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I Welcome the Unwelcome

Chapter Text

Violet Potter was content. It was strange concept indeed, but she had no desire to really think about why that was. It would ruin her mood, after all.

It was a beautiful, sunny day in June, and exams had come to an end. OWLs had been difficult, yet easy at the same time, and the raven haired girl was pleased with how they had gone. She knew she certainly didn't manage to do as well as Hermione, but was positive she'd done better than Ron at least, and earned a few OWLs. Hopefully.

She was seated under a large tree by the lake, her feet in the cool water, surrounded by her friends. Ron and Hermione were seated to her left. The bushy haired witch was cooling her feet in the water as well, though she was more caught up in her argument with the redhead. Those two were always arguing! Violet wondered why they didn't just snog already and get it over with! Luna was to the right of her, lying on her back in the grass, staring up at the passing clouds while she hummed a Christmas carol vaguely under her breath, despite the time of year. And not far in front of her was Neville. He had rolled up the legs of his trousers and waded into the water to poke and prod at some sort of weed, his expression a mask of concentration.

Violet smiled, tipped her head back, and closed her eyes, feeling a gentle breeze play across her face. It was so rare for her to feel this at peace. Especially this year, what with Umbridge and her literally bloody detentions, and her constantly painfully twinging, burning, stinging lightning bolt scar. She doubted the scar on the back of her left hand would ever fade.

No, bad Violet! Don't think about all that! She pulled herself out of her thoughts and peered at her friends again, keeping herself distracted. Yes, if she didn't start thinking, she was most certainly quite content.

She should have known it wasn't meant to last.

"Hey, Violet!" Ginny, who had opted to spend time with her boyfriend Dean, approached while waving.

"Hey, Gin," the emerald eyed girl greeted with a smile.

"I just ran into McGonagall," said the youngest Weasley, flipping her long red hair over her shoulder. "She said Dumbledore wants to see you in his office."

Ron and Hermione stopped arguing immediately, Neville looked up from whatever it was he was examining, and even Luna stopped humming.

Violet frowned. "Did she say why?" She couldn't possibly have done something wrong now! She'd been focused on her exams all week, and with her friends since they had finished mere hours ago. She hadn't done anything!

Ginny shook her head. "No, but she looked really serious. All she said was that you have to go up right away."

Despite being quite confused and a little concerned, the Girl-Who-Lived nodded and got to her feet, thanking Hermione when she spelled her feet dry. She pulled on her socks and shoes, straightened her skirt, and with a small wave to her friends, began making her way into the castle.

The corridors were deserted, the students either outside in the sun, or holed up in their common rooms. Everyone was enjoying the end of exams in their own weird way. It was that one, rare moment of the year when there were no altercations between the four Houses, everyone too relieved to argue or fight.

Running into no one at all, not even a ghost, Violet soon found herself standing before the gargoyle that blocked the staircase to the Headmaster's office. And it was only now that the teen was realizing she had no idea what the password was. Well, damn.

"Chocolate Frog? Blood Pop? Ice Mice?" Sweet, after sweet she named, none of them earning her any sort of reaction, which eventually led her to start naming Muggle sweets. ...Where was a professor when you needed them? "Mars? Smarties? Reese? Um, Snickers?"*

At that, the gargoyle sprang aside, revealing the staircase. Amused, but deciding not to question how the headmaster even knew what Snickers bars were, she ascended the stairs, eventually finding herself standing in front of the door. Raising a hand, knocked with the griffin door knocker.

"Come in!"

The door sprang open on its own, and she stepped into the large, circular room, only to pause in place at the sight before her. Dumbledore was seated behind his desk, looking rather solemn, but he wasn't the only person in the office. Professors McGonagall and Snape were also here, the latter of whom had a large, dark scaled serpent coiled around his shoulders for some reason. Besides them, there were two more in here.

"Remus? P-Padfoot?" Violet stood where she was, blinking rapidly, her concern only growing. "What's going on?" she questioned, stepping further into the room. "Did-did something happen? Is everyone okay?"

"Everything's alright!" Remus assured quickly, looking oddly...guilty?

"All will be explained in a moment, my dear," said Dumbledore with a smile as he flicked his wand.

Violet heard the door shut behind her, and she felt a flicker of magic pass over her shoulder. Seconds later, Padfoot turned back into Sirius, who wasted no time in drawing his goddaughter into a tight embrace. An embrace filled with concern and guilt.

Emerald eyes narrowing, the girl carefully pulled away. McGonagall looked guilty as well, her lips pressed tightly together. Snape was the only one who looked impassive, but her attention was quickly drawn to the serpent coiled around him.

The snake seemed to realize it was being observed, for it raised its dark head off the man's shoulder, revealing crimson irises. "Sss, more staring fools. How irritating."

Violet blinked, but couldn't help the tiny smile that caught at her lips. "I'm sorry," she apologized. "I've never seen such a beautiful snake before."

The serpent raised its head further, actually looking at her now. "A Speaker?" It, he, perhaps, paused as if in contemplation. "You may touch me, if you wish."

Nodding, but not willing to do so without Snape's permission (he'd never hesitate before slapping her with a detention), she glanced up at the professor. "May I pet him, sir?"

Snape peered down at her, expressionless. "You may," he finally relented with an incline of his head.

Quickly forgetting about everyone else, the girl reached out and gently began petting the snake, amazed at the soft, smooth scales beneath her fingertips. She'd never touched a snake before, not counting the basilisk, considering it had been trying to kill her.

The snake seemed to be enjoying her touch, and leaned into her. "Sss, what is your name, young Speaker?"

The girl smiled, but didn't stop petting. "Violet. My name is Violet. Will you tell me your name?"

"I am called...Thanatos,"

Violet grinned and glanced up at the Potions Master. "Thanatos? You named the snake after death?"

Snape merely smirked, amusement flashing through his eyes, though he said nothing in return, not that that was surprising or anything. Or maybe it was. She wasn't sure she had ever lasted this long in the same room as the Potions Master without losing House points.

Dumbledore suddenly cleared his throat, drawing Violet's attention to him again. She immediately noticed that he, McGonagall, Remus, and Sirius all looked a little uncomfortable. She tried not to roll her eyes. Parseltongue was just a...foreign language, that's all. Still, she figured it was time to refocus on why she was here in the first place.

"So, what's going on?" she asked. "Does-does this have something to do with Voldemort?" Of course it does. Why else would you be here? She saw Thanatos stir out of the corner of her eye, as if attempting to near her, but she chose to ignore it, wanting to find out what the heck was going on.

"It does, yes," nodded Dumbledore. "But it is not necessarily bad."

But there was something in his tone that had the teen raising her guard quite quickly. 'Voldemort' and 'not bad' weren't words that really went together in her opinion. "So then..."

"I have only just returned from a meeting with Cornelius at the Ministry," Dumbledore began. "And attending that meeting was one other-Tom."

Violet blinked, absently noting the snake stirring again. "Tom? As in Tom Riddle? As-as in Voldemort?" Because the only other Tom she knew was the innkeeper at the Leaky Cauldron, and he certainly had no reason to be in a meeting like that, which left only one option.

"Yes, indeed."

"You had a meeting with Fudge and Voldemort?" This sounds fake. How could it not?

"Yes, and it was a most interesting meeting."

"Why? Sir," she added quickly, remembering to be polite.

"Tom has offered a peace treaty."

Violet blinked. "What? Why?"

"Both sides of this war are in agreement with this treaty," replied the old man, ignoring her questions, unsurprisingly.

"...I can hear a 'but' in there somewhere," she pointed out.

Dumbledore nodded and peered at her from over the rim of his half moon spectacles. "But there is one thing he is asking for that we cannot agree on without first discussing it with you."

Violet was getting a really bad feeling now, dread settling over her like a thick blanket. "What...what is he asking for?"

"You."

"E-eh? M-me? What do you mean he wants me?"

McGonagall seemed to take pity on her. "He wishes for your hand in marriage."

For a second, Violet wondered if she was about to faint. Her mind went blank, her knees went weak, and Remus sprang forward, catching her around the waist before she managed to hit the floor.

"Careful, Cub," he murmured, gently guiding her into a chair and wondering why the Headmaster hadn't invited to her to sit before. He remained at her side, keeping a firm hold on her hand while Sirius moved to stand behind her, his hands on the girl's shoulders, an unfamiliar, but comforting weight.

There was a long pause where no one spoke. Eventually, it was Violet herself who broke that silence, desperate to voice her thoughts, but unsure of what even to say, and settling with-

"If I say no?"

"Then the peace treaty will go unsigned, and the war will continue as it is," stated Dumbledore without preamble or hesitation.

"Meaning if I agree, the war will come to an end?"

"Yes."

Way to be blunt. I marry Voldemort, the war ends. I don't marry him, the war continues. Yeah, I really wonder what I'm going to choose. Merlin, why can't I have a normal life for once...? Violet had no idea what to really think about all this.

"You have time yet, to decide," said the old headmaster. "Until your birthday, in fact. However, I expect you to come to me before the Parting Feast with your thoughts."

Violet just nodded. She felt like she was in shock, unable to believe this decision that had, ultimately, been made for her. She sighed inwardly, then looked up. "If that's all, may I be excused?"

McGonagall answered before Dumbledore could, looking saddened. "Of course you may. Go on and-and enjoy the sunshine." Clearly she was upset with all this, but for whatever reason, wasn't bothering to argue against it. No one was.

"Cub." "Pup." Remus and Sirius spoke in unison, neither releasing her as she stood.

But the Girl-Who-Lived merely faked a smile, something she was very used to doing. "I'm fine," she assured the two men. "I just want to-to get out of here."

Both hesitated before nodding and letting go of her, allowing Violet to shakily make her way out of the round room.

The emerald eyed girl wasted no time, and immediately hurried back outside and over to the large tree by the lake. Even as she approached she spotted her friends exactly where she had left them, Ginny included. She must have ditched Dean for now. All five noticed her as she neared, and looked up.

When Violet finally came to a stop, the looks of concern had her words catching in her throat. She opened her mouth to speak, wanting to tell them what she had just learned, but all that came out was a choked sob, knees crumpling under her again.

Ron's eyes widened and he leapt to his feet before anyone else could even react. Probably used to dealing with Ginny when she'd been younger, he wrapped an arm around his friend's shoulders and gently guided her down onto the grass, even as the others approached.

"What happened?" asked Hermione worriedly, setting her palm on the other girl's forehead to check for a fever.

"I'm not sick," Violet muttered. "I just got some...bad news."

"Was it something Dumbledore said?" asked Neville with a furrowed brow.

Violet nodded. "He and Fudge had a meeting at the Ministry, and Voldemort was with them."

"What!?"

The girl cracked a smile, unable to help herself. "That isn't even the shocking part."

"Go on, then," encouraged Ginny, despite the look of confusion on her freckled face.

"Apparently, Voldemort proposed a peace treaty."

"What!?"

"That still isn't the shocking bit."

"Keep going then."

"Dumbledore and Fudge agree with the treaty, but..."

"But?" they echoed.

Violet hesitated, then decided to just be blunt. "Voldemort wants to marry me. Or rather, wants me to marry him. Same thing, really. It's marriage either way."

"..."

"That's the shocking part."

"W-WHAT!?"

"Why!?" questioned Ron, blue eyes wide with disbelief, unable to comprehend what he had just heard. And he certainly wasn't the only one.

Violet shrugged. "I have no idea. But basically, if I marry the Dark Lord the war ends, if I don't, the war doesn't."

Hermione released a horrified gasp, a hand coming up to cover her gaping mouth. "They can't be serious! That's appalling! They can't hinge the end of the war on a teenage girl marrying the Dark Lord!"

The emerald eyed girl shrugged again, feeling helpless. "Remus and Sirius were there along with McGonagall and Snape too. Everyone but Snape looked oddly guilty. They couldn't even look me in the eyes half the time."

"But-but they can't possibly AGREE with this!"

"They do."

"Even Sirius and Remus!?"

Violet nodded. "Everyone wants this war to end," she said softly, tugging at tufts of grass.

"I know what you're thinking." It was Neville who broke the sudden silence that had fallen. Violet looked up at him, only to see he was regarding her closely, his eyes locked on her face intently. "We all know what you're going to choose to do, Violet, but you said you still have time, right?"

"He said my birthday, which is the day after yours. But he wants to hear something before the Parting Feast."

Neville nodded. "If V-Voldemort is serious about this, then have you considered asking to meet him for negotiations?"

"That's right!" exclaimed Hermione, catching on immediately, her eyes lighting up. "The marriage clause can't possibly be the only thing on the treaty! You need to know what else they're agreeing on, besides you and this marriage."

"And there are all sorts of marriage contracts too," Ron pointed out. "Some are definitely better or worse than others for sure, so you can ask which one he's planning on using, and after Hermione here does some research," he gave the bushy haired witch an amused glance, "we'll know if it's any good or not."

Ginny nodded in agreement. "If it's a bad one, you can always propose one of your own. There are no laws against that. He can't flat out deny using yours, but he doesn't have to accept it either."

"Daddy and mum bonded using a very good contract," Luna pitched in abruptly. "I'll ask him if you like."

Again, Violet nodded, unwilling to deny any help being given to her, something the adults didn't seem to give a damn about. And the rest of the day was spent with the teens making note of everything the poor Girl-Who-Lived could ask the Dark Lord, if negotiations were actually allowed.

Violet had never been more glad to have her friends on her side...

*I'm too lazy to research which chocolate bars do and don't exist in Europe, and those are what I was eating while writing, so yeah...

Chapter Text

While the majority of the students at Hogwarts were enjoying their final days in the castle looking forward to the beginning of the summer holiday, Violet and her friends were spending that same time worrying and researching, and worrying some more.

They all knew, realistically, that Violet technically had no way out of this, even if she refused to marry the Dark Lord. She was underage, and since Sirius was still a fugitive for some reason, and Remus a werewolf, Dumbledore himself was her Magical Guardian. If he signed everything for her, it would all be considered perfectly legal. In loco parentis and all that. And she had a feeling that was exactly what the headmaster was going to do if she did end up saying no to this entire thing.

Ending wars led people to desperate acts, after all. She was surprised he had even bothered asking her first, and not jumped at signing the treaty the moment Voldemort had proposed it. Though maybe that was only because Sirius would have done something very reckless otherwise. But by doing all this research, by meeting and discussing things with Voldemort herself, she at least had a chance of making things right, even if she did end up stuck in a most unwelcome marriage.

But at least she knew what she wanted to say to the old man now.

Two hours before the Parting Feast (in which Slytherin was, unfortunately, clearly going to win the House Cup-bloody Umbridge) Violet made her way up to his office, spoke the password which luckily hadn't changed yet, ascended the stairs, and knocked on the door, opening it once she was bid to enter.

She stepped into the room, only to find McGonagall and Snape (and his snake) inside again as well. A momentarily raised brow was the only visible sign of her surprise. Instead, the girl merely greeted the professors politely, Thanatos the one one she was genuinely pleased to see, being an innocent snake and all. She pet him when he asked, smiling gently until the Headmaster interrupted her.

"Please have a seat, my dear," said Dumbledore, gesturing at one of the chairs across his large desk. "Lemon drop? Tea?" he offered.

"No thank you." Violet just wanted to say what needed to be said and get out.

"Very well." Maybe he realized now wasn't the moment, for the Headmaster folded his hands on top of the desk, and peered at her carefully. "Have you given the treaty clause any thought?"

Violet nearly scoffed. How could she not have? She was just glad this had been brought up after her exams, and not before. That would have been a disaster. Regardless, she nodded. "Yes."

"And?" prompted Dumbledore.

The raven haired girl hesitated for only a moment, before saying, "I want to meet with him."

Everyone blinked, and even the snake stopped stirring. "Meet?" Dumbledore and McGonagall questioned in unison.

"Yes. I want to meet Voldemort."

"Whatever for?"

"Negotiations."

"Negotiations?"

Have they gone deaf now or something? "Yes," she replied curtly, not particularly caring about being rude at the moment. They should have expected this anyway, so why the heck were they so shocked?

Dumbledore peered at her closely, eyes no longer twinkling. "Negotiating will not get you out of this, my dear."

"I know," Violet replied simply. "Unless... What else is on this peace treaty you've all agreed on without me, sir?"

"Nothing you need to concern yourself with," Dumbledore replied airily, waving one of his gnarled hands.

"Uh huh, yeah, that's what I thought you'd say, sir." Violet sighed, shook her head as if disappointed, and gracefully rose to her feet. "Well then, I refuse to marry Voldemort until I have the chance to meet and discuss things with him in person. If he's truly serious about this, then there shouldn't be a problem, correct? After all, you claimed he was the one to propose the treaty in the first place."

Dumbledore did not look pleased now, his eyes loosing their twinkle, and his jaw tightening. "Very well," he replied rather stiffly, half a minute later. The cogs in his mind were already whirring.

But Violet already knew that. "Oh yes, and for this meeting, I would prefer it to take place somewhere neutral, such as Diagon Alley, for example, and we both may have...two people whom we trust, with us at the time. No more than that. Two people we have chosen ourselves," she added with emphasis. Smiling unconcernedly, she made for the door. "Please do let me know if he agrees, Headmaster."

And with that, the girl departed, leaving Dumbledore concerned, McGonagall shocked, Snape smirking, and Thanatos curious...


Violet gathered with her friends and informed them all of what had happened and been said. And while a little shocked and irritated that their green eyed friend was apparently old enough to marry the Dark Lord, but too young to know more details, they weren't really all that surprised.

When had anything in Violet's life ever been fair?

It was Luna who reached out to her first, setting a gentle, comforting hand on her shoulder. "Everything will work out," she said softly. "The Snufflemips told me so."

Violet couldn't help but crack a smile. She had no idea what Snufflemips were, but knew not to ask. "I hope you're right, Luna..."


The journey to King's Cross on the Hogwarts express was uneventful for the most part. Violet was seated in a compartment near the end of the train with her friends, and they chatted about this and that, snacking on sweets bought from the trolly.

Draco Malfoy suddenly came to the compartment door, pausing in place and peering in through the glass, eyeing the occupants inside oddly. But then, after a moment, the second his gaze landed on Violet, he turned and walked away, Crabbe and Goyle following behind him, none of them having said a single word.

"...That was bloody weird," said Ron, breaking the silence that had fallen.

The others agreed without a second thought. It must have been something in his blood. But seeing Malfoy brought up a topic they had been deliberately ignoring all day, trying to avoid the stress of it.

"Have you heard from the Headmaster?" asked Hermione, turning her attention to her raven haired friend.

Violet shook her head, swallowing her bite of chocolate, and toying with the card in her hand. "Not yet. Hopefully it'll be soon." She really just wanted to get this who thing over and done with. Why prolong it if it was inevitable?

"More like hopefully he'll actually listen and let you meet You-Know-Who," muttered Ginny.

"Speaking to him is the only way you can find out what marriage contract he's planning on using," Hermione pointed out. "I've read up on it, and like Ron said, there are a lot of contracts out there that would be terrible for you. Some of them even essentially bind the 'wife' to the 'husband' as little more than a slave or bedwarmer. It's horrible!"

"Most of those kinds are designed for strict Purebloods," Neville assured her, "and they really aren't used anymore. Women (or men in that position) don't accept that kind behaviour now."

"With good reason!" the bookworm exclaimed with a huff.

Seeing the bushy haired witch was about to go off on a tangent, and not wanting a new SPEW, Ron changed topic slightly. "What are you going to do about your aunt and uncle?"

Violet blinked, then sighed. "I've been thinking about that since yesterday," she admitted after a beat of silence. "Normally I'd have to spend the entire summer there, and then all of July next year too. But if I'm supposed to get married this summer, Dumbledore can't possibly want me to stay there the whole time, right? It would separate me from my husband, wouldn't it? And I doubt Voldemort would want me out of his sight."

"If only getting married made you of age," Ginny sighed. "Instead of making your partner your guardian until you're seventeen." She huffed in vexation. "It's so stupid! You're old enough to be hitched up, and pop out babies, but not old enough to be considered an adult!?"

"Calm down, Gin. I have an idea for that too," said Violet. "As for the Dursleys though, I'm just going to tell them the truth...sort of."

"What?"

"The truth?"

"What do you mean?"

"Yep. I'm going to tell them I'm marrying Voldemort. Aunt Petunia at least knows who he is, so I know she'll believe me if I say he'll kill them if his, er-bride is injured or unhealthy. Besides, it'll only be for a month. Uncle Vernon won't be happy, but that's normal for him," she shrugged.

The two Weasleys chortled happily, even as the other three grinned, though all of them were worried that perhaps her plan wasn't going to work. With her relatives being the way they were, there really was no telling. The adults just hadn't cared for their concerns, not wanting to go against the ever godly Dumbledore. It was truly infuriating.

"And with the whole 'of age' thing, well I'll just add that to the negotiations."

"How?" questioned Hermione curiously.

"Mr Boardman will be quite pleased," said Luna suddenly, a dreamy smile on her face.

Violet laughed and leaned back in her seat. "He will indeed."

Chapter Text

A fortnight passed, and so far, things were going alright. Violet had, as she had told her friends, threatened the Dursleys with the identity of her future husband. If the thought of a mass murdering, prison escaping convict (who they still didn't know was innocent) for a godfather was frightening, the thought of a Dark Lord, a person who had killed her parents, broken countless people out of jail, and relished in torture and murder for a husband was terrifying.

Of course, Violet was far from naive, and had been sure not to push too much. Her uncle had a tolerance limit, after all. She still had chores, and while there were less than usual, it was still more than anyone else would have to do. She was allowed to do her homework and send Hedwig out, so long as she assured 'Voldytort' she was alright. The Dursleys didn't know she wasn't communicating with him yet, and she intended on keeping it that way. Honestly, she was just pleased she wasn't being beaten this summer. They were too scared to continue that.

So far, this was turning out to be the best summer she'd ever had with the Dursleys. ...How sad.

The fifteen year old was just finishing up her Charms essay, when Hedwig, who had been off delivering a letter to the Order, flew in through the window with a soft hoot, drawing her attention. Moving her homework out of the way, the girl waited for her owl to land in front of her.

"Hey, girl," she greeted, offering the bird an owl treat. "Welcome back." She untied the roll of parchment from her leg, and while Hedwig chewed her treat, unrolled it and began to read.

Dear Violet,

I have spoken to Tom and he has agreed on the idea of negotiations. You will meet him in a private room at the Leaky Cauldron at noon on the seventeenth of July. I will send Alastor and Nymphadora to accompany you.

I hope your summer has gone well thus far.

Humbly yours,
Albus Dumbledore

Violet's eyes narrowed as she read, and she scowled. "Oh no you don't," she muttered under her breath.

"Hoot?"

Raising her head, the girl smiled and reached out to gently stroke Hedwig's soft feathers. "He's trying to play me, but I can see through it. Even Dudley's been more subtle than this." She sighed. "Get some rest, beautiful. I'm going to need some urgent letters delivered tomorrow. I don't have much time."

July seventeenth was three days away...


The next morning, after having finished cooking breakfast for her relatives, but before beginning her chores, Violet returned to Dudley's second bedroom to send Hedwig off with three letters. One was for Dumbledore-a curt response to his own, and the other two were going to the two she wanted with her during negotiations. She most certainly wasn't planning on keeping Moody and Tonks with her. She had no idea where they stood in this whole peace treaty business, and until she found out, she was only going to confide in those she trusted implicitly.

As her beloved snowy owl vanished in the distance, Violet released a deep sigh and left the room, heading down to begin her chores by washing the dishes.

Hopefully her two trusted ones would be able to meet her in the Alley. She had backups if needed, but she knew she really only had this one chance. There was no room for mistakes...


On the morning of the seventeenth, the girl woke early. She had forgotten to tell her aunt and uncle about Moody and Tonks coming to get her, and figured a full English breakfast would prevent the explosion she would otherwise receive.

As expected, the adults were quite suspicious to see the full table when they walked into the room, and though they appeared ready to snap and start yelling, the delicious smell was beckoning to them, coaxing them closer to the table. They settled down, and though they didn't yell or hit her, Violet was not allowed meals for a week.

Well, since she was heading to Diagon Alley anyway, that wasn't going to be a problem. She could easily buy a few things to tide her over. No meals didn't always mean starvation either, rather, usually halved portions. But with what she received, it may as well have been nothing.

Still, Violet didn't argue. Instead, she returned upstairs to take a quick cold shower (they'd kill her if she used the hot water) and dressed in her best tatters, setting one of her school robes onto the bed. She'd pull it on over her Muggle clothes once in Diagon Alley.

While waiting for her escorts, the girl went over what she wanted to discuss with Voldemort, trying to make sure she had everything memorized. ...She hoped they weren't going to be late or something.

Fifteen minutes before noon, there was a loud rap on the front door.

"Girl!"

"I know, uncle!" Violet called as she grabbed her robe and hurried down the stairs. Uncle Vernon stood by the cupboard under the stairs, gripping her wand between his index finger and thumb, as if it were a disgusting used tissue. Trying not to roll her eyes, she accepted the length of holly, and slipped it into her pocket, even though she knew she likely wasn't going to be able to use it, then turned to the door.

As expected, Moody and Tonks were on the other side. Moody looked as gruff as ever, though he had at least tilted a hat over his magical eye. Tonks, contrary to the retired Auror, waved cheerily, her hair the usual bubblegum pink.

"Ready, Potter?"

"Wotcher, Violet!"

"Hello, and yes."

Without further ado, the three made their way down Privet Drive, away from the houses. Once secluded enough, the girl was instructed to grasp Tonks' arm tightly, and with a turn on the spot, the three vanished with a loud crack...


"Ooh, I don't think I like traveling like that very much," Violet muttered, feeling dizzy and sick.

Tonks rubbed her back, laughing. "Takes some getting use to. But you're probably most comfy on a broom, huh?"

"Enough," interrupted Moody gruffly, already limping towards the door.

Walking into the Leaky Cauldron, Violet ignored her keepers, who were speaking to Tom the innkeeper, and immediately began looking for the two she had contacted herself. A flash of silvery blond hair near the stairs told her the Dark Lord had chosen Malfoy senior for his own side, though she couldn't see a second person, or the man himself.

She kept peering around, cursing that they had come during the lunch hour, when business was heaviest. Finally though, a glimpse of red hair caught her attention, and the girl pushed through the crowd towards it.

"Hey, Bill!"

The oldest Weasley child turned at the sound of her voice, and smiled as calmingly, and charmingly, as usual. "How's it going, kiddo? Any problems?" he asked, drawing her into an embrace.

Returning it happily, Violet shook her head. "None so far. Where's...?"

"No idea," the man replied as the two broke apart. "Should've been here by now." He frowned. "We're going to be late at this rate, and I really don't think that's a good idea."

Violet grimaced at the thought. "No, definitely not a good idea." She looked around, scanning the faces in the crowd. Suddenly, a dark haired, tall, and broad shouldered male caught her attention. "Over here!"

The young man turned when he heard her voice, and approached with a grin. "Long time no see, Violet," he greeted, giving her a tight hug and nodding at Bill.

"How's the Quidditch career treating you, Oliver?"

The former Gryffindor smiled. "It's great so far." Then he frowned, looking heartbroken. "Are you and the twins still banned?"

Violet shrugged. "I have no idea. Umbridge won't be coming back, but Dumbledore hasn't said anything about it."

Oliver nodded, but Bill cut him off before he could question further.

"Speaking of Dumbledore, we really need to get going."

Violet blinked, completely having forgotten why they had met up here in the first place. "Right, we should head upstairs before we're late, or questioned by Moody and Tonks. It won't be much longer before they realize I'm not with them anymore."

The three exchanged nods and approached the wooden staircase, finding Lucius Malfoy still standing at the base. A single brow rose at the sight of them, but he inclined his head, turned, and began to climb. Trading glances, the Gryffindors followed after him.

Malfoy led them to the very same room Violet had stayed in during the summer before her third year, opened the door, and stepped inside, leaving the door open behind him. Catching the hint, Bill walked in first, Violet behind him, and Oliver behind her, shutting the door behind them all.

The first thing Violet noticed was the large table sitting in the middle of the room. Then she noticed the men standing behind it. She purposely ignored the one in the middle, choosing to examine the other two instead. Severus Snape stood to the man's left, expression as impassive as ever. Lucius Malfoy was on the man's right, clearly trying to mask a sneer.

The three Gryffindors moved to stand side by side at the table, opposite the Slytherins. Bill Weasley, on the girl's right, smirked at Malfoy, and Oliver Wood, on her left, inclined his head at his old professor. Violet, in the center, raised her head, finally looking up at the man across her...and promptly blinked in surprise.

Voldemort...definitely didn't look like Voldemort anymore. In fact, he resembled his sixteen year old self from that diary quite a bit. He was older though, by a decade at the very least, perhaps a bit more, was taller and broader, though still lean, and had crimson eyes instead of grey.

"Violet," he greeted amiably, the tone of his voice deep.

The girl hesitated, wondering how to refer to him. She refused to call her probably future husband 'Voldemort', because that would be as silly as him calling her 'Girl-Who-Lived'. 'Riddle' just seemed too cold, especially as he had just called her by her first name. But she was sure calling him 'Tom' was only going to piss him off, which was something she really wanted to avoid doing for as long as possible. She'd been on the receiving end of one of his Crucios before, after all, and they really hurt.

