Part the Nineteenth
Halcyone and Voldemort, 4 and 8 January, 1997
The wizarding world was abuzz with it. The rumor was even posted in the Daily Prophet. Lady Halcyone Gaunt—of the famous Sacred Twenty-Eight family—had been taken to the Hogwarts Express by none other than eligible bachelor Lord Roman Malfoy. Lady Malfoy had even given a comment, confirming that the two were in a courtship.
The ‘kiss’ necklace was around Hallie’s neck and a bracelet around each wrist. On the left hand was one with the initials of the four friends. On the right was one which was silver to match the necklace with three equidistant wizard crosses. It was the third courtship gift.
Hallie, Blaise, and Pansy were sharing a compartment on the Hogwarts Express. It seemed, however, like Draco was trying to avoid his ex-girlfriend.
“This is ridiculous,” Blaise sighed, looking over at Pansy. “I thought it was an amicable split.”
“Are splits ever amicable?” Hallie sighed, looking out the window and thinking of the Dark Lord. “I had another suitor and we had a rather horrible break.”
“Oh,” Pansy squealed, “do tell.”
Hallie shrugged. “There’s nothing to tell. I walked in on him in a rather—compromising—situation, he screamed for me to get out, and he slammed a door in my face. Obviously I got out and I didn’t go back.” She moved the curtain to get a better look at the snow that was falling gently outside. “I think I’m going to go find Draco.”
Of course, that was rather difficult. It seemed like Draco didn’t want to be found in the Slytherin dominated compartments. He wasn’t with the Gryffindors either. The Ravenclaws were scattered about and the Hufflepuffs made friends with everyone (except the Slytherins, who were rather insulated).
Finally, in a last ditch effort, she checked the Firsties. She found him in the second compartment she checked, which had a rather simple locking charm on it. “Alohamora!” she breathed, and then she opened up and she found Draco—wrapped around and snogging her half-brother.
Quickly entering the compartment and closing the door behind her, she leaned up against it and stated to the couple who somehow hadn’t noticed her, “How is your vined ring even letting you do that, Draco darling?”
They immediately sprang apart, Harry blushing and rubbing the back of his neck and Draco smirking smugly. “Oh, don’t look at me like that,” she teased Draco. “I know you’ve been gunning for this all summer and maybe even before that, Draco Malfoy.” She locked the door manually. “Do the rings not recognized homosexual relationships?”
“Seems not,” Draco crowed.
“So you’re not avoiding Pansy,” she suggested, taking a step forward. “You’ve found someone new—you’ve traded up. A Potter instead of a Parkinson.”
This caused Harry to blush even more. “You won’t tell Mum or Uncle Sev?” His voice was pleading.
“Of course not!” she stated. “You’re my little brother!”
“By four minutes,” he muttered under his breath. Hallie rarely teased him about it, but she used it on him maybe once or twice a year.
“And you,” she poked Draco in the chest with her wand, causing him to take a step back, “are my best friend in the world and my potential nephew.”
Draco’s smirk only grew. “I thought that was you with Uncle Roman! I honestly couldn’t figure out what he was doing on the platform.”
“I have so much to tell you that I couldn’t put into writing,” she promised him. “Didn’t you wonder where I disappeared to the last few days of hols?”
At this Draco looked pensive. “Last I heard from you was the first. It’s the fourth, Halcyone. That’s not a lot of time that you were missing. Hardly enough time for me to notice. I was busy with Mater being overjoyed with you courting Uncle Roman, strangely enough, and making plans to welcome Aunt Andromeda back into the family. Honestly, it’s just plain peculiar. She’s been ‘that woman’ my entire life with ‘that half-blood of a daughter’ and now at least my aunt can come back.”
“I met your cousin,” she informed him. “Tonks. Don’t know her first name.”
Harry then piped up. “Nymphadora.”
“Oh no,” Draco gasped. “That’s horrible even by pureblood standards.—I insisted, Halcyone, that you’re present when I meet these relatives. You’re practically family.”
“Done,” she promised, “if you help me with my problem.”
Draco nodded. “What is it?”
