Chapter 1: for the greater good
Fourth year, 1994.
The end could very well be just the beginning, to paraphrase an old quote. Though the so-called Smartest Witch of her Age, had never put much weight in the senseless words. It was a way to console someone through grief and trying times, to get others to believe and in-still within themselves a sense of hope that had been long lost. It was a way of saying that although it was bleak and dark now, the sun would shine again and the day would start anew. That the bad times couldn't last, and the good times would prevail as they always did. It always came back to that ideology, good versus evil, dark versus light.
She had always hated such divides.
Though in order to understand her thoughts, and likewise to understand her, there are some things that need to be explained first and foremost. The main one being that her name was Hermione Jean Granger, a muggleborn witch— though neither lasted her very long. The second most important one being that her life was not a happy one, at least not presently.
There had been a few stolen moments of peace and joy in her earlier years at Hogwarts, stuck in the middle of her two best friends Ron Weasley and Harry Potter. She had laughed and cried many times throughout those first years and, she had pulled tricks and excelled in all her classes— even when she bit off a little more than she could chew. Hermione Granger even bothered herself to go and watch a few quidditch matches despite fearing the sport and her friends taking part in it. She wasn't scared of heights per say but she was scared of falling from such heights.
Hermione Granger had kissed and gossiped about cute boys in her dorm room, even adventuring out to Hogsmeade for a few dates on occasion. Though her dorm mates had never started out all too close to her and with her primary best friends being boys, she learned how to befriend girls eventually. It made her life much easier when her said best friends were in the middle of a nasty argument.
Though with the world at war and herself being pulled headlong into the centre of it, she could hardly remember such times of carelessness and joyful actives. Weekends in Hogsmeade, quick kisses in the library with Quidditch Stars, or laughing at jokes and lamenting about potions homework seemed silly to think about in such times. The joy of such memories seemed to resemble an ignited match, though with no oxygen or hope to fuel it along, the match quickly stuttered out in the world shrouded by darkness.
Hermione could pinpoint the exact moment the world was turning cold, when the happy moments lessened and the world fell heavily on her shoulders alongside her best friends. If she truly wanted to be pessimistic she could claim it to be in her first year of Hogwarts—the year it all started and the year everything had changed—, but she had always prided herself in her logic. So logically speaking, or thinking in this case, the world was turned upside down the day Voldemort returned in her fourth year, as that was the day he came back, the day Cedric Diggory died.
It happened in a minute—no more and no less, as Cedric Diggory was dropped by her best friend in the middle of the Triwizard Tournament field lifeless and cold. Harry didn't move from his place on the ground, knelt in tattered robes, screaming and bloodied. It was a visual Hermione couldn't erase from her mind no matter how long she tried to scrub it away. She had been frozen in the stands, worried and terrified out of her wits as he screamed many things but most of all that he was dead. That Cedric was dead, gone from the world at only seventeen and that He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named was back to his former glory.
She was only fourteen and already it felt like the world was caving in as she eventually rushed to his side only to be shoved away. Photographers, Professors and students all holding her and Ron at bay— to stay away from the field, to not go rushing into danger, and to not comfort their friend. Then Harry had been dragged off by Professor Moody, and the students and families in attendance began to panic.
In short term, the following hours were hardly any better for anyone involved. Harry had nearly died again from their Defence Professor— thought to be Mad-Eye Moody, but was in fact Barty Crouch Jr— who had been polyjuiced and trying to kill him all year. Headmaster Dumbledore had been absent up until the last moment and just barely managed to save him along with Professor Snape and Professor McGonagall. Then there was the riots in the stands of panicked students and members of faculty who failed to keep the peace and the event quiet. There were hundreds upon hundreds of owls coming through daily as parents raged about the danger Hogwarts was in and Headmaster Dumbledore did nothing.
The Headmaster, who was admittedly powerful and an elderly man had been odd for years—both to students, the Ministry and wizards and witches of all ages for years. He always revealed far too little in the shapes of riddles and half hearted warnings to Harry and never bothered to explain himself afterwards either. Yet, Harry had held the man on pedestal for years, claiming him to be the shining example of what a good wizard ought to be like, Hermione wasn't so sure.
She had never been amicable with the elderly wizard but she had been cordial and polite— though that day had changed many things for her. He had failed her, and more importantly he had failed Harry— the man he trusted and valued most with his life. It was something she could not and would not forgive. Hermione refused to trust the man ever again with her best friend's life, despite his constant reassurances that he was fine. Even Ron thought that Harry was placing too much blind faith into the older wizard and he was about as dense as a doorknob most days.
Harry Potter was worth a thousand Albus Dumbledore's in Hermione Granger's opinion and he deserved everything that the world could offer him. He had been robbed a childhood, a family and a home and she would not allow the meddling old man to rob him of a life as well. No matter the price of such a request.
It had been hours since Dumbledore had stolen her best friend away and to his office after the days tragic events. He had been reclusive and hidden for days following the meeting and the funerals of Cedric, and despite the school year coming to an end, Hermione couldn't chance waiting until the next term. Stiffening her upper lip and shoving all her brimming rage and anger down to the depths of her person she started her walk to the griffin statues, the concealed passage to Dumbledores office.
Very few knew the location to the Headmasters office but fortunately, or unfortunately for her, she nearly knew the pathway by heart. From being gifted a time turner in her third year—which was really a poor judgment call on their behalf— to all the havoc and mischief her best friends had gotten up to, Hermione thought it safe to say that she had been to his office far more often than she would have liked. Not that she was usually in trouble per say, but it seemed that where Harry Potter went, trouble followed.
The brass statues stood tall and foreboding as she stood there, staring grimly at the realistic half-bird half-lion's that stood guard. Previous to her excursion she had written down an entire laundry list of possible passwords to his office. She knew from Harry it usually revolved around the Headmaster's favourite sweets and so that was where she started. With a quick sigh and a glare to the brass statues she began to list off in a clear and determined voice.
"Cauldron Cakes, Fudge Flies, Chocolate Cauldrons...," She started off simply, but was unsurprised when the statues didn't so much as budge, as if they were judging her deeply with their beady stone eyes.
"...Acid Pops, Stringmints, umm," she faltered for a moment as she found herself slowly running out of options. Maybe she should have added more Muggle candies just incase, but it was too late now to turn back.
"Ah... Sherbet Lemons, Sugar Quills—," Hermione nearly jumped out of her school robes when the statues finally began to twist around and reveal a spiralling staircase. Well, better late than never she supposed, though sugar quills were an odd password choice.
In a moment of silent triumph she stuffed her parchment into her pockets with a tilted grin and began walking up the winding staircase. Every step she took farther up had her gut spooling in knots and wringing like a mop. She knew it to be against the rules to enter a teacher's office or private quarters without their permission but she simply couldn't let this go. Harry deserved better given than the hand of cards life had dealt him and after all, what was one rule ignored compared to the thousands that her best friends broke?
She had just reached the top of the last stair when she was brought from her thoughts and counter arguments, should the issue be brought up at all, by a familiar voice speaking by the large glass windows. She had always found the headmaster's quarters to be strange looking. With odd bobbles and trinkets on the shelves, and the strange wallpaper and fifty or so portraits of past headmasters. Even the ceiling was strange in the way it gleamed like the night sky, but was currently cloudy and muddled like it too was displeased at the recent tragedy's.
Hermione was rooted in her spot by the stairs, refusing to let her eyes wander about as the Headmaster spoke a simple greeting to her. His very voice, unfathomably kind and grandfather-like had her posture tight and tense as she stared at the purple robed wizard who had been filling her cauldron with rage for days on end. There had been a time she had once respected the mighty Albus Dumbledore, for his cleverness and wit, his achievements and ability to stand for those deemed less of him. Though that time had long since passed as she angrily glared at the elderly wizard with his silver hair and shining half moon spectacles.
"Miss Granger," he greeted kindly with a small grin and his blue eyes twinkling behind the thick lenses. "I must say, I wasn't expecting you this evening."
She chewed on the corner of her lower lip, a bad habit she had yet to break, as she tried to infuse as much respect into her voice as possible. It was a difficult task as her hands were balled into fists in her school robes and she wanted nothing more than to hex the Professor for all that he had and more importantly hadn't done. After all, it wouldn't be the first time she cast on an adult for being stupid.
"What might I do for you?" He asked with a nod towards his sitting desk in invitation, where he stepped his way over to comfortably converse with the young witch. "As it is after curfew and it seems you have come alone, I assume the inquiry is both pressing, personal and troubling."
Hermione nodded in agreement to his claims but did not sit down at the chair offered to her. A chair that was wooden and worn, with red cushions like that of Gryffindor's banners and filled with golden accents around the legs. Sitting felt like defeat and she was not going to be defeated in a battle of wits—not even with her Headmaster who likely knew thousands of more things than she. Instead, Hermione stood proudly and stared at the man as if daring him to break eye contact with her chocolate brown eyes.
"Indeed," She agreed and half heartedly tacked on an apology at the end. "—though I must apologize about curfew, I hadn't noticed the time."
"But not for visiting my quarters without permission?" He asked with a bemused expression, though it quickly faded at her sharp and cynical reply.
Albus Dumbledore hummed at her in a noncommittal way and raised a brow at her two sided answer. He could tell the young witch was angered with him but for what he could not hope to guess. Though many doubted the great wizards mind and way of teaching he never forgot his students, and Hermione Granger was one he doubted he could forget even if he had wanted too.
She was brilliant, much more so than the average witch—clever with a cauldron over-filled with logic and knowledge. Though her temper was a fickle thing, much like a viper ready to attack instead of the lion she was meant to be. He knew the sorting hat was pushing for Ravenclaw, but her bravery and temper had outshone more clearly. A pity for Filius he assumed but a gift for Minerva. So with knowing this about the young witch, Albus let her air her temper willingly and stayed unmoved by her blatant rudeness.
"Honesty is an admirable trait to be given, though my question still stands." He leaned forward slightly, as he curved his hands onto his lap in a relaxed manner and repeated his words from earlier with twinkling blue eyes. "What can I help you with, Miss Granger?"
The elderly wizard waited for many moments as a mirage of looks passed over her face, all varying in severity from one to the next before she finally spoke plainly. It went from anger to grief, from rage to pity, from disgust to worry, and back to a bland and almost bored expression. Albus Dumbledore knew in that instant why the sorting hat chose to ignore her ambitiousness and cleverness that was an immediate tally to Slytherin. The young witch was painfully open with her emotions, carelessly wearing them upon her sleeves for all to see. Though the statement she left him with was not at all what the Headmaster had expected from her.
"It's about Harry."
He raised a brow at her words, confused at her meaning but slowly began to regale what he knew of her best friend and his current conditions. He had hoped the boy was just as well as he had been the last time they had spoke, nearly a night or so ago about Lord Voldemort.
"Last I had been told Mr. Potter has been doing well. Swiftly recovering from the fortnights tragic events." He said simply, not offering much besides the facts and basics that he knew. Though admittedly there was much that he suspected to be wrong with Harry Potter at the moment. The Headmaster knew grief to linger at the best of times but fade ever so slowly. Harry would just need time, he presumed.
"... Madame Pomfrey has even stated him to be much more resilient to her treatments, which are brutal and painstakingly slow at best, than expected."
Hermione's face went red with righteous anger as she seethed through clenched teeth and burning brown eyes like liquid molasses. "Those 'tragic events' should have never happened in the first place! But because of your negligence and arrogance—!"
"Arrogance?" Dumbledore slipped into her argument with both amusement and a slight tickling of annoyance in the back of his throat. He had been slandered many times in the papers and even more so by the general public as many things, but never had they called him arrogant. Perhaps foolish and reckless, barmy and a nutter, even on one memorable occasion the equivalent of a mad-hatter, but never, ever, arrogant.
"He is fourteen, Professor!" She snapped at him, preferring to ignore his disagreement outrightly as she straightened up and continued her bottled up rage at the elderly wizard. Dumbledore simply sat back and let her get all that she needed to off her chest in the safe confines of his office. No matter how much her comments burned and bit at his hardened skin, he didn't make any move to stop her otherwise.
"—A fourteen year old up against seventeen year olds in the most dangerous of Wizarding sporting events in history! And you made him compete," She paused for a second at most before steeling another glare at the blue eyed wizard.
"Harry didn't even want to compete, did you know? He was hoping you'd find a way for him to get out of it— he's been drowning in fear all year because of it! And. You. Did. Nothing!"
A wave of accidental magic broke free, as an antique vase on one of his many cluttered shelves exploded in glass fragments. Dumbledore didn't even bat an eye as he sent a reparo towards it, though it seemed the witch had finally gotten some of her anger cleared as she muttered in disdain towards him. Her eyes were still burning brown pits, but no longer did she scream at him as she seethed.
"You should have pulled him from the tournament at the start, like any sane person would have. He could have died." When a moment of silence passed between them, Albus slowly unfurled his clasped hands and spoke in a measured a tone.
"It was a magical binding contract—," He didn't get any farther than that, as Hermione Granger fired up once more.
"A contract that could have been broken since he was not of age and his parents or guardians consent was not given!" She fumed, as she let her one heel slightly stop to the floor in what Dumbledore could only think of as a child tantrum-like response. "If you had simply asked Sirius he would have broken it off instantly!"
Now it was Albus's turn to stare at her in shock, as he took in the witch for all that she was. Hermione Granger had always been a gifted witch, known to be both powerful and clever. Perhaps he could have taken Harry out of the tournament, he did know it was quite plausible with his age as a factor, but in the end it would have caused more of a fuss than anything. He had full support and faith in Harry to survive the tournament.
"You really are quite clever Miss Granger. More clever than I had ever anticipated from a witch your age." He complimented simply, watching as the witch's brows raised slightly in disdain. It was almost as if any praise from him was worth nothing more than the mud on her shoes. Which he supposed was fair to the way their entire interaction was panning out.
With a sigh, he added thoughtfully while smoothing out his long silvery beard. "I concede to your argument however, there a things are work that I cannot divulge into at the moment as to why his actions and participation were necessary."
It wasn't a lie, but it wasn't exactly the truth either. Harry living and competing in the tournament had managed to eliminate the wait of Voldemort's resurrection and also solidify his needs to use Severus once more. With Voldemort back and the rest of the world ignorant it gave him much time to plan and reach out to old alliances. He needed trust to bring in his ranks of the Order, and frankly Dumbledore needed time to ready Harry for his final play on the chessboard. He had been playing chess for over a hundred years now, and he would be damned if Voldemort managed to out manoeuvre his knights once more.
"His actions!" She snapped coldly, bringing the elderly man swiftly from his wandering thoughts.
With a sigh Albus attempted to make peace with the witch, recalling a fool hardly plan he had implemented in the beginning before knowing the boy. Before knowing that Harry was able to be primed and coaxed into the pawn Albus desperately needed him to be. Severus had stated that all his plans were long shots and unlikely to amount to anything but the world in tatters and himself at the centre of the collapse. Though Severus had never been all too great at chess so perhaps it was a good thing he thought Dumbledore to be playing with fire.
"I am aware you do not think highly of my lack of interest in your friends life—," A easy lie, much like all the following words were as they fell from his tongue like honey. "—how you think I allowed him to battle Quirrel on his own, that I allowed the basilisk to roam the school and for Harry to face it alone. I must say it was never my intention for him to come to harm."
Only the last had been a truth. Dumbledore had never wanted Harry to be harmed— it was why he sent Fawkes and the sword to him in the Chamber, and forced Severus to keep an eye on him during his first year. No, Albus Dumbledore was many things but he was not a fool, not in this. Harry Potter would not be harmed until the time was right, until he was faced with the final truth and making the last move on the chessboard. The ultimate play.
"He's only fourteen and you offer him up to that maniac on a silver platter year after year, Professor." She tacked on his title like a curse and Albus could not help the cold fury that began to spew in his chest. She knew, somehow someway Hermione Granger had become subject to his carefully constructed and concealed plans.
"What will next years grand scheme be? Will my best friend finally achieve the means to your ends— the end result being his death!"
He played the part, much like Severus played his and swallowed the sharp and splintering words like poison that spewed along his tongue. Albus flinched at her tone but not at her words because they were the truth and he had always valued honesty even when he could not submit to such a trait himself.
"It's for the greater good."
Another lie, it's always another lie.
Hermione Granger looked like she had been dosed in cold water. Her eyes beginning to look glassy and red as the anger faded to be filled with tears and pain at what will eventually come to an end. Albus knew right then and there he had to get her to listen, to persuade her to keep quiet of such matters— but it seemed impossible. Even with adding such an insane risk to his game of chess now he could not guarantee anything, nothing but a chance but perhaps that would suffice.
Perhaps his plan would go unsoiled like it should, even if he added a new pawn to his board. For the greater good, he thought simply and tired as ever, it was always for the greater good. A world without tyranny and dark magic, a world without sides and without pain. It was why he spoke at all as the witch looked seconds from running from the room. For the greater good.
"He trusted you!" She yelled at him, her voice cracking in the middle as she began to scream at him as tears welled in her brown eyes and her pale cheeks went a bright red from the stress of holding them back. "I trusted you, Ron trusted you!"
"What would you have me do, Miss Granger?" Albus remarked tiredly, though he felt anything but. He was knowingly playing on her weaknesses, to use her sympathy and logic against her, to make her stay and listen at least for the moment while he multitasked behind his mental shields.
"Hide him away as young witches and wizards die in the fight? Lock him up in some safe house for years, to have him live a life in solitude and on the run from Lord Voldemort?" He exhaled loudly, as if to reinforce his tired state, to which he used as a front. Albus knew he would need to call Severus later that evening to keep him up to date with the new developments at hand. "I doubt he would agree to such a cowardly motion."
"You could do something other than send him on a death quest year after year." She said matter of factly, as a lone tear streaked down her face but was quickly wiped away with her robe sleeve. He knew instantly he was gaining ground as she spat out the following statement. "Something that wouldn't kill my best friend before he turns twenty."
Albus heaved a sigh as he gestured to the chair once more, thinking the witch had finally aired out all her anger if the tears were anything to go by. "Sit down, Miss Granger."
Her eyes snapped to his, with defiance radiating off her in waves. "I don't—,"
"Sit," he ordered sternly, having been quite annoyed with the drawn out execution of her defiance and anger. It would have been so much simpler if it had been the Weasley boy who had confronted him. He at least could be counted on to agree to most things without thoughts, to easily follow others and be manipulated into being obedient.
Biting his tongue to hold himself together, he held out the bowl of Sugar Quills politely and fell into the routine of offering sweets to any student that graced his office. It made working with children much simpler when they took from the bowl for them they felt at ease and confided almost earnestly.
"Would you like a—?"
She sneered at him, almost an exact replica of the one he had seen one to many times on the young Malfoy heir. It nearly made him chuckle at the mental comparison, at least until she opened her mouth.
"You can shove your Vertiserum laced sweets up—,"
He quickly pulled the bowl back and settled her with a cold and icy glare. He was pleased when she dropped her head in shame and began to worry her lower lip between her teeth. Albus knew she had issues disrespecting elders and people in authority—a common effect of teacher pets and those seeking validation. So her reaction had been strange at best, but then again he had been pressing her and sooner or later she would crack under the pressure. If enough force was extorted, of course.
"Miss Granger...," He prompted pointedly, and slowly the witch raised her head to meet his eyes as he spoke. He carefully measured his words and levelled his tone to that of exhaustion and began to confide small truths and hidden lies to her in the plenty. "I was going to wait until next term before offering this to you but, seeing as you lack not only trust but faith in my skills I shall offer my aid now."
She frowned and began to speak, only for him to interrupt her swiftly yet again. He was tiring of interruptions and was beginning to understand Severus' ire with her. She was loud mouthed and impatient. Perhaps, he owed his spy an apology.
"For Harry then." He remedied easily, as the following words tasted bitter like acid in an adequate attempt of genuineness and compassion. "I agree with your view point, I have been negligent and perhaps arrogant towards young Mr. Potter and his pinnacle for finding trouble."
He willed the frown from his face, and let his eyes meet the brown eyed witches sincerely as he offered in kindness to appeal to her. "He is lucky and I am grateful that he has such loyal friends. For this makes a number of things much simpler on my part."
She stared at him in curiosity, as if trying to piece together what he was getting at before asking in prompt. "Sir?"
It was at this moment he was thankful to be not only be a skilled liar—having been friends of liars and resulted from a not so light filled upbringing, but an adept Occlumens.
"I have encountered a spell, darker than any magic I have found in quite some time from one of the few dark tomes I hold in my private collection. Normally," He paused here as if to give her a moment to process his words. Like he had given her valuable information towards his secrets. That even the face of the light magic campaign dabbled in the dark arts from time to time. "—I wouldn't even think about casting it, but perhaps you are correct. If I cannot be the one to help Mr. Potter, then perhaps he could trust in you to always do what's right— as you have no difficulty to see between the lines of light and dark."
The words tasted bitter sweet, like acid that burned his tongue. He had lied very little, as the witch was quite morally grey in his compass of light and dark wizards but if everything went well, the witch wouldn't even remember the conversation. It didn't matter that he wouldn't hold up his end of the bargain to allow her to help Harry. Perhaps, the spell he would use on her would be enacted, as it was exactly what he was claiming it be— a possibility for Harry to be safe. But he wasn't about to let Hermione Granger be the only influence to his sacrificial pawn. Harry Potter needed his guidance and he wasn't about to let some Muggle-born upstart ruin his chess match.
"The whole basis of dark wizards and light wizards is codswallop," She stated with a roll of her eyes and a downward turn of her lips, though she quickly added on as an afterthought. "...sir."
Dumbledore chuckled with a grin, and gave the witch her allowance to familiarity. It was good she was letting him in, even if it was cautiously. It meant she was being persuaded to listen which was what he needed most from her at the moment. "That it may be, Miss Granger, but it is not a mindset even I can change overnight."
Hermione didn't offer anything more than a raised brow at his words to which he took as a silent nudge to continue. To pull her further into his grasp of attention he let his previous teaching methods channel through him. It was not something he was particularly skilled at, children had never been his forte, but something he had used as a stepping stone to gain access and power amongst the generations to follow his own.
'Fear in the absence of respect is not power. Power is power.' It was a quote he hardly pondered on any longer, since the wizard who once spoke it, the wizard who had once been his most dearest friend— was no longer with the world of the living. Nothing more than a shade of what he once was, a hallowed husk of a man in the deepest and darkest cellars of Azkaban.
"This spell is one that would be classified as black magic, I assume you are familiar with the term?" He questioned with a quirked brow and was quick to observe how she tensed at the term. He allowed her unease at the change of topic to pull him away from the darker tangents his mind had begun to unravel.
"Of course, sir."
He watched her carefully as he slowly measured his words once more. He could see her interest piqued but also her caution and fear growing with every passing second. "Then you understand the ramifications I would be under should anyone know of it's existence and uses..." he paused for a moment as he struggled to word it properly. "—namely those of dark intent and wishes. There is a reason black magic is so heavily dealt with in the face of crimes committed."
She nodded, likely thinking off all the named wizards and witches that had dabbled in such Dark Arts. Or maybe she was thinking of the consequences and laws against Black Magic—Dumbledore didn't exactly want to ask which she occupied her clever mind with. It all came down to the same reply, the wizards and witches were dead as that was the law of magical beings who dabbled in such. Black Magic was a sin in and of itself and to wield it was a crime that even Grindelwald and Voldemort knew better than to dabble in.
"I will not go into details about the nature of the spell, as the book itself was vague in explanation, most of it written in runes and riddles." Albus stated simply, as he let his hands clasp on top of the desk in ease and sighed slightly to play the act of being tired far beyond his years. Though the witch didn't seem fooled by his pretence entirely as she stayed stiff as a board and let a frown mar her plain features.
Without prompting he continued onward. "It does however, offer an opportunity that is both timely and unique to our situation."
The silence that fell in between the two was uncanny. For half a moment Albus Dumbledore was worried he had prodded too far, that he had not measured the witch properly and that at any second she would call him on his half truths and hidden lies, but thankfully he was wrong. As the curly haired witch chewed thoughtfully on her lower lip, with a thousand expressions flicking across her face before she worriedly glanced up with a peculiar and unusual expression.
"Would it help Harry?" She asked timidly, her previous grief and anger now subdued and gone from her thoughts. Albus was pleased to note that he had in fact calculated that equation correctly. Hermione Granger would always seek knowledge for her answers rather than follow her emotions. She added on shortly with glimmering irises of mud brown. "Would it keep him safe?"
Albus didn't hesitate in his reply, despite it being more of a presumption than a promise on his end. Magic was never a fail safe, and he could never guarantee Harry Potter's likelihood of survival. Not with the prophecy and the world resting on his shoulders to handle the situation properly. Sacrifices were a given in war, for the betterment of others—as he preached, for the greater good.
She chewed on her lower lip, a habit that Albus Dumbledore couldn't help but notice was a frequent one with the young witch. It was a telling sign to her unease and distrust in him, but likewise one that easily showed how her mind scrambled for answers. He had given her little information, as was to be expected, but enough that it subdued her curiosities and had her positioned in a corner with only one reply at her disposal. Albus had known she would agree even before he offered, or speculated at the least. It was a risk on her part to take it, but looked favourably on her values that surmounted others. It was a pity the clever witch was so easily fooled. He had half hoped she would call his bluff and prove that he had mistaken her faults.
After a moments thought, she ceased her fretting and raised her head just a smidge higher in determination to meet his half concealed bright blue eyes. She spoke clearly and without a single waver in tone—the embodiment of her Hogwarts house shining through like a beacon.
