The Original Standalone Story that Spawned a Universe
Title: The Wicked Stepmother
Pairing: Pureblood!Lily/Lucius Malfoy
Summary: It started out with a dare (or a bet) from James Potter that just spun out of control … but, then again, didn’t everything? A journey through manners, self-discovery, love, and the dark arts.
Warnings: pureblood culture, stolen children, blood politics, dark arts, torture
Lily had thought it was a joke. It was a joke, wasn’t it?
“I’ll leave you alone if you do it,” Potter stated as he had her pressed up against the stone wall in a corner, his hazel eyes flashing. “I hear from Sirius that, well, it’s impossible.”
“Impossible,” Lily checked. “And what if I can’t?”
“One date,” he made her promise, “with a kiss.”
“A kiss?” she asked incredulously. “A chaste one,” she bargained.
“But the clothes,” she checked. “I can’t go to this exclusive club without being properly attired. If Black gives me the proper robes then—well—“ She sighed, wishing Potter would just back off.
“A second date?” he suggested.
“As long as you don’t violate the terms of the first,” she ground out. “I’ll go to this club, get in, wait for whatever it is I’m waiting for to happen, and then bring you proof.”
“And I’ll forever leave you alone if you do.” Smug bastard.
He offered his hand, and she accepted it.
She pushed him away, moving down the hallway, not looking back. Potter was the bane of her existence. At least there were only three weeks until she could sneak away to London next Hogsmeade weekend. They were in their fifth year and she would really be studying for their upcoming O.W.L.s but, well, forever without Potter was worth it and just thinking of all of sixth and seventh year … she could even date someone. Potter scared everyone away. He had staked some sort of primeval claim on her. Prat.
Black got her robes. She tried them on when the girls were at breakfast one day and was surprised at them. They were black, with a cuff that reached up to just beneath the crown of her head, her décolletage showing through barely apparent lace, and the silk material created several slashes to show off her legs and almost her panties. Seven-inch heels and lace tights were included. Lily was terrified but she looked absolutely stunning. According to Sirius she should probably put her hair up but since she didn’t know pureblood hairstyles, she would be forgiven by leaving it down, as she was unmarried.
The day came and she dressed. Oh, did she mention that there was a black corset? She covered herself with a cloak and hood so no one would quite catch what she was up to. Hopefully, she wouldn’t fall and make a fool of herself in these ridiculous shoes or flash someone her knickers. At least she had a black if modest pair.
She took the floo to Diagon alley, leaving her cloak with the proprietor, Aberforth something, before walking down the streets, head held high. Her naturally wavy hair, which she had curled, fell over her left shoulder, down her breast and even lower. Her long black sleeves were slashed to show her skin, strangely hooking on her thumb and fourth finger in apparent modesty. Purebloods were strange.
She would get into this stupid pureblood club. She was dressed like any one of them and she’d heard whispers about her hair and its unusual shade of red that was burnished like a pureblood ritual. Hopefully, it would catch the maître d’s eyes enough to make him think that the color could only come from a pureblood.
The Wicked Stepmother came into view and she picked up her skirts, as difficult as that was, and she squared her shoulders before entering.
The entryway was made out of stunning chestnut boards, each piece imperfect and yet it just screamed of ancient money. She saw a man wearing a wizard suit, and she approached him. “Madam,” he greeted, bowing his head.
She nodded hers in return.
“Do you have a reservation?”
Lily had been expecting this. “Of course.” She was holding a silk purse and she opened it, removing Sirius’s calling card. “The House of Black.” She gave it to the wizard.
“Monsieur Sirius, while welcome, does not meet our standards. However, if he believes you do—“ He gestured to a strange object. It looked like a wooden cone and Lily could not imagine what it was used for. After several moments, he explained. “If you would just insert your wand, Madam.”
She nodded again, and did just that. At first nothing happened. Then the cone slowly began to turn and then faster and faster until a small ticker tape of parchment came out of it. Then it stopped abruptly and Lily took her wand back.
The maître d’ took the parchment and his eyebrows rose in obvious surprise. “You are most welcome in this establishment, Madam. On your way out, do pick up a membership card. It should be prepared within the hour. Your name?”
Pausing, she finally stated, “Lily June Evans. L-I-L-Y.”
He paused. “I do not know of any of the Evanses.”
“These are difficult times,” she stated. “Surely you can appreciate when the Head of my House makes the rash decision to change our name. It is highly inconvenient, however…” Where did she come up with such trash?
Fortunately, the wizard seemed to buy it. He took down the name and then swished his wand and another wizard appeared and showed her to a table for two.
“Tea?” she asked. “Something sweet for it. Is that possible?” She prayed she had the money for it. Lily wouldn’t be surprised if it cost as much as all the books she had to buy just for a single year in Hogwarts. New, not used.
“Of course, Madam.”
A few minutes later she was given a steaming pot and a box full of teas to choose from along with millionaire’s shortbread. She made her tea and then looked about the room. As it was teatime it seemed that sumptuously dressed wizards and witches were engaged in tea and conversation. Some were dressed like her. Elder witches were more conservative and wizards often held—
Well, it was a cane with a serpent head. She followed it up to a silk silver-blue waistcoat and then long platinum hair and the most beautiful eyes that matched his clothes. “Madam,” he greeted, bowing.
