A/N: I originally started to continue “Sweetheart” in 2018? and left in unfinished. So, I was rereading my Hermione Wicked Stepmothers (I have two unfinished) and then jumped to Lily, and began to reread this … and thought… my little muses should get 7k from me. So, enjoy. I’m sorry you don’t get Sluggy’s party.
Read “Sweetheart” (Lily/Voldemort) …
Electra smoothed the wetness from under her eyes, her hair piled on her head in natural curls, and she hurried down the stairs of the tower into the Gryffindor Common Room. As if a ghost, she walked into the Great Hall and went immediately to Sirius. He looked up at her, his gray eyes full of worry, “Elle! We wondered what happened—and then the Dark Lord came—”
She pinched his cuff in between her fingers and began to move toward the Slytherin Table. Her eyes were on her younger cousin who, upon seeing her, immediately stood and met them at the end of the table. They clearly had everyone’s attention, and Electra just looked at them and then put her arm around each of their necks and pulled them into a hug.
Sirius was clearly flabbergasted at first but Regulus immediately slipped an arm around her waist and pulled her closer.
“Coz,” he stated in worry as he pulled back and looked at her. “What’s wrong?”
Sirius leaned forward and whispered, “The Dark Lord came to the Gryffindor Common Room and disappeared—”
Taking a deep breath, she admitted, “My sweetheart was with me. I just didn’t know he was—of all people—” Looking between the two of them desperately, she whispered, “No wonder no one ever told me. He’s not a death eater—he’s their commanding officer.”
Regulus looked at her for a long moment. “This is definitely a good thing.”
“What?” she asked in shock. “You’re beginning to sound like Bella who served as chaperone on our—purebloods don’t go on dates, do they?” Electra was certainly confused.
Looking at her indulgently, Regulus told her point-blank: “Purebloods go on dates.—And he took you to The Mortuary!” This was said with decided glee and Electra looked at him as if he were mental. He probably was. Bellatrix was slightly mad and Narcissa was lacking all mental capabilities. It perhaps ran in the family.
“The Mortuary?” Sirius breathed. “You’ve been to the Mortuary, Elle?”
She nodded. “It seems I have.—and I’m hungry. Whose table are we eating at?”
Leading them toward the Slytherin table, Regulus shooed several people away as Electra sat down and an empty plate materialized in front of her. She reached for some steak pie and was thankful when the wizard on her other side was pouring her some pumpkin juice.
Sirius had just managed to slip in across from her, pushing over the blond wizard who looked a bit like Heir Lucius Malfoy. She needed to find out who he was.
“So, who knows?” Regulus asked as he picked up his fork. “I mean, your sweetheart’s identity?”
“The two of you,” she stated, “Bellatrix, wizard-papa,” (Sirius looked at her in confusion) “It’s what I call Cygnus. I need to keep everyone straight in my head.” She shook her head in exasperation and took her first bite of steak and sighed in contentment. “I needed something warm.” Then a thought occurred to her, “And Tankard and Professor Slughorn. Oh, god, that’s embarrassing.”
The boy who looked like Heir Lucius leaned forward, “I take it we’re not talking about any member of my family?” He was almost a little hopeful as he took her in.
Taking a sip of her pumpkin juice she said the only thing that really occurred to her that didn’t show she was an idiot, “Have we been introduced?”
He tilted his head toward her. “Lord Roman Malfoy, my lady.”
“Oh lord,” she murmured. “Please tell me you don’t hold the shared insanity about blond hair. My hair is not available at present.” Glancing over at Regulus, he put a hand over hers although he probably didn’t know what was distressing her.
At that moment, a Hufflepuff rushed into the Great Hall and announced, “The Dark Lord is here at Hogwarts!”
Immediately, the professors stood from their seats, their plates unfinished, and moved toward the door.
This caused Electra to laugh into her fingers as they all seemed to scramble like flies. She seemed to be capable of bringing the Dark Lord to her—and they all had to go to him!
Then it occurred to her. If what she thought was true, if he really did adore her and consider her his sweetheart, she was one of the most powerful wizards in England, and she was certainly the most powerful witch.
She turned back to her meal and wondered when her next letter would come. The Dark Lord had just seen her but she had written him seven pages, which had been theoretically sent to him earlier that day.
The strangest thought then occurred to her. “Professor Slughorn was the Dark Lord’s favorite professor at Hogwarts—how do we share that in common?”
