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The Minister of Magic and the Dark Lord, Marvolo Slytherin, was on his way to Gringotts to check upon his accounts and vaults. It was a monthly occurrence but usually, it was Lucius who handled them on Marvolo's behalf. The Malfoy Head's prior arrangements that day, however, forced Marvolo to walk down through the busy alley.

Today, the crowd in Diagon Alley was bustling. It was August after all, and the month of August always brought frantic parents along with their excited wards to shop for the school supplies. Passing by, he witnessed friends hugging each other and asking about each other's summer; chatting and gossiping right in the middle of the alley. A group of children was huddled in front of Quality Quidditch Supplies, ogling owlishly at the latest broom model. Flourish and Blotts was tightly packed, so was Florean Fortescue's Ice-cream Parlour and so was Madam Malkin's.

Marvolo, however, paid them no mind. He didn't have time to waste on observing stupid creatures that apparently had no goals and ambitions whatsoever in their short living lives. Internally, he wondered on how much everything had changed since the war had stopped. There was a time when these imbeciles were afraid to even leave their homes in the fear of being caught by Death Eaters. They were petrified to enough to not speak his name - Lord Voldemort - openly and boldly. When Marvolo had revealed his handsome face to the wizarding world later though, it felt like there was a switch in people's mind about him. No longer was he the snake-faced evil wizard who had tried to kill and torture them on numerous occasions. NO! He was the darling of Wizarding Britain now. The dashing Minister of Magic whose feet women worshiped, and other wizards were left envious of.

A soft whimpered voice caught Marvolo's attention as he reached the stairs of the Goblins' Bank. He saw a little girl, about three or four years of age in a baby blue sundress, sitting on the stairs of the bank. On close observation, he found that the child was crying and that her parents were nowhere in sight. He approached the petrified child slowly not wanting to startle her in any way. Marvolo crouched in front of her and spoke in as gentle voice as he could muster, "Hello there."

The small child looked at him with wide, fearful eyes and tried to back away from him.

"Hey there, I'm not going to hurt you, little one," he spoke, but the girl still seemed to be wary of him.

"Would you please tell me why you're sitting here, all alone, and crying, sweetheart?" Patience was never Marvolo's cup of tea. Nor was he the kind of person who helped others just for the sake of it and without any personal motivations. The fearful child in front of him though, rose a protective side in Marvolo, he never knew he had.

"I...I got lost," she spoke in a whispered tone, "I was with mama, and then...then," she hiccupped a bit in between sobs. "Then thewe waa so many people that I lost my mama's hand. I couldn't see mama, so I came hewe to the bank." By the time she was finished, fresh tears had spilled from her beautiful emerald eyes. Marvolo gently wiped the tears away; she didn't flinch away this time. Mama had said not to talk to strangers but this man seemed nice.

"It's okay, sweetheart. We'll find your mother, don't worry. She must already be looking for you."

Marvolo stood up to take the child in his arms but she didn't budge from her place. He understood her concerns and smiled slightly at her; she definitely was a smart child for her age. Marvolo kneeled down in front of her again, and spoke, "How about I tell you my name first? That way we won't be strangers, and then we can go find your mother."

She nodded slightly, and Marvolo extended his hand in a friendly gesture making the little girl giggle.

"Hello, my name is Marvolo," he said with a warm smile.

"Hello, Mista Mawolo, my name is Lily."

"Lily! What a beautiful name you have, little one." Lily gave him a shy smile, but a smile nonetheless, with a polite thank you. He quickly stood up with Lily in his arms and started walking through the busy alley.

"Now tell me little one, where did you see your mum last time?"

"We waa waiting outside ice-cweam shop. It was soo full, so mama and I waa waiting fo ouw tuwn."

The child didn't seem as hysterical as before which was a good sign according to him. He still couldn't understand though, why he was roaming Diagon Alley with a child in his arms. Other people were staring at them as if they had seen a ghost. The constant staring and whispers were starting to make Lily uncomfortable. It seemed like she was about to cry again. Not wanting to upset her anymore, the wizard quickly diverted the little one's attention.

"Well Lily, you never told me your mother's name. How are we gonna find her if I don't know her name?"

"Mama," she replied innocently.

"Of course, silly me," Marvolo muttered quietly, but the child continued anyway, "But Dobby calls mama, mistwess and aunt Mione calls mama Hawwie." Marvolo stopped dead in his tracks. He looked at Lily more closely now, and could see the resemblance more clearly. She had Potter's same unruly hair and striking green eyes. How could he have missed it? He internally chastised himself for being foolish and not observing the small child in his arms. But Marvolo still needed confirmation. This couldn't be her daughter, could she?

His stupor broke when Lily patted him gently on the cheeks, "Mista Mawolo, what happened? We have to find mama."

"Of course, sweetheart." He continued on his way towards the ice-cream shop.

"Lily, would you please tell me your full name?" He asked in a calm tone, not wanting to give her a hint of intrusion or anything of that sort.

"Lily Mione Potta. Lily afta my gwanma and Mione afta my aunt."

The duo soon reached in front of the packed ice-cream parlour. Lily was searching desperately, looking for her mother everywhere.

"LILY...Lily baby, where are you?" Marvolo heard and turned around to see a woman shouting frantically. For some unknown reason, his heart was beating wildly in his chest. Lily too pointed her fingers in the same direction, urging Marvolo to approach the woman.

"Excuse me," he spoke getting her attention and froze as soon as she turned around. The woman's attention, however, wasn't on him but the child in his arms.

"LILY!"

"Mama," taking her daughter hurriedly from his arms, Harriet Potter, the former girl-who-lived and his once arch nemesis, never saw Marvolo's expressions. She just wanted her baby to be safe. Hugging her daughter tightly to herself, Harriet rubbed her back gently and cooed to calm Lily down. She kissed Lily's head over and over.

"It's okay baby girl, it's okay. Mama's got you." Her mother's soothing words and kisses made Lily calm down.

"I'm sowwy mama. I got lost," she hiccupped as tears streamed down her face. "I got lost, so...so I went to the bank. Then he helped me to find you," Lily continued, pointing in her saviour's direction. Marvolo on his own part, didn't know how to digest this new information thrown at him, so he just stood there dumbfoundedly - like a statue.

"Thank you," Harriet said sincerely, as she fully turned her attention to the stunned wizard standing in front of her. She couldn't fathom the thought of what could have happened, had he not found Lily on time. Just the thought of her baby girl in danger made Harriet shiver in fright. On the other hand, she was also afraid of the questions she could read in Marvolo's eyes. She didn't want any confrontations here; she just wanted to take Lily within the safe confinements of their home. Her daughter, however, seemed to have others plans. Lily turned to Marvolo, and as if sensing the little one's thoughts, he took her and hugged her close. He had never been thanked this kindly before but Marvolo loved this gesture.

"Mama, can we pwease invite Mista Mawolo fo my biwthday pawty?" Lily asked with pleading eyes, and Harriet found her in a very awkward situation. Lily rarely asked for anything, so Harriet gave her a nod after few moments of pondering over, "If Lord Slytherin doesn't mind, then he's welcome, baby girl." Lily looked at Marvolo with a pouty face to which he absolutely couldn't refuse. There were questions in his mind which he wanted to ask Harriet badly. So maybe, this birthday party could give him the much-needed opportunity. He nodded in agreement and was soon engulfed in another hug by the toddler. Right now though the little girl seemed enthusiastic instead of upset, and Marvolo couldn't help but chuckle at her antics.

"Lily baby, its time to go home," Harriet drew her daughter's attention.

"Bye, Mista Mawolo," Lily bid farewell to her new friend.

"Thank you again, Lord Slytherin. I'm not sure what would have happened if you wouldn't have helped her," Harriet's heart constricted at the various possibilities her daughter could have been in.

"You're quite welcome. I'll see and Lily later then?" Marvolo asked with a bit of hope in his voice.

"Of course. I'll send you a Portkey along with the invitation. The party is on Saturday if that's all right."

"That'll be good."

Nodding to him, Harriet soon left Diagon Alley while Marvolo gazed at her retreating form as she protectively held her daughter.

That night, sleep was hard to come by.


The next morning, Marvolo quickly flooed to Malfoy Manor. Lucius and Narcissa came to the living room too, not wanting to make the Dark Lord wait any longer.

"Lucius, what information do you have on Harriet Potter?" Marvolo asked as he gratefully accepted the offered tea. The Malfoy Head looked stricken for a moment at the abrupt question.

"Nothing much, my Lord. Just the fact that after announcing that she won't participate in the war, she left Britain and didn't come back. She didn't interfere any further, as she had said, and kept her end of the deal." This wasn't that he was looking for, because he himself had checked all the records but to no avail. He could feel that there was a much bigger picture behind all this. Sighing in defeat, he spoke again, "Narcissa I need your help."

Both Lucius and Narcissa were surprised. The Dark Lord rarely asked for Lady Malfoy's assistance.

"Of course, my Lord," she said firmly.

"I want help to pick an appropriate birthday present for a three-year-old girl," Marvolo said looking at her expectantly. Lucius choked on air, coughing loudly as Narcissa gently rubbed his back. Realising his mistake, Lucius straightened up quickly but found the Dark Lord amused instead of being angry.

"My Lord, I will definitely pick up a suitable present and get it delivered to your manor latest by this evening," Narcissa piped in the conversation.

"Oh no, Narcissa. I'll be going shopping with you, but I'll be in need of your suggestions for obvious reasons."

If Lucius had the energy, he could have fainted at that moment. But the Malfoy Head got hold of his senses and he asked boldly, "My Lord, would you mind if I could join you as well?"

"Of course not, Lucius. Your opinion too would be appreciated. I'll meet you both after an hour at my manor from where we'll leave to buy the present." With that, Marvolo quickly left, leaving behind a very confused Malfoy family.


Surprisingly, Narcissa led both men to a very nice children's store in Muggle London.

"Welcome to Baby Bugs and Butterflies. How can I help you?" one of the employees asked.

"We're looking for some nice dresses and matching accessories for a baby girl, three years of age," Narcissa spoke expertly. She figured if Marvolo wanted to gift something to someone personally, then that 'someone' would be extremely important, and only the best should be presented on the Dark Lord's behalf.

"Oh, of course. Please come this way." They were let to a large counter and Lucius sighed heavily, making Marvolo narrow his eyes at the blonde-haired man.

"What's the matter, Lucius?" The Malfoy Head didn't have the strength to be scared so he simply said, "You'll soon find out, my Lord."

Marvolo did find out what Lucius had meant, and Salazar was he horrified! It had already been an hour or so, but Narcissa had rejected every dress the poor employee had shown them. She was picking out on the tiniest detail, and the greatest Dark wizard of all time was questioning himself, if asking for Lady Malfoy's help was a good choice or not.

Suddenly his eyes landed on a beautiful white sundress adorned with flower prints and some intricate threadwork. Marvolo could already imagine Lily wearing that dress and looking the most adorable baby in the world. This was the one!

Narcissa beamed at his choice and thankfully it didn't take long to select matching shoes and headbands with the dress. Marvolo internally was beaming with joy; he was excited and nervous and feeling a whole new range of emotions. Unfortunately, he would have to wait until Saturday to meet the little ray of sunshine again.