The Dark Lord seemed to notice her indecision, for he smiled just enough for there to be a slight upturn to his lips. "You may call me Marvolo, if you prefer."

Violet nodded, but noted the surprise that flashed through Snape and Malfoy's eyes. Evidently they, despite being his most trusted, did not have the privilege to call their Lord as such. ...Huh. How strange. "Marvolo, then."

He smiled again, with that same barely noticeable upturn of the lips. "I'm sure you're already well acquainted with Lucius Malfoy and Severus Snape?"

Violet nodded. "Of course, Mr Malfoy, Professor Snape. This is Willam Weasley, and this is Oliver Wood."

Snape raised a brow. "I was under the impression Tonks and Moody were to accompany you?"

"And they did," the teen replied casually. "They brought me here, but I never asked them to take part in this...meeting. I'm sure the Headmaster did, but his decisions are not my own, and I chose Bill and Oliver to side with me. If Moody and Tonks get upset, that isn't my problem."

For a moment there was silence, broken eventually by Marvolo himself.

"Shall we sit?" He gestured at Violet.

Nodding, the girl sat down, and was surprised when her friends didn't follow suit. Instead, the Dark Lord sat next, and then Bill and Oliver, and finally, Malfoy and Snape. She blinked, confused, but when she caught Bill's eye, the expression on his face told her there was a reason for this order, and he would explain it to her later, once away from the Slytherins.

Violet couldn't help but wonder what else was going to have to be explained to her later on...

Chapter Text

"Where shall we begin?" asked Marvolo, his crimson eyes focused on the girl's emerald pair. "I admit I was quite surprised when I learned you wished to speak to me on your own. I had expected you would listen to whatever it was Dumbledore had to say, and simply go along with it."

Violet found that she couldn't really blame him for coming to that conclusion. Had she ever countered the Headmaster before? Everyone had always said he did what was best, and she had never bothered questioning that, assuming it was true-something the majority of Gryffindors believed. But this whole peace treaty thing was too much, especially since it involved her, and no one was bothering to do anything about it. No, she wasn't about to listen to him anymore. Not after he had betrayed her trust when it came to something this important.

"This is...something I wish to take care of without his interference," she spoke slowly, thinking about each word carefully. "The rest of my life, possibly, hinges on this discussion, and I want the details plain and clear, with my input."

Marvolo raised a brow. "You have no trust in the great Albus Dumbledore doing what is best for you?"

The girl very nearly scoffed. "Best for me? Of course not! Isn't he all about the greater good? I want a say in this. I want control in this. And no, I can't trust him to make sure I don't end up tied down."

"And you have no intention of breaking the marriage clause?"

"I already know I can't. I want this war over with just as much as anyone. Maybe more, since I'm the one who's supposed to fight for some reason. Evidently, marrying you is a part of this peace treaty, and if I deny this one clause, then the rest of the treaty will go ignored, and the war will continue, correct?"

"Indeed," the man inclined his head. "Then tell me, Violet, what is it you wish to know?"

"Why me?" she questioned. "Why marry me?"

"Why not you?"

Violet blinked, losing her train of thought for a moment. "You...you've chosen me on a whim?"

"And If I did?"

He was so nonchalant about all this that the girl really didn't know how to answer. She had prepared for answers like it was because 'she was the Girl-Who-Lived' or 'she was the Saviour' or 'she was more influential' or even 'marrying her would piss Dumbledore off the most', but not this. He had simply chosen her because he could. That was it. ...She couldn't really fault him for that, could she? "Then, have you already chosen a marriage contract?"

"I have not. After some discussion with Lucius," he said, gesturing at the man to his right, "I have decided to allow you to choose the contract. I will have to approve of it, of course, but you have 'the first pick', as some may say."

And for the second time in mere minutes, Violet was shocked silent. Suspicious now, her eyes narrowed slightly. "Why are you giving me so much freedom?" she questioned.

Marvolo raised a brow. "You wish to be restricted instead?"

"Of course not. I just assumed you of all people would want me as...trapped as possible."

The crimson eyed man hummed low in his throat, as he leaned back in his chair, his arms crossed over his chest. "I suppose I understand that," he spoke slowly. He was silent for a moment, as he regarded her closely, eyes searching her face, almost as if he were judging her, assessing her. Finally, after a slightly awkward pause, he began to speak once more. "At present, the war is going in no one's favour. All anyone, Light or Dark, is accomplishing, is to spill magical blood, and this is something we all wish to avoid. Both sides have goals, but if things continue the way they are, none will come to fruition."

The girl cocked her head slightly. "And what exactly are these goals? Because the ones I know are impossible to accomplish-on both sides."

"What have you been told the goals are?"

"The Dark wishes to kill, or at least get rid of Muggleborns, and the Light wants to eradicate all Dark magic and wizards."

Marvolo did not appear surprised, though everyone else was. Clearly they hadn't expected this answer, which Violet thought was kind of weird. Everyone knew these goals...right? Evidently not.

"This is what Dumbledore has been telling you during training?" questioned Snape suddenly.

Violet blinked. "Training? What training?"

"Your training with Dumbledore."

"...Um, I'm sorry, but I really have no idea what you're talking about. Dumbledore's never given me any sort of training, sir."

Here, everyone looked surprised, and it was Bill who spoke next. "He's said he takes you aside at least three times a month, and has been since your first year. He said he's been teaching you various magicks."

"...What? The only time I see him is at the end of each school year, after something major happens, and he decides to tell me a little more about why I'm supposed to kill the Dark Lord. Any spells I've learned, I've learned in classes or from books, or your family, Bill."

Now surprise crossed even Snape's face. "You have learned nothing?"

"I suppose that depends on your definition of 'nothing', Professor."

Oliver, who had been quiet thus far, frowned. "Why would he lie?"

"To make the Dark concerned over what she may be learning, the Light satisfied that she is being trained, and to ensure she herself will be satisfied to learn even a sliver of information, so she remains complacent."

Everyone stared at Marvolo, taking in his words. But the more they thought about them, the more they realized they couldn't exactly disagree. Violet certainly couldn't, that was for sure.

"Does it even matter?" she questioned eventually with a half shrug. "Dumbledore's always done things on his own agenda, hasn't he? As long as he thinks it's for the greater good, do you really think he'd care what would happen to the rest of us? To me?"

The redhead sighed. "I see now why you wanted Oliver and me accompanying you."

"Exactly." Violet refocused on the Dark Lord. "Dumbledore refuses to tell me what else is on the peace treaty, other than the marriage clause. I want to know."

Marvolo merely inclined his head. "As I thought. This will feed into our goals either way. Lucius?"

The man to the Dark Lord's right pulled a roll of parchment out of his robe and unrolled it, before setting it down onto the table. "This is a copy of the treaty," he informed the three Gryffindors. "The information is identical to the original. For safety reasons, the original copy is being kept safe in a vault deep within Gringotts."

Violet nodded, scanned over it, and realized she didn't really understand a lot of what was written. That was hardly surprising. Actually, she'd have been more surprised if she did understand it. "Bill?"

"Give me a second." William turned the treaty towards him, and began to go over it, while the others looked around awkwardly, waiting for him to finish.

Violet glanced at the men across her, caught Malfoy's look of smugness, Snape's disinterest-or what appeared to be disinterest, at any rate, and...Marvolo's...oh. When she met the man's crimson gaze, she realized that he'd been watching her. Her breath caught at the intensity in his eyes, but he didn't look away. She couldn't either. There was...calculation there, and she wasn't sure if she wanted to know what that meant, or not.

Bill hummed low in his throat suddenly, and then slid the contract past Violet, and over to Oliver without a word. The younger man understood, and began examining it himself.

"You want to change the laws on Dark Magic," stated Bill, as Oliver finished reading.

"Yes," Marvolo replied simply. "At present, all Dark Magic is considered illegal, even if the spell is something as simple as a Dark oriented healing charm. Not all Dark spells are innocent, but not all Light spells are either. There is no reason for one end of the spectrum to be so...restricted, while the other is free to do as they will."

"How will this change things at Hogwarts? I've noticed most Slytherins don't seem to care much for Defence Against the Dark Arts. Judging by what you just said, I suppose I can see why."

"There are definitely a few changed planned for Hogwarts," said Oliver, nodding at the treaty copy sitting before him. "Changes in staff, in lessons."

"I think I understood that," said the girl. "You want Trelawney and Binns gone, and proper, competent teachers hired in their places. The Muggle Studies professor has to be either a Muggleborn or a Half-Blood who actually knows what's happening in the Muggle world right now, rather than fifty years ago, and both that class and History of Magic will be mandatory for all seven years. Defence Against the Dark Arts will just be called Defence Arts. Has it been decided who these new professors will be?"

"Besides the Defence professor, not yet."

Violet blinked, and then understood. "Ah, so you'll be teaching that then?"

Marvolo inclined his head. "Indeed. I wished for Dumbledore to retire instead, but that was too much too soon. So we decided he can remain Headmaster, as long as I am in the castle as well."

"You'll have to keep an eye on those who...support you, and those who don't," Bill stated, which earned him a nod.

Oliver spoke next. "You want Fudge out of power."

"Fudge is an incompetent fool," replied Malfoy. "He is too easily manipulated, and has no idea what he has power over. He relies on others to do his job for him, and covers up problems when things to wrong."

Violet eyed him carefully. "You'll be the new Minister."

"Yes."

"You're well known for bribing Fudge, you know."

"Just because Fudge was idiot enough to accept bribes, does not mean everyone else will do the same."

Violet wasn't sure what to think about that, and then just decided to give him the benefit of doubt. Everything was already decided anyway. Even if she was allowed to hear all this, didn't mean they were going to let her make changes, or, substantial changes, at any rate. But there was one change she really wanted to make sure happenned. "Will Magical Creatures finally be allowed a little freedom?"

"Worried about Lupin?" questioned Snape, dark eyes on hers.

It was a bit more complicated than that, but she merely inclined her head. There was no reason to let on that she was upset with Sirius and Remus for agreeing to all of this without even talking to her first. "I know that not all werewolves, or creatures are like Remus, but they don't deserve to be treated as harshly as they are. I'm not saying every law should be removed, but..."

"It's a sticky area," Bill agreed. "The laws will impact all of them, not just the good or bad ones."

Violet sighed. "It's just...Remus is a good man," she said, deliberately looking at a scowling Snape when she said this. "I know he really appreciates the Wolfsbane you brew for him every month, but it's unfair that it isn't available to others. Remus told me no one's really willing to make it, and that's the one thing that helps during full moons, isn't it?"

Marvolo raised a hand up, and cupped his chin, listening. "I see. You are saying the Wolfsbane should be sold to other werewolves. If accessible, it would certainly decrease the number of incidents."

"Exactly, but...even if they're sold, most werewolves aren't able to find or hold down a job, because people find out what they are. Unless they're already rich, even if the Wolfsbane is sold, it isn't as if they will be able to afford to buy it." She hesitated, weighing her words. "It's a stigma, I get that. Because people are scared. But all they're doing is making things worse, because they're taking away the thing that helps. Remus said the potion lets him keep his own mind when he transforms, and I'm assuming that's what it should do to all werewolves, right?"

Snape inclined his head. "Indeed."

"Alright, so then, if werewolves had jobs, and the Wolfsbane was available for them to buy, I'd say most would do that. That also means that any attacks that happen after that point, are from those who still can't get the potion for whatever reason, or those who deliberately attack others, which makes them easier to track, right?" She half shrugged. "Still, that's only werewolves. There are plenty of other Magical Creatures out there, with their own problems."

"You bring up a sound argument," said the Dark Lord, lowering his arms to the table. "Dumbledore's view is to restrict these Creatures even further, though it will appear otherwise. My own is the opposite, depending on the Creature, and what they may be able to provide to society. We will discuss you're opinion, though I assure you, your Werewolf friend will have no more suffering."

That...that was good, right? So that hopefully took care of one of the things she cared of most, along with Hogwarts. What else had she wanted to say? "What about Muggleborns?" she asked suddenly, remembering.

"Muggleborns?"

She nodded. "You four," she looked at Snape, Malfoy, Bill, and Oliver, "may not understand this, but," she returned her gaze to the crimson eyed man, "I think you will."

"Go on."

She did so. "When Muggleborns, or people like us, who don't know anything about this world and magic, are told the truth, they-we are expected to just come here and figure things out for ourselves. The basics of the basics are explained, but nothing beyond that. I mean, we aren't even taught to use quills!" She looked to Malfoy. "If I handed you a pen, would you even know what it was?"

Slowly, the blond shook his head.

"That's what I mean. The Wizarding World is so behind the times, that those who grew up in the Muggle world have a hard time getting used to this. Latin is a dead language to Muggles, and here, spells are in Latin, which we certainly don't know. I didn't even know magic existed until a month before I started at Hogwarts. How was I supposed to catch up to all the Purebloods and Half-Bloods who already knew all this?"

"Granger was able to do so," Snape pointed out.

But Violet waved that away. "Hermione's superhuman. There aren't many like her. But that brings me to another point. What happens to children whose parents or guardians disagree with...all this?"

Marvolo's eyes narrowed, though remained locked with hers. "Meaning?"

"I...know there are a lot of Purebloods who abuse their children. Sirius told me as much. There as so many expectations heaped on them, and societal standards, and all of that, but...is it ever considered that Muggles generally don't believe in magic? How many children who live in the Muggle world go back home over the breaks only to be abused by their parents or guardians because they're now considered freaks, or their family is scared of them? Does anyone ever bother checking up on them?"

"No," it was the Dark Lord who replied, his voice quiet. "They go ignored. And if they bring up what has been happening to them with anyone with authority at Hogwarts, they will simply be told that they are exaggerating."

Violet flinched, unable to stop herself. Merlin, that hit really close to home, didn't it? Did Voldemort know that, she wondered? It was hard to say. Instead, she just nodded in agreement to his words. She didn't think she could trust her voice right now.

"I have already made proposals on this subject," said Marvolo after a tense moment of silence. "I suggested that Muggleborns, or anyone else in that position, be informed about magic and this world at a younger age."

"How young?"

"Six, at the very least, or perhaps seven. I would prefer if they attended a primary school of sorts, where they could learn and understand what Pure and most Half-Blooded children already know once they begin at Hogwarts. If that is not possible, then at least have tutors who can go to them to teach them every now and again. And yes, the Ministry does need to keep a closer eye on these children, not because they are Muggleborn, but because of how they may be treated. Not all will be lucky enough to have families who understand and care."

"I really wish more people realized that," Violet said with a sigh. "Just because they know one Muggleborn with a perfectly happy life, they think all of them are like that." She hesitated. "Does Dumbledore agree with this? Starting up a primary school? Or at least regular tutoring sessions and checks?"

"It is...difficult to say."

That caught both Bill and Oliver off guard. The three Gryffindors traded a look of confusion, so the Slytherins decided to elaborate. Or at least Marvolo did.

"You said it yourself, Violet. Unless it benefits him and his greater good, he pays it no mind. He has only agreed because he knows I will not take no for an answer."

The girl nodded, and then glanced over her shoulder at the door. "As interesting as this all is, I really think we should wrap this up. Tonks and Moody are probably already doing everything they can to open that door, and I wouldn't be surprised if Dumbledore's out there too. Plus, I need to buy some food."

Bill stiffened beside her. "For them?"

"No, for myself."

"No meals?"

"Probably halved, maybe less."

"That's barely anything."

"Which is why I'll hide what I buy. They don't need to know." She turned her attention back to the Dark Lord, who was staring at her intently, crimson eyes looking a bit darker, tinted with anger. "This brings me to one more thing I wanted to bring up."

"Yes?"

"I want Sirius pardoned. Wormtail can't possibly still have any sort of importance anyway. I doubt you'll miss him when he's rotting in Azkaban."

"Why?" It said said simply, curtly, and without emotion.

"Sirius is my backup plan. Even if I'm married to you, it doesn't change the fact that I'll be underage for another year. Dumbledore keeps insisting I stay with the Dursleys-my relatives, but that's only because of the Blood Wards. That can't possibly matter if we're supposed to marry. But I can't put it past him to send me back until I turn seventeen. If Sirius is free, both you and he have even ground for fighting against him on that, and making sure I don't go back." Violet had no idea if any of what she had just said even made any sense to her. This was a difficult topic for her to think about, let alone put into words.

All three of the Slytherins had very different expressions on their faces. Malfoy looked confused, Snape hiding discomfort, and Marvolo just seemed angry.

"Very well," said the Dark Lord. "I will see what I can do. If it cannot be done, then I will ensure you remain elsewhere. Is there anything you will require while you are still living with them?"

It was hard to tell whether he actually cared, or if he wanted her to stay safe for his own benefit. After all, he had chosen to marry her on nothing but a whim. If he had any ulterior motives, he wasn't revealing it at all.

"Not really," she replied slowly. "I sort of used you as a threat, so this summer hasn't been as bad as usual, as long as they keep thinking we're in contact with each other. And my friends send me...care packages regularly, so this is honestly the best summer I've had so far."

Bill sighed deeply. "You've some odd standards for what constitutes a good summer."

Violet just shrugged. "Depends on how you've been raised, doesn't it? My summer might be horrible for you, but it's fantastic for me." She looked at the men sitting across her. "I don't want to talk about it, so please don't ask. Although, you could always ask Dumbledore how I've been living. He's known the truth since he left me there."

Oh yeah, Marvolo looked really angry now. "I think we are finished here for today."

"Wait." Everyone looked over at Oliver, who was frowning. "There's one thing that hasn't been mentioned yet," he said. "What about children?"

Violet froze. "Um-"

"I have no desire or need for children," said the Dark Lord frankly.

"None?"

"No. I will make no obligations, however," he looked at the girl, "if you wish for children to serve as heirs, you may have one or however many you please. I will take no responsibility for them. If you wish to birth them yourself, you may. If you wish to blood adopt, you may."

Violet blinked, emerald eyes wide. "Um, do I really have to think about this now? I'm only fifteen! Don't I literally have decades before this really needs to be decided? I'd really rather not become a teen mother, rich or not."

Marvolo inclined his head. "As I was going to suggest. You are still very young, too young to be considering having children. You are the last Potter, so, in that case, write a will. Your friends can inherit what you may leave behind, rather than the Ministry, if you do not have any children of your own, or choose not to."

"That's definitely a better idea," said Bill, "no matter how disappointed mum will be. When is the...wedding being planned for?"

"Dumbledore wishes for it to take place on Potter's sixteenth birthday," said Snape. "Black and Lupin have been trying to convince him to delay it at least a month, if not longer."

"I will inform you beforehand," said Marvolo, eyes on Violet's again.

She nodded, suddenly feeling exhausted. For the first time, she just wanted to go back to Number Four. "I'll look into different marriage contracts," she said, reminding herself to ask her friends for help. They would have better access to the information than she would.

"Very well. The treaty will be fine tuned, and you will have another chance to go through it before it is sighed-likely on the day of the wedding." Marvolo stood now, and gestured for her to do the same.

Once everyone was on their feet, they bid one another farewell rather tensely, before Bill opened the door, finding, as they had expected, not just Tonks and Moody, but Dumbledore standing on the other side as well.

"Violet," the old man voiced, sounding disappointed. "Why did you leave Alastor and Nymphadora behind? I sent them to you for a reason."

Despite how tired she felt, the girl raised a brow, not at all intimidated or chagrined. "I'm sure you did, sir. But I distinctly remember saying I wanted to meet with Voldemort with two people we chose ourselves, not people chosen for us."

Dumbledore seemed surprised for half a second, before he masked it. "You are too young to make such decisions, my dear. That is why I chose-"

"Bill and Oliver aren't children, headmaster," Violet spoke firmly. "They both have experience, and know exactly what to do. They asked all the right questions, brought up things I never considered, and there were no arguments or raised voices. Everything that needed to be discussed in the time we had, was taken care of." She took a breath. "Now, if you'll excuse me, sir, I have to buy food so I don't starve again, and return to make dinner for the Dursleys before they punish me once more." And with that, she turned and walked away, Bill and Oliver following behind her, intending on escorting her back.

Tonks, Moody, and Malfoy stared after her in shock, Dumbledore in fake disappointment, Snape in hidden amusement, and Marvolo in fury, though it wasn't the girl he was angry with.

Chapter Text

Violet really had no idea what had prompted her to speak to Dumbledore the way she had. She was just so...done with him trying to control her life. She didn't know if she was going to end up regretting it. With Dumbledore, it was hard to tell for sure. She had just gotten so angry with him saying she wasn't old enough to make decisions, while trying to marry her off to the Dark Lord at the same time. That made zero sense.

With just about two weeks until her birthday and the wedding, unless it changed, Violet hadn't wasted any time in owling her friends and informing them of what had happened, needing their help in looking for a proper marriage contract. She couldn't do much from where she was, the Dursleys keeping her busy nearly all day every day with chores. And when she wasn't doing those, she was doing her homework. The professors had given them so much work, even though there was no guarantee they would be in the same classes the next year, depending on which OWLs they did and didn't get.

Suffering through neglect at the hands of her immediate family, cooking and cleaning for that same family, doing homework, conducting orders and research, preparing for a wedding and the end of a war. ...And she was still only fifteen. What a life...

It took Hermione only one day to send Violet a contract back, and a second day for Marvolo to reject it. He didn't say why, but the girl assumed it was because it would give her a little too much freedom. When Hermione, Neville, and Ginny all sent her the another contract the next day, all of them the same one, Violet didn't hesitate before sending this one too off to the Dark Lord, promising Hedwig she could get a nice break and treat once all this was over and done with.

A couple of days later, on the twenty second, Violet was standing in Dudley's second bedroom, fighting not to cringe as her uncle yelled at her for not having watered the garden...even though it had been raining nearly all day. Needless to say, she was quite relieved when Hedwig flew in through the open window.

"Who is that from?" Uncle Vernon demanded to know immediately, his eyes locked on the letter tied to the owl's leg.

Violet took it, and checked. "Voldemort," she announced promptly. And the way the man paled immediately made this entire thing worth it, she decided.

"M-make sure you write back to him quickly! I won't stand for those freaks on my lawn!" With that, he rushed out of the room, slamming the door shut behind him.

The girl laughed silently, amused by the reaction, and then told herself to turn her attention to the letter she had in hand. There really wasn't too much time to waste. She knew if she didn't find a contract Marvolo agreed on, Dumbledore was going to take it upon himself to deal with it, and that wasn't going to be a good thing at all. And she wasn't sure she wanted Voldemort picking the contract on his own either.

Violet,

I have gone over your proposed contract, and am in agreement with it, for the most part. A few edits are always permitted, and we will need to take care of that. We need to meet once more. I will come to you at noon on the twenty fifth. You needn't concern over the Blood Wards or your safety.

Marvolo

"...Huh." While glad the contract seemed fine, the girl wasn't quite sure what to think about the rest of the letter. She understood that they had more to discuss, but him coming here? Should she...ask for one of her friends to come too? He had said she wasn't going to have to worry about her safety, but...was giving him the benefit of doubt really a good idea?


Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia were far from pleased to learn a freak would be entering their house, even if this one was the 'freak of all freaks', as they so kindly put it. Violet knew all their threats were going to fall flat once the Dark Lord actually arrived. They were cowards. All three of them.

Still, as noon approached on the twenty fifth, the Dursleys were scattered throughout the house, deliberately and rather awkwardly avoiding the front door and stairs, having already instructed the girl that she'd be taking Voldytort into 'her' room, because they didn't want to see him. She didn't bother arguing. Nothing good came out of getting on her uncle's bad side.

Violet had told her friends what was happening, but hadn't asked for anyone to come stay with her. If something went wrong, then at least her friends would know who was behind it, so that was something at least.

At noon exactly, there was a firm knock on the door. Nervous, but trying not to show it, Violet padded over to it, took a deep breath, and then opened it.

Voldemort, or rather, Marvolo stood on the other side, dressed in dark trousers and a deep blue shirt. No one in Privet Drive* would have any reason to be suspicious of such a well dressed man, even though there didn't appear to be a car in sight. He must have done something to his eyes though, because they were grey, rather than crimson.

"Violet. May I?"

The girl blinked, and then nodded. "Of course, come in, please." She moved aside and gestured inside, even as she glanced behind her, sure she had just seen her uncle's head pull back into the kitchen quickly. She sighed inwardly, and then turned her attention back to the Dark Lord. "Here, this way." She reluctantly led him up the stairs, and into Dudley's second bedroom.

She gestured for him to take a seat on the desk chair, while she herself shut the door and moved to sit down on the edge of her neatly made bed, carefully avoiding the springs that were sticking out. "I'm...sorry we have to do this in here, but uh, the Dursleys don't want you, well, contaminating the rest of their house."

Marvolo raised a brow. "Contaminating?" he repeated slowly.

Violet merely shrugged. "They consider magic to be a disease."

"...I see." But the man seemed to decide to ignore that now, and move on to the matter at hand, and the reason he had come to this...hideously boring neighbourhood in the first place. "I have spoken to Dumbledore," he stated without preamble, "and have been unable to convince him to delay the wedding. Black and Lupin have also failed, despite their many efforts. It will take place on the thirty first."

Violet sighed, but honestly hadn't expected anything else. "Well, that's one way to celebrate a birthday," she muttered. She raised her voice. "And the contract I sent? You said you wanted to make some changes?"

Marvolo inclined his head. "Indeed, though this is primarily because of your current age. Had you been of age, at the very least, there would have been no need, but in this case, I think it would be for the best." He didn't wait for her to say anything, and simply went on, his eyes on hers. "The contract is a sound one, and offers plenty of freedom to you, while allowing you to keep your names and titles, should you so desire. You will not be forced to remain dependent on me, and can return to Hogwarts to finish your schooling, along with either continuing to study, or finding a job once you graduate. I can offer advice, but have no definitive say on what you do. On top of that, neither of us can raise a hand towards the other, magically or otherwise."

Already aware of all this, the girl simply nodded. Her friends had tried to find a contract that would make the two of them equal, rather than give one power over the other, even if she'd be the one with that power. He would never have agreed to something like that, they knew.

"The main changes I would like to make involve living arrangements. You're primary...home, will be in my manor. As you will still have a month of your break left before returning to Hogwarts, Dumbledore has given you two options. You can either spend that time in my manor, or...here, even with your godfather's imminent freedom."

"...Ah." Spend another month with her abusive relatives, or spend a month with the man who was about to become her husband, and who also happened to be the Dark Lord. She sighed inwardly. What a choice. "I don't want to spend more time here than I have to," she replied after a moment of silence.

Understanding, Marvolo once more inclined his head. "The only other important issue, is the consummation."

Violet blinked, and then paled. How had she forgotten about that!?

Surprisingly, the Dark Lord was about to make things easier for her, rather than worse. "I will be removing that clause from the contract."

"...What?"

"Consummating the marriage has nothing to do with the marriage itself. It has no impact on the marriage bond. It is only there to ensure heirs are produced as quickly as possible. I have no need for heirs, and you are too young to be considering it at present. Once you are a well adjusted adult, and have not only completed all studies, but have a job in which you are comfortable, if you wish for children, I will sire them, though they will not be my responsibility."

Slowly, Violet nodded. "That does make sense, though I don't think it'll happen for a long time." Not to mention she was incredibly relieved she wasn't going to have to...sleep with the Dark Lord in less than a week's time. Now she frowned slightly. "I really don't understand why you've chosen to marry me, especially since you don't want any heirs. I don't buy 'on a whim' as a proper reason."

Marvolo smirked. "Perhaps my whim was the only reason, and perhaps is was not. No matter what that reason is, you know what will happen if you refuse this."

And she did, though she wished she hadn't been reminded of it. She was going to do this because she had no choice. She would be blasted and bashed if she refused and allowed the war to continue, but she also knew she was still going to be blasted and bashed for marrying the Dark Lord. No matter what she did, people were still going to be upset with her. But there was no way living with Voldemort would be worse than living with the Dursleys, right...?


The thirtieth of July rolled around a lot quicker than Violet wanted. She didn't sleep at all that night, and on the thirty first, on her birthday, she made her way down to the kitchen to prepare breakfast for the Dursleys, and was washing the dishes she had used when they came down to eat.

Violet finished the dishes, and then turned to face her aunt and uncle, who were seated at the table, and cleared her throat. Their heads snapped up, expressions displaying shock at her audacity in interrupting them while they were eating. But she didn't care.

"I'm leaving today."

"What?"

"I'm leaving today. I'll be marrying the Dark Lord Voldemort tonight, and will be living with him. I won't be coming back here."

Petunia and Vernon just stared at her, very clearly surprised, and definitely unsure of what to say. They exchanged a glance, looked at her, and then just blinked rather stupidly.

"Never?" questioned Uncle Vernon finally.

"Not if I can help it."

He laughed now, the sound loud and cheerful, bits of half chewed eggs flying everywhere. "And good riddance, I say!"

Violet turned to leave the room without another word. That goes both ways, dear uncle.