His reply came the next day, which was surprising. Electra was sitting across from Sirius and next to Remus Lupin, reading a letter from Bellatrix, which was full of sympathy as she had somehow been informed that the identity of her sweetheart had been revealed in a less than desirable way. She wondered who had told her—Regulus, (it wouldn’t be Sirius), Tankard, or the Dark Lord. Her galleons were on Tankard. That man seemed a little too interested in Electra and her family—or should she say Bellatrix?
Sirius coughed into his fist and she looked around to see that Tankard had just sorted through his post and was coming down to her. Not wanting anyone to hear, she immediately stood with her letter still in her hand, and went up to him, part way up the passage between the Gryffindor and Ravenclaw tables.
“I’m getting letters through owl post,” she told him carefully as she indicated the letter. “Naval” (what a weird name for her sister’s owl) “seems to be able to find me.”
He looked down at the parchment in his hand. “If I am not much mistaken, you are holding a letter from your sister, Mademoiselle Bellatrix, so the owl must be hers. Naval will be able to find you because you share the same blood. You and the Dark Lord, to my knowledge, are not closely related.”
“No,” she agreed, holding Bellatrix’s letter close to her, “not to my knowledge.—You know Bella well, Mr. Tankard. You recognized her handwriting.” Her green eyes flashed up to his gaze, questioning.
Clearly uncomfortable, he didn’t say anything to her.
“Tell me why I should write something nice about you,” she bargained, “such as how you are a loyal friend to me and my sweetheart.”
He bowed his head, “I would be grateful.”
“Who are you?” she asked suddenly, staring up at him guilelessly. “What House were you in?”
“Ravenclaw,” he admitted after a long moment, no longer looking at her but over at that table. “I was two years behind your eldest sister, a year ahead of—forgive me—I don’t know your middle sister’s married name.” It could have been a sneer if he were anyone else, but Tankard was suddenly under her power, and he knew it.
“Neither do I,” she admitted freely. “Still. You have a letter for me so soon?”
He bowed to her slightly and placed the letter in her proffered hand. She looked at the direction and saw that it was written, once again, to “Sweetheart.” The Dark Lord was either stubborn or a romantic. Possibly both.
“Can I send it back via owl? To ‘The Dark Lord of Great Britain’ perhaps?”
Seeming disinterested, though Electra knew him to be anything but, Tankard admitted, “I am to determine if you have your own post owl and, if not, if you would like one as an early Yule present. It would be bonded to you and the Dark Lord, I’d imagine, Miss Black.”
“I—” she paused, looking down at the letter. “My Muggle parents would never allow me a pet, of course. I was their beautiful Lily, but I was also a freak and my freakishness should not be encouraged.” Her voice was full of self-loathing at the very thought. “I had hoped my new papa would give me enough galleons when I get my allowance for buying Yule gifts that I’d have enough for a cat.” She looked up at him with shocking green eyes. “I don’t know what I’d do with an owl.”
“Any particular type of cat?” he wondered, as if to himself.
“Oh dear,” she murmured. “I hadn’t quite gotten that far in my daydreams of a better life.” Her eyes flashed green. “I’m not asking for a cat. I don’t expect one. It’s just—I don’t know what to do with an owl. I’ve never wanted one.” Glancing once more at the letter, Electra finished, “Thank you, Mr. Tankard.”
She turned to walk away when he asked, his voice strained, “Will you write to your sister?”
Looking at him up and down, she decided, “Only because you didn’t burn my birth certificate with an incendio. This time, Mr. Tankard.”
She turned again and went back to her seat next to Lupin and folded up Bellatrix’s letter and turned over the Dark Lord’s, seeing the same seal again. Handing it over to Sirius, she stated, “You must have studied the Houses. Which one is this?”
He glanced at the black wax and the imprint in it, tilting the parchment back and forth to get a better look, before handing it back. “Your sweetheart is using the personal seal of Salazar Slytherin.”
Electra swallowed. “You’re joking.”
“No,” he told her firmly. “That is the personal seal of Slytherin—not the one he used for Hogwarts, which employs the snake. You’ll notice the stag head above the shield. Classic Slytherin.”
Her eyes wide, she opened the letter to see the same tight script in thin lines and noticed that the parchment was just one page.
“So,” Potter asked, desperate to get her attention, “what does it say?”
Trying not to smile, she declared loudly, “Dear Sweetheart—As soon as your unfortunate sister, Mrs. Andromeda Tonks, swears fealty to the new regime, I will happily escort you to meet her.—Oh. Andromeda is a widow, it seems. That’s—not good.”
