Title: Magical Rose
Fandom(s): Beauty and the Beast (2017) / Harry Potter
Series: Lux Kingsley Cycle
Word Count: 4k
Summary: Just a little ficlet, crossing HP and B&B … with Sagittaria as the heroine …
Magic ran through their veins. The Villeneuve royalty knew it. They married to preserve it although their simple spells could only make their roses grow in winter.
Then there was always the secret spell. Every morning at dawn the reigning king and queen and each of their adult children would climb to the top of the towers and would beg the wind to turn back time a day and would prick their finger until it bled onto one of their white roses, staining it red. No one was certain how long they had been doing this. Kings came and went. Princes became kings but nothing else changed. Their magic remained. And then it happened. The outside world came to them…
When an introduction came from a Lord Regulus Black, the king had been startled.
“His niece,” he explained, “is one of the four most powerful wizards in England. She is looking for a magical husband to protect her from her father.”
The prince looked at him. “She wishes to marry you, Father?”
“No,” the aging king said. “Her uncle is making overtures toward you. Lorde Black will only marry for compatibility and some form of affection. He says she refuses to have a husband who will be insulted by her place in society, but she believes that with your own lofty position, you will not find her lordship an insult.”
“No,” the prince admitted, “I don’t believe I would.”
The king read further. “She serves on courts and in the Wizengamot in England,” he read carefully, “but she is willing to reside here and for your eldest son to be your prince, your second eldest to be her heir. Here is her portrait.”
Taking it, the prince looked at a girl with a slender neck with a pointed chin, high cheekbones, shaded eyes and pale hair. “She is very beautiful,” he remarked. “However, most women who come to our balls are beautiful.”
“None of them are so wealthy or connected. Your mother was not as wealthy. She was the daughter of a Count with little magic. Lorde Black is very powerful and the richest wizard in England. She could bring prestige back to this family in France. We would not be forgotten except in our little corner of the world.”
The prince looked at her again. “What is her name?”
“I told you—“
“What is her Christian name?” It was an odd request. The prince only knew his own name from a commemorative stained glass window in his own bedchambers. His father had never used it.
The king looked through his papers. “Sagittaria Lucienne.”
The prince thought for a moment. “Invite Lorde Black to court. We shall see her in the flesh.”
The morning dove went out that night and the prince watched it go. It was arranged that she would arrive in a week with her uncle and guardian, Lord Regulus Black. She seemed visibly startled when she encountered the prince in the height of French fashion, a long embroidered coat and hose, his head in a wig, his face powdered white. She herself was wearing a silk dress of purple under blue robes, her golden hair in a twist, her eyes bright. She curtsied before offering her hand, which he kissed. “Lorde Black,” he offered.
“Mon prince,” she returned. “You have a lovely castle. Your roses are truly extraordinary. Is it your magic that causes them to have gold filigree?”
“Yes,” he answered her, offering his arm so that he could escort her to her apartments. “I am especially fond of our roses. I cut some for your room. I thought you might like pink roses. Do tell me if I misstepped.”
“Not at all, prince,” she assured him. “I am certain they are lovely and it is such a thoughtful gesture. Grimmauld Place, my home, has nothing to compare. Already your castle far outweighs my little corner of London.”
The servants were bustling past her with her trunk and Madame LaFonce was unpacking her robes and gowns as they came into the room. “C’est magnifique,” she complimented. “I shall be quite comfortable, mon prince. Thank you for seeing to me personally.”
“Not at all, my lorde. As we are dining en famille, there is no need to change for dinner. The king and I wish for you and Lord Regulus to feel quite at home.”
He left her to her chambers and found his father waiting in the West Wing. “Well?” he asked.
“She is very beautiful,” he announced, sitting down. “I could tolerate her in my bed for her prestige. If she requires fidelity—well—I suppose I can say I have had my share of maidens. I must keep her happy until we produce two heirs at the very least.”