By four that afternoon, Violet found herself, surprisingly, at Malfoy Manor of all places. This was where the wedding was to take place for whatever reason, though she hadn't bothered asking why, feeling far too nervous. She was in a large room with Hermione, Ginny, and Luna, who were helping her get ready, which was probably a good idea, because she had kind of started to tremble a little while ago.

Mrs Weasley had been with them earlier, but Violet had asked for her to leave. It was clear she hadn't argued against any of this either, considering the way she had been babying her, and Violet had just gotten rather frustrated. Besides, it calmed her a little to have her friends with her instead, because she knew, without a doubt, that she could trust them.

"I saw Dumbledore out there," said Ginny as she worked on Violet's dark hair. "He looked pretty damn happy."

Hermione rolled her eyes. "Why wouldn't he be? He's about to marry a fifteen-sorry, sixteen year old girl off to not just the Dark Lord, but the man who killed her parents, all to end a war he should be taking care of himself."

"He's also been infested with Sniffleblisters," Luna added serenely, adjusting her friend's dress.

Violet only managed to crack a smile, before gently pressing a hand to her stomach.

"Vi?"

"Feel sick," she mumbled.

Hermione's eyes widened. "I'll go see if I can get a cure for that. Be right back." She slipped out of the room and made her way into the ballroom where most everyone had gathered, waiting for things to begin. There weren't many adults here she trusted going to just yet, so she was actually quite pleased when she noticed Snape nearby.

"Yes, Miss Granger?" he spoke once she had approached him.

"Er, sorry to bother you, sir, but I was, er, just wondering if you had an anti-nausea potion on you? Violet is..."

But there was no need for her to continue, because the man clearly understood, an odd expression crossing his face. For a second, barely even that, he looked sort of...sad. He reached inside his robes and pulled out a vial. "She will need only a mouthful. Keep the rest. She may require more later."

Hermione nodded and accepted the item. "Thank you, Professor." And with that, she returned to where her friends were, handing the vial to Violet and passing along the instructions.

"Thanks, 'Mione," the emerald eyed girl mumbled.

Merlin, she didn't want to do this. She really didn't want to do this. But she knew, for sure, that she didn't have choice. All those people out there were essentially waiting to serve her head on a silver platter, and she couldn't do anything about it. They were going to sit there, and applaud and compliment her, and deep down, were going to be pleased they weren't the one in her shoes. They were forcing a child to bind herself to the man who killed her parents, and they didn't give a damn, as long as it resulted in their own happiness and safety.

At this moment, there weren't many Violet was particularly fond of, let alone trusted.


At six on the dot, the ceremony started, Sirius (who had been cleared of all charges with Wormtail now the one rotting in prison) was the one who was to hand Violet off to Voldemort.

"...I'm sorry," he whispered.

Jaw clenched, Violet said nothing. Sirius didn't blame her.

Before she knew it, the girl found herself standing across Marvolo, both of them dressed in their best, courtesy of Narcissa Malfoy, apparently. If she hadn't taken that potion earlier, Violet was sure she'd have thrown up by now. She had never felt so nervous before in her life.

The ceremony began without delay, the two saying what they needed to, when they needed to, though Violet kept her eyes on Marvolo's chest, rather than his face. She didn't make eye contact even when slim fingers lifted her chin, soft lips brushing over her own gently. And, there went her first kiss. Bummer.

There was applause from those watching, those allowed crowding around to speak to the two, but still Violet made no move to interact with anyone. She didn't know what she was feeling right now, but she knew she was liable to explode, and simply signed what needed to be signed, and knew it was official. She was married, and now the war was over.

She didn't say anything, returned no hugs, didn't eat or drink either, even when others did. She sat beside her new husband in silence, her hand being squeezed tightly by Hermione, who was sitting on her either side, slowly sipping from a goblet, her brow furrowed. Ron, Ginny, Neville, and Luna were in a very similar predicament. So were the few who hadn't agreed with all this, the few Violet trusted.

Sirius and Remus weren't looking too pleased either, and even though they had both apologized, Violet wasn't quite ready to forgive them just yet. She knew she was being stubborn, and holding a grudge was somewhat childish, but hell, she had only just turned sixteen, and if they had expected otherwise, then they were all daft...

As the hour grew late and the guests began to leave, Violet soon found herself face to face with none other than Albus Dumbledore himself. She paused in place, and fought not to scowl when she caught sight of the twinkle in his blue eyes, and the cheerful smile on his face.

"I am so proud of you, my dear, for being brave enough to take the initiative to-"

Violet just turned and walked away. She had no desire to hear any preaching. Not today. When Marvolo approached her however, she paused once again, though she still didn't say speak.

"Are you prepared to leave?" he asked her. "Is it late."

Having already said goodbye to her friends, she merely nodded and took his arm when it was offered to her, the two of them leaving the room without stopping to speak to anyone else.

An Apparation later, Violet found herself standing in a large, warm room. It was empty, save for the two of them, and seemed to be a foyer, of sorts.

"Come." Marvolo led her through halls and up stairs, eventually coming to a stop before a large wooden door. "Your rooms are through here, your belongings are already inside. My own rooms are next to them. There is a door inside that connects both together. That door will remain closed, but unlocked at all times. This is our compromise. There will be rules that will need to be followed, but I will explain those in the morning."

Seeing as that was better than sharing not just a room but a bed with the man, and not having doubted that she wasn't going to get full freedom, Violet found no reason to argue right now, and simply nodded. She opened the door, and then paused, hesitated, and turned back. "Um, good night...Marvolo."

The Dark Lord inclined his head. "Sleep well, Violet."

Stepping inside, Violet shut the door behind her, and now that she was alone, allowed herself to relax. Exhausted by the day's events, she didn't bother looking around, or even changing her clothes or taking off her shoes. She simply dropped face down onto the large, soft bed, and fell asleep almost instantly.

The last thought that ran through her mind, was that not a single person had wished her a happy birthday. Not even she herself.

Chapter Text

When Violet woke, she kept her eyes shut, hoping that everything that had happened had just been a very strange dream. Unfortunately, all it took was the feeling of the bed she was laying on to know the truth, and no, that didn't please her at all. With a groan, she opened her eyes and forced herself to sit up.

Looking down at herself, she grimaced when she realized she was still wearing the clothes she had...gotten married in. The pins in her hair were poking her painfully, and whatever Ginny had smeared and slathered on her face had ended up all over the pillow. ...Whoops?

Standing now, Violet peered around the room, only now realizing just how big it was. The bed alone was massive, covered in royal purple sheets and blankets. There were little tables on either side, both these, along with most of the furniture, made of a dark wood she didn't recognize. Past the foot of the bed was a sitting area of sorts, with two large armchairs, a table sitting between them. Under one of the large windows off to the side was a desk and chair, a door nearby-the one that led to Marvolo's own room. On the opposite side of the room was an elegant looking wardrobe, easily large enough to hold all her clothes, not that she had many in the first place. And next to this was another door that led to a very nice bathroom, all her toiletries in place.

Violet sighed. She certainly had no reason to complain about the room. It was more space than she'd ever had in her life, that was for sure. She wasn't locked in here either, she realized when she tried the door. Checking the wardrobe now, she discovered that her clothes had already been put away, and found her least offending clothing, taking those into the bathroom with her.

Starting the water in the bath, Violet toed out of those annoying shoes, and began to undress, pulling all the pins out of her hair too. Once she was undressed and the bath full, she sank into the hot water with a hiss, all her muscles relaxing involuntarily. She'd always loved hot baths, but she was hardly allowed to take them at the Dursley's, and only the Prefect bathrooms even had tubs at Hogwarts, which was really very unfortunate. Needless to say, she was very glad Cedric had offered her that...clue back during the Tournament. She'd already lost tack of how many times she'd snuck into that bath since then.

What was it going to be like to live here, she wondered? If it was going to be like this, and she was left alone, then she didn't really mind. Was Marvolo going to make them spend time together? Why would he? This was basically a business deal. But what exactly did he get out of this? What exactly did Dumbledore get out of this? Everyone else got the end of the war, but for those two, well, she didn't believe that ending the war was the only reason they had wanted her to do this.

Sometimes she really hated adults. Why couldn't they just be clear and tell her the truth? She was young, yes, but she wasn't an idiot. She understood sacrifices had to be made, and if everyone had been clear with her from the start, she likely would have agreed with all this herself. The problem was that they had all decided everything without telling her about it first, only doing so once they themselves had figured things out, leaving her with no choice but to do as they said.

She didn't like being told what to do. Not like this.

Suddenly hearing an odd hiss, Violet jolted, automatically drawing her knees up to her chest, blocking anything from view, and her eyes widened when she saw a very big snake slithering over to the tub.

"Good morning," the snake greeted politely.

"Er, hello." She watched cautiously as the serpent coiled up on the large rim of the tub. It looked familiar, very much so. "You...wouldn't happen to be Nagini, would you?"

"Sss, yes. And you are Marvolo's new mate, are you not, Violet?"

"Um, yes." Though she wasn't sure she liked the usage of the word 'mate'. "Er, what-what are you doing in here?"

"Enjoying the steam. Now shush and let me bask."

Violet blinked in surprise, but fell silent, slightly amused. Lowering her legs back down, she resumed her soak, trying not to let her thoughts wander. It was a little freaky to have such a huge snake so close to her, but it-she?-wasn't making any move to hurt her or anything, clearly just wanting to enjoy the heat of the steam. Well, to each their own...


After finishing her bath, Violet left her rooms, following after Nagini who said she would take her to Marvolo. She didn't argue. She knew they had things to discuss. Hopefully it wasn't going to take too long. She wanted to explore her new home. Well, if she was even allowed to.

Entering a large dining room, Violet paused in place when she spotted the Dark Lord seated at the head of the table. He was reading the newspaper, as well dressed as always, and the girl was hardly surprised to see that the two of them had made the front page. 'Girl-Who-Lived's Betrothal to Dark Lord Officially Puts an End to War' was just a fancy way of saying 'Light Forces Underage Girl to Marry Man Who Left Her An Orphan to do What They Should Have Done Themselves but They All Suck so Screw Them'. ...Okay, so maybe she was a bit angrier than she was letting on.

Marvolo noticed her a second later, and lowered the paper. "Good morning, Violet. Come, sit."

"Er, morning," the girl returned somewhat awkwardly, moving to sit down at the table. Before she could say anything more, a House-Elf had her breakfast placed before her.

"Eat," said Marvolo. "We will discuss the rules once you've finished."

Slowly, Violet nodded and tucked in, far too hungry to argue, and wanting food as much as she did information. With the contract and treaty they had signed, she knew she wasn't about to be poisoned, so she simply enjoyed the delicious food. She was glad that Marvolo's attention returned to the newspaper though, rather than remaining on her. It would have been beyond awkward to have him staring at her while she ate...

Once she had cleared her plate, however, the man set the paper down, crimson gaze locked on her face. "Have you finished?"

She nodded and drained her goblet of milk, before focusing her attention on the man herself.

"Good, then we will begin." Placing his empty hands on the table, Marvolo began without further distraction. "As I stated last night, there will be a certain number of rules in place that you will have to follow."

Violet just nodded, waiting for the bomb to drop.

"First and foremost, you have almost free reign over this manor. Almost, being the key word here. If you come across a locked door, do not attempt to force it open, regardless of how curious you might be. These doors are locked for a reason. Dangerous reasons. I am a Dark Lord, and do possess a fair many dark artifacts, that will hurt you gravely if used without the proper handling."

Violet nodded at the clear common sense, and Marvolo went on.

"If you ever wish to enter the Potion Lab, you will have to pay attention to the door itself. Severus often frequents this lab, and there are times when he is working on very precarious potions. If he finds it will be dangerous for anyone to enter, he will place a note on the door saying just that. Just last month Wormtail nearly caused the entire manor to explode, when he ignored such a note and entered the lab while Severus was working on a sound sensitive potion. If Severus had been anyone else, and had slower reflexes, this place would have burned to the ground."

Eyes wide, Violet nodded again. She had absolutely no desire to blow this place up, and made a mental note to check doors for signs before trying to open them. Just in case.

"I have heard you are fond of flying?"

"Yes, I am," she replied simply.

"There are wards around the manor, up to a certain distance-more in the back than up front. I have no qualms against you flying, so long as you remain within those wards."

"Alright." At least she could finally practice.

"I have a library in there, with books on many different subjects. Barring certain dark or old books, you may read any you choose. I only ask that you keep them on this property. If you come across books you would like your own copy of, and cannot find yourself, simply ask me and I will order it myself."

"Okay." Here was yet another thing that made perfect sense.

"So long as you remain within the wards, you are allowed to use your magic."

Violet blinked. Well, that certainly caught her attention. "I thought I wasn't allowed to do magic outside Hogwarts for another year?"

"Technically speaking, that is true." And so he explained to her one of the Ministry's strange rules. Explained how when an of age Wizard was around (or in a house owned by them), the Ministry wasn't able to tell who performed the magic. It was up to the adults to regulate their children, and stop them from using magic, though most didn't bother. "Those who do get punished for underage magic, are, more often than not, Muggleborns. Since no one else around them is magical, it is assumed they used magic if it is detected."

Violet's lips parted slightly in surprise. That definitely explained why she had been the one to get in trouble when Dobby had been the one to use the hover charm.

"This," Marvolo continued, "also means that you are 'allowed' to use magic in places such as Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade. Do you understand?"

Frowning, the girl nodded slowly. "If I'm not on this property, or at least around an of age witch or wizard, I can't use magic outside school without getting in trouble until I turn seventeen."

Marvolo inclined his head. "Yes." He flexed one of his hands before stilling once more. "You are allowed to leave the manor whenever you wish, within reason. You do not have to ask for permission, though I do ask that you inform me when you leave, along with when you might return. I will do the same."

So it was a common courtesy of sorts then, huh? That too made perfect sense to her.

"Every night at eight, we will have dinner together here at this table. I am no Malfoy, so you needn't concern yourself over it being formal. Breakfast and lunch you may have at your own time, simply because it is clear we will have different schedules. Just call for a House-Elf when you want to eat."

Violet just nodded, pleased to hear that. It gave her more time alone, which she certainly wasn't going to complain about.

"As I said last night, the door connecting our rooms will stay closed, but unlocked. If either of us needs something from the other while in our rooms, we will both knock before entering. I will respect your privacy. And you will respect mine."

"Alright." More common sense. Strange. Hadn't Hermione said wizards all lacked logic? This guy definitely didn't seem to be lacking it at all, as far as she could tell.

"I will also allow you to invite your friends over, again, within reason. I will still be conducting meetings, and not all my followers are particularly competent. There will be days where I will ask you to either remain in your rooms or leave the manor, for your own safety."

Violet frowned, but nodded. "I understand." She hesitated. "Er, what about Hogwarts?"

"Hogwarts?"

"Well, you said you're going to be teaching there now, so does that mean you'll be teaching me too? I thought that wasn't allowed? Since it promotes cheating and all."

"Ah. You would be right, in most cases. It seems as if these rules change depending on what the Headmaster or Headmistress personally believes to be right. It is likely that whatever the rules were up until now, Dumbledore will change. We will simply have to wait and see what he says."

Before Violet was able to say anything more, the man frowned slightly, his eyes taking on a distant quality, as if he were seeing something far away that she couldn't see herself.

"Be cautious with what you say and do around Dumbledore," he said suddenly and quietly.

Violet blinked, surprised. "What? Why?"

"He gave in too quickly. Agreed with all this too easily. I expected to have a far more difficult time in convincing him of the treaty, and the changes I wished to implement. But he agreed almost immediately. He never made a move to stop me, or counter any of the clauses, including the marriage one or the one stating I would teach at the castle."

The girl frowned now. Dumbledore hadn't even bothered fighting against Voldemort wanting to marry her? Why wouldn't he? Had...he been the one to convince Sirius and Remus to not argue against it either? Was that why they had agreed? But why? Why would he do that? Marvolo was the Dark Lord Voldemort. Surely that alone was enough grounds for countering what he had to say, right?

Whatever thoughts Marvolo had fallen into, he pulled himself out of now, and refocused on her. "Forgive me. It seems something has come up." He got to his feet, and adjusted his shirt. "Feel free to take in your surroundings. We are the only two here today, so you needn't fear of being interrupted. I will be in my study if you need something-a House-Elf can show you the way. We will meet here again this evening at eight for dinner."

Violet nodded. "Alright."

With a simple incline of his head, Marvolo left the room, and the girl was left on her own. Violet remained at the table for a moment, before she too got up, and retraced her steps, heading back to her room. She had a few letters she wanted to send. No doubt her friends were worried about what had happened to her.

Still, her frown deepened as she thought on all the Dark Lord had said. It was odd, but she wondered if he had accidentally let that last bit slip, the bit about Dumbledore. He had seemed rather distracted as he'd said it, and had quickly changed the topic when he seemed to realize what he'd been saying. But it was definitely odd that Dumbledore had agreed to everything so quickly. What was he playing at?

Sighing, Violet sat down behind her new desk. It had certainly been a surprise to her to realize she couldn't really find any fault with the rules Marvolo had put in place. None of them seemed to be particularly restricting, and even the ones that were, appeared to be for her own safety. If she didn't follow them, it was going to be her own fault if she got hurt or in trouble, not his. And dinner together every night was hardly difficult considering she was able to do whatever else she wanted, whenever she wanted, and even have her friends come over to see her.

Frankly, she had never had so much freedom before in her life, and she had absolutely no idea how exactly she was supposed to feel about it if not suspicious.

Chapter Text

Violet spent the next few days wandering the manor and grounds, simply taking in her new living space. She was alone most of the time, really only seeing her new husband at dinner, or if they happened to pass one another at some point. They would speak during dinner most nights, generally remaining on safer topics such as laws they wanted created or changed, or how her schooling was going.

The only other times she actually spoke with anyone was her dear owl-Hedwig beyond pleased with the freedom she now had to go out and fly whenever she wanted, and Nagini, who had made it a habit to bask in the steam of Violet's hot baths or showers. Violet found that she rather liked the snake, who was weirdly sassy, but still quite kind to her.

Still, Violet was...unsure with what she was feeling. She found that she didn't really mind living here. It was better than being at Privet Drive, and she had more space and freedom here than she did at the Burrow or Grimmauld Place, and in some cases, even Hogwarts! Marvolo seemed to be leaving her alone for the most part, and it wasn't at all odd to not see him until dinner time rolled around.

She had shared her thoughts with her friends, many of whom had provided insight on what she might be feeling and why, and they found that they couldn't really blame her with liking this new freedom she now had. She could wake whenever she wanted, eat whatever she wanted, go almost wherever she wanted in the manor, and even use magic. She definitely wasn't planning on being behind her fellow classmates once school started up again, now that she could actually practice her spells...


Two weeks went by surprisingly peacefully, and on a cloudy morning in mid August, the new booklist arrived alongside OWL results. Seated at the dining table on her own, Violet glanced around to make sure she was truly alone, before taking the envelope and slitting it open. She pulled out the thick sheet of parchment, unfolded it, and began to read.

Violet Lily Potter has achieved:
Astronomy: A
Care of Magical Creatures: E
Charms: O
Defence Against the Dark Arts: O
Divination: P
Herbology: E
History of Magic: D
Potions: O
Transfiguration: O

Violet blinked once, twice, thrice, and the released a breath of relief and relaxed. Well, she had done far better than she thought she had! No doubt Hermione would have gotten more O's though. Oh well, she certainly couldn't complain. At least she wasn't going to have to worry about History of Magic and Divination anymore.

Passing a glance at the booklist, she was glad she didn't have too much to buy. Though she did need new robes and some potion ingredients too. Sighing, she finished her breakfast, and then got to her feet. She wanted to head to Diagon Alley and take care of her shopping as soon as she could.

Well, she shrugged, either way, she had to inform Marvolo she was planning on heading out for the day. With a yawn, she made her way through the manor, over to where she had learned the man's study was. She paused outside the door. It was closed as it always was, though she couldn't hear anything on the other side. Shrugging again, she knocked.

"You may enter, Violet."

Seeing as she was the only other person in the manor, the girl was hardly perturbed that he knew it was her, and simply pushed the door open, stepping into the room. It was a large space, and very warm, decorated with lots of browns and deep reds. Weirdly enough, part of her had expected a cold steel fortress or something like that, or lots of black and skulls. The entire manor, as it turned out, was decorated warmly. She actually kind of liked it.

"May I help you?" asked Marvolo, having politely lowered whatever it was he'd been working on and focusing his attention on her.

"Er, well the booklist just arrived, and I wanted to go to Diagon Alley..."

"Ah, of course." He cast a Tempus charm, frowned slightly, and then nodded. "Shall I accompany you? You have no way of getting there on your own, unless you take the Knight Bus or Floo, and I have heard you aren't particularly fond of either."

Violet blinked. She hadn't thought of that. "Do you have something you need to do there? I don't mind taking the Knight Bus." She didn't really want to pull him away from his work or anything if there was no need. Though she really wanted to avoid Flooing if possible. Merlin, that was worse than Apparating.

"Nothing that cannot be put away for some hours," he replied plainly. "It might be best for us to be seen together, to assure the public we are indeed at peace."

Or should be, at any rate, Violet thought. Deciding it would be best not to voice that, she merely nodded. If he hadn't done anything strange while they'd been alone together over the past couple of weeks, she doubted he would do anything odd in front of other people.

"Very well. I will meet you in the foyer in a half hour."

Nodding again, Violet left the study, shutting the door behind her. She returned to her own room to get ready, trying to keep herself calm and relaxed because, admit it or not, she was actually feeling rather nervous now. Being with him in this manor where they barely saw one another was one thing, but being out in public, now that everyone knew they were married and stuck together? Well, she wasn't exactly eager to find out what the populace thought about all this.

When she made it to the foyer, she found Marvolo already waiting for her, and walked over to him. "Is...there anything I'm supposed to be doing in front of people?" It wasn't as if she had ever even thought about being married before. And the Wizarding world was just strange. It would be her luck to do something innocent that would offend a bunch of people.

Marvolo, perhaps realizing that, just shook his head. "No, simply remain close to me."

Violet nodded, and accepted the man's arm, holding tight as the two vanished on the spot...


Violet groaned when the two of them appeared in an alleyway not far from the Leaky Cauldron, and was inwardly glad that Marvolo didn't release her immediately. She wasn't used to Apparating yet, and always felt a bit nauseous after, though it still wasn't as bad as Flooing.

"Apparating is slightly less uncomfortable when you do it on your own," Marvolo told her plainly, waiting until she had straightened up before releasing his hold on her.

"Only slightly?" Well, that kind of sucked. Oh well. Together, the two made their way into the Leaky Cauldron, Violet quickly trying to brace herself for all the noise and staring that she was sure was to follow.

And sure enough.

The moment they stepped inside, the crowd inside fell silent, eyes after eyes landing on the newly married couple. But neither of them spoke. They just stayed close to one another, Marvolo once more offering his young wife his arm, and leading her through the mess of people, inclining his head politely at those who offered their congratulations, and ignoring those who shot insults. Violet meanwhile, didn't say a word, already just wanting to go back to the manor and away from all this.

The staring and muttering, unfortunately, only increased as they entered Diagon Alley. Violet had thought she had gone through enough of this to be prepared for what was happening now, but she was wrong. This was much worse than all her previous years of this combined.

"Pay them no mind," said Marvolo quietly, as if hearing her thoughts. "We have no need to speak to any of them. We are simply here to take care of business and do some shopping, not for their entertainment. We are here for the same reasons as they themselves are. Pay them no mind," he repeated.

Again, Violet nodded, making sure to keep her back straight and her head up, unwilling to come across as meek or submissive or intimidated by the man beside her.

So, ignoring those around them, the two silently made their way to Gringotts, inclining their heads at the goblins who bowed them through the doors. There were more people staring at them in here, but they merely moved off to a secluded side where they could speak quietly.

"As we both have our own business here," Marvolo began, "I believe it would be best for us to separate for now."

Surprised, Violet blinked. "Separate?"

"Yes. How long do you think your shopping will take?"

The girl cocked her head in thought. She didn't need very much, just her new books, robes, potion ingredients, and some owl treats. Not to mention she wanted to check out the Quidditch shop too. "I guess it might depend on whether I come across any friends, but I don't really see it taking more than a couple of hours, if even that."

Marvolo nodded in understanding. "My own business should be concluded around noon, which would be around the same time." He paused in thought, crimson eyes passing over the large, marble hall. "We will meet again at half past noon at the latest, and have lunch before returning to the manor."

"Alright, where?" There really wasn't a point in refusing, she knew. Maybe it was even for the best.

"Do you know where the ice cream parlour is?"

"Fortescue's? Yes."

"Then we will meet there. I know of a restaurant not far from there, but it is not on the main street."

Now Violet was the one to nod, tucking her dark hair behind her ear. "Alright. Er, see you then?"

"Of course."

And with that, the two went their separate ways, going to different goblin tellers and requesting to see their own vaults. Violet didn't waste time, and filled her pouch with gold, silver, and bronze coins, before returning outside. She hesitated slightly, unaware of how she was going to be treated now that she was alone, but once again moved along with her head held high. Displaying confidence was far better than showing weakness. She had spent enough time with the Dursleys and bullies to know that.

She went to get her new robes first, tolerating being measured awkwardly, before heading off to get her books. She spent some time in Flourish and Blotts, hoping to catch a glimpse of Hermione, but wasn't surprised when she didn't see her. The Hogwarts students she did happen across however, she ignored for the most part, because all they did was stop and stare at her, some being as impolite as pointing and muttering, not even attempting to pretend they weren't looking at or speaking about her.

Clearly no one had ever bothered teaching them any manners. And she was the one who had been 'raised' by the Dursleys!


As expected, it didn't take Violet particularly long to finish up her shopping, and with an hour left until she had to meet up with Marvolo, she wandered around with her shrunken purchases stashed in her pockets. She had taken care of that herself, having remembered what the Dark Lord had told her about being able to use magic in places where adults were, since the Ministry wasn't going to be able to know who had performed the spell.

Wondering what to do to pass time, she wandered around, before stopping abruptly when a sudden pop of colour caught her eye. "Oh!" She grinned, realizing what she was looking at. She had heard about this shop almost non stop, but hadn't ever had the chance to see it for herself.

When she walked in, she was hardly surprised to see how packed it was. Fred and George were excellent businessmen. She couldn't keep the smile off her face as she looked around, making note of the various...inventions they had made over the years, some of which she knew of, some that she had personally tested...willingly or not.

"Well, well, well, how's the married life treating you, Mrs Dark Lord? ...Dark Lady?"

"Call me that again and I'll deck you."

"How about Mrs Voldemort, then?"

"You're just asking for a kick to the balls now."

Laughing, Fred raised his hands up as if in surrender. "Alright, enough of the jokes then." He brought an arm around her shoulders. "Come on back here. George is over there. This part of the shop isn't quite as busy as up front, so it's a good place to talk."

Nodding, Violet walked with him. "Who's watching the front if you're both going to be back here?"

"We've got a couple of others around. They've got it covered. George! Look who came to visit us!"

George turned, and broke out into a grin when he saw them approaching. "Well, well, well, if it isn't-"

"If you call me a Dark Lady or Mrs Voldemort or something like that, I'm going to hit you. Hard. Aiming for the jewels."

The twins both laughed, moving away from prying eyes and listening ears, before sobering up, and taking on a more serious note, identical blue eyes narrowing slightly as they looked down at her.

"How've things been going since the...wedding?" asked Fred.

"Your letters haven't really said all that much," added George.

Violet shrugged. "I guess it isn't as bad as I thought it would be," she replied, having no concerns about being open and truthful with the twins. She trusted them. So she explained how she had been spending her days, and what the rules were, and what the two had been talking about.

"I can see why you're surprised," said Fred, his arms folded across his chest. "None of those rules really restrict you in any way. It's all just common sense, or at least it sounds like it. He's been giving you a lot of space and privacy, that's for sure."

"I think we all figured he'd be keeping you locked up at all times, or stay at your side if you ever went outside," said George, frowning. "Where is he now? At the manor?"

The girl shook her head. "We came here together, but we split up because we both had different things to do. He said to meet him at twelve thirty, so we can have lunch together before heading back."

"Huh, well you've still got some time..."

"So! Speaking of business."

"No one was speaking about that."

"Well we are now!"

And so, Violet passed the next hour with her favourite set of twins, discussing how their business was going, how they chased away people who tried to steal from them, their future plans and pranks they had in the works, and how they had given Ron a job over the summer so he could make a bit of money to buy the new robes he needed for school.

"Hermione's been in here a few times, and she huffed a lot, but I think she was actually pretty impressed."

Violet laughed. "Classic Hermione." The bushy haired witch may have been a stickler for the rules and a bit uptight, but they all knew she appreciated a show of clever magic, and the Weasley twins sure as hell put on a damn good show.

"What do you plan on doing for the rest of the summer?" asked George. "You've still got about two weeks left, yeah?"

"A lot of reading, that's for sure," the girl replied, brushing dark hair out of her eyes. "And practicing spells, now that I don't have to worry. Flying too. I feel like it's been ages since I was last on a broom!" Frankly, there was just so much she wanted to do now that she had some freedom, that there just wasn't enough time left to get it all done!