Going to the door, Hallie unlocked it. “I’ll tell you tonight after the feast. You’re a bit busy right now and I don’t want to force you into a closet later—though I expect our prefects will find you on rounds and start rumors about their precious Chosen One and Slytherin Prince.” She waggled her fingers and walked out.
She heard a locking charm go up and then complete silence. Good. Her brother and best friend were happy. That’s what mattered. Hopefully this wouldn’t blow up in their faces. She leaned up against the door and giggled. Everything was falling into place.
With the way her courtship was going, she might very well marry Lord Roman on her seventeenth birthday, not so dissimilar to her mum, she was recognized as Sacred Twenty-Eight, her brother and best friend were being true to themselves albeit in secret. All she had to do was deal with the problem of her guardian sharing a face—er, soul—er, essence—er, body—she didn’t know—with the Dark Lord. She needed the Dark Lord gone without losing Cousin Marvolo. Who could help her though? Almost everyone she knew was involved in the Takeover, and she couldn’t tell anyone who wasn’t for fear of what they would do.
After the feast, which lasted too long, Draco and Hallie finally managed to ditch their other two friends.
“I’ve decided,” Hallie told Draco up front. “I’m marrying your uncle if he asks.”
Draco paled—“The Dark Lord will kill him.”
“Not if we kill him first,” she carefully suggested.
Then she explained everything that happened from the very beginning. Her changing feelings, all of her emotions toward Lord Roman, her hopes, her desires.
“We need to leave Cousin Marvolo in tact. We just have to get rid of the Dark Lord. He’s like a parasite.”
“How do we know one can exist without the other?” Draco checked. “This is risky even if we manage to pull it off. It could go wrong in so many ways. We’re sixth year students, Halcyone. There’s no one we can trust.”
“But we can trust each other, can’t we?” she asked. “I’m hoping you have a personal stake in this, even if just a little. I know you don’t care about me being Sacred Twenty-Eight and what I’ll bring to the family. However, I’m your best mate. Not Blaise. Certainly not Pansy. Me. I hope it’s enough that you want me to be happy. That you want your uncle to be happy. That you want to save me from the Dark Lord.” She bit her lip and looked at him hopefully. “Please.”
“Oh, I’m helping you,” he stated firmly. “For all those reasons but also because I don’t want my father to be his slave and I do not want to follow in my father’s footsteps. The Dark Lord forces politically powerful wizards to take his mark. I refuse to and to refuse is to die or have someone dear to you die and,” Draco swallowed, “there are two people outside of the family who are dear to me. I’m in love with Harry. I can admit it to myself and to you. I’ve been certain for nearly a year now. The other person is you. I love you as if you were my own sister.”
Tears formed in Hallie’s eyes. “I have a brother, but you’re my other half,” she breathed. “I know it should be Roman, and he’s important but in other ways. It’s been us since first year and you’ve been with me every step of the way.”
She offered her hand and he grasped it in solidarity.
“Let’s kill the pretender,” Draco swore.
“And let’s do it soon.”
It was agreed. Halcyone’s scar was visible on her forehead, a horrible lightning bolt, jagged and red and angry.
“You know,” she commented as they rested on the pillows, side by side. “Harry told me the most amazing thing. There’s a prophecy about him. Apparently he has to kill the Dark Lord or the Dark Lord will kill him—and he was marked as his equal. This apparently was his scar. But I have the scar, too. If we manage to kill the Dark Lord, I think I’ll be the one to make it come true. I’ll be the Chosen One, not him.”
Draco snuggled deeper into the pillows. “Oh good. I hate this Chosen One thing. I never understood why he was the Boy-Who-Lived and you weren’t the Girl-Who-Lived. The story went that you were both in that room when James Potter died.”
“But where was Lily Snape?” she murmured, turning her head toward him. “Mum was dead. Why would Dad have Harry when he theoretically didn’t have custody and may not have even known about him?”
Draco nodded, staring up at the canopy. “Wonders never cease.”
“Maybe Professor Snape was in the room. Strange that he’s never said. It makes sense that Mrs. Snape wouldn’t say a word. But the professor? Peculiar.”
