Part the Twenty-Second
Halcyone and Voldemort, February-June, 1997
This was terribly awkward. Hallie was sitting in Dumbledore’s office, her uniform pristinely ironed and handstitched, made of the finest fabrics, and sitting next to Professor Snape.
Both Cedric Diggory and the Auror, a Kingsley Shacklebolt, were there with them.
“We have a problem, Miss Gaunt, and we need your help solving it. You have accused the Dark Lord of an assault, and no one is doubting your word.” She nodded and looked down at her hands, the fingertips still charred. “We have to legally inform your guardian, however. The problem is that your guardian is a close associate and relative of the Dark Lord’s.”
“The Dark Lord is my cousin,” she whispered. “He had custody of me over part of the summer and Winter Hols.” Her eyes flashed up in defiance.
Shacklebolt shifted behind Dumbledore. Diggory didn’t look at all surprised.
Looking over his half-moon spectacles, Dumbledore inquired softly, “Why didn’t you inform anyone?”
“I was not required to by law. As a close relative, I did not have to reveal his whereabouts unless directly questioned, and more than half the time, I didn’t know where he was. I also didn’t want to be sent back to the Dursleys—who I am not even remotely related to. Of course, I could have gone back to Draco’s.” She sighed. “You of all people should know, Professor Dumbledore, I’m a Slytherin—and in Slytherin honor, including family honor, means everything.”
“Quite.” He wasn’t at all pleased.
“We don’t know how to proceed, Miss Gaunt,” Auror Shacklebolt informed her.
“Cousin Marvolo and the Dark Lord, from what I can tell, read each other’s mail. I know it’s only a matter of time before this leaks to The Daily Prophet. I walked into Madam Puddifoot’s barefoot and covered in blood with charred fingers.” She lifted her hand for effect.
At this, Professor Snape, spoke. “For most of Miss Gaunt’s life,” he stated calmly and firmly, “I acted as her stepfather. I am also her Head of House. She fled from the Dark Lord in January for several days and I served as chaperone while she stayed in a house she co-owns with her brother, Harry Potter. I will happily, in this case and until her seventeenth birthday this July, serve as unofficial guardian.”
“Law will not recognize you,” Diggory stated, not looking at Snape but instead gazing at Hallie longingly. “Gaunt is not related to you in any way.”
“But I am her Head of House,” Professor Snape reminded him, catching Diggory’s attention. “As such, I am her de facto guardian.” He sat back, clearly pleased with himself.
“Well,” Dumbledore stated. “It seems we have found an elegant solution at least until the end of term.—If I may, Miss Gaunt, I would just like to clear up one portion of your statement.” He paused. “Auror Diggory was captured by the Dark Lord earlier this year and in his report, he stated that the Dark Lord claimed he wanted to marry you. You have also made a similar claim. Do you stand by this?”
“Yes,” she answered simply. “I have been aware of this since the thirty-first of August. Gaunts, after all, marry other Gaunts. It’s a long standing if undesirable tradition.”
“Your mother, Maia Gaunt, however, did not follow it.”
“No,” she agreed. “Mum married Auror James Potter. The Dark Lord admitted before he hit me across the face that he had murdered her because of this—transgression.” She moved uncomfortably in her seat. “He saw it as a personal betrayal.” She breathed out through her nose. “If that’s all?”
“If the Dark Lord should contact you again,” Auror Shacklebolt began, but she cut him off.
“I am shielded by the law. I will do what I think is best and necessary.” She turned to Professor Snape and nodded before leaving. When she was halfway down the moving staircase, she was aware that she was being followed.
“Hallie!” Diggory called, and she turned to see him looking a little out of sorts.
“Wherever did you get those scars?” she asked in wonder.
However, he didn’t answer. “Did you break up with me because of him?” Diggory questioned darkly. “Is it because you were being pressured?”
Placing a hand on his arm, she murmured, “No, Diggory, that wasn’t it. I’m sorry he interrogated you. He can be rather—violent. But that wasn’t it.”
“What was it, then?” Diggory asked desperately, his gray eyes searching hers.
She shrugged. “At the beginning I wasn’t being pressured. At the beginning, it was romantic, if you can believe it, and you abandoned me, Diggory for nearly a week. I wasn’t going to sit around and wait for you.”
“Please reconsider,” he begged. “The Dark Lord can no longer come between us.”
