“I know who ‘Lord’ Voldemort really is.” Lily announced. The others in the room – James, Narcissa, Sirius, and Remus Lupin, all stared at her.
“Lilian, darling,” Narcissa drawled. “You can’t lead with a statement like that and then not followed through. You’re a witch, not a wizard who is all talk and no bite.”
Remus playfully growled at her. “Is that a challenge?”
She smirked, amused. “No Lupin, of all the wizards here, you are definitely not all talk.”
James and Sirius stared at him.
“It’s always the quiet ones…”
Lily rolled her eyes and huffed. “Thanks, Selina. Way to ruin the moment.”
“You should know better than to try with this particular audience.” The blonde retorted. “Back to the topic at hand though. Who is he?”
“His name is Tom Riddle. Son of Merope Gaunt, a witch, and a Muggle lording. Rumor has it that she was the daughter of a lady’s maid in the household, and became infatuated with the young lordling. He seduced her because it amused him. She retaliated by using a love potion on him, and got him to marry her, but then discontinued its use after so long to make him truly suffer with the truth. He retaliated by immediately turning her son, Tom, over to an orphanage and disowning him after Merope died.”
“For generations, pureblood was equated with wealth and social superiority. We were the Lords and Ladies of the land, caretakers, tasked with maintaining and protecting the Balance and magic from man’s encroachment. The Industrial Revolution, with its heavy investment, dependence, and integration of iron and technology, interfered heavily with most magic attempted around it. That was one of the major reasons for the original separation and division between magicals and Muggles. It didn’t become about blood until the 1950’s, when a Muggle lord seduced a young witch, taking her virginity and honor. She, in turn, used a love potion on him and regained control, forcing him into marriage and giving her half of his assets, and only then releasing him from the potion’s spell so that he would live the rest of his life in misery as part of a loveless marriage. The son, Tom Riddle, hated and despised his Muggle father for being weak and powerless, but loved his mother for being a witch. She died when he was young – some say by her husband’s hand – and young Tom was immediately sent to an orphanage, disowned and discarded by his own father.” Lily looked grim and old. “Tom Riddle would eventually catch the attention of Albus Dumbledore, who would enroll him in Hogwarts, where he was Sorted into Slytherin despite his half blood parentage. Tom Riddle was charming and persuasive, and quickly gained power and a position of leadership within his House. Even his Head of House, Slughorn, often yielded to him, revealing information in conversation that would later prove fatal to those Riddle disliked.”
“How do you know all of this?”
“Because.” Lily said fiercely. “I am a Muggle born, and I cam into this world already judged and found wanting over something that I have no control over! Knowledge is power, and if you don’t know history you’re doomed to repeated its mistakes. So, I did a lot of research about the pureblood families, and the allies and enemies they’ve made over the years. And about the history between the Muggle world and the magical one. Obviously, it wasn’t a complete division and seclusion, or else there would be no half bloods or Muggle borns at all. All the animosity seems to stem back from that young witch and the Muggle lording. Tom Riddle was the catalyst and the source.”
“How are you being so mature about this?”
It was the day before the surgery, and Lily and Narcissa were enjoying one last lunch before the blonde witch began the regiment of no food after 5pm. They had been chatting quietly about nonsensical things, when the question burst out into the open air.
Lily sighed. “The truth? There’s a very large part of me that is creaming obscenities and wanting to claw your eyes out for even looking at my husband, even though this entire thing was my idea.” She swirled her iced coffee around in her glass, the cubes clinking softly. “Did you know that Jame’s parents don’t completely approve of our marriage? Oh, they like me, but his is still their only heir, and under the same restrictions and requirements that you are.”
Narcissa frowned. “You mean he is required to produce a pureblood heir as well? But – ”
“My child will be half, yes.” Lily smiled bitterly. “But then, according to ancient magical law, our marriage is not recognized as legal and binding. We were married in the Muggle world, not magically. Our son will technically be a bastard.”
The pureblood witch lost her breath at the sheer hurt and despair emanating from her friend. After a moment it faded away as the redhead regained control once again.
“Lilian Grace, that is not healthy, pushing down all those emotions!” She scolded, in full medi-witch mode as she scanned her friend’s vitals. “Come with me.”
Tossing some Muggle money down on the table, she tugged the other woman along until they got to a secluded spot to Appearate.
“Where are we?”
Narcissa looked around in satisfaction. “Magical dueling rage.” She said as they checked in with the front booth. “One room. Five rounds, please.”
The wizard, an old grizzled man, nodded. “Check your wands in; you’re in room twenty eight.”
They slid their wands through the opening. “Your wands go to a locked glass drawer in your room. To get them back, turn in these ones, then come back here.”
“Thanks Drew.” Narcissa called, already walking away.
Lily scrambled to keep up. “You’ve been here before?”
“All pureblood children know how to defend themselves by age eight, and can identify many potions and poisons by ten. Self defense. You’d be surprised by how many people think that they control our parents through their children.”
The redhead snorted. “No, I get it. Politician’s daughter, remember.”
Narcissa picked up one of the wands waiting for them in a velvet lined case. “Standard issue blasting wand. Hollow core, so it doesn’t respond to complicated spells, but the reducto charm is about aim and intent.” She turned, pointing the wand at one of the targets. “Reducto!” It was a direct hit, emitting a plume of bright purple smoke and leaving a splotch behind. “The colored paint and smoke are in the target, not the wand.” She said, dark eyes sparking with mischief and challenge. “Come on, Potter – I know you need to blow off some steam.”