"What do you need me to do?" Smiling inwardly, he re-clasped his wrinkled and weathered hands in a loose and approachable manner as he spoke.
"I need your permission to cast the enchantment on your person, to enable the spell not only within your mind but your magical core," He paused here as he let his eyes wander along the young witches tensed stature. He was relieved to notice that she seemed familiar with how invasive and dark the spell would effect her. To ease her mind he added on the only reassurance that he could offer in the nature of the spell. "It will lay dormant and hidden unless it should ever be needed."
"And if it isn't," She interrupted swiftly before adding on hastily in clarification. "—needed that is."
"It will live with you and it will die with you," Albus concluded simply, letting his words wash in reassurance over the young witch. He watched content for moment as her posture lots it's rigidity for just half a second more as he added on, until it washed away just as quick. "—offering no lasting effect otherwise."
With her posture once again tense and ready like a knocked arrow in a bow to be released at any second, she haughtily asked, "And what's the catch?"
He knew it was too good to be true that the so-called smartest witch of her age would take such a spell lying down with no further poking and prodding into the mechanics of it. Once more that evening he had wished it was Ronald Weasley who came into his office to be offered such a chance instead. He sighed both in exasperation and exhaustion before further going into the castings complexities.
"To do this magic," he started slowly, trying his damnedest to keep a cool and collected head about such things. He knew when he started this fools errand with the witch he'd need to be both truthful and dishonest and unfortunately the time came for honesty in which he would need to do next. A memory charm was the only way such a spell could be enacted properly and the only reason he would condone such magic. "—I need to lock away the memory of this entire conversation afterwards."
He could see the woman's lips tighten and her eyes narrow but before she could fire a rebuttal he added on, "You cannot be aware of the spell, or of the words we spoke this evening for it to truly work."
"How can I trust that you will do the spell and not just obliviate me?" Hermione Granger prodded with a hardened amber gaze and her lips pinching around the corners tightly. Albus Dumbledore was truly hating how clever the witch was turning out to be.
"You can't," he remarked calmly, his lips down turning ever so slightly in betrayal to his grievance of how quick witted the young girl was. He added on in the hopes to placate her worries and aggression towards him, "I am not asking you to trust me, in fact I recommend you don't at all, but this magic will ensure that Harry is safe— that he will always be safe, no matter the danger."
Lies. All of it was lies. Every single word in that last phrase from his manipulating mouth was just a another piece sculpted for his chessboard of wits.
Magic was not a fail safe and both he and many other established witches and wizards knew such things but hope-filled young girls didn't. Young witches always looking for the best in situations and constantly putting their hearts and loved ones in others hands couldn't. Hermione Granger likely presumed herself to know best, as her pride in knowledge and all-knowingness was both her greatest strength and greatest flaw. She called him arrogant but it was like calling a pot kettle black. Hence why when she let her gaze flicker from his eyes and back to her lap for just a moment he knew right than that he had been correct in his assumptions to her loyalties. Hermione Granger may not be loyal to him, but she was to Harry Potter.
"I agree," She spoke unwavering into the tension filled air of his office. While the old Wizarding Headmaster nodded to her in civility all he could hear resounding in his head was one simple word…
Sixth year, 1998.
A poet once claimed in the Muggle world that the world would end in fire, but that ice in the end would suffice. Hermione Granger had never been one to lounge about and argue the practicalities of both the reasonings but as the poet suggested she had enough hate and anguish within her heart to assume the world to end in fire. As it is the element that encompasses all, burning everything in it's path, and leaving nothing. It's destructive by nature, but purifying in it's defeat, the same could not be said for ice.
As a Muggle-born brought into the Wizarding World she had always assumed the world to end in fire and from her viewpoint (and being physically placed in such a setting), it did. The place she called home was burned to ruin along with the many people she called family and friends. The bread castle of Hogwarts was scorched and devastated, and the shouting and screaming of curses and hexes burned her skin, and singed her ratty and untameable hair. Though fire wasn't the only way the world burned.
Watching what held her captive in such a world, the people she knew and loved and those she knew nothing more than a name or an inkling of recognition to die didn't ignite flames inside her, like many assumed it would. Rather they stifled the flames and what was left of her innocence and heart. She didn't burn like the lion with rage, in crimson and gold like many presumed, but froze like the black lake across the courtyard, icy and cold. She did not burn bright and all at once like the Phoenix of the organization she was held loyal to—she became an ice sculpture, a hollowed girl staring wide eyed as the world fell to ruin around her. Hermione couldn't breathe.
She watched as the man they had strived so hard to defeat once and for all as he ended her best friends life in less than second. There was no grand duel, no luck or chance to help her friend survive such a gruesome death that screamed of irony and terrible poetry. It was over in a second, in a beam of that awful green light. The unforgivable curse that hard started their journey, shot forward, connected to his unprotected chest, and just like it had begun, it had all ended.
She couldn't remember screaming, she couldn't recall a single noise at all in that eerie clearing of death and destruction. Blood painted the stone steps, and statues that had been transfigured into soldiers by their Professors lay scattered in broken bricks around them. Burnt hair and the smell of rotting flesh clung to her nose from the wafting air in the makeshift infirmary in the Great Hall. Where the dead of their enemies and friends lay spoiling, where the injured tried to hold on a while longer. Though It was all for nothing—the drive to survive the hope to outlast the next few minutes—, because her best friend was dead.
Harry Potter was dead and Voldemort lived.
They had been on the run for weeks, hiding in any place imaginable with nothing but what they carried on them. Always on alert, always on edge. The lesson of constant vigilance stained like a tattoo to the forefront of their minds from the long-since deceased auror. It was ridiculous that a half year ago the man had been alive and yelling it at them, rather than laying somewhere lost in the vast forests in Britain. No one cared about the dead and half-mad ex-Auror's funeral rites—no more than any other deceased witches or wizards missed period of grieving and mourning. Everyone in the Wizarding World only had one goal in mind, which was to survive the coming days, to above everything else— stay alive. Celebrating the lives lived and the people they cared for dead didn't fit in the world they were stuck living in.
Following the death of Harry Potter, and the rise of the New Order for the Ministry of Magic, everything of any semblance of good fell to shambles. Blood-traitors like the Weasley's were killed on sight while Muggle-born witches and wizards were rounded up in pens to live out their days filthy and tortured. Despite having been ostracized from the Muggle World for years, Hermione found some odd similarities of the pens and lodgings they were entrapped in to those of Auschwitz and other Jewish death camps in the Second World War. They were marched in like prisoners and more often than not,
never returned home.
It was by chance that she had escaped the lines ups, only through her quick wits and grabbing hold of Ron and Ginny Weasley next to her did she manage to outrun those calling for her eventual execution. They had apparated instantly to the Forest of Dean and ever since they had been on the run. That had been two weeks ago. Evading capture had been easier the first time around the Muggle-born witch had to admit, at least then they had a goal in mind, a plan of sorts. The only plan the three wayward made siblings—brought together once by a mutual best friend–, had now was to stay alive and keep others that way for as long as possible. It felt stupid to dwell on the past when things weren't exactly well but better than the now, but with no hope and no drive to live—Hermione let the past settle the few happy feelings left in her bones.
Ginny Weasley had been inconsolable in the hours after their escape. Crying silently and letting only a few haggard sobs escape when she though neither of her companions would notice. She had loved Harry since she was a young girl, long before she even knew what love was. Harry Potter had been the light of her life, the love she never got to act on and her greatest what if. What if she had told him she loved him, what if she had kissed him the room of requirement when she had the chance? What if she had mustered up some Gryffindor courage to get the boy she had always fantasized and dreamt of?
Perhaps, it was the what if's that hurt the red-haired girl the most.
They had never stayed in the same place twice, foraging for food and stealing when buying their goods wasn't an option. It made Hermione sick to her stomach about the things they had committed, the death-eaters they had killed in wayward magic, but they were at war. War had consequences, tragedies and deaths— though she never thought she'd live to see the day she'd become a murderer nor a thief.
Perhaps, it was the foolish biases that Gryffindor's were unfathomably good, that they were the light, the warriors, the ones without a bad bone in their body. They weren't made to be killers, murders and thieves. They were brave and courageous, not cold hearted and blood covered that hid in the daylight only to emerge in the night. More than once Hermione found herself scrubbing her hands raw like the infamous Lady Macbeth to wash away the imaginary blood from her palms. Only twice did one of her companions realize it for what it truly was—paranoia.
They all had their own issues, Hermione with her conscience and Ginny with her never ending what if's. It was their spiral of grief, how they kept moving forward when reason told them to lay down their arms and wait for death. It was ironic that it was Ron Weasley who was the most level headed of their group, the one with the most unshakable resolve to fight and survive. The one not falling apart at the seams like he had the last time they were on the run. He wasn't absent of his grief though, he was more often then not staring longing into the night, speaking to the stars like they held the answers to his questions.
Hermione had always spat on the idea of greater forces, divination and seers. Though more than once she saw the red haired boy attempting to read the remnants of tea leaves in his chipped metal cup, or gazing at the stars. She never belittled him of his new found trance, or in the way his eyes glazed over and he muttered for hours on end about death omens and dark times ahead. If Ron Weasley found hope in the stars, she wouldn't break his spirit. Even if she thought it all to be nothing more than codswallop.
They could all use a little hope in such trying times.
They had made it a week without incident, the three of them battling the elements and dark wizards alike after their mounted heads. Rummaging through trash bins for glimpses at the Daily Prophet and other newsworthy items to stay in the loop of things. It was on the front page they found the rest of the Weasley's beheaded and mounted in the flickering backdrop of the main picture. 'BLOOD TRAITOR WORK OF ART FOR NEW MINISTER' read the caption, with the picture flicking from the wall to the grotesque man in front of it. Voldemort might have once been handsome and charming in his previous life as Tom Riddle, but reborn as the monster he was now was anything but.
Ginny had cried for hours while Ron stared dazed into his empty tea cup after cursing the entire forest aflame with a deadly bluebell charm. Hermione hadn't uttered a word at the picture, but silently was sick in the burning bushes as she recalled every Weasley jumper she had ever been gifted. Every act of kindness she had been given by the generous family.
It seemed only fitting that shortly after the news article that they were attacked not even ten hours later. That was the seventh time Hermione had killed someone, the killing curse coming a bit too quickly from her chapped lips. Ron had set three snatchers on fire, in response to Ginny being set after with a cutting curse. Even with all the dittany in the world Hermione wouldn't have been able to save the girl.
What hurt the most besides being unable to save her was not being able to bring her cold corpse with them to enact proper burial rites. Ginny Weasley was left cold and stiff in the unmarked clearing, and Hermione didn't think she could ever forgive herself for such a thing. Ginny deserved better— they all deserved better than this hell-scape they were trapped in.
Hermione cried for hours that night in the arms of her last living best friend. She cried for Ginny, the girl she couldn't save and could never repay for taking her loved one away. She cried for Molly and Arthur who had always been nothing but kind to her and opened their home to her on the holidays. She cried for Fred and George and the mischief and mayhem they never got to create in their far too short of lives. She cried for Percy and his obsessive work habits, and Bill's half-blood children that would never know him. She cried for Charlie who would never get married or start a family of his own and all the creatures he left behind to fight a war.
Hermione cried and cried until she didn't have a single ounce of liquid left in her body, and all the while Ron held her just as tight. He was the last of his family now.
When did the world begin feel so empty and cold?
It was a month past the death of Ginny Weasley, two months since the last battle and the world was dark and cold. Hermione no longer felt the anguish and guilt of the death following her like shadows. She had killed far more lives than she saved but it was survival. Survival of the fittest had taken on an entirely new meaning.
They were camped out in rural Whiltshire, a stones throw from where the vacated and decimated Malfoy Manor once stood. It seemed that even the Dark Lord was getting annoyed with the aristocracy that was shoving ideas his way. Though Hermione knew there was no love lost between herself and the youngest Malfoy heir she had felt a flickering of pain at the mention of his death. Suicide it was deemed, though Hermione presumed it to be of a more vicious nature. He had never seemed the cold and brutal type. The one to collapse in guilt from the lives he ruined and to pay them back in giving his own. It was far too cowardly for the proud Malfoy heir.
Others soon followed, many pureblood heirs all passing in their sleep or other deemed natural causing deaths—, their families following shortly after. Hermione half wondered if a second plague had caught them unannounced but it made no sense in the death toll. Perhaps, the Dark Lord had once and for all lost his mind, paranoia creeping up ever so slowly and rotting what was already dirty and blackened with sinful desires. Maybe, they had been double crossing the man, or maybe he truly did want the world to be nothing but his playground of chaos and bloodshed.
She didn't pretend to know the madman all too well anyway.
"Hermione," the sudden calling of her name brought her out of her gloomy thoughts abruptly. Not entirely sure how long her companion had been calling her, she glanced up at Ron to see him standing near the mouth of the closed tent flap. It was a little worse for wear than it had been nearly a year ago, with the once pale canopies now turning a muddy brown and looking burnt around the outer flaps. Nonetheless, it served it's purpose of sheltering them from the potential rains, biting winds and other elements they were subjected too in their evasion of getting caught.
She carefully stood from her leaning on an old spruce tree, taking care in tucking her erratic and matted curls behind her ear before half asking, in a way that no words were needed.
"We should be leaving," he said slowly, just as he magically shrunk the tent down to fit in his coat pocket.
The red haired boy was a shade of what he used to look like. The once hardened muscle on his shoulders had turned to nothing more than rails, every aspect of him bony and thin. Even his face had lost its roundedness and was now pointed and gaunt, his once bright blue eyes dull and with bruise like bags beneath them. Hermione knew she looked no better for wear, but just glancing at him was nearly painful. The war had taken everything from the both of them, leaving them nothing more than shadows of their once proud selves.
"Right, she mumbled, chewing on the corner of her lower lip and glancing to him unsurely as she began to ask, "Is everything—?"
"Packed and ready." He quickly supplied in answer as he walked slowly to her, as quiet as mouse in a loud floored home. Another thing that had gotten better with their time on the run was their ability to move around unnoticed and communicate with little to no words at all. Hermione didn't know whether it was a trait to be proud of or not, seeing as if only came to existence out of a necessity to stay alive.
"Thank you." She said softly, before holding out her arm to apparate them both to a new location. Hermione distantly thought of when they used to not go hours without arguments between them, when they had both been hard headed and stubborn with little understanding but still joint at the hip with Harry. She longed for those days and their old selves, now they were too quiet, silence filling most of their time spent together both. Far too broken and lost in their own minds to notice the chasm that had grown between them.
Once he had taken her outstretched arm, the familiar tug in her navel made the word spin past them in a second of bright and nausea inducing colours. In a second the world materialized around them again, their body's feeling stretched and molded oddly from the rushed wizard transport. The only difference being that instead of hunger pains greeting them miles away from where they once were, it was the onslaught of curses and hexes at their sudden arrival.
Hermione didn't know how they had found them but it took her a half a second more than it should of for her to dodge an oncoming hex as she dove towards a large boulder for cover. Ron had weaved to the side before shooting off a couple curses their attackers way in retaliation. She used the rock to her advantage as she threw curses and hexes overhead and used the rock for a sufficient cover as needed.
There were three in the barren clearing currently, not that it made the fight all that more even footed. Hermione had tangled with them before it would be only minutes before five more joined them in their apprehension. She half thought they could trace their apparitions which would make sense due to the tracing charms and residue magic within the transport that was held in the now corrupt Ministry of Magic.
Though why they had waited for nearly a month to snatch them up was the more interesting question. But in the midst of battle she let logic fade from her mind as her instincts took control. She sent a quick Expelliarmus to the one dark cloaked wizard, and missed her mark by inches as they evaded and sent a coordination jinx her way. Ron was taking on the other two, one that she knew personally as a death-eater and the other as a deflection to the other side.
The death-eater in question was Caulden Nott, the twice removed uncle of a boy who had been in their year at Hogwarts, the other a younger witch a year below them from Ravenclaw. The only reason Hermione recognized her at all in the dark robes was from the mahogany coloured hair that was held in tight plaits on her scalp and the upturned nose. Nadia Fawley, she had tutored her in Arthimacy once upon a time.
The wizard she was facing herself was eerily familiar, though he, unlike his companions, had his identity concealed by the all too recognizable death-eater mask of silver and white. She didn't hesitate to send a few nasty curses his way, she could only smile a little when her stinging-hex managed to take land on his right leg. Though her joy was soon taken over with panic and fear as the all too familiar incantation was shouted to the left of her where Ron was taking on the other two.
She didn't know how the others could have known the dark spell, as it had been created by Professor Snape who had swore that he was the only one to have used it, excluding Harry, as he was the creator of it. Hermione couldn't help but dart her eyes, in Ron's direction to make sure such a curse missed, but in her half second of distraction, she was cursed in the shoulder by her least favourite Unforgivable.
Her mind went blank from worry to be filled with an unfathomable amount of pain. Burning filled her blood, ashes replaced her bones, her skin becoming that of imaginary ribbons as she screamed loudly— everything began to thrum with pain. Her nerves were on fire, her lungs were drowning and she didn't know when the pain would stop, if it would ever. Hermione Granger couldn't help but thrash on the ground as she tried to fight it off, despite knowing in the back of her clouded and screaming mind that it was useless to try.
She could have been under the curse for years or just seconds and she wouldn't have known the difference except that when the pain stopped the cackling and gloating began.
"Finally out of lives, Mudblood?" The dark cloaked wizard with the mask taunted breezily. Hermione could only cough and shake wildly after the onslaught of the torture curse. It didn't matter really she didn't have much to say anyway to the likes him, besides that he really needed to work on his aim.
"Oh Justice is sweet," Fawley remarked coolly off to her left. Hermione wanted to crane her neck to watch the younger girl, get a read on if she was entirely foe or part friend but her trembling limbs stopped her from doing so. It didn't reassure Hermione that she was even part friend when she sent a cutting curse off to her left, seconds after gloating.
"I love the way they scream," Nott mused out loud with a throaty chuckle as Ron's scream came apparent to her ringing senses. Screams were good, screams meant he was alive and as long as they were alive they could get away. They had to get away. "—like music to my ears."
The sudden crunching of bone and the searing pain in her ankle was brought to her attention as she let out a ragged scream into the darkness. She remembered leaving their past campsite at sunset, so they must have fighting for at least twenty minutes for the stars to come alive in the night. Though laid back and trembling on the barren ground of the clearing didn't leave much room in her over filled mind to calculate much else.
Another silent casting of Crucio ended up on her person and she trembled and shook as she sobbed loudly into the night air, ignoring the resonating pain in her ankle as she thrashed violently before it all came to a stop. The second round had been weaker but not by much. A mild torture curse was still a torture curse, even if it was better than a severe one.
It wasn't only her screams that were painting the clearing with music of their cries of pain. The sobbing of Ron alongside herself, wormed their way into her ears as she panted fogging. Though her reprieve was short lasted when a swift kick to the side had her spilling onto her belly and crying harder. She wanted it to stop she wanted it to be the end of her pain she was tired of living in the endless circle of pain and torture repeating itself. She wanted to die and she wanted to die now. Hermione doubted Ron would be asking for anything different either as she heard the same cutting curse find their way into his person along with a deafening snap of what sounded to be his skull.
"Oh dear," the catty tone of Nadia spoke loudly as she exclaimed with an almost manic sound of glee in her tone. "—it seems the blood-traitor has taken quite a tumble, Granger. Good thing he has no use for his brain any longer."
She shrieked at the girl's words and tried to force herself up on shaking limbs only to get shoved hard into the dirt by another well aimed kick to her skull. Her head throbbed from the pressure, as everything became fuzzy and she felt the instant urge to vomit what little she had in her stomach.
"Pity at that," Nott hummed in amusement as he taunted wickedly in a tone that Hermione knew to have him smirking viciously down at her with crooked teeth on full display. "I was hoping to fetch a price for him. Maybe make myself a 'work of art' to add to the Dark Lord's growing collection."
The chilling laughter that echoed around her had her head searing with pain and her eyes becoming uncomfortably wet at the thought. The vision of the Weasley's family all mounted on the wall as a backdrop to the Dark Lord's coup acquired office in the Ministry had her overflowing with grief. They were a kind family, a good family and they were treated like some sick cannibalistic styled trophy's to a maniac.
"Oh look at her, Nott!" Fawley crowed with a sneer, "The Mudblood is crying!"
"No sense wasting your tears, love." The other deatheater purred, Yaxley they had called him, in such a way that and the once brave Hermione Granger cowering and shaking even harder than before. She didn't want to know what he would try if not for the others present. Likely similar to what Bellatrix had taunted her with. Passing her around as a cheap thrill ride for all the lower standing death-eaters to get a taste of the Brightest Witch of Her Age.
He added on in the same tone that had her spluttering out another cry as she flinched at his cold hand running alongside her chin and forcing her to meet his cold, green eyes. "There's no one left alive to care about you or your magic, sweetheart."
"Stolen magic, Yaxley." Fawley snipped coldly in correction. It was spoken in such a tone that had Hermione wondering how the witch could get away with being uncharacteristically rude to older and far more powerful men. "You know that Mudblood's have no magic of their own."
A groan from the left of her had Hermione wondering how Ron was managing in comparison to her. Was he thinking her weak and pathetic as she laid there sobbing and in pain, unable to move from both fear and her own shaking limbs? He had always held her in a stance of strength without weakness, all knowing and powerful, yet here she laid broken and knowing nothing.
The swift sounding jab of a wand had her wondering if this was going to be their end. With the three black robed wizards staring down at her like muck on their black soled shoes, when Fawley intervened once more, much to her chagrin. Hermione was getting admittedly more and more fearful of the young witch with a nasty taste for blood.
"Why make it quick, Yaxley?" The witch questioned and Hermione's heart nearly stuttered to a stop. She wouldn't take anymore. She couldn't, she was done. What more could this girl want with her? "...make her suffer for all the trouble she's caused us."
With her thoughts spiralling and her eyes brimmed with tears— blurry from her searing skull and the dampness that was beginning to leak from her cranium, Hermione missed much of the following words. She knew her head to be messed up at the time from all the kicking and the rounds of Crucio, but she could still make sense of her thoughts. If only the most basic ones, and them all being jarring and unconnected to the other, as if they were muddled by cotton. The only thing she was able to obtain was the sound of another spell being cast on her person and the sudden ice water that dosed her insides.
She felt the addition of a nudge in her brain, the same one that had her reciting the alphabet backwards in her fourth year Defence Against the Dark Arts Class. Unlike Harry, she had never been able to throw off the curse or even become a smidge resistant to it. It wasn't from a lack of trying on her end but a simple truth. She had never been good at going against orders or breaking the rules.
'Sit up, Mudblood.'
The voice nudged in her head, and to her surprise she was able to resist it, only partially as she started to get up but froze half way. Her arms shaking and her limbs pulling at the strain of it in debilitating pain. Hermione's marginal refusal, though unspoken, was like a gunshot in the clearing as the words were suddenly spat out loud for all of those coherent enough to hear.
"I said," Fawley enunciated clearly with an edge bordering on annoyance, "sit up!"
The little refusal and resistance in her left instantaneously, as she was suddenly forced upright with her eyes wide open and her breathing hard. Everything ached as she was shoved upright. The crowing laughter from the three dark cloaked individuals had her shaking harder in her skin.
"There-there, Granger," Fawley cooed at her in spite. Now that she was forced to sit upright, Hermione could clearly see the manic glints in her dark lidded eyes and the vicious curl of her thin lips. She pointedly refused to look anywhere else but at the girl with her wand still raised at her.
Fawley however, didn't stop there with her taunts as she had Nott shove over the unconscious body of her mangled friend as she taunted cruelly, "Now why don't you take a good long look, hmm? A good look at what you caused..."
She felt her throat tighten as her eyes began to move on her own accord. Hermione didn't want to, the last thing she wanted to see was her last living friend in death's clutches, but she was useless. Absolutely powerless in the face of this curse as she was forced to see how bruised his body had become from their shoes and fists, the flesh of his arms turned to that of ribbons as they leak out crimson blood. Even his head and the choppily cut red hair was stained it's awful red colour.
Hermione was going to be sick if she stared any longer but she couldn't look away, as her eyes fell on the cold and dead blue irises that she had slowly grown to love. Their was no spark of life in them, just like there was no longer a steady rise and fall from his lungs. He was dead. Dead like all the rest of his family, like Harry and soon... and soon like her.
She wasn't aware that she was screaming, her heart pounding and her eyes burning with unshed tears. Everything hurt, not just on the outside, but the inside too— it wasn't supposed to happen like this. He wasn't supposed to die, none of them were supposed to die! Her throat was dry and cracking as she screamed bloody murder, letting all the pain fall from her dry lips like unwilling curses. It hurt, Merlin—, it hurt more than the Cruciatus Curse being held on her for years on end.
"See what you caused, Mudblood?" Yaxley goaded with his mask suddenly lifted and revealing a nasty set of burn scars up the left side of his face, leaving him with only the shadow of an eyebrow and his skin looking to be half melted off.
"Wasted potential, wasted magic on scum like him," Yaxley finished coldly, and kicked at Ron's leg with a humph of triumph. Hermione whimpered as the boy made no sound. Because he was dead—, because Ron was dead, because they had killed him in cold blood.
"Consorting with Mudblood's and Halfbreed's," Nott chimed in cruelly with a sneer, that made him look even uglier than he had before. Though with the little strength filling her gut with the return of her once burning fury, she went to reply only to fall back gasping as Nott continued cooly and otherwise undisputed. "Rumour has you loved him. Did you love him, Mudblood?"
