Title: Motherless (Wicked Stepmother Universe)
Fandom(s): Harry Potter Series
Pairing(s): (slight) Hermione/Voldemort, (slight) Regulus/Voldemort
Written: 4-6 March, 2023
Warning(s): stolen children, pureblood fanatics, pureblood shenanigans, reincarnation
Prompt: for foccacciabread who wanted Wicked Stepmother with Hermione
Hermione remembered the first time she heard the name “Black.” She had gotten out a subscription to The Daily Prophet and the face of the notorious Sirius Black was printed across the front page. Her stomach sank and she lifted up her sleeve to see the words Hermione Belle Black written across her forearm.
Being the girl that she was, Hermione had researched the brand across her arm. The ink had been scrawled across her arm since before she could remember. The answer had come in an old tome titled Spungen’s Guide to Pureblood Dynasties, circa 1500-present. The Blacks were one of England’s preeminent families. They also branded their children in case they were stolen. All Black children had their names imprinted on their forearms, and it seemed that Hermione was one of their number.
–which meant the Grangers were not her parents.
She tried to raise the subject of her possible adoption with them, but they always shut down the conversation. By the time Hermione was fourteen, she had given up that line of inquiry.
The summer she was fifteen, she went to stay with Sirius Black—she had inquired of him if he had any children—and it was then that she saw the Black Tapestry. It was dirty and dank, but every member of the family was listed. When Harry and Ron were asleep, she snuck down to the Tapestry Room and tried to find herself. It took her over an hour, but beneath the skeletal picture of Regulus Black, 1961-1979, was a thin golden line that led to a stitched picture of Hermione Belle Black, 1979-present. The likeness was uncanny. Also, strangely, no mother was mentioned.
The next day, Hermione tried to speak to Sirius about Regulus. However, that was a mistake. The more she pushed, the angrier he became, until he was shouting and calling his brother a “Death Eater.”
Doing everything she could not to end in tears, Hermione spent the rest of the afternoon in her room.
After midnight, she snuck down into the Tapestry room and examined the Tapestry again. After much deliberation, she decided to contact Narcissa Black Malfoy. At breakfast, she asked Harry if she could borrow Hedwig, and the letter was soon sent out.
What she hadn’t expected was for Narcissa Malfoy to appear in the street, a sonorus charm placed on her voice, shouting up at Sirius Black to let her into Twelve Grimmauld Place.
“What does that woman want?” Sirius asked himself angrily before going out into the street to speak to her.
Hermione watched from the window from her room, purposefully avoiding Harry and Ron, and only came out when Sirius came to find her half an hour later.
“What is this I hear about a brand?” he demanded of her in the hallway, all of the Weasleys along with Harry gathering around.
“I tried to tell you,” she apologized, “but you shouted at me.”
Sirius ran a hand down his face and then gestured toward her arm. “Okay. Let’s see it.”
Hermione closed her eyes and then pulled up her left shirt sleeve. She always wore long sleeves—even to the Yule Ball—in order to hide the brand. She never wanted to answer questions about it. Now, however, she was putting it on display for everyone to see.
She was met with silence.
Opening her eyes, she saw that Sirius was staring dumbly at her arm. He then looked up at her, back at her arm, and then grasped her by the wrist to get a closer look. “You’ve had this all your life?” he asked.
“Yes,” she answered. “I found myself—”
“On the tapestry, yes. Narcissa told me.” He breathed out through his nose. “Come along.”
He turned and made to walk down the hallway, Hermione following. When the Weasley children and Harry made to follow, Sirius turned and said, “Not you lot. Stay here and, I don’t care, clean!”
Sirius and Hermione went to the Tapestry room where Hermione showed him where she appeared beneath Regulus.
“No mother,” Sirius murmured to himself, contemplative. He turned to look at Hermione, squinting, before motioning that she should follow him. They went out of the room, down the stairs, into the hall, and out the front door where Narcissa Malfoy was regally waiting.
“Is this the young lady?” she asked, blue eyes shining.
“Yes,” Sirius agreed, hands on hips. “She’s on the tapestry, under Regulus. No mother.”
Mrs. Malfoy looked at him pointedly. “I’d like to see for myself.”
“That’s not possible,” he told her tiredly, as if they’d already gone over this. “I’ll take photographs and send them along tomorrow.—Hermione,” he turned toward her, “show your Aunt Narcissa your arm.”
Hermione turned toward Mrs. Malfoy—Aunt Narcissa now—and lifted up her sleeve. Aunt Narcissa inspected it carefully, going so far as to take a magnifying glass out of her handbag. After several minutes, she nodded to Hermione, satisfied, and turned back to Sirius. “Lucius and I will take up her education. You know you are in no position to care for a young lady.”
Sirius looked at Aunt Narcissa for a long moment and then nodded. “I won’t contest guardianship,” he agreed. Hermione was not surprised given his opinion of Regulus. “You know we all thought she was a Muggleborn.”