“You forget,” she murmured. “I’m already spoken for—”
“By that Malfoy kid.”
“Hardly,” she teased, getting off the stairs. “By someone else. Read the reports. I’m sure you’ll find his name hovering among the pages.” Really, how had he not paid attention to Roman who was by her side the entire time she was being photographed and interviewed earlier that week? He had been a silent presence, his hand on her shoulder, sitting beside her when he could. Roman had even been there when she fell asleep, shooing away her friends once they had left her cards and candy.
It was early in the morning, Roman’s finger running along her upper arm, when he had whispered in her ear, “Marry me, Mabelle Gaunt,” and she nodded her head in acceptance.
… … … … …
Lord Marvolo had not known. The Dark Lord had written nothing and none of his followers, not even Lord Malfoy, had betrayed the secret. He had believed that Hallie was still silent because she was terrified by what she had seen. He had sent her a long letter in the start of term apologizing, begging her to come home, but she had told him that Riddle House could no longer be her home.
This decision saddened him, but he respected it nonetheless. Hallie had been with him for only a month or so. The bonds of family had not had time to grow. Still, she was his heir and Riddle House would always be a sanctuary to her and her children.
Then he opened The Daily Prophet one day and saw a picture of Hallie in tights with holes in them, a dirtied wizard dress, her hair toppling over her shoulders, scratches over her cheek and a bruising black eye, sitting on a bed. Her hands were gripping the edge of the bed and the caption read, “Dark Lord attacks Cousin.” He swore. They knew then—and it looked like she hadn’t just been attacked in a spell fight, but physically assaulted.
Knowing her best friend was Draco Malfoy and Lord Malfoy must know something, he got up from the breakfast table and flooed to Malfoy Manor without delay. He ignored the protests of the insipid little house elf, and strode with purpose to the breakfast nook. Lord Marvolo had been there once in the seventies and he remembered the way.
He threw open the glass doors and took in Lord Malfoy dressed in full wizard clothes, sans robes, his shirt sleeves billowing. He had a hat reminiscent of the Victorian gentleman on his head, complete with tassel, that showed he was at home and comfortable. Lord Marvolo wouldn’t be surprised if he was wearing slippers.
Lady Malfoy was wearing an elegant robe made of brocade, a nightgown clearly under it, a brocade rope with tassels finishing it off. The golden tones of the material made her more beautiful than usual.
Lord Marvolo, however, didn’t care at the moment. He slammed down the paper and demanded, “Why was I not informed?”
Looking up in shock, Lord Malfoy took the paper. “I was not told,” he stated, “and I am a governor.—Darling,” he passed the paper over to his wife, “did Draco write anything?”
Her eyes quickly scanned the article. “He said that Hallie’s date with Roman had to be cut short because of a rogue Death Eater attack, but I thought he was being fanciful as you hadn’t mentioned anything.” Gray eyes widened as she continued to read. “I cannot believe our Lord would—”
“I can,” Lord Marvolo intoned darkly. “And the accusation that he killed Lady Maia is completely true. I had hoped to keep that from Halcyone for as long as possible. One does not like to distress one’s children unnecessarily, and it was all so long ago.”
“Quite,” Lucius agreed verbally though it was clear he held a different opinion. “Would you like me to go to Hogwarts and learn… ?” He let the offer hang between them.
“Why do you think I’m here, man?” Lord Marvolo practically shouted, despite his usual composure. “My cousin has been attacked and I have read about it from the papers! I should have been informed!”
Lord Malfoy stood and bowed. “I will return as soon as I learn something. Does it say if Lady Halcyone is well?”
“Her fingers are singed and will take five months to heal,” he spat angrily. “I remember when the damned Potter boy kissed Maia. A bone splintered in her hand and broke through the skin. They had to remove all the bones in her hand and regrow them.” He sighed and shook his head. “She hadn’t invited it, hadn’t wanted it, and her hand never felt the same again. And still she married the whelp.”
“Well,” Lady Malfoy stated carefully as she finished the article. “I don’t think she’ll be marrying the Dark Lord after this. She reported him of her own volition. Whatever has passed between them is at an end.”