"Stop," she gasped out, speaking for the first time since they had arrived at the clearing, though Fawley obviously preferred quiet victims. Victims who only spoke when spoken too, obedient play things. "Stop it!"
"Look at what your love has gotten you!" Fawley jeered with a smirk, her wand glowing faintly yellow with another Imperious Curse waiting to be cast. "Your best friend is dead, your blood-traitor boyfriend is dead. I wonder who else is dead 'cause of your love, hmm?"
Hermione felt like all the air had been knocked from her lungs as she struggled to breath. Was Fawley making her stop breathing, was this part of the Imperious Curse? She couldn't think much longer, her brain muddling faster than before as she felt weaker than ever.
The sudden beam of light hitting her again caused her to kneel over, as she was forced to once again raise her eyes to stare at Ron's lifeless ones. Pale blue now looking more similar to grey under the night sky. His pale skin looking closer to translucent in the absence of the full moon. Even his chaotic freckles across his face and brushed over his long and straight nose looked less dark, and more like the reminder of shadows. Ron didn't have the chance to look peaceful in death like Harry had once sprawled across the castle stones that were stained red. He looked surprised, caught off guard that he had been hit by a spell with his brow furrowed in the forever lasting picture of pain and suffering.
"Take a good long look Mudblood as it will be your last you know," Fawley sneered simply as she released the Imperious on Hermione. The dark witch let her fall forward in a puddle of shaking grief with now soundless sobs from her previous screaming and ragged shouting.
Hermione wanted it to end. She wanted the pain to be gone, and the suffering to end. Hermione wanted to die, she wanted to die right then and there. Where she could see Harry and all the Weasley's again. Where she might get to meet her old friends at heaven's white gates or purgatory's endless fields. She wanted the chance to apologize for not being strong enough, for not being brave enough— for failing to do the one thing asked of her. She was supposed to keep Harry safe and she had failed, she owed him an apology at the very least.
She never got to think much more of it as a sudden Flipendo had her sent flying back into the barren earth hard. It was then that the little flicker of fight left in her died entirely. This was to be her end.
She was only twenty years old, far too young of a witch to die and yet—, here she was. Hermione Granger was in the middle of a nameless field in a barren world wrought with chaos and destruction being pulled at the strings by a maniac who would never see the end of his reign. But despite the looming possibility of death and the downright cheerful jibes and cheers from her assailants, Hermione felt a semblance of peace when staring at the sky.
The stars were bright in the country side, dazzlingly and shining as they mapped out the world with their stories. She had just managed to locate the tail end of the Canis Major constellation, or more importantly to her the star Sirius, when the familiar glow of acid green snapped down into her chest. She didn't need to hear the incantation to identify the spell.
Hermione Granger died quickly and without pain, despite the tragedies of her short life in a flash green.
Well that was dark. Wish I could say it gets less gloom and doom, but I’m not entirely sure it will. On a side note, there shouldn’t be anymore MAJOR character deaths—, at least none for a long while by any means. Below is the poem to which I referenced in the beginning of the chapter, if any were interested!
Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire,
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice. (Robert Frost)
Thirty eight years in the past, a girl was born not knowing the strange occurrences of which that had befallen her, the loop in time she had incidentally committed. See, the issue with travelling backwards in time is not the changing of events or seeing the double of yourself like so many cautioned when using things such as time-turners, but is in fact the return to the present. Nothing is ever set soundly in stone— past, future or present. Time is fluid, always changing and rearranging itself with each decision made and choice crossed.
Hence with the black magic used on her future person, Hermione Granger had take the first step into causing the commonly dubbed ripple effect. Where her present changed the past unknowingly and created an alternate loop, which when sending her back destroyed all pre-conceived notions of the future. The travelling backwards in time was not the issue, as a person or things very presence in the past changes many things unconsciously— someone orders coffee instead of tea, chooses to take the long way to work rather than the short. It is the coming back that causes the displacement of events, as the future you come to return to could very well no longer exist, the people you once knew no longer being the same.
Time was fluid, as previously stated, though very few witches and wizards could testify and identify this fact, it was simply a estimation— a heavily reasoned batch of guesswork to their best understanding. It was for this reason that time-turners were so closely watched in all Ministries of Magic and the Global Confederation of Wizards. Admittedly, it also played a minuscule roll in the Statute of Secrecy, and why it was written into the very pages of such an important document. This of course only became important when an unsanctioned time traveller incidentally killed her own family and destroyed her own existence in her previous timeline.
The thirty-second amendment to the rights of secrecy states, "...the right of all magical beings when time traveling are not exempt to the laws of secrecy to nullify disturbances to the scared timeline," Though many wizards and witches familiar with the amendments in the rights of secrecy are also aware of the thinly written clause beneath it, "... should the timeline falter with the unforeseen disturbances with the appearance of an individual in time, the individual at fault is therefore prohibited to return to their own time and is therefore placed under the jurisdiction of amendment twelve." Amendment twelve however, was simply the rights of secrecy to their own being and person, and the ability to refuse veritiserum under the rules of timelines and illicit time-travelling.
Hermione Granger of the future, of course, had no knowledge of such things, upon her displacement to a past timeline regarding the black magic used on her person. No, the witch in question was not at all different to any other baby born in such a time, except the mind-boggling fact that she was as far from a normal Wizarding baby as possible.
Hermione Granger cried loudly as a baby when coming into the world, her mind at first being far too sharp and aware with the new surroundings that screamed danger. She had wept like all new babes did until placed in her mother's arms it was in that instant while, snuggled into her new-mother's sweat soaked chest that her mind filled to that of a newborn babe. With nothing but sounds and touch being registered around her.
The dark magic used many years in the future was locked away in the deepest confines of her mind. She didn't know her name was Hermione Granger, that she had lived through a war and fought on the frontlines. The witch had no clue at all about what she had and would do in the face of adversary, or anything at all that has made her the infamous Hermione Granger, Brightest Witch of her Age. She was a blank sheet of parchment, awaiting to be written on and become a wholly new person. In those few moments of time, everything has reshaped itself for the arrival of a new child, that was never supposed to be.
There was no Harry Potter dying from the Dark Lord in this timeline, there was no Hermione Granger to be born to a pair of Muggle dentists in the 1980s. In fact, there was no Hermione Granger to be born at all. Just a soul of a person not yet born placed into that of a newborn baby with all her experiences compartmentalized into the furthest reaches of her mind. Guarded even from herself until the Black Magic deemed them useful and the correct time to be acknowledged.
Hermione Granger had died in 1998, only to be brought back to life thirty-eight years in the past unknowingly to a woman who was never supposed to bear a child.
She was born on December 4th 1960 to a woman who had never wanted children, who had never planned to be a mother, in the coldest night the Wizarding World had ever seen. The Magical Hospital in France had nearly been shut down due to the cold snap that had their wards fizzling with magic to keep itself afloat. It was by luck and chance itself that Cassiopeia Black had been able to deliver her magical child at all that cold night, since the hospital had been seconds from locking their doors and proclaiming defeat against the storm.
The baby had been born premature by three months—, small, sickly and screaming bloody murder upon her arrival. Cassiopeia had never been one with children, always being more focused on her work and doing her part to better the Wizarding community. As chance would have it, she had been careless in her pursuit of a wealthy, Pureblooded French Bureaucrat and incidentally been gifted by magic his child only weeks before he passed by an accidental spell experiment.
Cassiopeia had been stubborn in her refusal to hold the child, even after the painstaking hours she had been forced to ensue when ridding the child from her uterus entirely. She wanted nothing to do with the sickly thing, she had no time or want for a child, but the nursemaid had refused her disagreements and dropped her on her chest, gooey and warm as it screamed and cried for the entire maternity ward to hear.
Cassiopeia Black would deny it to her dying breath, but something had changed in that moment, with the small and feeble child of red painted skin from stress pushed onto her chest. The warmth that had flowed in her very bones and blood felt euphoric as she stared at the crying baby. It had her dark hair, already feathers f around her face and the small chin of her now deceased lover.
Cassiopeia had wanted to give her away, had wanted to push all the responsibilities that came with child rearing far from her person but the child—, her small and sickly child, changed that instant. She knew immediately that she could never hand off such a beautiful gift from magic, her little miracle child who was never supposed to be. It didn't matter that she was sick and could die in a few days from her own sensibilities. This child was undoubtedly and unquestionably hers, her own baby girl.
Screaming loud enough to start a ringing in her ears, Cassiopeia slowly let her arms loosen around the wailing child, slowly caressing the still wet black hair on her head as she mumbled nonsensical's to the outraged babe. It was the sound of her voice that eventually calmed the child enough to stop its endless wails and cries.
Cassiopeia made many foolish promises that night to her recently born child. Promises of safety and health if she promised to live to see the next full moon, promises of a life worth living and all she could ever want. She would raise her as a Black Lady but without the responsibility, she would give her autonomy and allow her to choose her life— a thing so many noble woman of high station had been refused. And while Cassiopeia talked to her baby girl she told the witches in the ward the same thing—that the baby was hers and that she would not be leaving her that day or any of the following if she had a choice.
December 4th was the day that Cassiopeia Black became a mother, and likewise she made her first and most importance choice. She choose her child over all she had been raised to be— she was the start of the new timeline and the new life for the once known Hermione Granger.
Cassiopeia Black knew nothing of being a mother, as she hadn't really known her own all too well having been born in the most Ancient and Noble House of Black she was raised by house elves more often than not. Her mother had never been the coddling type, and she refused to subject her child to such a neglected life. For that reason she had chosen to remain in France and raise her baby girl, away from the pressures of their family name and the nagging and nitpicking of her cousins and siblings. They already had far to much to say in their letters about her choices in lifestyle.
She had already forgone the ridiculous naming succession, though only in part. Cassiopeia had hated her own name as a child, far too long and stuffy for a dark haired 'wild child' as her favourite sibling Alphard, had commonly stated. She insisted on the surname being Black, as the last name of her late father would hardly be appropriate or kind to her with the anonymity surrounding his death.
Cassiopeia had often stated he fiddled around far too much dark magic to be healthy, but she had loved him. Even if said love was a mere tablespoon compared to the gallons she had for their child. She missed him of course, in the way he challenged her mind and offered her interesting banter, but never more. She was happy to have her child all to herself, even if she was clueless on where to start.
She had chosen Adeline, purely out of her own selfishness of heart. It was the name of her closest friend growing up before she was caught in the crossfire of dark witches and wizards. Cassiopeia often wondered what her oldest and dearest friend would have thought of such circumstances..., she likely would have laughed manically at the thought of Cassiopeia being a mother.
To keep some sensibility to tradition she gave her the middle name of Delphinus, despite hating the Aunt for which had it as her first. Though the said Aunt was as pleased as punch and even gifted her a house elf in a show of good faith— the said elf was more than happy to work for Cassiopeia and help care for the newborn child, the latest Black Heiress.
The move to France had been far easier than expected, as Cassiopeia used her family inherited funds to purchase a small plot of land in the country side of Rhone Alps, not too far from Lyon. There she hired many architects to build her newest family member a home worthy of their station. It wasn't the sprawling house that was the Black Manor she had grown up in, or the squished and magically expanded living comforts of Grimmauld, but quaint and tidy.
She had paid the architects double their fees to get it ready in a months time as she stayed in the hospital far longer than expected. Her little Adeline has been far sicker than most premature baby's, with her lungs being fully developed, her immune system was quite fragile. Especially when incidentally catching a cold from the nurse maids that nearly placed her on death row. Cassiopeia had raged for hours on the nurses, giving a live show on how unruly a Black's temper truly could be.
Even little Adeline's heart was far smaller than it should have been— Cassiopeia had been fretting for hours after the news, despite the doctors and specialists claiming it was all easily treatable with the right potions. She had thrown more galleons than her father would have liked to keep her baby healthy, and it was for that reason that her little Adeline found herself becoming much better in days rather than months. It seemed only fitting that the day their home was fully complete that little Adeline was allowed to go home for the first time since her birth.
"Welcome home, mon petit soleil*," Cassiopeia cooed softly to the bundle of blankets in her arms as the wide eyed baby wrapped inside them stared at her mother curiously. The newly made mother carefully walked the stone walk to the freshly painted white doors of their new home.
Despite having only been made and created in a months time the place was fully furnished and the gardens and landscaping already bordering on perfection with the neatly trimmed hedges and rows of flower beds under the large bay windows at the front. The house was a wash of white and greys, nothing like the colourings of the Black Family Manor which were burgundy and charcoal grey. The only bit of colour besides the blooming beds of blue and yellow flowers were the navy shutters along the second and third floor bedrooms. Cassiopeia had never been longing for luxury, hence the simplicity of her home, but she has been raised with it so there were certain things she could not go without.
"Maman* had this place made just for you," she continued to prattle on despite knowing her child had no sense of what she was saying at all. It made her feel less alone however and it seemed to offer some semblance of comfort to her baby girl. Cassiopeia had learned early on that hearing her mother's voice often soothed her constant crying in the middle of the nights.
Cassiopeia firstly carried her child towards the patio doors off to the left of the home were a small gated garden was in the works, with rows upon rows of magical plants, herbs and spices to be used in her potioneering practice. With her unable to work for the time being she knew it better to make a steady income from the comforts of her home until both her and Adeline were settled in. Besides, she had always had a knack at the subject in school.
"There's the gardens that you will help me prune for potions," she mentioned as she purposely pointed out a few of her favorites such as Nightshade and Moonlace. Cassiopeia refused to have her daughter deplorable at her gifted subject in school. She didn't have to be perfect at it but getting a head start to it could only do her better in the long run.
Adeline pulled on the smallest of her mother's dainty fingers and cooed softly like a sigh. Cassiopeia couldn't help but smile at the action before bringing her inside to view the rest of the home. She wandered though many rooms pointing out the living room and dining areas, and even the spare bedrooms and her brewing rooms. Cassiopeia had made it clear to the baby that she was not to go into the brewing room without her, even when she was older. Perhaps, it was a little early on to worry about such things but Cassiopeia refused to be negligent in her rules, and the brewing room would be dangerous especially when she was experimenting.
"Here is the kitchen that Mipsy will cook in," Cassiopeia introduced simply as she pointed out the white coloured cupboards and the small house elf she had named to the little newborn. Said elf had been washing the dishes from her prep for dinner, but soon stopped her scrubbing to curtesy respectfully.
Cassiopeia added on to her previous statement after acknowledging the house elf brightly, "Despite the elf refusing my help in the kitchens, I'm sure we can both learn a many things from her."
Mipsy had scolded 'Mistress Cassi' on her impudence and stated swiftly that 'no Mistress of House Black should be cooking in their homes!' The elf then shooed them both from the room which had the woman chuckling lightly, at the young and rambunctious elf. It was no wonder why her Aunt Delphinis had sent her, as it was obvious that the said elf was good at following the norms of most magical servants.
She then journeyed to the second floor after showing the tea parlour to the slowly dissatisfied baby, to one of the three last rooms in the house. Cassiopeia had simply opened the door to the massive library filled with many of her own private collections and a few other tomes from her own vaults and the Black Manor. Despite, the library being Cassiopeia's favourite addition to the house she doubted a month old baby would find it all that amusing. Therefore, she mostly skipped its own tour in favour of going to the bedroom down the hall and nearly adjacent to her own.
"The library I'm sure you will love once you are old enough to start your lessons and begin your education as a Lady of House Black," Adeline had squawked at the words which brought an adoring smirk to her mother's face as she sighed. "I know, I know— but I promise you mon petit soleil* you will have far better tutors than I ever had."
She opened the door across from hers, taking in the sights for the first time as well of the nursery she had concocted in favour of her little girl. It was simple in the ways of Wizarding Nursery's but elegant all the same for an aristocratic pureblood. The walls were a light, barely white periwinkle blue, with a white wardrobe, crib, change table and rocking chair. The cushions of the chair and the sheets in the crib were of a navy colouring and patterned with constellations. Cassiopeia may not have been fond of the constellation naming of her family but she had always loved the stories in mythology and would hate for her daughter to feel excluded from their family despite, how maddening they could be.
She had bewitched the ceiling to mirror the night sky, fillies with the many stars and constellations, but the mobile above her crib was a series of white plush animals, one in the shape of a badger, the other a serpent, a lion and then lastly a raven. The interior designers had thought her silly when choosing the animals but she knew them to be the ones for her little Adeline. She might not attend Hogwarts but she would know their houses at the very least so she could easily manoeuvre her way into the British commonwealths politics.
"This is your room mon petit soleil*," Cassiopeia softly stated as she let the wide eyed baby stare around at all the finishing touches. Unable to stop herself, Cassiopeia began to ramble once more about her own childhood. "I had always hated the colour pink that your Grand-mère* had dressed me in as a child, perhaps you will enjoy the blues as much as I do."
Taking a slow breath she let her one arm, brush again the soft blanket that had been hand sewn from one of the house elves. It was beautifully embroidered with her daughters name, and was of the softest materials in the colours of blue and silver. She let out a sigh before speaking once again to her child, "Of course, you'll be staying with me for now. You're far too little and small to be on your own just yet."
Adeline pulled on her finger once more and Cassiopeia was suddenly hit with the urge to cry, her eyes feeling wet and beginning to burn and her chest feeling tight and seconds from bursting. It was a side effect from her pregnancy, all her jumbled emotions that seemed to wax and wane in the utmost of extremes. She hated it more than she hated the pain that had filled her abdomen and given her stretch marks on her sides— it was unfitting for a lady to burst into tears at any second of the day for no reason at all.
Stuffing her sudden bout of tears as far down as she could, Cassiopeia let the pads of her fingertips brush the little whisps of curling black hair from her daughters round head as she uttered softly in the otherwise quiet home. "It's just you and I, mon petit soleil*. Just us and our little home in the Alps."
As if her daughter could feel her own sudden sadness, Adeline soon began to sob and cry out as she tried to stuff her face straight into her mother's green silk robes. Despite the crying, Cassiopeia was soon chuckling at her daughters antics, as she couldn't help but remark while going to sit in the rocking chair.
"You'll drain me dry sooner or later you know, mon petit soleil*." That seemed to be the wrong response to her needy daughter as she started to cry even louder, intermixing it with wails of pain as she clawed at her mother's chest in the hopes of sustenance.
One thing Cassiopeia had learned quickly with her daughter was that when she was hungry, she was starved and she was quite enraged when things weren't going to her exact specifications. This including the time she had to wait for her mother's breast milk, or when she wasn't changed out her dirtied nappies soon enough in her preference. She was a fickle and demanding little baby, but Cassiopeia couldn't find it in herself to be upset with the little girl and her neediness. At least not yet... perhaps once the sleepless nights and tantrums began she would think differently.
"You're only a month old and already you have my infamous temper," Cassiopeia snipped playfully at her child as she easily undid the front of her robes and let her baby suckle to her hearts content on her breast. She further mused while her baby drank her fill.
"It seems the Black genetics are already at work," she hummed thoughtfully as she played with her daughters little curls and slowly took in all her features that were slowly coming to life for neither the first nor the last time.
"You have my hair, though with your uncle Alphard's ringlets." She mumbled with a hit of a grin as she arrogantly stated, "You'll have the most beautiful of hair, mon petit soleil*. With your father's chin and my eyes you'll be the most beautiful of the Black's."
At that thought she couldn't help but chuckle at the look on her sister-in-law's face when she came to know the truth. That her young Adeline was undoubtedly going to become a beautiful witch, a perfect addition to the Black family tapestry.
"I'm sure Druella will be quite upset with that," Cassiopeia mused with a smirk before adding more in reasoning than anything else to her seemingly starved daughter. "She always thought her three daughters to be the most stunning of the Black heirs. Little Cissy with her platinum hair and clear blue eyes, or Cousin Andy with her silver eyes and chocolate hair of righteous locks."
Thinking of her nieces left Cassiopeia feeling a tad more prideful at her own creation. There were in their own rights beautiful girls with bright futures but she didn't know how they could compare in looks to her own daughter. Perhaps, it was her own biases that placed Adeline leagues above them or maybe it was because she knew that her child would not be cursed with the inbreed madness that had often found homes in their familia lines. There was a chance of course, but a small one at that, seeing as her own lover had been out of the country and his family had spat on all ideals of inbreeding to keep lines pure.
Picturing little Narcissa with her big and wonder filled eyes as she followed around he eldest sister like a little doll, pulled tightly at Cassiopeia's chest. It felt cruel to know that she would never give Adeline a sibling to pass the days with. Thoughts of two of the three infamous Black sisters however had the elder witch thinking to the middle sister of the three.
"Bellatrix, well, that child has always been a little wild, much like her looks." She summed up for her daughter. Cassiopeia watched her daughters eyes slowly become heavy as she fed with much less rigour than before.
"Stunning of course, they all are but you, mon petit soleil*," She paused for a moment as she lamented with both pride and fear at her next words. Cassiopeia was prideful of her beautiful daughter but terrified at what it could mean in the years to come. Pretty girls hardly ever got a pretty life to go with them. "—you will be forever breaking hearts I'm sure."
With Adeline lazily drinking at this point, barely doing more that gum at her now starting ache nipples, Cassiopeia knew that soon her little girl would be ready to sleep. Before she went to lay her down in the bassinet in her bedroom however, she had a few things to speak of to her ever-listening child in the hopes that some of the thoughts and questions would linger until she was old enough to understand and make sense of them.
"I made you a promise to never force you into marriage like my cousin and sister, and I stand by that promise ma petite fille*," She quickly stated with a sigh, as she stared adoringly at her hazily drinking newborn. Even milk-drunk Adeline had the most clear and stunning silver-grey eyes. "–but, if you could refuse my sister and cousin's son, I would be most appreciative."
"Sirius is only a month older than you but already I can sense the trouble he will stir." She added thinking of the small infant she had been regaled with stories via many owl letters in the past few months. All of them detailing the mischief and grief he had caused both Walburga and Orion. In Cassiopeia's mind she had always wondered why her parents would ever think that they were a suitable match for one another— both suffering with horrific tempers and no patience to rule breaking.
"He has already done accidental magic," Cassiopeia spoke to her newborn disapprovingly but in awe all the same. He would be powerful, that was certain, but by no means did she want her daughter to incidentally gain his bad habits already.
"Young Sirius turned Orion's moustache purple in a fit of rage over a dirty nappy not even two weeks ago. A charming babe really, mi amor*..." She trailed off suddenly at a horrible thought of her own child doing that. It didn't matter how much she adored her clingy and temperamental little girl, she would not stand for such silly magic in her home or on her person. Cassiopeia was a Lady of House Black, she had no time for such foolishness.
With a weak glare she sniffed haughtily at her nearly napping child. "If you even think of changing my hair colour I will ground you, young lady. Despite you not even being two months."
Adeline didn't even glance at her mother's change in tone and simply yawned quietly in her mother's breast as she nuzzled into the sounds of her mother's steady heartbeat and slowly began to nod off. Thinking it best to call an end to their tour of the home, Cassiopeia carefully re-clothed herself, tying the front of her robe and spoke simply to her nearly sleeping newborn.
"I'll cease my senseless rambling for now darling. You'll forgive your mother, won't you?" She hummed thoughtlessly as she repositioned her baby in her arms to a more comfortable one and stated slowly as she walked with grace and purpose towards her bedroom. "I'll show you my bedroom and there we can rest for a while."
Adeline did nothing more than coo in her mother's arms as she senselessly spoke to herself when tucking her little girl into her cot on the woven basket next to her bed. "Mipsy will wake us for dinner I'm sure... if you don't wail the walls down first."
The youngest Black Heiress however, did not hear such a taunt as she was already deep into the realm of Morpheus. Demeaning of things that most newborns did and not of past events she could not recall or the darkness that was yet to appear and darken her thoughts. Adeline slept fitfully in her bassinet until early the next morning where she did wake the entire home with her cries. Just like in her past as Hermione Granger, Adeline Black was never a patient child— especially in the early mornings.
mon petit soleil* translates to 'my little sun' in French
maman* translates to 'mama' in French
grand-mère* translates to 'grandmother' in French
ma petite fille* translates to 'my little girl' in French
mi amor* translates to 'my love' in French
CANONICALLY, Cassiopeia Black was born to Violetta and Cygnus II, along with Pollux (whom married Irma Bulstrode and later had Alphard, Cygnus III and Walburga) and Dorea (who later married Charlus Potter) — meaning she would have been the Aunt of Walburga and not her sister.
For the purposes of this story, I made it so that Cassiopeia was instead the sister of Walburga (who married her first cousin Orion, born to Arcturus and Melania - whom I renamed Delphinus), Alphard (who was later disowned just as in Canon) and Cygnus who married Druella Rosier. Truthfully it's not all that important to keep in straight but for those who like a CLEAR understanding of family trees, I thought I'd make it known.
In the Rhones Alps countryside there sat a small home looking to all the world the standard type of home for a standard, but admittedly small family in the French countryside. However, if you looked a little closer, stared a second longer than most, the illusion would fade and the small cottage that appeared would change to an elaborate white Victorian home. With marvellous gardens with all sorts of strange and peculiar things, and even the constant swooping of owls in and out the kitchen window, were just some of the hidden peculiarities to be seen behind those enchanted wards. For you see, the home was not simple and normal like many passerby's believed, —where a single mother raised her small daughter in seclusion—, but a magical home of two witches instead.