Nodding in return, she waited for him to speak.
“You seem to be the talk of the club.”
Lily looked about her. “I did not realize. How perplexing. I hardly see why.”
He tapped the chair across from her with his cane and she indicated it with her hand, showing him that he could sit. He caught a waiter’s eye and a teacup was placed before him. Figuring that a witch would probably serve the tea, she poured him a cup and decided he could make the tea up with sugar and milk as he chose.
“It’s not the robes, is it?” she asked in concern. “Trust Black to play such a prank. Sometimes I believe his entire life is one big joke.”
“Black,” he stated thoughtfully. “I know the Mademoiselles Bellatrix and Narcissa Black and they tend not to prank young women.”
“I don’t know them,” she stated as he put a little milk and one lump of sugar in his tea. “So it’s not the robes.”
“No, Madam. They are quite in fashion. Nothing is at fault in your person.” He paused. “You don’t know, do you? You mentioned pranking. Were you pranked, Madam?”
“A wager was offered. I couldn’t pass it up,” she answered morosely. “I was told simply to come here and gain proof I was here. I was under the impression I was set up to fail. However, the wizard at the door said he was making up a membership card, which I assume is proof enough.”
The wizard took a moment to look at his tea before taking in her face as if contemplating something. “I’m not certain you should give these individuals the proof of membership. It could be dangerous. Do you know where we are?”
“The Wicked Stepmother.” Lily was slightly confused.
“Do you know what that means?”
“It seems to be a gathering of purebloods drinking tea.” She looked around carefully so she wouldn’t attract attention.
“Madam,” he stated carefully. “This is a place for purebloods with dark leanings to socialize, a haven if you would have it from light magic for like minded people. Here we can talk about our feelings concerning Mudbloods and Muggles, the Dark Lord, Pureblood rights, lineage—“
She blinked and took a deep breath, thankful she hadn’t flinched at the word ‘Mudbloods.’ “They set me up. If Dumbledore ever found out—It’s not like I’m in Slytherin.”
It was the wizard’s turn to look shocked. “I did not realize you were at Hogwarts.”
“Yes. And now I have to go on a date with James Potter and let him kiss me. If I won the wager he’d have to leave me alone for the rest of my life. He asks me on a date an average of six times a day. I started counting since our fourth year!” She whispered all this, but she knew her voice sounded a little hysterical. She then heard her name somewhere to her left and looked back at the cool face of her companion. “How do they know my name?”
“You’re the talk of the club.”
“Why?” she asked desperately.
“The propensity of your ability to use dark magic, as recorded by your very wand, is the highest since the late 1700s. If you put any one of us under the Cruciatus Curse it would be so severe that we would most likely die within the first three minutes I wager.”
His teacup was empty and Lily needed to focus on something other than what she would reply. She placed her hand on the teapot, which was still warm (sometimes she adored magic), and she nodded toward his cup and he gave her a small smile in answer. She poured the tea, and remembering how he had fixed it, she put in one lump of sugar and a small bit of milk before topping up her cup.
“I’m certain You-Know-Who has more potential,” she mused. “However, I doubt he can walk through the doors.”
“Do you believe that?”
“Well, wouldn’t there be mass panic if he walked down Diagon Alley? Even Knockturn Alley? Then again, I wouldn’t know him even if he were sitting across from me. Are you the Dark Lord?” she teased.
“I am not,” he promised. “I am Heir Lucius Malfoy.”
“I was never taught the proper niceties,” she apologized. “The Black I spoke of is the former Heir Sirius Black, but he did something so now his brother in Slytherin has the title.”
“The white sheep,” Lucius said in recognition. “And are you Lady Lily or Mademoiselle Lily June Evans?”
Lily, if she were honest, had no idea what the difference was between “Mr.” and “Monsieur” and “Miss” and “Mademoiselle.” She’d tried to research it after Christmas when Black was disinherited but the book was in the Restricted Section and not one professor would sign a permission form for her.
“Mademoiselle,” she answered. That seemed safer. “I’m no one important.”
“I would beg to differ,” he answered. “So powerful and still at Hogwarts. I commend you, Mademoiselle. Now, we need a way to not fail in the wager without suggesting to your—Gryffindor?” (she nodded) “—dorm mates that you are incredibly dark. If this James Potter is a friend of Monsieur Black, then you should be saved. It’s unconscionable that a pureblood lady would be bothered in such a way. He’s probably disrupting your studies. Can your father not stop it?”
She smiled sadly and, thinking of her Muggle father, she shook her head. Dad had started drinking as soon as he learned she was a witch. Petunia hated her and, well, Mum had left. “He’s in—He can’t—it’s impossible.” She took a sip of her tea.
He tapped his fingers on his cane. “This plan is probably too intricate to simply obliviate the two of them. There are probably others who know. There’s no other way,” he stated with a grin, “show him but don’t let him touch your membership card, then have it known that you pranked him by making a fake card after seeing one—or perhaps just in general to keep them guessing. Now, m’dear, would you care for an early dinner at The White Witch?”
“Surely your wife will be missing you,” she stated.
