Part the Twentieth
Maia and James, January-July, 1980
The wizarding world is a racist and bigoted place. The views expressed in this chapter do not reflect my own. I apologize if they offend. However, if you think about it, if people are going to discriminate on the basis of magic and species, they’re going to discriminate on other criteria such as race and country of origin.
I myself am American of French Algerian extraction.
Thank you for reading. Enjoy.
“Wizard space,” Regulus shouted from where he was sitting with a manuscript open in front of him. “You can hide your pregnancy by making you womb wizard space!”
Maia looked over at him and shushed him. “Could you declare it any louder?”
“Mother and Father are out,” he told her. “They’re having an afternoon with Lord Marvolo Gaunt—which you would know about if you weren’t spending the holiday with Barty Crouch, Jr.” He leered at her. “He probably hopes you’re secretly in love.”
She grimaced. “Let’s hope not.”
Getting up, she walked over and looked over his shoulder, reading the steps. “Right. Let’s do it now before James gets home. It’s criminal the few days he got off. They figure just because he’s not married, he can work just after New Year’s.”
“I sympathize,” Regulus agreed. “However, your marriage is a secret, so he has to play along with the Department of Magical Law Enforcement.” He placed his hands on his hip and her hand began to ache. Regulus hissed and quickly removed his hands before looking at the manuscript again. Making the infinity symbol with his wand, he began to chant in what sounded like Greek for a good half a minute until his wand started emitting forest green sparks and her stomach glowed the same forest green. She felt her insides enlarge, but nothing happened. “Done!” Regulus declared. “That should work.”
Placing her hands on her stomach, Maia admitted, “I felt it.” Next, she took out her wand and cast the heartbeat spell and was relieved to hear her daughter’s heartbeat. At least her child was unharmed.
“Now,” she told her friend sternly. “Not a word.”
He put up his hands. “I swear on my magic.” Although an oath, it wasn’t binding.
“Good. I won’t put you under an Unbreakable because I know you might have to tell the Nurse or a Healer. You’re the only one we told and only because I couldn’t navigate this library.” She sighed and sat down beside him. “I hate morning sickness. I can’t keep anything down around lunch of all times.”
“Just pretend you’re hiding in the kitchens,” he suggested. “I’ll hide with you and actually go to the kitchens. Everyone will think we’re having the romance.”
She half-heartedly hit his arm. They both knew she didn’t mean it.
The two friends sat there soberly, taking in what was happening. “You should tell his parents,” Regulus finally decided. “You need all the support you can get.”
“No,” Maia shook her head. “It’s bad enough they know about the marriage.”
“Well, you’re going to have to name godparents,” he stated firmly. “You can’t leave this child without magical parents.”
“Oh, we’ve discussed that. He wants Sirius and we thought it would be hilarious if we named you on the other side of the Slythinclaws. Two brothers, two sides of our politics. What do you think? Will you be godfather to Mabelle?”
“Mabelle?” he asked, lighting up. “Is that what you’re naming the baby?”
“Mabelle to follow the tradition of naming every Gaunt with that letter and then Halcyone for the Pleides. We can’t decide on a nickname. Mae? Belle? It could be anything.” She gave him a smile. “Is that a ‘yes’ then?”
“A definite ‘yes’,” he responded, slinging an arm around her shoulders and hugging her. “I’m honored. I’m sure I’ll return the favor when I marry Mademoiselle de Lancré.”
“Ah, yes,” she sighed. “The betrothal is still in place even though you are now the heir?”
It was a bit of a touchy subject. Cécile de Lancré was the daughter of a prominent French wizard. He had impeccable lineage, a chateau in Provence, and a large fortune (and it was rumored she had a generous dowry). However, the French were rather liberal. They had blood politics, of course they did, but they were more generous when it came to race.
In Britain race mattered. Anglo-Saxon heritage and Western European blood ruled the social circles. The darker your skin and the further south and east your heritage, the more degraded you were in the eyes of society. Maia wouldn’t even talk to anyone if they had Spanish or Italian heritage as she considered them too dark.