 

Chapter Text

Saturday strolled in pretty quickly, and Marvolo found himself dressed in his best robes, along with Lily's perfectly wrapped presents shrunken, and kept safely in his pockets. He delicately picked up the invitation written in Harriet's neat writing and waited patiently for the portkey to activate. Soon enough, the invitation started glowing, informing him of the activation of portkey. With a bit of nervousness and excitement bubbling in his chest, he touched the activated portkey and felt the familiar pull of apparation in his belly.

Within seconds, Marvolo found himself landing in a beautifully and elegantly decorated room.

The room had pastel painted walls, adorned with beautiful paintings and wall hangings. The opened windows with colour coordinated curtains allowed plenty amount of sunshine and breeze to come through. The whole decor created a very relaxing and fresh environment in the room. Marvolo breathed deeply, and unconsciously smiled when the smell of baked delicacies teased his nose.

His gaze landed on a shelf full of family pictures. One was of Harriet's with muggleborn Granger during their fourth year Yule Ball celebration, another of Harriet's with both her godfathers - Sirius and Remus. Then there was one of baby Harrie in her parents' arms. He observed all the pictures with Lily in them. She was a happy and loved child it seemed. Lily's aunt Hermione and grandpa Remus, obviously, doted upon their little bundle of joy. His eyes fixated on the one with Lily and Harriet. Both - mother and daughter - were all smiles in it. He could easily draw a comparison between the two - while Lily had her mother's untamed hair and gorgeous green eyes, she lacked Harriet's button nose and fuller lips. She was more on the chubby side rather than her mother's skinny one. That, however, didn't matter anything to Marvolo. She was still adorable in his eyes, and he couldn't help but agree that Harriet Potter looked more beautiful when she was happy.

The cosy photo of Harriet and Lily made Marvolo's heart warm for unknown reasons.

"Mista Mawolo, you came!" Lily's booming voice brought the wizard out of his inner thoughts. Instinctively, he got on his knees and opened his arms. The little girl quickly rushed to him, wrapping her tiny arms around his neck and an angelic smile on her face.

"Hello, little one," he said charmingly, inwardly realising that Lily's smile was so infectious that it made the Dark Lord smile too.

"Hello, mista Mawolo. I waa waiting fo you."

"Well, how could have I missed the chance to meet my new friend." Lily giggled merrily, but their attention turned to Harriet as she entered the room, eyeing her daughter quietly.

"Mama, look who came!" Lily couldn't control her excitement in the least as she rushed back to her mum. She was all jumpy and happy - it was her birthday after all.

"I see, love. But I told you not to run on the stairs, didn't I? You could get hurt, sweetheart," Harriet said cupping Lily's face and kissing her forehead lightly.

"I'm sowwy, mama."

"It's okay. Be careful next time."

Harriet stood up and turned to address the Dark Lord, who was standing and observing the duo with an unreadable expression on his face.

"I'm sorry, I got carried away with her," Harriet apologised first, "Welcome to our home, Lord Slytherin, and thank you for accepting our invitation. It really means a lot to Lily."

"It was my pleasure. She really is an adorable child," Marvolo heard himself speaking. Before he could ask Harriet anything further, however, Lily tugged lightly on his robes.

"Come, mista Mawolo. Let's eat the cookies, they aw chocolate chip ones. I helped mama make them." Marvolo looked at the girl who was beaming at him with a toothy smile, and there was no way he could deny her request, so he nodded without an ounce of hesitation. It seemed like he'd have to wait a little longer to get his answers.

He bowed to Lily before speaking, "As you say, your highness. Lead the way."

Harriet stared dumbfoundedly at their retreating figures. Never in a million years had she thought of the Dark Lord helping his daughter, let alone get invited to her birthday party and play with her. That too in their own home. What had Harriet been thinking? Why had she agreed to Lily's request and invited the man who had tried to kill Harriet on countless occasions? Had Harriet gone mad? Apparently, yes!

The question was bugging her greatly - Why? Why did he help Lily? What would the greatest and most feared dark wizard of all time, gain by helping a lost child?

She couldn't find the answer to this. Harriet couldn't find any malice or ill-intent behind Marvolo's moves. He'd simply helped her daughter - without any motive behind his actions - and Harriet owed him greatly for this.

She followed her daughter's excited chatter, knowing well that Dobby would inform her of Hermione's and Remus' arrival later. When she reached the living room, she certainly didn't expect a horrified Dark Lord with a pink teacup and flower tiara in his hands. Her daughter though, was nowhere in sight, but it seemed that she had asked her new friend to play tea-party with her. Obviously, Marvolo wasn't well versed in that area. He looked at Harriet with questioning eyes and she couldn't keep the smile off her face anymore.

"Any problem?" she asked innocently.

"She wants me to have tea in this, and wear this," Marvolo told Harrie as he pointed at the pink teacup and flower tiara, respectively.

Dear Merlin and Morgana! Harriet had never been this amused in her entire life - not when she accidentally blew up Aunt Marge, not when fake 'Moody' turned Malfoy into a ferret or not even the time when Umbridge was captured by centaurs. Her marauders' side claimed Harriet to take the much-needed revenge from Marvolo, and so she followed her heart's wish.

"Well you agreed to have tea-party with her, so she'll be serving you tea in those. And as for tiara, she brought one especially for you, so you'll have to wear it. I'm sorry," Harriet tried to sound as convincing as possible while apologising and out of the corner of her eye, she saw Marvolo swallow hard. "If its any help, Lily will be wearing one too," Harriet continued as she pointed towards the excited toddler who was now back with a large teddy in her hands.

"Yes, mista Mawolo. I have a pink one to match my dwess, and you get a blue flowa one because...because you a boy." That explanation was enough according to the three-year-old, and she pulled the wizard towards the table she'd set up.

Marvolo looked so out of place in that situation that Harriet felt guilty for him, but it soon vanished.

"Miss Harrie, Miss Granger and Mr Werewolf sir be waiting for you in the kitchen lobby," Dobby's squeaky voice caught Harriet's attention and she nodded.

"I'll be there, Dobby. You please stay here and keep an eye on Lily," she ordered in a hushed voice. Even though Lord Slytherin had been acting like a proper gentleman so far, Harriet refused to take any risk regarding her daughter's safety.

"Of course, Miss Harrie. Dobby's be taking care of the little mistress."

"Thank you, Dobby," Harriet quickly left to greet the other guests. On the other hand though, Marvolo was still struggling.

"Lily, I can't wear it!" Marvolo said, pinching the bridge of his nose in exasperation.

"But why?"

"Because I won't look as good in it like you," he couldn't find any appropriate reason, so he spoke the first words that came to his mind that made absolutely no sense.

"But I bwought it fo you, and I think you look vewy handsome," she said with a hint of sadness lacing her voice, and he immediately felt guilty. He had never been bought a gift that too specially for him. And yet, the three-year-old girl standing in front of him, had went out of her way to gift him a flower tiara just because he helped her that day in Diagon Alley. He didn't have the heart to tell her no, and if being honest, he quite liked her heart-warming gesture. He kneeled in front of her and tugged her towards him, "If you insist that much," he said taking the horrid tiara from her tiny hands. "But I'll wear this only when you promise me something."

"Pwomise?"

"Yes. Promise me that you will never...ever tell anyone that you made me wear this! Come on," he insisted her to keep the secret. He couldn't imagine the horror of someone getting to know that the Dark Lord had a soft spot for someone, enough that he wore a tiara for their happiness.

He almost fell down when she gave him a rather enthusiastic hug and a hard kiss on his cheek making him chuckle at her antics, "I pinky pwomise, mista Mawolo."

Picking her up in his arms, he allowed Lily to put the horrid thing on his neatly styled hair. Salazar, the things he was doing for her sake!


"Is he here?" Hermione's concerned voice filled the room as soon as Harrie entered the kitchen lobby. She made her way towards Remus and Hermione with a grim look on her face.

"Yeah. Came about half-hour ago. He's in the living room, having tea and biscuits with her and Mr Snuggabear," Harriet spoke with a casual shrug, but Remus started choking on the water he was drinking, and Hermione stared at the young mother in shock.

"He's what?" Remus' voice came out squeaky.

"Are you serious?" Hermione asked simultaneously, Harriet could only respond with a nod in their direction. She led them to the living room from where her daughter's rantings could easily be heard. Signalling Remus and Hermione to not make any noise, the three people peeked their heads in and silently watched the conversation between the newly turned three-year-old and her newest friend.

The Dark Lord was so into the conversation that he didn't notice them.

"So why is his name Mr Snuggabear?" Marvolo asked casually while sipping on the delicious peppermint tea.

"Because he likes Mama's cuddles like me. Mama gives the best hugs in the whole uni..unipurse. You should hug her too," Lily spoke as she poured more tea to Mr Snuggabear, totally unaware of what she'd spoken and what effect did have on the adults present in the room.

Marvolo choked onto his tea, grabbing a tissue to avoid any spluttering and also to hide how red his face had suddenly gotten. Harriet breathed in sharply at her daughter's suggestion, and Hermione and Remus looked at each other awkwardly. They didn't know how to react to Lily's words, but they also were trying to control their laughter upon seeing Lord Voldemort wearing a flowery headband.

Harriet decided that she'd heard enough, and moved into the room before Lily spoke something even more insensitive or rude enough to make Lord Slytherin upset. She had no intentions of facing his furious side.

"Lily, look who's here!" Harriet spoke in a chirpy tone to get her daughter's attention. Lily shrieked in happiness as soon as she saw Hermione and Remus grinning at her.

"Aunt Mione, gwanpa Moony!" The little one rushed into her aunt's awaiting arms, hugging her tight and giggling merrily.

"Happy Birthday, my princess!" Hermione cooed at Lily as she placed a hard kiss on her cheeks.

"Than you…" Lily drawled out.

"Doesn't grandpa Moony get a huggy, little fawn?" Lily went into her grandpa's arms and laughed delightedly. Her aunt and grandpa have come to meet her after so long.

"Oh, look at you, you're getting so big!" Remus spoke.

"Ahaa gwanpa, I'm thwee," Lily put up three tiny fingers to make her point clear, making all the adults laugh. Harriet noticed that Lord Slytherin was still wearing the tiara and his whole attention was on her daughter; a fond smile on his face that Harriet had never seen before. She cleared her throat catching his eyes, and slightly tilted her head signalling towards the tiara he was wearing, and Marvolo's eyes widened. He'd totally forgotten about it. With clumsy fingers he hurriedly took it off, internally sighing in relief and thanking Harriet.

Remus turned his attention to the Dark Lord standing awkwardly, and spoke, "Thank you for helping Lily that day in Diagon Alley, Lord Slytherin. Merlin knows what would have happened had you not found her on time." He swallowed hard just at the cruel thought.

"That was nothing really. I couldn't have just let a scared child roaming all alone in the busy street," he replied. Harriet and Hermione shared a look - when had the Dark Lord become such a caring wizard for little children?

"Come one then little fawn, it's time for you presents," Remus moved with Lily still in his arms, and led her towards the couch.

"Pwesents? Yay!" Lily spread her arms wide in excitement. Marvolo too grinned at her cheerful response. He waited patiently as Lily tore open the wrapping papers and cooed at all the gifts she'd gotten. His heart was beating in nervousness as he took out his present for her and passed it to her. Harriet looked at him with an unreadable expression. Lily's smile grew wider, if that was even possible, when Marvolo passed her the gift.

