Phoenix Core Series
Title: Sagittaria, The Lorde Black
Pairing: fem!Black!Meta!Harry/Lord Voldemort
Summary: She spent most of her life as another girl with a scar on her forehead, never quite remembering who she was. She lived in fear that someone would strip her of all she held dear, but in the end it was the most feared man in wizerdom who gave her back her name.
Warnings: rule 63, arranged marriage, age difference, glorifying in the dark arts, sexual misconduct (off screen)
Sage hadn’t realized he had seen it during the battle, but he spun in front of her and grabbed her arm, reading the words. “Lucius,” he hissed, before he took her and transported them into a marble hall she had never seen before. A moment later, Lucius Malfoy stood before them, pointed black cap in his hand, his face confused. Sage was staring into the red-brown eyes of the handsome Lord Voldemort who minutes before had been trying to kill her just ten minutes after having murdered Cedric Diggory.
Now he was staring into the green eyes of Harryo Potter, the most ridiculous name she thought the Potters could give to her. There was, of course, precedent. Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, had given the nickname Harryo to her daughter Harriet.
His thumb was massaging the brand on her arm that she had tried to hide with make up as her stupid Triwizard Tournament athletic uniform had not covered it.
His eyes looked into hers and he flicked his wand. “You are safe,” he intoned in the sleepy tone of somniliency, “Sagittaria Lucienne. Show yourself.” A familiar feeling, which only ever occurred when Uncle Regulus snuck her from the Dursleys’ control, washed over her and she felt as her messy chin length auburn hair flowed into gold hair that was cut into a neat bang and then washed down her back, her neck becoming long, her shoulders more pronounced, her body taller, her cheekbones higher, her eyes suddenly grey. She was a natural Black metamorphmagus but her talents had been tied to the day she gained majority and could only be accessed by command for her own protection.
She could hear breath suck in and, as if from a daze, her eyes fluttered open and she stepped back, surprised, looking down at the clothes that no longer fit her, partially threaded from both the fight in the graveyard and her growth. She was aware of it hanging in threads around her chest. Her torso was longer though her chest smaller; she still, however, felt exposed.
The Dark Lord, perhaps sensing her distress, flicked his wand and she was suddenly in lush robes of mauve and she stared at him in shock. “I—“ she began to say, but words simply wouldn’t come to her.
“Your wife,” the Dark Lord reflected, angling his head ever so slightly toward Lucius Malfoy, “might be useful.”
Malfoy, clearly in shock, nonetheless bowed and turned to go find Narcissa Black Malfoy.
The Dark Lord then looked directly at Sage. “You’ve been hiding, Lorde Black.” He tapped her arm which declared her head of the entire house. It was a brand that every stolen child wore, her true name and her family’s motto: Sagittaria Lucienne, Lorde Black. Toujours Pur.
He took his thumb and caressed it, his finger trembling slightly as if she moved him. The same shiver ran up her spine and her confusion was clear in his eyes.
“Sirius Black wasn’t light,” she tried to explain. “He wasn’t dark but he was—unnatural. The Potters saved me but you killed them. So I was hidden again before Sirius was put in Azkaban. It was determined that I still wasn’t safe.”
Her voice was small, delicate, and the Dark Lord nodded, his thumb still stroking her.
“It was my uncle who came. He didn’t want Sirius to know of me so I hid as Harryo. I am only Sagittaria in the summers.”
“Your uncle,” the Dark Lord pressed.
“He has dark inclinations,” is all she would say. She looked about her and then at the Dark Lord. He was handsome. When he had come out of the cauldron he had been snake like but now he resembled a man just out of Hogwarts with dark hair with a slight sheen and the most mesmerizing eyes.
The Dark Lord paused. “I shall have to write to him, if he is to come and claim you. You must understand, Lorde Black, that this changes everything. I would never willingly harm you, a woman of your distinction, one of the four most powerful wizards of the country.”
“I am who I was half an hour ago,” she argued, though it was a lie. “I am the child you marked.”
“And yet your forehead does not bear my scar.” He reached forward and brushed her fringe aside and despite herself, her eyes closed.
She berated herself for gaining a crush at such an inopportune moment, but her emotions had been heightened over the past few hours, and she always noticed a shift in her feelings and emotions when she switched bodies. It was as if her very emotions changed. It was indescribable. Being a metamorphmagus was so baffling and although she attempted to make a study of it, she often remained confused.
“It is a conundrum,” she finally admitted, forcing herself to speak, “but I was not in my true form.”