“Give that here,” Sirius declared, snatching the parchment out of her hand. “I would be most pleased to introduce you to her daughter, Nymphadora—Nymphadora! That’s the worst name—as she is being placed in your father’s house until your sister can—blah, blah, blah. It goes on about her crimes against the regime. Seems like Dromeda has to show contrition before she can get Nymphy back.” He handed the letter back to his cousin with a smug look on his face. “Why would you need ‘your sweetheart’ to introduce you when she’ll be there when you get home for Yule.”
“Oh,” she answered carefully, her eyes skimming the letter and catching note of news on her Muggle family. “I asked Papa if I could live with Bellatrix, after I asked Bellatrix, of course. I can’t stand to be around Narcissa. She’s an absolute nightmare!”
Sirius sighed as he took a sip of his morning coffee. “Poor Nymphy. All alone with Cissy!”
“We do have the strangest nicknames, don’t we?” Electra suggested.
Shrugging, Sirius said, “Bella and Elle sound fine to me. So does Reggie. I don’t really have a nickname in the family.”
“What else?” Potter prodded from the other side of Lupin. “Are you sure this wizard is a good sort, Padfoot? You’re heir to the Ancient and Noble House of Black. Surely you can do something! I mean, the man is friends with Tankard!”
Folding up the letter and setting it on top of Bellatrix’s, Electra noted, “Tankard. Is he a pureblood? Do we know? He’s sweet on Bella.”
Sirius had just taken a large sip of coffee and was now doing his best not to choke on it. “That man—up there—is sweet on our maniacal Bellatrix?”
She shrugged her shoulders. “As far as I can tell. So—I can’t say anything remotely complimentary about him if I don’t know if he’s a pureblood. I don’t care one way or the other, but Bellatrix cares.”
“You want to matchmake,” her cousin stated in shock. “Leave Bellatrix alone. I’m sure she can ‘micro-manage’ her own love life.” He went back to his Canadian bacon. His wavy black hair was getting a little long, almost as if he were trying to grow it out, and Electra wondered at it.
Electra sighed and pointed something crucial out to her cousin. “He has to be nice to me right now. My sweetheart literally pulls the strings with him. However, if Bellatrix likes him, he’ll be forever grateful to the sister who interceded.” She crossed her hand over her heart and then bowed.
Potter was blinking at her. “That was positively Slytherin.”
“I understand,” she laughed at his face, “that all Blacks are—somehow—Slytherin. Only Sirius and I managed to escape.—So pureblood? Bella thinks not, but I think she was being dismissive at the time.”
Sirius looked up at the Head Table where Tankard was decidedly looking at their little band. “You want him as a brother-in-law.”
Leaning forward, she admitted: “I want someone else, actually, but he’s too pigheaded to realize that he has the perfect chemistry with Bella! I must make as I find.”
“Oh, I see. Who’s next? Narcissa?”
She picked up her parchments and flipped them over to give herself something to do. “Heavens, no! She’s awful. I wish her spinsterhood.”
The days passed and she exchanged letters with the Dark Lord. Electra became a fixture at the Slytherin table—and she dreamed of lilies and swans. The lilies were beginning to sicken and, in their place, roses were crawling up from the soil. The roses were at first white, but then they deepened into a wonderful blue that didn’t exist in nature.
If the Dark Lord noticed the change in the dreams, he didn’t write about it.
Instead, he was trying to convince her that an owl to carry her post to him was a good idea.
Use your owl, she wrote. It must be able to find me if it belongs to the greatest of all dark lords the world has ever seen… Electra knew she was playing with fire, but this idea of a personal love owl was—a little romantic, but also more than a little ridiculous.
Still, she presented the letter to Tankard with a smile and then went back to her porridge the next day.
“Black,” Potter began hesitantly to Electra from his place beside Sirius. “As—whoever it is can’t take you to Slugghorn’s party next week—”
“You’re not even a member,” she stated in surprise.
“But if you wanted a friend,” he replied sheepishly, his hazel eyes glinting behind his glasses. “I’d be happy to come. Sirius says my robes aren’t ‘too bad’.” (Sirius muttered something unintelligible into his eggs.) “You—We—” He ruffled his hair up, making it look windswept as if he’d just gotten off his broom, which just annoyed her.
“Thank you,” she stated as clearly as she could. “I have a date.” The last thing she needed was Potter. She had caught Sirius roughing him up a bit after she had first returned, whispering things like, “Stay away from Elle,” which she completely appreciated. She knew that Regulus and a few of the Slytherins had set Severus straight.
–She was just curious who else was working behind the scenes to ensure that she was not bothered by unwanted advances and, simultaneously, left the way clear for the Dark Lord.