Violet left the twins' shop at twelve twenty, and made her way over to the ice cream parlour, once more ignoring those who paused to stare at her. Instead, she focused her attention on the man she could see in the distance. Marvolo was already there, and seemed to be waiting for her, though he didn't appear to be at all irritated.

"Ah, right on time," he said calmly as she approached. "Shall we?" he offered her his arm.

Nodding, she accepted it and walked at his side as he led her through some twists and turns, half of which certainly shouldn't have even existed. ...Magic was weird.

After a few minutes of walking, the two came to a stop in front of a small, one story building. It was painted in a light grey, with a surprising amount of windows, though Violet noticed that she couldn't see anything at all on the other side. It must have been a spell of some sort.

It didn't take long before they found themselves seated at a booth, Marvolo having apparently made reservations ahead of time, which was definitely a good thing because this place was absolutely packed. It was a lot bigger on the inside than it had looked from the outside, and was decorated expensively, yet tastefully in a more old fashioned manner, with the occasional touch of modern. Or, at least Violet thought so. She'd never been inside an actual restaurant before.

With Marvolo having informed her that while they could be seen by others in the restaurant, they couldn't be heard, Violet actually felt a little less nervous. She could keep up visual pretenses, but it was a relief to know she wasn't going to have to worry about what she said. For the most part.

They ordered their food, Marvolo assuring the girl he would pay, which made her feel a little awkward. Then again, this place was pretty expensive, so she certainly wasn't going to complain.

The two were quiet at first, simply enjoying their food, Violet trying to guess what was in her pasta to have made it so creamy. It was only when they were about half way through their meals that Marvolo broke the silence by beginning to speak.

"Were you able to get everything you require?" he asked politely.

Surprised, it took the girl a second to process the words, before she nodded. "It was a close call with one of the textbooks though-I managed to get the last one they had in stock."

"Ah, you had perfect timing then."

Violet nodded, hesitated, then said, "Um, how did your business go?"

"It went well. Lucius and I had much to discus."

"Was it about him becoming the new Minister? When is that supposed to happen?"

"I will take some time yet, though we hope to have him in place by Yule, at the latest. It would be foolish to kick Fudge out of power before we learned everything he was doing and how his relations were with the leaders of various allied countries. He had many laws in the works, so we must go over those-simply halting them is a difficult thing to do."

Violet nodded again, listening curiously. She didn't really know much at all about politics, but Uncle Vernon had complained about the government often enough. "What about Umbridge?" she asked suddenly. "She was Fudge's senior undersecretary or something like that, wasn't she? Will she be in the same position under Mr Malfoy once he officially becomes Minister?"

Marvolo took a sip of wine, and gently set his glass down before replying. "Lucius has no desire to have her anywhere nearby, though he isn't against having her return to Hogwarts. Draco and his classmates seemed to speak quite highly of her."

The girl's eyes widened, before the brilliant emerald darkened with anger. "You can't let her back into Hogwarts!" she exclaimed adamantly, clenching her left fist. "I don't care what the Slytherins thought of her, but I can assure you that while they were singing her praises, the rest of us were doing the exact opposite!"

Marvolo blinked, seemingly surprised by her sudden outburst. His young wife had been surprisingly calm ever since learning of the peace treaty and the marriage clause, had never even raised her voice, so seeing this sudden fire certainly caught him off guard. "You dislike her?"

"Try loathe." Going over this at a table in the middle of a restaurant was hardly a good idea, but Violet was desperate to keep that bitch as far away from Hogwarts as possible, so she tried her hardest to explain. "Umbridge was...was likely the worst teacher ever. She taught only theory, and refused to teach us any spells. In fact, she always began her lessons by telling us to put away our wands. She deducted points the moment she saw one! Theory wouldn't have been bad if she had at least discussed it afterwards, but she didn't do that either. Every DADA lesson had us sitting behind our desks reading the next chapter in the book. If we finished it before the end of class, she had us read the next one. We weren't allowed to speak to one another, and she refused to answer any questions."

Trying to calm herself, Violet drank a bit of water, but she could see her hand shaking in her anger. "Every educational decree she passed restricted us more and more, until even study groups were banned unless she gave her explicit permission, which she never did to anyone who wasn't in Slytherin. She had her own group of students going around punishing and taking points off students they didn't like-the Inquisitorial Squad, which, incidentally, Malfoy and his groupies were all part of."

She took a breath. "She assigned detention after detention, punishing groups of students at a time, forcing us to write lines with-" Here, she broke off and hesitated. She didn't know how many adults knew about what had really been happening during those detentions. She was assuming none, because it was better to think they didn't know, than they had and simply chose to ignore it.

"Violet?"

Well, she was a Gryffindor, wasn't she? And what did Lions have if not courage? What was the worst the Dark Lord could do if she showed him? She was already married to the guy. In fact, the marriage actually made it a little better, since they couldn't hurt each other now. So, she simply held out her left hand, palm down, showing him the back.

It didn't take Marvolo very long at all to understand why she hated Umbridge as much as she did. The scar on her hand told the entire story. He took her hand and stared at the marks, his expression calm, but his eyes dark. "How many of these...detentions did you serve?"

"I lost count. More than anyone else, though. I was rather...vocal around her."

"Hmph. What of the other students? Were they members of every House?"

"I honestly can't speak for the Slytherins, but most were Gryffindors, along with a few Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs. A few of us, I know, told other Professors, not exactly outright, but enough that they should have caught on, but we were all told to keep our heads down and not bring attention to ourselves. She stopped handing detentions out around exam time-I guess she got busy, because Peeves wouldn't leave her alone, but her going back would just be..." An absolute nightmare, she finished internally. And if Umbridge was going to be there, Violet really didn't want to go back.

"Your detentions with her-describe them to me."

Surprised, the teen did as told, genuinely curious to know what Marvolo was going to do about all this now that he knew. It was hard to tell if he really cared, or why. How much of what he did was for his own benefit, she wondered?

"You know," she said slowly. "A lot of people are going to be against Malfoy when he becomes Minister."

"I don't doubt it."

"Wouldn't it be best to have him be the one to 'discover' what Umbridge did at Hogwarts then? She was basically torturing students on a daily basis. Imagine the headlines if Mr Malfoy were the one to bring that all to light."

Releasing her hand now, Marvolo sat back in his seat, examining her curiously from across the table in what appeared to be vague amusement. "You hate her so much that you would willingly support Lucius?"

She shrugged. "He's going to become Minister whether I support him or not, and it's clear that while he'll be the one sitting behind a desk and doing all the paperwork, you're still going to be the one in charge, so to speak. I'm not particularly against the changes you want done around here, but I am fully against everything Umbridge has said and done. If anyone deserves time in Azkaban, it's her, that's for sure. That and a healthy dose of public humiliation, because you can't just torture a bunch of children and expect to get away with it!"

And it was in this manner that the two finished their lunch, deep in discussion, and so lost in their words and thoughts that they didn't realize this evening's edition of the Daily Prophet was going to have the two of them on the front page, showing a photograph of them speaking, their attention focused on only one another, the rest of their food all but forgotten.

It was going to be a heartening sight for some, and a disappointing one for others, but it couldn't be denied that it was a sight to see for sure. And while she enjoyed her discussion with her new husband, somewhere, in the back of her mind, Violet wondered what the chances were that she was merely being lulled into a false sense of security.

Chapter Text

It was the morning of September first, and Violet found herself seated in a compartment on the Hogwarts Express. It was finally time to return to Hogwarts. Whether it was pure luck or not, no one disturbed her until she was joined by both Neville and Luna. Ron and Hermione, being Prefects, were off in another compartment, and wouldn't be joining them until a bit later, and Ginny was...busy with Dean, so they likely weren't going to see her for a bit either.

"How have you been doing, Violet?" asked Neville carefully. Letters and hearing things in person were completely different, and he knew that while the girl had sounded fine in writing, it was always possible she was being forced to answer the way she had been. She was married to Voldemort, after all, and, well, he couldn't exactly be taken at face value now, could he?

But Violet smiled in a reassuring and gentle manner. "I'm alright, Nev. Things have been a lot better than I think any of us...except maybe Luna, expected them to be." Just as she had with Fred and George, she informed the two about how things had gone during the month she had been living with the Dark Lord for. Neville was certainly shocked, to say the least. Luna definitely wasn't though, not that that was a surprise or anything. She always seemed to know things the rest of them didn't, and they had already learned it was best not to question her...

It wasn't until the trolley lady had gone by that Ron and Hermione finally had the chance to show up and relax a little while they snacked and chatted with their friends, vaguely mentioning what the other Prefects had done or said in their meeting. Suffice to say, Malfoy had been rather quiet while the two of them had been around.

"So, Voldemort is now going to be one of our professors, right?" spoke Ron suddenly, grabbing another Chocolate Frog.

Violet nodded, fighting not to cough at a pepper flavoured jelly bean she had just bit into. "Yeah, Defence."

"So the Dark Lord V-Voldemort will now be teaching us Defence Against the Dark Arts?" questioned Neville. "Does no one else see the irony in this?"

The emerald eyed girl laughed. "I think they've changed the class' name to Defence Arts, or something along those lines, so I guess it isn't as odd."

"I think him being your husband would be stranger for you," Hermione said now, taking up a Pumpkin Pasty.

Again, Violet nodded. "That's actually true."

"Has he said what he'll be teaching us?" asked the bushy haired witch in eager curiosity.

Violet laughed again. "Nope. He hasn't said a word about what he's been planning. I don't doubt it'll be interesting though."

"So he'll be teaching you too?"

"I have no idea," replied the the Girl-Who-Lived. "Usually no, but Marvolo said it's up to the Headmaster, so who knows? I doubt he'd go easy on me or anything, regardless of what our...relationship now is." She frowned slightly. "Although, it does leave me wondering on our living arrangements."

"What do you mean?"

"Will I be able to stay in Gryffindor Tower? Or will I have to stay wherever he will?"

"Oh!" Hermione gasped. "I hadn't thought of that." She frowned too, and worried her bottom lip. "I suppose that'll be up to the Headmaster as well?"

"Likely."

The group fell silent, none of them sure of what to say, and all of them lost in their own thoughts. The war may have officially been concluded now, but there was no telling how things were going to be in the castle. There were going to be changes, that was for sure, but whether those changes were going to be for the better or worse, they had no way of knowing just yet...


The Sorting itself was uneventful, and it was only when the First Years were seated at their new House Tables, that Dumbledore got to his feet, his arms spread out in welcome. He greeted them happily, his eyes twinkling, and then began explaining the usual rules, with the addition that products from Fred and George's new shop were banned. That had many scowling-Ron included, despite the fact that he was a Prefect, as Hermione reminded him in a hiss.

He explained the classes then. How Defence Against the Dark Arts was now called Defence Arts, and how they had new professors on their staff now too. Violet frowned at that, noting nothing had been said about History of Magic and Muggle Studies becoming mandatory classes for all seven years, and how Divination was still being offered.

It seemed Marvolo hadn't gotten everything he had wanted after all. Judging by the look in his eyes, he wasn't pleased. Still, she refocused her attention on the Headmaster.

The new Muggle Studies professor, Eugene Cole*, seemed to be unknown to everyone, but he looked young and kind, so there was that at least. Neither Violet nor her friends were taking that class, so she supposed it didn't particularly matter to them personally. But still, the witches and wizards of this world needed to learn what the Muggle world was really like.

"And to teach History of Magic, I would like to welcome back Professor Remus Lupin!" Dumbledore announced cheerfully.

Most in the Great Hall seemed quite pleased to hear that, and applauded cheerfully. The Slytherins didn't appear to be quite as enthusiastic though. And their scowls only deepened when Dumbledore continued.

"As we all know, Professor Lupin has a condition that makes him unable to teach during a series of days each month. Therefor, I have hired a stand in for him, to take over during those days. You will not meet him until he first must replace Professor Lupin, but I hope you will all welcome Professor Sirius Black with open arms!" Dumbledore purposely ignored the sneer on Snape's face as he said this.

Violet merely frowned. She hadn't known about this. Neither Sirius nor Remus had mentioned it to her. She knew that Sirius was seeing a Mind Healer on a regular basis though. Azkaban had completely screwed up his mind, and because Dumbledore had refused to get him pardoned, he had been stuck in hiding with no one to really help him. Now that he was finally free, he had the chance to properly heal, and while still a little frustrated with the two men, Violet was honestly glad her godfather was getting better, and that the two would be around, even though she wasn't going to be taking History class.

"And last, but certainly not least, our new Defence Arts professor." Dumbledore glanced over at the crimson eyed man, who gave him a rather threatening look. "Please welcome Professor," he hesitated here, just for half a second, barely even that, "Marvolo Slytherin!"

At first there was silence, everyone fully aware of who this was. And then the Slytherins began to applaud, perhaps worried the Dark Lord might punish them if they didn't. The Ravenclaws followed suit, and the Hufflepuffs did the same a second later, looking utterly terrified. About a quarter of Gryffindor Table applauded politely too, though the rest remained steadfastly silent.

And with that, the feast began, food appearing on the tables so everyone could begin filling their golden dishes. There was a rush of voices as everyone began to speak at once, most no doubt discussing their new class and professor. Violet and her friends weren't any different, though their own discussion was going a slightly different way.

"Why did the Headmaster pause like that before saying Voldemort's name?" Hermione wondered, neatly cutting into a chicken pie.

It was Violet who had the answer. "He likely wanted to call him by his real name-Tom Riddle," she replied, all but drowning her mashed potatoes in melted butter and salt. "But Marvolo hates that name more than anything else. I'm sure they argued about it more than once. I'm not surprised he took the name Slytherin though. He is a descendant of his, so really, there's no reason he shouldn't."

Ron said something next, speaking through a mouthful of meat, which had Hermione scowling and scolding him, telling him to swallow his food before trying to talk. Already used to this though, Violet was able to understand what he had said.

"Going around being called Professor You-Know-Who, or Professor He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, or Professor Dark Lord is just really stupid and impractical," she said. "And he loves that people are too scared to call him Voldemort, so Professor Voldemort would be out too."

Neville's eyes widened, and he looked at Ron incredulously. "You seriously thought he'd go by Professor You-Know-Who?"

Ron flushed and shrugged rather sheepishly.

Ginny, who was sitting near enough to have heard them, smirked. Leaning over Dean, she said, "I bet you more people will call him Professor You-Know-Who than Professor Slytherin."

Hermione looked scandalized. "There's no way they'll be that disrespectful!"

Violet raised a brow. "Hermione, it's Hogwarts."

"...Right."

The group fell silent and returned to their dinner. It was only when the pudding appeared, that a note suddenly moved to hover in front of Violet. Blinking in surprise, she plucked it out of the air.

Come to the Head Table once the feast is over. We must address your class and living arrangements.

Violet blinked again, recognizing the handwriting as belonging to Dumbledore. She informed her friends of what the note said, and none of them needed to speak to show how curious they were. Was Violet not going to be allowed to stay in Gryffindor Tower after all? Were they really going to make her stay with Marvolo the entire time? Was that even fair?

When the Welcoming Feast came to an end and the students were dismissed, Hermione informed Violet of the password to get past the Fat Lady, before she and Ron headed off to help the first years, and the others made their way out of the Great Hall. Violet, on the other hand, as instructed, moved through the hall, up to the Head Table, where Dumbledore, Marvolo, and McGonagall were standing, clearly waiting for her, Snape having glared Remus out of the room as he too left.

"You wanted to see me, sir?"

"Yes, we must discuss your living and class arrangements, now that Tom here is your professor," said Dumbledore, smiling as if he didn't have a care in the world.

Marvolo scowled at the name he had just been called, but he didn't bother correcting the old man, clearly seeing no point in it. No matter how many times he would ask or demand not to be called Tom, Dumbledore was going to do it anyway.

Violet just nodded, and waited to hear what he had decided. She supposed it wouldn't matter either way. If Marvolo wasn't allowed to teach her, he'd likely have Sirius or another Order member take care of it. And while she knew she would prefer to stay in her dorm, she knew for a fact that they wouldn't hesitate to make her as uncomfortable as possible. Violet was pulled out of her thoughts a moment later when Dumbledore decided to stop being dramatic and speak.

"I see no reason for why Tom cannot teach you Defence along with your classmates. Regardless of your marriage, he is not the type to offer special treatment, and as you are already the top of the class in your year, you hardly even require it."

...Okay, he actually had a point there. Normally Marvolo wouldn't be able to teach her to prevent cheating. There was always a chance the professor would give their student the answers or higher marks they didn't deserve, or that the student would ask for that. But Violet was, as Dumbledore had said, at the top of the class. She didn't need help in Defence at all, so there wasn't exactly any way to improve her grade when it was already the highest it could go.

"As for where you will stay," the Headmaster continued. "After some discussion and deliberation, I have decided that you may remain in your dorm in Gryffindor Tower. However, during the weekends you will stay with Tom in his own rooms. That is to say, you must spend Friday and Saturday nights with him, and return to your own dorm Sunday nights."

Violet blinked, and frowned slightly. "Must?" she repeated slowly, disliking the way that sounded.

"Yes." And that was all he said on the matter. "Now run along, my dear! It's nearly curfew! Good night!"

Marvolo said nothing, looking almost politely interested. McGonagall didn't seem to agree though. She stood stiffly, her lips pressed together tightly, eyes downcast. If she didn't approve with this, why wasn't she saying anything? It wouldn't particularly matter to Marvolo, because this wasn't exactly harming him, but there was no reason why McGonagall shouldn't have said something. But she didn't. She didn't say a word.

So Violet simply inclined her head, turned around, and walked the familiar path up the stairs to Gryffindor Tower. The Fat Lady in her portrait almost looked as if she had been waiting for her, and gave her a sympathetic look before swinging open without even asking for the password.

When the girl entered the common room, she was hardly surprised at the sudden silence that greeted her. This reaction wasn't new at all, but it was much worse than usual. There was anger, and fear. More than she could ever remember feeling from her own House mates. She cautiously glanced around for Hermione, or Ginny, or Ron, or Neville, but couldn't see any of them.

"So how does it feel being the Dark Lord's whore!?" questioned a sudden voice. "I can't believe you'd dare show your face in here, you fucking traitor!"

Violet clenched her fists and just made he way up the stairs and into her dorm. The speaker had been a boy. He couldn't follow her up here. Unfortunately, Hermione wasn't in the dorm either. Lavender and Parvati were though, both of them pausing mid conversation to stare at her.

For a moment there was nothing-just silence. And then the other two simply got into their own beds and shut the hangings around them, even though they clearly hadn't finished unpacking yet. Violet watched them, and then sighed inaudibly and sat down on her own bed, drawing her knees up and staring out at nothing. She wasn't sure why she was so...caught off guard by this. When had her House ever stood by her side? Still, no one in her own House had ever been quite this hostile towards her before.

It was then that Hermione entered the room, spotting Violet immediately, and seeing the look on her face just as quickly. That couldn't be good. She climbed into the bed with her, pulled the hangings shut, and then placed a silencing charm around the bed.

"What happened, Violet?"

The emerald eyed teen sighed. "Some seventh year just called me the Dark Lord's whore," she admitted. "And both Parvati and Lavender ignored me."

Hermione bit her lip, clearing trying to figure out what would be the best way to deal with this situation. After a moment, she decided humour was the best way to go. "I thought you actually had to do...stuff to be considered a whore?"

Violet looked up, lips twitching. "Sex, Hermione, not stuff."

"Yes, well-"

"You're nearly seventeen! Surely you can say sex. Or shag. Or screw. Or bang. Or fuck."

"Violet!"

Violet laughed softly, and then sobered, her smile fading as she dropped her head onto Hermione's shoulder, taking in the comforting and familiar scent of vanilla and apples. "I don't even know why I'm so bothered, honestly. I knew I'd hear it-what he said. I just...didn't expect it to be the first thing. Still, it isn't as if I asked for this. I didn't ask to marry the guy."

"No," Hermione agreed, smoothing a hand down her friend's back, "you didn't. It was the adults who agreed on all this. And it was the adults who didn't bother telling the public the entire truth. And it is the child in this who will have to suffer, not the adults."

"...It's stupid, isn't it? They're all going to go around calling me a traitor, and evil, and a whore and all this, and if I retaliate, not only will I get detention and points taken off, I'm still going to be treated like a kid by all the professors. And at the same time, they're telling me I have to spend every weekend with Marvolo."

"It is stupid. Very much so."

There was a beat of silence, before the Girl-Who-Lived spoke again, her head still on her friend's shoulder. "McGonagall doesn't approve of any of this."

Hermione seemed surprised to hear that. "She doesn't? Then why hasn't she said anything?"

Violet shrugged. "I have this weird feeling that they're all...waiting for Marvolo to get me pregnant."

Hermione froze. "Excuse me!?" she spoke, her voice high and filled with shock. "Why in Merlin's name would they-!?"

"I don't know. Like I said, it's just a feeling I'm getting. The way they insist he and I stay together...it's just...odd."

"But-but you said he doesn't want children, right?"

"Yeah. He's made that very clear more than once. He said he won't stop me from having kids if I want, except he wants me to be older when I have them."

"Which makes perfect sense!"

"It does. Although, to be honest, I just...don't see myself as a parent."

"You don't?" This was the first Hermione had heard of this, though she wasn't actually surprised.

"No. I mean, I have nothing against kids, and you know I like cooing over cute babies, but while I've always wanted a family, I've wanted someone to take care of me, not the other way around. I'd rather get myself a pet kitten, or a snake to fulfill any desire I have take care of someone or something, you know?"

Hermione hummed in thought, still running her hand down Violet's back. This really wasn't particularly shocking. Violet hadn't ever really had anyone care for her before. The only ones she had who would have happily treated her as family hadn't even been allowed to do so. Sirius had been locked up in prison, and then on the run, and then in hiding. And Remus was a werewolf, which made it illegal. The Weasleys hadn't been all that bad, but Mrs Weasley just smothered her uncomfortably. And as someone who had never experienced affection, Violet preferred a little versus a lot. The more there was, the more it frightened her. And as for Dumbledore? Well, it turned out she was nothing more than a pawn on his chessboard.

"Have you told Professor Slytherin what you're suspecting?"

Violet cracked a smile, amused she was already calling him that, but shook her head. "No, it didn't come to me until just now."

"Well I think you should tell him," stated Hermione. "Even if the two of you aren't-aren't sleeping together, there may be attempts to sabotage you-both of you. It could be that they want both of your genes passed on."

"Our genes?"

"Of course! You're both attractive, intelligent, and incredibly powerful, not to mention your family lines. You said you were told Dumbledore never countered the marriage, right? It could be he wanted to use it as an excuse for you to produce powerful heirs he could take advantage of. And now that it's clear Professor Slytherin doesn't want kids, and you yourself are iffy on the topic..." she trailed off somewhat awkwardly, but Violet understood.

"They might try to force us."

Hermione nodded. "And I really don't think either of you want that. So I definitely think you should mention all this to the professor, and find out what he thinks. He's the Dark Lord. I'm sure he's got plans in place to deal with these things. There are also...other means to prevent it, if it comes to it."

"Fair point," Violet conceded.

"And just ignore everyone else," Hermione continued. "Remember, people in this world are really lacking in the common sense department. They're sure to lay off once they see you aren't bothered. You haven't done anything wrong."

"Jeez, Hermione, you're just a barrel of wisdom today, aren't you?"

"Oh, shush you!"

Chapter Text

When Violet woke the next morning, she was greeted with Lavender and Parvati rushing out of her path, as if afraid she would attack them suddenly. Aware she was about to face much worse, the emerald eyed girl just decided to do as Hermione had said and ignore them, instead choosing to get ready for the day.

With her bushy haired friend having gone on ahead, due to it being the first day back and her being a Prefect, Violet was left to get herself to the Great Hall on her own, having no doubt Hermione would have dragged Ron along with her.

Despite that she was used to being left to her own devices, Violet was still beyond pleased when Neville caught up to her, the two of them making their way down through the castle together. It was certainly better than the alternative. At least for now, until Violet got used to all that was happening, and that was certainly going to take more than a day or two.

No one really noticed when Violet and Neville entered the Great Hall, many of the students still feeling far too tired to pay much attention, unused to having to be awake this early. The two Gryffindors found an empty spot at their table and sat down together, but those around them fell silent almost immediately.

The two paid them no attention and ate their own breakfast while they chatted together about their OWL results, and what they hoped their schedules might look like, and were in the middle of this conversation when they were joined by both Ron and Hermione, the former immediately reaching for a plate of bacon, while the latter poured herself some coffee.

The morning post came in as always, and Violet was hardly surprised that there was nothing for her. She had friends on the outside, yes, in Fred and George, and even their older brothers Bill and Charlie, and Oliver too of course, but this was only the first day back, so no doubt they figured she'd be too tense for their words. She assumed they would all send her letters once the initial rush faded.

Soon enough, the four Heads approached their House Tables to pass out time tables, spending more time with all the sixth years as they spoke of what OWLs they had achieved and which classes they wanted or could take.

Professor McGonagall did this with each Gryffindor sixth year, but Violet was not the only one to notice that the woman never once met her gaze while the two of them spoke. As soon as Violet's schedule was clear, it was handed to her and McGonagall moved on to Neville before the girl could say anything else. She wasn't even given the chance to thank her!

Yes, because this behaviour was apparently supposed to make her feel better about being married to the Dark Lord or something, right? Hermione, bless her, seemed to notice her rising annoyance, and quickly asked her what her time table looked like, prompting Violet to snap out of her sarcastic thoughts and finally examine it.

"I've got a free period first," she said. "And then Defence, and then another free period, and then Potions."

"Mine is the same," Ron announced with a grin. "Three free periods in one day? A bloody miracle that is!"

Hermione fixed him with a stern gaze. "I have no doubt you'll be using the extra time to study, Ronald. Or at Quidditch practice. You will not be slacking off this year!"

Ron rolled his eyes, exasperated. "Yes, mum," he muttered. "Ow!" he cried out suddenly, as Hermione swatted his arm. And then he blinked. "Hey, who's our Captain this year?" he asked.

Violet paused and lowered her time table. Who was Captain?* Angelina and Alicia had graduated the previous year, and Fred and George had both left too. That just left her and Katie of the original team from her first year, and Ron who had only joined last year, and Violet didn't even know if she was even on the team anymore, what with her life long ban never having been lifted. Bloody Umbridge.

She glanced around the Table, and finally spotted Katie Bell sitting with other seventh years she only knew by face. She took a closer look, but didn't see any badges. "Unless one of the temporary members was named Captain, which is unlikely," the raven haired girl said, "it isn't either of us, and it doesn't look like it's Katie either."

Ron looked incredibly worried. "Maybe we should ask McGonagall or Dumbledore?"

Surprisingly, it was Hermione who replied to that before their friend could. "That's actually a good idea," she said with a small frown. "It's very odd that there doesn't seem to be a Captain for Gryffindor's team, because the other three House teams all seem to have one."

Ron nodded and quickly scarfed down the rest of his breakfast, before practically dragging Violet over to Katie, the girl's friends glaring at her the moment they saw her.

"Hey, Violet. How's it going?"

Glad at least Katie wasn't treating her any different, Violet merely focused on her, ignoring whoever her friends were. "Hey, Katie. I'm alright, I suppose. How was your summer?"

"Pretty good," the girl shrugged. "Probably better than yours."

"I don't doubt that." But this wasn't why she had come here. "Do you have any idea who the Captain of our Quidditch team is?" she asked instead, hoping the topic change would draw the attention away from other things she had no desire to talk about right now.

Katie just blinked. "It isn't you?"

Violet shook her head. "I don't even know if my ban is lifted. And Ron isn't Captain either."

Katie frowned. "We three are the only permanent members of the team though," she said, "discounting your ban. The rest were just subs. If none of us are Captain, then who could it be? Was no one chosen?"

"We need to ask McGonagall or Dumbledore," stated Ron, sounding quite urgent. Only Quidditch and food could get him like this. "We can't fall behind the other teams! Especially Slytherin!"

Katie nodded in agreement, and told her friends she would be back as she rose to her feet. And together the three students made their way up to the Head Table, curious to find out what was going on. Unfortunately, it seemed the other two had unconsciously decided to allow Violet to do the talking. She wasn't surprised.

"Well hello there!" called Dumbledore as he saw them approach. "What can I do for you children on this fine morning?"

"Good morning, Professor," Violet greeted, not letting her other feelings get in the way. "We were just wondering why our Quidditch team doesn't seem to have a Captain this year."

"And if Violet's ban's been lifted," added Ron. "Er, sir."

"Ban?" It was Remus who said this, a frown on his face.

The girl looked at him with a frown of her own. "I didn't tell you? Umbridge gave me and the Weasley twins a life long ban last year."

"Whatever for?"

"...A fight?"

Remus' frown only deepened. "You and the twins got into a fight?"

"Not with each other," she said. And then the man raised a brow, clearly indicating he wanted more of an answer. "Um, it was with Malfoy."

The lycanthrope fixed her with a stern gaze. "Violet."

"He insulted my mother! He practically called her a dirty whore! So you'll have to excuse me for punching him in the bloody face for it!"* She didn't notice Snape stiffen at her words. "And he insulted basically all the Weasleys too."