Something in her voice must have given her away because his gaze flashed red. The Dark Lord’s eyes followed the smallest of her movements even when Narcissa entered the room and gasped. “Ah,” he greeted. “Lady Malfoy. Your cousin, the Head of the House of Black, Sagittaria Lucienne. It appears her unnamed uncle has been raising her. I have taken her under my protection but was hoping you would offer us your hospitality until I could ready my manor.”
She curtsied low before coming up to Sage and kissing her cheek. “Cousin Narcissa,” she instructed, “and of course the two of you may stay. You need not ask. Does your Uncle have a name?”
“He—“ Sage paused. “The Ministry thinks he’s dead.”
“The Ministry can be incompetent, but you need your clothes,” the Dark Lord mused. “Write him a letter tonight and I’ll give you one to include. Also, you are never going back to Hogwarts as Harryo. I’ll start sending Muggle body parts as ransom demands. I’ll alert your uncle so he is not worried.”
“Sirius cannot know,” she stressed.
Narcissa looked at her. “No. He was always perverse,” she agreed. “I would not even wish to contemplate what he would try to do to a beauty such as yourself.”
“I’ll send him copies of my demands,” the Dark Lord told her, taking her hand and lifting it beneath his lips without kissing it. “Lady Malfoy, the child needs parchment and then rest. I trust you can loan her something to sleep in.”
Sage was shown to a room that was impressively large and she wrote a quick note to Regulus, her uncle. After James Potter had discovered that Sirius was impregnating witches to make his mother angry, ruining their reputations, he stole his only legitimate child to save her from the indignity of living with a father who had no respect for her mother or for witches in general. Before he died, James had been able to contact Regulus, who had managed to sneak Sage, called Harryo, out of the cottage half an hour after the Potters had died and had kept her secret even though Sirius had been in Azkaban for almost all of her life.
Not ten minutes later the Dark Lord’s note arrived, and Sage sent it to Regulus, before falling asleep herself. She had tried to open the Dark Lord’s note, but it was naturally spelled against it.
When she awoke, it was to find a beautiful robe in yellow that strangely did not clash with her hair, and she was shown her way down to a breakfast nook. She found the Dark Lord sitting at a private table for two, reading a letter clearly in her uncle’s hand. Sage took a moment to look at him, dressed elegantly in a silver and blue waistcoat, a purple cravat and black robes, his dark hair with an auburn sheen. He was absolutely beautiful.
“Who is it you have given my hand?” she asked in exhaustion as she placed her napkin in her lap.
He looked up at her with intelligent eyes. His gaze searched her face, lingering on her lips, as if he wished to draw her toward him and claim them. The thought briefly unsettled her as she wished that he would do just that.
“It’s clearly what you’re writing about. I’m fifteen, Lorde of my own house. It’s the only way to keep my father away, now that the Harryo ruse is gone—you and Uncle Regulus are acquainted though you killed him.”
“It was an accident,” he told her, putting aside the letter, “one I apologized for when I received an owl just after midnight.”
She scoffed. “You’re the Dark Lord. You apologize for nothing.”
“I’m Marvolo,” he countered, “if I may be so bold as to call you Sagittaria.”
She put down a piece of toast she was about to butter. “Who is it?” she said in dread. “If I don’t like even the idea of him, I shan’t marry him even to save myself from Sirius Black. I know he’s out. I know he’s in his right to take me even though I am Head of the Family as I am his only legitimate daughter and the only one that will ever be recognized.” Orion, Lord Black, had passed over his son for his many—indiscretions—and Sagittaria had been the only child he had recognized before he had died, thus making her the only heir to the Black Seat.
“Sagittaria.” He looked into her eyes with sheer wanting but a strong will.
“Marvolo,” she answered in a dead tone.
“Can you imagine every morning in such felicity? If I were your husband, I would not allow you back into Dumbledore’s domain.” A proposal, she thought. Her first. Harryo had received a few, but she had not. Then again, she was separated from society at large.
She looked at him for several long minutes, trying to ignore his stunning eyes. “I’m not dreaming,” she finally concluded. “Whatever do you want with my seat? You could never be Lord Black. That would pass to our eldest son.”
“Has it ever occurred to you I wish to marry a beautiful and extremely powerful witch who has been thwarting me since she was a baby and has political power to rival none other but the other three Lords?”
It was then that Sage noticed the letter next to her plate and she took it and opened it. It gave her permission to stay at Malfoy Manor until Regulus was recognized as being alive, and laid out the scheme for this peculiar matter. “I don’t think my uncle is pleased although he has agreed.”
“No sane man would be,” the Dark Lord responded, a small smile of victory on his lips. “Who wants their charge married to a mass murderer wanted by the government?”
She blinked at him. “Well, if you put it like that,” she replied. Placing the letter aside, she turned back to her toast. “There is a crone in my outer room guarding me.”
