Valencia

Title: Valencia
Author: ExcentrykeMuse
Pairing: Harry/OFC
Summary: They were both half-bloods and should have been brought up to love Muggles, but somehow they were drawn further and further into the pureblood world—and in all that chaos, they fell in love.

For: Kamerreon/EllRoche – Happy Birthday!

Warnings: pureblood culture, blood politics, illegitimacy

Harry had horrible luck with girls, and this was apparently a problem now that Voldemort had been defeated at the Department of Mysteries at the end of his fifth year.  Cho proved that and his desire not to have anything to do with Ginny apparently showed that he was rather selective.  Apparently she should have “checked all the boxes.”  Harry had no idea what that even meant.

“Maybe,” Hermione stated, “we’re going about this the wrong way.  What about a Squib or a girl who lives with wizards?  Harry grew up as a Muggle.”

He stared at her and Ron.  “I don’t think that’s the answer.”

“No,” Ron mumbled, thinking.  It was an odd look on him.  “I think that’s a great idea.”

Great, he was being steamrolled.

“I’ll draw up a list,” Hermione stated happily, taking out a piece of parchment.  “Our age, pretty, intelligent but not a bookworm, active.  The list goes on and on…”

Harry was glad he was going back to Grimmauld Place for Easter.

Making his way through London in his Muggle clothes: blue jeans and a black t-shirt for ACDC, he got into a cab, an anonymous person, and ended up in the cul-de-sac that was now home.

“I’ve got the tickets,” Sirius exclaimed as Harry entered the door, Walburga Black screaming at him.  “You’re off to Italy to see Les Étrangés.  Why an Italian band has a French name is beyond me.”

“Thanks, Sirius,” Harry told him, clapping him on the back.  “I’ve been looking forward to it all term.  Hermione’s gone and decided I need to date a Squib or some Muggle with a magical sister or something stupid like that.”  He groaned.

“Well, dance, drink a bit, don’t take any illegal substances.  You’ll wind up in China and I won’t be able to find you for weeks.”

Harry laughed.  That had probably happened to Sirius—and probably to his father, James—once when they were just out of Hogwarts.  James never would have made it to Head Boy if he had missed that much school.

“I’ve got the ripped black jeans, the shirt, the fairy bands for my neck and wrists.”  He knew his friends would have a heart attack at what he was planning on wearing and what he was doing, but he didn’t care.  Tomorrow, he would be in Italy doing what he wanted to be doing.  He had all the spells he needed for Sirius to hide his scar so he could just be ‘Harrison,’ an English pureblood wizard who was a massive Les Éntrangés fan.

The next night he was ready, the final touches of his outfit being the black eyeliner and the dragon talon earring he wore to show that he had bested a dragon in a fair fight.  He had had to apply to the International Confederation of Wizards to have the right to wear a dragon talon and it had finally come through during his fifth year.  Although it was his sixth year which entailed avoiding Dumbledore and watching Malfoy’s odd movements on the seventh floor corridor, Harry mainly wore it around his neck under his uniform so people wouldn’t think he had an inflated ego—which is what people usually thought if they thought anything at all.

The crowd at the pureblood-only concert was wild, like a mob really, more than anything, and that’s when he saw her, dancing closer to the stage, her hair dark as sin with a halo of neon blue and her eyes smoldering when she glanced behind her, briefly ignoring the friends she was with.  Her olive skin betrayed her as Italian, as were most people in the crowd and, when the band took a break, she surprisingly walked up to him.  “Tu non sei italiano, vero?”

Non parlo italiano,” he replied dumbly, which only made her laugh.

Biting her glossy pink lip she asked in flawless English, “What brings you all the way here?”

“I love Les Étrangés.  Isn’t that obvious?”

“It is.  I could feel your energy just by looking at you.  My friends think I’m—“  She paused, looking for a word.  “Strange, yes?”

“Strange,” he agreed, laughing given the band’s name.  “I’m Harrison.”

“Harrison,” she repeated carefully, offering her hand for him to shake.  “Valencia.  Join us for the next set.  You might have more fun than dancing on your own.”

He let her drag him forward to a group of guys and girls, all about their age, and she pulled his arm around her waist, not even asking for permission.  “Ho presso io stesso un inglese, non io? (I’ve caught myself an Englishman, haven’t I?) Mi chiedo ce si vediamo la regina, anche se lei é un Muggle. (I wonder if I’ll meet the Queen, even if she’s a Muggle)”

Harry, of course, had no idea what she was talking about, but the band soon came back on the stage and they were jumping in each other’s arms, bodies rubbing up against each other, and Harry thought that Hermione was definitely wrong.  He neither wanted nor needed her help finding a witch.  It was the scar that was clearly the problem—or English witches.  He couldn’t quite decide in that moment.  He’d rather think about the beat of the drum and the beautiful Italian girl in his arms.

