own magical skills, and continue quietly acquiring followers who preferred her over her father. And the first step to that was having her Dedication.

***

As Lily prepared for her Dedication in the bathroom of Number 13 Grimmauld Place, she couldn’t help but feel angry. She knew that anger wasn’t a productive emotion to be having right before a ritual of dedication to Magic, but her mind kept on wandering to what her Dedication would have probably looked like had she been treated as befitted a princess of Magic, if her father hadn’t turned into the amalgamation of his soul bits that he was, or well, honestly, if he’d been a good Dark Lord in the first place. As it was, the roster of attendees at her Dedication was limited to individuals that she knew unquestionably she could trust - specifically, the Lestrange family, Narcissa, Draco, Eva Rosier, Percy and Ginny, Hermione, her mother, Nova Prewett, and of course her Sponsor. She was fully aware of the irony of the man who had kidnapped her earlier in the year being her Sponsor, but he was her godfather, had gone through the three formation rites as someone who had grown up in a Traditionalist family, and was thus the most appropriate person to be her Sponsor in the absence of her biological, adoptive and foster parents being unsuitable for being her Sponsors themselves.

Plus, he was her Death Eater. So that meant she automatically knew she could trust him more.

Percy and Hermione were still completely befuddled at the fact that Ginny and Draco were attending Lily’s dedication as a couple. Honestly, they were an odd couple. But at least their relationship was another assurance of Ginny’s loyalty.

Once Lily had completed her bath, she descended down the staircase, adorned in a gown in the colors of Slytherin House, with a ruby necklace, the gems being those that were of Lady Magic. She entered the kitchen, which had been rearranged and magically expanded to host her Dedication, and walked into the center of the ritual circle.

She looked around the circle, seeing the encouraging gazes of her family and friends, and felt a pang of bitter sadness that her father wasn’t there, and it had to be secret from him, and cleared her throat. “I, Lily Dorea Slytherin, blessed to be an acknowledged daughter of Magic, chosen to bear the precious gift by right of blood and by the will of the Lady do this day declare my intention to serve and honor that which is my birthright,” Lily could feel the weight of her words, truly committing to not just serving Magic but serving her as the Champion that she had been unexpectedly chosen to become, and she looked at Sirius, so he could continue the ritual.

“My child, do you know what it is you swear?”

Voice shaking, Lily answered, knowing exactly what it was she was swearing. “I have chosen to dedicate myself to the service of Magic, as is the right and the rightful role of all of Her children, and I ask the right to swear this before the witnesses of this Circle.”

Sirius turned to the group, asking “Will you stand witness to the oath given by this daughter of Magic?”

All except for Lily’s mother, who hadn’t done any of the Formation rites, answered as they had learned to, as one. “We will with honor and gladness, if we might but be assured of her sincerity, for none but the truly certain may presume to make the honorable yet life changing choice of pledging themselves to Lady Magic.”

Sirius nodded in acceptance, and then asked Lily, “Will you prove yourself before these witnesses and our eternal Lady who provides the flame of our power?”

“I will,” Lily answered. She could feel all of the Marks on the people in the circle who she had control over burning, just a small amount of the flame of power Magic had granted her.

“Proceed, in full knowledge of the significance of that which you are about to do,” said Sirius.

Lily bowed to him and stepped behind the altar, picking up her athame, which would see its first use in this ritual, breath catching not due to the fact that she was going to make a blood sacrifice but due to the significance of what she was doing. She slashed her palm, and as the blood flowed out, moved her palm over the three runes carved into the thick red candle in the center of the altar. The runes began to glow, as Lily had been told they would, and as she spoke the words of the ritual, the glow steadily increased. “I make an offering of my very lifeblood, into which Lady Magic has seen fit to bestow her precious gift, that all may know the truthfulness and strength of my vow.”

As she spoke the last word of the ritual, the light coming from the runes seemed to explode, temporarily blinding all in the ritual circle and then bathing it in a soft red light reminiscent of firelight. Everyone in the circle looked at each other in awe, with Lily’s mother appearing particularly confused. Regaining her composure, Narcissa started speaking the next part of the ritual, and the others joined in. “We are pleased and honored to stand witness to the Dedication of this honest and sincere daughter of Magic.”

Lily then picked up the white candle from the end of the altar, and lit the red rune-colored candle, proclaiming “I, Lily Dorea Slytherin, do hereby pledge to serve and honor Magic. I will seek to understand the will of the Lady and will to the best of my ability to keep the traditions which honor Magic as She should be honored. I make this pledge in recognition and thanksgiving for the precious gift which has been granted me, and this I swear on my honor and for the honor of my blood through the ages forevermore.”

Exhausted, Lily put down the white candle, and Sirius proudly announced. “The pledge is witnessed and another of Magic’s chosen children in Dedicated to her service in her honor. Congratulations and blessings to Lily on her path.”

Chapter Text

After the circle was broken, the adults rearranged the kitchen again so that it was less somber. Lily’s mother still looked awed at what had happened during Lily’s Dedication - how there had been an actual reaction from Magic, and how intense the reaction had been, and was going about her part of the rearranging while looking a little dazed. Bellatrix looked a little amused by the whole situation.