"Than you, mista Mawolo," Lily said as she opened it and then shrieked in delight.

"Mama look what mista Mawolo got me! Its so pwetty…" Lily took out the white dress showing it to her mother and aunt. "Its like the pwincess one, mama."

"I see, baby girl. But what do you say to Lord Slytherin for this?" Harriet looked at her daughter expectantly. Lily handed her the dress and made her way to Marvolo. She held her hands up and instantly was lifted in his embrace, "Than you, mista Mawolo. I love it, its so pwetty!"

Marvolo's heart swelled in pride when she wrapped her tiny arms around him; he didn't know why but he felt content and happy in that moment. The moment ended when Lily turned to her mum and asked, "Mama, can I pwetty pwease wea this dwess?"

Hermione piped in knowing that Marvolo was wanting to have a conversation with Harrie, and that too soon. They didn't know what his intentions were but Lily's safety was of utmost importance to them.

"I'll get you ready, Lils. Come one," Hermione nodded to Harriet as she took Lily to her room for getting changed. Remus too went to the kitchen to get the cake and stuff. Harriet turned to Lord Slytherin when they were left alone.

"Thank you once again for coming over and the present. Lily really loved it," Harriet spoke not knowing where to start the conversation. He looked at her grimly, all the smile and happiness vanishing off his face that was present a few moments ago. Dread settled in the pit of her stomach seeing his vacant expressions - it reminded her of bad days; days that she never wanted to be reminded about.

"She wasn't the only reason I came here today," Lord Slytherin spoke in a haughty tone that she was used to. "I came here to get some answers - the ones that I couldn't find myself."

"I'm not sure what you mean by that," Harriet heart was beating rapidly; she hadn't wanted to tell him anything about her past - it was too personal.

"Oh, I'm sure that you know exactly what I mean, Miss Potter," He spoke with a scowl marring his face, and Harriet stared at him in disbelief. What was with him and his mood swings - one moment he was laughing and giggling with her daughter, and the next moment he was scowling at her as if she owed him anything. She was seriously speculating over her decision of inviting him to her home on Lily's insistent. Her daughter was a child with no knowledge of good or bad, but it was Harriet's duty to teach her as such. And Lord Slytherin was arrogant, haughty and dangerous. It was clear in the way he was talking to her.

"What do you want to know?" she sighed realising that he wouldn't let it go.

"Is she the reason you decided not to participate in the war anymore?" That was the first question that he wanted to ask. He saw Harriet's face morph into a frown, and she nodded with a mumbled 'yes'.

"Who's the father? I saw earlier that there are no pictures of him," Marvolo asked casually not knowing what effect it had on Harriet. She grew pale and anxious suddenly; she couldn't string words together, let alone form a meaningful sentence. Marvolo took her silence for her attitude growing impatient.

"A bastard then? Is that what she is? Don't even remember her father do you - how many relationships have you had, Potter?" He sneered at her and something flashed in Harriet's eyes - anger.

"How dare you?! How fucking dare you say something like this!" Harriet looked him straight in the eye while speaking. "How dare you call my daughter a bastard - the same child who gave you such immense respect?" Marvolo's anger dissipated in a second when he realised what his words had actually meant - he hadn't wanted to insult Lily in any sort of way, but he had.

"I understand that you hate me, but don't put my daughter in between all this mess, Lord Slytherin." Harriet said in finality.

"Mind your tongue, Potter! I just wanted to know about her lineage…" Marvolo spoke but he was stopped mid-sentence.

"You don't have the right! I owe you no explanation at all. Yes, you helped her but that doesn't mean you're entitled to know anything at all."

"I think I have the right. If you've forgotten, let me remind you that you were the one who came to my aid when you wanted to be away from the war."

"I didn't beg, I merely asked for your help - one that you refused if I didn't partake in that deal. The deal to not return back to Magical Britain. I don't think it counts as help."

"Dear Salazar, can you simply not answer my questions?" He hissed dangerously at Harriet, in exasperation.

"No. I would have but not after the way you've insulted me and Lily!"

"What, that you're a whore. Truth hurts, doesn't it!" Marvolo snark comment was the final straw. As much as she didn't want him to see her breaking down, she couldn't help the tears from filling her eyes. He was rooted to his spot. Never in all these years had he seen her cry, or break apart. She had an iron-clad will that even his Cruciatus wasn't able to break. Then why was she crying now?

"Get out!" It was just a whisper but enough to break the dense silence blanketing the room.

"Excuse me?" He asked - did she seriously say that?

"You're not excused. Get out of my home, Lord Slytherin. You're no more welcome here." Harriet said in finality; her tone firm and dismissing. Marvolo's anger knew no bounds. If she thought that she could insult him just like that, then she was wrong. He didn't want to be here either.

He stormed out of the room, fuming and furious beyond anything, and was about to reach the living room to apparate away when a soft voice caught his attention, "Mama where is mista Mawolo?"

He stopped at once; he totally forgotten about Lily.

"He had to go back home, baby girl. He had some important work."

"Imp...impowta?"

"Yes, I'm really sorry."

Marvolo apparated away to Riddle Manor; his heart heavy with guilt and regret this time.

Chapter Text

CHAPTER 3

Marvolo reached his manor in absolute fury, seething in rage - no one had ever dared to dismiss him, no one told him to leave, but that Potter brat! Who did she think she was? First, she invited him to her daughter's birthday party and then insulted him. How dare she? Did she have a death wish? Had she forgotten who he was or what all was he capable of?

Salazar, that woman was infuriating and always got on his nerves. Perhaps he should have killed her instead of letting her get away - instead of listening to her request to leave the war and Magical Britain. He shouldn't have shown any mercy to her.

Anger wasn't the only emotion he was feeling though - he was also feeling guilty. He was regretting of not bidding a proper farewell to Lily. It was her birthday and he had made her upset by the sudden departure - had been able to sense it in the tone of her voice when he was about to leave. However, Marvolo was also feeling guilty of making Harriet cry and he didn't know the reason behind it.

He had never seen her in such a vulnerable position - not even when she'd faced him multiple times. She was a strong and brave woman, yet his words had acted like a piercing sword that had split her heart into pieces, enough to make her cry.

Marvolo sighed and slumped in his chair, leviating a bottle of strong Firewhisky and a glass from the cabinet. He really needed a drink. All these emotions were sending his mind into a frenzy and he did not know how to handle them. He had never been good in handling emotions in the first place.

Pouring himself a generous amount, his mind reeled with the events of the day. The image of Lily smiling and cooing after receiving her present had melted his cold heart; the little one had been so happy. Marvolo didn't think he was someone who could give that kind of happiness to anyone, let alone a child. Yet, there was Lily, who was steadily bringing out a part of Marvolo's personality he never knew he had. To her he wasn't the Dark Lord or the powerful and influential Minister of Magic. To her he was simply 'Mista Mawolo' - the man who'd helped her find her mum when she'd gotten lost, and the one who'd bought her a princess dress. And that was the most amazing role he'd experienced in his entire life.

His hand brushed against his robe pocket, and Marvolo frowned when he found something tucked in there. He slipped the hand in his pocket and found it was the small, blue-flower tiara that Lily had been persistent to make him wear. He smiled unconsciously; couldn't believe that he'd actually listened to her and even had tea with Mr Snuggabear.

Morgana, he'd been so stupid to question her lineage. As much as he hated to admit it, Potter had been right in defending her daughter and herself; Harriet had late Lily Potter's blood running in her veins after all.

He wouldn't tell another soul, but he agreed that he had crossed the line today. That he had no right to ask such personal questions to Lady Potter - it was informal and uncalled for. He could have asked it in a more dignified way or perhaps without insulting her.

But, in his defence, the way he'd spoken to her was merely on instinct - she'd been his arch nemesis and the person fated to bring his doom, he didn't know how else was he supposed to talk to her?

He took another sip of the fine-aged Firewhisky, relishing in the burning sensation on his throat, when a slithering and hissy noise caught his ears. Marvolo allowed himself to smile in relief - Nagini was his only companion and family over all these years. He didn't know what he'd do without her or her mother hen attitude.

"Tommy, you're back! Where did you go anyway? I tried to find you everywhere in the Manor, but your weren't there," Nagini hissed as she steadily climbed up, and rested herself on his shoulders.

"My apologies, dear. I had some prior arrangements and I forgot to tell you about them," Marvolo apologise, stroking her head lightly that made the giant snake hum.

"What prior arrangements?" she asked until her slit eyes landed on the blue-tiara resting safely on his desk, "And what is that thing on your desk, Tommy?"

He followed her gaze and said, "That is a tiara, my dear."

"Where did you get this abomination from anyway?"

Marvolo frowned a bit - Lily had gotten the tiara especially for him, and to call it 'horrid' meant an insult to the little one, that he didn't like one bit.

"What are you hiding from me, Tommy? Speak!" There it was, her overprotective mother hen attitude.

"I'm not hiding anything from you. You weren't in the manor that day, had gone for hunting, so I never got the chance to tell you." He was about to tell her what all had happened that day in Diagon Alley, and the events at the party today, when his office door suddenly opened. Lucius and Severus stood in the doorway seeking for permission to enter. Marvolo nodded, allowing them in.

"My Lord," Lucius bowed in greeting.

"What are you two doing here, Lucius?" Marvolo asked confusingly. He'd cancelled all the meetings for today after receiving Lily's party invitation.

"Nothing serious, my Lord. I just needed your signature on some important Ministry papers. Severus suggested for a round of drinks as well," Lucius replied.

"I see," Marvolo gestured them to have a seat, and started rifling and reading through the papers before signing them. Lucius could sense something was off. Though his Lord smiled a little at the drinks suggestion, he didn't seem too happy to have guests at the moment. He seemed as if he wanted to be left alone.

Severus must have sensed his displeasure too because he quickly spoke up, "We can have those drinks later, my Lord. We didn't know that you were busy."

"No, it's nothing like that. I was only a bit tired," Marvolo gave the papers back to Lucius, then conjured two more glasses, pouring drinks to them as well.

"Well when are you going to tell me?" Nagini spoke apparently still waiting for his answer. Meanwhile, Severus nudged Lucius slightly, titling his head towards the tiara sitting on their Lord's table. Lucius narrowed his eyes at it.

"My Lord, did the little one like the gift that you got for her?" Lucius questioned and saw Marvolo's worries fading slightly.

"What little one?" Nagini slithered from his shoulders to the desk, looking him straight in the eyes. Lucius and Severus remained unaffected by the sudden action; they were now used to it. Marvolo looked at the three curious faces staring at him, unblinkingly. He sighed - guess he couldn't get away without telling them.

"When I was on my way to Diagon Alley earlier this week, I found a little girl sitting on the stairs of the bank. The child was lost, and her parents were nowhere in sight. Needless to say, I couldn't leave her alone there. So, I helped her in finding her mum."

"Was she okay, my Lord?" Lucius asked instinctively. Being a father he was well-versed in the 'being protective' department. Marvolo smiled at the genuine concern in Lucius' voice.

"She was indeed fine, Lucius. We did find her mum easily; she had already been looking for her daughter," Marvolo told further and Lucius sighed in relief. Severus though could easily tell that this wasn't what his Lord was concerned about.

"Then, my Lord?" Severus questioned cautiously.

"The child I helped out that day was Lady Potter's daughter."