“Unmarried,” he told her, showing her his vined ring, which for purebloods symbolized fidelity to the idea of one’s future spouse. While it covered the entire finger, coming up to just below the nail, it moved with the finger, bending when the finger bent, straightening when the finger straightened. Lily didn’t wear one, of course. She wasn’t a pureblood. That card might help her, though. “You do not have one, if you may forgive me noticing.”
“Oh,” she stated. “My sister’s a squib. Nothing magical is allowed in the house. My trunk and robes are kept in a shed when I’m home.” There was another lie. Petunia was a Muggle. The bit about her trunk was real. She had to do her schoolwork in the shed using a lamp. Sometimes Petunia was such a bitch.
“I beg your pardon?” he asked. Actually, it was said rather sternly and his voice was layered with anger.
“Well, Potter sometimes turns up with his wand, so magic is sometimes around,” she stated wistfully. “That’s really the only good thing about him. He annoys Petunia.”
“You, Mademoiselle,” he said, standing and picking up her hand and raising it to just an inch beneath his lips before releasing it, “are in need of a day without Potters or Blacks or other pranksters. However, one question, would you like to meet the Dark Lord?”
Lily sat in her complete shock. “I—“ She looked down before looking up again. “I am almost certain that he would not wish to meet me.”
Picking up her hand again and allowing her to rise, he signaled to the waiter before leaving without paying. Lily wasn’t going to question it. She stood and he escorted her toward the maître d’ who handed her a black card with her name inscribed in beautiful blue calligraphy. The words The Wicked Stepmother were present in silver calligraphy and slightly below it, the top of the letters mixed with her name. “Thank you,” she murmured, nodding her head. She placed it within her purse, her hand still in Lucius’s, the two stepping outside.
“Would you like a ring?” he murmured, leaning closer.
“Our name is no longer recognized,” she told him, bending the truth just a little. “I doubt the jeweler would even speak to me. I was only let into The Wicked Stepmother because Sirius Black vouched for me.”
He turned to her. “You think too little of yourself and of your natural powers. Also, the Pumpkin Carriage would not dare to insult a Malfoy, and let it be my gift to you in recognition of your superior leanings toward dark magic. Once you have that ring on your finger, no one would dare suggest that you are not a pureblood again.”
Raising her eyebrows, Lily’s breath caught. It wasn’t about her blood. She tried not to hate the fact that she was a Muggleborn. It really wasn’t. It was the way that Lucius’s blue eyes looked into hers.
The Pumpkin Carriage was all decadence. There was an entire display dedicated to vine rings. Her left fourth finger was measured—it seemed Lucius was right; his name was enough to vouch for her—and Lily chose a ring that portrayed ivy climbing upward. When it was placed on her finger it glowed gold before settling to silver. Lucius was kind enough to pay just as he had offered, even though she tried to dissuade him, despite her lack of funds.
When they stepped out again, Lily looked up to the sky. “I think I must get back,” she stated with regret. “Students will be returning and I have to change.” She glanced at Lucius who looked back at her.
“I wish you the fruits of your endeavors in your forthcoming exams.”
“You don’t know my age,” she realized as they fell into step toward the Leaky Cauldron’s floo. “Then again, I don’t know yours. How strange. I’m used to knowing everyone’s age from their year.”
He glanced at her.
“Will you give me a clue?” The sound of his cane against the cobblestones was steady and she found herself breathing in time with it.
Lily smiled secretively. “I’m a prefect.”
“I don’t want to say fifteen. I’m going to guess your birthday has occurred: sixteen.” He looked at her in question. When she nodded her head, a self-satisfied smile came on his face and he turned to look forward again.
“I take my O.W.L.s this month. I was so angry at Potter for wasting a day of study, but I think I am glad. I hope I’ll get a chance to sneak down to The Wicked Stepmother. I think my friend Severus might have a floo. Though, come to think of it, he might not call me a friend. We had an argument.”
“You do not have a floo?” he asked, his voice tight. “Your father really did go out of his way for your Squib sister.”
“She’s his favorite,” she answered. “When he’s sober,” she whispered. Lily didn’t think he could hear her, but she saw the way Lucius’s jaw clench.
“I’m over twenty,” he told her for her clue, “but still young, I like to think. Father, naturally, wants me to marry although he didn’t marry Mother until he was in his thirties.”
“Still young,” she mused as they came to the stonewall that would lead them to the barrier between Muggle and Wizard. “Twenty one? No, that is too Muggle. Twenty two.”
He tossed his cane lightly and caught the wood in the center. “Precisely, Mademoiselle.”
She smiled and made her way to the floo in the Leaky Cauldron. “Goodbye, Heir Lucius.”
He quickly touched her arm just as she was about to throw floo powder into the flames. “May I write to you?”
Looking at him quizzically, seeing at the hopeful expression in his eyes, she nodded once. “You know my name and where I’ll be.”
He released her arm and then she was gone in green flames.
It was easy to grab her cloak and make her way up to the castle. She carefully took off her robes and folded them. It seemed wrong as she put on her jeans and button up sweater. She took out her membership card and glanced at her vined ring. Black didn’t wear one, neither did Potter, come to think of it. Remus was a half-blood and she never much cared for the fourth person in their little gang.