The two who dwelled in the home, appeared as normal beings despite the magical cores housed within them. They both had porcelain fair skin, and inky hair that fell in varying states. The toddler having a nest of ringlets, that gleamed almost brown in the sunlight, while the mother had straight hair that was usually held back by a fancy, butterfly shaped, crystal clip. It was apparent to any at first glance that they were obviously mother and daughter, holding the same straight but button like nose, and the smattering of freckles that were so light you could blink and miss them across their cheeks. But what truly sold their relation to one another was their mirror-like eyes.
The Noble House of Black was known for their silver eyes, though few could claim to have seen the varying shades that had been passed along. Both the mother and daughter in the French countryside were gifted the common Black family trait though both to varying degrees. The mother held eyes that were hazy and light, like that of a foggy morning that appeared almost white, excluding the dark ring around the centre to her pupil. Her daughter was gifted a much dark set of grey irises. Almost storm-like, holding a mirage of darks and lights that flickered with her every mood. There was a faint tinge of blue towards the centre, reminiscent to her newborn days that refused to leave, but her mother was thankful for some of the blue to remain. Her late father had the most gorgeous of blue eyes.
As it was the two that lived inside such a home were both awake that early August morning, with the elder witch busily reading through her many letters from the owl orders. While she read her toddler daughter sat in a magical high-chair and was slowly picking away at her helping of fruits for breakfast. They started most of their mornings like this, both taking on the pseudonym of early birds rather than night owls. They would dress themselves for the day, often in warm robes of many layers, in shades of green or blue, before then journeying down the stairs to eat the meal prepared by their house elf, Mipsy. It had been two and a half years since Adeline was brought into the world by her mother Cassiopeia and neither mother nor daughter would change a thing since.
They lived a quiet and happy life together, hidden from the magical world and by extension their other more opinionated family members. Cassiopeia had been subjected to many howlers and threatening letters for her shaming of their House. As a Black heiress Adeline was expected to be christened by their Head of House and given the same tutors as all the other sons and daughters of House Black. By refusing this she had shamed her family and got into far too many arguments over the floo for it. None of the Black's had even seen her beautiful and spitfire of a daughter and that was just the way she would like to keep it. Cassiopeia wanted her daughter to live a happy life without the pressures of the family name, to receive the childhood that she herself had often longed for.
Though as Magic would have it, their short lived paradise in solitude had come to it's end, when the sound of the floo began ringing loudly at the coming visit of her sister and sister-in-law for an unfortunate scheduling of morning tea and biscuits.
Knowing better than to keep her sister, sister-in-law and their children waiting for passage longer than necessary, Cassiopeia suffered a great sigh and signalled for Mipsy to let them through and bring them towards the parlour. The house elf did so joyously, as unlike her Mistress's she was anxious to serve company. With the house elf busy, Cassiopeia cleaned up her daughter with a simple flick of her hawthorn wand and then carefully pulled the small child from her chair and lead her towards the parlour that was already set up for the meet-up. They had only been sat in the plush velvet chairs for a moment at best when Cassiopeia heard the tell-tale sounds of Druella Black's heels along her wooden floors.
Cassiopeia watched through the corner of her eyes as her toddler daughter fiddled with the hem of her robes. She was wearing her most adorable set of a brilliant jade colour, embroidered with silver stitches of butterflies and birds around the sleeves. Cassiopeia usually let her select her own outfits for the day but seeing as they were to entertain her most critical of family members on decorum she had thought it best to dress them both well and proper for tea.
That however didn't mean that Adeline approved of such a choice. Cassiopeia's daughter had nearly wailed the house down in her temper tantrum to wear her less than acceptable, baby blue robes. They were stained from days spent in the garden and even singed from the one time she had incidentally grabbed hold of her mother's wand.
Cassiopeia had been seconds from reprimanding her daughter to sit still, as a lady should never fidget even if she is still small—but soon missed her chance. With her sister-in-law sweeping through her hallways, with three young girls following behind her shortly. Druella Black, nèe Rosier, looked to have not aged a day since Cassiopeia had last saw her seven years ago. Still holding the pinched lips from her youth that was a curious cross between boredom and disdain, and her chestnut brown hair held it a neat chignon at the nape of her neck.
"Cassiopeia, darling," The brunette haired witch greeted with a fleeting grin and eyes that quickly scrutinized her up and down. It took every bit of her etiquette lessons from her younger years to keep from scornfully speaking her opinion to her sister-in-law's scalpel-like measurements. It was reminiscent to how the girls in Slytherin would ostracize one another in the hopes of raising higher in the hierarchy. "—it has been far too long."
"Druella, it is most lovely to see you," Cassiopeia greeted in like with a quick up and down look at the witch before complimenting her outright. Mostly in the hopes of keeping the morning of tea pleasant and light in topics though she knew it futile. "You're looking marvellous in your robes, Devoni is it not?"
It seemed to be the right choice of phrase as the dark haired witch grinned brightly at her sister-in-law for noticing her apparel. Though her pleasantries didn't last long as she sat down in the offered armchair, her three daughters scrambled to their own offered love-seat of an unique clothed pattern of greens and silvers. Narcissa, the youngest and single blonde of the sister's holding tightly to the eldest daughter, Andromeda's, hand like a lifeline. Cassiopeia watched the interaction through her peripheral with curiosity as Bellatrix, the middle child, all but glared around the room in a fit of both boredom and superiority.
"His latest line in fact. Your brother Cygnus gifted the set on our last anniversary dinner." Druella paused for a moment as she smoothed out her robes and added snidely, "It was unfortunate you missed out."
Cassiopeia pursed her lips, as she added pointedly with no further comment. "Something came up last minute."
"Ah yes..," Druella mentioned with an arched brow and quizzical grin forming on her lips. "—your Potions Practice correct?"
"Indeed," Cassiopeia carefully answered before gesturing politely towards the simmering tea and the offered refreshments. "Tea?"
"Two sugar, splash of a cream," Druella replied in kind, as she glanced to her three daughters to make sure they were sitting respectfully upon the furniture. It was with that sharp glare that had two of the three quickly straightening their posture. Narcissa, far too young to know the implications of such a glance was nudged by Andromeda into a proper upright position. Cassiopeia watched in curiosity as her sister-in-law smirked at the change in positions and show of proper etiquette from her daughter's before continuing on.
"Well, it's marvellous to have you with your head firmly back on your shoulders and no longer stuck in the clouds." Cassiopeia had to school her features into a polite smile at the cutting remark. Though it didn't matter long, as Druella quickly flitted from the topic to the one she was most interested in and was most likely the cause to visiting her in France.
"Now," Druella said with a small smile, as Cassiopeia carefully handed the tea made to her sister-in-law's preference, with a steady hold. She eyed the woman carefully while Druella took a polite sip from the ancestral china. "—this must be the young lady I've heard so little about."
"Yes," Cassiopeia slowly replied as she readied her own cup while speaking simply. "This is my daughter, Adeline."
Druella seemed to hardly take interest in her sister-in-law following such a phrase. Instead, her beady blue eyes locked onto the child who was no more than three years old. The dark haired witch smiled sharply, all eye-teeth and thin lips as they stretched in an unfamiliar manner of greeting. Druella wished she could hate the child, that her sister had not given the Black family a suitable heiress— with her cloudy grey irises, dark curling hair and porcelain-like skin.
She looked the very image of a Black woman, unlike her own daughters who were a mixed match of her genetics and Cygnus'. Druella Black could only hope that the child turned out to be spoiled in some other manner— perhaps a squib or an eventual blood traitor— something more tainted than her children's unfortunate lapse in proper appearances. That way her daughter's could achieve the full means of becoming a Black woman.
Though despite her dark and twisted thoughts and foolhardy wishes for such darkness, Druella pleasantly greeted the young child with that needle-like grin. "It's a pleasure to meet you, my dear."
Adeline, despite feeling on edge for most of the tea time spent with the woman and her three daughters, nodded politely and gave Druella a wide grin. A grin that gave her left cheek a small dimple, before slurping quietly from her sippy cup of orange juice. Druella didn't bat an eye at the proper encounter, even though her chest tightened at the show of manners from such a young child, before plowing onward in her introductions.
"Well, you already know my three daughters, though I think you last saw them before your travels." Druella frowned slightly in a mockery of unknowing. Both witches in the sitting room knew that the darker haired witch was attempting to goad the other into a debate or icy exchange of words—anything to shake the powers of control between them. It was the Slytherin and more importantly the Black way. "Narcissa couldn't have been more than a year old."
"No, I think not," Cassiopeia replied in like, outright refusing to rise to the woman's words by her lack of response. Instead, she flipped the script into a more neutral territory once again, using the other witches vanity to coax her unknowingly back into place. "They have grown into their mother's beauty, I see. They're all stunning in their own right."
The eldest, Andromeda, a young witch with chestnut coloured hair blushed at her praises alongside the far younger and pale haired Narcissa. Bellatrix, the unruly middle child however, didn't bat so much as an eye at the compliment from their paternal Aunt. The three daughter's of Druella, due to being raised with proper etiquette befitting of a high born lady's, quickly stated their thanks and returned the niceties. Cassiopeia grinned at each of them in turn, when Bellatrix finally addressed the room—having become bored with the adult's conversations and flitting topics.
"Mother," the darkest haired middle child addressed with a prideful tone. Cassiopeia couldn't help but watch in interest as Bellatrix spoke plainly to the room with her dark lashed eyes that never seemed to settle on anything in particular. She was quite a curious little thing despite only being nine years old. "—must we sit and gossip all afternoon?"
Druella's brows furrowed for a second as she pinched her lips pointedly at her daughter's words. Cassiopeia could see the scolding brewing in her sister-in-laws mind at that instant. "Bellatrix..."
Before anything more could be said, Cassiopeia quickly defused the building tension in the room and waved the dark haired witch off.
"It's quite alright Druella." Here she spoke directly to the middle child of her sister-in-law, having expected that the girl's would soon become bored with just tea and biscuits in the parlour. "In the living room Mipsy has set up some activities to keep you all entertained, while us old ladies chat. I'm sure there's something there to keep you busy."
Bellatrix visibly brightened at her paternal aunt's words and nearly went to stand up from the sofa, though she was swiftly stopped by Andromeda nudging her in the side with the point of her elbow. Cassiopeia purposely ignored the action despite the nostalgia that waved through her in that instant. Walburga and Alphard had done this often enough with her when she was a young child. She never had been very patient.
"May we be excused, mother?" Andromeda asked with a small grin and bright grey eyes. Druella stared at her eldest for a moment of silence as she debated the pros and cons of the request, before begrudgingly allowing it.
"Well alright," Druella huffed at last. All three girls instantly went to get to their feet at the dismissal. Adeline however didn't move a muscle from her place next to her mother, while Druella went to continue. "But that house elf will let me know the instant you cease to be anything less of a lady, Bellatrix."
Said daughter quickly nodded her understanding, while Druella then turned to her eldest to drive her message home to all of her children. "Andromeda, I expect you to keep them all in perfect poise."
Druella nodded her consent, and soon they were escorted out of the room by Cassiopeia's house elf Mipsy. Adeline had stayed rooted in her chair for a moment or so until Narcissa— being far braver and interested in the youngest of the children there— offered her hand to help her down. It was only when the two had laced their fingers together did Adeline's anxieties of her not-so distant cousin's dissipate and she quickly took charge to show them to the sitting room. She babbled in half coherent words to Narcissa about all the puzzles and games she had helped Mipsy set up the night before.
Cassiopeia watched in both pride and unease as her youngest and only child latched on to the blonde haired girl so quickly—perhaps she should have tried harder to socialize her daughter. Though she quickly shut down such thoughts, knowing that the seclusion she had stuck them into was for a good and proper reason, one that Adeline would likely thank her for later in life. When she could understand the pressures of society and everything that came attached to their last name.
After watching the four girl's and the house elf, Mipsy, leave the parlour, the two witches sipped slowly at their tea. Once about a quarter of her cup was gone, Cassiopeia asked Druella out of both burning curiosity and politeness.
"Did Walburga decide not join you on your visit?"
"She'll be over shortly," Druella dismissed with a small wave of her right hand as she set her teacup down on its matching familia crested saucer. "I'm sure she's just primping her curls or having to deal with her demonic first born before flooing in."
Cassiopeia tutted her sister-in-law's poor choice of words in regards to their nephew, though didn't truly disagree with her assessment. From the few letters she had received about his behaviour he did sound quite unruly to say the least.
"Did you hear about his accidental magic?" Druella gossiped loudly with her brows nearly disappearing into her hairline as she blabbered on. Cassiopeia said nothing to her questions and queries—as most of them were rhetorical—, and instead just nodded along in silence as she listened.
"...and at his age!" Druella paused in dramatic effect, before plowing onward without a breath. "Mordred and Morgana, if Andromeda had been anything like him I would have gone half-mad! It's hard enough with her starting her second year at Hogwarts this year."
Cassiopeia simply hummed and ahh-ed at her sister-in-law's gossiping, not overly paying attention at all when the sudden clacking of heels perked her attention, and she swivelled in her seat to the doorway. There she was met with the unfeeling smile of her older sister Walburga, whom looked as terrifying as always with her haunted looks.
"Gossiping without me already," Walburga innocently inquired with a tsk, as she walked purposely into the parlour to sit down in her dark coloured robes of navy. Druella barely concealed her shock at her sudden arrival into the room. "—and I thought we were sisters."
"Walburga," Cassiopeia greeted swiftly, forcing a pleasant smile across her lips as she offered the armchair next to her. The very one that her daughter had previously been seated in. "...It's wonderful to see you again."
Her sister stuck her nose up at such a comment, a cruel look dancing across her face as she did, pulling her red stained lips tight and making her dark eyes seem like shards of obsidian in the lighting. Sharp and deadly, much like the woman they were housed in. Cassiopeia would be lying in saying that she missed her sister, as truly Walburga scared her far more than she loved her, but that was the way she was—even in their youth as young girls. Walburga was terrifying, with her perfectly waved black hair, pointed looks and dark eyes, while Cassiopeaia had been naive and lost with clouded irises of grey, soft lips and wild imaginings of things she could achieve.
"Not that you try too hard to see us," Walburga nastily replied, not that Cassiopeia had expected any less from her. She had always been the first of the women at tea to start cutting others down for pure, and admittedly cheap, entertainment.
"Walburga...," Druella attempted to chastise. Though was quickly spoken over with a flip of the other witches hair over her shoulder.
"Some sister you are, honestly." She snipped disdainfully overtop of Druella, before meeting Cassiopeia's eyes with her own. Cold and unforgiving as always she pointlessly added in the hopes to start a more thrilling topic. One that Cassiopeia couldn't help but doubt was at all genuine in it's delivery. "I left Sirius with the girls in the living room, hopefully he doesn't break anything valuable of yours."
Not rising to the bait, Cassiopeia patiently replied, as she waved her sister's words off with a naive wave of her hand. "He's just a boy, Walburga. I doubt he can cause that much of an issue."
Cassiopeia watched in thinly concealed pride as her sister's lips tightened ever so slightly around the corners. No one knew her sister's game of words better than Cassiopeia, having grown up with her and learned most of her tricks from the woman. Her sister revelled in challenges and Cassiopeia was an obvious one, a case yet to be cracked as some Muggle officers would say. Whenever they met it was a battle of wits and topics unspoken, it was a game that was never ending and always changing—like a revolving chessboard on who could outsmart the other first and leave them trapped in the farthest corner. It was both mentally thrilling and exhausting all in one.
"He's a menace," Walburga sighed, almost playing up the roll for exhausted mother yet both Druella and Cassiopeia knew it to be a farce. Both Orion and Walburga hardly had a hand at all in raising either children, including the one hidden in a bundle of blankets at her chest. Cassiopeia was slightly surprised at herself for not noticing the quietly resting babe at first glance, then again it was likely the exact way Walburga had wanted it to be.
"Merlin knows I love the child despite his temper and mischief, but soemdays I wonder where we went wrong," She huffed at last, as she readjusted the small bundle in her arms to a more suitable position. Druella purposely busied herself with making the other witches tea.
"You should be proud. Magic at his age is a blessing." Cassiopeia couldn't help but defend the nephew she had yet to meet. She knew Walburga was harsh in her judgments and hopes to whatever deity listening that some patience would find itself inside the woman to go easy on such a rambunctious child.
Cassiopeia added on momentarily, in the hopes to delay any misgivings he ought to receive from her later in life, with a soundly veiled compliment. "He will be a very powerful young wizard."
Druella, finished with making her sister-in-law's tea, offered it to the woman. Taking it as a silent nudge to take a sip from her own, Cassiopeia delicately swallowed a mouthful, as Walburga continued to prattle onwards about her eldest child and his unfortunate temperament.
"You haven't seen power until you try to bathe such an child," She laughed nearly unbecoming to her stature into her tea at her sister's words as she added off handedly, as if it were nothing out of the norm to add onto such a complaint. "Thank Morgana for Kreacher or I would have drowned the boy shortly after his birth for kicking up such a fuss."
Druella spluttered into her tea, nearly choking at the now lukewarm liquid. whilst Cassiopeia couldn't help but scold her sister.
Walburga didn't bat so much as an eye at either of them as she waved them off with her one free hand. She let her tea sit untouched on the coffee table, as she plainly added in a neutral tone, one that neither of the witches found comforting in the slightest after such a comment.
"Jests my sweet siblings. Merely in poor taste, but enough of me—," Walburga easily manoeuvred the topic away from herself. Cassiopeia was almost proud of how easy in came to her to change the tides of conversation, until her said sister decided to drop it onto her. "How is the so-called gift of motherhood treating our wild sister?"
"I'm hardly wild," Cassiopeia couldn't help but snidely remark. She had despised the title when she was younger and she still did to this day. It was not wild to want a life of travel and excitement, one without responsibilities and husbands and marriages to weigh her down.
She had never been cut from the same cloth as her perfect pureblood sister—neither had their brother Alphard. Who had always been know as the wayward Black brother, while Cygnus had adopted the title of the perfect pureblood brother. Both Alphard and Cassiopeia had been outcasted as the black sheep of the family for their less traditional views of how to live and prosper as a Black long before they turned of age. With both of them refusing marriage and the responsibilities that came with being a Lord or Lady. Their mother and father had been distraught to say the least.
"Oh please," Druella huffed like a laugh, as she added in what could have been labeled as joy —if her tone hadn't been so wrought with disdain at the prospect. "You did everything you could to stay out of marriage, and even went as far as to flee the country from betrothals!"
"The way Orion acts some evenings I wonder if you had the right idea," Walburga added with a sly grin and a wink. An action that had Cassiopeia floundering in their game of wits for a moment before begrudgingly speaking with tilted lips.
"Marriage suits you sister, and you love our cousin."
Cassiopeia purposely had to swallow down the bile building in her throat from the phrase. She had never understood how her family was so desensitized to the way they inbred so consistently. It never failed to leave a bad taste on her tongue and her stomach in knots. It had been one of the many reasons she had refused all the betrothals sent her way, she would not marry one of her many cousins. She would not spout a perfect pureblood heir with someone already written upon the ancestral Black tapestry.
"Well of course I love him," Walburga snippedly replied with a roll of her black eyes. "I wouldn't suffer through the rollercoaster of hormones, swollen feet and backaches twice if I didn't."
"Now," Walburga paused with a shark-like grin on the hunt for blood towards Cassiopeia. "—back to what I originally asked you."
"Admittedly, this isn't the life I planned for myself but it's...nice." Cassiopeia sipped at her tea in pause as she carefully considered her next words over before adding them. "I am very content with my daughter."
Walburga hummed at her words, carefully taking her first sip from the tea that Druella made for her, before coyly playing with her words yet again to rile up the other witches in the vicinity.
"She's quite stunning I must say. A true Black in looks, unlike your youngest, Druella."
Druella seemed to agree with the back-handed comment towards her youngest daughter as she waved Walburga off with a short laugh. Cassiopeia thought the display unsettling but didn't question in outright and instead just raised a brow in curiosity as Druella stated plainly. "Honestly, if I weren't present for the conception and birth I would think she was the receptionist's daughter at Cygnus' office."
"Her hair, though lovely and fair, is quite the pick along with the Rosier and Black genes combined," Cassiopeia mindlessly commented as she set her empty tea cup down on the table.
"What of your daughter's father? Is he out of the picture?" Druella asked pointedly, as she pretended to be indifferent to the topic surrounding such words but Cassiopeia knew better. Slowly but surely the two women were getting to the topic they most wanted to know more about—her daughter's status and standing in the Wizarding World.
"Yes, unfortunately." Cassiopeia replied stiffly, willing the emotion as best she could from her tone to not appear weak in the two witches presence. It was unbefitting for a woman of her status to show such emotion. "He died in a tragic accident shortly before Adeline was born."
"Really..." Walburga asked, clearly intrigued by the vagueness of her sister's words. She added cruelly, lacking any sympathy towards the situation shortly after. "Of what sort? Slipping on the stairs, a love potion gone wrong, perhaps?"
Cassiopeia bristled at the woman's cold words as she spat out with far more poison lacing her tongue than entirely appropriate for such a conversation. "A spell, if you must know. He liked to tinker with his own creations and see how far spell lore could get him."
"Fool hardly man," Walburga tsks, pointedly ignoring her sister's outburst as she continued on plainly, as if nothing she was saying were untrue in the slightest. As if each word she uttered wasn't like a blade to Cassiopeia's already bruised and battered heart. She may not have loved the father of her child, but he did give her the most precious of gifts—a daughter she never knew she had desired.
"Adeline is likely better off without his influence then if you ask me." She hummed simply, as she brushed a lock of downy black hair from her youngest son's forehead and asked secondly. "What of his blood?"
Cassiopeia stared whilst utterly gobsmacked at her sister's blunt words.
"You heard me Cassiopeia," Walburga replied clippedly with an obvious roll of her eyes as she chastised her younger sister. It was spoken in the same tone their mother had used during banquets and charity functions when any of her children had stated to act out. "Don't make me repeat myself. It's unbecoming."
"Pureblood," Cassiopeia spat out after a moment or so, disgust and hate covering the word like slimy oil as she quipped, "—if it's really such an issue."
"Don't get cross, dear sister." Walburga smoothed over with a knowing look. Cassiopeia hated the look as it was one that made her seem small and childish even after all these years of being on her own. Of crafting herself into a new person and ridding herself of her family's ridiculous notions on how a lady should be. "I just needed to know whether she was in the running for Lady Black. Seeing as Sirius will be Lord someday."
Cassiopeia felt her heart race and her stomach plummet as an incredulous thought filled her mind. A stupid thought, that likely would have made perfect and complete utter sense in her idiotic and pureblood mania-filled sister's mind.
"You're not proposing a betrothal already," She worked hard not shout at her sister in disbelief, "They're barely three!"
"Of course not, don't be daft," Walburga snickered behind her hand, as she cast a smug look to Druella in mild humour. As if she couldn't believe how easily Cassiopeia had jumped to such conclusions—if anything it made the younger witch even more uneasy that the two so easily riled her up. "I'm merely scouring the opposition as you would say. Besides, we all know Andromeda wants nothing with the title, and with Regulus a year younger than Sirius one can never be too careful."
Walburga's explanation did little to ease her worries, and in that very moment Cassiopeia remembered exactly why she had never offered to have her sister's over for tea times. They always managed to make her fret and worry about things not at all close to coming to pass. Her little girl did not need to be dropped into such ridiculous politics so early in life—not if she had any say in it.
"Family Politics is like chess, sweet sister," Walburga added, as she let her eyes bore into Cassiopeia's paled features and anxiety ridden expression. One that she couldn't seem to mask entirely no matter how hard she tried. "One must always know their opponents and the tools at their disposal."
Unable to quell her tongue, Cassiopeia couldn't help but rudely comment, "Hence your two sons? A heir and a spare... how fitting."
The statement seemed to have done it's job as Walburga visibly stiffened in the armchair for a moment before forcing herself to relax. Her posture however, remained slightly tense as if waiting for another barbed remark to let loose her rage upon. That was one thing Cassiopeia had always been good at—getting under her older sister's skin no matter how impenetrable she tried to make herself.
The silence that fell soon after was tense and thick, like that of a foggy day in London. Cassiopeia half thought that the two witches would leave after finishing their tea but it seemed their interrogation had not yet come to pass. Three minutes had passed and still not a word was spoken, at least until Walburga changed the topic with a simple inquiry directed at Druella. One at which Cassiopeia was sure the woman already knew the answer too.
"Andromeda is at Hogwarts, yes?"
"Yes, second year." Druella replied swiftly, inclining her head as she did whilst adding with pride, "Her marks had been exemplary her first year."
"Good, I always wondered about her." Walburga commented simply as she gave Druella a knowing look before continuing. "She's quite soft for a Black, though it's clear she's more hardened then she looks. Slytherin...," here Walburga exclaimed with pride rippling through her tone as she continued to prattle to the other women as if she knew better than them both. "...a marvellous house— of course, I half-worried it to be Hufflepuff with the way she cried on Sirius' second birthday."
Cassiopeia couldn't help but raise a brow at this, as it had not been mentioned in any of her letters about their children. She half wondered what it was that made her eldest daughter cry at the younger boy's birthday a year prior. Surely, Druella wouldn't have condoned it in the slightest, and it seemed only fitting that Walburga would be hard pressed to let her forget such a slip up. Then again Druella had always been stingy about bringing up her daughter's faults in writing, unlike Walburga. Walburga would rather outline each and everyone of her children's faults and flaws rather than their achievements and virtues.