One evening when she was sitting at the Slytherin table with Regulus, uncertain how she should feel about Severus’s dour looks, Tankard approached the table with a small box in his hand. It was an orange box, which she recognized, with the visible light brown ribbon on it. Electra watched in wonder as he continued toward her, the box clearly in his hands, just large enough to fit in her palm.
“Is it?” she breathed as he came across from her, holding out the small box. “Did he—?”
“It’s a little early,” Tankard explained. “However, apparently you had a bit of an arrangement with your sweetheart. You would call him by the endearment” (“She already does!” Regulus exclaimed passionately) “if he would get you this, although you’re not yet of age to wear it.”
With hesitant fingers, she reached out and took the box and, unstringing the ribbon, found a vined ring. It was pure silver with a large lily in the center just above where her knuckle would sit, white in its bone ivory, leaves of emerald falling from it. In the center of the lily were small pink jewels to show that it was actually a Stargazer. Electra herself was named for the stars, and the thought almost made her eyes well up with tears.
Closing the box, she turned back to Tankard with a small smile on his face. “Thank him for me.”
“It will be enchanted on your sixteenth birthday. You need only present it at The Pumpkin Carriage and it will be sung onto your finger.”
She stroked the box lovingly. “It was designed for me, wasn’t it?” she breathed. “Sw-Sweetheart designed it for me—my past and future.” A large smile bloomed on her lips. “The lilies and the stars.”
Regulus carefully reached out to take the small box and she handed it over. His eyes went wide as soon as he saw what was inside. “Is Uncle Cygnus aware that you’re receiving gifts of this magnitude?” he breathed in shock.
Turning to him, she looked at him in confusion. “Yes? No? I don’t know. Should I tell him?”
Blanching, Regulus admitted: “Sirius should, as your oldest male relative here at Hogwarts with the highest title.” He nodded and closed the jewelry box. “I’ll just go give this to him.”
“It’s mine,” she swiped back without any real heat. Still, she watched him go and started speaking to his older brother (and her cousin) quickly, indicating the box. “It seems, Mr. Tankard, my sweetheart is causing a scandal.”
“I understood,” he replied, “that’s what he was good at.”
Thinking of the Takeover, she nodded. “He does have a flare for the dramatic.” Electra retook her seat and turned to Roman who was on her right, whose eyebrows were raised. “Don’t even think about it,” she told him imperiously before turning back to her pie.
He just smiled winningly at her. “You are as enchanting as ever, Mademoiselle Electra.”
At this she laughed and turned back to Tankard who bowed to her before leaving. “I think you’ll find that flattery will get you nowhere, Roman.”
“Yes, but you do employ my wizarding name.”
“I do,” she agreed. “You are two years ahead and Head Boy, but we do work together, don’t we? I also seem to eat with you half the time.” Her pie was looking suddenly unappetizing and she pushed it away. She breathed out through her nose and looked over at Roman who was decidedly looking back. “Can’t you see I’m taken?”
“My brother would love to know what was in that box,” he suggested carefully. “I might even convince him to send me a finder’s fee for the information.”
“And I thought you loved me for your own sake,” she joked as she picked up her goblet. “Really, Roman. Spying for your brother? It’s beneath you.”
“If you are the future Heiress Lucius,” he stated carefully, “it only benefits me to help bring it about. Lucius will remember. I am a younger son, after all.—If you are the future Lady Roman—” (“With my blonde hair,” she added under her breath.) “—then I like to know what others are sending you.”
The stone cold voice of Sirius answered before Electra could. “She is neither. I’d rather rot than let my dearest cousin marry into such a dark family.”
At this, Electra almost laughed. Everyone was scurrying about because she was favored by the Dark Lord. They even had proof of his devotion to her.
Although Roman opened up his mouth to speak, Sirius just took the seat Regulus had vacated and leveled a stare at his cousin. “Tell me why you just received a marriage proposal, Elle.”
She blinked. Honestly, Electra had no idea what he was talking about. “Was there a letter?” she questioned. “I don’t understand.—There was no marriage proposal.” There was only the ring in box, a vined ring.
Sirius looked at her carefully. “The piece of jewelry was the proposal.”
“In the Muggle world,” she laughed, “it requires a diamond not a—lily.” Her heart dropped. “It’s a—” Now her voice was catching in her throat. “But it prevents—” Voice begging, she looked at Sirius desperately. “I don’t understand.”
“It’s a message,” he told her. “Everyone except him.—Now why are you being sent vined rings, Coz?” His voice was hard and menacing, the usual laughter gone from it.
“I—” She swallowed. “We had an argument about the one I put a deposit on.”
“And?” Sirius questioned.