Clearly noting the mounting tension, Dumbledore clapped his hands twice, drawing the attention to him. He smiled kindly. "Well, you have already been punished for your part in the offence, my dear," he told the Girl-Who-Lived, "and I have no doubt Mr Malfoy will soon be punished himself." His gaze briefly passed over to Snape, who sat with a spoon clenched in his hand-clenched tight enough his knuckles had gone white, in fact. "And with Madam Umbridge now no longer a member of our staff, the subject of your ban will have to pass along to the next Head, in this case myself. Therefor, I lift your life long ban, and that of the Weasley twins as well, though it no longer applies to them regardless."

Ron sighed in what very clearly sounded like relief. "And the Captain? Sir?" he asked.

Dumbledore continued to smile. "We couldn't very well name a Captain while she had a life long ban now, could we? However, now that it has been lifted-" he produced a badge out of nowhere, and presented it to Violet.

The girl blinked, and accepted the badge somewhat numbly. She hadn't expected she would be picked! She had thought it would be Katie, since she'd been on the team longer than her! But Katie didn't seem to mind at all.

"Congrats, Violet! Are you planning on holding an all team tryout, or just the missing members?"

Violet blinked again as Ron took the badge from her and pinned it to her robes for her rather fussily, even going as far as to shine it. "Er, just the missing members, I think. You're just fine as you are. I've seen you play for years, and would rather find others to work with you, if possible."

But even as she said this, she couldn't help but think Dumbledore had planned this. It was as if he had given her Captaincy in an effort to...make up for what he had done, not that it helped at all. Violet wasn't quite so shallow that this would be all that it took for her to forgive him.

As Katie left to grab her bag and rejoin her friends, the professors too began getting to their feet, the first lessons of the day due to begin soon. Remus leaned over the table and drew Violet into a partial embrace.

"Congratulations, cub," he said with a smile. "Sirius will be very pleased to hear about this, and I have no doubt James and Lily would both be very proud of you."

...I bet they wouldn't be proud that I married their killer, the girl couldn't help but think. "Thanks, Moony. That means a lot." And it actually really did. She turned to leave, when she felt a large hand on her shoulder, the touch light, but firm. She turned and her breath caught. Marvolo was looking at her, his crimson eyes locked on her emerald, and it was his hand on her shoulder.

"Congratulations, Violet," he spoke softly. "I look forward to seeing you on the pitch."

"...Ah, thank you," the emerald eyed girl managed to choke out. It was only when she and Ron had moved away from the Head Table that she felt as if she was able to breathe again. And if the sudden gulp of air had anything to do with it, Ron felt the exact same way.

"That was bloody terrifying!" he said abruptly, glancing over his shoulder to make sure the Dark Lord wasn't anywhere near them. "Even if he was being nice! And I sure as fuck never thought I'd say that!"

It was a good thing Hermione wasn't here to hear him use such language. As it was, Violet didn't particularly care about vulgarity, and shrugged rather awkwardly. "That's pretty much how he's been treating me all month," she told her friend as they grabbed their bags from the table and made their way back up to the Tower. "It's not exactly affectionate or anything, but he's been really polite."

Ron sighed, and then put all that behind him for the time being. "Well anyway, you really not thinking of doing an all team tryout?"

"What? Scared you'll lose your position?" she said teasingly.

But Ron's voice was quite seriously when he replied. "I'm shit at it, you know that."

Violet shook her head. "You're really not that bad, Ron," she assured him. "You always worked so well in practice, but whenever we got into an actual match, you'd lose your nerve, and start missing shots."

"Ouch," Ron muttered, flushing slightly.

The girl sighed inaudibly. "I want to keep you on the team, Ron. I really do. Besides, I don't even know how many people will come to the tryouts when they realize I'm Captain. We just need to work on getting your confidence levels up as high as they are during practices. And I think that might be a bit easier now that Fred and George are gone. Those two didn't pull any punches with you."

The two entered the mainly empty common room and took their usual seats in the cushy armchairs near the hearth, still discussing Quidditch and what they intended to do, and when Violet wanted the tryouts to be held.

Their free period went by far too quickly for their liking...


"Ugh, I'm really not looking forward to this," muttered Ron.

Their free period coming to an end, Violet and Ron were on their way to their first Defence Arts lesson, meeting Hermione, who had had a class earlier, on the way. All three of them were nervous, and that nervous energy only seemed to increase when they met up with their classmates outside the classroom door.

Normally the Lions and Snakes would have begun arguing by this point, but today it seemed all four Houses were too apprehensive about their new professor to really goad one another. The Gryffindors were worried that the Dark Lord was going to kill them. The Slytherins were worried he was going to Crucio them. The Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs were really no better off. Really, out of everyone here, Violet, while still rather anxious herself, was positive no harm would come to them. Well, no permanent harm, at least.

When the door opened on its own, the students filed inside, all hesitating on the threshold, wondering where to sit. No one really wanted to be up front. Not even the Snakes. A little annoyed, Violet pinched the bridge of her nose, and then strode forward, taking one of the seats in the front.

Emboldened by this somewhat, Hermione, Ron, and Neville were the next to join her. Theodore Nott and Blaise Zabini were the next two to take their seats, choosing to sit in the middle of the room, putting them on a rather neutral ground, in their eyes, and Millicent Bullstrode did the same a moment later. Susan Bones was the next to move, she too taking a seat near the middle, though away from the three Slytherins, and she was then joined by her friend Hannah Abbott, which had Neville smiling. Padma Patil, who had always come across as a no nonsense sort of person, unlike her twin sister, sat down next, nodding in approval as she was joined by Terry Boot.

Everyone else was still standing when Marvolo entered the room. He came to a stop at his desk, and looked over at them. He raised a brow. "Are the rest of you waiting for an invitation?" he questioned smoothly.

Dean, Seamus, Lavender, Parvati, Malfoy, Parkinson, Davis, Greengrass, Macmillian, Finch-Fletchley, Goldstein, Corner, Brocklehurst, and Turpin practically scurried to their seats, though Malfoy seemed to be trying his damnest to look as haughty as possible. Not that Marvolo seemed to notice or care.

Calm, collected, and charming, Marvolo introduced himself as Marvolo Slytherin, and took roll, never pausing on anyone longer than anyone else. Once finished with that, he set the attendance list onto his desk, and turned his attention back to them.

"I have been told that you have all had a rather...spotty education in Defence Against the Dark Arts, your year in particular, and yet it seems that you all managed to exceed the expectations of your...other instructors by earning such high OWL results in this course. Tell me why this is." It didn't escape his notice that the moment he said this, everyone in the room except the Slytherins and two Ravenclaws looked at Violet.

But it was Malfoy who answered. "It probably has to do with Potter's secret group!"

Marvolo turned his crimson gaze on him immediately, and raised a brow. "Five points from Slytherin. I except a show of respect, Mr Malfoy."

The blond flushed and fell silent, clearly having forgotten that though the professor was a Slytherin himself, he was still the Dark Lord, who played by his own rules.

"We will return to this discussion later." He folded his arms across his chest. "Who can tell me why this course has been changed from Defence Against the Dark Arts, to Defence Arts?"

Despite who the professor was, Hermione didn't at all hesitate before raising her hand, looking as eager as always, clearly already having a good answer in mind.

"Yes, Miss Granger?"

"Dark magic isn't the only type of magic that can be used against a person. We need to learn to defend ourselves against Light, and even Grey magic, as well as Dark."

"Good. Five points to Gryffindor." Marvolo inclined his head. That certainly caused some shock, though he ignored it. "Now, what is it that makes magic deadly in the first place? Or rather, what is it that makes a certain spell, regardless of what it might be, dangerous?"

There were a few exchanged glances, before Violet found herself raising her own hand, Defence the only class she voluntarily participated in.

"Miss Potter?"

"The intention behind the spell," she offered. "Or the caster's intention, if you prefer."

"Very good. Five points to Gryffindor."

Parvati muttered something to Lavender here that no one else was able to hear. No one except their professor, it seemed, even though he was all the way across the room.

His eyes narrowed. "Ten points from Gryffindor, Miss Patil, and a detention tonight at eight. Do learn to curb your tongue. You are in class, not in Hogsmeade. Gossip on your own time."

Parvati got a few looks of annoyance from the other Gryffindors here, her offence having negated the points earned by Hermione and Violet. She lowered slightly in her chair, eyes downcast, but jaw clenched, though it was difficult to tell whether she was embarrassed or angry. Or both.

Marvolo turned his attention back to the rest. "Now, as Miss Potter rightly put it, the caster's intention is what makes a spell, no matter what it may be, dangerous and even deadly. Who can give me an example of a Light or Grey-Neutral, in other words, spell turned dangerous due to intent?"

Padma raised her hand here, as if determined to prove she wasn't as foolish as her twin sister, despite the two already being in different Houses. She had never understood her twin's behaviour.

"Yes, Miss Patil?" Marvolo hid a smirk when he noticed Parvati jump, clearly having forgotten her twin was in the class too, and no doubt terrified he had called upon her instead.

"The levitation charm," Padma replied promptly. "While we were merely taught to levitate a feather in class, it can be easy for someone to levitate a large rock, for example, and drop it down on someone's head, causing serious harm, or perhaps even death."

Marvolo inclined his head. "Five points to Ravenclaw. Very good. Give me another example."

No doubt emboldened by the others, Susan was the one to raise her hand now, not as worried since the professor had been quite fair up until now-even taking points off Slytherin because of Malfoy of all people, and everyone knew Draco's father was the Dark Lord's right hand man.

"Miss Bones?"

"Lumos?" she suggested. "Or even Lumos Maxima? You can use it to purposely blind someone if close enough."

The professor smiled slightly, as if pleased by the responses he was getting. "Very good, Miss Bones. Five points to Hufflepuff." He ignored Susan's flush, and went on. "Now that it has been clear that Light and Grey spells can be used negatively, let us examine the other end of the spectrum. Give me an example of a Dark spell being used positively, because of the caster's intention. Dark spells that are not the Unforgivables."

Here, Violet frowned slightly. It was odd, but no matter how much she thought, she couldn't actually really think of any Dark spells. The only ones she knew were the three Unforgivables. Their Defence Against the Dark Arts classes had primarily centered on Dark creatures, rather than magic. And when they did discuss Dark magic, it was just the Unforgivables, nothing else. How strange.

When she glanced around the room, she realized immediately that only the Slytherins had their hands up, and it didn't take her long to realize why that was. They obviously knew more Dark spells than the rest of them due to the way they had been raised.

It was Nott who was called upon, and he gave the example of what he referred to as a Dark healing spell, used to bind skin back together after a nasty cut or other wounds along those lines. Marvolo didn't ask for further explanation, clearly understanding.

"Good, five points to Slytherin." He clasped his hands behind his back. "And who can give me an example of an Unforgivable being used positively?"

That caused a bit of a startle among the students. 'Unforgivables' and 'positive' were not words that should ever go in the same sentence together, many of them thought. But there was still some serious consideration towards the question on the parts of a few. Finally, after a couple of moments of silence, both Violet and Hermione raised their hands at the same moment.

Marvolo nodded once. "Miss Granger, and then Miss Potter."

"Well," Hermione hesitated, as if worried about how her answer might be received, or how to even put it into words, "you could cast the Imperius curse on a child nearing a busy street unattended if you are too far away. This way you can get them to turn back, and-"

"Not be hit by a car," Marvolo finished for her. "An interesting choice with some merit," he spoke calmly. "I wonder how often a Wizard came across such a scene and watched disaster unfold instead of attempting to help. Miss Potter?"

Violet found herself hesitating just as much as Hermione had been a moment before. "Er, well, I was thinking more along the lines of an animal or something that's in too much pain, being put down. The Killing Curse would be perfect for that, wouldn't it?"

That caused quite a few gasps of surprise, no doubt due to her own past with the spell. But Marvolo's gaze only grew more intense, if anything.

"Are you willing to elaborate?"

The girl blinked, but continued cautiously. "The Killing Curse is instant, and completely painless," she said. "If you came across a-a dog, I guess, that was bleeding out, in intense pain, dying, and couldn't be saved, wouldn't it just be best to just-just put it out of its misery? Two words, a flash of green light, and it would be free of its pain, wouldn't it?"

There was a moral issue here, of course, that made her glad she had chosen a dog as the example, rather than a person, but it was just something that made sense to her. And, oddly enough, it was comforting to know that her parents hadn't suffered in their deaths. Her dad had died before he even knew what was happening, and her mum had only lived longer because she had been begging for Violet to be spared. Neither of them had been hurt or tortured or anything like that. They had been given swift, painless deaths, and that was better than what could have happened if the Dark Lord hadn't been so focused on killing Violet herself.

"I see," said Marvolo softly. "Yet another idea with merit to it. Ten points to Gryffindor, for both your answers," he stated, nodding towards both Hermione and Violet. "It seems our time today has come to an end. For homework, explain why you have only learned of Dark creatures in Defence Against the Dark Arts, and only learned of three Dark spells, when there are many more out there. I expect at least twelve inches in length for this assignment," he added.

There were some inward groans at that, but nobody actually made a sound out loud. Just in case. Though Violet found it odd that their assigned homework was on the very thing she had just been thinking of. Still, they packed their belongings, finished up just as the bell went.

"Miss Potter, a word, if you will."

The others headed out, leaving the room as quickly as they could, Violet's friends assuring her they would wait for her outside, since they had a free period coming up after their break.

Once the room was empty and the door shut, Violet and Marvolo turned to face one another, and the girl had a feeling she knew where this was going.

"Draco claimed you had a secret group of some kind last year, and this is what affected the grade of your classmates?" Well, he certainly wasn't wasting any time.

Violet just nodded, having no reason to deny it. "Yes. I'm sure you recall me saying Umbridge refused to teach us anything, right? So Hermione came up with an idea-to have me teach people Defence instead."

Marvolo raised a brow. "Hm. Yes, it does seem like something Granger would do."

"Yes, well, she gathered a group of people who didn't think I was crazy and lying, for the most part, and we called ourselves the DA-Dumbledore's Army-and no, that was not my idea."

The man smirked. "And who was in said group?"

"There were about...just over two dozen, myself included, I think. We had members of every House except Slytherin, and of different years, though most were of my year. I think our youngest member was a second year Gryffindor who was there because of his older brother-a fourth year. There were a couple more fourth years, and the rest were fifth through seventh years."

"How long did these...meetings last?"

"We met usually once a week, since we had to work around three different Quidditch team schedules. And this lasted for about maybe five months or so?" Violet sighed. "We were betrayed by one of our own, who told Umbridge about what was happening. Luckily Dumbledore interfered, so no one was really punished."

Mavolo cupped his chin, clearly intrigued. "And what did you teach these children?"

Violet shrugged absently. "Defensive magic, obviously. I started off with the Disarming spell, and once they had a handle on that, progressed. I was teaching them the Patronus Charm when we got caught, and we haven't had another meeting since."

For a moment, the Dark Lord was silent, as if impressed but unwilling to admit it. Finally, he said, "Are you telling me there were seventh years in your group that did not know how to cast a Disarming Charm?"

"I guess, yes."

"I see... Tell me," he said abruptly. "Do you still have a list of members and notes of what you taught or how they all did?"

Violet blinked. "Um, I think Hermione should have the list-I'm pretty sure Dumbledore gave it back to her. And I did make lesson plans of sorts, though it'll be better for me to just tell you how everyone did. Writing it down will take more time."

Marvolo nodded. "Very well. You are to come to my quarters on the weekend regardless. We can discuss this further then. It would be best for me to know how far along the students you taught are, as compared to the rest, so I may plan my lessons accordingly."

The girl was the one to nod now. She didn't really see any problem with this, and it did make sense, once she thought about it. It would be pointless for him to teach something they all already knew, or something that would end up being too advanced. "I er, I have something else I'd like to...to speak to you about," she added suddenly, remembering what Hermione had told her last night. "It's unrelated to class, but it's-it's important, though it can wait until the weekend."

Marvolo regarded her closely, clearly noticing her hesitation and reluctance to speak up right now. He understood why too. Anyone could be listening right now. It was best to wait until they were in private, in a room he would have, no doubt, warded himself. "As you wish. Go on then, and do not forget of your homework."

"Of course." Violet picked up her bag, moved to the door, and then paused and turned back. "Er, that was a really interesting lesson, Marvolo," she said. "I think I see why you say you wanted to be a teacher." And she left before he had the chance to say anything in return, slightly embarrassed with herself.

She hadn't been wrong though. During the rest of the week, most were quite caught off guard by how...well, interesting Professor Slytherin made their classes. He didn't only focus on Dark magic, and he didn't harp about Light magic either, as many had thought he would. He kept each class on a more neutral scale, and what was more, seemed to treat students from each House fairly, no matter their blood status.

There were punishments and points taken, of course, sometimes more harsh than others, depending on the offence, but oddly enough, the Dark Lord was a fairer teacher than Snape was!

But that did not at all please everyone.

Chapter Text

When curfew arrived on Friday, Violet found herself making her way down to Marvolo's rooms, rather than her dorm. She had been reminded via a note from Dumbledore that she was to spend her time from Friday night to Sunday night with her husband. As if she could forget it or anything. Still, she didn't argue against it. She knew there wasn't a point. She supposed she didn't really mind either. Her House mates were hardly...well, people she wanted to be around right now. Most of them, at any rate.

Instead, she just took her bag, which was filled with what she needed for her weekend homework, and her DA lesson plans from the previous year, and headed off, Ron walking with her. The small group of friends had decided that the best thing to do for now, along with ignoring the negative attention Violet was getting, was to not have her wander about the castle alone, unless she had her cloak and map with her. And while it was kind of annoying, Violet found that she actually agreed with it. Honestly, it was better to be safe than sorry.

She and Ron finally found the painting of a rather large snake, and the two bid one another a rather cautious farewell, at which point the redhead turned and headed back up to the Tower. Violet turned her attention to the painting, and hissed the override password she had been given. (Dumbledore had said the password was 'unity', but Marvolo had just clenched his jaw and given her an override. Dumbledore would always know when 'unity' was used to get into his rooms. He wouldn't know about the second password.)

"Home," she hissed. The large, dark scaled snake hissed contently in return, and the door appeared. A moment later, Violet found herself standing in Marvolo's sitting room. It was a large space, decorated in a way that was actually very reminiscent of the manor, which she actually kind of liked.

Marvolo himself was seated in a large, dark coloured armchair, reading. He set his book down as she entered, telling her to sit, and watching as she settled down on the couch across him, placing her bag on the floor by her feet. "We will begin with the rules here now."

Violet nodded. She hadn't doubted this was coming, and just listened. The rules at the manor hadn't been all that bad, so how much worse could they get here? Especially since she would really only be spending a couple of days a week in here.

"I have made it clear to Dumbledore that I will take my weekend meals in these rooms, so I am not expected to appear in the Great Hall until Sunday dinner," Marvolo began. "If you wish to join me, you may. If you wish to eat with your friends, you may. If you wish to eat alone, you may."

Again, Violet nodded. She didn't really have a problem with either of those options. She supposed it would really depend on what time she ended up waking up, and whether she was busy throughout the day or not, or if she and her friends had anything they wanted to talk about or something like that.

"These rooms are not quite as private as the manor, therefor you are free to touch or examine what you wish here, without fear of any dangerous reactions. That does not, however, mean that you should go around touching everything. As always, you respect my privacy, and I will respect yours."

Violet understood what wasn't being said. Marvolo didn't trust things here, and hadn't bothered bringing any of his darker or more questionable books and items, just in case. It was best to be safe here. Even though everyone knew who he really was. She supposed it was for the best.

Marvolo shrugged rather elegantly. "Beyond that, there is not much to be said. I expect you to do your homework and not leave your belongings around on the floor." When the girl nodded once more, he went on. "Unfortunately, these rooms only seem to have a single bedroom," he stated calmly.

Violet froze. "What?"

"Most rooms do," the man continued, seemingly unconcerned. "Particularly the teacher's quarters. This was to discourage the entry of students, from what I recall reading."

Violet blinked. "If a professor wanted to take advantage of a student, why would they put them in another room when they can share the same one?"

Marvolo inclined his head, smirking slightly. It was clear he understood what she was referring to, though he chose not to elaborate on it. Instead, he said, "The bed is quite large. We might as well-"

The girl's eyes widened, all her breath leaving her at once.

"-shrink it and transfigure a second bed into the room. There is no guarantee we will sleep at the same time, and it is clear we are both prone to being awake at odd times. There is always a chance of being disturbed if one of us sleeps out here."

Violet inwardly sighed in relief. She understood. She really did, and it wasn't even like there was anything sexual here that she was worried about. It was the nightmares. They happened at random times, sometimes more frequently than others. And while she was normally a still sleeper, she was prone to being very restless when she had these. This was the reason why Ginny and Hermione didn't like sleeping too close to her. Both had been victims to knee and elbow strikes in random places-Ginny had even been left with a black eye once.

But it was just two nights, Violet told herself. Just two nights a week. Surely she would be alright. Surely she could make it work. If worst came to worst, she would just-just not sleep, she told herself. And it wasn't as if they were going to be sharing a bed or anything, just the room. Although none of this would have been a concern if it weren't for Dumbledore and his stupid- "Oh!"

"Violet?"

"Sorry, I just remembered something I've been meaning to tell you."

"Ah, yes. You mentioned this on Monday, did you not?"

She nodded. "You see, I've been getting this odd feeling-a suspicion, really, and Hermione suggested it would be best if I told you about it, just in case something goes wrong."

Marvolo raised a single, dark brow. "If Granger suggested it, then it must be quite dire."

"In a manner of speaking." Violet chewed her bottom lip, trying to figure out how to put her thoughts into words, then said, "I'm worried Dumbledore is going to do something to cause me to get pregnant with your child." And for the first time Violet could recall, the Dark Lord seemed to have been stunned silent.

"...Excuse me?"

Violet couldn't help but crack a smile. "That's what Hermione said when I told her."

"I have already told you, I have no desire or need for children," the man spoke coolly.

The teen nodded. "I know, and if I'm being honest, I don't particularly want kids either. And while I suppose it's possible I might change my mind, I really don't think I ever will. I know you're the one who suggested this whole marriage thing, for whatever reason it may be, but you said Dumbledore never once even attempted to counter it. In fact, he only seemed to agree with it. You once mentioned in passing that he seemed to want us married as quickly as possible, which is why, despite Remus and Sirius' insistence, the date wasn't delayed."

"Yes." He was eyeing her closely, clearly listening to her intently.

"Did you tell anyone that you took the marriage consummation off the clause?"

"I did not. The marriage contract, while mentioned on the peace treaty, was a...separate entity, for a lack of better words. There was no reason for it to be viewed by anyone other than the two of us."

Violet nodded in understanding. "Then, as far as Dumbledore and the Order knows, we-we slept together that first night, and perhaps afterwards as well."

"I did not mention otherwise to anyone else, so unless you yourself did, then yes, as far as they know, we have."

Again, Violet nodded. "And while this is kind of embarrassing to admit, I know literally nothing about contraception methods beyond birth control pills and condoms-and those I learned of in my Muggle primary school. I learned nothing about this here at Hogwarts, and surely Dumbledore knows that. Meaning, again, as far as he and the others know, we have had...had unprotected sex at least once, and possibly more than that."

When Marvolo remained silent, Violet decided to just go on, needing to get this all off her chest. "I told Hermione I felt as if they were all waiting for me to get pregnant, and while she normally dismisses my more crazy ideas and feelings, she actually agreed with this one. She said it was possible Dumbledore wanted our genes passed on, because, according to her, we're both attractive, intelligent, and extremely powerful. Not to mention we are also part of very important families."

The man's eyes flashed here, clearly in anger, and his entire body tensed up. Whether he had believed her earlier or not, she didn't know, but it was obvious he now understood what it was she was trying to say.

"You believe Dumbledore purposely encouraged this so that we might have a child or children he could use to his advantage." But he didn't wait for an answer. "Even just one child could easily inherit all our titles put together, which would make them very powerful indeed, in more than one way." He cupped his chin, eyes losing focus as he thought hard. "Perhaps he thinks he can kill me after you have the child, and then manipulate you into giving him control or custody. Perhaps he think he can kill us both for the same reason. It would be far too easy to kill you while you are weakened after giving birth.

"This would explain his insistence and encouragement for the wedding. It would explain his eagerness to have you spend your weekends in here with me. Perhaps he thinks I will not control myself around you, and force you to sleep with me to calm my own desires. Perhaps he thinks you will wish to sleep with me, due to your age. He wishes for me to impregnate you as soon as possible... No doubt this was his true intention behind agreeing to the peace treaty."

Violet had no idea what to say. Thinking about Marvolo killing her was less frightening than the thought of him getting her pregnant, by accident or not.

"And if he thinks it is taking too long," Marvolo continued, seemingly not even realizing he was speaking out loud, "he may take matters into his own hands. There are many ways to get a witch pregnant, the most basic of them being love potions, Polyjuice, the Imperius curse even. There are far too many ways to cause an 'accidental' or 'miracle' pregnancy."

If Violet was being honest with herself, this was starting to get kind of scary now. She knew she was the one who was feeling this and everything, but would Dumbledore really go that far? Wasn't what he had already done bad enough? "So...what do we do then?"

Marvolo's eyes snapped back to hers, and it was almost as if he had forgotten she was even in the room with him. "There are...physical procedures commonly done in the Muggle world, that are all but unheard of here, and while our apparent ages would make it difficult to get them done, a few compulsions would be all we need to get the right attention," he replied slowly. "But those can be permanent."

Violet understood. If there was even a chance she wanted kids in the future, well... "And there's nothing like that in the Wizarding world? No counter measures or anything?"

The man smiled wryly. "Nothing that is not considered Dark. Willingly deciding to not have children is considered a rather evil and selfish thing, you see. Therefor all counter measures that have been created in this world have been labelled as Dark and illegal." He leaned back in his seat and crossed his legs at the ankles. "There are...methods I can look into, though it will take some time. Until then we must simply remain cautious."

Violet swore she could hear Moody yelling 'Constant Vigilance' right about now, but didn't comment on it.

"Be careful with what you eat and drink. It seems I'll have to teach you a revealing charm of sorts-it will show you whether anything...extra, for a lack of better words, has been placed in what you are consuming. Be sure to use it on everything you eat or drink, including water and sweets-given to you by someone trusted or not."

Violet nodded. The Dark Lord sounded quite intense right now, and she knew it was best to listen and do as asked. She was the one who was going to suffer worse if something really did end up going wrong.

"I too will use the charm on my own food and drink," Marvolo added. "However, we will also have to be observant towards one another-observant of our behaviour. While I am less susceptible to it, it is possible for us both to be magically manipulated."

The girl bit the inside of her cheek, thinking. "Then...should we use a secret phrase or gesture or something to know we're both okay or that nothing's wrong?"

Marvolo brushed his hair out of his eyes, and then cupped his chin. "I believe the easiest thing that can be done here is for us to rely on our Parselmouth ability."

"Sorry? How is being able to talk to snakes going to help?"

"Parseltongue cannot be forced," Marvolo explained, sounding like he was going into Professor mode, "no matter what method may be used. If I were to cast the Imperius curse on you-and you were not able to fight it off, and I asked for you to speak in Parseltongue, you would not be able to do so. Even if someone were to Polyjuice as one of us, they would not gain our ability to speak in this tongue. It can be mimicked, yes, but that is very difficult to do."

"But...wouldn't it be suspicious if we just randomly started speaking in Parseltongue to each other? Everyone knows we're the only two who can do it. I feel like if we're trying to be cautious, it isn't going help much if we start doing the most obvious thing."

Marvolo inclined his head. "I am not suggesting that we only speak to one another in Parseltongue. I am suggesting that we use it as a..." he ran his thumb over his lips, "method of security, of sorts. We may not have spent a great amount of time together, but I believe we have come to understand how we both...function, I suppose you might say. I believe we will both know when the other is behaving oddly, correct?"

Violet supposed she couldn't argue against that, and had a feeling she now understood where the man was going with this idea. "I suppose it won't be all that odd if we occasionally slip into Parseltongue with one another, as long as it isn't too often. If we start now, it could turn into a habit or sorts. So, you're suggesting that if either of us find that the other is acting oddly, or otherwise out of normal, we just slip into Parseltogue, and if the other doesn't reply, it'll likely mean that something is wrong, right?"

"Indeed. It is not a perfect plan or method by any means, but it is enough for the moment, until I have the time to look into other 'Darker' plans."

Violet bit her lip as she listened, but nodded. Food and drink being spiked was something that was a lot harder to regulate, so she supposed she could always just ask Dobby to prepare hers and not let any of the other House-Elves touch it. She trusted him and was positive he was loyal to her and not Dumbledore. She'd still learn the revealing charm Marvolo was planning on teaching her though. Better to be over prepared than under.

"Now..." Marvolo reached around to grab a few loose sheets of parchment, clearly prepared to change the topic for the time being. "As I stated before, I would like to know more about this...Dumbledore's Army you lead last year. Who was in it? Do you have a list of names?"

The girl blinked, caught off guard by the change in their discussion, and then grabbed her bag off the floor and pulled it up onto the couch next to her, searching inside for the list Hermione had given her earlier, before passing it over. She had it memorized already, so she said, "As you can see, we had members of various Houses and years.