Lucius' eyes widened and Severus was left speechless for a moment. Did they hear correctly or were they imagining things?

"Lady Potter? As in Harriet Potter?" Lucius asked with narrowed eyes.

"Yes," Marvolo's answer was a quite mumble.

"The little hatchling you wanted to kill, for all those years, has her own hatchling?" Nagini hissed.

"Yes, she has her own hatchling, but I didn't know that. I came to know only when I asked Lily what her mother's name was."

"Lily?" Severus whispered, and Marvolo only nodded.

"Lily Hermione Potter, daughter of Harriet Lillian Potter."

"Potter? The child's father?" Severus asked a bit confused. The frown on Marvolo's face returned and they knew had been the cause for his trouble.

"I don't know," Marvolo replied. He told them everything - the invitation to Lily's birthday party; him going shopping for the little one's present (which shocked Severus and Nagini to no end); his visit to Potter's cottage near Port Issac, earlier that day and the time he spent with Lily. He told them how in fit of stupidity he'd questioned Lily's lineage that had made Lady Potter angry with him, causing him to be thrown out.

The others listened with patience, aware that Marvolo truly felt regretful and ashamed of the way he'd spoken to Harriet and indirectly insulted the little one. And to be honest, they were shocked - the Dark Lord wasn't someone to show emotions this openly, and yet, here he was, accepting his mistakes.

"The little hatchling gave you this flower headband then?" Nagini asked, her hissing a bit softly now.

"She did," Marvolo said picking his tiara, "Bought it specially for me as a thank you gift for helping her." A smile graced his face and his two followers exchanged glances at the fondness in his voice.

"What now then? What are you going to do because it's clear that whatever happened today is bugging you greatly."

"I don't know. I don't know what am I going to do or rather I should do," he sighed tiredly, getting up from his seat and walking towards the window.

"Apologise to Lady Potter," Nagini spoke as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.

"Apologise?" Marvolo narrowed his eyes at her and Lucius looked scared. The Dark Lord never apologised to anyone.

"Why not? From what you have told me, I don't think it is her fault. She was merely defending her daughter as any mother would do. As I would defend you."

And then it struck Marvolo - the reason behind Harriet's sudden change in demeanor upon calling her daughter a bastard. Salazar, what had he done!

"But, how do I apologise to her, Nagini? I'm sure she wouldn't even want to see my face," he easily slipped into Parseltongue, asking her frantically for any kind of solution; an unknown fear of what Harriet would be thinking about him, gripped his heart.

"The way you've insulted her, a formal apology wouldn't do," Nagini slithered across the room as if in deep thought. "Invite her and the little hatchling to the Manor for lunch. As soon as you get the chance to talk to her, say your sorries and whatever that had been on your mind."

"She would never accept my invitation, Nagini." Marvolo ran a hand through his hair in frustration.

"My Lord, if I may," Lucius interrupted when he guessed that Nagini had given the solution to invite Potter to Riddle Manor. "We could invite Lady Potter and her daughter to Malfoy Manor, instead of here. She wouldn't be able to refuse i, and there you could get the chance to talk to her."

"Would she bring Lily though?"

"She would if she knows that it's only a luncheon invite and perfectly safe for her daughter. Invite Miss Granger as well," Severus piqued in. He too was curious about Harriet's past now.

"That could be done." Marvolo mumbled thinking to himself; a flare of hope rising in his heart that Harriet would accept the invitation and his apology. "Very well then, Lucius. Do it and inform me as soon as you get a response from her."

"Of course, my Lord." Lucius bowed and left in a hurry, wanting to get this task done as soon as possible. Marvolo was a bit relieved and Nagini was happy - she was excited to meet the little hatchling that had captured Tommy's heart.

Marvolo wasn't the only one in deep thought though, Severus too was tensed. He bowed and took his leave, only one question swirling in his mind - 'Did Dumbledore know anything about Harriet's child? And if he did, why didn't he inform Severus about it? Why did the girl choose to leave the war and everything behind?'


Harriet moved towards Professor Dumbledore's office with shaky legs. She was afraid, so very much. What would happen now? How would he react?

She muttered the password with a slight whisper, making the Gargoyle to spring to life and start moving. She knocked on the large wooden door and entered hesitantly when a muffled 'come in' was heard.

"Ah, Harrie, my girl," Dumbledore spoke with the usual twinkle in his eyes. "What can I do for you?"

"Professor, I…" Harriet stumbled through words, not knowing where to start. "Professor, I don't know what to do. I'm...I'm pregnant," her voice was a bare whisper but it still rang through the eerily silent room.

"I beg your pardon?" the twinkle in Dumbledore's eyes was no longer present.

"I'm pregnant," Harriet managed to speak between the thick tears rolling down her eyes. She dared to peek at him from puffy eyes, and could easily read the disbelief and disappointment clear on his face. It scared her - petrified her to no end.

"But how is this possible?" he scrambled from his seat frantically and marched towards her, making Harriet back away in fear. She didn't dare to say another word seeing the sudden change in his usually composed behaviour.

"I'm so sorry, Professor, but I swear it's not my fault." He must have sensed that she was speaking the truth because the grip on her shoulders loosened.

"Tell me what happened, child." Though he spoke in an affectionate way, Harrie could see that he wasn't happy in the least about receiving this information.

"He, he…" Harrie started in a shaky breath and fear in her eyes. The Headmaster led a frightened Harriet to his desk and handed her a glass of water.

"He who, Harriet?"

"I was alone that day, at home, and he… Dudley's Muggle friend Piers, came asking about him. I told him that Dudley wasn't home...but," she gulped, "but he barged inside and." Her body raked with sobs.

"Harriet, did that Muggle boy force himself upon you?" Dumbledore asked in a cautious tone and only got a slight nod from her, making him sigh. This wasn't part of his plan - Harriet being abused by her relatives was one thing, but her getting pregnant, especially at this time during the war. No, this wasn't supposed to happen; he would have to find a solution.

"I'm so sorry, Professor. I can't participate in the war like this," Harriet said. "I can't risk my baby's safety." She knew that she never wanted a child or a family of her own for that matter, seeing how her life was always full of danger. But she also knew that whatever happened with Harriet, wasn't her baby's fault. And she would not let any harm come to it.

Professor Dumbledore's features hardened and instinctively, Harriet put a arm around her stomach.

"I'm afraid that is not possible, Miss Potter."

"Wha...what?" Harriet stared at him wide-eyed. "But why, Professor?"

"The Prophecy, my dear girl. It's all because of the Prophecy. You are the only one who could kill Voldemort and we know that…"

"I can't, Professor. I can't kill him!" Harriet exclaimed, interrupting him mid-sentence, "He's powerful and strong and the greatest practitioner of Dark Magic. He's only afraid of you. You're the only one who can defeat him not I."

Dumbledore moved from his seat with a sigh and moved towards the window, "I wish I could, Harriet. But I can't. When he chose you as the Prophesied child, he unintentionally bound your faiths together. Only you have the power to defeat him - the power of love and your mother's sacrifice."

She wanted to say something but he continued anyway, "You can't keep the child, Harriet. I'm really sorry. This child would prove to be a hurdle in your task and we can't have that."

"Please don't do this, Professor. Please don't take my child away from me. It's not my baby's fault," she begged for her child's life without any sense of her pride or dignity.

"Don't be to me, dear girl. I'm not saying this because I have any grudges towards this thing."

'Thing?' Was her child only a thing to him?

"It's for the Greater Good, Harriet. You can't compare one life to the million others that would suffer because of your selfish attitude, can you? Just imagine it's life as a sacrifice for other people." The twinkle in his eyes this time was not one of gentleness. It gave her a clear warning to do as he was saying or else she would have to pay the price.

She swallowed thickly, the tears not stopping at all.

"Go to your dormitory and get some rest, Miss Potter. I would inform Madame Pomfrey about your condition so that she could prepare for the abortion procedure as soon as possible."

All breath left her - it felt that he world had stopped spinning or perhaps she'd simply stopped breathing. He wanted to kill her child. He wanted Harrie to kill her baby. No, she couldn't do that. She wouldn't do that. Her child's life wouldn't be sacrificed in the name of Greater God as Harriet's had been ruined. Harriet would have to think of something, and that too very soon.

Without another word, she left the Headmaster's office and all but ran back to her dormitory where Hermione was already waiting for her anxiously. As soon as Harrie entered the room, she all but launched herself into Hermione's arms and crying heartedly.

Hermione drew her in, quickly throwing silencing wards around them so as to not wake Lavender and Parvati. She rubbed her back, hushed her, but nothing seemed to work, and she immediately understood the reason behind Harriet's tears when she heard what Dumbledore was planning.

"No, no, don't worry, darling. Don't worry. We won't let him take your child away from you," Hermione assured her. She was the only one who knew about the abuse Harriet had suffered at the hands of those pathetic human beings.

"Okay, Harrie, look at me," Hermione was greeted with her sister's puffy eyes and she hated to Harriet in such a vulnerable position. "You go and get changed. I'll pack our things. We'll leave Hogwarts tonight itself."

"Leave?" Harriet asked in a confused tone. "Where would we go, Hermione?"

"You don't worry about that. I have some money and if luck is on our side, then we'll manage to escape from this war as well," she spoke in such cryptic words that Harriet couldn't understand. But she knew that Hermione had a plan in mind. She nodded and quickly got up to get ready.

By the time Harriet returned, Hermione had already packed everything. She had put all their belongings in a small pouch with Undetectable Extension Charm. The Marauders Map and Invisibility Cloak were in her hand. Without wasting any more of their precious time, Hermione threw the Invisibility Cloak around Harriet and herself, and slipped out of the room making sure that their roommates were still asleep.

They reached the entrance of the Hogwarts castle without any problems. Harriet and Hermione turned around, throwing one final time at Hogwarts - the place that has become their home - and continued on their way to never return.


Harriet sat on the couch silently, watching from afar as Lily laughed heartily whilst watching cartoons and enjoying her ice-cream. Hermione came and sat beside her; she'd decided to spend the weekend with Harriet and Lily in honour of Lily's birthday.

"She really likes him," Hermione said, making Harriet break her gaze from her daughter and towards her. The 'him' in her sentence being pretty obvious to Harriet.

"I know, but the way he talked about her, I couldn't control myself," Harriet said, not regretting the way she'd talked to Marvolo.

"But you couldn't deny that he cares about Lily too. Their interactions spoke of the fondness he holds for her."

"Are you defending him?"

"Not defending, merely saying that his curiosity was genuine even though his behaviour wasn't. After all, we left Hogwarts without informing anyone," Hermione pointed out and Harriet looked at Lily again. She was yawning widely; the day's exhaustion finally catching up with her.

"I'm saying this because Lily is attached to him, and not seeing him may upset her. She would start asking questions soon."

"I know. I just don't understand how can he be a completely different person around her; it really baffles me," Harriet spoke with a tired sigh. She moved from her comfy position to pick Lily up and get her ready for bed, when a grey owl came swooping in through the window.

Harriet exchanged a worried glance with Hermione. It couldn't be Remus and no one else knew where she lived anymore, except him. Him; of course, it's got to be Marvolo!

Harriet understood and nodded, signalling Hermione to take the letter.

"It's from Lady Malfoy,' Hermione spoke with furrowed brows.

"What?" Harriet got confused. She came back with Lily passed out in her arms, and seated herself beside Hermione again. "What does it say?"