“And—I said he could only change my mind if he got The Pumpkin Carriage to make one with lilies on it—for my name—well, what it used to be.” She shrugged to herself. “I don’t—”
“And?” Sirius was really pushing.
“And,” she added, “I said if he could pull it off, I’d call him ‘Sweetheart’. I didn’t know who he was, Sirius, just some mysterious wizard involved in the Takeover that Bellatrix and Papa were always strangely deferential to and let get away with murder.” (Sirius’s eyebrow rose at that.) Shaking her head, she admitted, “It’s a Muggle expression. But that’s not the point. The point is—I had no idea.”
“You just bargained yourself into a marriage,” he stated in resignation. “I have to write Uncle Cygnus. And you—” He stared at her. “I don’t know what to do with you.—Do you even like him?”
At this, Electra just felt desperate. “Yes,” she admitted, thinking how he made her breath catch and there was never a dull moment with him. He cared about her. He seemed to love her. He certainly craved her affection and attention. “It’s real, I think.”
“I hope for your sake that it is,” he stated, getting up and standing. “You might have a letter to write of your own.”
Not really thinking about that, she asked instead: “May I have it back now please? It’s my marriage proposal. I might as well be able to look at it.”
Taking the box from his jumper, he held it up in front of her face. “This is going to Uncle Cygnus.”
She made to snatch it away, but he had refined Quidditch abilities and was much quicker than she was. “It was made for me.”
“You will get it back on your sixteenth birthday,” he responded carefully, tucking it away again. “Until then, look at the combs he’s given you or that necklace I heard you mention. You have his letters, how about rereading them?”
Although Sirius was moving away, Electra frankly didn’t care. It would take too long to run around the table, so she stood on the bench and ran across the table, not really caring what she stepped on, and tackled her cousin. “That is mine!” she declared, aware that all of Slytherin, half of Hufflepuff, and the entire Staff table was staring at them.
Petunia would call her a freak.
Perhaps she was.
Sirius took the box out of his robes and held it above them. She snatched at it, but couldn’t reach and Sirius held her down by the shoulder with his free hand. “Tell me simple and true,” he suggested, “is it the fact that he is powerful or a snake face?”
That did it.
Angling her elbow, she smacked him straight in the nose.
He cried out and let go of her shoulder and she grabbed the box just as the professors were coming up with wands.
“Severus Snape will tell you,” she seethed, “I had a Muggle sister. I know how to fight without a wand. Be thankful I didn’t pull your hair.”
Grabbing his nose, he sat up and looked at her with a large grin on his face. “You’re in love with him!”
“What?” she asked incredulously.
“Reggie!” he called over his shoulder although they were surrounded by students. “I win those ten galleons! Lily Evans would never associate with the likes of him unless she was under the effects of a love potion!”
Gaping at her cousin, she moved forward to stomp on his ankle with her shoe, when she was bodily restrained with magic. She couldn’t take a step forward, which was driving her absolutely insane, but her eyes could gleam dangerously and, strangely, she was still permitted to speak. “I am not under a love potion, you idiot!”
“Oh, then you’re marrying him because he’s wealthy? Powerful? Ambitious?” This last bit he snorted. “You’re the quintessential Black!”
Feeling the bindings weaken, her muscles relaxed. “He walks my dreams,” she whispered. “He knows my dreams, the landscapes, where everything is placed and what it all means.” Falling to her knees, she took her cousin by the shoulders and stared into his gray eyes, “Do you know what that’s like? I can sometimes feel him when I sleep, ever since I came to Hogwarts, lingering by this one particular flower.” The lone tiger lily. He would sit beside it and let his fingers stroke it and slowly it turned a pale beige, then yellow, into orange. She wondered what color it would take next—if it would turn into a rose like the rest of the garden.
Electra had never admitted it to him, that she knew he was there. When he first spoke of it, she let her incredulity that it was the strange mysterious wizard before her who was the interloper speak for all of the shock on her face.
“By the old gods,” he breathed. “Does he know?”
She shrugged. “He suspects. I’ve never really confirmed.” Sitting down beside him, she clutched the box in her hand. “Marriage proposal?” she checked.
At this, Sirius laughed. “Yeah. The idiot wants to marry you. And we’re behaving like a couple of common Muggles.”
She shrugged, glancing around her and seeing a visibly upset Slughorn and a wary Tankard. “It could be worse.—Petunia could be here, talking about her horrible boyfriend Vernon.”
With a shrug, Sirius got to his feet and offered his hand to Electra. “Petunia’s your Muggle sister?”
“That’s the one,” she agreed. “Has a neck like a horse. Very unattractive. I wouldn’t set her up even with my worst enemy because I’d feel sorry for him.”