She wasn’t sure how long it was, but Draco shook her awake. Somehow she had fallen asleep in his bed. “Hey, they’re going to come in soon,” he warned.
Hallie yawned and stretched before swinging her feet over the side of the bed. “Do you think Roman loves me? He’s admitted he decided on me almost from the beginning, but he still dated other witches.”
“I honestly don’t know,” Draco answered, coming to sit beside her. “Only Uncle Roman can say.” He ran a hand over her hair.
Sighing, she got up and went to the door. Hallie looked back and offered Draco a small smile before she made her way up the stairs. No one questioned her when she appeared in the Common Room. They were used to her disappearing into Draco’s dorm and now that she had a vined ring, they knew that she wasn’t doing anything, that she had never done anything. Little did they know that she had kissed his uncle and she fully intended to do it again.
When she got to her own dorm, she found Pansy already there. Her vined ring was a dull bronze and rather a simple design.
Pansy, though friends with the other three, barely had any money for niceties like robes and a vined ring. At least, though, everything she owned was new, unlike the Weasleys. Rumor had it the Weasel didn’t even have his own wand when he first arrived. It had belonged to someone else first! Until Draco had confessed he had dated Pansy because she had reminded him of someone else, Hallie had always secretly wondered what the attraction was.
“You know,” Pansy greeted, “I always secretly thought it was going to be you.”
Hallie looked up, honestly confused. “What was going to be me?”
“You and Draco. To think you’re courting his uncle!” She giggled at that. “I caught a glimpse of him on the Platform. He’s terribly good looking. Lord Malfoy is certainly handsome, but I prefer the brother.”
“Well,” Hallie drawled dramatically, drawing another giggle from Pansy, “I’m afraid Roman Malfoy is all mine.”
Pansy crawled on her bed. “Do you love him?”
Stymied by the question, Hallie paused. “I haven’t thought about it. I like him. I fancy him, definitely. I trust him. I’m not sure I know what being in love feels like.”
“Do you daydream about him?” Pansy asked her.
Swinging on one of her posts, Hallie noticed that Daphne was coming in. “How could I not? You’ve seen the man. Every time he owls me, he sends me a different flower. It’s terribly romantic. Everything he does is thoughtful and romantic. When I ask to see him because I want to see him or I need to see him, he always comes. He doesn’t care that it’s not the ‘done’ thing. He cares about me, I think, or he’s certainly good at faking it.”
Sighing, Pansy suggested, “Perhaps he’s in love with you.”
Hallie’s face brightened. “D’you think?”
“Stop filling her head with silly daydreams,” Daphne snapped from her trunk where she was getting out a nightgown. “Lord Roman Malfoy doesn’t love her. He wants her hair for the genetics of it all.”
Pansy rolled her eyes. “Don’t listen to her, Halcyone. She’s just jealous because her hair is a dishwater brown and she will never catch any Malfoy’s eyes, especially not Draco’s.”
“You certainly lost his attention,” Daphne snapped.
“At least I had it for two years!”
Daphne stepped forward and Hallie immediately put herself between them.
“Ladies,” she stated sternly. “Although Draco is my best friend, he’s not worth a fight since he’s not dating or courting either of you. He’s single, I’m sure he wants time to remain single and reflect what he wants in life,” (lie) “so let’s just respect that.”
Huffing, Daphne turned, most likely to go change.
Pansy flounced onto her back.
Well, that was a close one.
“At least Nott asked me out,” Pansy groused from her place.
Immediately snatching onto that, Hallie came up to where Pansy was lying and hung her head over Pansy’s so she could look into her face. “Do tell.”
“I was going to go change,” she told Hallie, a smile crossing her face. “I was waiting as some Mudblood was in there.” Pansy called everyone who wasn’t a pureblood a ‘Mudblood’, which was rather comical at times. “Then Nott came up and asked me if it was true that Draco and I split. I replied that we were taking a break. You know, playing it cool? And he asked, if I ever wanted a change, if I’d ever consider giving him a chance.”