"It's a luncheon invite, for you, Lily and me. Why me?" Hermione passed the letter to Harriet. She saw her expressions change from confusion to understanding to frustrated, all at once. "What happened, Harrie?"

"That sneaky Lord Slytherin," Harriet whispered. "It's all his doing. Who else knows where we live?"

"He must have asked Malfoy to send the letter in his behalf because he knew that I wouldn't respond to his personal letter." Understanding dawned on Hermione's face.

"But why would he want to meet you anyway?"

"Not me, Lily. He would want to meet Lily and I don't want that. As for your invitation, they want to convey that they don't mean any harm. Atleast, this is what I think."

"Can't we ignore the letter then?" Hermione asked. She too didn't want Lily in any kind of danger.

"No, we can't. They have been very careful while writing the letter. It could have been avoided, but they have specifically used our titles here - Lady and Heiress Potter. If I ignore it, Lord Malfoy would take it as an insult to his house and wife which would cause ruckus. And I'm still not ready for others to find about Lily."

"Means we have to attend it then?"

"Unfortunately yes. I'm concerned about Lily's safety though," Harriet said looking at her daughter who was sleeping peacefully in her arms.

"We can make her flower necklace into a Portkey, just to be safe and also inform Mr Lupin about the same," Hermione suggested and Harriet couldn't help but agree.

Soon enough, Hermione bid her good night but Harriet remained seated in her place, holding Lily close to her and wondering what this luncheon had in store for all of them.

Chapter Text

Malfoy Manor was filled with excitement, enthusiasm and insane energy, the next Saturday. Narcissa had all but gone crazy with the preparations for this special luncheon as soon as she'd received a positive reply from Lady Potter. Not only Narcissa though, but Nagini was also equally excited, and so were Lucius and Draco, although they chose to remain silent about it. Severus only wanted to know the truth behind everything. Potter and Granger had mysteriously disappeared during their sixth year, and no one knew anything about their whereabouts. That was until now. Plus, Potter's secret daughter issue was making his mind go into a frenzy. Thus, he chose to attend the luncheon as well.

Marvolo was the only one who was conflicted about the duo's arrival. As much as he wanted to meet and spend time with the little one, he didn't know how he'd face Harriet. It was true that he'd hurt her and insulted her, but it also true that he'd never apologised to anyone before. For the first time in his life, he felt nervous and a bit afraid, with only one question swirling in his mind - Would she forgive him?


Lucius stood calm and composed as ever when the next Saturday morning arrived. Beside him, his wife could hardly contain her excitement and happiness at the arrival of their special little guest. Draco and Severus stood with poker faces that they'd mastered years ago – it was true then, like godfather like godson.

They all stood in the receiving room of the Manor, where the Portkey would bring Lady and Heiress Potter. They didn't have to wait long because the huge clock chimed eleven, and there was a gust of wind that brought along with it there figures in tow - Lady Potter and Miss Granger. A small figure was holding onto Lady Potter tightly.

They all waited to greet their guests as they saw Lady Potter kneel and put her daughter down, making sure that the little one was feeling fine after the nauseating apparation. Once Harriet was sure that Lily was indeed okay, she straightened up. She faced Lord and Lady Malfoy with neutral expressions. Beside her, Hermione stood alert and close to Lily. Harriet certainly didn't miss Snape's lingering stare on her daughter though.

"Thank you for accepting our invitation, Lady Potter, Miss Granger. Welcome to Malfoy Manor," Narcissa greeted them with a kind smile. "We've been eagerly waiting for your arrival."

"Thank you for the kind invitation, Lady Malfoy," Harriet replied, continuing with a kind smile, "though I would admit that your letter and invitation were quite unexpected and came as a surprise for us."

"My apologies, Lady Potter," Narcissa apologised. "I know it was very sudden on our part, but I couldn't wait to meet the three of you. Especially your daughter. I actually came to know about you and her when the Dark Lord asked me for help regarding little Heiress Potter's birthday gift," she reasoned further.

Harriet nodded in understanding. It made sense because she was sure that the Dark Lord wouldn't be well-versed in buying gifts for little children. She gave Narcissa a relieved smile which seemed to dissipate the tense environment of the room. Harriet turned her attention to her daughter who stood close to Hermione after seeing so many new people. Her dragon plushie was tucked close in her arms.

"Hello, little miss. I'm Lady Narcissa Malfoy. It's a pleasure to meet you," Narcissa introduced herself as she knelt in front of Lily and extended her hand in greeting. The little one looked at her mother in question and got an approving nod in return.

"Go on," Harriet encouraged her daughter.

"Hello, Miss Nawissa. My name is Lily Mione Potta and I'm thwee.," Lily replied as she shook her hand with Lady Malfoy with a sweet smile on her face. Narcissa couldn't help but chuckle at the introduction. Even Lucius and Draco smiled at the innocent introduction. No wonder the Dark Lord had taken a liking to the baby girl. Lucius cleared his throat to get his wife's attention and spoke.

"Let's take our guests inside now, darling. I'm sure you can't serve them lunch whilst they stand here like statutes," he said to his wife with amusement dancing in his eyes. Hermione and Harriet shared a look. They didn't think Lord Malfoy would open to them to easily. Thus, seeing his playful side was surprising.

Lily openly giggled at the sarcastic comment, making Lucius chuckle.

"Oh hush, Lucius. I remember, of course," Narcissa replied to her husband, then turned to Harriet. "My apologies for making you wait, Lady Potter. Let's get you all seated."

Narcissa's smile couldn't possibly get any wider when Lily took Narcissa's hand in her tiny ones and started following her. She looked angelic in that sunny yellow dress she was wearing, paired with matching shoes. The green dragon plushie in Lily's hand also reminded Narcissa of the one Draco had when he was young.

"Would you like some orange juice?" Narcissa asked Lily as they all seated in the living room, and the house-elves served tea and biscuits to everyone. She had chosen to sit next to the little one. Harriet could feel that her daughter had warmed up to Lady Malfoy.

"Yes pwease, than you. But only a little. Mama says too much sweet is bad fo ouw teeth," Lily replied to Narcissa's question.

"Well, your mum is very much right, sweetheart," Narcissa said as she gave a slight nod to Harriet, "Mable, please get some orange juice and snacks for our little guest."

"Right away, mistress," he elf scurried to the kitchen to get what was ordered. He got everything in no time and kept it in front of Lily, "Enjoy your drink, little miss."

"Than you, mista Mable," Lily thanked the house-elf for his generous service that made the odd-creature look at her with wide, wonderous eyes and bowed at her feet.

"Oh, little miss is so nice, so generous. Mable is happy to serve you, Heiress Potter. Very happy."

"That is okay, Mable. You may go now," Narcissa ordered when she saw her house-elf get overly emotional. She didn't want him to scare Lily off.

"He's silly," Lily whispered to Hermione who smiled at her fondly and helped her with her juice, careful not to spill it on her dress. Hermione was purposely trying to engage with Lily though, she was too aware of Draco's heated gaze upon her. He hadn't once stopped staring at her since they've arrived, and it was seriously getting on her nerves. It was making her extremely anxious.

"How has everything been, Lady Potter?" Lucius started a polite conversation. "It's been quite a long time since we last met."

There was no taunting in his tone, just plain curiosity. He really wanted to know about them and apologise for the way he'd treated her in the past.

"I have been well, thank you. Just living a cautious and adventurous life like any mother experiences. And it's been a long time indeed, though I definitely didn't think that I'll be having tea with you one day," Harriet joked lightly making Lucius laugh. Narcissa was surprised by her husband's reaction.

"I couldn't agree with you more. So much fun yet one is always worried about their child's safety," Lucius said with a bit of nostalgia in his voice. He missed the time when Draco was young and would cause havoc everywhere. It was a golden time indeed.

"Regret your decision, Potter?" Severus' scowl was permanent. The way he was looking at Lily made the little one squirm and get closer to Hermione. There was still bitterness left, it seemed. Still hated Harriet. Some things never change but Harriet had learnt to not care about his words or actions a long time ago. That, however, didn't mean she would stay quiet when he looked at her daughter threateningly, with malice in his eyes as if she was an abomination.

"Not in the least, Professor," Harriet growled like the protective mother she was. "But I would really appreciate if you leave my daughter out of the stupid rivalry you had with my father. Lily has nothing to do with anything that happened to you."

"Why you!" Severus' voice didn't hide his hatred at all as it raised. "What were you thinking when you so selfishly disappeared all those years ago? Or did you leave because your relatives decided to stop treating you like a princess?" He spat.

"You're crossing the line, Mr Snape. I'm not entitled to give you any explanation whatsoever," Harriet said in a formal tone, warning persistent in her voice to not mess either with her or with Lily and Hermione.

"Severus! You're scaring the child!" Lucius reprimanded his best friend. He was acting like the bitter teenage boy who wanted revenge at any cost. He reminded Lucius of the Snape during his bitter and dark Hogwarts years.

Harriet glared daggers at Severus. Lily was pressed tightly against Hermione, trying to hide her face. She didn't like shouting. It was bad. And this man seemed scary and so dangerous. He also didn't like her mama. What if he hurt her mama and her aunt?

"Aunt Mione," she whispered in the slightest as her grip tightened on Hermione's blouse.

"It's okay, baby girl. I'm here, aren't I? I'm not going anywhere," Hermione bent and spoke in her ear. She'd turned her back to the audience knowing well that if anything happened Harriet would handle everything easily. Hermione kissed her head in assurance all the while unaware of how Draco was observing their conversation. She didn't notice him move forward and take a seat next to them.

"He is very handsome. What's his name?" Draco said with the little green dragon plushie in his hand, trying to divert the little one's attention. He was looking at Lily questioningly, but he wasn't angry. He was smiling at her.

"Pipa the dwagon," Lily whispered. She was looking at him with wide, curious emerald eyes.

"Piper! What a mighty name," Draco praised her and got a smile in return.

"Than you. Aunt Mione gave me him as biwthday pwesent. She likes dwagons like me," Lily said. The fear from earlier wearing out a little as she interacted with him.

"Is that so?" Draco asked though his gaze was at Hermione that made her cheeks flush. Whether it was from embarrassment or something else she didn't know. Stupid ferret with that stupidly handsome smirk on his face.

"Ahha," Lily said absentmindedly. She was chewing on her fingers habitually indicating that she was in deep thought.

"My name is Draco. Do you know what it means?" Draco asked her as he introduced himself. Harriet, Lucius and Narcissa watched the exchange between them. Severus' scowl didn't lessen but the glare Narcissa sent his way certainly warned him to keep his mouth shut. He knew they would be having a long conversation later.

"No." Lily shook her head.

"It means dragon."

"Dwaco the dwagon?" Lily's face lit up in excitement. Draco chuckled at this. It sounded adorable when she said his name that way. Quite ridiculous but adorable.

"Yes! Draco the dragon."

Narcissa was relieved that the child wasn't scared anymore. And happy too that she was talking to Draco without any fear.

"Mama, aunt Mione," Lily called Harriet and Hermione.

"Yes, baby girl," Harriet turned her attention to her daughter, not caring about the sullen Potions Professor.

"His hair is like Elsa," Lily pointed at Draco's silvery blonde hair. Hermione couldn't stop herself from snorting out loud at the comment and Harriet too tried to hide her smile at the observation. She failed miserably.