The professors were now ordering people back to their tables and Electra looked at Sirius’s nose, grimacing. “We better take you to Madam Pomfrey.”
Regulus came up behind them and winced when he saw how disheveled they were. “You’ll be getting detentions.”
She shrugged. “I got to climb over a table. Hopefully, they’ll see it as a family dispute that just kind of—got out of hand.” Looking over her shoulder, she saw Tankard watching them carefully. Electra still needed to write to her sister Bellatrix about him, especially if he got her out of detention.
Tankard not only got her out of detention, stating that a young woman’s first proposal (eighth—Potter had proposed seven times earlier that year) was an emotional time and that she had felt threatened. She had a slap of the wrist with fifteen points. Sirius had fifty taken away from him for “theft”—which was ridiculous—but sixty-five points for a physical scuffle and no detention for either of them was rather a good day’s work.
Electra took up her quill and carefully wrote down what happened—from her pleasure at the ring—to her conversation about a marriage proposal—to the brawl. You’ve probably never seen Muggle fighting, she wrote whimsically, but it’s rather exhilarating. You probably won’t want to marry me if I admit that I always enjoyed getting into scuffles with Petunia simply because it meant I had a reason to pull her hair and wipe the smug look on her face. By the way, my cousin now thinks you’re feeding me a love potion, in case Tankard spreads that rumor.
Taking a chance, she sent it off with a school owl, wondering if it would get to him.
Of course, the owl came back the next morning and dropped the letter into her porridge. She stared at it. The words, Lord V, were rather prominent against the parchment.
Snatching it up so no one would see, she slipped it into her pocket and waited for Tankard to leave the Great Hall in his black clothing and strange worn leather robes he wore.
She held out the note for him and, brushing her hair away form her face, “I tried to send it late last night, but it came back.” When he didn’t say something else, she added, “I wrote what you did for me and Sirius to Bellatrix.—Will you please take the letter?”
Putting it inside his robes, he told her plainly, “I was always going to take it, Miss Black. Perhaps now you’ll rethink the owl.”
“Fine,” she snapped before trying to calm herself. “If my father objects, I’ll just blame the giver.”
“We both know your sister, Mademoiselle Bellatrix, has an owl, and I doubt this is a new development. Your sister, Mademoiselle Narcissa, had one if I recall. It had a habit of stealing my toast at its mistress’s command.” He grimaced at the thought.
“No one likes Narcissa,” she tried to explain away. “Her owl probably didn’t really like her and sought you for company that was less—blonde.” Electra had tried to come up with a reason quickly that was true and not so complimentary that she could be accused of consorting with the enemy—by Sirius or Bellatrix.
He laughed a little to himself. “Let’s hope your owl doesn’t share a similar view.”
Confused for a moment, Electra then realized that she was no longer a ginger top. She was actually a blonde. Heir Lucius had realized it—but the Dark Lord had never mentioned it. Suddenly feeling haunted, she leaned up against the stone walls.
Tankard took her in for a moment and then motioned for her to follow him.
Not noticing where she was going, she was led up a moving staircase (she tripped over a step expertly that would have swallowed her shoe and perhaps her sock), and then into a warm and comfortable office.
He handed her the letter back, and she looked at it in confusion. Next he went up to the fireplace, took a handful of green floo powder, thought a moment, before throwing it in and calling out a destination. “Hold on,” he told her as he brought her quickly to the flames and shoved her in.
It was a swirl of ash and Electra tucked in her elbows as she spun downward into flames and then rolled out of the fireplace that opened itself wide to her.
Getting up from her crouched position, she saw that she was in a room with wooden floors and silk wallpaper of deep blues and whites. Shelves lined the walls, filled with books that looked older than anything in the Hogwarts library, and she breathed in the scent of woodsmoke.
“Sweetheart,” a familiar, high-pitched voice greeted and she turned to see the Dark Lord—her sweetheart—holding a book in the far corner, obviously perusing it. “Are you well?” He was hurrying toward her and let his thin hands run over her hair and down her cheeks.
“Tankard sent me through. There was a fight—and then I tried to send you a letter but the owl wouldn’t take it—and then I realized I was blonde.”
Pulling her to him and pressing her head against his chest, his fingers furrowing into her honey blonde hair, the Dark Lord admitted, “I’m confused by the last part.”