“That hardly surprises me,” he responded. “You are an unknown and your safety is paramount.” The Dark Lord looked at her. “A lock of Harryo’s supposed hair was sent both to the Minister of Magic and Sirius Black. No ransom demand. It hasn’t made the news yet, though yours and Mr. Diggory’s disappearances have. It’s an international scandal.”
“I don’t want to know,” she admitted in exhaustion. “I divorce myself from Harryo Potter when I’m Sage Black. I’m not even curious as to why you killed him, although he was kind.”
“Sage,” he noted, a small half smile on his lips, ignoring the comment about Cedric. “It suits.”
She looked at him for a moment. “Mars does not suit you. Then again, you are the god of war.”
“Mal,” he corrected, “but only to my bride, which you have not agreed to yet.” He took his letters and, with a last sip of his tea, stood up. He paused when he came beside her and carefully ran his fingers along her cheek. “Call me sentimental, Lorde Black.”
Every morning she met Marvolo for breakfast, and every day she did not give an answer. Regulus had sent her trunk and she knew Lord Malfoy, who incidentally was her great uncle through her mother, Lux Kingsley, spent his days trying to have Regulus Black recognized. The day before Draco was to come home on the Hogwarts Express, she sat for her exams, as she did every year as Sagittaria, and passed them all like firebolts. She was never placed within Hogwarts statistics, but she knew that she battled for the top spots with Hermione and Draco. Her mother was Head Girl, after all, and a Ravenclaw.
Then the worst happened. She was informed that her future guardian had gained access to her test scores. Regulus would not need them. He got them from her. The Dark Lord would not be so callous. Dumbledore would get them as a courtesy. No, it was Sirius. There was no other option.
She was surprised when, getting ready to leave their breakfast nook to go with the Malfoys to Kings Cross, bar their youngest daughter Iolanthe who would attend Hogwarts the next year, Marvolo kissed her on the crown of her head. “Why do you wear your hair down, my dear?” he asked. “Pureblood witches wear it up.”
“I’m a Lorde,” she responded. “They wear it down and long.”
He nodded at her logic and let her go in her white robes. She wore nothing but white, a symbol of her rank. Sometimes she knew he wanted her in other colors, but Sage was determined not to change for anyone, not even the Dark Lord although he might one day be her future husband.
“It’s odd,” she commented to her Uncle Lucius, “waiting here instead of being on the train.”
“I can imagine. Have you ever met my daughter, Lacerta?”
She shook her head.
“She is much like me in coloring. I should warn you her primary hobby is to plan who she will one day marry.”
“What is the likelihood of her never learning of my suitor?”
“Iolanthe has yet to know,” he told her. “She just believes you’re under his protection and that he has taken an interest in your skills.—I hear you are an excellent potioneer.”
The train rode up and smoke drifted toward them. Students poured out and two platinum heads made their way toward them, belying Heir Draco and Lady Lacerta Malfoy.
“Children,” Narcissa greeted. “Welcome back.”
“Did you hear about Potter?” Draco asked. “They’re cutting her into pieces and sending her to the Ministry.”
“We had heard, yes,” Lucius said as he gestured toward the floo. “We had hoped you would make a better first impression on your cousin, Lorde Black, however.”
Draco turned and saw Sage and bowed. “Lorde Black. Your arrival at the Manor has been much discussed. We had not known whom the title had fallen to.”
“It is no longer a mystery then,” she murmured, her voice soft but still resonating. “I believe I address Heir Draco.”
He nodded and held out his hand so she might precede him into the floo.
She glanced around for a moment, catching sight of Ron but then she saw a big, black dog that was looking straight at her and her stomach turned. The dog knew. The dog had heard. She quickly walked into the floo and kept her cool and waited until she could find Narcissa alone. “Is he an animagus?” she questioned.
“Who, my dear?”
She looked at her in confusion, so Sage picked up her skirts and went in search of the Dark Lord. After half an hour, she found him in a study in the guest wing and didn’t even bother to knock. “Do you have knowledge of Sirius being an animagus? I know it’s not a Black talent, but you can learn.” Her eyes were full of fear, but she tried to keep her voice steady.
“A follower of mine,” he told her carefully, “confessed he took the form of a grim.”
She closed her eyes. “He saw me—at King’s Cross. He knows—I saw it in his eyes. I swear on my mother’s grave that he knows of my existence and where I am most likely hidden as I was with the Malfoys. Stupid, stupid pride.” By now she was pacing back and forth in front of the desk as she made up her resolve. “Will you marry me on the morrow?”