"...he'll be at Hogwarts of course, as I assume the rest of your daughter's will be." Walburga continued with a nod in Druella's direction as she added offhandedly. "He starts his etiquette and Lord lessons on the fortnight after his birthday."
"So young?" Cassiopeia couldn't help but reply with disapproval colouring her tone. "That hardly seems proper, Walburga."
"What's improper is your refusal to do the same with your daughter," Walburga snipped coolly, before letting vitriol lace her following words. "Keeping her hidden and away from proper influences. Speaking of, Cassiopeia, will it be Hogwarts too or are you planning to disassociate even further from your roots?"
The hidden meaning behind her words was clear to Cassiopeia. Walburga was asking where her loyalties laid, where her so-called family ranked in importance and if she was going to outcast both herself and her daughter as disgraces. It was with thin patience that Cassiopeia managed a proper reply at all to her sister's veiled taunt and threat at all.
"I haven't yet decided."
"Well, you best make up your mind quick." Druella said simply, easily diffusing the tension with her unbarbed replies and simple outlook to the subject at hand. "Real Estate is not the best in Britain I'll have you know and the education at Beauxbatons is lacking in most procedural standards, but it does bring out the best in young ladies."
"Indeed Druella, however Adeline will need to know more than how to curtesy and put a stasis charm on her tea." Walburga mocked with a roll of her eyes. Obviously in contempt at the mere thought of Cassiopeia's only daughter at any school other than Hogwarts. Hence the following, and quite heavily handed question, "She is a Black, is she not Cassiopeia?"
Cassiopeia loathed the direction the conversation was turning too. Her daughter was only three years old and already her sister's were trying to pry into her life and future decisions—to take away the choices she was going to let Adeline make. It was the exact reason she tried to keep her daughter hidden from them in the first place, to let her daughter revel in her anonymity for as long as possible— to be given a proper carefree childhood.
"Then your mind should be made. Hogwarts for her too."
Walburga blatantly stated, as if that was the end of that. She quickly gushed in a fake sense of excitement at the following words. "Oh! Sirius and her will be in the same year I expect. Perhaps, we can get their wands and robes together."
Cassiopeia knew a plot when she heard one and she outright refused to be a part of her sister's meticulous schemes that would eventually end up blowing up in their faces. Unable to quell her disinterest towards such a prospect, Cassiopeia stonily replied with loose lipped reasonings.
"I haven't decided on Hogwarts, sister." She used the term of endearment like a curse as it fell acidic from her quirked lips. "Beauxbatons may be lax in some disciplines but it is still a marvellous school. The third in over all hiring rates after graduation."
"Don't make me laugh, dear," Druella snickered as she covered her mouth to hide her smirking lips and stifle her false laughs.
"A Black in Beauxbatons? What a horrid thought." Walburga commented shortly, chuckling to herself in amusement. Cassiopeia watched her quickly finish the last few dregs of tea in her cup, as she pointedly refused to reply to any further questions.
It was another ten to thirty minutes before either of the witches deigned it a proper time to leave the house in France, flooing away with their children just as the mid-day meal crept towards them. Cassiopeia was thankful for the reprieve in forced socialization. It was only when she had finished eating lunch with her daughter—made by their far too excitable house elf Mipsy— that Cassiopeia was able to think over her sister's words.
When tucking her daughter into her bedroom for her mid-day nap, Cassiopeia pondered of many things spoken that afternoon—mostly that of her daughter's impending education. She had never thought too long and hard about her daughter's magical education, in fact it had been on the back burner of her mind for quite some time now. But, with Walburga and Druella both being absolutely certain that Hogwarts to be her only option, Cassiopeia fretted.
As much as she had enjoyed living and learning at Hogwarts School when she was a young girl she feared a many great things in that castle. In the Scotland School there would be no escaping her sibling's or their pressures to how her daughter should be and act. Durmstrang would hardly be any better—their unhealthy inclination to the dark arts didn't appeal to her either. That left only Beauxbatons, at least for the schools that were marginally local for her daughter.
Beauxbatons was a good and gifted school, for that there was no doubt. Though the Black family had made it a point to never send their children there as they were typically a light orientated school with lessened security and a far too Muggle-like acceptance to half-creatures. Cassiopeia was neither against the idea nor for it but it did come with it's own set of expectations and rules. Her daughter's preparation towards proper spell work and not simple society magic would be limited but nothing that home-schooling and self-study couldn't remedy. There was also the heavy influence of proper efficiency covered and a wide variety of political classes available should Adeline be so inclined.
With her daughter soundly sleeping in her bed, her hair in a messy halo around her head of dark curls, Cassiopeia finally made up her mind and went to fetch a roll of parchment and ink from her bedside table to draft a letter. She knew the instant her quill tip penned the letter she would be scorning her family traditions and views but she couldn't find it within herself to care. It was for the best for her daughter to stay away from Hogwarts and by extension the Black family.
She would not have her daughter hollowed out and made into some perfect pureblooded society witch without her so choosing. Cassiopeia would allow her the choice at the end of her first year if she wished to transfer and that would be that. Her daughter would lead a normal childhood, at least as normal of one as she could offer, even if it had her burned off the family tapestry before she could learn to do magic.
With a quiet sigh and stiffened upper lip, Cassiopeia Black began to write;
Beauxbatons Academy of Magic
French Pyrenees, France
Chère, Madame Toussaint
J'espère que ma lettre vous trouve bien ...
Dear, Madame Toussaint
I hope my letter finds you well ...
Safe to say I was NOT expecting this story to get the traction it did —all of you that have left comments, bookmarks and kudos are absolutely lovely and I thank you all for the (so far) positive response! Hopefully, you all enjoy what I put forth in further additions. Please remember that I will update when and where I can—I do not adhere to schedules like most authors due to my chaotic life. As always, I hope you are well and staying safe and healthy out there! Until next time :)
P.S. Happy Christmas to those that celebrate
Adeline Black was a highly unusual girl in many ways, and that was without including the abnormality of her being a pureblooded witch. She had been a rather normal child for most of her early youth, even with her fiery tantrums and disinterest to most adventure-filled and wild things that most children found amusing.
Unlike most young witches, Adeline Black had no interest in the infamous game of Quidditch —though Cassiopeia was quite thankful for that—, nor was she prone to causing trouble and mischief like her cousins. Instead, Adeline Black had found her hobby's in reading and writing, things most young's girls found exceedingly dull and mind numbing. On occasion she would play with her dolls, only to abandon them minutes later in favour of mucking around in the gardens with her mother.
That was one thing her daughter did enjoy that was of the messy sort—gardening. If Cassiopeia would allow it, she was sure that her daughter would stay forever outside, despite how prone she was to sunburns in the bright sun. Not to mention her never ending refusal to rub a sun lotion on her cheek bones and shoulders to save her mother from the pitiful weeping and moaning later.
Adeline simply adored gardening. Pruning the plentiful petunias on their patios, and watering their many mounds of magnolias set up on the window ledges. Adeline even found joy in the endless task of weeding and collecting the safer plants and herbs for her mother's potions out in the back gardens.
Most young mothers in the Wizarding World would be pleased with such developments, as they would not have to coax out the wild and untameable ways that often sprouted in young children out—, but all Cassiopeia could do was worry. She would tell her family—at least those like Alphard who knew her truly and did not see issue with her methods of raising Adeline— in letters that she was worried. Worried for her daughter's lack of hobbies and lack of adventure, she would say she was thrilled with Adeline's love of learning and dedication to understanding the most complex of things and messing about with the flower pots, but in truth she fretted.
She fretted both day in and day out wondering if she had done something wrong when rearing her daughter. Had the seclusion made her daughter less than that of other girls? Had she accidentally forced her into growing up far too quickly? After all, it simply wasn't normal for young girl to enjoy weeding and reading of all things—, shouldn't she rather play in the house with her dolls? Be more excited about mucking about on brooms like most children and giving Cassiopeia heart palpitations when she flew too quickly or turned to tight?
This is of course without bringing into part the horrific nightmares that had began to plague her daughter on the eve of her sixth birthday in 1966. It had started suddenly and without warning, like most things in the Wizarding World. Cassiopeia had tucked her daughter into bed as she always did that night, reading her the tales of Babbity Rabbit and his Cackling Stump to lull her off into the realm of Morpheus when it first began.
At first she had thought it a fluke bad dream, despite the way Adeline sobbed for hours about things of nonsense about Dark Wizards and silver masked men. Then it had happened again the next night, and the night after. It got to the point that her daughter was having horrific nightmares every time she laid down to sleep—including in broad daylight when she attempted to take a nap to make-up for her lack of rest. Adeline had been given her first fear since childhood, as unlike other children she did not fear heights or the dark or such simple and mindless things, but instead what awaited her in her dreams. And Cassiopeia was powerless to help her overcome it.
Potions such as Dreamless Sleep could only help so much and sooner rather than later (exactly three months to be exact) the potion was rendered completely useless as her daughter had built up an intolerance to it. Mother and daughter were back to square one, with Adeline crying out in the middle of the night in fear and Cassiopeia not getting much sleep either as she fretted for her daughter's peace of mind.
Cassiopeia had taken to sleeping with her daughter, instead of resting in her own bedroom down the hall for many months. Each night she would hold her daughter as she lulled off to sleep, only to wake up hours later with her six year old sobbing and thrashing about. It was like clockwork, having to wake Adeline every few hours from the horrible images that played out in her mind.
Nearly four months after the new development of her daughter's night terrors, Cassiopeia reached her wits end and made appointments with all sorts of mind healers for her daughter. Specialists with experimental sleeps aids in the hopes to combat her vivid dreams, many child psychologists and mind-healers to see if there was a diagnosis that could be made or a way that therapy could help her reach a peaceful slumber. Cassiopeia threw galleons on top of galleons in the hopes of curing whatever sickness that had rooted itself in her daughter's subconscious, but it all amounted to nothing. The best of what they could offer was that she wasn't cursed, nor was she mentally ill—she was simply a child with an over active imagination.
Cassiopeia wanted to believe them, truly she wanted nothing more than these nightmares to be something Adeline would grow out of as she aged—but the older her daughter got, the worse they became. As a last resort and hope, Cassiopeia reached out to a hermit-like woman who was well-practiced in the art of divination. She didn't hold much respect for such practice, future telling and seers were something of whimsical fairytales in her mind as it couldn't be explained by any form of proper researching. Cassiopeia prided herself in logic and science, not of gut-feelings and make-belief. Nonetheless, she looked into the plausible avenue of her daughter possibly being a seer only for it to be a bust as well.
So the nightmares progressed, and Cassiopeia fretted whilst her daughter refused to sleep in fear of the horrors that haunted her in the night. Her previously easy and effortless go at parenting had become a living nightmare. It was similar to reliving the beginning months of bringing her daughter home with how little sleep the both of them received. A few hours—if that, some nights—before the both of them would be up for the rest of the day and attempting to work through the permanent feeling of exhaustion.
Speaking to Adeline about her terrible dreams did nothing to dissuade them either, as each one seemed different and more terrible than the last. It didn't help that she hardly remembered more than a few significant details, all to which stumped Cassiopeia in their origins.
Some nights it was men in dark cloaks donning silver masks whilst torturing muggles and wizards alike with unfamiliar faces, others it was of a large snake shedding the skin of an old women and attacking her daughter in her sleep. More often then not it was of her daughter dying a horrible death, or being tortured by some unspeakable and twisted method.
Burning in a room of cluttered things, drowning in a lake with an army of the dead dragging her down—and those of course were the tamed ones. In some of them, Adeline spent hours upon hours spent on a drawing room floor as a madwoman crucio-ed her into insanity, or sliced her to bits with a cursed dagger. The only reason Cassiopeia even knew the specifics of those were due to her extractions and use of the pensive that 2as hidden in her bedroom closet. As Adeline come to realize that the dreams were unlikely to halt in there assault of her unconscious mind, she began to close her shutters and refuse Cassiopeia's memory retrieval in the hopes of understanding them better.
"There's no point Maman*," Adeline had spoken in the very early morning on the fifth month of such events, after refusing to let her mother view the dreams in her pensive. "There's no sense in you suffering from the bad dreams too."
Despite how much Cassiopeia hated the reasoning, she didn't force her daughter on the matter. She had made a promise to never pry and remove her autonomy about her person, no matter how much it irked and bothered her otherwise. Besides, it wasn't like she was able to help the matter anyway, and no specialist or doctor in all of the Wizarding World seemed to have a remedy to it either.
The nightmares, for all the horribleness that they were did bring some new light to their home as well— though few and far between. Exactly a month after the horrible start of such terrors, Adeline had her first display of accidental magic. Cassiopeia had never been prouder than when her daughter had set fire to the sitting room drapes after loosing terribly in a game of Scrabble. Adeline of course had instantly been stumbling out apologies and nearly in tears at the destructive moment of magic. It had taken a full hour before Cassiopeia had been able to calm her scattered and distraught mind down to explain the exciting news of such a development.
"Relax, mon petit soleil*," Cassiopeia coaxed her daughter as she cried opening in the sitting room, staring at the ashes of what once was their long, floor length drapes. Only the golden tassels remained and even then they were nothing but scorched pits of yarn in the symmetrical piles of dust and silver holdings. "I am not angry, Darling. Not in the slightest."
"But the drapes—!" Adeline began to cry harder as she looked upon the ashes and destruction she had accidentally caused. She didn't understand how her mother wasn't angry at her when she had done such a horrible, horrible thing.
Adeline didn't know how it had happened—why it had happened. She knew that accidental magic was common, but usually it was like bubbles or changing the colour of someone's hair—never anything so destructive or volatile. Adeline hadn't even wanted to start a fire, she had just been upset about loosing to her mother, for not scoring high enough in the game—she was usually better at coming up with words. Clever and smart words that had her mother smirking at her ingenious. Why did her magic have to be violent and cause a mess?
"Maman*..." She tried to say through her icky sounding sobs and the snot slowly beginning to trickle from her nose, only for her mother to pull her into her chest in a tight embrace. It wasn't a new development, the hugging to soothe her troubled mind, her mother had always been the more tactile of them both in showing affection. Adeline had never been overly fond of it, but she appreciated it far more than he earlier attempts to buy her love through new robes and books.
"It's of no importance, mon petit fille*," Her mother spoke softly into her hair, running her hands along her back in soothing circles and slowly calming her down with it's repetitive motions.
"Besides," Cassiopeia added after a moment in a simple jest, once Adeline had calmed down enough to not begin crying and blaming herself once again. "I thought they were quite hideous anyway."
It seemed that her jest had made it's mark when Adeline began to softly laugh into her mothers shoulder. Before pulling away to wipe the tears from her cheeks with the back of her hand, Adeline offered her a timid smile that left a dimple in her left cheek.
Cassiopeia didn't even care about the snot likely covering the shoulder of her robes—her daughter had just done magic! Powerful and volatile magic sure, but magic nonetheless. Her heart was heavily pounding with enough excitement and joy for the both of them. It wasn't for the first time that she wished the girl's father was there to witness such a magnificent and once-in-a-lifetime moment. Her late beau would have loved every second of it, he would have undoubtedly loved Adeline just as much as she.
"Now, how about some celebratory pudding, hm?" Cassiopeia asked with a large grin filling her face, nearly identical to the one that appeared on her daughters rounded face at the comment. It was that final phrase that two witches residing in the Victorian home in the Rhone Alps, scampered off to the kitchen to share the wonderful news with their house elf, Mipsy.
Said house elf was overjoyed and could have created a river with the tears she shed once hearing the news. Even more so that her Mistress had thought it prudent to share it with her. It wasn't common practice for a house elf to be given respect in a wizard's home but Cassiopeia had never been one to stick too close to tradition anyway. Besides, Mipsy was practically family for how long she had been tucked at the two witches sides. To show her gratitude the house elf had instantly began making the most elaborate of puddings for her wonderful and magical 'Young Missy'. Adeline had hugged the house elf tightly when she had even snuck a dollop of whipped cream on top.
Despite the celebrations that were being held, Adeline couldn't shake the guilt wallowing her stomach and her confusion at her mother's reaction. It was for that reason that she couldn't help but timidly ask while they scraped their bowls clean with their silver spoons.
"I still don't understand Maman*," She spoke softly, so quiet that Cassiopeia had to glance up from her small serving to make sure that her daughter had indeed spoke to her in the kitchen. "You're happy that I set the drapes on fire?"
Cassiopeia couldn't help but snort—quite unladylike at that— before replying with arched brows and laughter still bubbling in her gut.
"On the contrary, mi amor*, I am happy that you displayed magic at all." Cassiopeia replied simply, not one to beat around the bush in anything she said. Besides she refused to lie to her daughter, not for anything.
She would rather explain something to it's fullest potential and then leave her daughter to ask questions or fill in the blanks herself—and if she didn't know the answer she would find it out and tell Adeline at her earliest convenience. Cassiopeia knew it wasn't a typical practice for mother's to use when raising children, but it was the one that she liked best. It was for that reason that she added on in clarification.
"Though, even if you hadn't displayed magic, I would love you the same." Her daughter's chest seemed to deflate at her words, as if the weight that and been pushing down on Adeline had suddenly lessened to that of a feather. With a small smile she continued to speak.
"It's a wonderful thing, being magical. However, with fire being your first act it is a tad concerning as a parent, mon petit soleil*. Your first act of Magic was filled with raw, untampered power... something most impressive for your age."
She paused for a moment before giving her daughter a proud grin with sparkling grey eyes, "It simply goes to show that we can expect many great things from you, Adeline."
After her display of magic Cassiopeia could no longer be ignorant to Adeline's introduction into the Wizarding World. Of course all the years leading up to her sudden display of magic hasn't been absent of the magical happenings and wonders that existed in their home— Cassiopeia literally ran an owl-order potions practice after all. That being said, she had been a little lax in the other, more proper Wizarding ways to educate her daughter.
So on the month leading up to her daughters seventh birthday Cassiopeia made some changes to their day-to-day schedule. She knew that her nieces and nephews had already been given a swath of tutors in various practices—all approved by the Black Patriarch of the family—on the duties and responsibilities of the upcoming Lord's and Lady's of House Black. Adeline would be no different in that respect, except for the small detail that all said tutors would be screened and approved of by Cassiopeia only and not Arcturus.
The elder Black woman had hated every approved Pureblood tutor that had been given to her as a child and refused to have her daughter spend hours of time with someone she would despise. After all, the said tutors would be working with her for years to come if the fit be proper—it was best if they could at least be cordial to one another. There was the added conundrum that Cassiopeia wished for the tutor's to be unbiased in dated prejudices, which was few and hard to come by to say the least.
In the end, Cassiopeia had found a passable tutor to suit her expectations and Adeline's needs, however her daughter was being more than stubborn to the change in scheduling. Not only was she angry about the lack of free times to spend in the gardens and in her novels but at the idea of learning from a stranger.
The two witches had been arguing in circles for days over the changes to come and Adeline was getting more and more ticked the longer her mother refused to bend to her wishes. It wasn't often her mother ignored her opinions and insights and she was having a hard time to adjusting to the sudden need for rules and regulations that were far too strict in her mind. It was like a punishment she had no need for.
"I don't want a tutor, Maman*!" Adeline shouted at her mother for what felt like the hundredth time that evening. The two had just finished up with dinner and when Cassiopeia had spoken of what her daughter would be learning, Adeline had immediately jumped at the chance to try and argue her way out of it. "Why can't you just teach me? You know loads of stuff!"
"It's improper, Adeline we've been over this." Cassiopeia replied shortly, having had quite enough of her daughter shoving her heels in the ground. With the combined lack of sleep for them both due to the nightmares and the sudden changes neither of the witches were in the best of moods and often got snippy with each other. Especially when Adeline mixed in her Black inherited stubbornness and inability to let the matter drop.
"Besides," Cassiopeia huffed out sharply as she attempted to control her own building frustration as she explained for neither the first nor the last time to her young daughter. "Madam Geller not only has marvellous reviews, but will be more up to date on what you will need to be focusing on."
"I don't want Madam Geller," Adeline whined petulantly. Cassiopeia felt her nerves grate together harshly at her use of tone as she clippedly replied.
"Then it's a good thing that I've already made the decision for you. This is not up for debate, Adeline. My mind is made up."
Adeline, seemingly having had enough of the conversation, skidded her chair roughly against the hardwood and went to storm out of the room. Cassiopeia growled below her breath as her daughter stomped her feet up the stairs and towards her bedroom door in a huff. She supposed she should be thankful that their arguments were few and far between, but it didn't make her feel any less angered when the house rattled from her daughter's slamming door.
Cassiopeia could only pray that the moodiness was from the lack of sleep and not in fact an ongoing performance that she would have to learn to deal with. Morgana pray for the day Adeline became an angsty adolescent prone to mood swings and menstrual cycles. Cassiopeia didn't know if she could handle a blown out of proportion Black temper on the daily. Perhaps, she ought to apologize to her own mother for all the headaches she used to cause her when she was little.
With the years well past since she had first been introduced to Madam Geller and forced into her dubbed 'Lady Lessons' much had changed in Adeline's life. She still spent a favourable amount of time in the gardens, though now mostly on the weekends as it was the only days she had no prior commitments too. In the late afternoons she would hole herself up in the private library with one of her novels or a textbook from her lessons to peruse through in her leisure.
Much had changed from when her days were filled with whatever her mother had planned up the night before—Adeline couldn't deny that it was nice to have a set schedule in a sense but it was also exhausting. Mostly because she spent all of her week days learning the duties and responsibilities to be a proper Black Heiress— which she was still not enthused about in the slightest.
The mornings were spent mainly on etiquette, whilst the afternoons were filled with history or activities she needed to have an acceptable aptitude in. None of these topics made her leap with joy or look forward to further lessons in the slightest. Her etiquette lessons were by far the most unappealing of the load on her plate— filled with the talk of manners and expectations as a Lady Black. It was always do's and don't's—particularly more don't's than do's in her case.
Some of it was marginally interesting however, and her tutor wasn't the worst person in the world, if a bit quirky in some aspects. Madame Geller typically wore robes of a mustard yellow and a strange and flappy, wide brimmed hat—she also had a really flouncy accent that absolutely murdered her pronunciation on some words. Her accent had been a real struggle to work around when Adeline was required to start practicing her French more consistently.
According to Pureblood society it was required to know at least one additional language to your birthright fluently. Most up and coming Black Lady's chose French, and seeing as how they lived in rural France, Adeline hadn't objected to that as her second. However, it had taken her less than a year to become fluent so Madame Geller had insisted her to take on another to challenge herself. So now Adeline not only spoke fluent French and English, but was well on her way to becoming fluent in German.
That wasn't the only topic, or lesson to be technical, that she had incidentally excelled in. Adeline had also been a quick study in the briefly touched upon politics of Wizarding society. Of course, this wasn't because she agreed with any of the subjects they touch upon, like laws being overturned and bills being put though to the Wizengamot— but instead because she had a quick temper about how backwards some of their decrees turned out to be. Such as the Act Against Magical Creatures and their employment that was founded in 1642 or how the Ministry had attempted —and failed, thank Morgana— to legalize Muggle Hunting in 1781.
Adeline had been nothing short of enraged and had all but locked herself in the library to pour over the rows upon rows of poorly written Pureblood Politic books. Her mother had to all but drag her out of her book-made shrine three days later—seeing as Adeline had not ate nor slept since diving into her research. Madame Geller was then given a strict restriction on when she could bring up about the said politics in their ongoing lessons. Not because Adeline had become nothing short of obsessed with it, but more so because she had nearly sent off three very strongly worded letters—at least for a nearly nine year old— to Madame Bagnold who was the current Minister of Magic. Cassiopeia had never been so happy that Mipsy had caught her daughter before the owls had flown off with the spiteful and vitriol filled letters of her daughter.
There were many lessons Adeline was not a natural in however, one of them in particular being Ballroom Dancing. The girl, despite being marginally graceful and coordinated, was a complete wreck upon the dance floor. It had taken Adeline nearly a full year before she was even marginally acceptable to be seen in public whilst dancing. Cassiopeia had thought it hilarious to say the least—watching her daughter flail around like a flobber worm in a simple waltz and two-step. Adeline had been less enthused and more hateful than anything after such spectacles. Even after she had gotten the hang of it, she had vehemently refused to dance ever again— even if it were a matter of life and death.
Another lesson she had been less than adequate at was shockingly recalling the family tapestries, though that was soon rectified with the help of her cousins—or one cousin in particular anyway. Narcissa and been more than helpful in aiding her daughter through owl correspondence to become more familiar with the way the family tree interlocked with the others of the Sacred Twenty-Eight. This however, didn't stop Adeline from finding the entire practice utterly pointless no matter show many times Cassiopeia tried to tell her otherwise.
"Think of it this way," Her mother had started off simply, as she tried desperately to explain it in plain terms over breakfast, as Adeline complained about such lessons. "When you're older and find a nice young gentleman you won't have to bother yourself with learning all of his family members names and interests a week before the wedding."
Adeline had done nothing but narrow her storm cloud eyes cryptically towards her mother, before staying nonchalantly, "Who's to say I'll be marrying a pureblood, Maman*?"
Cassiopeia choked on her coffee.
Her daughter quickly raised her hands up in a mock-surrender gesture as she added without a second thought towards her mother's undignified reaction.
"I'm just saying, Maman*."
"Well," Cassiopeia stammered unsure of how to proceed. There were a great many things she wanted to bring up but thought it perhaps a little too early in the morning to have an argument about soon to be offered weddings and betrothals. So instead, she changed her focus back to the topic at hand and tried yet again to get her willfully stubborn daughter to agree with her. It was like fighting uphill battle lately to get her to listen to anything she said at all—Cassiopeia more often than not blamed it on her Black inherited genetics.