The crowd went to a bar afterward, conversing in Italian, Valencia holding onto his hand, though chatting away with her friends. 

“Shots!” she declared, grabbing Harry and taking him away from everyone.  “Do you have a few galleons?”  Her accent was drugging and he had to remind himself that, yes, she’d asked for some money—probably to bribe someone with.

He gave them to her when their fingers entwined together below their waists so no one would see, and she chatted up a bartender.  Harry hadn’t realized until she took down her hair that six inches of its black waves had been dyed a bright electric blue.  A moment later, she came back with six shots of something on a small tray.

Harry grabbed them a small table and asked, “What are we drinking, Valencia?”

“Well,” she stated, “I don’t know it in English.  Men drink it.”

“Fire whiskey?”

“Yes.  Fuoco.”

“All right,” Harry stated.  They clinked their first glasses and shot them back, staring into each other’s eyes.  Harry coughed into the crook of his sleeve but Valencia took it like a pro.  She smiled at him and handed him a water from somewhere.  “No, no, I’m fine.  As my uncle would say, ‘Take it like a man’.”

“Seconds?”

“Seconds.”

Uno, due, tre.”

The liquid really did feel like fire.  Harry was a masochist who was falling for a beautiful Italian witch whose wand seemed to be in her tall boot.  She was wearing a bright pink band t that had been cut to make it look raggedly fashionable along with a black folded miniskirt.  Maybe it was an Italian thing.

The third shot nearly wiped him out but she was immediately there with un caffé, which immediately helped.  There must be something magical about it.  There was something magical about her.  “Valencia,” he said, looking at her as he played with her fingers. 

“Harrison,” she responded.  “Are you staying in Italia?”

“No,” he answered carefully.  “I just portkeyed in—however, I don’t go back to Hogwarts for an entire week.”

She reached toward his earring, which was spelled to stay in his ear.  “You’ve tamed a dragon.”

“Two years ago now,” he told her.  “I don’t really talk about it, but it’s something I’ve accomplished on my own.”

Valencia leaned back and looked at him.  “Older brother,” she decided.  “You feel like you’re in his darkness.”

He laughed.  “Shadow, Valencia.  We say we’re in someone’s shadow.

She shrugged it off.  “My English is better than your Italian.”

“Is it now?”  He leaned forward.  “The sun’s coming up.”

Valencia glanced over her shoulder and back at him, leaning toward him again.  Then, Harry took the chance and kissed her and she surprised him by pulling him closer and drawing herself up against him so that they were pressed against each other.  She licked into his mouth, making them both shudder, and Harry felt lost, trying to keep up with her, but then she slowed so that Harry could lift her onto his lap.  They didn’t pull away until, finally, last call was shouted out and then they were being wrapped up and pushed out of the pub into the morning light of seven in the morning.

“How do I reach you?” he asked, squinting at the sun.

“Verona 97041.”  She took out her wand, turned over his hand so his palm was up, and wrote the number on it.  “It’s a floo and phone number.  We half-bloods here in Italy have telephoni.”  A secret was held in her eyes, but she didn’t speak it.

Odd.  The concert was pureblood only, not that Harry was a pureblood.  Sirius had vouched for him, and with his reputation he could get in almost anywhere internationally.  “My godfather has a phone,” Harry laughed, “and he’s a pureblood, though I’m not one.”  It seemed safe enough to confess this.  He took out his own wand and, using that handy spell she just had, tattooed “12 Grimmauld Place” on the palm of her hand.  He paused.  “I’ve never used the phone.  I’ll have it cleaned out and I’ll call you on it.”

“All right,” she told him, kissing him.  “Mamma e Papá will be waiting.”  She turned and walked away before quickly coming back again.  “Marcello gave these to me when you were drinking coffee.  I made duplicates of the fotographie that have the two of us.”

Harry looked down and found five pictures in his hand, one of him and Valencia staring at each other in one another’s arms, people dancing all around them.  Smiling, he kissed her and then let her go. 