"Angelina Johnson, Lee Jordan, Alicia Spinnet, and Fred, and George Weasley have all graduated so far, so I won't linger on them, but they were all Gryffindors, and on the Quidditch team too-with Angelina as Captain, and considering that and studying for NEWTs...for the most part, I'd say they all did quite well and picked things up quickly. They had the most magical education out of us, so I'd say that helped them for sure."

"Those remaining? Begin with the youngest."

Violet nodded. "That would be little Dennis Creevey-he was a Second year Gryffindor at the time. He joined because of his older brother. He had a harder time than most because of his age, with a fair few of the spells we were using not ones he would learn until he was a little older. Still, he's a confident boy, and determined as well, so he didn't do bad at all for someone who was younger than the rest."

"He was the only Second year?"

"Yes. There were no Third years, but there were four Fourth years-Hufflepuff's Zacharias Smith*, Ravenclaw's Luna Lovegood, and Gryffindor's Ginny Weasley and Colin Creevey."

"And how did they do?"

Violet cocked her head in thought. "Ginny and Luna were great, both surprisingly powerful. Their Reductos disintegrated tables, you know. As I said before, one of the spells I taught was the Patronus-these two were one of five, excluding myself, who were able to form corporeal Patroni."

Marvolo raised a brow. "And they were Fourth years?"

The girl shrugged. "I was a Third year when I learned. Although...I suppose it was in different circumstances. I did tell them trying to summon one in a bright room without a Dementor in sight is much easier than the alternative, but still, I think the fact that they managed it is pretty impressive. But, like I said, Ginny and Luna are more powerful than you might think.

"Colin was very...enthusiastic. He was very much like his younger brother in the way he picked things up, though having a couple of years on him made things a bit easier for him. He's also very quick-good reflexes. If he ever got into Quidditch, I'd say he'd make a good Seeker."

"I see. And Smith?"

Here, Violet wasn't able to fully stop the scowl that formed. "Smith was...reluctant to join in the first place, but he still did. He didn't like that I was the one teaching, and didn't seem to think what I had to say was important, and often ignored my advice, which meant he was often one of the last ones to get spells right. He had good concentration, but bad execution."

"Hmm. And those not in your year?"

"We had three Sixth years then. Cho Chang, and Marietta Edgecombe were Ravenclaws, and Katie Bell-Gryffindor."

"Edgecombe was the one who betrayed your group?"

"Yeah. Apparently her mother works at the Ministry and she didn't want to get on the bad side of Umbridge, but her friend Chang dragged her along to the meetings. Because she didn't really care, Edgecombe's attempts were rather...half arsed, for a lack of better words. She put in minimal effort, so it took her a bit longer to learn the spells she wasn't good at. Chang was better in that aspect. She, er, dated Cedric Diggory before he, uh, died, so she actually did want to learn to defend herself properly. She and Edgecombe knew of all the spells I taught, but Chang was quicker in mastering them. She was also one of the few able to produce a corporeal Patronus, which isn't surprising. She was quite determined.

"Katie on the other hand, like the then Seventh years, was on the Quidditch team, and we had practice more times than probably necessary. She was pretty average, if I had to rank her. She was a bit slower in understanding, but had good focus and power in her spells."

Marvolo looked up from the notes he had been taking while she'd been speaking. "And the rest were in your year?"

"Yes," Violet nodded. "Hannah Abbott, Susan Bones, Justin Finch-Fletchley, and Ernie Macmillian are all Hufflepuffs. They're all hard workers, and paid close attention to what I taught them, always took my advice when I attempted to correct them or suggest things. Out of the four of them, Susan is the one who thinks things through the most. She was always asking questions or wanted advice."

Marvolo knew exactly who the child's aunt was, so he didn't doubt it at all. "Abbott, then?"

"Hannah learned a bit slower than Susan, but she always listened closely and actually improved a lot over those few months. She isn't very strong, but she has good defense. The boys were similar in their skill set and strength, but I'd say they're better as support."

"The Ravenclaws?"

"That would be Terry Boot, Michael Corner, Anthony Goldstein, and Padma Patil. Corner was the most powerful from them, with good strength behind his spells. Padma was the thinker-better support, while the other two were good on the defensive. They were all eager to learn, but Corner, like Smith, had a bit of an attitude problem. He always questioned me, but once he was done with that, he actually did learn."

"And the rest were of your House?"

"Mmm hmm. I can't say much about Seamus-he only came to one meeting, and it was the last one we ever had, but he did well from what I was able to see. The others were there from the beginning, and they were all pretty eager to learn, particularly from me. Lavender and Parvati were...a bit slower on the uptake, so to speak. They wanted to learn, but as I'm sure you've noticed by now, they like to spend their time gossiping. They did still learn, and weren't bad at all, seeing as they made it into your class, but I think it would have been better for them if they had paid more attention. They would have learned much more, and a lot more quickly."

Marvolo had indeed noticed the...preferred behaviour of Brown and Patil, and made a mental note to pay closer attention to the two and ensure they remained focused. Of course, if they didn't then it was going to be their own fault, and it was their own education that was going to be affected. And the same could be said for just about anyone. Detentions and points removed could only help so much.

"Dean has always been very...creative and focused. I think he would be the type who would be inventing spells of his own-Fred and George are like that too. Because of that, he's the person you would want on the front lines, because you never know what exactly he'll throw out, and I think that gives him an edge. Neville... Honestly, I'd say Neville was the most improved out of everyone in the DA."

Marvolo raised a brow. "Is that so?

Violet nodded, and frowned slightly. "Neville is...very determined and very desperate to prove himself. He was raised always being told he wasn't as good as his father, and that isn't good or healthy...not that I know what a healthy family relationship is. Still, things aren't any better here at Hogwarts for him either, and he's generally being bullied for what others perceive as cowardice.

"So because he wants to prove himself, he worked harder than anyone else in the group. His main problem was confidence. He's never had much of it, but once he got the hang of what he was doing, he was able to master the spells quickly. He's a very good listener, and if he's able to take notes, he retains a lot of information. He's also very strong, but I'd say he's definitely better off in a defensive position."

Marvolo noted this down, but said nothing. He did, of course, know what had happened to Longbottom's parents thanks to a group of his Death Eaters, and was amazed the boy still supported Violet in her marriage with him when it was his followers who had attacked his parents and caused their condition, and ultimately the manner in which he had been raised.

Violet didn't notice this and continued speaking. "Hermione was as brilliant as always, naturally. She already knew about all the spells I taught, though she hadn't mastered most of them until then. It never took her very long to do that anyway. Once she becomes determined to learn something, she won't stop until she gets it right. But she also gets disappointed and annoyed if it takes too long or others manage to do it before her. She's used to being at the top of the class, but that's never applied in Defence, and while she knows that, it still bothers her. She does have a vast knowledge of spells, including healing, so I would say she is perfect to have in a supporting position. And she was one of the few able to cast a proper, fully formed Patronus as well."

"And Weasley?"

The girl smirked here. "You might not believe this, but Ron is an amazing strategist. Whenever I needed to decide on specific groups, it was always Ron who helped me, because he analyzed everyone's skills, and was able to put groups together based on what they could and couldn't do. He's pretty strong himself, good to have up front at your side, but he also casts spell with his emotions-which I used to do too until I learned better. If he casts a spell when he's feeling a particularly strong emotion, it's almost guaranteed to be stronger than usual. Honestly, I think that's just a Weasley thing. Although Ron's beat them by being able to summon a corporeal Patronus."

"I see." Marvolo finished noting all this down, then said, "And what spells did you teach them besides Expelliarmus, summoning a Patronus, and Reducto?"

"Let's see, Stupefy, Protego, Diffindo..." she listed off as she searched her bag for her lesson plans. "Here. We didn't manage to cover everything I wanted because we were found out, and we moved a fair bit slower than I wanted to, because some of our members learned a bit slower than I expected they might."

Marvolo scanned over her plans, intending on going through them properly later. "Mock battles?"

Violet nodded. "We never managed to get to it. It was one of the last things I was planning on doing with them. I figured putting them through battles, even if they weren't real, would make good practice for the actual thing. I was going to review things after they'd learned the Patronus, make sure they remembered everything, and then start on the mock battles. We'd planned for a meetings to stop a little while before exams came around, since so many of our members had to focus on OWLs and NEWTs, and not just normal exams."

Marvolo inclined his head in understanding, already planning. The mock battle idea was actually a very good one, and he already had an idea of how he wanted it implemented into his own classes. He would begin on Monday. "How long does it take you to learn a spell?" he asked his young wife abruptly.

Violet blinked, but said, "I guess it depends on the spell itself and how hard I work, but it usually doesn't too long, maybe a few days or weeks, again, depending."

"Good, I will teach you the revealing charm variation I mentioned earlier, over this weekend. I intend for you to be able to use it during breakfast on Monday."

Violet knew immediately that she was about to be worked to the bone, and groaned under her breath, even though she knew this was a very important spell for her to learn. Hopefully she would be too tired to dream for the next couple of nights.

Chapter Text

Violet's weekend alone with Marvolo went better than she had expected. When they went to bed on Friday night, Marvolo, true to his word, simply shrank his own bed and used something or another to transfigure a second bed. He informed her that once she left Sunday night, he would just transfigure her bed back into the original object, and enlarge his own bed again. Since it was better than them having to share, Violet didn't complain.

After getting into the bed, Violet had remembered why exactly she didn't wake her dorm mates up from her nightmares more often: silencing spells. She had been too busy panicking about having to share a room with the man, that she had forgotten she was a witch. Merlin, did she feel like an idiot now.

The night itself was uneventful. The two merely fell asleep and that was that. They had breakfast together the next morning, and then Violet worked on her homework while Marvolo finishing marking things and prepared the next week's lesson plans. Once they were done with their respective tasks, the Dark Lord taught the Girl-Who-Lived the special revealing charm he had been mentioning, and Violet spent the rest of Saturday and most of Sunday trying to get the hang of it.

Nothing particularly special occurred, and as dinner rolled around on Sunday, Violet said goodbye, gathered her belongings, and left her husband's rooms, meeting Ginny and an awkward looking Dean just outside, as previously planned, and the three made their way down to the Great Hall together.

The silence that fell when they entered wasn't quite as heavy this time, with some clearly having better things to do with their lives than point and stare at Violet, who was able to head over to Gryffindor Table without any conflict. She knew that wasn't going to last though. People were still a little too shocked to really do anything just yet. Once the shock faded, the anger was going to set in, and Violet and her friends all knew that was when she was going to have to be more careful.

Violet sat down between Hermione and Ginny, with Ron across her, and practiced the revealing charm she had been taught, on her food and drink, just as she had been instructed. She waved and then flicked her wand under the table, whispering the spell, unable to do it wandlessly or silently just yet. Marvolo had told her he would teach her that later, so this was good enough for now. It came back clear, so she was able to eat her dinner without worry.

Neither she nor her friends mentioned anything about how her weekend had been spent. It was best not to speak of it until they were somewhere more private than their House Table in the Great Hall. But if the many whispers had anything to do with it, plenty of people were fully aware of where exactly she had been...

Once dinner came to an end, Violet, Ron, Hermione, Neville, Ginny, and Luna all gathered in the Room of Requirement-the only place where it was guaranteed they wouldn't be caught, interrupted, or overheard. And while Dean was still dating Ginny, he wasn't completely comfortable with the entire thing between Violet and You-Know-Who, so he didn't join them. Since he wasn't openly against Violet, they didn't mind.

"So what happened?" questioned Hermione almost immediately, wringing her hands worriedly and searching her face for discomfort or injury or anger or something negative.

"Nothing bad, don't worry," Violet quickly assured. "It actually wasn't that bad. We talked a lot, discussed a few things." And so she told the rest of them about what she and Hermione had spoken of the previous week, about the whole pregnancy thing, and told them some of what she and her husband had spoken of about the DA as well, along with the spell he was teaching her.

Ron folded his arms across his chest, and once Violet was done speaking, said, "While I'm glad things went well and all, I think it would be best if the rest of us learned that revealing charm as well."

Ginny blinked and looked over at her brother in confusion. "Why?"

"Because Dumbledore might use us to get to Violet," Ron explained. "Especially if he thinks she's taking precautions. It's pretty likely that he'll try, meaning we should be as careful as her."

Hermione frowned and worried her bottom lip as she thought. Part of her didn't really want to believe Dumbledore would do all this, would try to harm Violet or the rest of them, but...well there was just too much proving otherwise, wasn't there? She sighed deeply and rubbed her eyes.

Despite the fact that a peace treaty had been signed and the war had come to an end, there was far too much...well, not so good stuff happening right now. And they had no idea what to do about it.

"Hey, Violet?"

"Yeah, Nev?"

"This might sound kind of odd, but, how's your scar been feeling?"

Violet blinked. "My scar?"

"The one on your forehead. I just-I noticed you don't seem to be in pain or anything."

The girl's eyes widened. "Oh!"

Hermione's eyes narrowed. "Has it not been hurting at all? Even though Voldemort's in the castle? Even though you two have been in close proximity?"

Slowly, Violet shook her head. "No. I don't...I don't think it's hurt since summer actually. And that's...odd, isn't it?" She supposed she would have to ask Marvolo about it, because she certainly had no answer.


Violet and her friends were seated at Gryffindor Table for breakfast the next morning, most of them yawning tiredly, and Ron mourning the end of the weekend. Violet was doing the same herself, just not as obviously. She finished her cereal, draining the last of the milk in the bowl, and had only set it down when-

"Sss, good morning, Violet."

The girl blinked and looked down, even as there were cries of shock. "Oh, good morning, Nagini. What're you doing in here?"

The serpent raised herself up to coil around Violet. "I was bored."

Violet laughed, unable to help it. "Has Marvolo been keeping you locked in his rooms?"

"Yes. It's horrible! There's nothing to do in there!" Nagini set her head on Violet's shoulder. "You'll keep me with you today, won't you, hatchling?"

"Hmm, I suppose I don't mind. No attacking anyone though, understood? We don't want Dumbledore trying to get rid of you."

If snakes could huff, Nagini would have done so right now. "Yes, fine. I promise not to attack any of the two legs."

Violet smiled and ran her fingers along the serpent's head. "Alright, let's go talk to Marvolo then. It's best he knows where you are." When Nagini nodded, she returned her attention to her friends...who were staring at her wide eyed. "Er, sorry?"

Hermione sighed exasperatedly, and then smiled, eyeing the rather large snake somewhat cautiously. "Um, I'll see you in Defence later?" She had a class now, while Violet and Ron both had a free period.

Violet nodded, still stroking Nagini's head, while Ron merely waved, his mouth too full to speak. Hermione rolled her eyes, hitched her bag over her shoulder, and then walked off.

Once she was gone, the Girl-Who-Lived got up too. "I'll meet you in the common room, Ron. Got something I need to take care of first." When the redhead gave her a little wave too, she turned and began making her way up to the Head Table, making sure Nagini was positioned properly so she would fall or slide off.

Most of the teachers didn't notice her at first, but those who did, froze and stared at her apprehensively, eyeing the large snake coiled around her. Marvolo himself didn't notice until Severus caught his attention, at which point he looked up and raised a brow.

"How did you get out, Nagini?"

"It's called escaping."

"And why did you escape?"

"Because I was bored. Your little mate has agreed to keep me company today."

"Nagi-"

"I already promised her I won't hurt anyone."

Marvolo sighed, and then seemed to give in, no doubt aware arguing with the snake wasn't going to lead to any sort of solution. He turned to the Headmaster. "Nagini will be remaining with Violet today, Dumbledore."

Dumbledore lowered his teacup, and frowned. "I'm afraid I cannot allow that, my bo-"

"I'm not asking for permission, Dumbledore," the Dark Lord interrupted. "I am simply being polite enough to inform you of it."

Surprisingly, it was McGonagall who actually backed him up. "Have you forgotten, Albus? Miss Potter is a Parselmouth. Surely she can keep the-the snake in check? And the two will no doubt be sure to keep one another safe and out of harm's way."

Violet blinked, surprised, but remained silent. Even Nagini didn't make a sound, and Marvolo raised a brow, clearly caught off guard, but attempting not to show it.

It took Dumbledore a moment, but then he too sighed. "Very well, just for today."

The crimson eyed man smirked. He had won. It was a small victory, but a victory nonetheless. "Behave, Nagini. I shall see you both in Defence."

Violet nodded and headed off. She was surprised Dumbledore had agreed to this so easily, and that McGonagall of all people had been the one to talk him into it, considering how she had been behaving recently. And while that did raise a few red flags, this was also perfect, because it gave her and Marvolo the best excuse for beginning to speak to one another in Parseltongue, as they had discussed over the weekend.


Having finished all her homework over the weekend, Violet spent her free period trying to keep Ron focused on his Defence essay, which he hadn't finished, and was due next period. Oh, Ron.

Luckily, since it was for Defence, as long as he remained focused, Ron actually managed to get it done. It was an essay based off their own opinion, rather than facts, so they didn't really need to worry about having to do any research or anything like that.

"Are you still frightened of Marvolo?" Nagini asked suddenly.

Surprised, Violet blinked. "Frightened?"

"Yes. He spent many years attempting to end your life. Are you still scared?"

Slowly, Violet shook her head. "I'm...still a bit nervous and anxious around him, a bit suspicious too, but I'm not scared. Unlike before, thanks to those contracts we signed, I know he can't hurt me, just like I can't hurt him. Though I still don't know why he wanted to marry me, he's been keeping things very simple and polite between us, which does help."

"Sss, will you ever stop being nervous around him?" the snake asked curiously.

Here, Violet shrugged. "Honestly? It's hard to say. I...like talking to him, and he does make a really good teacher. We've spent plenty of time alone together, and while I am still a little nervous about it, it doesn't really make me too uncomfortable like it used to. I think...unless he suddenly changes his behaviour around me, I'll warm up to him."

"Are you still angry you had to marry him?"

"Angry? Yes, very much, and that isn't something that'll go away so soon, but I do understand why it had to be done. The only reason I'm angry about it, is because everyone decided it without me, and then made me do it. They said I had a choice, but I didn't, not really. And no, I'm not particularly happy, but the war is over, and that means no more fighting. And if me doing this means I don't have to worry about the people I care about ending up dying in battle, then it's-it's worth it, isn't it?"

Hissing softly, Nagini lowered her head to the girl's shoulder. "My master chose his mate well," she spoke softly.


In Defence later that morning, Nagini curled up on Marvolo's desk, while the man himself spoke to the class, the students watching and listening in apprehension, wondering what he was going to say, since they hadn't been instructed to bring out their textbooks.

"Today we will be doing something a little...different," he announced. "Something I feel is quite important, no matter what you are told or believe. Today, I will be splitting you off into pairs, and pitting you in a duel."

"A duel?"

"Yes, Mr Malfoy, a duel. I will decide your partners, and then you will duel one another. Yes, Miss Granger?"

"What will the rules be, sir?"

Marvolo leaned back, bracing his arms on his large desk, and thought for a moment. "It will certainly not be a battle to the death, so you needn't concern yourselves over that. I may be the Dark Lord, but I am merciful." He smirked here, which caused quite a few people to pale. "You will duel until your opponent yields, or I call for a stop. Miss Parkinson?"

"It won't stop if we get disarmed?"

"No indeed. A battle may not always end at the loss of one's wand. You will cast no Unforgivables, or anything else that will permanently harm your opponent. Other than that, anything goes-no holds barred, as the Muggles call it. Play to your strengths, whatever they may be. Understood?"

There was a chorus of 'yes, sir' all around, and the professor inclined his head, and reached behind him to gently pet his snake, who was either asleep, or watching the proceedings. It was hard to tell the difference.

"Er, professor?"

"Yes, Mr Longbottom?"

"Um, you said you'll be splitting us off into pairs, but er, there are an uneven number of us, so doesn't that mean one of us won't have a partner?"

Marvolo's lips curled into a smile. "Good eye. But there are indeed an even number of us here, counting myself, at least." He caught the looks on their faces, and smirked. "Yes, one of you will have to duel me."

"I bet it'll be his pretty, little wife," Lavender whispered to Parvati, who started giggling immediately. "You know he'll go easy on her. Probably likes having her on her knees anyway."

Marvolo raised a brow, having heard every word. "It is not for you to decide who I will duel, but I can very well have it be you, should you so desire, Miss Brown. And I assure you, I go easy on no one. You seem to be forgetting who exactly I am, and what I have done over the years." Lavender paled, and the moment she did, he added an absent, "Ah, and ten points from Gryffindor. You will report to Professor Snape tonight at eight to serve your detention."

The girl flushed with embarrassment, and pressed her lips together.

"Good. Now one pair will begin their duel, and the rest of us will watch without interfering. When a duel is completed, the second pair will begin theirs. If we do not get through all of them today, then we will continue during our next lesson, and so on until we have finished." He waited for acknowledgement to his words, had them all stand and line the walls of the classroom, and then magicked the desks into large stacks in the corners. Once the middle of the room was clean, and he was satisfied, he finally called for the first pair.

"Draco Malfoy and Seamus Finnigan."

Malfoy certainly seemed pleased to be the first to be called, and sauntered over to the empty space, wand already in hand. Silently, grinning at the hoots from his Housemates, Seamus joined him, and the two stood opposite one another, face to face.

"Ready? Bow. Begin!"

Draco and Seamus sprang to action immediately, while everyone else watched closely and curiously. The duel was a long one, surprisingly so. Some admitted to themselves that they had assumed Seamus was going to lose within moments, but he seemed to be holding his own quite well against Malfoy.

Violet was watching the proceedings with a more critical eye than most, automatically filing details away like she always had during the DA. Malfoy, she noted, was a more offensive, supportive type. He was quick to draw and cast, but she had a feeling his stamina, while higher than most thanks to his Quidditch position, wasn't going to last for long.

Seamus on the other hand, was a more defensive, supportive type. His strength went into guarding, rather than attacking, and he wasn't quite as fast as the other teen, but his excessive stamina made sure he would remain in a battle long enough. That was another thing, actually. Malfoy had a bit of a temper-not to say Seamus didn't, but when it came to Gryffindors, Malfoy had everyone beat. It wasn't going to be long now before the blond started getting frustrated and began cutting corners.

And sure enough-

"Sectumsempra!"

"What the-!?" Caught off guard by the unfamiliar spell, Seamus was too slow to react, and wasn't able to bring a shield up in time. Maybe it was pure luck, but Malfoy's aim seemed to be off, and instead of catching the Irish teen somewhere more vital, the spell hit him in the arm, leaving a deep gash that began bleeding profusely immediately, staining the white shirt of his uniform. It would have stained his robes too, if he hadn't removed them before beginning.

There were cries of shock as Seamus released a yell of pain, dropping his wand to grab his arm instead, stunned. Malfoy only raised his wand again, only to have Marvolo step in between them.

"Enough," he called immediately. "This duel is over. The winner is Draco Malfoy. Lower you wand, Mr Malfoy, and step back."

The blond stared at him for a moment, but was obviously unwilling to counter the man's words. Instead, glared at Seamus, and then did as the professor has said, joining his Housemates. Marvolo, meanwhile, turned his attention to Seamus, his own yew wand in hand.

Waving it slowly over Seamus, he murmured a soft, "Vulnera Sanentur," and Seamus' wound began closing immediately. He picked the pale boy's wand up, passed it over, then said, "Mr Thomas, please escort Mr Finnigan to the Hospital Wing. He requires a Blood Replenishing Potion."

Dean nodded and helped Seamus out of the room. Once the door shut behind them, the professor looked to Malfoy again, his crimson eyes narrowed slightly.

"I see you have once again invaded your godfather's privacy. He'll not be pleased to hear what spell you cast today." He ignored the sudden horror that flashed across the young Malfoy's face, and addressed the rest of them. "That spell is as forbidden as the Unforgivables in this classroom," he told them. "From this moment on, it is not to be used in this school, or on her grounds. In fact, it should not be used unless your life is being threatened. If anyone is caught having used it-and I assure you, you will be, you will be severely punished, unless the use is properly justified."

There were many muted nods, and the Dark Lord eyed them all closely, as if judging their intentions. When he seemed satisfied, he changed the subject, asking them what they had noticed about Malfoy and Seamus' duel, informing them of what they had missed, and how effective it had been.

As Malfoy explained some of his own reasoning-something Seamus would do once he was able, Hermione pressed in close to Violet, ducking her head slightly so she could speak in her ear softly.

"I think the spell Malfoy used, the one we've been forbidden from casting, was created by Professor Snape."

Violet blinked, and frowned. "What makes you say that?" she questioned just as quietly.

"Professor Slytherin said Malfoy had invaded his godfather's privacy-his godfather is Professor Snape. I overheard him saying just so to Nott."

"Hn. That seemed like a really bad cut. Must be much worse than the Severing Charm."

"Likely created for use on his enemies."

"...Like my dad and Sirius, probab-"

"Miss Potter, Miss Granger, please do pay attention."

Startled, both girls looked up, only to be caught by a stern crimson eyes. ...Oops? "Sorry, Professor," they called in unison.

Marvolo inclined his head. "Ten points from Gryffindor. See that it doesn't happen again."

The two nodded quickly.

"Very well, now that everyone is focused once more, we will begin with our next duel. Mandy Brocklehurst and Lisa Turpin."

The two girls stepped into the middle of the room, waiting for the professor's call to begin. And when they did, Violet watched the two of them just as closely as she had Malfoy and Seamus. These two hadn't been in the DA, she knew, which made her even more curious to see how they did.

The duel was a short one. Brocklehurst was clearly a more defence oriented dueler, while Turpin was an offensive one. Turpin was tenacious too, continuously cutting at the other girl's shields until they dropped, and it wasn't very long at all until she won.

Marvolo questioned everyone, along with the two duelists again, and then called for the third pair once the other two had stepped back to the walls.

"Blaise Zabini and Justin Finch-Fletchley. Ready? Bow. Begin!"

Violet watched curiously. She didn't know much about Zabini at all, seeing as he was a Slytherin and whatnot, but by the way he started the second he was allowed to, and kept at it consistently, Violet had to say that he must have been an offensive and support type. Good speed, and a good mind, but where was that smooth charm he usually seemed to have? He appeared to be getting uncharacteristically irritated. Perhaps because a Hufflepuff was managing to keep up with him?

Violet knew more about Justin, since he had been in the DA. He was better suited to support and occasionally defence too, depending on the circumstances. In this case, with Zabini's intensity, Justin seemed to be focused on defence, and she wasn't at all surprised when, after more time than people probably expected, Justin, running out of energy, was forced to yield.

Again, everyone was questioned, and then the fourth pair was called up.

"Parvati Patil and..." Marvolo smirked. "Padma Patil."

Violet hid a surprised smile. The Dark Lord was probably enjoying this more than he should have been, she decided. But she couldn't fault him for that. Even she herself had a feeling this was going to be an interesting, though short, duel. Padma was a very no nonsense kind of girl-always had been. Parvati on the other hand, though she could work well when deemed necessary, really did need to sort out some of her priorities.

Having taught both of them while in the DA, Violet was familiar with their skills, and new that they were both better suited for support, than anything else. If she truly had to pick one with superior strength or speed, then she would have to say Padma, though Parvati had much better accuracy and stamina. Still, she wasn't at all surprised when Parvati yielded, giving her twin sister the win. Parvati had gotten better, Violet noted, but Padma had surpassed her sister.

Dean returned to the classroom now, informing the professor that Madam Pomfrey had given Seamus the Blood Replenisher, as he had said, but wanted to keep him for a while longer, just to make sure he was alright. Marvolo inclined his head, then continued with the lesson.

"Hannah Abbott and Terry Boot," he called out. "Ready? Bow. Begin!"

Violet was familiar with these two as well, thanks to the DA. Hannah was better suited for support, and Terry for defence, which made this match up interesting since neither of them were offense oriented. Hannah began with the upper hand, keeping a quick, consistent pace with her casting, but the spells she used weren't very effective, and Terry had no problem bringing a shield up to block them.

Violet watched as Terry's eyes narrowed, and he took a step forward, swiftly dropping his shield to attack, forcing Hannah to defend herself. Ah, Terry had gotten much quicker, Violet noted. Hannah was having a hard time keeping up, but it seemed like she too had been practicing, because she certainly hadn't been able to keep a shield up for this long before. But Terry was patient. He watched, and waited, and the second Hannah dropped her shield, cast a Severing charm at the girl's wand hand, causing her to yield.

Again, everyone was questioned, followed by Hannah and Terry explaining what they had done and why, and then Marvolo checked the time, nodding to himself.

"It seems that is all we have time for today. We will continue the duels next lesson. Those of you who dueled today, will have homework. Analyze your duel as closely as you are able to remember, and write this analysis down. You will hand this in at the beginning of your next lesson with me. Those of you who did not have a chance to duel today will have nothing for now, but will be expected to do the same assignment later on. Ah, and one of the Gryffindors, please be sure to inform Mr Finnigan of this as well-he will not be exempt from this."

As they all nodded, the bell rang and the students were all dismissed, leaving Marvolo alone, giving him the chance to set the desks back into place.