“Well,” Hallie said as she perched on the edge of the bed. “He has the cutest eyes. A sort of pale blue, almost like the sky after a storm, you know?”
“Been studying his eyes, have you?”
“Third year,” she admitted. “I couldn’t figure out their color. I was comparing all the boys’ eyes in Slytherin.—Some people find ringlets attractive.”
“Draco doesn’t have ringlets,” Pansy pouted.
“No,” Hallie agreed, looking over her shoulder at her friend. “But Draco’s not an option. He could be a nice rebound. Nothing wrong with that.” She shrugged. “Think about it. Give it a few days but don’t let more than a week go by otherwise he’ll figure you’re not interested.”
Pansy made a noncommittal noise.
The conversation clearly over, Hallie went to her trunk and got out her pajamas and made her way to go change. Finally taking down her long hair, brushing it, and braiding it, Hallie absently wondered what it would be like if a husband brushed out her hair. Would he want to brush it? She’d overheard upperyears when she was a firstie talk about witches’ hair and how intoxicating the very idea of it was. How they even fantasized about it. The very idea made her flush to this day.
Her hair was darker than Roman’s. She’d never actually cut it. It was a blessing when she learned that pureblood witches put it up. Before she came to Hogwarts, she always wore it in a high ponytail, but that only did so much. It took time to put it in various hairstyles, but it was worth it.
Going to bed, she waited for the lights to dim at curfew. She closed her curtains to dim the area around her and allow her to sleep, and soon found herself drifting off to dreamland.
… … … … …
Lord Marvolo was angry. Not at Halcyone. Never at Halcyone. She was dear to him, like a daughter. However, she had seen something that should never be witnessed, and it had probably frightened her. She wouldn’t understand. He had needed more time to accustom her to the idea. He hadn’t wanted to even introduce her to the Dark Lord for several years.
Unlike the Dark Lord, he had known where she had gone, to Grimmauld Place. She owned it and her brother was there. Although she never spoke about Harry Potter, he realized there must be some form of connection between them. No matter what anyone said, they had both been attacked by the Dark Lord in some way on Halloween Night, 1981. They had both lost their father that night. They had both gained a scar.
The person who would know anything about Grimmauld Place was Severus Snape.
Going to Spinner’s End, he was a black behemoth of power. He had traced Snape there through his Dark Mark. Lord Marvolo couldn’t fathom why he was there and not Hogwarts as the term had begun, but he would not question it.
He found the man in his private potions lab, brewing something that was a deep blue that smelled like daffodils and soap, if that was even possible.
“Severus,” he greeted, his voice deep and dangerous. “You know why I’m here.”
Waving his hand over his potion in an obvious stasis spell, Snape moved away from the cauldron and motioned for Lord Marvolo to follow him. They moved into the sitting room where they had met the last time and they sat down in the two armchairs.
“Hallie,” Snape said simply. “I will admit that I hid her, but not from you. I hid her from the Dark Lord.” He opened his hands in supplication, his robes falling down from his wrists to his elbows. “He terrified her.”
“I only know the basics of what happened. I know she saw. I can only imagine what that was like to an impressionable young witch who had no idea what our—connection—is. What else happened?” His blue eyes bore into Snape, demanding that he be obeyed.
Snape paused. “He shouted at her to ‘get out’ and slammed the door in her face. She fled and did exactly what he said. She ‘got out’, Lord Marvolo.”
In an uncharacteristic show of emotion, Lord Marvolo sighed and ran a hand down his handsome face. “I see the problem.—Did Lord Roman take advantage of the situation?”
“She asked for Lord Roman,” Snape told him plainly. “She was extremely distressed. Although I have known her since she was a toddler, I was not in a position to comfort her. He was. I sent for him and he came. Hallie also didn’t want to go with the Weasleys and Miss Granger to King’s Cross and requested that Lord Roman take her. I also believe she didn’t want to be in the company of my wife. There is no love lost between them.” He heaved a heavy sigh. “I did not deny her request.”