“I’ll marry you now,” he told her, coming around the desk and taking her hand. He lifted back her hair to show the chain she wore with the small equilateral cross on it. It was made of sapphires and was a symbol to wizards so they could recognize each other. “Do you always wear this?” he asked.
She nodded and he kissed her head.
He looked down at his hand and she followed his gaze to a large ring with a black stone in this. “This belonged to my grandfather Marvolo,” he told her. “We can marry this very moment by the right of stones, if you are of a mind.”
Sage glanced at him a moment and then with firmness nodded her head. She turned so he could take off the chain and she kissed her cross. “By this sign,” she intoned, “I marry Marvolo, the Dark Lord of Britain, until the day we are parted by death. I give thee my wealth, my body, my soul, to keep and guard.”
Carefully he turned and she placed the cross on him. Next he took his ring and kissed it before sliding it off his finger. “I marry Sagittaria Lucienne, Lorde Black, until the day we are parted by death. I give thee my wealth, my body, my soul, to keep and guard.” He took her left hand and slid the ring onto her middle finger.
A wind rose around them and the jewelry glowed gold, symbolizing their union. They were wed.
Marvolo pulled her to him and rested his cheek against her hair as she clung to his waistcoat, tears in her eyes. “Promise me he can never find me and you will never be untrue.”
“If he finds you, I will defend you,” he swore, “and I am faithful to whatever cause, including marriage, that I put my mind to.”
Nodding her head, she gently pulled away. “You know you are Marvolo Black now,” she teased.
“I am aware.” He pushed her hair behind her shoulder. “I do not mind. You are also my Dark Lady. Come, I shall write to your uncle this afternoon and we must inform your cousins.”
“Where are we to live?”
He paused. “My manor was ravaged during Grindelwald’s reign. There is no magic there. Would you like to live at Grimmauld Place? It is the Black seat.”
She looked at him a moment and then nodded. “Write to Uncle Regulus now. Tell him we are coming tonight and to have Kreacher ready the Master Suite. It is my room…” She tilted off.
Marvolo stroked her cheek again. “Nothing need occur that you do not wish, but I would be honored to share your chambers.”
“I read.” The words were direct, strong.
“My role as Dark Lord involves paperwork,” he told her. “I am certain we can accommodate each other’s nocturnal schedules within a few nights.”
“Then it is done,” she decided. “I’ll tell Cousin Narcissa. She saw the grim.”
She turned, but Marvolo stopped her. “Sage,” he murmured and she looked behind her, a little startled. “Would you like me to write to the newspapers? I cannot give my name, but I can announce our marriage.”
“Yes, Mal,” she decided, similarly using his nickname. “I want Sirius to know he cannot touch me.”
She came back half an hour later with a card and placed it on his desk. Sage had already informed Cousin Narcissa of her wedding and that she and the Dark Lord were leaving and had packed her trunk. The only thing left was to fill out an invitation card so that Mal could be admitted through the wards. She saw that Mal was straightening out the room and was placing papers in a briefcase.
“Marvolo Black?” she checked, showing him the invitation. “No one can enter without our permission. I’m too young to change the wards, but I’m certain Uncle Regulus will tomorrow. He needs my signature and permission, but this is just to get you through the wards.”
He paused and held out his hand. The card was simple. There was a line for his name and then a place for either her signature or her uncle’s so it couldn’t be stolen or used indiscriminantly. Glancing at her, he took a quill and wrote something.
She accepted it back and looked at it startled. “How were we married? Why did your parents name you ‘Tom’? I mean, there’s the ‘Marvolo’?”
“No one calls me ‘Tom’,” he informed her, “except for Professor Dumbledore, but that is simply his way of reminding me that I am little more than a boy who grew up in an orphanage.” He voice was distant, cold, and she didn’t like it.
“It’s our wedding day, Mal,” she coaxed. “I did not mean to upset you. I realize I was frightened earlier, which was not ideal—“
He closed the briefcase and took the card, placing it in his robes before he gently took her face in his hands. “Tell me to stop or walk away,” he told her. “Promise me, Sage. I would never want to frighten you or scare you, especially today.”
Her gray eyes looked into his red-brown ones and she saw an emotion she didn’t understand and she nodded. Then he came closer and his lips touched hers gently. Just there, a whisper. “Tom was my father,” he murmured. “They were squibs—pureblood squibs—and they hated magic. My mother hid her magic and when he found out he abandoned my pregnant mother to die on the streets of London. She died shortly after I was born. I never use his name, my darling, especially when I discovered that I wasn’t a common Muggleborn.”
He nuzzled their noses together and she pushed herself up on her toes to nuzzle him back. “That is why there is no magic—at your manor,” she realized.