“I am well aware of that, thank you, Madam,” he sneered. “It has been over since before break ended. The Dark Lord, it seems, just couldn’t let sleeping dragons lie.” Lord Marvolo was beside himself, he turned to Lord Malfoy. “You must understand, I have not had her for long, but she’s my little girl and she’s hurt. She won’t speak to me because of what the Dark Lord said and did over break, she refuses to ever come home, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s as if we’re flesh of one flesh—and I can’t go to Hogwarts myself and demand answers.”
“I will do my best, Lord Marvolo,” he promised. He then swept from the room.
A third chair appeared at the breakfast table and although Lord Marvolo wasn’t remotely hungry, he sat down and accepted a dish of tea. Now, he just had to wait.
… … … … …
Hallie was peeved. She was not skilled at Herbology and had to work for her ‘Outstanding’ at the O.W.L. level. Now, she was being called out of class. Knowing that Blaise took the most in depth notes, she whispered to him, “Make a copy for me?”
He nodded to her and she was gone.
Surprisingly, she was not taken to Professor Dumbledore who was showing an unusual interest in her case. As soon as she entered the castle, she found Professor Snape waiting for her, and she looked at her Head of House in question. “Come, come,” he drawled. “One of the governors wants to see you.”
She fell into step beside him. “Why?”
“Well, there could be many reasons,” he told her. “First, you’re a student here and you were attacked. Second, he happens to be Lord Malfoy and you’re courting his younger brother. You also happen to be his son’s best friend. Third, he’s a follower of your esteemed cousin. Would you like me stay with you?”
Thinking a moment, she decided. “No. Lord Malfoy has always treated me fairly. He won’t hurt me.”
“Very well,” Professor Snape agreed.
They walked up the moving staircases in silence until they came to the Governors’ Offices on the sixth floor. Lord Malfoy’s was the third on the left and Professor Snape rapped his knuckles four times before Hallie heard the familiar voice of Lord Malfoy telling them to enter.
The man was sitting in front of a roaring fire in an armchair, as elegant as always, with a pot of tea between him and an empty cup. “Thank you, Severus. Lady Halcyone and I will get on quite well.”
She stepped in, feeling underdressed in her Hogwarts uniformed, and heard the door close behind her.
Lord Malfoy smiled at her kindly and offered her the armchair opposite him. “How are you, my dear? I heard you survived quite the ordeal. We’re all quite worried about you.”
“Yes,” she agreed, taking her seat and accepting a dish of tea in delicate china as he played mother. “I saw it in The Prophet this morning. Roman didn’t tell you?”
“No,” he answered her carefully, pouring his own cup. “He respected your privacy. I have yet to speak to him.”
“Then why are you here?” She took a sip of her tea and delighted at the warmth of it.
Pausing, Lord Malfoy paused. “Your cousin came to see me. He’s horrified that this happened to you, he had no idea. You see, against Hogwarts regulation he was not informed of the attack, and the Dark Lord did not inform him.”
“They can’t talk,” she murmured in confusion. “How would the Dark Lord tell him?”
“I do not know how Lord Marvolo and the Dark Lord communicate, no one does,” Lord Malfoy admitted and then he put two cubes of sugar in his tea. “However, we know that they do and they are unusually candid with each other. The Dark Lord, however, was not candid in this.”
“Will you apologize to Lord Marvolo,” she whispered, looking down into her tea. The light fell onto her curls. “I asked for him not to be informed. There was some—fear—that the Dark Lord would receive the notification instead of my cousin. You know that is a distinct possibility. They’re ‘brothers’, as Cousin Marvolo once described it, and they open each other’s owls.—I’m not certain I trust Marvolo Gaunt anymore.”
Nodding his head, Lord Malfoy took a sip of his tea. “I understand your position perfectly. It is rather difficult.—May I inquire how much my brother knows?”
“You may ask him,” she suggested, not wanting to go through it all—again.
He set down his cup. “Lord Marvolo is most likely wondering if you’re ever coming home.”
“I will not come home as long as I know that the Dark Lord might be wandering the halls. You may not believe me, but he asked me to marry him after he hit me over the head with a rock, abducted me, and then backhanded me. I don’t know what else he’s capable of when he claims he wants me for his wife of all things.”
Lord Malfoy regarded her for a long moment, crossing his legs and folding his hands over them. “We all look forward to hopefully welcoming you into the family as ‘Lady Roman’—though I suppose you want to remain ‘Lady Halcyone’.”