"Alright, then when you decided to take over the Black family financials—"
"Also not a possibility." Adeline interrupted swiftly with a roll of her eyes. A gesture that Cassiopeia didn't know where it could have possibly originated from but would love to erase from her daughter's keen memory. That however was a slow going process between both herself and Madame Geller. "Since Sirius is going to be the next head of the family."
"But," Cassiopeia patiently disagreed with a surprising amount of control. "If Sirius were to become unsuitable or ill-fit to take the position—"
"Then it would go to Regulus." Adeline rectified in her blunt honesty, as she gave her mother a slow and disapproving look. As if Cassiopeia had been caught red-handed in a white lie.
"Honestly, Maman,*" Adeline remarked with a smug smile making it's way across her still youthful and rounded features. "—are you sure it's me who needs these lessons and not you?"
Mipsy, who had been quietly collecting the cutlery and dishes from their placemats had to stifle her donkey sounding laughter with a not at all convincing cough at Adeline's comment. Though the elf's amusement was soon cut short when Cassiopeia darted a glare over her shoulder. Adeline only sipped mindlessly from her porcelain tea cup at the tension filled room, with a look of complete and utter innocence painted across her face.
Of course Adeline's lessons weren't all about learning new hobby's befitting of a Black and how to integrate properly into pureblood politics. Some of it was simply knowing which fork to use in a twelve course meal, and how to properly call a toast at an important social event. That had been a lesson with a lot of reprimanding on her tutor's part and a lot of nagging from her mother in regards to her posture. Not that she could slouch all too comfortably in the corset she was wrangled into to help with the process. Her mother had never cared previously to how she held her tea cups or when her elbows were set on the table but suddenly, it was like every time she dined with the woman she was being harped at.
"Elbows off the table, Adeline."
Followed her through lunch, breakfast and dinner.
"Sit up straight. You're not a Weasley for Merlin's sake."
And on and on it went.
Suddenly, her 'Lady lessons' weren't just lessons at all but expectations. She was expected to be able to list the entire Black Family Tree off by heart at the drop of a hat—whom was related to whom through which ancestral branch. Who was casted off and why—were they a blood traitors, a squib? Not only that, but she was expected to know which title to use when addressing someone of marginal importance. Whether it be a heir to a noble family, a widow to a ex-relative, a Lord or Lady at a dinner party or a lowly muggleborn in a grocery store. Every little and insignificant detail in relation to wealth, superiority and pureblooded property mattered.
Adeline was expected to know the family business. The trades and investments that the Black family had poured their galleons into over the years —the obscure potion practices and much smaller and meaningless ventures such as national quidditch teams. It all mattered. Adeline needed to know they held shares with in which branches of business, which old and noble families they were indebted to and this was before even touching on the family magic's they were known for. Black and dark magic for the most part— or at least that's what her textbooks insisted it was called—, though the terms themselves were hardly accurate. Any magic could be Black Magic or Dark magic if you had the wrong sort of intent behind it. Not that the scholars —and her tutor as well— liked to discuss that aspect much.
The Black Family was known for their Blood Curses, hence the family words of 'Toujours Pur'. They could end a family line with one syllable from the Black Grimmoire if they so chose, not that it had been opened in the last decade. That of course her mother had claimed was because Grandfather Arcturus had it hidden under lock and key in his office behind many wards. Adeline had found a morbid sort of curiosity in that lesson to be honest. She had found in more than interesting how each family was predestined to a particular skill set simply due to their blood—like the Fortescue's with Advanced Charms, or the Potters with Potion-making— though the same could not be said for Muggleborns.
They were raw magic, and an unknown factor. They were an abnormality in that sense with no-predisposition to any skill set in the magical community. It was for that reason that Adeline thought that most pureblood families feared them. Well, that and the fact that they held no respect for Wizarding culture. She theorized that if Muggleborns didn't waltz into the magical world and expect them all to do a complete 180 in their beliefs and traditions that there could easily be a world with less division.
There needed to be a mutual balance, or at least there did in her theories of world peace. Where Muggleborns didn't want to wipe away all of the Wizarding communities culture with their nuance ideas and where the Pureblood's didn't want to eradicate all that made Muggleborns who they are. There's a small grey area of coexisting that Adeline thought to be a plausible place for harmony between the two differing lifestyles. Then again, it wasn't like Adeline used much of her free time to contemplate her ideas behind world peace and eradicating racism as a whole. That was more of a fleeting hobby that quickly had her ripping her hair out in frustration.
Outside of the tapestry tests, and the financials she was supposed to have memorized off the top of her head Adeline was expected to be up to date on the more finicky of pureblood societal standards as well. Namely the expectancies of what a Lady Black should act like. She was to be proper and poised, always in control of herself and her emotions. Adeline struggled far more than she would care to admit with such minuscule expectations.
Her mother had stepped in for these particular lessons rather than Madame Geller, to assist her in such stances. In private she was taught the art of Occlumency, at least the beginning stages of it. She was expected to perfect her mental defences on her own time and add to them as she aged. Adeline had been admittedly excited at first, until she realized just how difficult the mind arts truly were. Though the challenge hardly dissuaded her, as she soon started pestering her mother for a beginners guide to Legilimency as well, though she insisted that was more for theory than practice. Whether her mother bought such a white lie, Adeline wasn't sure—her mother had been a Slytherin after all.
It was during her regular lesson times that she was given further culture and societal lessons on their family heirlooms. Such as the heiress ring that she was never supposed to remove until her becoming of age ceremony where she was gifted another ring in it's place. The Black heiress ring was a simple band of silver, embedded with a circular cut emerald at the centre with two silver engraved snakes on either side. Nearly every Black in the family had been sorted in Slytherin House at Hogwarts, hence the patriotic decoration. The ring was embedded with a series of protective enchantments as well, just like all Black heirlooms hidden away in the family vaults.
The heiress and heir rings in particular were keyed against dark hexes and mind magic. As long as Adeline always wore her ring she could never be forced under the Imperious Curse against her will, or suffer severe consequences from a particularly nasty hex sent her way. The heiress ring also has the added protections against mild poisons. It would simply heat up on her ring finger, if she held a glass that had been tampered with. It wasn't fool proof, but it did manage to make Adeline feel a tad safer when wearing it.
Despite the lessons and gifts of jewelry and mind magic protection however, Adeline couldn't help but feel like the world had been dropped on her shoulders. Not dissimilar to Atlas and his burden in the Odyssey. It was all expectations and tests and Adeline was beyond exhausted from it all. It didn't help that her nightmares never seemed to wane—but it was to the point that no matter what horrors she saw behind her eyelids even they couldn't touch her any longer. She was too tired to wake up in the middle of the night in distress, to sob into her pillow at the pictures of horrible things staining her mind. Instead, she watched them, almost like a horror film every time she went to bed and woke up, feeling as if nothing had changed for her exhausting day-to-day routine.
The one thing that had brightened her exhausting existence outside of lessons and schedules was her cousin's letters. Adeline hadn't thought much of her maternal cousins since the one afternoon of tea but ever since she has written to Narcissa —upon her mother's insistence— about the Black tapestries she couldn't seem to stop writing. Despite their family-born relation, Narcissa was truly Adeline's first and only friend.
It was to the point that they were exchanging weekly letters, neither of the girls having much to say really but more or less just pleased to have someone to talk to that wasn't living within their own household. It didn't even matter that there was a good two years difference between them, as they got along swimmingly to say the least, even when Narcissa started her first year of Hogwarts. Even in the midst of her studies at the infamous school, Narcissa took the time to write her every week and five her an update to the comings and going's of her life.
Black Family Manor
December 18th 1968
You were right of course, the first thing my tutor tested me on was the Black family tree— thanks for the study sheets by the way they were oh-so helpful. I still don't understand why I have to memorize who married who twenty generations ago (they're literally dead!) but I rest my case.
Maman has been as prickly as ever. Apparently my so-called Lady Lessons are not up for debate and I need to simply 'pull on my big girl knickers and get over it.' My tutor isn't bad per say, she's actually rather funny in some instances but that doesn't mean the lessons aren't completely dreadful. I swear to Merlin if I get reprimanded one more time about my posture I might throw a stinging hex at her (not that I know how to cast a stinging hex... yet).
Anyway, I'm getting off topic. Lessons are still as boring as they were a year ago, Maman is still snippy and nothing is happening in France. How's it in England? Is Aunt Druella still upset about the rose bushes that Bella mutilated? Has Sirius officially caused Aunt Walburga an aneurysm yet? Keep me updated!
I miss you of course, and am anxiously awaiting your reply. It's the only thing marginally interesting these days. Perhaps, I'll see you at the ball this coming Yule? Maman is finally allowing me to accompany her via side-along.
Rhone Alps, France.
December 20th 1968
You should know by now that I'm always right. I'm glad my study sheets were helpful, Andy says I'm a swot to take notes during Lady Lessons. Hopefully the holidays will put Aunt Cass in better spirits—speaking of which, why is it only now that I'm hearing about your attendance? At least with you there things won't be so dull this year, it's always a right bore until Sirius inevitably causes a ruckus. (Or Great Aunt Delphinus knocks over the punch bowl.)
In answer to your questions, Mother is still cross with Bella about the roses but I think she's nearly past her rage phase and is slowly moving towards her grieving stage, so that's nice I suppose. Aunt Walburga is still, well, Aunt Walburga to say the least (read; uptight, and temperamental). England is fine but boring as always. Andy and I went to Diagon Alley a few weeks ago to be fitted for our dress robes, mine are silver this year incase you're curious.
Though I doubt you're at all excited about the ball —besides being away from France for a little while—, I have to say that Grandfather Arcturus spared no expenses. He's invited most of the Sacred Twenty-Eight families, at least those of respectable bloodlines, of course. I'm almost certain that Mother has been the one colour coordinating the centrepieces and choosing the music. (That being said I should hope your ballroom dancing has improved significantly since that's all she'll place in the cue!)
Besides the ball preparations though nothing new has happened as of late. My own tutors have just begun to cover the details in traditional courting and betrothals. Incredibly interesting if you ask me—, did you know there's at least six different ways to court a witch or wizard? It's ridiculous really, and there's hardly any variation between them all but it's the details that set them apart. But of course you'll learn all about it soon enough with how quickly you're moving along.
I miss you as well and am positively delighted to know you'll be here in England for Yule. Buy me something pretty will you? (And don't think I've forgotten about your birthday—expect at least two presents when you arrive for the holidays in less than a week!)
mon petit soleil* translates to 'my little sun' in French
mon petit fille* translates to 'my little girl' in French
maman* translates to 'mama' in French
toujours pur* translates to 'always pure' in French
Motivation struck and I found myself surprisingly writing this chapter within hours after my last update. So... happy early new years I guess, :") as you won't have to wait months for an update!
On another note— I know this chapter was more or less just a filler but I really needed to set the stage for some later plot-related things so I hope it wasn't too much of a bore to peruse through. How do we feel about Cassiopeia and Adeline's relationship in this chapter—did it seem believable, I found it a bit wish-washy in some aspects.
Also please ask for translations if I forget to add them in the notes! Either or, I hope you enjoyed and are all staying safe out there!
Until next time!
Adeline Delphinus Black was first and foremost an exceptionally stubborn child, even by the Most Ancient and Noble House of Black's standards. Hence, why it was to no surprise that Cassiopeia Black found herself in the midst of an argument with her significantly stubborn nine year old daughter no more than an hour before they were scheduled to leave their home for the Yuletide ball. The first event the pair would ever be attending together in Britain, and likewise Adeline's first introduction into pureblood society.
The argument wasn't of anything important either— at least not to the elder Lady Black's mind. Why should it matter if her daughter's hair was up or down for such a party? It wasn't as though it would suddenly make her maternal aunts like her more—they had already written them both off as nothing more than embarrassments to say the least. If only her daughter could grasp such a simple notion then everything would have played out, not only much differently, but far more smoothly.
Cassiopeia knew her daughter was nervous to be attending, also uncommonly excited as well. Hence why she was likely fretting over such simplicities like hairstyles. That however didn't mean that Adeline's failed manipulation tactics and temper tantrums were something that Cassiopeia enjoyed having to navigate through while trying to get them both presentable for Yuletide.
"But Maman*," Adeline whined to her mother, her cheeks slowly getting redder the more she attempted to change her mother's mind on such topics. "Narcissa said she was going to have her hair up! Why can't I?"
Cassiopeia counted to ten in her head slowly—neither for the first nor the last time since her daughter had started her mini-rebellion on hairstyles, in the hopes of staying patient and well tempered. After she got to ten and was able to carefully think of a proper answer in the hopes of persuading her daughter out of such ridiculousness, she countered sternly.
"Well, when Narcissa gets a head of hair that is as uncontrollable as yours, I'd like to see her place it in an acceptable updo." She sucked in a deep breath, as her daughter's frown reappeared and her infamous Black temper reignited in a fiery blaze.
"Adeline, enough!" Cassiopeia all but shouted at her daughter, her own temper held back by nothing more than threads. Forcing herself to breathe in and out evenly, she pulled a ribbon out of the chest of hair accessories in her daughters bathroom and offered it to her in a moderate attempt at a peace offering. "Why don't you let me place a ribbon in your hair instead? That way it can be both half up and half down."
Adeline, oblivious to her mothers lack of patience the more they argued, all but sneered at the simple silver coloured ribbon that Cassiopeia held up.
"But I don't like that ribbon!"
Cassiopeia frowned at her daughter's tone, and asked in fraying patience. "What's wrong with this ribbon?"
"What's right with that ribbon more like," Adeline snidely remarked as she glared at the offending hair piece. The only explanation she offered her mother was loosely put together at best. "I use it all the time—, it's not fancy."
Cassiopeia had to force herself not to argue her on the matter. She knew for a fact that the last time Adeline had worn the silver ribbon had been when she had been practicing her waltz with Madam Geller at least a year prior. Adeline was normally wearing a white ribbon or a blue one most days, therefore her silver one —which was in nearly pristine condition— would do just fine for such an event.
"But," Cassiopeia replied slowly, as she carefully set the ribbon down on the bathroom counter top. "—it goes wonderfully with your sage coloured robes."
Adeline wrinkled her nose at her mother. "I'm not wearing the colour sage to a Yuletide ball."
Cassiopeia had to bite her lip from speaking her mind, and instead tried to gracefully counter her daughter's distaste to the colour they had picked out weeks ago.
"No Maman*!" Adeline all but shouted her mother. In her fit of anger she missed the sharp glint of her mother's usually clear grey eyes. Unlike her daughter, Cassiopeia had spent years mastering her control over her temper, but that didn't mean it didn't flare up on occasion. Especially when her daughter started spitting phrases like a spoiled child. "—I'll look like a Christmas wreath in the color sage!"
"Fine!" Cassiopeia finally snapped, as she set the ribbon down on the counter roughly, and proceeded to go up and down her daughter with a scolding. There were a great many things Cassiopeia would have liked to stay but instead she stiffened her resolve and kept herself from lashing out like she so wished too. "Go starkers for all I care! We leave in an hour and I expect you in the parlour exactly on the needle."
Cassiopeia relished for just a moment in the way her daughter's eyes became glossy and her face turned an ashy white. Perhaps the sharply cut words would finally sink into her skull that despite what she thought, Adeline was still nothing but a child and Cassiopeia, her mother.
"Maman*," Adeline spoke, with her lower lip wobbling from unshed tears— whether from anger or sadness, Cassiopeia didn't hurry to pinpoint at the time. She was far to wrapped up in her own frustration and turmoil of emotions.
"I'm not fighting you on this, Adeline— it's just a party." Cassiopeia huffed sternly, refusing to argue further on her decision to leave her daughter to her own devices. She was not going to stick around and offer her aid to Adeline if she was going to continue acting improperly for a young girl. Adeline knew better.
Despite her better judgment, Cassiopeia continued to steamroll onwards and ignored the defeated expression of her only child and the way her eyes continued to become even more glossy in the bright lights of her ensuite.
"I should have never agreed to bring you with!" She all but snarled as she went about closing the drawers to the jewelry box and the chest filled with hair accessories. "Especially with the scene you're making before we have even left the house. Mipsy!"
With the call of their house elf, a loud snap filled the room as the pillowcase wearing creature snapped into existence. Adeline watched begrudgingly as her mother set out a list of orders to the elf— not unkindly but far from her usual tone of politeness and reserved cheer.
"Bring Adeline down within the hour— I don't care if she's in nothing but her birthday suit or a towel." Her mother levelled her with a stern glare, after moving her eyes pointedly from the house elf to her misbehaving daughter. "A Black is never tardy and she must learn this."
The house elf with it's flappy looking ears and deformed looking head nodded its agreement before replying swiftly and without question, "Of course, Mistress."
As Cassiopeia went to leave the room she called out her final orders to the elf which had Adeline sinking further into her bare feet. She was an even mixture of regret and fury at her mother's second orders to Mipsy and despised how the elf purposely took her mother's orders over her own.
"And don't you dare put her hair atop her head! She'll look like a bird's nest and that's the last bit of judgment I'll need from my family tonight."
The slamming door of the bathroom, followed by the stomp-like steps in the corridors made it evident that Adeline could expect no further help in getting ready. Her mother had never broken a promise to her yet, and she had warned Adeline many times before that she was a woman of her word—whether that be in vows made or upholding punishments of naughty little girls. It was one thing that she both loved and hated about her mother.
Knowing she was good and alone, Adeline couldn't help but let out a growl of frustration as she stared at her chaotically curling damp hair in the vanity. She watched in a mixture of surprise and contempt as the said curls sprung to life and spit out a few red sparks in reflection of her overwhelming emotions.
Mipsy quickly hopped about in magicking away the sparks and let out a small sigh as she watched her two missus' fight. As rare as the fights were between the two they always left a sour taste in the elf's mouth. But nonetheless Mipsy was a good elf and would aid her missus' in anything they'd be wishing—even if it was playing carrier owl when they refused to speak to one another.
"Is little Miss be needing Mipsy?" The house elf asked cautiously as she watched the younger girl's facial expressions flicker from anger to sadness in seconds before returning back to the former. This was a common reaction in her little Miss, especially when focusing on her anger rather than her sadness. Little Miss often proclaimed it easier to focus on and move through than her other pesky emotions.
"I hate her Mipsy." Adeline snipped softly into the vanity, not meaning a word of it, as she huffed beneath her breath. She began to dig around in the chest of ribbons for something more to her liking than what her mother had suggested as she added on, "Why can't she just listen?"
"No bad talking the Mistress!" Mipsy scolded on instinct alone, as she began to flurry around Adeline in a tizzy whilst adding in her garbled speak patterns. "No, no, no! Does Mipsy need to remind young Miss of her manners?"
Not about to argue with the house elf, as she was known around the household to be a menace in her antics, Adeline simply sniffed pretentiously and ordered the elf away in a snit. She was pleased by the sounding crack that echoed through her ensuite at the elf's dismissal. She half-expected Mipsy to fight her on the order since she wasn't really in charge of bossing her around. That was her mother's primary job—not that she used it all too often. Cassiopeia had always preferred to do most things herself and have Adeline help her when needed, she didn't want them both to become too dependant on the elves and their strange household magic.
"Even the bloody elf is against me," Adeline muttered beneath her breath, while pushing a few strands of her still damp hair behind her ears.
"Okay... I can do this, right?" She spoke to herself in almost a trance as she begin to lay out her chosen ribbon and try to decide how to go about doing her wild and wet hair. It was something she had never been pressured or taught before, seeing as her mother favoured doing it for her each morning. Likewise, it never really mattered whether it was held up in ribbons or plaited nicely in silky strands when they busied themselves around the house with chores or with Lady-lessons.
"Narcissa has explained it and I've seen Maman* do it a thousand times..." She consoled herself softly as she began to run a brush through her curly hair—which she later found out to be her first mistake. Her mother did this often enough and usually used a boatload of supplies to keep it nice and curly with coiled ringlets— not at all frizzy. She hummed thoughtlessly to herself whilst tugging the brush through her hair, unknowing the frizzy mess that was about to become her hair.
"It can't be that bad..."
It was that bad.
Adeline had been so sure that she had down everything right, after all her mother always brushed her hair out in the morning before placing some nice smelling products in it. Granted, Adeline didn't know which products she needed to apply to her hair —nor how much, so that was likely part of her downfall.
She had selected the stuff to spray in first after brushing it out—which had made her hair sticky and almost crunchy feeling. Then she had tried the weird squeezable bottle that her mother had hidden under the sink, only to use too much of it and have her hair almost glued too her head. Adeline was in tears when staring at her reflection in the mirror before finally caving in and calling Mipsy in for help.
The house elf had been nothing short of scandalized once seeing her young missy's hair and quickly got to work to rectify the mess she had made. With the clock ticking closer and closer to the designated hour, Adeline was left short on time once her hair had finally been sorted out and made marginally appropriate.
It was nothing like she had wanted to have for the Yuletide ball but it was far better than what it had been. Falling to her shoulders in bouncy coiled ringlets of ink and the top-half help back in a complicated plait and tied with a ribbon. It was pretty of course, but not at all like Adeline had wanted.
Because they were running short on time— which Mipsy scolded her with constantly— Adeline was shoved into the sage green robes despite her displeasure on the colour and strapped into her silver sandals. It was only when she was standing in front of her floor length mirror was she able to agree with her mother's previous arguments. She didn't in fact look like a Christmas wreath and she was actually quite pretty. Respectable even—Adeline looked like a true Lady Black in training. Though said girl would rather cut off her own hand before admitting that her mother was right.
With less than a minute to spare, Adeline rushed down the hallways and the main staircase to the parlour where her mother was waiting. In her haste, she nearly tripped over the last step and went tumbling into the rugs before catching herself. Nearly out of breath, she stumbled into the parlour to see her mother pacing around the room and clipping on a set of large, dangly earring. Her mother was beautiful—that was indisputable but Adeline had never seen her mother so gorgeous and admirable in all her life.
She was wearing her most fancy, navy coloured dress robes that were embroidered with silver stars around the hemlines, adorned with more jewelry than Adeline thought she had ever owned. There was a large pendant of crystal, wrapped in silver around her mothers throat to match her dangly earrings. Her hair was smooth and straight, with nothing holding it in place at all. Not even her usual crystal butterfly clip that has been a family heirloom. On a closer inspection, Adeline noticed her mother to even be wearing rings—a piece of jewelry she knew her mother to despise for it's so called 'impracticality'.
What was most surprising of the entire wardrobe for her however, was the makeup and heels her mother had pulled on for the affair. Cassiopeia Black despised heels, thinking them to be nothing but contraptions to keep women from running away and to be more easily seduced by men. She thought the same for makeup, only more so that they were a sexist way to make a man feel better about himself if he had a gorgeous lady at his side. Her mother was strange like that.
"Adeline," Her mother greeted stiffly, tracing her daughter's outfit and hair choices with keen eyes. Adeline felt like she could crawl out of her skin under her mother's scalpel-like gaze. She knew now that she had been in the wrong and she ought to owe her mother an apology for her behaviour, but stubbornly she held her tongue and stared back at her mother's clear grey eyes.
Instead of further fuelling the fire and pointing out her daughter's choice in robes—the very ones Adeline had been adamantly against, Cassiopeia simply nodded in acceptance to her appearance and held out a carefully clothed arm for her daughter too take. Anxiously, Adeline stepped forward and grasped onto her mother's extended arm. She had read all about apparition and side-along apparition, yet she was still nervous on trying it for the first time. Especially since her and her mother were fighting. Adeline knew her mother wouldn't let her come to any harm, even if they were fighting, but still the fear was very, very real in the nine year old girl's mind.
"Hold tight and close your eyes." Cassiopeia stated with her lip's pursed expectantly. She half expected Adeline to refute her instructions as well, seeing as she was disagreeing with everything else she had given her input on as of late.
Yet, Adeline only nodded her head and replied most politely, "Yes, Maman*."
Not about to push her luck, Cassiopeia spun on the balls of her feet and quickly apparated both herself and her daughter from their home in France with a small pop. Many miles away the two reappeared on the front steps of Black Manor for the annual Yuletide Ball hosted by their far more opinionated family members for the first time.
For a ball, a Yuletide Black Ball at that, the event was a complete and utter bore. Not only was the music tasteless—seeing as Aunt Druella had only included classical music, nothing at all fun and upbeat like her mother played in the garden, but everyone seemed to hate one another.
That shouldn't have come to a surprise for Adeline seeing as she was begrudgingly forced to know her family's less than stellar history with one another but it really put a drag on the supposed to be fun evening. The twelve course meals were delicious, the best that Black Manors elves could offer, and the decorations marvellous and bright but the people... well, they were seemingly less bright and less offering of kind words to one another.
It had only been an hour and Adeline had witnessed three separate disagreements, four threats to disown one another and one full out screaming match between her Grandfather Arcturus and her Aunt Walburga. This was all before dessert was even served too. It likely didn't help that her cousin Andromeda had incited her own mother Druella's rage almost instantly upon her Aunt Walburga's arrival when knocking over a flower vase.
The one positive to the entire evening was that Adeline was finally able to put a face to all the names and people on the fmaily tapestries that she had been forced to learn. Likewise that she could now make notes on their muddled and strange personalities, and what made each of them so nasty to one another. One major downside was she was forced to dance often with many young pureblood heirs that were from deemed acceptable families—though this was much later in the evening.