She walked down to the Great Hall with her head held high. She tapped Potter and Black on the shoulder. Fortunately, they were sitting next to each other. “My first piece of proof,” she told them. “No touching.” She held out her card and Sirius coughed. It seemed like he couldn’t stop. When someone gave him water, he finally settled down. She slipped the card in her pocket. “This kind gentleman I met there took me to the Pumpkin Carriage and vouched for me.” She held up her left hand. “Yes,” she told them as James looked at her, shocked. “Did you know that the Head of my family changed our name because we live in uncertain times so, while we are purebloods, you can’t identify us by our pureblood name? That’s what everyone says. So, Potter, you can never ask me out again. Nice try, Black.”
Both of them seemed lost for words. Lily walked to the end of the table so she could find her friends on the other side, letting her hips swing enticingly at Potter, just to rub it in just a bit.
The gossip ripped through Hogwarts. It seemed like Potter and Black didn’t say anything about Lily’s membership, but everyone noticed her vined ring. The type of ring that only purebloods could wear. Overnight Lily Evans transformed into a pureblood—a lost pureblood. Almost everyone agreed that she had probably been kidnapped from a family of good standing. Another theory was that both of her parents were Squibs who believed in blood purity and she was a result of the latent magic of their blood. Her father had been forced to take a common name—Evans—when he was disinherited.
Lily tried not to listen. However, she was curious. She was far too curious.
Lucius, of course, wrote. That caused speculation as well. When a Little Owl first appeared with a scroll of parchment at breakfast, she glanced at it and then noticed the wax. It was extremely large and had a seal. “Morag,” she asked, “what does this mean?” She pointed to the symbol of three stars over a quill pen.
“Ask Black,” she suggested.
She was a little scared, but she got up and did just that.
Black nearly spit out his pumpkin juice, Potter leaning over to see. His eyes went wide.
“That’s the Malfoy family seal,” Black stated. “The one used for personal correspondence, not business or political matters.”
“Oh,” she stated, realizing that Malfoy had only taken an evening. “He works quickly.”
“He,” Potter demanded.
She gazed at him with her bright green eyes. “You’re not my friend; you’re not my boyfriend. You don’t get to ask.” She went back to her seat and carefully opened it.
There seemed to be a bunch of pureblood etiquette at the beginning before he wrote of the business of running the Malfoy Estate under the tutelage of his father and even that his mother had realized he was distracted when he returned home the night before. He then invited her to dinner the night she returned by Hogwarts Express, going so far as to offer to pay for a room at the Leaky Cauldron so she could floo to the general area of her home the next morning, and an invitation to meet an international figure in politics.
“Bloody Hell,” she screeched.
The entire table went silent and even Dumbledore noticed. She looked around, biting her lip, before folding the letter and putting it in her bag, pretending everything was normal as she went back to her porridge.
She wasn’t certain what to write back. Black even cornered her two days later.
“Evans,” he said. “I told James I should take care of it because I’m from one of the Four Houses, but what did this Malfoy want that was so shocking that you screamed in the middle of breakfast? How do you even know the Malfoys? I mean, Merlin, Heir Lucius is courting my cousin!”
She ignored the last bit. “Your prank failed,” she told him in a cold voice. “You know, they almost didn’t let me in because you were my reference.”
“That’s another thing,” he said, crossing his arms. “I’ve never seen a black card. Silver, yes, but black? How are you that dark of a witch?”
Her eyebrows furrowed. “Are you suggesting that there are different levels of membership?”
“Yes. The darker the card, the darker your magic. Out of respect to my family, I have a white card, which means I am allowed entry but only with a darker or ‘more respectable’ card.”
This was the time to tell him she had pranked him but, wait, then she’d have to go back to a life that included James Potter. She knew that was going to happen and the past few days even with the bizarre turmoil of wondering whether or not she would have to meet You-Know-Who, her life was much more comfortable and less stressful.
“Well, it’s your own fault. You sent me there. I met a Malfoy who sent me a letter, which was a bit shocking. They’re a bit, well, they hold strong political beliefs that happened to freak me out when I first read it. However, I meditated on it, and I can see where prejudice could create such a conclusion. I’m certain we’ll have a healthy debate on the subject.” She gave him a false smile and then gave him a friendly punch on the arm. “Thanks for the robes, by the way.”
Her returning message was short. Do you mean your friend who I am convinced will have a higher wand score than me? LJE P.S. I don’t have the robes for dinner or meeting with such a dignitary. Remember, I live in a magic-free household. I doubt Black will be accommodating because neither will be a prank.
However, it all worked out. Her father didn’t want to pick her up. As soon as she checked into the Leaky Cauldron, two packages were delivered to her, each with a separate set a robes. The first was pale blue. After dealing with the corset, she slipped on the dress. Once again there was a back collar, but it reached high above her head before curling backwards. The dress was Regency style, falling into strips that had pieces of lace that gave her modesty, the sleeves three-quarter lengths. The shoes were pink as was the purse. She placed her hair in a braid over her shoulder and waited for Lucius to come pick her up at a small table near the entrance to the pub.
“Mademoiselle,” he greeted, bowing before taking her hand and lifting her up to stand.