Lily stepped up to the line, her eyes narrowed. “Reducto!” She cried, and laughed breathlessly as her target turned dark blue. “Reducto! That’s for the snide looks and whispers. Reducto! That’s for every time I got a better grade, despite my ‘disadvantage.’ Reducto! My son will be just as worthy as anyone, no matter his blood status!” She rapidly shot off a round of spells in quick succession, throwing up a great kaleidoscope of smoke that lingered in the air.
Narcissa caught her as Lily burst into tears, pulling the smaller witch into a warm embrace. “Easy, darling. Let it all out. I got you.” She soothed. Eventually the storm passed and Lily settled, her breathing evening out. Narcissa pulled away enough to shoot her a stern look. “Better?”
The redhead smiled wanly. “Yeah. Thanks.”
“Mmm.” Narcissa briskly cleaned them both up and went to retrieve their wands, forestalling any further comment until they were safely outside. “Lilian Potter. For such an incredibly bright witch, you can be utterly and completely appallingly stupid sometimes!”
Lily blinked. “What?”
The blonde huffed in exasperation. “As soon as I fulfill my part of my wedding contract and Lucius does not, our marriage is null and void.” She said too patiently. “Which means it will be as if it never happened. I can then enter a betrothal contract with James. However, I will explicitly state that we are partners in name only, and his first born by you will be his true born heir. My son will be the Black family heir, for all that he will also be a Potter.”
Lily sucked in a sharp breath. “You would publicly do such a thing, knowing how your family is likely to react?”
Narcissa raised her chin defiantly. “I am doing this for my family and our future.” She stated. “For our family and future.”
Their eyes met, each resolute.
“Well then, I guess there’s just one more obstacle.” Lily said slowly.
Narcissa raised her brows.
“How do we convince James?”
“No. No! Absolutely not!”
“James – ”
“Lily. No. That’s too much to ask, even of me. You are my wife, my one and only.”
“And I still will be, my love. This is merely words on paper, to protect us – all of us – if something were to happen.” Lily said quietly as he paced. “Darling, you know as well as I do that we have defied so much by getting married in the first place. But we also always knew that there would be a balance that we would have to maintain, between my world and yours.” She moved to stand directly in his path, her hands on his shoulders. “James, you are the most honorable man that I have ever met. I know that you love me, and would forsake our vows, even over a technicality. But,” she laid gentle fingers over his lips when he started to speak. “You are also James Potter, Lord Brackenshire. You have familial responsibilities and duties as the new Head of your House and the lord of your lands. That law was not passed because of some fleeting whim.” She paused. “Do you truly know why the Ancient and Noble families are so determined to preserve the bloodlines?”
He shook his head, distracted and fascinated as she guided them over to the couch. Lily had always been a lover of knowledge; she had been tied for top marks of their year with Remus for all seven years at Hogwarts. Most people assumed that Charms was her favorite subject because of her particular talent for creating and adapting spells, but her true love was history. The Gryffindors were the only ones to get high marks in History of Magic, because of her ability to relay the facts in a way that was interesting and memorable.
She had also been the inspiration and feature role in many of Jame’s student-teacher fantasies, especially when she was in the middle of lecturing about her favorite topic, as she was now. His gaze dropped to her lips, and he leaned in…
“James!” She laughed, pushing him lightly away. “Focus!”
He caught her around the waist and pulled her into his lap, her legs automatically widening to straddle his hips. “I am focused.” he said against her lips. “You have my full and undivided attention.” He could taste her laughter as she kissed him back, relaxing into the embrace.
“You didn’t hear a single word I said, did you?” she murmured against his mouth.
He closed his eyes, resting his forehead against hers. “Because I already know the story. In the beginning, magical beings were female, as the daughters of Avalon. You witches are much more attuned to the land and the Balance of the world. The Twenty Eight were the caretakers of the land, the sources of magic. It is in our blood, the ties to the land and its magic. Our eldest children, our heirs, renew and reaffirm that bond with magic through blood rites when they are born, and then every seven years thereafter.”
“Yes. And our son or daughter will be the caretaker for the Potter lands. But darling, look at the status of the Sacred Twenty Eight. How corrupted they have become. How their numbers have dwindled each year. Look at Britian, with the ever growing creeping shadow on the land, leeching it of its light and magic. They are the life, the future. Lucius Malfoy and too many others have betrayed their duty and are unable to fufill their roles. YOu can help circumvent that – you are already doing so by siring this child for Narcissa. OUr vows and commitment to each other will not be any less real if you sign a piece of parchment allying yourself to another. It is an engagement, a betrothal and handfasting agreement.” She reminded him. “Which can be stretched out into months and years, and eventually broken completely.”
James groaned. “Lily, love of my life, next time just lead with that, yeah? I didn’t need the whole history lesson to go along with it.”
“Don’t lie, you love it when I go all ‘Professor’ mode on you.” She smirked, grinding down slightly on his lap. His large hand snaked under her skirt, rolling it up as he kneaded the flesh underneath. She rolled her hips again, teasingly nipping at his mouth and catching his lower lip between her teeth, only to squeal in surprise as he retaliated by smacking her sharply on the arse.
“Is this where I make some cheesy line about extra credit and being a teacher’s pet?”