He took the small globe chain from around his neck that he had hidden under his shirt and tapped it exactly six times with his wand for the six years he’d been in Hogwarts.  The world faded away as he fell down into a tube and ended on his back in his room in Grimmauld Place.  His room was actually Regulus’s old room, which was all dark blues and blue-grays and Harry knew he needed to find picture frames for both here in Grimmauld Place and for his dorm at Hogwarts.

When he came down for breakfast with a smile on his face, Hermione was unfortunately there.  “Ah, Harry.  I have a list.  What’s in your ear?”

He’d changed but he had forgotten to take out the earring.  It seemed his scar was back, though.  “Dragon talon.  I defeated a dragon, remember?”  He sat down to a full breakfast of eggs.  Harry looked at Sirius and showed him his hand.  “That is a floo address and a telephone number.  Apparently they’re identical in Italy.”

Hermione looked at his hand and then back up at him.  “You went to Italy.—These are English girls.  Erica is my top pick.”

“I don’t think Harry cares about Erica,” Sirius put in.  “I think he cares about Verona 97041.  I’d call tomorrow, Harry.  Let her sleep last night off.”

“She didn’t need the coffee,” Harry laughed.  “I think we took shots of fire whiskey and Valencia had to get me this amazing coffee which woke me right up.”

“It was a potion,” Sirius told him.  “Not coffee.  It just was coffee flavored.”

Harry looked at him in surprise.  “Oh.  Really?  Well, it worked.”

Hermione was looking at him.  “Harry.  England.  Proper girlfriend.  Now.”  Her frizzy hair had been somewhat tamed and Harry just looked at her in speculation.

“I have met a perfectly nice Italian girl, Hermione,” he told her.  “I don’t need an English one.  I don’t want an English one.”  He dug into his eggs, thanking Kreacher when he was given his morning tea. 

Sighing, Hermione looked at him.  “The reason I came here is because I already set up ice cream round the corner.  There’s this lovely little Muggle place near Russell Square that I know you’ll like.  I’ve called her—I’ll just pick something Muggle out for you—“

“I can pick out my own clothes, Mione,” he said in defeat.  “This Erica is going to be there?  God, I haven’t even slept.  I’m going to be running on pepper ups.”  Harry looked between a sympathetic Sirius and a self-righteous Hermione.  He wondered where Remus was.  He didn’t think the full moon had been any time in the recent past.  “I’ll go just this once and only because you’ve fixed it—but I’m with Valencia now.  What time?”

“Four,” Hermione said happily.

“I’m going to go sleep until three.”

He dragged himself back upstairs, took out his earring, placing it back on its usual necklace, and fell onto his bed, setting an alarm for the right time on his wand.  In a blink of an eye, the sound of birds woke him and he groaned, sitting up and grabbing his wand, making the complicated motion to turn off the alarm that showed he was awake.  A pepper up potion was waiting for him.  Sirius would never come into the room so it must have been Kreacher.  The house elf held some strange fondness for him that he was secretly thankful for.

He didn’t really pay attention to what he was wearing.  Really, he just took whatever was on top in his wardrobe, which turned out to be what he’d worn back from King’s Cross.  Dragon talon around his neck, he didn’t even bother with his hair and went downstairs for a nice cuppa before Hermione came and found him again.

It was a rather awkward double date.

“So,” Harry said, “your sister is a pureblood in Gryffindor and in my year.”  That was too horrible to think about.  “What’s her favorite class?”

Erica looked down at her ice cream.

“What’s your favorite class?” Hermione quickly asked.  “We know all about Faye, at least I do.  But Harry and I went to Muggle primer.  My sister is at Harrow.  What do you enjoy?”

“French.”

“Oh,” Harry stated.  “I rather like Italian.”

Hermione kicked him under the table but got Ron instead.  Harry kicked her back and fortunately hit his mark.  That would have been a bit awkward if he had kicked Erica Dunbar.

Harry gave her an awkward wave when she went back into the tube before rounding on Hermione.  “That was a disaster.”

“It wouldn’t have been if—“

“We have nothing in common except that her sister and I sit in the same classes and that I know a little French!  Do you want me to end up with a common Muggle?  Or Squib?  I told you this morning that I’d met someone and you should have just flooed to the Dunbars and told them that this farce was off.”

“Faye had her heart set on it,” Hermione told him.

“I don’t care about Faye.  I care about Valencia,” he stated angrily, half wondering where Ron had wandered off to, but not really caring.  “Anyway, no more about this.  I need to get Kreacher to hook up our phone line and figure out what the number on it is.”

They’d rounded on Grimmauld Place and Harry waved to her before continuing on to Number 12, glad when he was inside the wards and away from everything and everyone who frankly didn’t matter at that moment.