“Oh,” she whispered. “You don’t know. I—my Muggle sister Petunia always called me a ‘freak’ because of my magic so I dyed my hair this deep auburn since before I came to Hogwarts. I always dyed it. I always thought of myself as ginger-topped, it had been so long, but when the Takeover took over and I realized my only way out was that birth certificate, I started to let my hair grow out to the natural color. Now I don’t quite recognize myself—” She pulled away and looked into his slits of blue eyes. “But you’ve only seen me like this. Am I—?” Electra couldn’t voice her fears. “Is it all the hair? For everyone it seems to be about the hair.”
“I would love you,” he murmured against her forehead, “if you were raven haired like your sister. If your hair were white as snow by some particularity of magic.” Angling her face up so she would look at him, he stroked his fingers against her cheekbones. “Sweetheart. I would be deposed, but I would marry you if you were still a Mudblood.”
Startled, she voiced the first thought in her head, “Even then?”
Pulling her close to him again, his fingers played with her fringe. “You were always my lily even if I could not see you in your garden.”
She sighed and pulled herself closer. “You came my first night at Hogwarts. A touch of magic against the old oak tree, somehow fascinated by that one lily.”
The hand against her hair stilled and then continued its ministrations. “I was there,” he promised. “I will try to be there again tonight. Perhaps you will sit with me.”
“I can’t see you,” she admitted.
“We’re bound now,” he told her simply. “It might be different.”
When she pulled away to look at him, he leaned forward and rested his forehead against hers and Electra closed her eyes in wonder. They just stood there, holding each other.
Finally, however, it was broken. “What is this about a fight?”
She smiled to herself and without moving, offered the letter to him. “It’s all in there.”
Carefully he took it, and looking at her he broke the seal of the House of Black and opened it. His eyes hungrily snatched up the details as they darted across the page, and in less time than Electra expected he put it away. “Brawling?”
Shrugging, her only excuse was, “He took my vined ring.”
“Wizards do not brawl,” he stated carefully, going to the desk and setting aside the letter. “A simple Expeliamus wouldn’t have worked?”
Crossing her arms, she leveled him with a stare. “Oh, I get it. I’m now your fiancée and, however private that is, I must conduct myself with propriety. Sweetheart—” (at this his face lit up) “I was raised by Muggles. I’m always going to act like Muggles when I’m stressed. It’s how it is. If you don’t like it, go find yourself another enchanted flower to sit beside and turn into a tiger lily!”
The two just stared at each other for the longest of moments before he sighed and ran a hand down his face. “Electra, think of my position—”
“Think of my position,” she countered. “He stole something that was precious to me. He may be my cousin now, but he wasn’t always. Sirius Black is self-important and obnoxious and he believes he can rule my life by his wand and his pureblood manners, even if he pretends not to have them. I showed him that this wasn’t the case.”
“Sweetheart,” he begged and it was strange that such a great wizard would beg her.
“None of you get it, do you? I’ve lost my family, I’ve lost my identity, I’ve lost the color of my hair! What I wouldn’t give to get into a fight with Petunia about bellbottoms or to hide my father’s liquor from him or help my mother bake cookies even though we can’t afford the ingredients!” She was shouting now. “You gave me my magic—but you were the one who was going to take it away in the first place, Dark Lord!”
The Dark Lord was just standing by the desk, taking her in. “Would you like to see them?”
Confused, Electra asked, “What?”
“Would you like to see them? The Evans family? Or would that insult your Muggle sensibilities?” His voice had a peculiar quality to it, a slyness almost and yet a compassion. “Do you want to see what we’re doing to them?”
She hesitantly stepped toward him and asked carefully, “What are you doing to them?”
“What they deserve.”
Suddenly terrified, she shook her head and backed away from him until her back hit the wall.
In an instant, he was in front of her, his hand shoved into her hair and his forehead pressed against hers. “Hush, sweetheart,” he sighed against her cheek. “I did not mean to frighten you.—I did not think. I rationally know you almost lost your magic, that you could have ended in Azkaban with the Dementors, but you always knew you had done nothing wrong even though you faced these consequences. You must have been terrified for your life.” His thumb stroked the side of her face, and Electra found herself relaxing. “I will keep you safe, but, please, for my sake, try not to brawl even if your cousin is infuriating.”
“Fine,” she ground out. “And you will send such gifts by the private owl I agreed to this morning so Sirius doesn’t see such gifts.”
A Cheshire cat grin spread across his snake like face. “Agreed,” he promised. “I have the little owl at my manor, ready for you. I’ll send a letter later today, if that is acceptable, sweetheart.”
Hesitating, Electra asked, “Does wizard-papa know of your suit? Does he know of our engagement?”