Cécile de Lancré was more than dark. She was practically black. Her grandmother had been an earth witch who practiced voodoo and was from Louisiana. The creature—because she was filth beneath Maia’s slipper and didn’t deserve the title of ‘woman’—didn’t even attend Salem’s Academy for Witches. No one knew if she married the white plantation owner she procreated with but her daughter was ‘mulatto’. The correct term now was ‘biracial,’ not that Maia cared. This Lady Mulatto had captured the attention of Monsieur de Lancré, who had whisked her off to his chateau, and they had had one daughter—Cécile.
Lord Black, hungry for her fortune and potential inheritance of her father’s vast wealth, had betrothed his younger son to her. After all, he was expendable unlike Sirius. Then Sirius had run away and proved unworthy of the name Black.
“I am still betrothed,” Regulus told her carefully, glancing at her from the corner of his eyes. “She’s fifteen, so the marriage won’t be for a few years.” He looked down at his fingernails.
“Well,” she stated airily. “I’m sure something can be done.”
He cleared his throat, not looking at her. “She’s sweet, if nothing else.”
“If that’s all,” she drawled. “There are plenty of sweet witches who aren’t quite so—black.” Maia really couldn’t find another word for it.
“No,” she stated firmly. “Don’t even think it. That is not an option, Reggie. We’ll get you out of this, and you’ll never have to deal with Cécile de Lancré ever again.”
Seeming to deflate, Regulus however didn’t argue.
In the end, Maia flooed back to Potter Cottage before Regulus’s parents got back. She was glad to have left Grimmauld Place. It really was a dark house and a bit grim. Maia supposed the name fit. The house elf heads were rather dreadful.
When James came home, she was waiting with champagne and caviar. “Do you like caviar?” she asked worriedly when he emerged from his quick shower in a black turtleneck and jeans. “I didn’t even think.”
“What are we celebrating?” he asked, not answering the question.
She handed him a glass and clinked glasses. “Regulus and I found the answer. Well, Reggie did.” Leaning in, she whispered, “We made my womb wizard space so I won’t show. Then I checked on the baby and there’s still a heartbeat.”
“Wonderful.” He grinned. “Now we just have to cure your morning sickness.”
“There’s no potion as far as we can tell, and I can’t walk into St. Mungo’s.” She sighed as she took another sip of her champagne. “I’ll just deal with it. It’s probably just another month or so of hiding it, and then there’s just the hormones.” She was voraciously reading all the books James had bought. Apparently, he had gotten a lot of weird looks when he’d purchased almost the entire maternity section of Flourish and Blotts.
“Well,” he told her, “you’re positively glowing.”
“Am I?” she asked happily. “Hopefully no one else will notice.”
“I’m afraid my parents might since they know we’re married,” he whispered as he leaned in to kiss her. “They know it’s a possibility, however rare it is for a couple to actually conceive on their wedding night.”
“How rare?” she teased.
“Oh,” he murmured. “I’d say one in ten thousand?”
“As rare as that,” she murmured and then their lips met achingly slowly.
… … … … …
The bed was shoved in the corner and the crib was the smallest one available. Maia was standing and reading the directions, trying to put it together. Why did this have to be so difficult? She couldn’t wait until the baby got her own room. There was one other that was completely empty, James had never gotten around to making it up into a spare bedroom, and it would be the nursery when the time came. Until the baby was old enough, however, she would be sleeping in their room, which was just big enough for a bed and a crib—and barely that.
… … … … …
Lily hated begging. However, she didn’t really have a choice. Squaring her shoulders, she walked up to her parents’ house.
Her mother served tea and Lily bounced her leg nervously, which was one of her tells.
Rose Evans was a woman with hair as deep an auburn as Lily’s but Petunia’s long neck. She was a fusion of her two daughters, which Lily had always found rather odd. Usually a child was a fusion of her parents, not the other way around.
Taking a sip of her tea, Lily felt a little queasy and immediately put it down.
“Well,” she stated, taking a deep breath. “Sev and I are having a baby.”
“How wonderful,” Rose stated insincerely. She’d been rather angry with her daughter ever since her ‘failed’ marriage. She hadn’t understood how her marriage was void. Lily had tried to explain without explaining, but that had only made it worse unfortunately. It hadn’t helped when she started seeing Severus. Her mother had always hated his drunk of a father and while she felt sorry for the boy, she thought he wasn’t good enough for her daughter. James, in her mind, was a better catch—and Lily had been foolish enough to lose him less than six hours after their wedding—a wedding which Harold Evans had paid for. “Anything else?”