“Heir Lucius,” she acknowledged with a nod.
“How were your O.W.L.s?” he asked solicitously.
“I thought I wrote about them,” she teased as they stepped into Diagon Alley.
His walking stick struck the cobblestones as his left hand touched just above her elbow to steer her through the crowd.
“Written words are not the same as spoken ones,” he murmured as he leaned in closer. “I am happy, though, you have not been bothered by the Potter boy.”
“I wish to hear more of this friend of yours,” she told him. “I don’t want to misstep.”
“With your power, you cannot misstep,” Lucius assured her. “He wants you. I doubt he wouldn’t go after you even if you weren’t a pureblood.”
“Really,” she said, a thought going through her head.
After dinner, they walked to The Wicked Stepmother for coffee. It proved to be a mistake. The coffee had just arrived when a man who looked much like Lucius appeared behind him and Lily nodded her head to Lucius to indicate the problem. He looked at her in confusion before he turned. He stood and bowed to the man. “Uncle.”
“I thought it wasn’t true until I saw it with my own eyes. You’ve broken it off with the Black girl.” His voice was gravelly.
Lily’s mouth almost dropped as what Sirius had mentioned seemed to be the truth for once in his horrid life, but she picked up her coffee and took a sip instead. She knew nothing of Lucius’s love life, as complicated as it seemed to be. After they had exchanged letters for a week, Lily had gone to Regulus Black and begged him to explain what was happening. She explained how she could never go to his brother because he was constantly pranking her and if she went to a girl in her dorm, she’d probably spread gossip about her, and she thought that their shared dislike for his brother might suggest that he would help her (that and the rumors about her pureblood status). He had confirmed that they were courting, taking pity on her Muggle upbringing. He didn’t inquire as to who she was writing. Regulus only needed to know that he was a member of The Wicked Stepmother.
“Who is this one then? She can’t be as prestigious as a member of a Lord’s family. The Black girl was niece to Orion, Lord Black.” He tried to stare Lily down but she wasn’t even looking at him. This was a family quarrel.
“Uncle Roman,” Lucius said in a low voice. “This is not the best place.”
“Nor the time,” Lily added. “I’m expected home at a rather specific hour.” She just didn’t tell him that it was noon the next day. “Oh, and here comes Black. He has a white card. Who let him in?”
Both Lucius and his Uncle Roman looked over. It was Regulus. Traitor. Not that he knew she’d be here.
Of course they were given a table two down. Black looked over and shock was written over his face. He didn’t even seem to hear his brother, who was leaning forward and whispering something that seemed urgent. The imbecile Black got up and came over. “Evans?”
“Black. Go away. I don’t have to see you until September First.”
“But, Evans,” he sat in Lucius’s chair. “You don’t belong here.”
“I have a card that says otherwise. You don’t belong here. Your card is white.”
“I still don’t believe your card.”
“Fine,” she shot back. “Be delusional. You lost a wager. Never wager against me, Black. My dad plays cards and wins. I’ve been playing Texas Hold ‘Em since my mother abandoned the family when she realized I wouldn’t lose my magic. I have the best poker face in the Midlands. How do you think I afford my books every year and put food on the table? Do you think my father is responsible? He drinks his winnings away.”
At the look at incomprehension on Black’s face, Lily almost laughed. “Wait, Potter never told you, did he? He comes over and makes faces when I’m in the middle of a game and makes me lose and then my sister and I go hungry that night. And you wonder why I hate him with the very fiber of my being. You think you hate your family for being ‘dark.’ I hate mine for making me starve and all because they can’t handle magic.”
“Ah! So the theory that you’re from a family of Squibs is true.”
“Really, Black. That’s what you get out of all that?” She glanced around and no one was listening except for Lucius and his uncle. Taking a sip of her coffee, she rose. “Excuse me,” she stated before she took the floo to the Leaky Cauldron.
She took off her robes and stared at them, stroking the lace carefully before hanging it next to the silver robes meant for the next day. Fully expecting an owl to cancel the meeting for the following morning, she got out of the corset, laying it down on a chair, and getting into sweats and a tank top.
No sooner had she turned down her bed then there was a knock on the door.
After a moment, she moved toward it and opened it carefully. “Lucius?”
“They wouldn’t give me your room number,” he explained, a hand on each side of the doorframe, “otherwise I would have been here sooner.—I am so sorry.”
“Black should apologize.”
“I shouldn’t have been distracted. I should have prevented it.”
She shrugged her shoulders. “He would have caught up with me one of these days. I’m a bit too fond of The Wicked Stepmother. Sev has a floo, so it is only a matter of buying floo powder.”
He looked crushed and Lily really didn’t want to see such a look on her behalf.
“Lucius—stop. I’m a grown witch.”
“You’re a school girl who’s forced to play cards just to eat—with Muggles by the sound of it.” He said the last bit with derision, but she didn’t really care at this point. “And I’m not going to stop,” he argued, his arms still bracing the doorframe. “I’m never going to stop.”
“Then you’ll get annoying,” she shot back. “I hate being annoyed. My tolerance level is rather low, thanks to Potter.”
“Damn pureblood tradition,” he muttered and Lily turned, looking at him quizzically. “I cannot enter your bedchamber.”