“You must charm her,” the king warned. “It is difficult at times, but not impossible.—I saw how she reacted earlier. You might have to dress a little more informally for dinner.”
The prince looked at him reproachfully.
“She will see your face soon enough. It might as well be now.”
In resignation, the prince allowed himself into the hands of his servants, face washed clean, his hair brushed out and curled at the sides as he refused to lose all sense of fashion. When he came to collect Lorde Black for dinner, she looked startled when she saw him. “Mon prince?” she asked.
“Your hair—“ she commented “—it is as golden as my own.” She smiled.
“What makes you happy?” he asked.
She paused a moment. “It would be indiscrete. I have my mother’s hair,” she commented out of nowhere. “My father’s hair is as black as Lord Regulus’s. However, all of us Blacks have the same gray eyes.”
“The king,” the prince began cautiously, “never said why you wish to marry exactly. You are quite young.”
“Not as young as some,” she replied. “My father has escaped from Azkaban, our prison. He can claim me and, through me, the Black fortune. I will not have him near my person nor my property. I can only escape him through marriage. I have no doubt that he will find a way once my school year begins, which leaves me only this summer to find a husband. You were chosen from a list of candidates. I hope this does not offend.”
“No,” he answered. “I accepted, after all. You would go to school then. Ladies do not go to school in France. I did not go to school.”
“Did you not?” she answered in surprise. “Yes. I would go in September. I might ask that you come and visit me during our free days, if you do not mind traveling to England for an afternoon. I would be back here for Yule and Beltane.”
Trying to be charming, he said, “I’m afraid we’ve been Christianized in this part of France.”
She looked at him as they came down the stairs. “Christmas and Easter, then.” Lorde Black was silent for several moments. “Your magic is extraordinary. My roses are white around the edges. However do you manage it?”
“I breathe on them,” he answered succinctly.
Lorde Black stopped. “Breathe?”
“Yes. The king does it by touch, but I find it much simpler to breathe on them.” He looked at her in confusion.
“Not a wand?” she asked in shock.
It was his turn to look at her. “No. We do not have wands.”
They looked steadily at each other before he pressed her arm and they continued down the stairs. The two said little to each other, the king and Lord Regulus carrying the conversation, but that did not mean they were not openly looking at one another. The prince saw the king watching them in anticipation, but he paid his father no mind. This was between himself and his future bride. It was early July. He had two months to know her, if he could, and marry her. He was beginning to realize he didn’t want to marry a stranger he would barely see for the next few years. He would rather marry a friend.
Balls would be tedious, perhaps, without a princess present.
“Who are you?” she asked as they sat in the rose garden a week later. “Who are your people?”
“Would you like to meet them? I was going to have a ball in your honor when you were more settled, perhaps for our wedding.”
She pulled a thread through her magical needlepoint, something the prince recognized from when his mother, the queen, was alive. “You’re so certain then, mon prince?”
“Isn’t it nearly certain? You’re a lorde, I’m a prince. You need shelter, and I crave your prestige. You are beautiful, and I am handsome.”
At the last bit she laughed and then turned solemn. “You think we should marry because we are both beautiful?”
He paused, putting down his book. “There are magical considerations. I thought those went unsaid.”
“There are those,” she agreed, letting the former question drop. “Do you always use your breath? I find it quite refreshing to the constant use of wands we employ in England. Next year, when the roses come out, you must promise to show me.”
“You’ll be in school,” he reminded her. “The roses come in March.”
“Save a bush for Easter,” she begged. “Or we can go further afield so you may show me. I promise at Christmas I will make the candles burn with my wand. I would do it now, but they put a trace on our wands so that we may not use them over the summer. I would not test it to see if it carries to France for fear of getting expelled.”
“You should be above such notions,” the prince declared. “You are a lorde. I daresay you will be a princess, although Lord Regulus explained that you will not take the title except when you are here, in France, and then only when serving as my wife and not as your own free agent.”
Her gray eyes flashed. “I thought you did not mind.”