Licking her lips, Lily moved a little forward. “Things are a bit tight—”
“No,” Rose stated firmly. “Your wedding dress alone—”
“Mummy, please,” Lily whined. “I just want enough for a crib and to put a bit by for diapers.”
Rose gave her daughter a hard look. “Get a job.”
“I have a job.”
“Tell that husband of yours to get a job.”
“He has a job.”
“Well, then. It shouldn’t be a problem.” Rose sniffed, clearly wanting the conversation to be over and done with. “Thank you, by the way, for inviting us to the wedding.”
Lily glanced down at the ugly scars on her hand. “It didn’t take, Mummy.”
“The marriage. It didn’t take. It’s not legal. I can’t legally marry after what happened with James.” She held out her hand to show the ugly scars. “I’m a shamed woman. I’m lucky I even have a job.”
“And whose fault is that?” Rose snapped. “You should have been more like your sister. Vernon isn’t quite the catch James Potter was, but he’s stable and he’s faithful and he’s devoted. That James Potter thought you hung on the moon.”
Lily sighed. “I know, Mummy. I just—my heart wasn’t quite in it. My head was, my heart just wasn’t.”
“You should have figured that out before you went through that sham of a wedding and broke that poor boy’s heart,” Rose intoned. “I’m ashamed of you.”
Deflating, Lily whispered, “Don’t say that, Mummy.”
She left soon after that, empty handed. Lily was too proud to ask Petunia, so she put her hands in her pocket and made her way back to the nearest Apparition point, even though she knew it wasn’t quite good for the baby. Still, she was only two and half months along, so it should still be fine.
‘Iris,’ she thought. ‘Harry’ for a boy and ‘Iris’ for a girl. That would be nice. Lily would check with Severus when he got home.
A position at Hogwarts had opened up for a Muggle Studies professor and she was putting her name in. The baby would have come by then, and she knew she could juggle it. It would be a big step up and who knew Muggles better than her? She’d grown up as one. Her sister was a Muggle and they were still in contact—sort of. She hadn’t told Severus because she didn’t want to get his hopes up. He was so worried about not being able to afford a baby that she was a little afraid now of what the future would hold.
Still, she walked on and held her head high.
Dumbledore liked her and she had been Head Girl. She’d wear lace fingerless gloves to the interview so he couldn’t see her hand. She wore black ones every day to work. Yes, that was a plan. He might have heard, but he wouldn’t see the evidence. Lily had a plan.
She wouldn’t need her mum’s money. No, she wouldn’t need it at all.
… … … … …
Hiding the baby was harder than Maia had thought. When she wasn’t crying, she was angry. Barty thought she’d gone positively mad until she had told him and sworn him to secrecy. He wasn’t even allowed to tell Apricot, even though they were going pretty steady. No sign, however, of a courtship as of yet.
The four Slytherinclaws graduated with great cheer after taking their N.E.W.T.s and parted at King’s Cross. James was waiting for her down at Platform 12 so as to fool Uncle Marvolo in case he showed up, even though she’d told him she’d meet him for tea the next day.
It was on her way to The Wicked Stepmother when she ran into Lily Snape, who was heavily pregnant. She stared at the woman who had been briefly tied to her husband in shock. Maia couldn’t believe she had disgraced herself. Not saying anything, she cut the witch completely and walked into Knockturn Alley.
Uncle Marvolo kissed her cheeks three times when he met her.
“A flat in London?” he asked, clearly surprised. “Somehow I thought you’d never leave Riddle House.”
“We girls like to gab,” she told him, “and it’s hard to not have roomies.”
His blue eyes studied her. “Perhaps,” he agreed. “I rather enjoyed living at Hogwarts. Still, I will miss you.” He reached out and touched her hand in affection. “You’re welcome home anytime.”
Taking a sip of her tea, she murmured, “Thank you, Uncle.”
She felt her baby shift inside of her, and Maia tried to contain her smile. However, as she looked at her uncle, something twisted inside of her. She hated deceiving him. But she knew the truth. Maia was really deceiving the Dark Lord. Uncle Marvolo would be angry. He would threaten. He had threatened James, apparently, when rumors had reached him that they had had tea on Valentine’s Day in Hogsmeade, James threatening him right back. No, it was the Dark Lord she feared. They may be family, but blood purity was everything to him.