“I don’t think anyone here has ever attended a Dedication so intense,” Eva Rosier said, looking up at Lily in awe when she came to sit down at a table with her, Nova and Percy.

“Well, I am Lady Magic’s Champion,” Lily said with a smirk.

Eva nodded politely, her eyes dodging between Lily and the adults in the room - specifically Sirius, who proudly wore his Dark Mark on the “wrong” arm. “My Lady, I graduate from Hogwarts this year. As does Percy.”

“I know,” Lily answered Eva. It was truly a problem that two of the most talented and loyal Dark witches at Hogwarts were going to be leaving in June. She didn’t understand why Eva felt that she had to bring this up during a celebration.

“You’re Marking your own Death Eaters. Now, obviously, with Black, it’s not like your father was going to try to get him to take his Mark, but… well, Percy and I are a different case. Your father has told me outright that he wants me to take the Dark Mark when I graduate from Hogwarts, and though it’s not certain that he’ll want Percy as soon as he’ll want me, it’s still a concern. Do you have any plans for this?” She asked.

Lily breathed in sharply. “I’m coming up with something. I’ll let you know soon.” Truthfully, she didn’t have any plans yet, but it wasn’t like she could tell Eva and Percy that. They’d just be worried, or worse, look down on her.

“Of course, my Lady,” Eva nodded. Lily shivered a little. It was still weird to have people calling her “my Lady”. She obviously knew she was better for the position than her father, and it felt right, but that didn’t make it any less disorienting.

***

The rest of the evening was filled with celebration, including a decadent red velvet cake that Narcissa had made, with a flame symbol standing on top of it. Lily was exhausted when she collapsed in her bed in the Gryffindor common room. Thankfully, it had been a Hogsmeade weekend, so nobody had really noticed her absence.

She fell asleep practically as soon as her head hit the pillow, and upon falling asleep, fell into a dream that felt as real as the times two different versions of her father had entered some sort of dream realm with her. She felt small, although she couldn’t get a proper look at her body, only her hands as she played in a warm meadow, as birds, mostly crows, crowded around her affectionately in a way that Lily thought only happened in Disney movies. Lily was certain it wasn’t a memory of her childhood with the Dursleys or even her birth parents. That became even more clear when a voice called out “Morrigan, time for supper!” in a genial Irish accent.

In the dream, Lily felt herself turn to the birds surrounding her and smile at them, telling them in a similar accent that she’d be back the next day. The birds looked at her inquisitively as she got up and ran as fast as her little legs could carry her to the cottage in the distance, but didn’t chase her.

“It really is funny that the Muggles think Gran was a goddess,” Lily heard the man chuckle to one of the other women in the room. She turned her face towards the woman, who was also smiling.

“Well, luv, we rather have the powers of the divine in the Muggles’ minds, thanks to the Blessed Lady,” the woman said, smiling. Lily’s eyes were drawn to the gold pin on her shirt, which resembled the entwined snakes on the gate of the Chamber of Secrets.

A sharp laugh came from the other woman at the table, and as soon as Lily looked at her, she felt a bolt of fear. “We may as well be deities to them,” she said. The other man and the woman looked at her with a disappointed look on their faces, and barely before Lily’s fear faded, the scene changed.

***

Once again, she was in the cottage, but the scene was no longer idyllic. She was still nearly as young, and she was crouching in the shadows of the cottage as it burned, the flames getting dangerously close to her. She was shuddering, tears running down her face, as she sat behind the bodies of the man and first woman, who she knew instinctively must have been her parents, their bodies battered and covered in burns.

The second woman’s voice came, distressed this time. “Morrigan? Where are you, dear?” Frozen in terror, Lily - or whoever was in the dream - was unable to respond, and didn’t say anything until the second woman ran into the house, and grabbed her arm, pulling her out of the flames. “Aunt Gormlaith?” she choked out.

“Yes, dear, it’s me. I’ll get you out of here, and safely away from these lunatics,” the woman’s voice said, and while thirteen-year-old Lily was not convinced that “Aunt Gormlaith” had her best interests at heart, the young girl in the dream certainly was. She clung to the woman as she was swept up into her arms, shaking, and curled into her chest, head bumping up against the same golden pin that her mother had worn.

***

The scene in her mind flashed again, and Lily, older than she was currently, was grabbing the gold pin off of a nightstand in a room that looked uncannily like her father’s bedroom in Slytherin Manor. Her breath caught as she held the gold pin in her hand, and she felt hot tears running down her face as she fastened it onto her sweater. Breathing in deeply, she reached out for the wand that was also on the nightstand, and clasped it in her hand, and felt the power of the wand reverberate within her.

“Put down the wand, child, and come towards me,” Gormlaith’s voice came from behind her, commanding and no longer holding any of the softness it had shown to the young girl.

Lily turned around, anger burning in her eyes. “No.”

“Please, just put the wand down. We can talk about this!” Gormlaith plead.

“I won’t let you hurt people anymore. Avada Kedavra,” Lily heard the girl’s voice say, and as a bolt of green light flew out of the wand, she awoke in her bed in the Gryffindor dormitory with a shock.

She knew what she had to do.