Grandfather Arcturus was the first person Adeline had been escorted to meet and frankly the most insulting. He had taken one look at her and stated that though she looked like a Black she had her mother's terrible breeding. He then had all but dismissed Adeline and her mother in favour of talking with some other elderly pureblood man that they were distantly related to and her other Grandfather, Pollux. Whom was, if possible, the most dull person Adeline had ever met, she didn't know how her mother—whom was all bright and full of emotion, could be the daughter of someone so emotionless. Then again according to Grandmother Delphinus, for whom she was named after and married to Grandfather Arcturus, told her that Grandfather Pollux hadn't always been so dusty and bland.
Her Grandmother was very gossipy—most especially to the other pureblooded elderly women— and told Adeline and company in many insult filled rants that Grandfather Pollux used to be the wildest of them all until her Grandmother Irma passed away four years ago. Adeline was quite pleased that she wouldn't have to meet another old lady she was related to— at least if Grandmother Irma was anything like Grandmother Delphinus and the other gossiping old ladies.
Out of all her grandparents, Adeline only had the three left alive, as Licoris and Regulus had both died in their mid thirties, and then Irma had passed four years earlier. There was of course Dorea as well, but no one talks about her anymore. Adeline wasn't entirely sure why they don't talk about her, but she didn't try asking any of her relatives or the other pureblood's that were in attendance— seeing as they were all quick to lash out and anger (more so the Black's than anyone else). Apparently rage and anger was the only universal emotion the entire family shared and they loved to target one another with it.
After being forced to meet her grandparents and indulge them in conversation if they so wished she was able to mingle as she so choosed. Though it was only after she was stuck placating her Grandmother Delphinus whom wanted to tell her all about the family gossip and Grandfather Pollux who wanted to converse about her studies. That had been a dull conversation, but it seemed that her grandfather was pleased so far with her achievements— especially that her first display of accidental magic had been setting fire to the drapes.
"Fire, did you say?" Her Grandfather Pollux asked, as if not believing her at first. His grey brows nearly met his salt and peppered hairline as he asked clarification in boast to the other old men around him that had been pulled into the conversation incidentally.
"How marvellous," He mused with a lopsided grin and glinting dark eyes, Adeline would have been a fool to miss the way he paraded such achievements to the other old men. Old men from powerful pureblood family with nephews of their own that needed to be married off eventually. She felt ill at the hidden implications.
"You'll be a powerful witch, though that is to be expected as you're a Black," One of the men stated simply, a Nott if she remembered correctly, before a strange look crossed his face. Grandfather added offhandedly in what could only be described as a mindless tangent to the formers words. "Surprisingly, seeing as your mother had shamed our family with her sudden rebellion after her graduation."
Adeline felt a frown fall onto her features, though quickly covered it up, just as she had been taught to in her Lady lessons. Though her said lessons didn't stop her from indulging her curiosities and asking her Grandfather pointedly, "What do you mean shamed our family?"
"Well, she didn't marry your father now did she?"
He remarked coldly in what could only be explained as a huff—it seemed the other men were far more interested in their fire whiskey glasses at this point. Adeline knew instantly that she had wandered into a forbidden topic as he pressed forward in clipped and vague explanations. "—Shameful at that, being born out of wedlock. It took years of bartering on my behalf to keep your mother on the tapestry for her childish and foolhardy indiscretions, I'm
Sure Nott understands my plights seeing as his eldest is still unmarried despite being the last in line."
Not sure what to say, Adeline purposely kept silent and allowed the man to excuse herself from her presence and instead go to chat with her mother who was busy chattering with numerous pureblood women around her. Though Adeline wasn't left standing alone for long when her cousin Regulus was all put coerced by his mother into asking her for a dance. He was a good two years younger than Adeline but far better at dancing that she was on the dance floor. Though despite his perfect dancing, he was excessively shy and shared a total of three sentences with her— all of which were nothing more than pleasantries.
Both Regulus and Adeline were thankful when the next song started to play and they were able to carefully go their separate ways. Regulus to his mother's side where she ordered him too so he could converse with the other guests around their age and Adeline to the buffet table to steal a glass of water and disappear to the other side of the room. There she stayed for at least three songs to gain her bearings and purposely didn't go out of her way to speak to anyone else.
Though sooner than she would have liked, Aunt Walburga had seen her hiding away by the bay windows and pulled her back into the silver tongued conversations and quick witted chatter of her relatives and their numerous guests. Adeline was unsurprised to find Regulus stuck in conversation with his namesake Grandfather Arcturus and many other stuffy old men. Walburga made quick work of formally introducing Adeline to her Uncle Orion who had said no more than five words to her— all of which were pulled out of him like teeth from his wife. It seemed as though Regulus had taken after his father in his lack of socializing.
Aunt Walburga had been talkative, but like always very opinionated and snobbish outright—even more so with the Lady Crabbe and Lady Greengrass next to her. She had complimented her robes and then quickly stated that Adeline ought to have chosen a better colour as sage was quite terrible with her fair skin tone. That hadn't made the nine-year-old feel great about herself at all, but she didn't bother mentioning such to the woman or to her just as nasty friends. Blacks didn't show weaknesses, especially not to each other. Though thankfully Adeline wasn't subjected to the woman's backhanded words and snide comments about mudbloods, blood traitors and the like for long when her Aunt Lucretia had stolen her away for a private chat.
Out of all her relatives Adeline couldn't help but adore her Aunt Lucretia. She was the perfect blend of proper and fun— she had admittedly started far more arguments within the family get together than the rest combined but she was undoubtedly entertaining. Adeline had been given a handful of advice from the woman, all of which she knew her mother wouldn't approve of. Such as the quickest way to learn a stinging hex and how to bewitch and befuddle a man away from his galleons. This had brought in the interest of many other younger girls like Adeline. She was also roped into a wonderful and knowledgeable discussion on woman's rights and activism in the Muggle World— at least until her mother had ruined her good fun and pushed her to socialize with some of her own cousins.
Aunt Lucretia had encouraged her to mingle of course, but only after winking at her and whispering loudly enough for her mother to hear that she ought to write her if she has any more questions on learning a few not-entirely lethal or legal curses. Adeline had quickly promised her Aunt she would before being ushered away with an unimpressed mother.
Due to her mother's interventions she was then left in the capable hands of her eldest cousin Andromeda. Adeline didn't really know the girl outside of what Narcissa had spoken of her in their messages but was pleasantly surprised to find her not only exceedingly quick witted but humorous too. She had a sort of dry humour that left you puzzled for a moment before you caught on that the elder girl was jesting. Yes, Adeline quite liked Andromeda, especially when she taught the younger how to get seconds of dessert without their parents knowledge. Or in how skilled she was at turning down dancing partners who kept coming up to her only be shut down before they could even finish their sentences.
Though Adeline wasn't left in her elder cousins company long when her Aunt Druella all but swept her away to talk about possible suitors with Grandfather Arcturus. Adeline quickly back peddled out of accompanying the girl to what would no doubt be a very boring and very meticulous conversation. It was then for the first time that Adeline actually found herself entirely alone for the first time in the duration of the party. Needless to say, she didn't hesitate in quickly vanishing to the patio outside for a well needed breather. It was there that she incidentally met with her mother's favourite brother, Alphard.
He was just as her mother had described him, carelessly kept but still somehow charming with his unbuttoned robes and well fitted dress shirt and slacks beneath. He was the only Black relative to be wearing red, rather than the favoured colours of navy or green— and he was also sporting a close cropped hairstyle rather than the favoured long locks like most of the men. What surprised Adeline the most upon stumbling into him was that he was smoking from a small brown coloured pipe— a habit that was quite looked down upon in pureblood society.
"You must be Cassiopeia's girl," the man had stated, as a billow of smoke left his cracked lips before giving his own introduction on the cold patio. Adeline watched in awe as the smoke faded away and a boyish smile tugged at her Uncle's lips. "I'm your Uncle Alphie."
"It's a pleasure to meet you." She replied instinctively as she went to curtsy just as she had been taught, only to freeze in her steps when her Uncle waved away the necessity for such greetings. After standing upright and rectifying the apparent mistake, she carefully added. "I'm Adeline."
"You're just as polite as ol' Wally said," he replied to her in greeting, grinning wider as her face blushed bright red from his compliments, "—and just as stunning as ditzy Druella lamented about."
Adeline had to force her face to stay in a neutral position at her Uncle's not-so-kind descriptions of her two Aunt's. Especially the one regarding her Aunt Druella, as even she had noticed the woman to not be completely alright in the head. Though her amusement was soon cut short by her Uncle taking another long drag from his pipe and bluntly asking, "Now what's a young girl like you doing away from the party? Don't most little girls like dancing the night away?"
Adeline shrugged noncommittally. "I just wanted some fresh air... and I'm not exactly keen on dancing."
Her Uncle Alphard raised an eyebrow at her words but didn't press her for details on the matter, something at which she was grateful for. The last thing she wanted to bring up was her deplorable dancing skills, as an eventual Lady Black she was expected to be perfect in all things pureblood, polite and proper in their society. Instead all her Uncle did was hum in agreement as he blew out a huff of smoke.
From inside the house Adeline could hear the starting of another argument come through. Though because of the separating walls she was only privy to a few of the words being shouted back and forth. Unsurprisingly, it sounded as though Aunt Druella and Aunt Lucretia were picking up their previous argument on what a Lady should and shouldn't be allowed to do in Wizarding society.
"Our relatives are quite a lot aren't they?" Her Uncle suddenly said, breaking the tentative silence between the two. Unsure how to reply, and if she was allowed to have an opinion on such a controversial matter, or if she was even allowed to speak ill of her relatives, Adeline kept quiet. As if sensing her turmoil towards the change in topic, her Uncle Alphard, no Alphie, added on further.
"It's alright," he spoke simply, as he tauntingly waved a finger and pressed it to his lips, "It's our little secret."
Adeline couldn't help but grin at that. She had never had a secret before and the idea of having one with her Uncle Alphie—who was slowly becoming one of her most intriguing relatives— was thrilling to say the least.
"Yeah, I suppose." Adeline finally relented with a bright grin pulling at her cheeks and putting her dimple on full display. With the sound of breaking glass and further shouting inside, Adeline couldn't help but ask in curiosity, "Do they always fight this much?"
"By Black standards this is quite tame," her Uncle stated with a huff of a laugh, as if the thought of a 'tame' Black family reunion was something he never thought to speak out loud about. Though he quickly had Adeline chuckling softly at his second sentence. "You should see the arguments that break out at funerals."
Adeline grimaced in pity for the both of them. She half heartedly hoped to never have to see the event herself. Not because she despised funerals—she knew it only proper to pay your respects to the deceased and magic itself—but the ball had enough arguments to last her a lifetime.
Like her mouth had a mind of it's own she crassly remarked without a drop of emotion, "I reckon there's a lot of those."
Adeline nearly jumped out of her robes at her Uncle's both sudden and booming laughter. He was nearly bent in half as he belly laughed in loud harsh breaths, before dissolving into a coughing fit shortly after. Adeline blamed the coughing on his improper smoking habits.
"Damn straight, kid!" He managed to huff out in ragged breathes as he slowly composed himself once again on the patio steps, with much trouble. "Damn straight."
Starting to get a shiver and feeling more at ease since she had arrived at the party, Adeline excused herself from the patio and went to slip back inside. She knew if she stayed out any longer her mother would soon worry where she went, it also helped that it seemed as though the argument had come to it's end between her two Aunt's so everyone was properly preoccupied in attempting like nothing had happened at all.
That was another thing Adeline didn't quite understand about their family dynamic. One minute everyone is shouting and screaming bloody murder at one another and the next everything is fine as if three members of the family didn't just threaten death via an old feud or some minor inconvenience. It was beyond peculiar but Adeline was happy to pretend to be blissfully ignorant to the matter as well. After all, it's not like she could do much to change it.
When Adeline had re-entered the house she was all but pounced upon by the one person she had been most looking forward to seeing at the party. Narcissa was wearing silver robes just like she said she would and her hair was done up in an updo that almost made her look paler than usual. She was beautiful Adeline thought, then again Narcissa was always beautiful. It almost hurt how much so, and the girl knew it too— though Adeline assumed that to be in part because of her mother's own vain qualities. Despite that, Adeline was more than overjoyed to see her favourite and closest cousin.
"Adeline!" Narcissa exclaimed brightly, carefully walking over in both a frantic and measured pace with quick steps. Adeline couldn't help but notice the small and perfectly wrapped green box in her hands as her pale haired cousin added on, "I've been looking all over for you."
"Hello Cissa," Adeline greeted politely before giving her older cousin a quick embrace before offering an explanation to her whereabouts. "I've been meeting and greeting the rest of the family, and dancing with many unfortunately."
"Oh of course," Narcissa said her eyes widening slightly as if she had forgotten momentarily that Adeline hadn't met everyone yet seeing as this was her first time away from France. And slightly smirking at the thought of her tripping over her own toes with the other apparent heirs of prominent families.
"Anyway," she waved off momentarily with a bright grin before holding out the box in her hands towards Adeline. "Andy said she saw you slip outside, so I thought this the perfect time to give you your gift."
Adeline felt her heartbeat speed up in her chest at the extended present before slowly taking it into her hands. She had forgotten all about Narcissa's promise to give her two gifts. One for Yuletide and the other for her now past birthday that had happened on the fourth—a date to which no one except her mother and Mipsy usually gifted her anything.
Overflowing with gratitude but feeling as though a rock had settled in her gut, Adeline carefully said, "Cissa, you didn't have to get me anything."
"Of course I did!" Narcissa exclaimed as if suggesting otherwise just plain silly. Adeline didn't know how to feel at such a strong sense of resolve towards gift giving, seeing as it wasn't much of a big to-do at her own home but nonetheless accepted the gift as Narcissa went on to say. "You're my baby cousin and a Black, it's customary you know. Besides it's just something small."
With all that being said, Adeline carefully unwrapped the gift, her hands shaking slightly with excitement and was surprised to find a long black velvet box. Never having been a very patient girl, Adeline quickly opened it and gasped at the gift inside. It was absolutely gorgeous, a small and dainty chain in the colour silver, with a square cut green emerald at the centre as a pendant. The jewel itself was cradled in the same silver as the necklace and was inscribed in the back with the family words, Toujours Pur*.
"Oh, Cissa...," Adeline gasped as she carefully stroked the chain in awe before glancing up at her beaming blonde cousin. "—it's marvellous."
"Of course it is," Narcissa replied with a smug grin as she rolled her eyes at her cousin's disbelief at her excellent gift giving."I picked it out."
Unable to stop herself from stroking the gift, the first gift she had ever received from anyone but her immediate family, Adeline asked in both awe and curiosity. "When did you even have time to buy this, or where? Surely, Hogsmeade doesn't have such jewels for sale?"
"Don't be daft. I went into the family vaults and picked it out." She harrumphed before pointing to Adeline's ring clad hand. The very one that held her heiress ring on her ring finger.
Adeline would have been shocked that Narcissa remembered her explanation of the ring in their first exchanges of letters had it been anyone but the blonde girl. Her older cousin was very good at remembering such details, hence why she was perfect at the tapestry tests in her own Lady lessons. "Look! I even got you one to match your heiress ring. I also had father help with some of the enchantments on it."
"Duh," Narcissa rolled her eyes again as she quickly let her hands fall to her sides. "Anyway, let me know if they work, will you? They're supposed to help clear your mind and focus. It'll help you when you come to school— since it's always so noisy in the common rooms."
Adeline was touched at the girls thoughts—especially in how she hadn't only gotten her a beautiful gift but a practical one as well. The necklace suddenly had an even larger sentimental meaning attached to it, at least for her. She knew right in that moment that no matter what gift she ever bought Narcissa for her birthday it would never match up to the one she gave Adeline that evening.
"That's... really thoughtful," Unable to stop herself she embraced her cousin again, this time for much longer than before as she whispered like a secret to be kept between the both of them. "Thanks, Cissa."
Now blushing from her pointed chin to the roots of her pale blonde hair, Narcissa pulled away and mumbled most un-lady-like.
Though the moment between the two young girls was soon shattered by the sound of Adeline's Aunt Druella calling to her youngest daughter from the other side of the room. Instantly, Adeline's cousin's back become ramrod straight as she perfected her posture and stepped seamlessly back into role of the perfect pureblooded daughter that she was. Adeline couldn't help but fall back into routine as well, as she carefully closed the lid of the box and smoothed out the front of her dress robes to eliminate all of the non-existent wrinkles she may have gotten in her quick embraces with Narcissa.
"I better go," Narcissa stated with a quick glance over her shoulder to be met with her mother's blue, steel-like glare. Before she left however she added on in promise, "I'll catch up with you later when all the adults retire to the study for drinks, alright?"
Adeline smiled softly before agreeing. "Alright."
After stowing her gift from Narcissa with her mother in her secretly enchanted pockets—to which her mother thankfully asked little questions about and ignored the way her daughter had interrupted a conversation on a new bill passing at the Ministry with a few other highborn women— Adeline was pulled back onto the dance floor. This time not entirely unwilling as instead of Regulus or some other random pureblood boy who had been shoved towards her by their parents, she was met with the lopsided grin of her other male cousin Sirius.
Truthfully, she didn't know much of anything about this particular cousin of hers besides that he apparently had a pinnacle for mischief and sending his mother Walburga into a rage. Adeline also concluded within the first few steps of their dance that he was very well-practiced in the art of waltzing—Adeline less so when she stomped on his toes twice. Surprisingly though, he didn't seem too bothered by it and instead cracked many jokes about it. Most of which circled around him wearing protective toed shoes the next time they decided peruse on the dance floor. Needless to say, Adeline had laughed much in her cousin's presence and company when dancing.
It was on the third song that they swayed back and forth—as Adeline had been unable to talk him out of the next two songs— that she was finally escorted from the dance floor and towards a table to sit down for a while. It was there that Sirius confessed that he was more or less using her to avoid his mother's glares and reprimands about socializing with the other ' stuck-up and pretentious' guests. Adeline didn't fault him for it however, as she too was quite tired of socializing with her many relatives and being shoved into the arms of other pureblood heirs in need of a dance partner.
"Not much of a dancer?" Sirius asked in response to her frown after stating her distaste for dancing. He was smirking at her knowingly with a strange glint shining in his cloudy grey eyes. As if that was something they had in common, which she seriously doubted.
"Not really," she winced, as she recalled the smashing of his toes on a few of his fancier spins. Adeline was an adequate dancer, as it was expected of a pureblood heiress. That didn't at all mean she liked the endeavour however. "You were great though. Very poised and proper."
"Well," he paused as he heaved a bored sigh as he let his eyes glance to where his younger brother was being showboated around the room by his mother. "Lord lessons gotta be good for something."
She chuckled at his phrasing. "One would hope so, yes."
Silence fell between the two, not uncomfortable in the least. It was perhaps the second time Adeline felt truly at ease inside the ballroom alongside another one of her family members. Sirius was slowly becoming one of her favourite cousins—, not that she was ever going to let the glossy-haired Black heir know such a thing. She had already deducted that he was slowly gaining a massive ego to go along with his boastful personality. No, Adeline refused to add more fuel to the fire in that sense, Aunt Walburga had already insinuated that she ought to keep her couple-of-weeks-older cousin in check in that sense. Sirius' mother had also insinuated many other things that Adeline tried not to think to hard about.
"Would you wanna get out of here?" Sirius suddenly asked, curtly cutting her thoughts of the interaction earlier with her Aunt short, with his improper wording.
She frowned unsurely to his request. "What do you mean?"
"I mean," he paused, darting a look to the other guests around them before continuing blandly as if they were discussing the weather rather then making an escape from their constrictive and uptight relatives. "...do you want to leave the ballroom and have some actual fun?"
Adeline knew she ought to refuse. After all, her mother was already cross with her from earlier in the evening and the last thing she should do was dig herself even deeper into her trouble—yet she was tempted. Very tempted, and it seemed like Sirius knew exactly what to say in order to get her to agree, as he added on offhandedly.
"Don't worry about Aunt Cassi... she looks ready to bail and this would give her the perfect excuse."
Still, she hesitated.
"I really don't think—"
"C'mon Addy," he cut her off with a knowing smirk and dancing eyes as he added on in whisper whilst Aunt Druella passed by to speak with Uncle Cygnus in private towards the outer edges of the room. "—it will be fun, I promise."
"Fine." She huffed out at last before sending him a mild glare at the horrendous nickname he gave her. Adeline despised nicknames, excluding those that her mother gave her. Those were special and a thing only between them—something to be treasured. "But only if you never call me that ever again."
He smirked. "Deal."
When Sirius extended her his arm to lead her out of the ballroom—the prefect blend of proper and cocky to anyone looking to them. She took his arm without a second thought, letting her barely older cousin lead her out of the ballroom and into the winding hallways. It was only when they had hidden themselves out near one of the many parlours, and Sirius relayed his grand idea of a prank that Adeline hopelessly prayed that she hadn't made a massive mistake in taking part in Sirius' schemes.
Maman* translates to ‘Mama’ in French
Toujours Pur* translates to ‘Always Pure’ in French
(If I missed any please let me know in the comments)
Not everything can be sugar and spice and everything nice between the two Black's. I really wanted to further Cassiopeia's 'raising of Adeline' background and in part Adeline's relationship with the other members of the Black family. I'm sorry for those of you who expected James to show up in this part of the story but I simply have other plans prewritten. She'll meet him soon don't worry, just not in appearances with the other Blacl family members (excluding Sirius hint hint) as always I hope you are well and please be kind in the comments!
Chapter 7: burdened by black magic
Adeline Black should have known it was a bad idea—no scratch that, she knew it was a bad idea to go along with Sirius' schemes yet she did anyway. Though by the time she came to such conclusions it was far too late. Sirius had promised—well, more like vaguely insinuated that her mother wouldn't be mad. He had been exceptionally wrong on that front. Adeline's mother was livid, and she had a right to be as well.
It was supposed to be nothing more than a harmless prank, a simple trick on exploding the many fine liquors in Uncle Cygnus' private office when the men got together to privately socialize. It was supposed to be funny, and her many uncles, two grandfathers and the few other select wealthy pureblood men were supposed to liven up their darkened discussions from it. Instead, there had been nothing but ice-cold rage, with whiskey and bourbon stained dress robes. Adeline had never seen so many angry adults in her life.
It shouldn't have been a surprise when her mother caught her by the forearm, roughly and with her nails digging into her sleeve as she dragged her to the fireplace. Aunt Walburga was close on their heels, her own hand ripping at Sirius left ear after cuffing him across the head and shouting obscenities and threats at him as she dragged him through the house. Adeline had never been more terrified in her life whilst she watched all her family members and their esteemed guests look at her with such pity and disgust.
She had embarrassed them and their family name—she had disgusted them with her behaviour and now she was being dragged to the fireplace to floo back to France. She had disgraced her mother with her behaviour and herself. Adeline was so ashamed of herself in those few moments that while being lead forcefully from the hidden alcoves to the fireplace she began to feel tears welling up in her eyes. She had messed up, truly and utterly so—in such a way that no one in her family would ever look at her with kind eyes ever again.
Adeline Black was a shameful daughter and addition to the Most Ancient and Noble House of Black.
After her mother had dragged her through the fireplace after calling out their home address, not bothering with the much easier and quicker route of apparition. Adeline burst into tears. In the middle of the parlour, not even three steps out of the fireplace mantle, the younger girl had shamefully broken into full out sobs as she begged for her mother’s forgiveness through a mixture of English and French. All the while, Cassiopeia Black did nothing but stand straight backed with her eyes narrowed in the most terrifying of ways.
Adeline had hardly ever gotten into trouble as a child, none of which that couldn't be settled with a stern talking to and an apology made at a later date. Hence, why the elder witch was slightly at a loss of what to do. She wanted to blame the incident solely on Sirius, her unruly and abrasive nephew, but she knew it not to be true. Only her daughter would know the complex magic to explode the bottles of liquor without sending shards of glass in every direction. Cassiopeia had been showing her such a spell not even two weeks prior in their lessons on magic— seeing as her daughter had a pinnacle for volatile magic. It also was a tad bit tamer to what Sirius' usual forms of pranks evolved into.
Had her nephew been the mastermind of such a jest it was far more likely that the men in the room would also be sporting multiple coloured clothes and talking in nothing but animal bleats. No, Adeline was the one to blame mostly for such a jest, and therefore Cassiopeia was given the unappealing task of punishing her. It was moments like these where she hated being a mother.
So, with her patience thinned, the evening ruined more or less from her daughter’s unbecoming antics, Cassiopeia swiftly sent her sobbing daughter off to her bedroom without another word. She knew that Mipsy would tend to her in the night, and get her ready for bed after undoing her hair and removing her fanciful robes. So with nothing better to do, Cassiopeia readied herself for bed, while nursing a rather full glass of wine to calm her anger and thought of what to do with her child across the hall.
It was late in the night, or quite early in the morning before she bothered to retire to her awaiting sheets and pillows. With a solid plan in mind for how her daughter would spend the next three days she fell into a fitful and wine induced sleep. Perhaps, Adeline would take these lessons and that horribly ending night to heart and never repeat such an incident again. Though her daughter had far too much of a temper and lack of control for her to be placing any bets on such things.
Then again, penning a letter for over fourteen men in apologies and pruning the most nastily of smelling plants for her potions ought to be a dutiful reminder to never step out of line. Paired of course with an onslaught of etiquette lessons on how a young lady ought to act in the presence of prestigious members of society. No, Cassiopeia was quite sure her daughter would never make such a mistake twice—though she was equally sure that Adeline would find other ways to test her patience and toe the line between poised and perfect, versus clever and deceiving.