“Good to know,” she murmured.
“Can’t you see that I want you to be happy? That I want you healthy and whole? That I want you to be loved?” His voice was desperate now and tears formed in Lily’s eyes.
Just the thought of being loved was foreign to her. Sev loved her, she thought. They were friends, even after the ‘Mudblood’ incident. Potter claimed to love her, but she knew that wasn’t real.
She sat down on her bed, her tears dripping down her face and she looked down at her hands.
“Darling,” he began cautiously. “With your permission, I’ll write to my parents and ask Mother to invite you to stay at the Manor during the entire break. You can come and go as you please. Visit your friends, have them come to our house regardless of blood status. I understand that Gryffindor has half-bloods and Muggleborns”—the word sounded so unnatural on his tongue—“You’ll have true independence and food to eat. I won’t press you as regards our relationship.”
“I can’t,” she said, looking up. “It’s not fair to you. None of this has been fair to you.”
Lucius knit his eyebrows. “I don’t follow.”
“I’m a Muggleborn.” She had to rip the words out of her and she couldn’t look at him.
However, he laughed, a nice rich laugh. “Impossible.”
“It’s entirely possible,” she told him. “You think I don’t know my parents? My own sister calls me a ‘freak’ and ‘unnatural’.”
He shook his head in amusement. “Dearest, loveliest Lily. Your wand would have been rejected at The Wicked Stepmother if you hadn’t been a pureblood.”
Lily stared at him. “What? No wonder Black seriously thought I’d lose the wager.” She then wistfully looked out the window. “However did I become a pureblood?”
“That is a question for another day,” Lucius said simply. “Will I see you tomorrow before breakfast so I might introduce you to my friend?”
She looked at him with a tear-stained face. “Yes. If I’m not there, come bang on my door. I usually wake up by wand, but outside of Hogwarts…”
They exchanged a knowing look.
“Bring your membership card,” he told her. “He knows already, but it will suitably impress him.” Lucius gave her one longing look before leaving and Lily went to sleep with more questions than when she had awakened earlier that day.
The morning was bright and fresh and her robes were terribly simple compared to her other two sets. They were silver and fell to the floor at the waist, the bodice embroidered with white lace. They floo’ed into a marble hall and Lily was taken up marble stairs before being brought into a small breakfast room.
An impressively dressed man in black and maroon silks was sitting at the table set for two stood and he offered her the other seat. Voldemort had the face of a snake, which startled her, and Lily looked to Lucius, who held his hand out.
“What should I call you?” she asked as she sat across from Voldemort and served herself a croissant and bacon.
He looked at her a moment. For the first time, as the collar was so short, Lily wore her hair in a simple bun on the top of her head. “The Dark Lord,” he said in a high voice. “ ‘You-Know-Who’ and ‘He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named’ become so tiresome, Mademoiselle.”
She took her membership card out of her white purse. “I was told you might like to see this, although you already know.” Sliding it across the table, she then chose which jam she wanted and looked at him out of the corner of her eye.
Voldemort picked it up and then tilted it back and forth. “You should be honored, Mademoiselle Lily. The last one of these that was given out was when I was a school boy, and that was to me.” He slid it back and she put it back in her handbag. “I hear you are new to politics.”
“Yes,” she agreed. “Until last night, I thought I was a Muggle-born. I was pranked during a wager when I was sent to get that card. I’ve only ever thought of myself as a Muggle-born. However, I hate how my family treats me because I have magic and I hate how my best friend is treated because he also has magic.”
“Is he a Mudblood?”
She closed her eyes at the word, but chose to ignore it. “Half-blood. His Muggle father beats him and his pureblood mother. I have a rather—jaded—view of it all. I’m not sure if that’s called politics or life experience.”
Voldemort took his time and drank his tea, looking at her carefully. “Heir Lucius told me of your life. I find it disgraceful that you are forced to play cards for food because your father is too drunk to earn enough money to buy it for you and your Squib sister. Cards are for wizards at balls and the occasional witch who enjoys a flutter.” He paused. “I would prefer if you do not go back there. Your beau is willing to take on your financial needs as he’s planning on marrying you and it would be a personal favor to me.”
“I’m too young to marry. I could change my mind about him—and how are you sure I would follow you?”
He ignored the second question, as if he knew the answer already. “You’re not too young to bond,” he told her quickly. “You’re sixteen?”
She nodded her head.
“You’re of an age.—Have you cast an Unforgivable?”
Surprised at the change of topic, Lily simply shook her head.
“Would you like to?”
Lily was so surprised she stopped spreading jam on her croissant. “I—“ She took a deep breath. “I never thought about it. Actually, I’ve wanted to crucio James Potter, but Lucius said I’d probably kill him in three minutes.”
“Perhaps Heir Lucius will take you to practice on some deserving Muggles. If you’ve noticed, he’s taken your wand to have the trace removed from it. I’ll leave you to finish your breakfast in peace. I know that I make most people uneasy when they first encounter me—and I know from your card that once you use dark magic, you will love it. And I will give you more dark magic than you can imagine, black card.”
He stood and then came around to take her hand, raising it to just below his not-quite-there-lips in a pureblood nicety before releasing it. “We must find out who you are, Mademoiselle. Your parentage intrigues me.”