"Who's Elsa?" Draco asked confusion.

"You don't know Elsa and Anna and Olaf and Kristoff?" Lily asked, leaning forward as she looked Draco straight in the eye.

"No. Who are they?"

"You have not seen Fwozen?" Little Lily was horrified.

The Malfoys looked thoroughly confused at the question but before any of them could ask anything, Mable returned.

"Master Malfoy, master snake Lord Slytherin is here. He is wanting permission to come."

"Please bring him inside, Mable," Lucius ordered, careful not to glance in Harriet's direction as he said so.

Harriet's face hid away every emotion. She didn't want to see him or talk to him, yet he'd come, just as she'd expected when the invitation for luncheon came.

"Mama! Lowd Slythewin? Is it Mista Mawolo?" Lily turned around to her mother as soon as she heard 'Lord Slytherin'. Mister Marvolo had left her birthday party and not talked to her ever since. He didn't even send a letter through the owl.

Harriet only responded with a slight nod. Not seconds later, her attention turned to Marvolo entering the room with Mable right behind him. He stopped in his tracks when his eyes met hers, not moving an inch further in the room. She was still angry with him, still upset. He could read the hurt clearly in her eyes. He hated it. He wanted to the smile on her face which he'd seen whenever she was with Lily. But it's wasn't there. And Marvolo felt an unknown emotion crushing him, weighing him down—regret.

His heart stung when she broke eye contact with him and turned her face in the opposite direction.

"Mista Mawolo," Lily's booming voice brought him out of musings and he forgot everything else. The hurt, the pain, the fear—nothing else mattered in front of Lily's sweet little smile.

He moved forward just as the little one wiggled out of Hermione's grasp and took bouncing steps towards him. Just as she reached him, Marvolo scooped her up in his arms and hugged her tightly to his chest, making Lily squeal in delight and hold him just as tightly.

"Hello, my little flower! How are you?" Marvolo asked when she put her little hands on either side of his face, a serious expression on her face. He was bemused as to how could she look so stern.

"Hello, Mista Mawolo. I'm well, than you. But why you go? Mama said you had some impowta work. But I think you lying. I think you did not like my cookies. Did you not like my cookies?' Lily ranted on and on until Marvolo's laugh interrupted her.

Her face scrunched up in confusion, brows furrowing and a pout on her lips. She looked so cute.

"Breathe, little love," Marvolo said in between chuckles. Salazar, how much he'd missed her. All the tension and anxiousness thinking how would Harriet react to his presence dissipated as soon as he saw Lily. It was odd really, having the little one in his arms like this, but the most content feeling in the world. His mind and soul felt at peace when she and Harriet were around.

Marvolo moved further into the room unaware of others' attention on the two of them. The Malfoys were surprised to see this carefree side of the Dark Lord. Never had they seen him happy or grinning widely. He'd always been the kind of person to hide his emotions behind a neutral face, yet here he was, engaged in a deep conversation with a three-year-old, and calling her with the cheesiest names.

He took a seat beside Severus and across from Harriet with Lily sitting in his lap, "I'm so sorry I had to leave early from your party. But your mama was correct, love. I had some important work that I couldn't miss. Can you please forgive me?"

Marvolo said with puppy dog eyes, one that could rival Lily's, Harriet thought. She watched their interaction quietly. How he could act like a completely different and caring person around her daughter was beyond her. Or maybe he just hated Harriet. That too for something that wasn't her mistake in the first place. Harriet hadn't wanted to the child of the prophecy or the fame that came along with it. She had just wanted a family of her own. Someone to love, someone to care for. Someone who loved her equally. And the answer to all her prayers was Lily—her beautiful, innocent baby girl who didn't know how dangerous Marvolo actually was.

'Can you forgive me?' he'd asked Lily, an unhidden plea in his words. Yet, Harriet knew, the question was equally directed at her by the way he was throwing glances in her direction.

"Will you eat the new cookies I helped mama make?" Lily asked in all seriousness.

"I will."

"Will you eat stawbewwy ice-cweam with me?"

"I will," Marvolo promised.

"And will you let me put makeup on you face fo pwactice?"

"I will," Marvolo realised a moment later as to what he'd said and his eyes widened in horror. Lily squealed in delight, clapping her hands and kissing his cheek, "Then you fowgiven, Mista Mawolo."

The room was filled with laughter at the little one's trick. Lucius fell in love with Lily after that, just as Narcissa. From what they'd heard about her from the Dark Lord she sounded a very shy child, but they could sense that she was a snake in disguise. Even better than the Dark Lord apparently.

"Lily, that's not a very nice thing," Harriet told her daughter. As much as she was upset with Marvolo, now she too was keen to see him dolled up in makeup and glitter now that Lily had mentioned it. It would be amusing, to say the least. A smile crept upon her face unknowingly.

"You tricked me!" Marvolo exclaimed realising what the little tyke had done. He looked at Harriet who was now smiling at the two of them.

"But you pwomised," Lily said innocently.

"Lils, you can't put makeup on Lord Slytherin's face," Harriet finally got her daughter's attention.

"But he's my best fwiend," Lily reasoned then looked back at Marvolo. "You my best fwiend wight, Mista Mawolo?"

"Of course, I am, darling." Marvolo's happiness knew no bounds. Yes, he was Lily's best friend.

"See mama, he's my best fwiend so I can put makeup on his face," Lily gave her mum the reasoning she found appropriate.

"Lily, you can't," Harriet said in exasperation. The look she received from Marvolo though, told her that he didn't mind Lily's request at all. In fact, he was willing to do anything to spend some time with her daughter. Harriet was about to speak again when Lily's shrill voice filled the whole room. She screamed at the top of her lungs looking at something behind Marvolo. Immediately, everyone's attention was drawn towards the hissing and slithering noise entering the room. Hermione gasped loudly and involuntarily clutched Draco's hand tightly when the big form of Nagini came into everyone's view. Draco was only looking at their joined hands intently. Harriet left out a worried breath. Marvolo drew Lily closer to him when he saw his familiar creeping closer towards them.

"Nagini, I told you not to come, didn't I? You scared Lily!" Marvolo hissed.

"I don't think so! Look at the hatchling," Nagini's reply came out in a sassy tone. Only then Marvolo looked down at the child sitting in his lap. He realised that Lily had screamed in excitement, and not in fear. She wasn't afraid of the large snake, instead was fascinated.

"Mama! Mama, look it's a snakey! It's a snakey!" Lily excitedly pointed towards Nagini, showing the snake to her mum and grinning madly. She had always loved snakes. They were so beautiful. Lily climbed out of Marvolo's lap and off the couch.

"Lily, careful," Harriet moved from her seat in haste. She moved to take her daughter in arms but she was already too late. Lily had already bent down and started petting Nagini lovingly.

"Hi, sweetie pie," Lily hissed fondly, amazed at the beauty in front of her. Marvolo's eyes widened in surprise. So did Lucius' and Narcissa's.

"A speaker!" Nagini too was shocked at the discovery.

"Speaka? What's that?" Lily asked Marvolo, confusion palpable on her face. He didn't answer her for a few moments, his mind still reeling with the new information. He was about to speak when Harriet hurriedly took Lily in her arms and backed away from the feral snake. She was wary of Nagini. More so since the Ministry of Magic incident. Has Harriet not been stupid to understand Voldemort's plans, Sirius would have been alive and well. But he wasn't here.

Nagini could smell the discomfort and fear rolling off her. It was natural, reasonable. Lily looked at her mama confusingly. Mama loved snakes. Then why was she acting like this?

"I won't harm your hatchling." Nagini hissed understanding her fear. Harriet wasn't for herself, she was worried about her daughter.

"Stay away!" Harriet hissed instinctively. Her glare even made Lucius remain rooted to his spot. Not only her daughter but Harriet too was a Parselmouth. How was this possible?

Marvolo who had gotten up from his seat, couldn't believe the turn of events folding in front of him.

"Nagini, go away," he commanded lightly. Eyes never leaving Harriet's, who too had realised what she'd accidentally done. Hermoine moved away from Draco and stood protectively next to Harriet, hand ready to take out her wand if need be.

"But I wanted to meet the hatchling. The one who'd convinced you to allow and put makeup on your face. I want to get to know her."

"Nagini, not now. Go away!" He didn't look when Nagini slithered away, muttering nonsense under her breath. She was upset that Marvolo had not let her interact with the cute, little hatchling dressed in a sunny dress. But she also couldn't forget the look on Harriet's face. So, she'd silently agreed.

"Lily, can you understand what I'm saying?" Marvolo asked as patiently as he could, not wanting to scare her or her mother because Salazar he was losing his mind and patience.

"Yes, why wouldn't I?" Lily asked innocently. Marvolo looked at Harriet expectantly, wanting an answer.

"Why didn't you tell anyone that you can speak Parseltongue?" Marvolo hissed the words purposely, wanting to make sure that he wasn't hearing things.

"It wasn't a secret. Everyone at Hogwarts knew that I'm a Parselmouth. Dumbledore, Mr Snape, everyone. Draco too. They saw me speak the language. And then everyone accused me of being the Heir of Salazar Slytherin when the Chamber was opened in my second year. Why Snape didn't inform you, I don't know," Harriet replied with a sigh.

"And how was the Chamber exactly opened?"

"You don't know?" Harriet asked. She got a 'no' in response.

"Your diary," she said and Marvolo's face might have shown his surprise. Before Harriet could continue though, Hermione lightly touched her arm and signalled towards Lily. Harriet understood, Draco did too.

"Lily, would you like to see our garden. It's filled with flowers and we have peacocks too," Draco piped in. The conversation was not suitable for a child.

"Peacocks? You have peacocks, Mista Dwaco? The pwetty colouful biwds?"

"Yes," Draco said with a sweet smile.

"Mama, can I go see the peacocks, pwease?"

"Of course, baby," Harriet kissed her head and whispered, "Stay with aunt Mione, okay? Don't go running away."

"Uhuh." After making sure that her daughter was out of earshot, Harriet continued.

"Your diary possessed one of the first years, Ginny Weasley. I went down the Chamber, killed the Basilisk and saved her," Harriet spoke as fast as she could, knowing well that he wouldn't take the news kindly. His face went from calm to thunderous in a matter of seconds.

"You killed the Basilisk? Salazar Slytehrin's Basilisk?" his voice was whispered but sharp enough to cut through her bones.

"I did," her voice wavered a bit. Unlike she'd expected though, Marvolo turned his heated gaze towards Lucius.

"How did my diary reach Hogwarts?" Marvolo hissed dangerously. Eyes flashed crimson and for the first time in years, they could see the resemblance in Marvolo and Voldemort. Lucius shivered in fright. Narcissa couldn't do anything either. How had this luncheon gone downhill?

"It wasn't his fault. I was the one who destroyed your diary," Harriet intervened quickly. She swallowed hard before she spoke again, "and your other self."

Marvolo looked at her intently for a few moments. Lucius gave Harriet a thankful nod in return; he didn't understand why she'd helped him but he wasn't complaining about it.

"How are you able to speak Parseltongue?" He finally asked.

"I don't know. I'm able to speak it for as long as I can remember. Though in my second year I asked Dumbledore. He said that night, you accidentally transferred some of your powers to me after you," Harriet was unable to complete the sentence. Marvolo didn't force her either. That Samhain night hadn't been kind to either of them.