“I think we can both agree, that I only possess a title because my cousin is the Dark Lord. I would rather have one legitimately and become ‘Lady Roman Malfoy’, and yes, he has asked, and I have answered. I would rather you tell neither your wife nor son as we haven’t technically announced it yet.”
He nodded. “Of course, Halcyone. Welcome to the Malfoy Clan. We are pleased to have you.—You should tell your cousin. Another secret wedding will hurt him deeply.”
“How do I know,” she asked simply as she similarly put down her dish of tea, “that he won’t tell the Dark Lord? That there won’t be retributions?” She took a deep breath. “How can I even assure that he reads my letter and not the Dark Lord?”
“I would be happy the carry the letter,” Lord Malfoy offered, “and I would guarantee your cousin’s at least public acceptance.”
“I’ll think about it,” she admitted. “I’ll send the letter to you by owl if I decide for it.”
“Thank you, Halcyone,” he agreed, “and please call me ‘Lucius’ from now on. My wife is ‘Narcissa’. I will tell her I granted you permission given your close association with our family.” He chuckled now. “Those photographs Draco left of you and your brother at Grimmauld Place were quite amusing. If the Black family stronghold cannot belong to Narcissa, at least it is within the Malfoy family in one way or another.”
“The pictures were supposed to infuriate.”
“Oh, they did. Draco nearly received a Howler, but I told Narcissa that she wouldn’t want to give Harry Potter the satisfaction.” He stood and she also got to her feet.
He lifted her hand to beneath his lips, not touching, and she left him.
… … … … …
Draco and Hallie always had rounds with each other. Of course, Hallie always informed Harry when they were so the two could sneak off together and get up to whatever they got up to in a secret room on the Seventh Floor Corridor. She never really asked, and she was just glad not to walk in on it, as amusing as it was the one time.
Harry had secretly confessed to her that he wanted to exchange promise rings, a very Muggle idea, but one she approved of. She just had to bring up the idea in conversation with Draco casually, so Draco knew what they were so by the time Harry offered him one.
Hallie may never be Lady Malfoy, but if things were going the way they were, the title would pass from Draco to her eldest son. For some reason she was favoring ‘Mercury’ for a boy, but she was uncertain if this was just too popular in the Muggle world. She’d have to ask Roman in a few years when they were first expecting. Maybe she would go with either “Maximilian” or “Maximus” and call the child “Maxim.” She hadn’t really decided on a girl.
Still, Draco and Harry were happy. They’d probably end up as ‘roommates’ and then confirmed bachelors into their nineties, enjoying cigars together and invited everywhere with the other because they were just “such good friends.” How charmingly domestic and a little depressing.
… … … … …
Hallie had eventually written in April, as Lord Malfoy had said she would. The letter was delivered by hand, a wise precaution, and he poured over it. Lord Marvolo knew he had to commit it to memory because he wouldn’t be able to keep it for fear that the Dark Lord would find it.
In the letter she described the attack in vivid detail that was missing in The Daily Prophet, and his heart clenched in anger for his cousin. If he could avenger her honor, but how could he attack a living ghost?
She then gave him the unsurprising news. She was engaged to Lord Roman Malfoy. He had been expecting this since Winter Break. He hadn’t thought she was in love then, but she definitely was in love now. It was obvious in the way she wrote about him. He was her rescuer from the Dark Lord, and that’s how she had fallen in love with him. It was like a fairy story. It was so predictable.
Maia would be proud, he thought with a grim smile. She was always a bit of a romantic.
Lord Marvolo had to see Hallie.
Getting out his stationary and inking his quill, he put quill to parchment and thought: Darling Halcyone, he wrote, please come home. If I can give you the honeymoon cottage before you wed Lord Roman and put wards around it, will you come? You have not said when you plan to marry your suitor, whether it is this summer when you are of age, at the auspicious time of Yule, or after you take your N.E.W.T.s.
I had hoped, from the moment I saw you and mistakenly thought that you and the Malfoy boy might make a match, that I would place your bleeding palm against your husband’s in the Rite of the Pomegranate to symbolize that I approved of the union. I still hope that you will allow me to do that now, unless you wish that honor to go to your half-twin.
Come home, my darling. Nothing can excuse what happened, but he will be made to regret that he ever touched you. You are missed. You are wanted. Your cousin, MG.
That done, he set aside the quill and called his owl to send this off. Hopefully, Hallie would see that she was a piece of this strange family. He had appealed to her emotions, as he had always appealed to Maia’s. She was her daughter, after all.