“Yes,” Aunt Narcissa agreed carefully, looking as if she had something unpleasant under her nose. “We consulted Draco on the subject.”
Hermione folded her arms and tried not to roll her eyes. Draco Malfoy was a prat.
Aunt Narcissa looked at Hermione again. She then turned back to Sirius. “We trust she will be named the Black Heiress.”
“Yes,” Sirius agreed tersely. “She’s my niece.”
“Good.” Aunt Narcissa was clearly pleased. “Hermione, darling. Go and pack. You’re coming home with me.”
Hermione looked at her cautiously. “Can I come back and visit?” Harry and Ron were here, after all.
“You may write,” Aunt Narcissa promised. “The rest will be discussed.”
Nodding, Hermione turned back toward the house. Sirius, though stayed, clearly wanting to talk to Aunt Narcissa.
Everyone was waiting for her when she got inside.
“Not now!” she told them as she pushed her way toward the stairs. “I’ll write, but not now.”
Ron seemed particularly red in the face, but it was Harry who came in while she packed.
“I saw you and Sirius go into the Tapestry room,” he told her carefully. “I went and looked.”
She paused in folding her shirt before putting it away. “I’ve been trying to tell him for years,” she admitted. “I’ve known that my parents weren’t my parents for quite some time.”
“But you’re a Black?”
She looked at him and shrugged. “So it would seem.”
A smile lit his face. “No wonder we’re friends. My dad, your uncle. We’re all Marauders together.”
“I’m not sure my father was the marauding type,” Hermione began carefully, knowing little to nothing about Regulus, other than he was a Death Eater and a Slytherin. “I just know he died the year I was born.”
“Well,” Harry began carefully, “purebloods take pride in their heirs. You know he took pride in you.”
She smiled at him gratefully and then continued to pack her trunk.
Sirius put a featherlight charm on it so it was easy to carry and Aunt Narcissa shrunk it and put it in her pocket. “We’ll take a portkey from Diagon Alley,” she told her. “It’s not far from here.”
“How’s Malfoy taking all of this?” she asked after several minutes of walking.
“My husband has impressed upon Draco how mistaken he was in your identity,” she told Hermione, “and that your superior academic record belies you as not only a pureblood, but as a Black. Regulus was quite bright.”
“Was he?” Hermione asked.
“Indeed,” Aunt Narcissa agreed. “He died before he graduated, so he never realized his academic potential. Unlike you.”
Hermione bit her lip, thinking.
She had traveled by portkey before, but nothing could compare her for Malfoy Manor. The manor—for it was indeed a manor—was simply stunning with albino peacocks roaming the grounds.
Malfoy was less than enthused about having her there.
“I’m not happy about this, Granger,” he told her pointedly when she was unpacking her trunk in her new room. “I still think you’re a Mudblood.”
She cringed at the word and shot a venomous stare back at him. “Duly noted. Guess that means your blood isn’t so pure, doesn’t it? If I’m your cousin.”
He only scowled at her before vacating the doorway.
It was Uncle Lucius—and, yes, she was instructed to call him Uncle Lucius—who set out the new rules of her life before her.
“You, Hermione,” he told her simply before dinner, having invited her to her office, “are the offshoot of one of the eldest and noblest Houses in England. It had been thought that the House of Black was going to die out with your Uncle Sirius, but it seems we were all mistaken. The next generation has taken root in you.” He looked at her with his pale silver eyes, taking her in from her bushy hair to her bitten fingernails. “You must now represent the House of Black in everything that you do and everything that you say. My wife will begin beauty treatments tomorrow—”
He stared her down. “No ‘buts’,” he told her firmly. “Your hair has taken the Black curls to the extreme and frizzed when no one was looking.” This fact seemed to pain him. “We will rectify the matter immediately.”
He picked up her hands and inspected her fingers. “We’ll get you better quills so they don’t stain your fingers. I understand you are a bit of a bluestocking.” He nodded in approval and Hermione just blinked at him. “Narcissa will teach you comportment and speech and you will practice with Draco until you go back to Hogwarts in September.”
“We don’t like each other—” she told him carefully.
He took a seat behind his desk. “You will be made to like another.” He paused. “Hermione is a good wizarding name. I wonder I never thought on it earlier when I saw your academic record.”
“From the Greek,” she told him. “Feminine form of Hermes. Daughter of Helen of Troy.”
“I wonder why Regulus chose it,” he mused to himself, “and who your mother is. Perhaps a woman named ‘Helen.’ That would be fitting.—That will be all.”
Hermione had never liked movies, but she had seen My Fair Lady starring Audrey Hepburn, and what took place over the next few weeks made Henry Higgins look like a cuddly bear. She and Harry exchanged letters several times a week, Draco always rolling his eyes when Hedwig arrived at breakfast, but Ron ignored her. Ginny sometimes wrote the odd letter, but she didn’t seem to know what to say, and Hermione didn’t know what to tell her.