"Have you got any inheritance tests done before?" He asked calmly this time.

"No," Harriet said. "I'm only aware of my Potter and Black Heirship."

"Then we'll get it done. Lily's too," Marvolo said in finality.

"I beg your pardon?" Harriet asked in surprise. Who was he to interfere with her and her daughter's life?

"There was only one family left in the British Isles that could speak Parseltongue. I'm the last living descendant of that family. But you're a Parselmouth too, which means that somehow we're connected. And if you indeed are my family, then I don't want to fuck up this time."

It was odd, Harriet thought. To have a family connection to this man who'd managed to destroy her life quite successfully. She wanted to protest but never got the chance as Marvolo swiftly turned around to get Lily from the garden.

"We're leaving for Gringotts now," he said as he started walking. "And Lucius?"

"Yes, my Lord?" Lucius' voice shivered as he spoke.

"We'll have a nice, long chat later."

Harriet gave Lord Malfoy a look of pity before she hastily started moving towards the garden too.

Chapter Text

CHAPTER 5

The garden was filled with Lily's giggling and merry voices as she cooed at the peacocks and played with them. Hermione smiled seeing her laughing without a care in the world and enjoying herself whilst chasing the birds. Seeing Lily smile made everything seem worth it—leaving Hogwarts and everything behind, starting a new life altogether. Leaving her parents for the sake of Harriet and her daughter. Hermione regretted nothing. And it wasn't a one-sided thing anyway. She knew how much Harriet had struggled and suffered at the hands of those pathetic Muggles she was forced to call family. She knew how Harriet considered Hermione not as a friend but as a sister. She knew how fiercely protective Harriet was of her and Lily—the only family she'd had. Therefore, all in all, Hermione Granger was content and happy in her life at the moment.

She glanced sideways when she saw Malfoy taking a seat beside her, on the stone bench, with some hesitance. As much as she didn't want to admit it, she couldn't deny that he looked very much handsome— his silky blonde hair styled neatly and his robes looked expensive and perfect too. Whenever his warm grey eyes lashed with hers, she could feel the shiver run down her spine. For a few moments, she wondered, how would those perfectly lickable and ink lips would feel on hers.

As soon as the thought flashed through her mind, Hermione blinked rapidly. Where did that thought come from?

She looked sideways and found him staring at her again, an arrogant smirk on his face as if he knew what was going on in her mind. Hermione's eyes widened, 'He couldn't perform legilimency, could he?'

"You look good," Draco commented, wiggling his eyebrows suggestively. He did mean what he said though. She looked really beautiful since the last time he saw her. Or maybe he was too stupid back their time at Hogwarts to realise that Hermione Granger was always this gorgeous.

"Thank you," she replied earnestly. She kept her silence, not knowing what else to speak.

"So, how did all this happen?" he asked. He didn't know the full story behind Potter, her daughter and the Dark Lord.

"Lily got lost in Diagon when she went with Harrie to the bank. Someone in the crowd pushed her away from Harrie. But thankfully, he was there. He helped her. So, she kind of invited him to her party as a thankful gesture. Which is a bit odd."

"It is?" his brow was furrowed at the uncertainty in her voice.

"Lils is a very shy kid. She doesn't talk much to anyone she doesn't know. Yet, they bonded as if she's always known him."

It made sense now. In all these years, Draco has not seen the Dark Lord act so casual and relaxed. Not even in front of his most trusted followers. But the way he'd interacted with the child today, was surprising, to say the least. It was carefree, it was full of love and attention. Even when Lily had screamed after seeing Nagini, he'd seen the protective way Marvolo had held her closer to him, his posture had been stiff and defensive. It was something a father would do for his child. Whether Marvolo knew about it or not, that was the real question.

"Aunt Mione, look!" Lily was running towards the two of them with a flower in her hands.

"Thank you, baby," Hermione smiled silly when Lily handed the flower to her.

"You welcome. Mista Dwaco, you peacocks awe vewy nice and pwetty and cute," Lily squealed in delight. She'd loved playing with the birds.

"You are very welcome, sweetheart. But I'm sure they are not as cute as you," Draco said as he knelt in the grass and in front of her, making the little one blush adorably. Hermione looked at him with raised eyebrows.

"Lily," Marvolo's voice broke their staring contest and they immediately looked away from each other. Lily turned her attention to him with Harriet right behind. Hermione and Draco too looked wary as to how the whole Chamber conversation would have gone.

"Yes, Mista Mawolo," Lily replied sweetly as she walked towards him. He instinctively bent and took her in his arms, as if it was the most natural gesture for him. Hermione and Draco shared a look at the action. Harriet stopped right beside Marvolo. She knew she didn't want to piss him any more than he already was, but she wouldn't jeopardize the safety of her daughter either. And she knew, Lily was still scared of the whole Diagon Alley fiasco. If her daughter wasn't comfortable, then Harriet wouldn't visit the bank.

"Well, you wanted to eat that strawberry ice-cream, did you not?" Marvolo asked in a light tone, the anger from before subsided at the moment.

"Yeah!" Lily replied instantly.

"How about we have that ice-cream today? I have some work in the bank, but then we can do whatever you want," Marvolo tried to make a deal with her. He got an opposite reaction from her though when instead of a cheery yes, he got a frightened look from the toddler as she looked at her mum. Harriet moved forward and took Lily, who clung to her mother as if she would vanish any second.

"It's gonna be okay, love. Mama's got you. I won't let anything happen to you ever."

"What if I get lost again?" Lily asked in a slightly fearsome tone. Marvolo's expression changed from confusion to angry at once—angry at himself that he didn't think of it before. Of course, she would be afraid to go to Diagon after what had happened the last time.

"I won't let you alone this time." Harriet's answer was sufficient. She could still read the hesitation in familiar emerald eyes. "How about I tell you a secret?"

Lily nodded quickly. Harriet held up the butterfly locket dangling across Lily's neck and showed it to her, "This is a Portkey. If you do not like it there, then hold it and hiss 'home'. You will get home, and grandpa Moony is there to take care of you."

"Like 'zzzztt, zzzztt'. Like today we got hewe?" Lily asked excitedly, obviously happy to learn about the new piece of magic. Harriet chuckled at the description, "Yeah, like 'zzzztt, zzzztt'."

"But what if you and aunt Mione get lost? You don't have buttewfly locket! How will you come home?" Harriet's heart soared feeling the concern I'm her daughter's voice.

"You don't have to worry at all, baby. Mama and aunt Mione can apparate without the locket too."

"You can?" There it was again, the curious gleam in her eyes. "Will you teach to go zzzztt zzzztt without locket?"

"Of course, baby! Once you get older, then we can teach you everything you'd like to learn. But not before that, it's dangerous." Harriet said as she booped Lily's nose making the little one laugh who had a light scowl on her faceupon the fact that she couldn't learn apparation until she was old enough. Harriet finally turned her attention to the others only to be met with a strange gleam in Marvolo's eyes, one that she could not put a finger onto. She cleared her throat that made him snap out of his thoughts.

"Mista Mawolo, can you also do appa...appawate like mama? The zzzztt zzzztt thing?"

"I can," Marvolo replied with a small smile. Lily looked comfortable and happy, a little bit of excited too, now that Harriet had assured her. It was a bit odd to see her communicate with her daughter. He felt as if he was intruding on their personal space, but nonetheless, he was in awe the way Harriet had handled the situation.

"Yay! Then you can appawate home and we ca watch Fwozen and go to the park and..." Lily started ranting again but was interrupted by her mother.

"Lils, that is okay. But we are getting late, sweetheart," Harriet said before her daughter could make any further plans. She wasn't sure about Marvolo yet. He hadn't been on the best of his behaviour around her, yet with Lily, he was a completely opposite person. And she didn't have the heart to tell her daughter that he was not a nice person. Lily didn't have many friends, she was a very private and shy child, one to always keep to herself. She didn't create much fuss at all when she didn't get what she wanted. She helped others frequently, like how she would always try to help Mrs Farrow, their neighbour, with the groceries and such. The other day she urged Harriet to help the poor starving puppy on the other side of the street and even gave him her own sandwich. Her daughter was innocent, and she had a heart of gold. Harriet could see many similarities between Lily's and her childhood.

So when Harriet saw Lily bonding with Marvolo like that, she knew everything was going to change. There was a glow on her face, she behaved like an actual child with him, all silly and cheerful. She didn't know what Marvolo had done, or what fate had planned for them. She thought maybe it was because of the absence of a father figure in her life, but Harriet wasn't sure. She knew that if Lily wanted him to be her friend, then she would not force them apart. She would maintain her distance from Marvolo and maybe forget whatever history they had for the sake of her child's happiness.

"Sowwy, mama. Let's go."

"We are ready, Lord Slytherin," Harriet spoke in a formal tone without looking at him. Marvolo wanted to say something, anything, just to break this awkward tension between them. But he chose to remain silent. He would apologise to her as soon as he got the chance, but they had more pressing matters to be attended to at the moment.

"My Lord, Lady Potter, I would like to join you too, if that is alright?" Lucius' voice made his presence aware. Behind him, Narcissa stood too with a sullen-looking Snape.

"I have no problem," Harriet replied with a small assuring smile that made Lucius sigh in relief.

"Alright," Marvolo nodded. He did notice though how quite Lily had suddenly gotten after seeing Snape and made a mental note to ask her about it later. He silently moved towards Lily and Harriet, offering her his arm in a silent request. With some hesitation, Harriet clutched his arm tightly with Lily clutching to her like a monkey. In no time, they vanished from Malfoy Manor garden.

Draco, Hermione and Lucius followed their lead and quickly disappeared too.


Marvolo appeared directly in the receiving room of Gringotts instead of Diagon Alley as Harriet expected. At her questioning glance, he simply said, "Figured it would be easier for Lily."

Harriet nodded in a slight thanks.

"Mama, I can walk now," Lily whispered.

"Alright, sweetheart." Harriet put her down and started walking beside Marvolo. There weren't many people in the bank thankfully, but she still was edgy. Back in the day, many people hadn't liked the idea of their hero abandoning them for the sake of her own life. There had been many crude words written about her in the Daily Prophet too, but she couldn't care less. None of them knew the reason of Harriet disappearing with the war almost at its peak, and she was bound to keep that way. Thus, she always used strong Parselmagic glamours on her and Lily whenever they visited Gringotts or Diagon. She wasn't ready for them to know that the former saviour, Harriet Potter, had a daughter.

Marvolo hadn't questioned her either, and simply nodded in approval when he saw her little glamour trick before entering the main hall.

Lily, oblivious of the underlying tension, walked in between them with one of her hands in Harriet's and the other in Marvolo's. She didn't hate the goblins but they were a little scary sometimes. And she was sure that Mister Marvolo would protect her and mama very well.

Marvolo couldn't describe the feeling that rose in his chest at Lily's gesture. He didn't even mind the looks he was receiving from other customers upon the fact that he was walking hand-in-hand with a toddler, and some unknown woman walking beside the great Dark Lord without the slightest hint of fear. One glare from him and everyone scrambled to get their businesses finished as soon as possible.

Soon, they reached the Head Goblin's desk.

"Good afternoon, Griphook. I would like to see my family manager," Marvolo greeted the Goblins' Bank Manager in a perfectly normal voice. The Goblin, however, wasn't able to hide his shock when he saw Lady Potter and her daughter beside him. Morgana, he never thought a day would come when he would see the two enemies standing beside each other as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. He did school his expressions, though in a matter of seconds.