“I’m just a lost girl.”
“A lost girl perhaps,” he agreed in his high voice. “However, Lord Voldemort is intrigued by mysteries.” Then he was gone.
Lily let out a breath of relief. She ate her breakfast slowly and was surprised when she stood to leave, a house elf led her to a drawing room. She amused herself on the piano until Lucius returned with her wand half an hour later. “The Dark Lord wants me taken out to try out the Unforgivables on Muggles. What an odd introduction to Pureblood life.”
He came over to her and took her hand in greeting. “He wants to introduce you to the darker side of magic. You haven’t cast a dark spell at all, have you?”
“I don’t think so,” she offered. “I don’t suppose they’re taught at school.”
“Well,” he said gallantly, handing back her wand, “where would you best like to go?”
She looked at him a mischievously, and leaned against the back of the sofa, gazing into his bluer than ice blue eyes. “If I had to choose—“ She paused. “There is a certain Potter, and I would wish him distress if he were to discover dead Muggles.” Really, she didn’t know what was wrong with her. He was a bastard but he had set her up and made her life miserable for far too long…
Lily hadn’t heard the door open. “Fleamont and Euphemia, then,” a girl about her age said, coming in. Her hair was just as pale as Lucius’s though she had startling violet eyes.
“You’ve escaped my sister then,” Lucius teased, looking at the girl. “Lady Lux Kingsley, my dear niece, may I introduce my beloved, Mademoiselle Lily Evans?”
“Great Uncle Roman was correct,” she said as the three moved toward the furniture to sit. “You have called it off with Mademoiselle Narcissa. How singular of you, Lucius. If I may make an observation, Mademoiselle Lily has deep auburn hair.”
A tea set had appeared before them and Lux was serving it. Lily smelled it and realized it was Rose Tea and needed neither milk nor sugar. Lemon would be too much.
“I fear that your entire family has me at a disadvantage, Heir Lucius,” she said carefully, trying to sound as sophisticated a girl from Cokeworth could pretend. “Your family keeps on referencing an individual I know nothing about.”
“Dear me,” Lux stated. “I’ve overstepped.”
Lucius, however, was looking into Lily’s eyes. “My family is merely concerned with rank and the Malfoy tradition of securing a life partner with blonde hair to produce heirs with a similar coloring.”
That barely explained anything. She decided to change the subject. “I should pack. Sev said I could use his floo as his father is out until about five so I can at least tell my sister I’m not coming home this summer.”
“Lux,” Lucius demanded, and his niece quickly put down her tea and left the room. Standing, Lucius placed a gentle hand on Lily’s upper arm. “I’m sorry my extended family has made you feel unwelcome. That is not the case with all of us. We’re in the Heir Wing so you have yet to meet my Mother and Father who heartily approve of you.” He withdrew a piece of sealed parchment and handed it to her.
Lily looked at it and saw the familiar seal that showed that it was personal correspondence of the House of Malfoy. In it was an invitation for the entire summer, just as Lucius had promised, with rooms in the main wing. She looked up at him.
“It’s for proprietary’s sake,” he told her. “Come, let’s get your things and inform someone you live with.
“You can’t wear that,” she told him, looking at his clothes. “You need to try to look like a Muggle.”
“How?” he asked.
“Um.” She bit her lip. “Can I see your closet?”
His look told her that was not an option.
She looked down at his trousers. “Below the waist just makes it. No cane. Have you been to any music concerts? The ones that give out t-shirts? When you were a teenager maybe?”
“I have a school friend,” he admitted.
“Your hair is fine. It’s the seventies. Meet you back at the Leaky Cauldron?” She looked at him hopefully.
“No,” he answered. “I’ll give you a bag of floo powder. You can send your trunk here and I’ll meet you there. What’s the address?”
Packing up was easy and Lily just slipped into a yellow sundress, a white sweater, and treads. She sent her trunk ahead. When she arrived at Spinner’s End, she saw Severus waiting for her. He looked at her warily. “I’m waiting for my beau,” she apologized. “He had to go find something more Muggle-ish.”
“Is that the pureblood everyone in Slytherin is talking about? The one sending you letters?”
“You’re talking about it?”
“Of course we are,” Severus spat. “Heir Regulus might not give names, but everyone knows the basic situation and, coupled with the fact that you are suddenly discovered to be a pureblood, well …” he remarked sourly.
“Shut up,” she snapped. “We’ve been best friends since childhood. Our friendship even managed to survive”—the fire burned green but neither noticed—“even when you called me ‘Mudblood’ after I helped you out of that scrape with Potter.”
“Well, you’re not a Mudblood.”
“Thank you,” Lucius stated as he came up to them wearing a Caliban t-shirt, which made Lily smile, “I was aware of that.”
“Caliban?” she asked. “You do know they abuse potions to further their musical experience?” She then laughed a bit, looking into his eyes.
“I was aware,” he said. “However, you said a musical t-shirt. This is all I could get within half an hour. I have a friend who has a younger brother who apparently idolizes them. I had to promise him tickets for two at their next concert. If he weren’t already in Slytherin I would swear he belonged there.”