He leant down to kiss her again, his hands now around her back, pulling her up as her hands rested on his shoulders. His lips traveled down her jaw and the column of her neck and she laughed. Mal’s lips instantly claimed hers again and when she gasped his tongue flicked in.
Sage pulled away and looked to the side.
“I apologize, my darling,” he murmured. “You’ve never been kissed, not even at that ball my servant wrote to me about?”
Her head whipped around. “You have a servant at Hogwarts?”
“One or two,” he laughed, nudging her nose again. “I was told of your date. A handsome French pureblood, cousin to a Count and his apparent heir.”
“I did not care for that,” she told him. “I have my own title.”
“So you do,” he agreed. “Do you like broad-shouldered boys with light brown hair and shocking blue eyes?”
“Apparently not,” she quipped, “as I did not even dance with him. I find myself drawn to dark haired men with red eyes. And you, Dark Lord? Do you find my aunt beautiful?”
“I always have,” he agreed, making her stomach sink. “But hers is a beauty of a statue. She does not have blood in her veins like yourself. As soon as you transformed into yourself, I knew I had to have you, even if I had to prove myself for years.”
“Aren’t you pleased that Sirius recognized me?” she admitted bitterly.
He turned her chin toward him and waited until her gray eyes looked at him. “I would never wish that tragedy on you. I would never wish you pain. I only wish you well and happy, darling. I wish you safe from this war, Dark Lady.”
Then he picked her up bridal style. “Mal!” she laughed. “Our things!”
“The house elves will see to it,” he told her, turning on his heel as they Apparated to Grimmauld Place, the living room to be precise. Uncle Regulus was sitting with a book and he seemed displeased at their arrival.
“Sage,” he greeted. “Welcome home.” He came up and after Mal let her down, he kissed her on the forehead. “You leave a child and come home a woman grown.”
“I don’t think it is that bad. I saw Sirius. He was a dog—really. A grim.”
Regulus looked at her and swore. Then her cross, now on Marvolo, glinted. “I see you are wed and safe. I suppose you arrived before your owl.”
Sage looked between the two men who were obviously uncomfortable around each other. “Uncle,” she began. “We thought we’d live here as I’m Lorde Black. Everything pertaining to his attacks and plans can be done elsewhere but when he is simply Mr. Black, the man, his home shall be with me, as custom dictates.”
When Regulus didn’t respond, she looked at Mal.
“Tour?” she suggested. “I’ll introduce you to Grandmother Walburga’s portrait. She’d love you.” She took his hand and led him from the room, knowing that dinner would be awkward that night.
She told herself she was being an idiot when she finally picked out a white silk nightgown with embroidered flowers on it and a sheer robe. Narcissa had bought it for her when the need of her marriage became a definite possibility. She walked from behind the privacy screen, wearing the silk that came only to her knees, only to see Marvolo wearing purple pajama bottoms and nothing else.
He looked up and saw her, pulling off his reading glasses and pushing his papers onto his bedside table. He gave her a small smile—his true smile—“Sagitarria,” he murmured. “You make it difficult for me to keep myself in check when we share a bed.”
“Can’t we kiss?” she asked in confusion. “Your shirt—“ She looked away self-consciously. “I thought you wanted Sagittaria Black.”
He was immediately out of the bed and cupping her cheek. “I do. I swear it. Forgive me if I am too blunt. I’ve never played the lover.”
Shaking his head, he leaned down to kiss her, and then he picked her up and carried her to the bed. “I promised myself I would never show a follower preference, nor one inclined to follow me, which made my options limited.” He laid her across the bed and rested himself next to her, the two looking at each other, breathing heavily.
“I’m confused,” she whispered. “I thought we were supposed to continue once we got to the bed?”
“You choose tonight. I will not force you even by resting my elbows over you so I might kiss you.—I thought Harryo was in Gryffindor.”
“I’m not Harryo,” she told him. “We think and feel differently.” Still she got on her hands and descended upon his lips, kissing him, one of her hands cupping his cheek as she rested against his chest. After a moment, she pulled back and grinned. “I want to show you something. Uncle Regulus was in the way before.”
Amused, he let her pull him off the bed, though not before they placed on their robes, and hurry to the Tapestry Room. She bent down, showing him her name, and then a line that pointed to him. It read, “Lord Voldemort, Dark Lord of Britain.” She glanced at him. “I thought that might make you happy,” she told him before kissing him again.
Something primal within him snapped and he picked her up again to a happy squeal, taking her back to her room. He kissed her wildly, obviously exciting her, and he pulled away slightly. “Let me give you pleasure,” he begged. “Let me make you as happy as I am.”