“Why would I? I will always be a prince wherever I go. You will be my princess whether you are called thus or not.” He looked down and saw a fallen petal of a lily and placed it on his hand. Looking at her impishly, he blew on it until it was frosted over with shards of ice, and then he handed it to her. “A piece of Winter, Lorde Black.”
She looked at it in astonishment. “How marvelous, mon prince. May I keep this?”
“I did give it to you, did I not?” He went back to his book, bored with the conversation. If he had looked up, he would have seen the smile on her face.
Slowly, he noticed, Lorde Black began to shed her robes for the dresses she wore underneath. They were like nothing worn in the country, her arms bare and exposed unless they were covered with lace, slashes to the skirt that hung straight down from the high waist. He could not understand them, but the king told him that England was different.
A fortnight after they had met, he told her to pick out the most conservative of her dresses and himself chose a simple pair of britches and shirt, leaving his hair in a simple tie. “What are we doing?” she asked in excitement.
“You wished to see my people. Today I must simply be ‘Adam’.”
He caught her surprise.
“’Sage’, then,” she offered.
They set out on horseback and cantered through the forest. The village was on top of a hill, and Adam stopped so she could take it in. “The kingdom is far larger, of course,” he told her self importantly. “This is just the village of Villeneuve.”
“I see,” she told him. “Shall we move on?”
Leaving their horses outside of the town, they walked onto the cobbled streets, and Lorde Black looked around in interest. “I suppose we should go to the tavern,” she suggested. “I forgot to ask, did you bring any Muggle money?”
“Of course,” he answered. “I assumed you would care for luncheon.” The prince smiled at her, trying to be charming, and as she smiled back, he assumed he was successful.
The tavern was easy to locate, and he ushered Lorde Black inside and they quickly found a table. “This is pleasantly rustic,” she stated, looking around. “It reminds me of The Three Broomsticks, it’s the pub in the town beneath Hogwarts, our school. It is also a castle.”
“Let us hope it lives up to your expectations, Sage,” he said, testing out her name on his lips, finding he did not dislike it. A barmaid came over and he ordered them some stew and wine “for the lady.”
They were halfway through their meal when there was shouting, causing them to look up. “Captain Gaston!” everyone was crying and a young, handsome man walked in to great applause.
“There were wars recently in France,” the prince explained, “Muggle wars. He must be a war hero.”
Gaston came in and grabbed the first pretty girl he saw and kissed her. The prince watched in shock at such an outward display, but Lorde Black only laughed, murmuring something about a boy she knew back in England being just as arrogant.
Her laugh tinkled in the room and Gaston looked up to see their table. He walked over and, ignoring the prince, smiled at Lorde Black.
“Monsieur, I am eating with mon fiancé,” she chided. “Your petite amie awaits you.”
“Her beauty is nothing to your own,” he complimented, taking her hand and kissing it. While the prince liked his lady’s beauty being appreciated, he did not like her so openly accepting the compliment. However, she was not his, so he could not say anything.
“Merci,” she answered. “However, as I said, my affections are otherwise engaged.” It was the first time that Lorde Black had used the term “affections” and it warmed the prince’s otherwise cold and selfish heart.
Gaston looked at the prince. “I give you leave. He is handsome.” He sighed. “But is he fresh from the war?”
This caused Lorde Black to laugh. “He has other qualities, sir. He does not need a war for me to be impressed.—I am also passing through so you are wasting your precious time on someone who will be gone as soon as her stew is finished.”
“And I believe her stew is finished,” the prince concluded for her. “Mademoiselle, you’ve seen so little of Villeneuve and you had such a desire to see it.”
“Quite,” she answered, standing and accepting the prince’s arm. “Captain.”
The two walked out and the prince refused to look over his shoulder. “Do you always accept compliments from unworthy men?” he asked jealously, pulling her aside an apothecary.