He barely spent ten minutes there, dressing again like a wizard teenager which could be spotted in a crowd of Muggles, but one really had to look.  Really, at first glance wizard teens looked like well dressed kids in blacks or punks, depending on the actual person.  The punk side of wizard fashion reminded Harry of Dudley.  He went with the sleeker option.  Fortunately, Regulus had plenty of clothing that was still in style and Kreacher was a miracle worker in making it fit.

He wandered around Diagon Alley for a good half hour before finding a boutique, which had just the kind of frames that he wanted—sleek, black, that could attach themselves to the wall at will or stand alone on a flat surface.  He could even come back and have the frames engraved.  Grabbing five, he hurried out before finding a beautiful chord necklace with a small mermaid’s shell on the end of it.  Although it was only the size of a fingernail, if you put it to your ear, you could hear the sound of the ocean: it was virtually indestructible, and it was an aquamarine color.  It wasn’t quite neon blue, but it was something.

By that night the phone was fixed and Harry, hoping Valencia had enough sleep, called.  “Harrison,” she answered happily when she took the phone from a man—who might have been a father or brother—“I’m so glad you called tonight.  It’s Saturday.  My friends and I always go out on Saturday.”

“I hear that coffee wasn’t coffee,” he laughed.  “How are you?”

“Fine.  Come back out to Italy.  There’s no concert but there’s this bookstore that has a bar in it.  Come and be il mio ragazzo.”

“I don’t know what that means,” he told her honestly.  “I could go try and find a dictionary.  I could get Kreacher to, actually.”

“I know no creature,” she responded.  “Ragazzo it means ‘less than lover’.  Petit ami in French.”

Boyfriend, he realized.  She was asking him to be her boyfriend.  “How can I refuse?  I can be there in half an hour.  Where should we meet?”

“Where we left?” she suggested.  “Make it nine.  Everyone is getting together a little after that.  We eat dinner late here.”

Harry nodded his head although she couldn’t see it.  “Valencia?” he stated cautiously.  “I—I was in hiding last night.”

“Che cosa? I don’t understand.”

“I’m Harrison.  Harrison Potter.  Most people call me Harry.”

There was a long pause.  “I will floo to you.”  The line went dead.

Harry hung up the phone, staring at it, before running down the stairs.  Walburga Black was shouting again, Harry closing the curtains, and Sirius had come out onto the upstairs landing.  “Harry, what is it?”

“Valencia’s coming through.”

A moment later and the flames burned green and Valencia walked into the shadowed hall from the kitchen.  Her hair was in a high ponytail.  She was wearing a white t-shirt for some Italian movie, black jeans, and black heeled booties.  Valenica looked like your average Muggle teenager, although she had a wand strapped to her forearm, which clearly said otherwise.

“Grimmauld Place,” she said with her accent.  “Grandmother spoke of this place.  I thought it una coincidenza when you wrote that address on my hand.  I suppose I should be glad you’re not a Black.”

“You’re a Black?” Harry asked in confusion.

“Harry,” Sirius said patiently.  “How many times have you seen my cousin Bellatrix?  Of course she’s a Black—from Italy.”

“My grandmother Charis was a Black,” she explained instead.  Valencia became silent however and moved to Harry, brushing away his fringe, revealing the scar.  “Papá will not be pleased even if my birth mother was una Muggle from Spagna (Spain).  He only took me in when I performed accidental magic.  He killed her and now I have una nuova madre (a new mother).”

“Valencia,” Harry murmured, reaching out to her and pulling her to his chest.  “I’m so sorry.”

Tutto bene,” (All is well) she told him.  “Tutto bene.”

Sirius had fully come down the stairs by now.  “But your father was raised as a Black.  Does he specifically support You-Know-Who or is he just dark in general?”

She looked up at him with her big brown eyes that hadn’t spilled a single tear.

“Sirius Black,” he introduced.  “I’m your cousin.”

Buio,” she answered. “Dark.”

“All’s well,” Sirius answered.  “It’s a closely guarded secret, but Harrykins is rather dark himself.  We keep it on the down low.  We don’t advertise it for obvious reasons.—Stay for dinner.  I’ll floo call your father.  It will be fine.”

The night was spent with Sirius telling tales of evading Slytherins and Death Eaters back during the war and Harry and Valencia laughing the entire time.  “Now, Harry here,” Sirius stated, “followed in the Black footsteps.  One of our great leaders, who I had to kick out of the house because I learned of Harry’s beliefs, thought that by leaving him with Muggles he’d make Harry more sympathetic to them and the ‘light’ cause in general.”