Maia took another sip of her tea and forced a smile on her face. “How is my garden?” she inquired, falling into pleasantries.
… … … … …
On the thirty-first of July, 1980, Lady Maia Gaunt, wife of Monsieur James Potter, gave birth to a healthy baby girl at Potter Manor. Madam Euphemia Potter attended her along with Lady Lux Kingsley. Two days later, the child was recognized by magic, Sirius and Regulus Black being named as joint godfathers.
The baby was adored. She was placed in the crib beside the bed in the ‘master’ bedroom and her father cooed over her as her mother recovered. Maia called her ‘Belle’ and James liked that just fine.
… … … … …
They couldn’t afford to go to St. Mungo’s even though Lily had gotten the position at Hogwarts. She hadn’t received her first paycheck yet. So, Lily was giving birth at home in their small flat in London. The lease was set to run out in the middle of September, which suited the Snapes just fine as they were moving into their quarters at Hogwarts at the end of August with their child.
Lily screamed and screamed but only Severus was there to help her. All of his friends were ‘political’ and viewed his wife as an abomination to magic because of her blood status and her two failed marriage attempts.
She had few friends from Hogwarts, having wrapped her life around Severus and yelling at the Marauders.
After thirteen hours of excruciating labor, Lily Snape gave birth to a healthy baby boy. He was named Harry Severus Snape. However, within a few days Snape noticed that his full head of black hair was messy and his facial features were rather familiar. His nose was all wrong. It wasn’t hooked and it wasn’t small and upturned like Lily’s. Searching through his texts, he cast a hereditary spell on the child and two surnames inked themselves on each arm. The right read ‘Potter’ and the left ‘Evans.’
“What is the meaning of this?” he demanded of his ‘wife’. “You cheated on me with Potter?” He spat the name of his enemy, horrified that the love of his life would do this to him, especially after the fact that she couldn’t even consummate her marriage to the overpuffed idiot on their wedding night.
“No!” she cried, turning to the baby and carefully examining him. “No, I would never! Only you, Sev! Only you.”
“Then how do you explain the fact that he is a Potter.” Severus leaned over the baby and lifted his right arm.
Her brows furrowed. Then comprehension dawned on her face. “It must have been the potion I used. My hand glowed and warmed a night we didn’t have sex. I thought it was just activating but—something else must have happened.”
Deadly calm, Severus asked, “What potion?”
“Just a potion I found in your books. The Convivio Potion.”
He sucked in a breath. “Did you put it on both scars?” He grasped her carefully as she was still weak from the painful birth. “Think carefully, Lily.”
“Was I not supposed to?” she whispered.
He let her go and bit down on his hand, walking away from her. “By god, Lily, you birthed Potter’s bastard! Or his legitimate son who can’t inherit! This is a mess!” He thought for several long moments. “You’ve got to give him the child. We can’t afford him and I will not have him in my house.”
“We can afford him,” Lily refuted, standing in front of the baby protectively. “And I’m not giving up my child. I wanted him too much.”
“You didn’t even tell me you were using a potion,” he growled.
“You were using one, too!” she practically screamed, making Harry fuss in his crib. “If you make me give up Harry, I’m leaving and I’m taking him with me. I mean it, Severus. There’s nothing tying us together. Not magic, only a flimsy Muggle ceremony that won’t hold up in the wizarding world! We’ll walk out of your life and there will be nothing! Ever!”
A devastated look crossed Severus’s face.
She turned and shushed the baby, giving him his pacifier. Lily petted his hair. “If he must be a Potter, we’ll do it properly,” she instructed. “He’ll be Harry James Potter. It will be like you really are my second husband and I’m divorced or a widow and I came into the marriage with a son. Next time we have a child, and there will be a next time, Severus Snape, I’ll use the potion properly.”
Severus groaned and ran a hand down his face. Coming up behind Lily he put his hands on her shoulders. “So help me I’m going to be a horrible father.”
“Don’t be silly,” she told him. “I wouldn’t have a child with you if I thought that. Let’s just not tell James—not yet anyway.”
“What will we tell everyone?”
“That he’s ‘Harry’,” she answered simply. “We don’t need to say anything more than that.”
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