The day that Hermione went to Diagon Alley to go shopping was truly horrendous. By then her nails were manicured and her she had a song brush which sang her hair into light brown waves. Her hair, she had learnt, must always be arranged atop her head in some way for the sake of modesty. To wear it down was to be lewd and betray herself as a blood traitor—and the last thing she wanted to do was be a blood traitor, at least according to Uncle Lucius.
In the little free time that she had, Hermione tried to research how she could have no mother, and the only answer she could find was reincarnation. It was a bold idea, but one she could not escape. Regulus Black had died in 1979, which was the year she was born. If she was him—the repercussions were endless.
She was sitting alone in The Wicked Stepmother, an exclusive club for purebloods, writing arithmancy equations in her notebook when she felt a shadow cross over her. Hermione was not old enough yet to be a member in her own right. When she turned sixteen, she and Draco would come together and have their magic tested, and they would receive their cards. Still, as the Black Heiress (which was the subject of not only an announcement but several op eds in The Daily Prophet) and Uncle Lucius’s personal guest, Hermione was allowed to come and sit in the afternoons, drink tea, and scribble as long as she was dressed appropriately and kept to herself. It was also an excuse to get away from Draco and his friends, which included Pansy Parkinson, Theodore Nott, and Blaise Zabini.
Looking up, she saw a tall wizard with brown-blood eyes and auburn hair standing across from her and gazing at her in open curiosity.
“I’m not out,” she told him simply before returning to her notebook. She was trying to solve the problem of reincarnation—a so far unsolvable problem in wizardom—but she was only going into her fifth year and didn’t have the proper training.
A soft chuckle met her ears. “I know you’re not out, Mademoiselle Black,” he told her, “I am simply trying to determine what spell your father used to reincarnate himself.”
She reared back. There had been much speculation on the identity of her mother, and it had never even been suggested in the press that she did not have one. How could this man know?
“It was an imperfect spell, to be sure,” he continued, going to the next table and dragging over a chair, a terribly Muggle action, but one that drew her full attention. “Your hair doesn’t have the full Black pigmentation, you’re a young lady and not a young man—for example.” He slowly took a seat. “It was certainly a wordless spell to be this—” he looked her over “—incomplete.”
Closing her book carefully, Hermione murmured, “I’m afraid I don’t know what you—”
“Don’t play coy with me, Regulus,” the wizard snapped, his eyes flashing. “Or do you prefer ‘Hermione’ now?”
She opened her mouth to answer but found herself speechless.
“Hermione, then,” the wizard decided. “You stole something from me—”
This brought Hermione out of her stupor. “If my father stole something from you, I have no knowledge of it—”
His eyes flashed at her again, and he leaned closer. “Is that so?” He reached out, his fingers hovering beneath her chin, barely touching, as he gazed into her eyes. “A very imperfect reincarnation,” he decided. Snapping out of what seemed to be a trance, the wizard leaned back. “You have no idea who I am, do you, Mademoiselle Black?”
“I’m afraid I do not,” she answered.
He took her in with a hint of smugness, drumming his fingers against the white tablecloth. “I shall let your excellent uncle explain.” He stood, looking her over in her silver dress, her hair in ringlets atop her head, and nodded. “I think I shall see more of you, Mademoiselle Black. You need to triplicate theta in your calculations.”
With that, the wizard was gone, leaving Hermione breathless.
Turning back to her notebook, she looked down the line of math and squeaked in surprise. She quickly righted her mistake and continued with her calculations.
Her tea was refreshed and that was how her Uncle Lucius found her forty-five minutes later.
“I see there is a second chair,” he commented.
“Oh, a wizard was here,” she told him. “He said father stole something from him.” Shrugging, she closed her notebook. “I think he wants it back, whatever it was.”
“Did he say who he was?” Uncle Lucius asked slightly in concern as he helped her up and escorted her out toward the lobby.
She shook her head. “He only said you would know. His eyes were almost red.”
Uncle Lucius stilled, but as he was behind Hermione, she didn’t see it. “Were they?” he murmured to himself. Then, shaking himself, he told her, “We must be home for dinner. Your aunt has asked Minister Fudge to dine, and you must change.”
With that, the subject was closed, but only for the evening. Hermione would be seeing the man with the red eyes again, and he would, on occasion, call her “Regulus” as if he had known her for years.
One thought on “Motherless”
Lovely!!!! Thank you very much for branching out protagonists, but still keeping the Pureblood themes strong. Very intriguing setup, with lots of questions. How did she get placed with the Grangers? Did Regulus intend to reincarnate, or was it an accident? Is LV going to be obsessed with another avenue for immortality? How did Kreacher react? No need to answer these, just thoughts rumbling in my head.
The hint of pairings was very tasteful and subtle.
Thanks again for writing!