Harry then cut him off.  “Being their servant had the opposite effect.”

Valencia looked at them in confusion.

Sirius leaned forward and, with a perfect Italian accent, told her, “Harry é stata trattata come una serva.  He hates Muggles.”

Both Harry and Valencia were staring at him.

“I’m a Black,” he defended.  “I knew great-aunt Charis.  And, Harrison, I was going to talk to you over the summer, but this is as good a time as any.  We need to whip you into shape.  I’m adopting you as my heir.”

Now everyone was staring at Harry, who was looking blankly back at Sirius.  “I don’t understand.”

“No children.  Gotta leave the place to someone and you have to be a biological descendant or, possibly, niece or nephew.  Your number’s come up.  How’d you like to escape the Potter name?”

Harry threw himself at his godfather and hugged him with all his might.  “Harrison Black,” he stated in shock.  “I can be Harrison Black.”

Valencia was smiling at him and, when he sat down, whispered in his ear, “Benvenuto in famiglia.”  Somehow, he knew he had just been welcomed to the greater Black clan.

That evening they were pretending to be vampires.  They were drinking some ice cream froth that tasted like blood which, to any Muggle passing by, would think was a strawberry milkshake.  Of course, they were playing wizarding chess in a bookstore that was five times the size of Flourish and Blotts in the heart of Rome, but Muggles seemed disinterested and never even tried to look in through the massive windows.

“You know I’m horrible at this game,” Harry told Valencia for the fourth time when he lost his second bishop.

She smirked at him.  “So you say.  We’ll do something else next, Harrison.  Lo prometto (I promise).”

“I—“  He paused, thinking, and she looked up, her eyeshadow a pretty pale purple, there and then not.  “I want you to know that I don’t hate your mother or you because you’re her daughter.  I just don’t think magical children should be left without a proper magical influence.”

She moved a piece.  “I don’t think Sylvia and Padre would have gotten on.”

“Mum and Aunt Petunia didn’t get on, mainly ‘cuz Mum was a witch and my aunt wanted to be,” Harry confessed.  “Still, I don’t think I should have been left with magic hating Muggles when I know for a fact that there are Potters out there who would have taken me in.  One even married a Dorea Black.”

Valencia bit her lip, trying not to smile.  “I guess you’ll be related to both of them, once you’re adopted.  Harrison Black.  I like it.”

He moved a pawn, hoping she wouldn’t instantly take it.  “Your father’s mother was Charis Black,” he checked.

“Yes.  I know nothing of Sylvia’s family.  Sylvia lived in Valencia.  I had a different name once, but I don’t even think it.  I am now recognized as an Acardi with all their rights afforded to me, but I’m a half-blood.  I’m only allowed to marry purebloods and specifically chosen half-bloods.  My friends have to be approved like they do my brothers; I took a chance on you because of your earring and then realized that, no.  You were like me despite the fact that only purebloods were allowed.”  She took his hand and squeezed it.  Taking a sip of her drink, she then realized, “Sirius must have gotten you that ticket.  It was a purebloods only concert.”

“A what?” Harry sputtered in fabricated shock, glad he hadn’t been drinking at that exact moment.

At the look on his face, Valencia started giggling until she was rocking with laughter.  Harry simply pulled her chair around the table and kissed her waiting lips, knowing that he was glad Sirius had lied for him, he’d been waiting for months to see that concert, and Valencia was well worth a night in prison if he had gotten caught.

The next morning Harry woke up refreshed.  He came down to the kitchen and looked at Sirius and said, “Don’t yell at me, but I’m going to be flooing over to Malfoy Manor if Malfoy will see me.  What with the war over, he hopefully has fewer reasons to hate me—“

“Valencia,” was all Sirius had to say.  “You’re like James.  She’s the first girl you’re serious about, and you’ve decided within about thirty hours that she’s the one.  Go talk to Malfoy if you have to.”  He winked at Harry.

“It has to do with the Sacred Twenty-Eight,” Draco told him as they walked through Malfoy Manor.  “We’re part of it, obviously, as are the Blacks.  There always needs to be a descendant from a main line, which is Cousin Sirius.  If Cousin Regulus were alive, Cousin Sirius could let it pass to him and his heirs, but as it is it would get so complicated, it would make sense for him to adopt someone if he can’t or won’t have children.  Which is it?  Was it Azkaban?”

Harry looked at him hopelessly.