“Aunt Narcissa never mentioned pleasure,” she admitted in confusion.
“Please,” he told her. “Just tell me to stop.”
Shakily, she nodded her head and he pulled up her short nightgown to reveal her nether curls. Sage looked away in shame, but that didn’t stop him from placing his lips on her and slowly watching her come apart.
Thrashing into her pillow, she buried her face in it when pleasure washed over her and he carefully put her nightgown back down before caressing her heated cheek.
Then she leapt at him, trying to kiss him with abandon and failing, but he coaxed her into it. She sighed out when she became tired and lay against his chest. “Will it always be like this?”
“Some nights will be gentler,” he whispered, “others wilder, if you can believe that. Some nights you will be so angry with me you will tell me to leave your side.”
“Uncle Regulus will be angry if he knows,” she sighed. “He was angry when we arrived married.”
“Then he shall be angry. He knows you’re now under my protection. Any man who is used to being your father would find that difficult to adjust to.” He looked over at her and ran a finger through her hair. “How fortunate I was that I saw that brand on your arm, my darling Sage.—Come.”
He opened his arms and she rested her head against his bare chest feeling it move up and down as he drew breath. She didn’t even realize it was morning until she felt his hand running through her hair. “Dark Lady,” he murmured. “It is a half hour until breakfast.”
She sighed and ran a hand over his chest, feeling the hair there before sitting up and looking at his face. The black stone in her ring caught her attention and she glanced at it before taking in her cross around his neck. “That belonged to Mama,” she stated, touching it carefully.
“Then perhaps you will allow me to buy another for you, a small present of my fidelity and devotion.”
“You flatter,” she told him, lightly kissing him before going to her closet and choosing a set of robes for the day.
The doorbell rang and she sighed, her make up fortunately on but her hair barely brushed. He picked it up himself and ran it through her wavy hair before she got up, slipping on shoes, and went for the door. Uncle Regulus was still officially dead so it fell on her as a Muggle might be their guest.
She was surprised to see Professor Dumbledore on the other side. “May I help you?” she asked. “It is rather early in the morning.”
“Lorde Black,” he said, bowing, “I came to invite you for tea.”
“A letter would have sufficed. I’m afraid breakfast has been served.”
“It involves your father, Sirius Black,” he tried.
“That’s lovely,” she replied. “We can have a family reunion with all of my half-brothers and sisters. Good day.”
She closed the door and went down to the basement, to find Regulus and Mal looking at each other, each seated next to the head of the table, which now belonged to her as she was come-of-age due to her marriage.
“Dumbledore,” she griped. She looked at Regulus. “Good morning, Uncle.”
“Daughter,” he greeted.
“I thought we could add Marvolo to the wards. He is my husband and I’d rather not fill out another invitation every time he needs to see about his affairs.” She smiled when Kreacher gave her a cranberry scone and Earl Grey tea.
“That can be managed,” Regulus replied. “Your Uncle Lucius believes I can be declared alive and innocent within the week.”
“Excellent!” she declared. Turning to Mal, she asked. “How goes Harryo’s dismemberment? It’s not in the papers and I haven’t asked since you sent her knee without skin.”
“We sent a scalp yesterday like the American Indians.” His red-brown eyes looked at her. “Breathe, darling.”
“Right,” she said, picking up her tea. “Breathe.”
The day was lazy, spent in the back garden where Sage read a book in a hammock, Mal working on something, their fingers intertwined. About evening she received an owl from Dumbledore.
“He wants to Parlay,” she said as she dressed in a more conservative lavender nightgown. “He doesn’t say about what. I don’t suppose you can come and show your face.”
He kissed her forehead. “It’s too dangerous. I look much as I did at Hogwarts.”
“Will you age?”
He looked at her steadily. “No. But I can make it so you don’t—but I will have to ask you to do something very dark, Sage, darling.”
“How?” her voice came out as a whisper.
“You’ll need to split your soul and store it somewhere. You carry half of my soul on your finger. I had hoped, if you agreed, you’d store the half of yours in the necklace around my neck.”
She reached out and touched the cross that had once rested on her own neck. “Later,” she told him. “I think I’m still a little too young to think on everlasting youth.”
He picked up her hand and kissed the palm of her hand. “I would never rush you. No one knows about it, however. It must stay that way. It is between us, as wizard and wife.”