“Do you know if the courtship between the Dark Lord and my cousin is over?” This was the truly important question. He needed to know how the Gaunt line was going to continue. He had fostered the relationship from the very beginning even though he had planned that Halcyone and the Dark Lord not meet until she was well out of Hogwarts, which would mean sabotaging all other suitors. Lord Roman, though, had snuck past him. He had gotten to his cousin before he had met her—several years before, in fact.
Snape hesitated. “She told me of another conversation between herself and the Dark Lord that took place during break before the incident we just discussed.” He paused, perhaps choosing his words. “The Dark Lord demanded, it seems, that she be devoted to him and she submit to him. Hallie was angered by his words, and I believe that before she saw you ‘leaving’ and the Dark Lord ‘coming’, this may have fractured their relationship, perhaps beyond repair.”
“By the gods,” Lord Marvolo swore. “Can he be so stupid?” Of course he could. The man never interacted with women unless they were Death Eaters, and then they were groveling at his feet.
“I could not say,” Snape replied. “I know only what my stepdaughter told me. She was sobbing at the time, which to me lends veracity to her words. I have never known her to lie.”
“Then it is over,” Lord Marvolo realized. “Perhaps it is better, though she would have made a magnificent Dark Lady.—I only hope she comes home this summer.”
“I cannot guarantee anything. She owns Grimmauld Place and she will only be legally under your care for a month when she leaves Hogwarts for the summer. Lady Malfoy is also thrilled with the courtship between her husband’s brother and a Gaunt, so she would naturally give Hallie shelter if she ever asks for it.” He hesitated. “There are others in Slytherin as well. You are aware she has a posse of friends?”
“Not unlike Lady Maia,” Lord Marvolo stated with a small smile, remembering the band and their habit of Muggle baiting and having picnics—though those turned out to be cover for Maia’s romance with James Potter. Two of them, if Lord Marvolo remembered, ended up becoming Death Eaters. He would have prevented it, if he could. However, his wand had been rendered useless in the situation.
“Let us not forget Lord Roman,” Snape carefully reminded him. “I think he would do anything for your cousin.”
“Not anything surely,” Lord Marvolo scoffed. “It cannot be as bad as that!”
“Can’t it?” Snape murmured. It was hushed, but Lord Marvolo still heard him, and it turned his stomach.
And with that sobering knowledge, Lord Marvolo stood. He nodded to Snape and swept out of the room without another word. He had a letter to write.
… … … … …
Hallie smirked and came out of Professor Slughorn’s office. She showed the slip to Draco who crowed when he saw they both had access to the entire Restricted Section of the library.
“When do we start?” Hallie asked her best friend and confidant.
“Tonight?” Draco suggested. “Wait, I’m meeting—”
Hallie smirked. “Give him my best.”
“You know I won’t be remotely thinking of you,” he teased.
“Well,” she decided. “I’ll draw up a list of all the books that might be useful. I know I won’t get through all of them, but I can at least start.”
… … … … …
Dumbledore sat with the report cards of his top sixth years. It was time to begin narrowing down the potential candidates for Head Boy and Head Girl.
Per usual, he began with the Ravenclaws. They tended to get the higher scores as a whole, but not always the highest outright. He put the highest aside of each. Next he moved to Hufflepuff. Oh, yes. This one was rather promising for Head Boy. Two candidates for Head Boy from Slytherin—Nott and Malfoy. No surprise there. There was only one candidate for Head Girl from Gryffindor—Granger—and she was a shoo in. It was always nice to have a Muggleborn.
When he was going over the marks again, he was surprised by one particular student. Sixth year prefect. Slytherin. She had straight Outstandings in her O.W.L.s unlike Hermione Granger, who had one Excellent. She was the other Prophecy child, the one he had suppressed because her mother was a dark witch and Lily had claimed that she had been sleeping in her crib the entire time: Mabelle Halcyone Gaunt.
He placed the two notecards beside one another and stared. Hermione Granger would be crushed.
Still, he placed Granger’s name back in the rejected pile.
Putting the two chosen cards side by side, he looked at his recommended choices. Polaris Richmond from Hufflepuff and Halcyone Gaunt from Slytherin. At least it was a mix of houses. It could be worse.
It always could be worse.