“They were unwarranted, but they were heartfelt in the peculiar way his brain works. He sees only beauty and is desirous of possessing it. Come, mon prince, do not be angry. You should like that your future princess is admired by your people even when they do not know who we are.”
“You are to be admired and loved,” he told her plainly, “just not by that man.”
“I cannot help it,” she told him. “I receive a great deal of attention back in England for my beauty and my title. I just accept it graciously and move on, as should you, mon prince.” She tugged at the lapels of his coat to straighten it. “You look quite handsome as a commoner.”
“Is that supposed to placate me?” he asked, still jealous.
“Perhaps,” was her reply. “Come. Show me your beautiful town, Adam.”
A smile teased on his lips. “You said that I was your fiancé. Are we to wed, Sagittaria?”
“I thought I had already asked and you’d accepted,” she stalled.
“I’ll send out the royal announcement and the ball shall be planned immediately,” he told her. He ran a hand down her face, marveling in the beauty he was to marry. “Then we will keep you safe from your father. I do not know his title.”
“Mr. Sirius Black,” she told him. “Grandfather disinherited him in favor of me.”
“Of course,” the prince agreed. “I am glad that he did.” And he was, he found. He was not trying to be charming. He was telling the truth.
The day of the ball, Lorde Black agreed to wear the latest French fashions, without the wig, if he forwent the powder and the wig himself. “We will bow to each of our traditions,” she told him.
The ceremony was held in a little church and she was hesitant and sweet when he kissed her for the first time, and he happily anticipated their marriage bed. However, he was nearly cursed before he could reach it.
An old beggar woman interrupted the ball and offered him a single, unadorned and horrid looking rose in exchange for ruining his wedding night. The prince turned the old woman away, Lorde Black, his princess, watching on. When the old woman turned into a beautiful enchantress, Lorde Black was immediately in front of him with her wand held out.
“Leave us,” she commanded. “This fortress is not unprotected!”
“What would a little schoolgirl like you know?” the enchantress asked, her voice resonant. “You would not take my rose when your husband refused it, princess!”
“I only accept the enchanted roses my prince gifts me with,” she stated honestly. “Every couple has their small traditions. He brings me roses he enchants himself.”
“And you think that means he loves you?” the enchantress asked, “Even if you are his blushing bride?”
“No,” Lorde Black replied honestly. “I know what this is. This is a political match. However, he is my husband and I am his wife. Leave us be. If not for his sake, then for mine. This is the day every girl dreams of: her wedding day. Please, otherwise I will be forced to fight you even if I am nothing more than a schoolgirl.”
The enchantress looked at her for a moment and then bowed her head. “For your wedding night, a gift.” She held out the rose, unadorned, and Lorde Black took it hesitantly.
“We thank you,” she stated. “Enjoy our feast.” Lorde Black turned to the prince, her question clear in her eyes.
“Princess,” he offered his hand and she took it, and he led her from the room and into the West Wing.
They didn’t speak a word to one another. He had all the servants called away and he shrugged out of his coat before turning to his wife. He took the pins out of her hair so that it would fall long down her back and he undid the back of her dress, kissing the line of her shoulder that was revealed. Her breath hitched and the rose fell from her grasp onto the lush carpets on the floor.
When she was in only a shift and he in his britches, he carried her to his bed. He kissed her hungrily, drawing her out of her shyness. He had her gasping his name before the night was out, skin upon skin, lips against lips.
They were lying side by side in the candlelight, his fingers playing with her hair, when he asked despite himself, “You never told me how many years left of schooling you had, Sagittaria.”
She turned to him and gave him a sad smile. “Two. I am sorry.”
“I knew you would leave,” he stated, protecting his heart.
Lorde Black looked at him, a little hurt, but said nothing. His hand continued to play with her hair, and he didn’t realize she was asleep until he turned his eyes upon his bride again. He leaned forward and kissed her temple softly before drawing her into an embrace, deciding that while he had her, he wasn’t going to let her go.