“I understand.” She smiled at him and kissed him, crawling into his lap. His fingers gave her pleasure and she gasped into his shoulder, trying not to make a sound until he was kissing her head and down her ear. She turned toward him and they were kissing each other again. She pulled back and ran a hand down his chest. “What are we doing, Mal? I don’t understand. This was political and yet—“
“This was never political for me,” he swore, placing a hand against her cheek, his fingers brushing her golden hair. “If I wanted you away from your father, I would have offered someone suitable, maybe your own cousin Draco. I read once of some archaic law that would have allowed him despite his youth—“ At her reproachful eyes, he sighed and ran his fingers through her hair. “Your name was a surprise,” he began again. “You became my equal, but then I commanded you to change and you became—you became—“
Mal was lost for words and hesitantly kissed her, full of vulnerability. Sage returned the kiss and pushed him down resting on her forearms as she was given complete control again.
He was looking over the letter the next morning, Regulus trying not to show too much interest. “I would use a dark strategy,” Mal stated. “Take your Uncle Regulus as tomorrow he will be able to walk free, and then your Uncle Lucius. Two powerful men. Regulus is your heir and the wizard who raised you and Lucius is one of the four lords. If I can’t be there, then they would be my choices for a show of strength. Dumbledore will obviously bring Sirius and he’ll be startled to see Lord Regulus and—well, I’m not certain who the third person will be.”
Passing the letter to Regulus, the man looked it over. “Remus Lupin, lycanthrope. I would never let him near Sagittaria. As her husband, you should write that you will not allow her within the same confined parlay room with him. The second choice would have been Potter, but he died saving her life—“ He drummed his fingers. “Some ministry official. There will be some spy informing him on both sides who won’t be present.”
“We have a spy.”
“Which way does he lean?” Regulus asked, his gray eyes dark.
“Are you certain?”
“If he’s the ‘academic admirer’ who gives me gifts after every exam period, he’s on my side,” Sagittaria said simply.
Regulus sighed as Mal’s head snapped toward her. “I beg your pardon?”
“Some professor leaves a gift for me on my trunk at the end of each of my exam periods. He’s been doing it since first year. There’s always a love poem. I can’t trace the handwriting. They always involve the lily flower. Small trinkets that will get past the dress code that will declare my loyalty to House Potter. I refuse to wear them.”
“You do remember she looks surprisingly like Lily Potter as Harryo. I think your spy is in neither yours nor Dumbledore’s pocket.”
“I believe I know what I shall be doing tomorrow,” Mal said delicately. “I have a letter to write to Sirius and another to our friend. Sagittaria, darling, I hope to see you later.”
He stood up and took her hand, lifting it to his lips before releasing it with no contact. Their eyes met, red to gray, and he left with the whispering of his robes.
“I never thought I’d say it,” Regulus paused. “The Dark Lord is falling in love and with none other than my niece.—and it is mutual.”
“Wouldn’t you wish me a happy marriage?” she asked.
“I would have wished for nothing less—just not with that wizard. If he loses, you will have to repudiate the man your heart sings to. If he wins, you will be under constant scrutiny.”
Sage was afraid of that day, but she simply took a sip of her tea.
The third man was an auror—Kingsley Shacklebolt.
“I thank you,” Sage said to the party, “for abiding by my family’s wishes and not bringing the werewolf.”
“He was a Hogwarts professor, my dear, and did not harm a single student,” Dumbledore stated.
“Indeed,” she returned, remembering the man who had been kind to Harryo during her third year. “I am, however, your lorde and master, professor. I am not ‘your dear.’ If you break protocol again, this parlay will come to an end. Now, what is it you want?”
“Sagittaria,” this was Sirius. “I did not know you were alive—when you disappeared from your crib.”
“It was my intention that you would not know once you broke out of prison,” she returned. “Unfortunately, I cannot have everything my heart desires.—As you see I am well. My uncles can attest to that. The Daily Prophet announced my marriage and so far I am very happy.”
“Where is he?” Sirius growled.
“Torturing a former suitor,” she said simply. “With Ministry approved curses, of course. This unwanted suitor has been approaching me since I was eleven. He also wanted to show that I was not beholden to a husband or that I deferred to him as an advisor. He wanted you to know I was my own woman. My uncles were chosen carefully to show their advisory capacity.”
“I want you home, Sagittaria.”
“It’s against the law,” Lucius said. “She is fifteen, a Lorde, and married. She is an adult and makes up her own household.”
“Then surely,” Dumbledore said, “Lorde Black can include her own father.”
“I’d rather include a half-blood sibling,” she sneered. “I do not approve of you. You are also a fugitive. You have no place in my household.—Is that it? There is no legal claim over me. The request has been made and denied.”
“I’ve been looking over your files,” Dumbledore put in. “They’re quite impressive. You are in either first or second place in the nation in all your classes. May I ask why you were never sent to Hogwarts?”