“I will see him later today,” the Dark Lord promised. “It was remiss of me. I am used to taking what I want, but I am aware you are a young lady of consequence.” He pressed himself closer to her so that the lines of her body were aligned with him and she could feel his solid chest firm against her breasts. It was a subtle claim as his leg stepped forward and his pelvis pushed into her stomach, and she wondered how his vined ring could possibly allow this. “I adore you, Electra Black,” he swore into her ear, barely a whisper.
She just snuggled into him, holding him close to her until there was a knock on the door, and he pulled away from her, his slits of blue eyes looking into her green ones for the briefest of moments before he went toward the desk and called for the person to enter.
Electra, perhaps, should not have been surprised to see Heir Lucius Malfoy on the other side of the door. She knew he was influential in the Takeover despite his young age. He was charismatic, good looking, wealthy, had impeccable bloodlines, and handsome.
“My lord,” he greeted, bowing. “I have the reports of the financial purgings you asked for.”
Holding out a folder, the Dark Lord took it a moment later and tucked it under his arm. “You know my betrothed, Mademoiselle Electra, of course,” he stated casually. “Of course, the happy news has yet to be disseminated to the Black Family outside of Hogwarts, so I trust you to keep these glad tidings to yourself—for the present.”
Lucius’s head had swiveled to Electra who was standing by the bookcase, still in her Hogwarts uniform, her green eyes looking directly back at him. He was clearly shocked, but he bowed to her graciously. “My lady. Felicitations.”
She nodded back to him. “Thank you, Heir Lucius.” She paused, thinking. “I hope your brother, Lord Roman, will stop spying on me.”
This seemed to surprise him. “I beg pardon, my lady?”
“He claimed to be gathering information of me to sell to you—I suppose he never had enough. I hope that stops as he seems to run in the same circle as my Cousin Regulus, and he is Head Boy and I am one of his prefects.”
Looking shock, Lucius bowed to her. “It will end immediately.”
“Thank you,” she replied graciously. “He’s a friend, of course, but I think family loyalty or personal profit win the day.” Glancing at the Dark Lord, she looked at him for approval.
His red eyes, no more than slits, glittered at her.
“May I ask you two gentleman a question? I’ve been meaning to find someone who knows—but it’s rather difficult at Hogwarts.” When the two waited patiently, she asked. “Tankard. Hogwarts High Inquisitor. Is he a pureblood? He’s sweet on Bella.”
At this, Heir Lucius coughed into his hand.
“Yes, Electra,” the Dark Lord answered carefully, “he is certainly a pureblood. I would trust no one of lesser blood standing with so delicate a task than he currently possesses.—Bellatrix knows this.”
“Yes,” she agreed. “I don’t doubt it. However, she doesn’t tell her little sister everything. In fact, I think she delights in keeping secrets from me, which will be rather a point of contention, as I’m staying with her over Yule.” Looking at the Dark Lord pointedly, she raised a brow.
“Point taken, sweetheart,” he agreed. “Enjoy whatever Slytherin game you’re playing.”
“This is not a Slytherin game. If I were playing a Slytherin game, no one would even know about it—and I’m not even a Slytherin.” She moved toward the floo and picked up a bunch of powder and then hesitated. “Where am I going? I don’t even know where I am.”
“Who sent you here?” The Dark Lord asked solicitously.
“Tankard,” she responded. “I was rather—upset—and I don’t think he knows what to do with me when I’m upset. He may be afraid you’ll torture him or some such nonsense.” She turned to look at her fiancé and saw a rather smug look on his face. “You wouldn’t,” she sighed, realizing that, in fact, he would. “Please send me back, sweetheart, because I am made more painfully aware at the exact nature of this Takeover.”
“You are to be Dark Lady, you should be aware,” he murmured.
“I’m a fifth year at Hogwarts,” she murmured. “I’d like to concentrate on my OWLs, if it pleases you.”
He smirked at her. “I’ll see you at Sluggy’s Party.”
“Do convince him to invite my favorite sister,” she asked. “He currently thinks I’m brainwashed, if I’m not mistaken, and I do want to show her off to her best advantage to the select few that the professor invites.”
He slipped a finger down her neck, the soft pad of the skin caressing the line of her flesh, before she threw in the powder and he shouted out, “Tankard’s Office, Hogwarts!”
With one last longing look exchanged between the couple, she stepped into the green flames and curled up into a ball, ready to roll out on the other side.
One thought on “Sweetheart Postlude”
Thank you so much for giving resolution to this fic! It’s enough that it isn’t on that cliffhanger anymore, even if it is definitively discontinued. Bella is a treasure, and idk if Tankard is worthy of comparable to Rodolphus… but still. Thanks again for writing!