Draco waved it off.  “What’s the problem?  Your father’s a pureblood, your mother’s a witch.  That’s enough to get on with.”

They sat down in some small room that had two armchairs that looked out toward a large circular window in what seemed to be a turret of Malfoy Manor. 

“It’s Valencia,” Harry admitted.  “I met a girl—her grandmother is Charis Black.”

“No consanguinity as you’re not actually related.”  Draco seemed to have an answer for everything.

Harry took a deep breath.  “Is there going to be a problem if her mother was a Muggle?”

“A Black married a Muggle?” Draco asked in shock.  “I thought I’d heard everything.  Aunt Andromeda and that Muggleborn was shocking.  I nearly died when Cousin Nymphadora actually married our werewolf professor.  But this?”

“She’s being raised by her Black father and his pureblood wife,” Harry explained.  “Valencia is not allowed that much contact with half-bloods.  We met at a purebloods only event.  Sirius had to get me my ticket.”

“Oh,” Draco said, waving off the problem and slouching in his chair.  “That’s no worry then.  She’s adopted.  You’re adopted.  You’re both practically purebloods—well, soon in your case, anyway.  Are you already so sure you want to marry this girl?”

“I don’t want to continue if I can’t marry her, now do I?  You’re in love with that Ravenclaw—Astoria, is it?  I know that thing on the seventh floor has something to do with her.”  Harry honestly thought he was looking for the Room of Requirement.  He’d help the prat if he asked, but they both knew Malfoy wouldn’t.  “You’d want to put an end to it now if there was no hope instead of torturing yourself.”

Gray eyes held green.  There was only a mutual truth there.

It was Tuesday evening and both he and Valencia were wearing wizard robes.  While hers were casual black and silver, they hung off of her elegantly.  Harry’s pale blue ones were a light linen that kept out the chill, but didn’t seem as natural on him as hers seemed on her.

“So this is your Diagon Alley,” Valencia stated.  She placed a hand on the mermaid shell Harry had gotten for her, which was now around her neck.  “I cannot thank you enough, Harrison.”

“It reminded me of your hair,” he told her.  “Whyever did your father allow you to dye it?”

“It’s an experimental charm.  I’m being paid one thousand galleons for this witch to study my hair once a week.  It should wash out in July, then I can opt to try a new color.  Papá doesn’t believe we need to work, but he said it was good for my character and would let out some vapore.”

Harry didn’t need that translated.  It was probably ‘steam’ if he knew anything about languages.  “It’s strange,” he murmured, “you try to get away from being a pureblood, and yet you keep on getting pushed back there no matter what you do.  We’re counter-cultural by going to a rock concert, I wear an earring, you dye your hair.  We gravitate toward each other, both being half-bloods, and yet we’ll never be allowed to be just that.”

She looked at him sadly and only took his hand and kissed the back of it.

Taking her up Knockturn Alley, Harry then took out his dragon talon earring.  She smiled at him in understanding, and went through the door to The Wicked Stepmother, which he had opened for her.  He presented a card, a trial card that was a deep blue gray, and they were led into tearoom.

“What is this place?” Valencia asked as they were seated.  She accepted her menu and her eyes widened.  “There are illegal items on this menu.”

“It’s a ‘dark club’, Valencia.  We can’t escape it in the end.  I’m a Muggle-hating boy brought up as a servant, who defeated a dark lord, with dark magic himself who will be a pureblood by the end of the summer.  I’m only allowed in because I’m being adopted by a Black.”

She nodded.  “And I’m a half-blood brought up to be a pureblood.  I don’t think I’d be allowed to marry a half-blood without being cut off.”

“Does your father’s wife love you?” Harry asked carefully.

Valencia smiled, pushing her electric blue tipped hair behind one ear.  “Very much.  She never was able to have a daughter.” 

They reached out toward each other, as if sensing the need to be near each other, two half-bloods lost in a world of purebloods where they only partially belonged, and their fingers tangled together.

“I’ve never had arachnid eggs,” she whispered.  “Will Cousin Sirius let us eat them on his account?”  Valencia grinned evilly at him.

“I don’t see why not,” Harry responded.  “Only the very best for the Blacks, after all.”

Her deep brown eyes glittered, so dark that they were almost black, and Harry’s breath caught.  This was it.  He knew exactly how his father felt when he had realized that Lily Evans was the one because here, now, sitting across from him, was the beautiful, exciting, and slightly eccentric Valencia Acardi, the future Mrs. Harrison Black.

The End.

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