“I wished to be with family and the Ministry would have gotten involved,” she stated in a dead voice. “You are aware my uncle Regulus was believed dead until this past Wednesday. The government has far too much control where it ought not and then does not use its power where it should. I hear there is a manhunt for Harryo Potter who was left with abusive Muggles every summer. I had a source tell me she was scalped. And if you want to know who: it was my admirer. It was another reason for Mr. Black to thrash him—within legal limits.”
“Surely you must reconsider.”
“Surely I must not.” She waited several moments. “Good day.” Standing, she left via the floo and didn’t wait to see if her uncles were following her.
Without looking back, she stepped into the fireplace. She knew where Mal was. Without even knocking, she opened the door and found her husband looking absolutely delectable. His robes were flung onto an armchair, his waistcoat unbuttoned, his collar undone, tie thrown somewhere, and his sleeves rolled up. She wondered where his cufflinks had gone. The night before she had presented him with the Black Cufflinks that would be his until their eldest son came of age.
He glanced at her and murmured “Incarcero!” toward the other man in the room. “Lorde Black,” he greeted and came up to her, kissing her forehead.
“Husband,” she greeted. “I should watch you in your anger more often. The sight is quite—well, not what one would expect of Mr. Sagittaria Black.” Her gray eyes gleamed and she rolled on her toes to ask for permission. She did not wish to undermine him.
He caught her cheek in his hand and gently kissed her. “Darling, you quite distract me.”
“I wished to see your servant who dared to double cross you and to bring some of his—gifts to Harryo Potter. She must have held quite some power over him.”
Mal placed a hand around her waist and indicated the man on the ground, his greasy hair bedraggled and in his eyes, his robes full of cuts along with his hands and cheeks, fear in his eyes.
“Professor Snape,” she said in shock. “I had not expected it to be you. From the accounts I received from some of your students, you hated Harryo Potter.”
“Your cousin seems to have been mistaken,” Mal said, using her cover. “This—creature—begged me to save Lily Potter when I went to kill the Potter girl all those years ago. He wanted her, even if it was against her will. And now, after Mrs. Potter’s death, it would appear he held out hope for her daughter given the similarities to Mrs. Potter’s looks.”
Sage looked away from the man and glanced at Mal. He placed a locket in her hand. “The latest gift.” It was a beautiful locket. When she opened it she saw a picture of a young Lily Potter and one of Harryo. They looked so similar it was frightening. But she had made it that way. She only had a slightly different bone structure and she made her hair straighter so she wouldn’t have to deal with James Potter’s mess of hair.
She dropped it on the floor. “How offensive. Perhaps it is better that her scalp now belongs to the Ministry.” She placed three boxes on a small table. “Small offerings of devotion from your captive to that girl who defied you. Death may be too good for a traitor like him.”
Stepping up to Professor Snape, she placed her heel on one of his hands. “Do you know who I am?”
“The Dark Lady,” he rasped.
“I am one of your judges,” she told him, “and I find you wanting. Do I look like my mother? If you wanted to fuck her, would you try to fuck me?”
He looked at her wildly.
She turned. “It seems I do not that closely resemble my mother,” she concluded. Standing on her toes, she kissed Mal’s cheek. “I will hopefully see you for dinner.”
“Stay here with your cousins,” he asked, although to most it would seem like a command. “I would like to introduce you to my followers.”
She looked at him and smiled. “I’ll dress for dinner.”
“It will be before.”
“Then I shall not,” she said simply. “It might be poetic to send his head to Dumbledore. He was insufferable today along with Sirius Black.”
All of the guests were called and milling about a drawing room, Sage and her cousins looking through a crack and whispering to each other. “Malfoys, be gone,” Mal said authoritatively and Draco looked at him, quickly shooing his sisters somewhere else.
“Mal,” Sage murmured as he pushed her hair over one shoulder.
“You are almost ready,” he told her.
“Am I?” she teased. “I know I shouldn’t be, but I’m terrified. Last time I saw these men, they wanted Harryo Potter dead.” She felt something being placed around her neck and saw a black equilateral cross.
“I thought perhaps it might match your ring,” he told her, turning her and leaning down to kiss her slowly. “His head has been sent to the proper authorities.”
“Nothing of that,” she murmured, leaning up to kiss him again. “Thank you.—I’ve wanted you in my bed since I first entered that room.”
“I did not know that righteous anger was attractive to you, wife.”
“Neither did I.”
He kissed her once on the nose, before offering his arm and entering the room. Everyone paused as they saw her. “My lords, ladies, and gentleman,” he began. “Harryo Potter is dead, which I’m sure you all know, but this is a more joyous occasion. May I present your Dark Lady, the Lorde Black, Sagittaria.”
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