Other than the incident with Draco (he was going to have to talk to Severus about that), things had gone quite well. Some of them had impressed him, others underwhelmed, but all in all, they hadn't been as bad as he had been expecting. He could already see where some of them needed to improve, but he would wait until everyone had dueled until he came up with the next lesson plans.

There were still another eight duels to get through, one of which was going to include him. Yes, he thought, this was going to be very interesting indeed...

Chapter Text

It was after dinner, when Marvolo had returned to his own rooms, that Violet came to him. He raised a brow when she entered, surprised, since it wasn't the weekend, and he hadn't expected to see her in here until then. He had assumed she would avoid him for as long as possible. Most in her position would, he had no doubt.

"Hi," she greeted rather plainly, clearly feeling somewhat awkward. "I, er, figured I may as well bring Nagini back," she explained, nodding towards the snake that was slithering off her arm, down to the ground. "Also, Neville mentioned something I thought was kind of odd, and figured I should bring up."

"Did he? What is it?"

"Well, I was just wondering if you have any idea why my scar doesn't seem to be hurting around you anymore? It always used to, and even started hurting if you were feeling really angry or something, but it hasn't even twinged recently, which is, well, really weird."

Marvolo frowned. "May I?" he inquired, gesturing towards the scar. When the girl nodded and approached him, he reached out and carefully touched the lightning bolt shaped wound. Violet didn't even flinch. "Nothing?"

"No, nothing."

The man's frown deepened, and he retracted his hand to bring it to his chin instead, thinking. "When two people bond, it melds their magic together," he began explaining after a moment of thoughtful silence. "When we bonded, I took a bit of your magic into me, and you took a bit of my magic into you. Perhaps the inclusion of my magic into your Core had some sort of reaction to whatever it was that used to cause your scar to react painfully to me."

Even though she understood and appeared satisfied with this explanation, when Violet left Marvolo's rooms, she wondered if what he had said was actually true. The two of them had interacted closely more than once after she had learned of the peace treaty, but before the marriage. If the bonding was why her scar no longer hurt around him, then what about those few weeks in between when it hadn't hurt either? Was it his magic in general, maybe? Was it that the mere presence of his magic around her helped?

It was hard to tell what was and wasn't a thing in this world, so it was difficult for her to know for sure.


Thursday afternoon they had Double Defence Arts, and they were quite excited indeed, since it meant they were going to continue their duels. So, just like before, everyone lined up against the walls, while the desks were stacked in the corners, and waited impatiently for the professor to call for the first pair.

"Michael Corner and Hermione Granger. The rules are the same as previously stated. Ready? Bow. Begin!"

Now this, Violet thought, was going to be interesting. Hermione and Corner hardly got along. Tempers, she assumed, were surely going to be a problem in this match. For both duellers. Hopefully Hermione would be able to keep a level head, and not let Corner get to her. He wasn't going to hold back with the taunting. He never did.

Corner wasted no time. "Expelliarmus!"

"Protego!" Hermione intoned calmly. The moment the boy's spell bounced off her shield, she lowered it. "Confundo!"

"Protego! Not this time, beautiful."

Violet raised a brow as she watched. Hermione had confunded Corner before?

The bushy haired witch didn't falter. "Diffindo!"

"ProtegoDiffindo!"

"Protego!"

The two fell into a stalemate of sorts, tossing out spells and bringing up shields, and neither of them managed to get even a single hit on the other.

Violet wasn't surprised by that though. Hermione was a support oriented dueller. She was beyond smart, which gave her a vast arsenal of spells, and could analyze a situation well enough to know what sort of spell would be needed when. But she had average strength behind them, and wasn't meant to be out in the front lines, throwing out hard hitting offensive spells. Despite having low strength, however, Hermione was fast. Faster that most would expect. Only a handful of members in the DA had been faster than her.

Corner, on the other hand, was more suited to offence, and was certainly quite strong, if not a bit slow. But he hadn't been Sorted into his House for no reason. He knew how to use his mind in battle, and not just for magic. He knew what to say to his opponent to catch them off guard, and he knew exactly when to do it too. That was why he liked to taunt people. It caused them to react to him, caused them to get distracted and lower their guard in their surprise or anger.

And since his initial plan hadn't worked, and this duel kept going on and on, Corner began to grow frustrated, and fell back into his old, and most faithful tactic. "You seem to be paying a lot more attention to your looks recently, Granger. Who're you trying to doll yourself up for? Weasley? Longbottom? Your best friend's new husband, perhaps?"

Beside Violet, Ron stiffened and clenched his fists. Noticing this, Violet nudged him, and when the redhead looked at her, rolled her eyes, sending him a clear message-Corner is a total idiot if he thinks he can mess with Hermione. Ron understood it immediately, and relaxed, clearly in agreement. Instead, he smirked, his eyes sending a message of their own-Hermione's definitely going to kill Corner now.

And sure enough, Hermione gave her opponent a look of disgust, shooting out another spell. "Please continue, Corner. I quite enjoy horror stories."

Corner blocked it and rolled his eyes now, sneering. "You're so much smarter when you don't speak, Granger," he stated, tossing out a stunner.

Hermione blocked it with zero effort. "Do learn to act your age, Corner, and not your shoe size." Seemingly having had enough of this, she suddenly started throwing out spell after spell, acting so fast, Corner had no time to properly react. "Impedimenta!"

Corner stumbled, and raised his wand.

"Rictusempra!"

Corner doubled over, but still had a firm hold on his weapon.

"Expelliarmus!"

Corner's wand shot out of his hand, and his opened his mouth to, no doubt, summon it back.

"SilencioIncarcerousStupefy!" Hermione called out in rapid succession.

Before Corner knew what had happened, he was silenced, bound, and knocked unconscious, leaving Hermione standing before him, panting, more out of irritation than exertion.

"Hn, the winner is Hermione Granger. Please step back, Miss Granger." And as the girl inclined her head and did so, Marvolo moved to wake Corner, handing him is wand, which was snatched away rudely before the teen stalked back to his Housemates, glowering. Marvolo was hardly intimidated. Or cared. He simply questioned the class about what they had just seen, and then called for the next pair.

"Tracy Davis and Millicent Bullstrode. Ready? Bow. Begin!"

Violet hadn't ever interacted with either of these two Slytherins, wasn't sure if she had spoken a entire sentence to them, but even despite how little she knew them, it was obvious who was more skilled between the two of them.

Davis was very flighty, definitely support oriented, if Violet had to give her style a name at all, but Bullstrode was another thing entirely. She was offence oriented and very intense, her face a mask of concentration. Violet knew the other girl was often bullied, not only by other House members, but Slytherins as well, simply because she was a little...larger than them. Sure, she was bigger than the other girls, and certainly not the prettiest, but she was smarter than she looked, certainly smarter than Davis, and had a wicked sense of sarcasm, if that was even a thing, that Violet secretly admired.

She understood too, having grown up without friends before attending Hogwarts. She knew what it was like to be picked on by those who thought themselves better than you. So, secretly, Violet was not only hoping, but was positive that Bullstrode was going to win this duel.

And she was right. The match was almost embarrassingly short. Bullstrode found and took advantage of each and every one of Davis' flaws, and had the smaller girl yielding in barely five minutes. And when she was declared the winner and told to step back, Bullstrode did so, a barely noticeable smirk on her face...

Davis was one of the ones who had treated her harshest, and to Millicent, this was a form of revenge. Revenge and humiliation, right in front of not only other House members, but the Dark Lord himself. Not to mention Potter, who Davis hated for having 'stolen' the Dark Lord from her.

Ever since the Dark Lord had revealed his true face, Davis claimed to be in love with the man, all but obsessed with him, promising herself to him, saving herself for him. Her virginity belonged to him, she claimed. And then the Dark Lord and Potter had gotten married, and hoo boy was Davis angry about that. She didn't care at all why it had happened. She ranted and ranted, and Millicent really wished they didn't share a dorm because it was really annoying, and the smaller girl had no idea what it meant to shut up for more than five minutes at a time.

But while Davis hadn't said or done anything to Potter yet, Millicent had a feeling that was going to change, and wondered if she ought to tell the Gryffindor to watch out. She personally didn't really have anything against Potter. She actually sort of respected her, though she probably wouldn't ever admit it. She knew this marriage hadn't exactly been willing, but to her, it looked like Potter was trying to make the best out of a shitty situation. And while Davis wasn't the smartest chick out there, she was still dangerous...

"Lavender Brown and Pansy Parkinson," Marvolo called out, drawing everyone's attention. "Ready? Bow. Begin!"

Lavender hadn't really improved, Violet noted with a frown, watching closely. She was a supportive type fighter, and wasn't all that bad or anything, but often seemed to take things like a joke, or showed off as if she were in a beauty contest. Nice makeup and a good fashion sense wasn't going to stop the enemy from killing her. But Lavender had never needed to fight for her life before. Violet assumed that was the reason behind why her classmate couldn't, or perhaps didn't want to take things seriously.

Parkinson would make good support too, Violet thought, still watching. But she was better at offence, judging by the spells she was throwing out. But like Malfoy, Parkinson had some temper issues too, and was already red in the face, no doubt upset she hadn't already won.

But the match wasn't long at all, and was over in just as much time as Bullstrode and Davis' match had, leaving Parkinson as the winner, and causing Violet to frown. It was always quite annoying when a non DA member beat a DA member. What in the world had she worked so hard to teach them?

"Ernie Macmillian and Anthony Goldstein. Ready? Bow. Begin!"

Speaking of DA members, both of these boys had learned from her, and both were actually rather similar when it came to skill. They were defensive types, although Ernie could handle support too, if he had to. They kept quiet as they duelled, not bothering to taunt or even talk to one another, and simply focused on their spell casting. When Ernie yielded, Violet decided that it had been a decent match, if not a little boring and slow, but would be enough to buy them some time if they were attacked by an actual enemy.

Marvolo glanced over at the clock. "It appears we have time for one final duel," he told them. "Susan Bones, and Daphne Greengrass, step forward. Ready? Bow. Begin!"

Oh. Violet watched as the two began, surprisingly impressed. She had taught Susan in the DA. The Hufflepuff handled both offence and defence really well, and had clearly only improved over the past few months-improved a lot. She was much faster than she had been before, slapping up shields and throwing out hexes. Her strength had increased too. Perhaps had aunt had been helping her out?

But Susan wasn't the only one surprising the Lion. Greengrass wasn't all that bad herself. She was definitely a supporting dueller, but she was very quick and very intent. She watched Susan closely, tried to plan ahead, and succeeded for a while too, managing to get the upper hand, only to fail suddenly when Susan changed tactics.

Caught off guard, Greengrass was disarmed, and a moment later, was forced to yield. To her credit, Greengrass merely accepted her wand with an incline of her head, and backed away. Susan smiled at the cheers that greeted her when she was announced as the winner, and rejoined her classmates as Marvolo spoke again.

"It seems we have once more run out of time," he said, after checking the time. "We will have the last three duels during our next lesson together. Homework is the same as last time. Those who duelled today will complete the same essay I spoke of previously. It is due next lesson." He waited for them to nod. "Good. You are dismissed."

The class left the room, chatting between themselves about the duels they had either seen or been part of. But they were making an observation too-making note of who was left in the small group of those who hadn't duelled yet. There were four Gryffindors, Violet, Ron, Neville, and Dean, and one Slytherin in Theodore Nott. And one of those five was going to have to duel their professor in the next lesson-duel the Dark Lord.

Most of those who had already duelled, found themselves pleased that they had already had their turns. They didn't want to risk going against You-Know-Who, but they couldn't help but feel curious. Who was it going to be?

Violet Potter, they thought, was the best bet. But it would be just like the Dark Lord to switch things up, knowing what they wanted to see. And that was the thing, wasn't it? They wanted to see the Girl-Who-Lived duel the Dark Lord, even if it was just a mock duel held in a classroom.


Friday passed without incident, surprisingly, and that evening, after dinner, Violet once more found herself entering her husband's private rooms. It had time for her to spend another weekend with him. She supposed it wasn't terrible-he didn't treat her horridly or anything, but it was still rather awkward, and was going to take a fair bit of time to get used to. Unlike the manor, there really wasn't any way for them to avoid one another while in here. The rooms were just too small for that.

The two didn't speak all that much tonight. They simply sat in the living room, both of them reading in silence. They were just trying to pass some time before they had to go to bed, and for the moment, even though they had plenty to discuss, just didn't feel like doing so.

The silence between them was...odd, but not exactly awkward. Violet wasn't sure she would be able to put a name to it if she had to. She just focused on her book, and didn't even glance up, even though she was positive she could feel Marvolo's eyes on her more than once.

She still had many questions for him. Too many, really. The biggest question was why exactly he had wanted to marry her of all people. He had said it was simply on a whim, but she doubted that. There was definitely an actual reason behind it, she just didn't know what it could be.

She was magically powerful, yes, and politically influential, yes, so were those the real reasons? If he had her on his side, then it meant he had all her titles on his side too. He couldn't use them himself, no, but it wouldn't be a good sign for the peace treaty if she didn't support her own husband. Of course, with the Wizarding world still being irritatingly old fashioned, it would be an entirely different story if he didn't support her. That is to say, she would still be blamed. Bloody Pureblood laws. Luckily, things were starting to get better on that aspect.

But even then, Violet did agree with much of what Marvolo wanted. Maybe not everything, but a fair bit of it. And her husband was the only one fighting for these changes. Since Hermione wasn't all that politically savvy, Neville had talked to his gran and looked into a few laws, and was all but positive that Dumbledore was definitely against everything Marvolo wanted, even if those things would actually benefit people more.

And that was odd, wasn't it? Didn't Dumbledore always say he wanted equality? He was praised for things like that! And yet he was trying to restrict magical creatures even more, and didn't seem to care much for having Muggleborns or Muggle raised children educated early on or anything like that.

So if Dumbledore didn't want these things that would ultimately make Wizarding Britain better, then what did he want?


The rest of the weekend passed quickly and relatively peacefully. Violet and Marvolo did what work needed to be done, and then the Dark Lord began teaching the girl how to cast the special revealing charm non-verbally. This was much harder to do, but Marvolo wasn't surprised. He told her that wizards grew very used to depending on words and wands, and learning to cast without one or the other was always going to be difficult to learn, when already used to one thing.

Violet kind of got the feeling he was trying to tell her not to be discouraged if she couldn't get the hang of it immediately, without using those exact words. It was weird for sure, but it actually helped.

Sunday evening, Violet returned to Gryffindor Tower where she was once more greeted by silence and stares. But she ignored them. She and her friends were still figuring out what to do in that aspect, and were beginning to wonder if anything really even could be done.

If there were only a few people bothering her, then they could either easily be ignored, or pranked, but there were dozens upon dozens, the vast majority of the school upset or furious with Violet and what she had done.

The Slytherins weren't bad, she supposed. She was used to their negative treatment, and most of them had laid off, no doubt because the Dark Lord was involved with all this. The Ravenclaws weren't that bad. Many of them had thought out and analyzed the situation, so Violet was sure that sooner or later they would get better in their behaviour as well. The Hufflepuffs were treating her in much the same way as they had during the TriWizard Tournament, though they seemed a lot more hesitant when they had to say things to her face to face. She figured they were scared of what she might say or do to them. Or worse, tell Voldemort to say or do to them. It was the Gryffindors that were causing the most problems, unfortunately, and unsurprisingly. Not all of them were doing it, but most were. And since Violet was a part of that House, well, that didn't really help.

Chapter Text

After a free period on Monday morning, Violet and her friends once more entered their Defence Arts classroom, finding their professor already standing by his desk, Nagini once more curled up on the wood, either taking a nap, or watching, the room already cleared of obstacles.

"Let us not waste any time," Marvolo spoke. "There are only three duels left, and I should like to get through them all this lesson. So, first, Ron Weasley and-" he glanced around, eyes narrowed, "Neville Longbottom."

Well, that was somewhat unexpected, and Violet wasn't the only one in the room thinking that right now. She had thought one of them would be asked to duel Nott, or Dean, or even herself. She hadn't thought Marvolo would pair the two together, mainly just because they were friends. Regardless, this was going to be quite interesting.

And indeed it was. Ron and Neville were polar opposites. Ron was an offensive dueller, slower than both Violet and Hermione, but with quick reflexes that supported his position as Keeper. He was strong too, able to toss out hard hitting spells one after another. But he was a Weasley. He fought with his emotions, whether positive or negative. Neville, on the other hand, was a defensive dueller. He wasn't all that quick, but he was exceptionally strong, stronger than most would expect. His shield charms were one of the strongest Violet had ever seen, and the damage he could take was utterly incredible. His emotions were as sturdy as his shield, now that he had so much more confidence in himself.

"Expelliarmus!" the two echoed in unison.

"Protego!" they again called as one, immediately blocking one another's disarming spell. And this went on for a moment, the two casting the same spells at the same time, clearly thinking the same way.

"Stupefy!"

"Protego!"

Violet stood with Hermione, both girls watching eagerly, and curiously. Neither of them had a particular preference of who they wanted to win, all of them close friends and all, and as they watched, it was honestly difficult to tell which of the two even would win. Neither of them seemed to have an upper hand on the other. Not quite yet, at least.

It was Ron who broke the stalemate. "Colloshoo!"

While leading the DA, one of the things Violet had taught the group, was to always move when casting spells. It didn't matter how good or strong their shield charms were. What if they didn't have time to cast one? What if their wand was knocked out of their hand and there was a spell coming at them? She told them that being able to dodge spells could save their lives as much as any shield could. 'Always keep moving', she had told them. 'It's much harder to land a hit on a moving target, than it is to land one on a target that's staying completely still'.

That was what she had taught them, and Neville had been one who had taken those words to heart. Even while he and Ron had been casting the exact same spells, Neville had been sure to keep moving while he had been casting, and Ron had noticed that and had, in turn, used a spell that glued Neville's shoes to the ground. He couldn't move now.

Taking advantage of a momentarily still target, Ron- "Stupefy!"

"Protego!" Neville's shield came up and the spells dissolved the moment it touched it. As Ron let out a sound of frustration, Neville used that time to unstick his shoes so he could move again.

As time went on, Ron's frustration only grew. Neville was a good friend, yes, but he still expected to win. Unfortunately for the Weasley, his frustration was only causing him to leave openings in his offence. Openings that a much steadier Neville was able to take advantage of.

"Locomotor Mortis!"

"ProtegoFumos!" The latter spell, no doubt one he learned from the twins, shot out a smoke screen. The boys couldn't see one another anymore, but while Ron had known what to expect from the spell, Neville didn't, and Ron knew where Neville was standing, because he couldn't hear his shoes on the stone floor now. So he took advantage of his friend being caught off guard. "LocomotorWibblySt-"

"Protego!" While he certainly had been caught off guard in the moment, Neville was able to recover quickly and bring forth a shield to protect him. Ron's spell had barely hit it before he lowered it and voiced out a firm, "Everte Statum!" He heard, rather than saw Ron get thrown back by the spell, and before the other boy could recover, "Expelliarmus!"

"Gah! Shit!" The smoke finally cleared, only to reveal Ron laying where he had landed, clutching the back of his head.

Marvolo approached him immediately, and knelt down, running his wand over the teen's head, even as Neville rushed forward, looking worried.

"I'm so sorry, Ron!" he exclaimed, brow pinched. "I didn't notice how close you were to the wall!" The last spell Neville had cast had caused Ron to get thrown back, but because he had been too close to the wall, his head had collided with it instead.

Ron waved a hand in dismissal. "Don't worry about it. Doesn't hurt that much."

"Yes," Marvolo spoke before anyone could say anything more. "It appears to be nothing more than a small bump. Do you fell at all dizzy or light headed? Can you see clearly?"

"No, I feel totally fine, and I can see properly." He stood up when Marvolo allowed him to, accepted his wand, and merely shrugged and clapped his friend on the shoulder when Neville was announced as the winner of the duel, only to flush when Hermione fussed over him a second later.

"If you feel at all unwell later on, Mr Weasley, I except you to go to the Hospital Wing."

Ron blinked, and then his eyes widened. He quickly agreed and hurried to rejoin his friends, and it was Violet who seemed to realize what was wrong.

She smirked. "You only just realized how close you two were standing, didn't you?"

Ron groaned. "How can you stand that? He's terrifying!"

Violet laughed. "He's really not that horrible, honestly."

"Dean Thomas and Theodore Nott," Marvolo called out a moment later, regaining everyone's attention to him.

This caused quite a few whispers to break out throughout the room, less to do with the two names just called, and more to do with the one name left-the person left who would be duelling not just their professor, but the Dark Lord himself.

Still, the second to last duel began without preamble. It was quick and simple, if effective. Dean was an offensive dueller, Nott defensive, and both could handle support rather well when needed. They remained on even grounds for much of the match, before Nott managed to get the upper hand, and it wasn't long before he was declared the winner. Violet was neither disappointed, nor surprised by that, and soon enough, the class got what they had been waiting for when she and Marvolo stood across one another in the middle of the classroom in preparation for the final duel.

"Ready?" Marvolo inquired, wand in hand.

Her own holly and phoenix feather wand gripped tightly, the girl nodded, and the moment the duel began, started to move, not keeping still in one spot as much as she could, unless otherwise deemed necessary. While Violet herself was more an offence/defence type, none of that particularly mattered with the Dark Lord, who was easily capable of being all three main positions equally, and more too. But that wasn't surprising. He was far more experienced than any of the rest of them.

The rest of the class stood silently, as if not daring to say even a single word as they watched eagerly. Their professor was, of course, restricted by the rules he himself had set in place for these duels, so they were aware he wasn't going to start casting the Unforgivables or anything else all that dangerous, which to some was a relief, and to others a great disappointment.

A handful of them were wondering how the two were even able to duel one another considering the marriage contract they had signed, the name of which (not its changes or explicit details) was known to the general public, and if Hermione wasn't so focused on watching the match, she would have quickly, and no doubt in great detail, explained that duels in selective and closed environments with both parties fully in agreement, the bond between them wouldn't see a 'mock duel' like this as a violation. So long as the spells they used didn't go beyond a certain level, and neither felt truly threatened or frightened, they could do this for as long as they liked. If those set rules were broken, however, then the guilty party would be punished by the bond itself.

Despite having begun to move, Violet immediately noticed that Marvolo hadn't done the same. In fact, he hadn't moved at all, and was simply standing still, red eyes watching her. So the girl acted first. "Expelliarmus!"

"Protego!"

She hadn't expected the spell to work at all, and kept going. "Impedimenta!"

"ProtegoDiffindo!"

"Protego!" The second spell had been cast so quickly that Violet just barely managed to get her shield up in time. But even then, she was able to feel the power behind the spell as it hit her shield, causing her to jolt back in surprise at the sheer force, though she recovered quickly. Growing up with her uncle, Dudley and his gang meant she was used to hard hitting actions, magical or otherwise. The first strong blow was always a surprise, the ones afterwards, less so.

"Incendio!" There were gasps of surprise as flames shot out of the end of Marvolo's wand.

Violet was quite surprised too, her following reaction more instinctive than anything else. "Aguamenti!" After all, what better way to counter fire than with water?

Marvolo smirked, then rolled his shoulders one at a time, seeming completely at east. "Carpe Retractum!"

"What the-!?"

A strange, almost transparent rope was expelled from the Dark Lord's yew wand, coiling around Violet, restraining her, and pulling her closer to him as she struggled to free herself. "Expelliarmus!"

Violet's wand shot out of her hand and landed a few feet away. But that was fine, she could easily summon it back without issue, and did just that, before hitting the supernatural ropes with a sharp, "Finite!" and aiming her wand at the Dark Lord immediately after. "Stupefy!"

But Marvolo was not so easily caught off guard. "ProtegoEverte Statum!"

Remembering what had happened to Ron just a few minutes ago, Violet cast a cushioning charm at the wall just before she hit it, the charm meaning her landing was harmless, rather than painful, other than a sharp jolt that ran through her ankle. She rolled it as she stood, put her weight on it to test it, noted it was fine, all in the span of mere seconds. And just as she looked back up at her opponent-

"MorsmordreStupefy!"

The first spell finally managed to catch the girl off guard, and she realized half a second later that that was exactly what Marvolo had been aiming for, and while unable to cast a shield charm in time, did manage to dodge the stunner racing towards her. That had been smart of the man, casting a spell she would never have expected him to cast in the middle of a duel, even though all that had been produced was a smoky Dark Mark that had floated up into the air before vanishing. It distracting factor was, no doubt, literally the only reason why it had been cast. But, Violet thought as she blocked another stunner, if a distraction was what Marvolo wanted, then she could certainly acquiesce.

Tightening her grip on her wand, she brought certain memories to the forefront of her mind, and then, "Expecto Patronum!" A stag of brilliant, bright light shot forward, shocking quite literally everyone other than the green eyed girl who had summoned it, including Marvolo, whose eyes widened at the sight, then narrowed at the bright glare of light as the Patronus got too close to him. But Violet wasn't done yet. "Obscuro!"

As quick as the brightness had appeared, it was gone for Marvolo, replaced by sheer darkness, sending his senses reeling at the sudden, unexpected change.

"ImpedimentaExpelliarmusSilencio!" Violet didn't wait, and cast the spells rapidly, one after the other. She was still standing in a defensive position, ready to continue, when Marvolo raised a hand. He gave it a little wave, and the blindfold over his eyes vanished. He must have cancelled out the silencing spell as well, because he spoke just a second later too.

"I yield." He could have kept going, of course. Losing his wand and being silenced would never stop him in a proper duel. He was, naturally, quite proficient in non-verbal and wandless magic both. But this was a mock duel being held in a classroom, and the bell signalling the end of the lesson was to ring in two minutes. Best to just end the duel now. It didn't even bother him.

Ron, Hermione, and Neville all cheered when Violet was declared the winner of the duel, and then the students all replaced the desks and chairs, setting everything back up to normal. They gathered their belongings as their professor collected the essays of those who had duelled in the previous lesson, while reminding Ron, Neville, Dean, Nott, and Violet than now that they had completed their own duels, they too had to write the same essay as the others, and it was due next lesson. The bell rang just seconds later, and the students all filed out.

Soon enough, Marvolo found himself alone with Nagini, and as he reached down to pet her, she hissed in content, leaning into his hand, enjoying the motions.

"You smell pleased."

"I am pleased. They are all children yet, that much is clear to me by their behaviour and the spells they were casting. Many of them have yet to learn the realities of the world. But they will."

"You are not upset you had to yield to your mate?"

"No, I quite enjoyed myself, actually. She is young, yes, but she has far more experience than the others. The manner with which she is able to...adapt to situations around her only continues to astound me. Dumbledore will soon regret allowing this bonding to take place. He should have fought back against it. He will soon wish he had."


The rest of the day was downright boring in comparison to Defence earlier. Of course, with Violet's schedule, that meant her only other class was Potions, so she supposed that wasn't all that odd. One strange thing she had noticed though, was that Snape had been weirdly quiet during that lesson. In fact, he hadn't said even a single word to Violet-hadn't even approached her all lesson. ...It was actually kind of creepy. Was he planning something? Was that a good thing, or a bad thing? Ugh, it was impossible to tell!

Beyond that, it wasn't until Thursday morning that something even remotely interesting happened. Violet and Ron were seated at Gryffindor Table, in the middle of breakfast. They both only had Double Defence Arts, but that wasn't until later in the afternoon, so they were planning on spending their day until then finishing up a Transfiguration essay due tomorrow, and discussing the Quidditch tryouts the girl still had to hold.

Hermione had already went off to her first class, and Neville, who had a class next period, was sleeping in, so the other two were taking their time chatting as they ate. They had no reason to rush, after all.

"Why does this castle not have warm floors? Stupid humans not thinking of anyone other than themselves."

Ron started, nearing spilling his coffee over himself. "What the-!? Shit!"

"Ron?"

"Snake! There's a-"

"...Oh." Violet leaned over the table where her friend was seated across her, and blinked. "Thanatos?"

"Ah, Violet. I was searching for you."

"Oh? Why's that?"

"I am bored and lost. Keep me company today." He slithered past Ron, across the table, and towards the girl.

Violet blinked again. "Um, well I don't mind, but does Snape know you're here?"

"Sss, he does not."

That was something that needed to be taken care of immediately then. The girl didn't want to end up in detention for kidnapping-snakenapping?-the Potions Master's pet. ...Although, would he still give her detention if she was married to Voldemort? Huh... "I'll be right back, Ron," she said instead.

"Sure," the redhead replied, eyeing the snake cautiously.

With that, Violet got to her feet and made her way up to the Head Table. ...Hadn't she done this before? Oh, right, with Nagini. Did Nagini and Thanatos know each other? Just as she began to wonder if she should ask, someone else spoke.

"Good morning, Thanatos. Is Severus aware you managed to escape?"

"No."

Marvolo chuckled lightly, clearly amused. "And a good morning to you as well, Violet."

"Morning," she returned with a smile, before turning to Snape, who was eyeing his snake with a frown. "Good morning, Professor. Thanatos here claims he is bored and lost, and has declared he will spend the day with me. I doubt he cares for obtaining permission, but I thought it would be best to let you know."

Snape merely shook his head, a look of exasperation crossing his face, vanishing in an instant. "He may do as he desires. I am fully aware he will only slither off again if I refuse."

"A wise choice, Severus."