Their days were spent in the gardens, sometimes just reading or Lorde Black at her needlepoint or other work. She was now off to London sometimes for an afternoon as she no longer had any fear of her father.
One night in early August, she looked between the prince and the ailing king and asked, “May I invite a guest?”
The king looked at her for more information.
“The Dark Lord of Great Britain. Only for a week or so. He was instrumental in removing me from my father’s grasp this past June and I thought to thank him for his kindness.”
The prince looked at her. “I did not know you had a Dark Lord. Is he terribly unpleasant?”
“Yes,” she answered simply. “He’s rather self-absorbed, but he likes the Blacks. We’ve been avid supporters for generations. We believe in the rights of purebloods.”
“You are too newly married,” the king decided. “Invite him next year.”
Lorde Black looked at the king for a moment before returning to her dinner. The prince glanced over at her and that night practically tore her shift off of her, so desperate as he had become for her. “I can’t let you go back,” he whispered in the dark afterward.
“I can’t stay here,” she told him. “I’m not a fully qualified witch in Britain. I won’t be taken seriously as Lorde Black.”
“You don’t need to be,” he argued. “You’re la princesse now.”
She turned toward him although he had been playing with her fingers. “You always knew this was going to happen.”
“I didn’t expect to become so fond of you,” he admitted grudgingly. “You were supposed to bring prestige, magic, and beauty—nothing more.”
She laughed, perhaps despite herself. “I’m glad I proved beyond your expectations.”
“But Sage,” here he pronounced it with an “ah” sound, a long “a” in French that was nothing like the English nickname, “I will go on as before and you will learn and leave me behind.”
His anxiety must have shown in his eyes as she traced a finger down his cheek. “I won’t leave you behind, Adam. I will take you with me wherever I go, and you will be the one I return to.” She kissed him then, strangely initiating the gesture, cool and soft and sweet.
The prince allowed her to make love to him that night for the first time and he gloried at the sight of her in her soft, gentle passion. He held her close to him that night, stroking her hair as she slept, not wanting to lose a single moment in her presence, and he realized that he had somehow fallen in love with his young bride.
It was far too soon that her trunks were being packed for England. He watched in despair as her peculiar dresses were pressed and folded, Lorde Black directing what should be put where. She snatched a piece of newspaper and instantly came over to the prince.
“Here,” she said, opening up to a page where there was a moving picture of the two of them, which Lord Regulus had taken just before the Ball. “Sagittaria, Lorde Black weds Prince Adam of Villeneuve, France. The magical royal couple make their home in Provence although Lorde Black still intends to attend Hogwarts and fulfill her duties as one of the four lords. Prince Adam is from an ancient pureblood family that has reigned in Provence for nearly eight centuries.—Do you like it?”
“I think we make a handsome couple. I’ve always thought if we had children they will be equally handsome.”
“That was my first thought when I saw your hair,” she agreed, putting the paper away. She took his arm and led him away from the packing. “We shall be like the Malfoys and have blond children though their eyes might be gray or blue depending. Then again, Heir Malfoy has gray eyes like his mother, while his sister Lady Lacerta has blue.” She smiled at him. “I think I’ve quite lost you. I’ll have Lord Regulus send you books so when you come to official functions with me you’ll know who everyone is by reputation.”
It was the prince and not Lord Regulus who took Lorde Black to Platform 9¾. The royal couple stood on the platform, the prince marveling at the train as he’d seen nothing like it, though he held Lorde Black close, her hand looped around his arm. With a trick of magic, he produced for her one of his enchanted roses and then breathed on it to crate veins of gold from the bottom of each petal toward the tip.
“Adam,” she whispered in happiness.
“Goodbye, Sage,” was all he said as he kissed the top of her head, which is what propriety would permit.
She smelled the rose and kissed his cheek before entering the train, a boy with pale blond hair and eyes as gray as hers waiting for her. Still, Lorde Black turned to him and waved, cradling the rose, and she held his gaze until he train started and then was out of sight.