"Hi Mista Goblin Siw," Lily waved and greeted the older creature and got a sincere smile in return that actually took Minister Slytherin by surprise. He had thought that Goblins didn't like two-legged wand users after all. Apparently, he'd been wrong in his assumption.

"Hello, Heiress Potter. A pleasure to meet you as always."

"Hello, Griphook. I would also like to meet both my family managers," Harriet told the head Goblin.

"As you wish, my lady." Although he wanted to question their surprise visit, he promptly kept his mouth shut. It was their personal matter, after all. With a slight nod, he went to do what was asked of him. When he came back, they were joined by Lord Malfoy, Heir Malfoy and Miss Granger; the latter of the three also wearing a slight glamour to not be recognised.

"Please follow me." Griphook led them all to his office that was an elaborate dome-shaped chamber, the walls being intricated designed and warded in complex runes. Lily gaped at the large room and starting assaulting Griphook with various questions that he absolutely couldn't refuse to answer.

Not much later they were joined by three other goblins - the Slytherin, Potter and Black families managers. All three wore the same surprised look on their faces.

"How can I be of assistance today, Minister?" Gniald, the Slytherin family manager asked him.

"We would like to get a full inheritance test of Lady and Heiress Potter," Marvolo spoke in a formal tone.

"Very well then. It'll cost 5 galleons each," Gonrud informed as the other two went to prepare everything needed for the test.

"Don't worry about the money. You can charge it from the Potter vault," Harriet replied before Marvolo could say anything. She saw his features turning into an obvious frown at the interruption.

Gniald came back with two thick parchments in hand while Trung held a beautifully carved, runic dagger in his hands.

"Whenever you're ready."

"I'll do it first," Harriet said.

"Make a clean cut with this dagger and let seven drops of your blood fall on this parchment, Lady Potter," Griphook came forward from his seat as he held the parchment out her. Harriet did as she was told, and waited for the result patiently as magic worked on the thick paper and made it glow eerily.

Inheritance Test of Harriet Lillian Potter:

Mother: Lily Mary Potter nee' Evans (Status: deceased)

Father: James Charlus Potter (Status: deceased)

Godfather: Sirius Orion Black (Status: deceased)

Godmother: Alice Elizabeth Longbottom nee' Emrys (Status: deceased)

Titles:

Head to the Ancient and Noble House of Potter (Paternal). Seats - 2

Head to the Ancient and Noble House of Gryffindor (Paternal). Seats - 2

Heiress to the Ancient and Noble House of Black (Through Godfather). Seats - 3

Heiress to the Ancient and Noble House of Shafiq. (Maternal). Seat - 1

Heiress to the Ancient and Noble House of Le Flay. (Maternal). Seats - 2

Total seats on Wizengamot: 10

Holdings: Hogwarts 1/4, Potter Manor, Potter Castle, Godric's Hollow, Black Manors, Shafiq Manor, Gryffindor Castle, Le Flay Castle.

Vaults: 7, 15, 336, 587, 992, 1083

Trust vault set by Lily Potter: 03

Abilities: Parseltongue, Animagus (blocked), Legilimency (blocked), Occlumency (blocked), Familiar Bond, Wandless magic (1/3 blocked), Non-verbal magic (1/3 blocked).

Soul Bond: Present (Through Horcrux Link)

Soul Bonded to: Tom Marvolo Riddle (unconsummated)

Harriet read the parchment once, twice and again. Her eyes blinked rapidly as her brain started to run at a thousand miles at what was written in front of her. No...this couldn't be true. It had to be a lie. All of this had to be a lie.

Marvolo watched in confusion and concern when he saw Harriet's hand shaking after reading the result. He saw her eyes meeting his, saw a million emotions running through them - fear, anger, confusion, hurt. He could feel her on the verge of breaking down, in a way that she would never be able to feel whole again, happy again. And for the first time in his life, Marvolo was terrified for someone other than his own self.

He moved swiftly from his seat, taking one beside her and took the parchment from her hands ever so slightly. He read everything, his jaw clenching and mind reeling when his brain finally processed what it all meant.

"Harrie, what's wrong?" Hermione asked when she saw her in such a vulnerable state. Harriet wasn't one to easily break down, especially in front of so many people.

"Gniald, get Lily's inheritance test done too," Marvolo's eyes were blazing furiously. If Lily hadn't been there, he was sure that he would have lost it and everything would have been a mess. He didn't want to scare the child.

"Lils, come here," Harriet prompted her daughter to come and set her onto her lap. Lily looked at her mother then at Marvolo who gave her an encouraging smile when the Goblin held dagger close to her palm.

"I won't let them harm you. I won't let anyone harm you," Marvolo promised her after seeing her hesitate a little. It was a promise he intended to keep at all costs. She nodded, allowing the goblin to make a slight cut on her palm and let the blood flow easily. As soon as the blood dropped on the parchment, it started glowing as bright as Harriet's, and the cut on her palm healed too.

Inheritance test of Lily Hermione Potter:

Mother: Harriet Lillian Potter (Status: Alive)

Father (Biological): Piers Cooper (Status: Alive)

Father (Through soulbond): Tom Marvolo Riddle (Status: Alive)

Godfather: Remus John Lupin (Status: Alive)

Godmother: Hermione Jean Granger (Status: Alive)

Titles:

Heiress to the Ancient and Noble House of Potter (Maternal). Seats - 2

Heiress to the Ancient and Noble House of Gryffindor (Maternal). Seats - 2

Heiress to the Ancient and Noble House of Slytherin (Paternal). Seats - 2

Heiress to the Ancient and Noble House of Ravenclaw (Paternal). Seats - 2

Heiress to the Ancient and Noble House of Peverell (Paternal). Seats - 3

Heiress to the Ancient and Noble House of Gaunt (Paternal). Seat - 1

Heiress to the Ancient and Noble House of Black (Maternal). Seats - 3

Heiress to the Ancient and Noble House of Shafiq. (Maternal). Seat - 1

Heiress to the Ancient and Noble House of Le Flay. (Maternal). Seats - 2

The last three Heirships will be passed on to Lily Hermione Potter eventually, once the current Heiress—Harriet Lillian Potter— gains the Headship of the houses. Also, the titles can only be claimed once the child turns seventeen (according to Wizarding Law)

Total seats on Wizengamot: 18

Holdings: Hogwarts 3/4, Potter Manor, Potter Castle, Godric's Hollow, Black Manors, Shafiq Manor, Gryffindor Castle, Le Flay Castle, Ravenclaw Castle, Slytherin Castle, Slytherin Manor, Peverell Castles, Gaunt Shack.

Vaults: 7, 15, 336, 587, 992, 1083, 338, 543, 919, 717, 18.

Abilities: Parseltongue, Animagus, Legilimency, Occlumency, Familiar Bond, Wandless magic, Non-verbal magic, Astral Projections.

Soul Bond: Absent.

Harriet read the contents of Lily's results. Her heart hammering furiously in her chest. Marvolo was Lily's soul-bonded father. He was the father of her daughter because magic has recognised him as such. Not only that, but he was Harriet's soulmate too.

What was all this? What was happening? Why was everything hidden from her then? Why hadn't Dumbledore told Harriet any of these things because apparently, he'd been her fucking magical guardian? Why such a significant fact of her life had been kept hidden from her? Had everything she'd been know her entire life a lie?

And suddenly, it all clicked. Dumbledore had always wanted to kill Voldemort. He'd claimed that there was no morality left in the moster, nothing that could stop him from causing massacre by killing thousands of innocent people juts for the sake of killing. And if Harriet remembered correctly, Dumbledore had been searching for some valuable artefacts that could lead to Voldemort's death. A image of his blackened hand flashed through her mind when he'd come to pick her up during the start of sixth year.

"He wanted me dead too," Harriet whispered as she came to the realisation. Her eyes widening at the horrific truth that her life could have been had she not left Hogwarts that night.

"What?" Hermione moved forward, taking the piece of parchment from her hand. She read and was equally shocked.

"You're Lily's father." It wasn't a question. It was a fact. Lucius took in a sharp breath as he looked at his Lord for confirmation. Lily who was sitting quietly in her mother's lap spoke up, "Mista Mawolo, awe you my Dada?"

It felt as if the elephant in the room had finally been addressed. Marvolo's eyes snapped at Lily's, he could see the sadness and tears that were threatening to fall. There was a quiver in her voice. He was reminded of the day he'd found her lost in Diagon. She'd been so lost and terrified. But Marvolo didn't know what to do. He didn't know what to tell her. He didn't know how to comfort her. He was so lost in his own thoughts that he never noticed Harriet moving from her seat and taking Lily in her arms quickly.

Without wasting any time, Harriet all but ran out of the room and apparated away, leaving behind a furious Dark Lord at her sudden departure. Hermione gave a side glance to Draco signalling something and went after them.

"My Lord, stop," Lucius grabbed Marvolo from going after Lady Potter. His protective father side making his mind go into a frenzy.

"She is my daughter," Marvolo snarled. "LILY IS MY DAUGHTER!"

"I know, my Lord. But this is neither the right time nor the right place," Lucius reasoned.

"We'll find a solution as soon as we reach home, my Lord," Draco piped in. Marvolo took deep breaths to calm his fucking mind but all he could think about was what had been endured today. He had a child; a beautiful, innocent, sweet little child who'd stolen his heart completely. He was a father and he wasn't even aware of it.

"Why wasn't I informed about the change of status in my Inheritance tests, Gniald?" Marvolo's gaze sorted his family manager's who was obviously frightened seeing his furious client. "Why wasn't I informed that I had a soulmate and a daughter?"

"I did inform you about the status change as soon as I became aware of it, Lord Slytherin. I even sent you official letters regarding it. But you came in the next day and didn't ask anything, so I thought you didn't want to do anything regarding this matter seeing how you and Lady Potter weren't on the best of terms," Gniald responded quickly.

"I never received any such letter," Marvolo's confusion was palpable. If he'd received this information before, he would have gone and sorted everything with Harriet.

"You didn't?"

"Do you think I'm lying?" He sneered at the poor, quivering Goblin. Salazar, Marvolo's anger knew no bounds today.

"When did you send this letter, Gniald?" Lucius questioned.

"The first one was sent as soon as the news of your return from dead surfaced in the Prophet, and the next one when Heiress Potter's birth was officially registered in the Ministry."

"He's telling the truth, Lord Slytherin. No official letter is sent without the sign of Bank Manager and I, myself, handed tose letters to Ragnok who was the manager at that time. I even have copies," Griphook backed Gniald and started searching for the files. Marvolo took the copies in haste and read it. Gniald wasn't lying. He did send him letters, two to be exact. And someone had definitely received them, otherwise, the owls would have come back with them to Gniald.

Who was stealing Marvolo's letter then?

"My Lord?" Draco asked, not liking the silence of the enraged Dark Lord in the least.

"We have a traitor amongst ourselves, Draco," Marvolo's eyes blazed crimson. Someone had been trying to keep Harriet and Lily away from him, someone who was close to Marvolo. Someone Marvolo had trusted.

"We will, my Lord," Lucius' voice held promise to help him at all costs. "But what do we do about Lady and Heiress Potter?"

Well, that was the fucking question. What would Marvolo do now?