"I really must protest," Dumbledore spoke suddenly, brow creased. "Tom's snake is one thing, Severus, but your own-"

"Oh, I don't see any harm in it, Albus," said Remus suddenly. "With-Thanatos, did you say?-staying with Violet, it's unlikely for anyone to come to harm. If she can take care of Voldemort's snake without any incident, then I'm sure everything with Severus' will be perfectly fine."

Dumbledore opened his mouth to protest even further, but it was McGonagall who interrupted him this time, and just like she had when it had come to having Nagini around, claimed Violet keeping Thanatos with her would prevent the snake from doing anyone else harm. Marvolo, Violet noticed, seemed greatly amused by all this, though he remained silent, gently petting the snake around his young wife.

Soon enough, Violet had the permission she wanted. Or rather, the permission Thanatos didn't care about, and after thanking the Headmaster, returned to Gryffindor Table where Ron was finally polishing off his breakfast. She took up her seat across him once more, fed the snake around her what he asked to be fed, and then spoke to her friend.

"There's something odd going on."

Ron looked up and frowned. "Odd?" he repeated in confusion.

"Yeah."

The redhead glanced over his shoulder at the Head Table, and then back at the girl, his frown deepening. "You think they're planning something? You-Know-Who was still himself, right?"

"He was, yeah. He spoke in Parseltongue to both Thanatos and myself, so it's definitely him. And I don't know, but I guess it's possible. I mean, they're all acting really casually. Remember how Snape wasn't even looking at me the other day? And now he's totally fine with me keeping his pet snake with me for the day? Me? How is that not weird?"

"Point taken."

But really, even if Dumbledore and the others really were planning something, what could they do about it? How could they figure it out? How could they plan around it? How could they stop it? They hadn't even been at Hogwarts for a month yet. How much could they possibly be plotting already?

Chapter Text

It was the weekend again, her third one being spent with Marvolo in his rooms at Hogwarts, and Violet was watching the Dark Lord pace. She wasn't sure why he was doing it-he hadn't told her, and she hadn't asked, but she figured he had just gotten some bad news or something. Or maybe he'd just had an encounter with Dumbledore. It was hard to tell with this man.

She wasn't really paying much attention anyway, despite the fact that her green eyes were focused his...well, not his face. "...You have a really nice butt," she said abruptly and absently.

Marvolo whirled around to face her immediately, completely dumfounded, but appeared to be unable to actually say anything.

Barely a second later, Violet forcefully clapped her hands over her mouth, the sharp sound echoing throughout the now silent room. Eyes wide and cheeks flushed, Violet struggled to answer to the realization of what she had just said. "I-I mean-I-"

Face flaming and having no idea what else to do, Violet channelled the self-preservation of her somewhat hidden Slytherin side and jumped to her feet, running out of the room, hearing the portrait door slam shut behind her. She hurried down the corridor, desperate to get away, but she hadn't made it all too far before she ended up stopping.

Hermione, who just happened to be walking in her general direction, rushed forward when she saw her, concern painted all over her face. "Violet? What's wrong? Has something happened? Why is your face so red? Are you hurt?" she questioned rapidly and worriedly.

All Violet could do was groan in despair. "I'm going to die, Hermione."

The bushy haired witch frowned, concern clearly only growing. "What? Why? What's happened?"

"I- I told him he has a nice butt."

Hermione blinked. "Told who?"

Violet bit her lip as she hesitated, glancing up and down the corridor to make sure the two of them were definitely alone. "Marvolo," she all but whispered in response.

"...You told the Dark Lord Voldemort that he has a nice butt...?"

"...Yeah."

Hermione simply stared at her for a moment, before breaking out into giggles, clearly very amused by the entire situation the other girl had found herself in, which Violet didn't at all agree with.

Violet groaned again and shoved her friend lightly. "It's not funny!"

Smiling sympathetically, Hermione patted her arm. "Come on, Violet, it isn't as bad as you're making it out to be. I'm sure he was perfectly pleased by your words. You complimented him! It was hardly an insult."

"But-"

Hermione shook her head. "You haven't done anything wrong. All you did was make an observation. It may have been a rather obvious observation, but that's all it was."

"Violet blinked, then cocked her head, curious. "...You think he's got a nice butt?"

Hermione flushed slightly, realizing what she herself had just admitted. "W-well, he's hardly the only one, but-"

"But you agree with me?"

"Yes, your husband has a very nice- Husband? ...That makes it sound so much weirder when I say it. ... Don't tell Ron I said that."

The two girls just looked at one another for a second, before they both began to giggle, and it wasn't long before this giggling turned into full blown laughter...

It took them a few minutes to calm themselves back down, but once they had, Hermione once again assured Violet that everything was alright and that Marvolo was unlikely to be upset with her. They separated just a moment later, Hermione heading down the corridor towards the stairs, while Violet made her way back to Marvolo's rooms.

Once the door was shut behind her, her eyes scanned around the area rapidly as she inched in cautiously. She couldn't see him. She wasn't sure she even wanted to, if she was being honest with herself. It would be best, she decided, for her to barricade herself in the bathroom for a while. There was no way she could face that man right now. Not while all this was still so fresh. Or ever.

A large hand landing on her shoulder had Violet freezing mid-step, and before she could get herself to move again, Marvolo, standing behind her, leaned down.

"I thank you for the compliment," he spoke into her ear, the low tone sending a strange shiver down her spine. There was an even lower chuckle that only made that shiver worse. "Though I find I like your own far better."

And then he was just gone and, sure her face was on fire, Violet practically flew to the bathroom, where she promptly shut and locked the door behind her.

This was going to be a very long weekend.

Chapter Text

The following few days were uneventful. The adults had all gone back to their normal selves, Sirius had come to take over for Remus during the couple of days before, during, and after the full moon, which caused Snape to be in a worse mood than usual. Violet and Marvolo spent the weekend further working on the revealing charm, and chatting rather casually. All in all, things appeared to be going well. Too well, perhaps, Violet thought as weeks began to pass.

Halloween morning began chilly and dreary. Violet had, unfortunately, had a rather bad night filled with nightmares and flashbacks, so understandably, she wasn't in the best of moods. It didn't help knowing it was Halloween either. But at least with it being Thursday, the only class she had was Double Defence Arts, so that helped.

But even that class was quiet, Marvolo having them take notes for the lesson, while he sat at his desk marking papers, Nagini napping by the stack of parchment. Most of the Slytherins seemed to think there was something strange about all this, because they ended up spending half the class exchanging confused looks, though no one actually had enough nerve to really say anything about it out loud.

Violet was hesitant about going to the Halloween feast that evening. Something terrible always happened on Halloween. Was tonight going to be any different? ...Eh, probably not. Violet wasn't an optimist for a reason.

Maybe she was worried for nothing though. The feast went off without a hitch, and was, well, just a feast. Everyone chatted and ate with their friends, the adults at the Head Table doing much the same as the students, and that was it.

Despite this, Violet continued to feel...strange. And with that feeling, the days continued to pass...


As the days in November went by, the weather turned chilly, though remained thankfully dry. A good thing, because Violet had a lot of tryouts to finish organizing so she could fill in the missing spots on Gryffindor's Quidditch team. She saw no reason to have tryouts for the positions Katie and Ron had-she was pleased enough with the two of them. But that still left her having to find two Chasers and two Beaters, which was a difficult task as half the people who turned out to the tryouts weren't even Gryffindors. Why they thought they would be allowed on the team was far beyond her understanding. Or perhaps it was far beneath her understanding. Idiots.

But after nearly ten hours, a fair bit of blood, sweat, tears, and an irritating amount of drama later, Gryffindor finally had a Quidditch team Violet could say she was...invested in. Not proud of, not yet, but a team she could see potential in, and that was good enough for the time being.

Unfortunately, she had procrastinated a bit too long with setting up a team, so they didn't have very much time to practice before their first match of the season. Because of that, if Violet wasn't focused on her school work, it was Quidditch mode that her mind was locked in. She couldn't have her team lose her first match as Captain!

But the match went fine, not as good as she had been hoping, but good enough, seeing as they had won. She wasn't entirely happy, but a win was a win, she supposed.

And so more time passed, and Violet's unease returned and continued to grow, up until just before Christmas break, when Dumbledore made a sudden and rather unwelcome announcement to everyone in the Great Hall during dinner one evening. He wanted to hold a ball on Christmas eve-a Yule Ball, of sorts, this one to essentially celebrate the end of the war.

The students-the girls in particular, grew very excited. Ron and Hermione exchanged a look of confusion at the abruptness of the announcement. Violet's eyes met Marvolo's for just an instant before she looked away and took a sip from her goblet. There was no way this was just going to be a ball. There had to be ulterior motives here. There had to be.


Barely a quarter of the students returned home for the break that year. Violet had actually been debating on heading to Riddle Manor for the two week holiday (literally just to avoid the ball), but just when she had decided on telling Marvolo that, Dumbledore had approached her to tell her it was mandatory for both her and Marvolo to attend the celebratory ball, as they were the reason the war had even ended in the first place.

Violet was annoyed, but wasn't at all surprised. She would have been a lot more surprised if she had actually been able to leave the castle without any sort of conflict at all. So, with no other choice, she stayed. Part of her was actually a little curious to see what Dumbledore had planned with all of this.

How was holding a ball going to help him with whatever it was he was trying to accomplish? Did he think it would make her and Marvolo grow closer, because he expected them to attend it together as partners? Well, of course Violet couldn't bring someone else as a date or anything, but it wasn't like she and Marvolo were going to be attached at the hip or anything like that.

So what was going on? What was the point?


The evening of the ball, Violet took her time in getting dressed. Not because she cared about looking immaculate or fabulous or anything mundane like that. She was just in no rush to get to the Great Hall. Marvolo was probably already there, being a professor and all, but married or not, there was no reason for them to have to go there at the same time. Dumbledore was already insisting she go straight to Marvolo's rooms after the ball, seeing as it was a Friday night and all. How irritating.

It was pretty obvious by this point that the Headmaster was clearly expecting something to happen between Violet and Marvolo. When the girl told Hermione, both of them getting ready in the sixth year girls' dorm together, Hermione could only agree.

"This is making me wonder..."

"Wonder what?" asked Violet, tugging her dress on.

"We agreed that you and Professor Slytherin were expected to spend the weekends together because it was assumed that maybe he would lose control and-and sleep with you, yes?"

"Yeah. He hasn't done anything weird like that though. Really, he's been very polite."

Hermione nodded, awkwardly trying to reach the zipper on her back before Violet stepped over to help her instead, before turning her back to her friend so she could be helped with the laces at her own back. "I wonder if Dumbledore is expecting something similar tonight."

Violet blinked. "You mean...he thinks Marvolo will lost control and try something?"

"Well...you're dressing up very nicely, and since you're married and there will be Purebloods in attendance, you'll be expected to dance with him, seeing as he's your husband now and all. That'll put you two very close together, won't it? There will likely be alcohol involved too, which hopefully the adults will be keeping close to themselves because there are plenty of underage students attending too!"

"Oh." This was starting to make so much more sense. "So he thinks Marvolo will get drunk and try to-"

"That's my suspicion, yes."

Violet nodded slowly, scowling as she stepped into her shoes. Stupid heels. She had been thinking something like this the entire time, but she hadn't had the entire thing planned out. Was this really what Dumbledore was planning? Was this just another way to try to get her pregnant or something gross like that? Was Dumbledore really that desperate for her to have a kid?

Or was this just a false suspicion? Was he hoping they would think this and focus on this instead of trying to figure out what he was really trying to do? Violet supposed there really was no telling, but this whole Marvolo losing control and having sex with her to get her pregnant with his kid was really kind of a stretch. She doubted Marvolo was going to try to take advantage over her, drunk or not. It seemed like he was really careful with what he said or did when she was around. If getting drunk changed his behaviour in any way, she was sure he would be careful to just...not get drunk, since he knew she was going to have to spend the night with him in his rooms, it being a Friday and all.

But if this wasn't what Dumbledore was planning with all this, then... With a sigh, Violet slumped down on her bed. She was starting to get very confused. There had to be a reason there hadn't been any protests on the wedding. A potential heir couldn't be the only one either. There had to be something more. There just had to be.


Marvolo scowled at his drink. He was standing in the decorated Great Hall, students, staff, Purebloods, Ministry officials, and press alike mingling around already. He hated this sort of thing. He always had. He easily could have refused to go to this foolish event-Dumbledore making this a mandatory event for him and Violet had no control over him, but...it did have control over Violet. Married or not, she was still a student at the castle, and the mandatory rule meant she had no choice but to attend. He could not let her do so without him being around to keep an eye on her. It was obvious that Dumbledore was planning something or another.

So he sipped his whiskey slowly, keeping an eye on the doors, continuing to do so even when Severus and Lucius approached him and the three began to converse quietly.

It was perhaps fifteen minutes later that the group that was entering the Great Hall actually caught his attention. It was Violet who was walking in, along with Granger, the Weasley girl, and Lovegood. All of them were dressed up, Lovegood in silver, Weasley in gold, Granger in lavender, and Violet in emerald. Marvolo knew next to nothing about women's fashion, so he could hardly name the dresses they were wearing, or the shoes, or the hairstyles, but they looked nice, he supposed, though his gaze lingered on Violet. That colour suited her.

She spotted him just a moment later. He saw her hesitate, before she said something to the other girls, who nodded, before splitting up. Granger, Weasley, and Lovegood made their way over to the Weasley boy and Longbottom, while Violet approached him instead. She had, no doubt, realized that it would be more appropriate to greet her husband before others first, especially considering some of the others in attendance. Since the press was here too, they needed to make a show of assuring that there was still indeed peace among the Light and Dark. And there was, even though it was a rather confusing sort of peace.

Marvolo and Violet were both very aware that they were being watched closely, more eyes turning to them the closer Violet got, though neither of them paid these other eyes any attention.

"Miss Potter," Severus greeted with an incline of the head.

"Hello, Professor Snape."

"Good evening, Miss Potter," Lucius greeted with an appropriate kiss to the back of her hand.

"It's nice to see you again, Mr Malfoy. Is Mrs Malfoy not here tonight? I wanted to thank her in person for the dresses she sent for my friends and I."

"She had other important business in France, so I'm afraid she couldn't make it. But I shall be pleased to thank her on your behalf."

"Please, if you wouldn't mind."

Marvolo stepped forward, leaning down slightly as Violet stretched up, and he brushed his lips over the corner of her mouth. "I didn't expect you to take so long."

"Sorry. Dresses aren't easy to get on half the time, and coming all the way down from Gryffindor Tower in these shoes is absolutely murder. I'm sorry you had to wait."

"No matter. Here, have a drink."

"Thank you." Sipping the juice she had been handed, Violet made small talk with the three men for a little while, before she left them be so she could join her friends instead. She and Marvolo were still going to have to have a dance together tonight, but that could wait until later. If she had no choice but to be here, she wanted to try to enjoy herself, at the very least, and spending the entire event with Snape, Malfoy, and Marvolo wasn't the best way to do it. At least not in her opinion.

So she laughed and danced with her friends instead, feeling a lot more comfortable doing so this year than she had back during the Yule Ball in her fourth year. She danced with Hermione and Ginny and Luna, and she danced with a very awkward Ron who was pulled away to dance with Hermione right after, and she danced with Neville too.

It was kind of funny, but it wasn't until right this moment that she noticed just how...tall he had gotten. Tall and confident. He held her in a very Pureblood appropriate manner, but he lead the dance confidently, and Violet couldn't help but smile. There had been a time where Neville had been at the centre of everyone's teasing, but now any girl or boy would be lucky to have him.

After her dance with Neville ended, Violet was invited to a dance with Lucius, which she agreed to, though they saw no reason why they couldn't talk throughout it, even despite the people around them who were watching curiously.

"Have things settled enough for you to become the Minister yet?" Violet asked him curiously. "You were saying the aim was for it to happen around now, right?"

"Yes, that was the plan. There are a few...loose ends to tie up, and those will be finished in the coming days. I will be Minister by the start of the new year."

"Well, congratulations in advance then." Violet smirked slightly. "So, how many laws are going to have to go through Marvolo first?"

Lucius chuckled lightly. "Most of them, if not all, I would say."

Violet wasn't surprised by that at all. Lucius becoming Minister of Magic wasn't going to change the fact that he was Marvolo's-was the Dark Lord's right hand man. Marvolo was still going to be in charge. He just didn't want to have to deal with the paperwork. Violet couldn't blame him. Paperwork looked very boring.

But after that came the moment that had been causing most of Violet's anxiety for the night. Fortunately for her, and unsurprisingly, Marvolo actually did know how to dance, so Violet allowed herself to be led along. Dancing with Marvolo was a lot more nerve-wracking than doing so with, well, anyone else, even if he hadn't done anything to hurt her so far. At least not since just before they had signed the peace treaty and ended up married.

His grip on her was firm but light, and he wasn't forceful in leading her in any way. The main problem, in Violet's opinion, was how...close they had to be in doing this. She didn't mind it with her friends, and Malfoy had kept an appropriate distance with her seeing as they were both married to other people, but with Marvolo...this closeness was expected.

She could feel the warmth from his body, the heat of his large hand on her waist, even through the fabric of her dress. She could feel the heaviness of his gaze, and his scent-something familiar and spicy and pleasant, enveloped her.

None of that was making Violet feel any less nervous though, so she tried to think about other things instead. Things like how neither Sirius nor Remus had really approached her all night, even though they were both there in the Great Hall too. They were probably still feeling guilty about everything that had happened. She was going to have to talk to them about all of it. They couldn't just keep dancing around each other like this forever-especially because they were the only parental figures she really had, and she wasn't willing to lose them just yet.

And beyond that, she still had no idea what Dumbledore was planning, or even what Marvolo himself was planning. Maybe Dumbledore hadn't protested against the marriage, but Marvolo had been the one to make that a mandatory stipulation of the peace treaty in the first place! Sure he had been nice to her so far, but he had to have an end goal in all this...


When the ball came to a merciful end, Violet said good night to her friends and followed Marvolo to his rooms instead, knowing her change of clothes would already be there thanks to Dobby. Dumbledore didn't seem to want her to go back to the Tower even just to change, so she had asked for her loyal friend to leave her a few of her things in Marvolo's rooms for her.

But even something as simple as changing her clothes ended up not going particularly well. Because Marvolo ended up seeing her scars. Her dress was tied with a few knots at her back, and since she couldn't undo them herself or with a spell, and didn't have any of her friends to help her, she asked Marvolo to undo them instead.

She didn't really care about flashing the skin of her back to him-it wasn't like it was her chest or anything more private like that, but she had completely forgotten about the faint crisscrossing lines until she felt his cool fingers touch them, at which point they both froze.

There was a long silence where neither of them spoke or even moved, both of them somewhat caught off guard. It was obvious where Violet had gotten the scars from, and obvious that the thing that had caused this hadn't happened any time recently, as the scars were clearly old. It wasn't something that had happened very often either, since the scars were few and faint. But they were still there, and they both knew it.

Finally, Marvolo undid the last knot of her dress and stepped back out of her personal space. "You should be able to get out of it now. Go on and change first. I will wait until you have finished."

"Thank you." Violet escaped to the bathroom so she could finish changing, but even when the two retired to their own beds in the room they were sharing, the air remained somewhat awkward with a silence neither of them were really sure how to fill.

Chapter Text

Things were still a little awkward when Violet woke in the morning, at least in her opinion. Though when she emerged from the bathroom, she found a little container with a short note written in Marvolo's handwriting. 'Have Granger aid you in applying the salve.' Violet didn't have to ask what the salve was for. She picked up the container and slipped it into her bag. She would ask Hermione on Sunday night, when she was allowed to return to Gryffindor Tower.

But Marvolo didn't mention either the scars or the salve, so Violet followed his lead and kept silent about it as well. It was much less awkward than talking about it, after all. Still, part of her wondered why he cared, while another part of her simply felt grateful for the concern few ever really showed her, especially for things like this...

Christmas break passed quietly, and far too quickly for Violet's liking, but she was glad that things seemed to be settling down. There were even less mentions of her and Marvolo in the papers, which was also nice, though she figured that was mostly because Lucius Malfoy becoming the Minister of Magic was currently bigger news for most. Violet didn't mind. The less focus there was on her, the better.

When classes resumed in January, things mostly returned to normal with everyone basically simply taking about themselves and their friends. Little of their attention was on Violet and Marvolo as a couple, or on the war, or even on the new Minister. Violet thought it to be kind of strange how quickly they seemed to have moved on, but maybe she should have expected that. After all, how many times had the populace decided they liked, hated, then liked her again? People really were so fickle, weren't they?

About a week later, when Violet was once again spending her weekend in Marvolo's rooms, Dumbledore's asinine rule still in place, Marvolo brought up something Violet had been thinking and worrying about for a while-a method to prevent her from ending up pregnant, either willingly or not.

"There is a potion," he said, "that was quietly invented some twelve years ago. It is, essentially, a birth control potion. It is a temporary thing, like its Muggle counterparts, and will possibly cause select side effects you may have to take other potions for, but it's more effective than the Muggle versions, and something you will only have to drink once a month-though it will have to be on the same day and time every month."

Violet nodded slowly. She and Hermione had done some looking into various means of birth control in both their worlds, though they hadn't actually been able to find anything in the wizarding world at all, only the Muggle world. "I haven't heard anything about this potion," she said with a frown. "Neither has Hermione, and I can tell you, when Hermione can't find something in her research, that's typically not a good sign."

"The potion is illegal," Marvolo explained patiently, not at all surprised that neither of the girls knew this. "Wizards, Purebloods in particular, have low fertility rates. This is why most Pureblood families tend to only have one or two children-that isn't by choice, that seems to be the extent of how many children they can have, no matter how much they try or what they do. Some rarely manage to have three children, but it is almost unheard of to have more than that. The Weasleys, of course, are an exception."

Violet's frown deepened as she tried to understand. "So...because Purebloods can't have more kids than they want, they've made birth control illegal?"

Marvolo inclined his head. "Essentially, yes. Being able to have children, yet purposely preventing yourself from doing so? It's an...affront to them, in their minds. That someone would dare to not conceive an offspring when they have the choice to do so is all but unheard of, to Purebloods especially. So to ensure wizards continue to...procreate, and cannot purposely prevent themselves from doing so, they have made methods of birth control illegal. This includes both magical and Muggle means of birth control."

Violet's jaw dropped. "Muggle too? So if a Muggleborn was on birth control, even if it wasn't to prevent pregnancy specifically-since there are other uses, then she'd-"

"Be punished, yes, either by a fine of prison time, depending on her age, the method of birth control, and how long she'd been on it for."

"But that's-that's-!"

"I know," said Marvolo calmly. "It is a foolish and arcane law, one I am having Lucius abolish as soon as possible. But up until now, any woman on birth control has simply never spoken of it out loud."

"What about abortions?"

"Illegal. Though that is something else I plan on having Lucius change."

"What about vasectomies for men? Or women getting their tubes tied or their uterus removed?"

"Also illegal, with no exceptions."

"These laws are disgusting."

"They are," Marvolo agreed. "This is why I wish to have then abolished. Most men and women, as I said, simply keep it quiet and never speak of any of this out loud for fear of the wrong people finding out. But, going back to the matter at hand... I would rather you not get any of the permanent Muggle solutions just yet. You are still young, and though I'm not claiming to know your mind, I would rather you wait until you are at least a few years older before doing something like that."

"Honestly, I'm alright with that. So long as I have some way of not getting pregnant right now, I don't mind having to wait a handful of years-like, until I'm twenty or something, to do something more permanent." Violet shrugged. "I'm still only sixteen anyway."

Marvolo nodded, then continued. "There are various means of Muggle birth control, but it can take time to find out which one will suit you best. They tend to have a number of side effects which can impact you in negative ways, which would leave you having to find another kind that worked better. It's very time consuming, and our concern is that you will be forcibly impregnated, meaning it would be better to get you on something as soon as possible."

"Okay...so, the potion's the better option, then? I thought you said it has side effects too?"

"It does, but there are a number of other potions or salves you could take along with the potion to negate them, and the potion itself can be altered to suit you if need be. And if it's taken consistently, the potion will be very effective, because it also works as a countermeasure against sexually transmitted diseases."

"Alright," said Violet, actually a little impressed. "I don't really see any problem with that. You've obviously looked into this more than Hermione and I were able to." She frowned again. "Um, where would I be getting this potion from anyway?"

"As it is illegal, I have decided the best and safest option would be for Severus to brew it for you every month."

"Snape?"

"Yes. He will brew it, then give it to me so that I may examine it first, just to ensure it has not been tampered with in any way. I may not have studied to become a Potions Master, but I am still exceptionally knowledgeable when it comes to them. I don't believe Severus will do anything to it, but I would rather be safe. After making sure it's alright, I will then give it to you. If something happens and Severus is unable to brew it, then I will do so myself. You will only be getting this potion from me. No one else, not even Severus."

And that seemed to be that. Violet accepted what Marvolo was saying, mostly because it really did seem like he knew best in this situation. If the potion (and all other methods of birth control) were illegal, then it really wasn't surprising she and Hermione hadn't been able to find any information about it in their wizarding world resources.

All of this was sort of making her wonder what all the other girls her age thought about this. Was this a law they agreed with? Was it one they went along with because they had no choice? Had any of them, Muggleborn or not, secretly gotten on birth control or even had abortions but just never mentioned it for fear of ending up in Azkaban? If that was the case, she couldn't really blame them.

While there were a number of laws that needed to be changed or abolished, Violet sincerely hoped this nonsense was something Marvolo had fixed sooner rather than later, because they truly were disgusting.


Why her? Why Potter? She sat there, picking at her eggs, eyes locked on Potter who was seated with those idiot friends of hers at Gryffindor Table. When her father had told her that the Dark Lord was looking to marry, she'd been so pleased. He was such an attractive, powerful, influential man-who wouldn't want to marry him? She'd done everything possible to prove to him why she was the best option for him. But he had ignored her-he'd barely even glanced at her. And then he had married Potter of all people instead.

She was a Half-Blood too, and was prettier than Potter, and smarter than Potter, and didn't sympathize with Mudbloods like Potter, and was a Slytherin. Surely she was a better choice than Potter? How was Potter the one chosen instead of her?

She glared when she saw Potter leave Gryffindor's Table and head up to the Staff Table, aware that she was going to speak to the Dark Lord. The man who she should have been married to. She would have given him far more than Potter had or ever would. She would give him everything. She would do anything for him.

Her glare hardened when she saw Potter laugh and pet the large snake that was curled around the Dark Lord's shoulders. Potter didn't appreciate the Dark Lord the way she did. No one appreciated the Dark Lord the way she did. But it was clear she had no chance. Potter was too lucky. She had what she didn't deserve. Potter had what she deserved to have. And with Potter around, the Dark Lord didn't seem like he was ever going to look at another woman.

...But what if Potter wasn't around? Would he look at her then?


Violet yawned. Today had been a long day of classes, Quidditch practice, and studying, and she was finally, mercifully, done for the day. Now all she had to do was get something to stuff her face with at dinner, and then pass out in bed in her dorm. She couldn't wait to sleep.

"Hey, Violet."

She turned, and smiled when she saw who was approaching her. "Hey, Nev, what's up?"

"Just finished up my Defence essay," said Neville, falling into step beside her. "I'm glad I ran into you though. I had a question about something Professor Slytherin said."

"Oh yeah? Shoot." They walked, Violet listening and then explaining. The corridors were mostly empty, everyone else already down in the Great Hall for dinner.

No one really paid them any attention as they walked-no one but a single, solitary figure standing hidden in the shadows of a nearby alcove. They watched the two make their way down the corridor, frowning, though they didn't do anything.

Violet felt a shiver run up her spine, and knew she was being stared at. There were eyes on her back, watching her with an intent that wasn't so pleasant. It was a feeling she recognized all too well from the time she'd spent with the Dursleys and Dudley's stupid friends. This wasn't the gaze of someone kind or curious, or even someone who liked or tolerated her. This was the gaze of someone who loathed her and meant to do her serious harm.

"Violet?"

"Keep walking," she said quietly. "Look behind you as casually as possible. Do you see anyone?"

Curious (and slightly alarmed), Neville faked tripping over his own shoe, and as he stumbled, he turned. The corridor was deserted. When Violet laughed and asked him if he was alright, he continued to play along and let her help him up to her feet, smiling sheepishly as they turned to continue on their way.

"I didn't see anyone or anything," he said in a quick whisper before raising his voice again to continue talking about their most recent Defence class.

Violet hid a frown as she went on with the conversation as well, though both she and Neville knew that her mind was elsewhere. Was she wrong about what she was feeling? Was there really no one there? Or maybe the way Neville had looked back had seemed too suspicious? It certainly would have been for anyone else, but while Neville had grown and changed greatly, not all of his clumsiness had vanished, and he still did trip occasionally, so it couldn't have been that odd. Maybe whoever it was had just left right before Neville had been able to look?

But if her feeling was right, and there had been someone there, who meant her enough harm that she could feel it without even looking at them? A lot of people hated her for 'betraying' the Light, even though the entire point of the marriage with Marvolo had been meant to bring peace, but was that really it? Was it just one of those idiots?