He could only hope this worked.
… … … … …
The potion was complete and Hallie’s fingers were still singed a pale gray. Still, it was better than it had been.
She looked into the cauldron with Draco and they saw, given the excessive evaporation, there was only enough for one cup.
“We don’t need that much,” Draco reasoned. “Just enough to spike the Dark Lord’s drink.”
“That’s the thing,” she murmured. “When am I going to know when he’s there and will he let me near enough to spike his drink?”
“Your cousin did invite you to use that Honeymoon Cottage,” Draco suggested as he ladled the colorless liquid into a bell jar. Passing it over, Hallie labeled it, “Wedding Present.” “It’s your place. It’s almost where you met. It’s where, if this had been a romance, you would have ‘fallen in love’.”
“I almost did fall in love with him, you prat,” she stated angrily, “before he showed his true colors.”
Draco just waved her off. “Invite him over for champagne and offer to let bygones be bygones. Pretend you lost Uncle Roman or something and you’re desperate. You feel used, ugly, old—whatever witches feel during breakups. First Diggory, now him. You think you’re unlovable. Appeal to his—chivalrous side—if he has one.”
“And then we drink and it happens.”
“You drink and it happens.”
Then she hugged him long and hard. “I’m so glad I met you,” she whispered in his ear. “No matter the Romans and the Harrys in our world, it’s just the two of us.”
He pulled her tighter, which was all the answer she needed.
… … … … …
After considering it for nearly a fortnight, Hallie wrote two letters. The first was to Cousin Marvolo, being sent to Lord Malfoy, saying she would visit the estate in August for a week or so after she had completed her schoolwork, and would he please get the cottage ready for her?
The second was to Monsieur Barty. This was full of flattery. She admitted that she found a picture of him with her mother and a few other students she didn’t recognize, and asked him for a favor. Hallie, she claimed, needed to speak to the Dark Lord to settle everything once and for all, and she didn’t want her Cousin Marvolo knowing. Would Monsieur Barty, as a favor to her mother, send her a letter in August when the Dark Lord became available and she could arrive?
They both came back in the affirmative.
… … … … …
Strangely, Hallie was paired with Hermione Granger for rounds on the Hogwarts Express on the way back. They were just passing the first year compartments when they heard an obvious scuffle, and the two prefects looked at each other in alarm.
“Let’s knock,” Hallie suggested, knowing this was around the place Harry and Draco had snuck off to, but Granger just unlocked the door and barged right in.
Hallie was right behind her.
It seemed Harry had shoved Draco against the wall, their lips fused, his hand fisted in his collar and his other hand up his shirt, Draco pulling him forward by his Gryffindor tie and his other hand in his messy black hair. The luggage from the rack above had fallen onto the floor in the center of the compartment.
“Dragon’s balls,” Hallie swore, pushing Hermione fully in and slamming the door between them. She locked the door and demanded, “You two forgot to put up the usual silencing spell! I can’t protect you from everything!”
Granger was staring but then she turned and demanded, “You knew? He’s your brother! And your—some people say Malfoy’s your secret boyfriend.”
“He’s not,” she stated as if everyone should know that. “Boys, how’s it going?”
They had now untangled from each other and Draco looked a little worried, which was unlike him, and Harry seemed downright terrified.
“You can’t!” she was now telling Harry. “He’s—he’s—Malfoy! I mean, if you want to experiment—that’s fine—but—this is a disaster!”
What was a disaster was Hermione Granger.
“Wait until Dumbledore hears! You’re the Chosen One—and Mrs. Snape! She’ll never let you with—him!” At this rate The Prophet was going to find out, and Hallie frankly wasn’t going to let that happen.
Draco was looking desperately at her, and she knew she had to do something, for the sake of her brother and her best friend.
Taking out her wand, Hallie decided to try to use a spell she had only ever seen used. She pointed her wand at Granger’s back and intoned, “Obliviate!” much to the obvious shock of Harry and pleasure of Draco.
In fact, Draco looked like he could kiss either her—or Harry—in his joy. It was really a toss up. He had to contain himself though.
Granger blinked several times. “Have we met?” she asked, looking between Harry and Draco and Harry’s jaw dropped. Granger looked around her and then shoved past Harry rather rudely, who was still gaping, and looked out the window. “Are we on a train?” Oh dear.