First year, 1971.
Many years had passed since her first, and last time attending the annual Black Yuletide ball. Though in the anticipation for the holidays in 1971, Adeline could hardly find it upsetting that her mother refused to allow them to go to the annual event yet again. After all, she was officially in a Wizarding school—not just any school either but Beauxbatons Academy of Magic (or, Académie de Magie Beauxbâtons, to be exact).
Adeline had been overjoyed when receiving her letter of acceptance, despite knowing she wouldn't be in the same school of her closest cousin, Narcissa. The blonde witch had of course been pleased for her, even if she was going to the ‘snobbish school of France for witchly teachings’ instead of the ‘world renowned’ Hogwarts. Adeline had of course asked why Hogwarts hadn't sent her a letter, as every other Black in the family had attended the school, but her mother had avoided her questions. Often using the same excuse that it was 'of no matter to ' her and that she 'would discuss it with her at a later date'.
Despite loving Beauxbatons, and finally being able to truly harness and learn control over her slightly volatile magic, there were many downsides to her schooling. The main of which was that Adeline was learning entirely in French and that she was nearly a year younger than the rest of her classmates.While she was ten years old the rest of her peers were already eleven. Though the latter no longer mattered seeing as today was her birthday. The ever-awaited December 4th 1971, the day she would be the same age as her peers and not be an entire outcast.
Well, she wasn't exactly an outcast per say, but definitely a little different compared to the rest of her school mates.
Adeline at the beginning had written it off solely on her different upbringing compared to her schoolmates— how she spoke French and English at home, and was primarily Britain in heritage. She also had grown up knowing many things her peers were just starting to learn in their classes outside of Magic— this of course mainly being her Lady lessons. Adeline had already learned when and how to curtesy, and when and how to introduce yourself properly to other outstanding members of Wizarding society. The rest of the girls in her classes were fumbling around blindly often for the first few weeks.
Then when it came to her studies and her sorting she found she was quite the oddball. For starters, she was sorted in Ombrelune which was typically recognized for housing students with traits of ambition, curiosity, and logic. Adeline was plenty ambitious in some aspects though not as much as her peers it seemed, in fact she found herself more often than not relating to those in other houses such as Bellefeuille— who favoured those of bravery, compassion and sensitivity. Her mother of course, had been ecstatic with her sorting—saying it was the closest equivalent to Slytherin they could hope for. Though she did pen in writing that she would have been just as pleased had Adeline been sorted in any other house.
Though her lack of ambition and fitting in within her house wasn't the only thing making her stand out, but her frequent inability to do anything other than study and achieve perfect grades. It seemed like no matter how hard she tried, she was unable to simply be mediocre at anything—which some would say was true talent. For her it was nothing but unsettling.
She would know facts and knowledge about things far before she had learned them, and with the ability to recite entire passages of textbooks she knew for a fact she hadn't yet began to read. It was almost seer-like and whenever she wrote her mother about such happenings they were disregarded all together. Adeline was always given praise for her abilities of magic and knowledge even, when she explained that there was no possible reasoning for her to be so good. When Adeline had tried to express concern of being a seer, her mother had done nothing but laughed at her in written ink.
...a Seer? Don't be ridiculous, ma petit fille*, we would have known years ago if that were the case. More likely you are simply advanced for your age given your previous lessons and beyond talented. Revel in the praise my darling, for you are the brightest of stars—my little sun. Now tell me of your classes? And your friends? You hardly ever speak of either these days, instead using your letters to fill many lines with your frantic and fruitless worries.
With all my love,
This in short, had aggravated her housemates even more and had Adeline feeling far more alone than she ever had in school. She made no friends, as no one wanted to be friends with a know-it-all pureblood princess, and no true allies at all at Beauxbatons. Adeline had started out with a few, like Delores and Marietta in her year, though they soon left her after finding out about her peculiarities. Her teachers adored her however, her grades were excellent and magic was thrilling to say the least, but Adeline was miserable all the same.
But it was her birthday, and she outright refused to be gloomy and blue on her birthday no matter the predicament. She went to classes as usual, excelling in all her lessons and handing in all her homework on time. Adeline busied herself later in the day with reading, not any of her textbooks but instead an interesting rendition of a Muggle play.
She had the feeling she had read it before, like a strange buzzing sound in the back of her head but she ignored it. Adeline refused to believe that she had somehow read the book before—seeing as it had only come out a few months prior. Then at exactly eight o'clock she tucked into her four poster bed, the sheets cool against her ivory skin and drifted off to sleep after extinguishing the pine scented candle by her bed.
Like always, she didn't know where her housemates had disappeared off too. Though they were likely playing games in the common room or gossiping over third year boys to fill their time before bed. They never asked for her to join in, though after three months of being excluded Adeline found it easy to ignore the pain in her chest over it. It was silly to mourn friends she had never had in the first place— even sillier to miss the opportunities she had never been given.
So, she fell asleep easily, lost in the realms of Morpheus but it was at exactly at three that morning that her dreams halted in being dreams at all. Instead they shifted into memories— memories of a girl once known as Hermione Granger, the once brightest witch of her age.
It started off small, the dreams, as Adeline liked to call them, mostly about such mundane things she had never even heard or seen before. She saw, and remembered in a strange likeliness growing up in the Muggle world under two dentists. They were the most caring and loving of parents, though strict as they had never let her consume any sweets for the fear of tooth rot. It was lovely in a sense, the uncanny normalcy of such thoughts and how easily Adeline and Hermione's memories intertwined like forgotten threads in a blanket.
Though they didn't leave in her sleep. Throughout the day she could easily pick and pull at a few in her memory and it left her feeling more off than usual. Most of her housemates wrote it off as nothing but another strange habit that the 'oddity of Ombrelune' picked up recently. Even if she stumbled on her phrasing when remembering a different explanation on how to cut a basil leaf in potions. Her mother had explained them to be easily cut lengthwise, while her Hermione brain was dead set on it being width, as that was what the textbook said and the textbook had never been wrong before.
There was also of course the sudden ingrained interest to take up hiding away in the library, to report and document almost everything that was different in their shared viewpoints. It wasn't as though Adeline could ask the sudden memories in her head why she needed to know so many things that were practically ingrained at her from birth, as the memories themselves had no voice. The memories themselves were simply like a strange buzzing in her temples, a monitor going off that she could press the button to release such thoughts from or barricade closed. It made classes much more mind boggling than before and social interactions far more critical. She was thankful for her mother’s teaching in Occlummency for these reasons.
What was by far the worst of all was the ingrained fear of telling her mother. How could she explain such a thing to her? That her daughter wasn't quite as perfect and pureblooded as she thought? That Adeline simply wasn't one person anymore but two and not one at all either. She was an oddity, a mess up. Adeline was completely and utterly wrong in her making, likely something created and birthed from Black Magic itself.
For once her answers couldn't be found in a book either, she couldn't find the answer to her questions in paragraphs of parchment or spell incantations—whatever had happened to her (or was used in her creation) was a mystery in the greatest of explanations. It wasn't like she could ask the memories either—seeing as she was under the impression it also did not come equipped with it's own brain.
So, perhaps for better or worse, Adeline took up writing her thoughts down. Well, not her thoughts exactly, but Hermione's— the strange buzzing in the back of her head. She knew she'd be carted off to the psychiatry ward if anyone found her scripture along the pages but there was little else she could do revolving around her dilemma—and she was only a first year. Writing them out was the best solution she could come up with and maybe, just maybe, her answer was in the new memories that plagued her day in and day out.
Those it eased her mind about being sent away after she came across many charms to keep others out of her business. Notice-me-not’s and spells to keep her book firmly shut unless she herself gave a drop of her blood to the cover. Of course, blood warding and magic as a whole was illegal in most ministries, but what the five meant didn’t know, wouldn’t but them. Besides, she was a Black Heiress—practicing blood magic was basically a given.
The buzzing of memories started off pleasant at first through the other's childhood. Full of laughter and love, with doting parents and many trips out of the country to explore and sight see. Then of course there was the woman's, or young child's, accidental bouts of magic and her acceptance letter into Hogwarts escorted with a very stern and tight lipped Professor. That was the beginning and end of the other girl's, known as Hermione's, happy memories for the most part.
At first glance Adeline could hardly believe what she was seeing as the girl became the definition of a know-it-all Nancy, as she recited textbooks and stubbornly refused to socialize and find friends. She studied vigilantly of course, and was very proud in her a accomplishment's almost to the point that Adeline felt almost pity for her—but then she got locked in a bathroom with a troll and finally made some friends. That had been terrifying to watch and feel in her dorm room as she wrote the memories down, but a tad thrilling as well.
Nearly dead at the age of eleven from a full grown Mountain Troll, and all Adeline could think to ask was where the bloody teachers were? Shouldn't they ought to know that troll had been left unaccompanied in a school full of students!? It was horrifying to know that Hogwarts was so lacking in their security measures, at least in the other girls time period. She was suddenly thankful to be safely hidden away at Beauxbatons.
Though the terrifying memories didn't end at the troll incident and how the bushy haired girl made friends with two of the most troublesome boys Adeline had ever not officially met. No, then of course, the said girl had to smuggle out a dragon from the grounds keeper who was half-giant and set a teacher (a nasty one at that) on fire to stop them from cursing her new best friend in his first quidditch match. That was a wild ride from start to finish, but it was nice to learn that even Hermione wasn’t a fan of the Wizarding sport.
That was the more mild of things it seemed the other girl encountered of course. Following the troll and the dragon was the preposterous journey that Hermione underwent at the end of her first year. A journey through a deadly game of life size wizarding chess (that nearly killed her one friend, Ron), nearly drinking poison from a riddle about fire to get her other best friend to go and save a fancy rock, and to top it all off, she was almost strangled to death by a large room of devil's snare.
Adeline was absolutely astounded that the girl was still alive and gifted so little self-preservation. Nonetheless, it seemed the girl’s first year at a Wizarding school wasn't her last year of tragedy, trauma and tricks as her second year was nearly worse. Or at least, so it seemed.
Slowly, mostly done at night, at the cost of her studies and usually perfect homework records, Adeline had documented each and every school year of the girls. It was time consuming and almost impossible with her dorm mates always bursting into the dorms when she was hidden away. Thankfully, they never batted an eye at her, likely writing it off as another one of her strange antics—it was one of the few times she was glad to have no friends. As expected though, the girls school years seemed to get darker and far more twisted as more and more things were brought to light.
After first year it seemed only fitting that Hermione's second year started off with a bang. Muggleborns were being hunted by a huge basilisk travelling through the plumbing of Hogwarts. As an added bonus not only did it succeed in petrifying nearly a dozen people, but had once killed a student many years earlier. Though Hermione herself wasn't there for the take down of the monster since she herself had been petrified after finding out about the monster and how it was getting around the school unnoticed.
Previous to that there was a homicidal house elf by the name of Dobby that kept trying to kill her friend Harry—including cursed bludgers and a near expulsion before the school year even began. That's without mentioning said friends, Harry and Ron, actually using a flying car to get to Hogwarts instead of just owling the school about the bloody platform being closed off.
The more Adeline learned about Hermione's life the more she wanted to bash her head in with the so-called 'dream team’s' lack of brains and forethought. So many things could have easily been handled, rectified and prevented if they had just used their logic and common sense to guide them rather than their emotions.
She had long since abandoned giving detailed rewrites of each school year as everything seemed to be happening all at once and instead began making jot notes in her book of memories for the girl. Normally, Adeline liked to be thorough in her note taking but too much was going on to write it all down so she kept to the basics. Otherwise, she would have nearly seven notebooks by the end of all the girls memories. Because of this, she tore out her previous pages and restarted her note taking system for just the school years as it seemed they were all going to be extraordinarily messy with odd events.
- Sorted into Gryffindor
- Best friends with Harry Potter and Ron Weasley after troll in-the-bathroom incident
- Dragon smuggling from half-giant groundskeeper
- Harry's cursed broomstick (and setting a teacher on fire!)
- Forbidden Third Corridor of Fun ways to die (game of life size wizarding chess, logic riddle with poison refreshments, devil's snare pit of hell, fluffy the Cerberus who likes music, charmed keys with wings and nasty attitudes)
- dead Professor for Defence Against the Dark Arts (possibly a dark wizard? Did Harry kill him?)
- heir of slytherin? (A guy named Tom in a diary?)
- Dobby the homicidal house elf complete with cursed quidditch matches (again)
- the flying car gets whomped by a willow tree
- basilisk in the plumbing hunting children (cause who doesn't want that at school)
- memory washed Professor who was a fraud? (Gil… something Lockhart?)
With her notes re-made, and shorted to that of a page each, with question marks between things that didn't exactly add up, Adeline pushed forward in her memory watching for the next few nights. There was a werewolf Professor in the girl’s third year, which nearly killed her and her friends. She also made a note here that it seemed that they got a new Dark Arts Professor every year— which was beyond peculiar, to say the least. Though ignoring the werewolf Professor, and that was just a recipe for disaster honestly, the school year started off rather normally for Hermione.
That's without mentioning the time-turner she used on and off the entire year to take all the elective classes at Hogwarts, of course. Adeline had wanted to throttle the girl for her arrogance and stupidity to take on such a stupid task. Nonetheless ,she patiently observed that year, learning about her cousin Sirius who apparently was a 'mass murderer' who was wrongfully imprisoned as he didn't actually kill a bunch of muggles and it was instead an animagus rat. That had been a mind boggle to stay the least.
Adeline had to rewatch those memories a few times to get her facts right. Though between animagus murders, and her cousin not being a killer, or the Professor that was a sodding werewolf, it was the dementor's that were hanging about Hogwarts castle that left her mostly stunned. Unfortunately, it seems that the soul sucking demons, nor the werewolf, were the last of creepy critters let on the Hogwarts grounds.
- Professor werewolf for Defence
- Time-turner to take every class at school (very bad idea!)
- Sirius is a mass murderer? (animagus of dog and old friends with Professor werewolf?)
- 13 muggles dead on Halloween? Something about a secret keeper in Godric's Hallow for the Potters?
- Peter Pettigrew, rat animagus. Something about a finger? NOT a good guy.
- Dementors at the school! (Are they trying to kill the students?)
- Sirius isn't guilty. Didn't betray Potters. Harry Potter’s Godfather?
- Spends 13 years in Azkaban! But escapes?! (Cousin Sirius should be in Slytherin I swear!)
Adeline had to admit even her jot notes were becoming more and more erratic the more she learned. Sometimes she couldn't decide what parts were important and which parts were not, and most of the time her sleep addled brain didn't help much. It was like playing tennis with a badminton racket when doing her memory watching. Not completely hopeless, but hardly efficient either.
Fourth year was dark— with a Triwizard Tournament, the Quidditch World Cup, and deatheater attacks it started off gloomy to say the least. That's without mentioning the never ending amount of teenage angst revolving around crushes and school dances. The Tournament itself was it's own bottle of crazy, with four contestants battling full grown nesting mother dragons, swimming to the bottom of a lake to retrieve a stolen friend (Hermione being one of them) from mermaids who were territorial at best, and then a bloody death maze. The maze of course wasn't just a maze and somehow Hermione's best friend fought off a Dark Lord and brought back a corpse of another contestant within the hour he had been missing.
The Quidditch World Cup had been filled with a deatheater raid, or dark wizards, who travelled around in black cloaks and masks and tortured muggles and Muggleborns for fun. That had been gloomy to watch as well, and terrifying to relive, even just as a secondary viewer. What was most horrifying however, was the crippling anxiety and stupid crush that Hermione had on her friend Ron who was nothing but a toerag.
Adeline saw only flaws within the boy as he treated the girl like dirt over and over again and yet she adored him. She sincerely hoped that this Ron Weasley got his bloody act together soon. Viktor Krum however, the boy Hermione ended up going to the Yule Ball with as a date ,was a proper gentleman if a bit stalker-ish and plain in some bits. At least he respected her in some sense and he was a famous Bulgarian Quidditch player to boot. Adeline half-hoped Hermione would like him more than her red-haired best friend, as he was much more mature and proper by any means.
- Quidditch World Cup
• deatheaters = Dark wizards
• raid at the end of the match
• muggle family tortured
• Dark mark in sky? (skull and snake projection)
• Bulgaria caught snitch, Ireland won.
- Triwizard Tournament
• Delacour from Beauxbatons, Krum from
Durmstrang, Diggory and Harry Potter from
• Hogwarts hosts.
• Harry didn't enter goblet of fire
• Nesting dragons, collect golden egg
• Ron was a jerk
• Hermione went with Krum (liked watching
her read - kinda stalker like)
• Harry can't dance AT ALL.
• Hermione likes Ron (has horrible taste in men)
• One hour to get back person in the Black Lake
the mermaids had stolen.
• Gabrielle (sister) taken from Delacour,
Hermione (Yule date) taken from Krum,
Chang (Yule date) taken from Diggory,
Ron (best friend) taken from Harry
• Death Maze, to reach cup at centre.
• Delacour and Krum were taken out (curses?)
• Diggory murdered by Dark Lord?
• Harry battles Dark Lord and gets away?
• Cup is a Portkey?
- Defence teacher Auror Moody
- Moody is Polyjuiced and tried to kill Harry (actually Crouch Jr. and was death eater?)
After fourth year came fifth year and the world seemed to only become darker— with a Ministry woman wreaking havoc on the school and secret Defence Against the Dark Arts groups. The Ministry was incompetent in this time, if not more so than how it was these days. Adeline was thankful to find that at least some good came out of the year. With the Ministry woman being carted off my centaur, and the Ministry finally agreeing that this so called Dark Lord who was a big bad was back.
This was the year she however, had to take a break from watching memories for a few days and pause. Not because of the Dark Lord himself, but because Sirius had died. Her cousin, who was barely a few weeks older than her, had died while fighting dark wizards that she knew her family to associate with on the regular. Not her mother per say, but her aunts and uncles at the least.
The blow hit her much harder than expecting, even if she knew it to be many years away and at least an event she could change since knowing the future. That was also a boggling thought. That she had knowledge of future events and had the power to change them. Adeline had significant details to do so, if she really wanted she could find any means she wished for in ending this Dark Lord before he even began to spread mass panic.
It was after these memories and that revelation however, that she realized the amount of responsibility it was that she was holding. She was just a girl, an eleven year old girl, who had more information than any seer or powerful wizard possibly ever. Adeline didn't know how to feel about it all, truly.
- Ministry is beyond incompetent
-Order of the Phoenix? Grimmauld Place?
- Umbridge is a hag with power
- Dumbledore Army teaches Defence cause the Ministry is a bunch of pansies
- Inquisitorial Squad is a cult
- Blood Quills are ILLEGAL!!
- Harry is moody all the time
- Umbridge gets carried off by centaurs
-Sirius is taken (not actually) and Snape is a git.
-Harry is in prophecy?
- DA goes to Ministry and fights deatheaters
- The order arrives to help, the Ministry knows the Dark Lord is back (shocker)
- Sirius dies.
When she did come back to her journaling of memories she was back at the beginning of another school year, Hermione's sixth year. It started like a normal year, though it too was shrouded in darkness, with her best friend Harry literally falling apart at the seams in grief. Not all that different from how Adeline had been coping the last few days honestly.
She had even wrote to Sirius to ask if he was doing alright and to make him promise to never go fighting Dark wizards without the proper precautions. His reply had been off at best and short, but it had made her feel loads better to say the least. Though back to Harry and his horrible coping skills, to make matters worse he was always away on some secret mission for the Headmaster. Albus Dumbledore, a great and powerful wizard even in her time— someone whom Adeline couldn't help but fear and distrust seeing as he somehow maintained that power through many generations.
Then there was Harry's ravings of his nemesis Malfoy being up something, and the sudden dark cursing of a girl the year above them. Following that was an accidental love potion turned poisoned mead accidentally given to Ron. He was cured thankfully, but he unthankfully and quite terribly professed his love for Hermione through sleep talking as well.
Adeline had wanted to bash her head in a wall after that, seeing as the boy had all but been showboating his relationship with another ditzy girl around the school. Hermione had been all sorts of angry and upset at that—making it rather difficult for Adeline to keep up with the timeline of memories. At least Harry had been comforting in a moment of weakness, so Adeline supposed at least one of the girl's best friends wasn't a complete dunce.
The year wrapped up with Albus Dumbledore dying as a bunch of deatheaters stormed the castle, and being left an ominous mission to go hunting for horcruxes. A magic so dark it was classified as Black Magic and had Adeline trembling slightly as she wrote. She wondered if that was the key left in the memories, the horcruxes. Perhaps, that was the answer and reason she had been gifted them—this Dark Lord, whoever he was, must had made more than one and since he did, he must have hidden them well and not given the group enough time to dispose of him before he gained absolute power.
- Harry with secret missions/ lessons with Dumbledore
- Malfoy is up to something
- cursed artefact on Katie Bell, love potioned Ron, followed by poisoned mead
- Ron dates a girl and makes the Quidditch Team
- Hermione is upset and angry at Ron
- Ron after nearly dying sleep talks his love about Hermione. (Nasty)
- Deatheaters storm castle cause of Malfoy
- Vanishing Cupboard maybe?
- Dumbledore dies (astronomy tower with Snape)
- Horcrux mission?
- Locket is a fake? With a note?
- is RAB Cousin Regulus?
The next entry Adeline was unsurprised to find Hermione didn't return to school. Both a little and a lot happened in these memories— running and being caught by dark wizards, the reading of Dumbledore's Will and the discovery of the Deathly Hallows. A fable that Adeline was very familiar with from 'Beetle and the Bard', and the rise and fall of both the Dark Lord and Harry Potter.
Adeline had become far too invested at this point that her emotions were all over the place as she wrote down the happenings of that horrible, horrible year. The torture from Bellatrix, her elder cousin who had become unhinged from the proclaimed Black fmaily madness, the betrayal of Narcissa, her favoured cousin who had tried to help defeat them in the end and save her son. (Also why in sodding hell did her cousin marry a pounce like Lucius Malfoy? Ick!) There was a battle at Hogwarts too, were many died and were injured. It was also where Hermione’s best friend Harry had died as a result. The Dark Lord had won, the Ministry had been defeated and no one was safe.
On the Run:
- Ministry raid to get locket
- Ron's betrayal in the Forest of Dean
- Snatcher Capture, retrieval of sword of Gryffindor in lake
- Malfoy Manor torture with Bellatrix
- Death of Dobby the Homicidal elf (RIP)
- Robbing Gringots, escaping on a dragon
- Battle of Hogwarts
- Snape the Spy and protector/abuser of Harry?
- Obsessed with Lily Evans?
- Harry dies, Dark Lord wins
Objects of Interest:
• Salazar Slytherin's locket
(false one in cave, was hidden in Grimmauld, sold by Mundungus Fletcher to Umbridge, later retrieved in Ministry)
• Helga Hufflepuff's Cup
(Bellatrix Black's personal vault)
• Rowena Ravenclaw's Diadem
(Room of Requirement in Hogwarts in room of lost things)
(at Dark Lords side)
• Gaunt Family Ring
(Gaunt House, hidden beneath the floorboards)
• Tom Riddle Diary
(Lucius Malfoy’s possession, later dropped in Ginerva Weasley's hands, used in second year to open Chamber of Secrets, destroyed in Chamber)
(Accidental creation on Halloween from blood wards via Lily Evans?)
- Deathly Hallows
• Elder Wand
(ownership of Dumbledore until death, then Draco Malfoy for disarming previous owner, then Harry Potter after Malfoy manor fiasco. In Dark Lord's possession after killing Harry Potter)
• Resurrection Stone
(Gaunt family ring, last in Harry Potter’s possession in Forbidden Forrest)
• Cloak of Invisibility
(Harry Potter’s possession, handed down from father James Potter)
Adeline only had a few memories left and one of them left her shaking. The death of Ginerva Weasley has been a low blow as Adeline had slowly began to like the feisty, red-headed girl from the others memories but her own death—, the one of Hermione Granger, that had rattled her to her core.
She hadn't known how to process it—she had died but then again, she hadn't. Adeline was right to assume that Black Magic was at play as before the memories sealed themselves off for good, she encountered one last one before the buzzing began to fade entirely. One that had been hidden from the other’s own thoughts and feelings likely through the use of Oblivate. One that showed exactly how Adeline had come to live this double recollection and life.
Albus Dumbledore, who had been proclaimed as the Lord of Light and all that as Good and Just in that far away World of Magic had used, not only illegal but outright forbidden, Black Magic. Black Magic of the darkest types—hidden away in Family Grimmoirés that even Aunt Walburga didn’t touch— to send the memories and recollections of Hermione Granger into a girl who had previously never existed to end the Second Wizarding War.
Adeline Black had never existed before Hermione Granger—she had been nothing, was nothing to be exact. She was the mixed creation of Black Magic and fate, housed in one body with one last mission from her previous memories. One mission she didn't think she could even comprehend, nevermind complete.
Adeline Black was not only supposed to change time and the horrific events leading up to the Second Wizarding War, but she was supposed to end it. She was expected to find and destroy all these horcruxes long before Hermione Granger was to be born in 1998.
Adeline had blacked out in a dead faint moments after coming to such realization in her four poster bed. If her dorm mates had heard her cries in her sleep, or the way she thrashed and pulled at the sheets in the night from the horrors behind her eyelids, they never mentioned it the next morning at breakfast.