Severus seemed to come to his senses. “Lily, what have you done? The Malfoy-Black alliance was the wedding of the decade!”
Lily looked at him strangely before turning back to Lucius. “Can you transfigure your trousers into jeans? I think it would look better.”
“Your friend will get a warning from the Ministry as the trace will be followed back to him.”
“I’m not sure he doesn’t deserve it,” she muttered, although she got up from her chair and, without saying goodbye, led Lucius out of the front door. “Sorry about that,” she stated. “He, well, I’m not sure what’s wrong with his head at the moment.”
He sighed. “I really should explain about Narcissa. It’s not fair to you.”
“No,” she told him, coming up to her door. “I have no idea what everyone is going on about.”
She didn’t bother to knock on the door. She just opened it. “Dad!” she called. “Tuney! I’m home!”
They both could hear footsteps as someone came down the stairs and Lily looked up to see Petunia, her face like a horse’s, her neck long, her hair blonde, in jeans and a tank-top. “Freak,” she greeted.
Lily just rolled her eyes. “Just popped by,” she said as if her sister hadn’t insulted her. “Lucius’s mother invited me to stay the summer, so you won’t have to deal with me until, well, next June. I thought you wouldn’t want an owl and the post would have taken too long.”
“I suppose the one behind you is Lucius. Did you get yourself a freakish boyfriend?”
“No,” she snapped. “He’s normal, as you would say. He’s also filthy rich as far as I can tell. You seeing anyone?”
Petunia lifted her chin. “As a matter of fact, I am. Vernon Dursley. Wonderful sort. He’s going to do great things. There’s a picture of us on the mantle.”
Lily walked into another room and took down a picture, showing it to Lucius. In it was her simpering sister and a chubby man. “Lovely,” Lucius muttered. “More Muggles.”
“So it would seem.” She put it back and came to the bottom of the stairs. “We’re off, Tuney. See you next year. I’ll leave a message for Dad.” She took something out of her pocket and just left it on the table.
Walking out the door, Lucius followed. “The idea of you coming from pureblood Squibs is preposterous now. That girl looked nothing like you.” They turned back toward Severus’s house but they sat down on the porch at his urging. “No,” he murmured. “You’re a pureblood in some other way.” He looked at her with his gorgeous pureblood eyes, and then brushed a wayward curl from her forehead.
The time for the Muggle baiting came and Lily dressed in dragon skin pants that molded to her skin, tall black boots, a flowing black shirt, a bustier, and a black cloak with a hood. A pitch black mask was on top. She put it up to her face and it immediately molded to her. She looked in the mirror and saw that it was black and shimmered gold, the nose perfectly formed to cover her, the cheeks forming into waves. How odd.—All were provided to her, she presumed, by the Dark Lord, or at least to his specifications.
She got a little lost trying to make it back to the main staircase. Lucius must have sent a house elf to find her and she walked down the stairs, feeling like she was in some kind of a dream, the hood of the cloak somehow staying up by magic.
Lucius was waiting, his mask in his hand. It was different from hers, only shielding the left side of his face, jaunting backwards to allow his lips freedom. “You’re ephemeral in your beauty,” he told her. “And you have the honor of being the only person without a white mask. Perhaps it is because of your potential for dark magic. You surely have impressed the Dark Lord.”
“I’m still no one, wearing a black or white mask, Lucius. You can’t see my hair. I’m faceless, one of many,” she stated.
“But I can see behind it all,” he told her, tracing the line of her chin. “You’re still mine: mine to love, mine to protect, mine to keep if you will let me.”
Lily was genuinely startled, and gave him a soft smile.
He placed the mask over his face and she stroked his bone white cheek before he wrapped her in his arms. “Hold close,” he told her as she placed her cheek against his shoulder and clung to his lapels. Then they were gone into a forest near a graveyard. “Ah,” he said. “Ravens. How would you like to decorate Potter’s threshold with dead ravens?”
“Wouldn’t they be useful in potions?” She turned to him and realized that his cloaked head hid his glorious hair.
“I doubt it,” he murmured. “I believe they’d have to be killed naturally.” He smirked at her before pointing his wand at the flock—“omnes stupefy.” The flock suddenly stood still. “Now, darling,” he whispered in her ear. “Think of how much you hate Potter, how much you loathe him, and kill each one. You’ll know you did it when it teeters over.”
She glanced behind her and picked up her wand and whispered, “Avada Kedavra.” Nothing happened.
“A little closer.” He led her just to where the tree line started. “Think. He set you up to fail on that wager. Think of what you would have had to give him.”
Her first kiss, she thought and she said the words again and a green light flashed from her wand and three ravens were hit and fell.
“Brava!” he said quietly and kissed her cheek. “Now, try for accuracy. One at a time. You don’t want to accidentally kill a friend you like in a battle if you can’t kill a person directly beside him or when you need to come to his aid because he is in close contact to a foe.”
Soon, all the birds were dead.
Lucius conjured a bag and soon all the dead ravens were in it. He set it near the kissing gate as they walked through the quiet, sleeping village. “Who would you like to torture? I would recommend Potter but we’re here to cause emotional stress and bait Muggles. Unfortunately, he’s a pureblood.”
He smiled at her, his ice blue eyes flashing. “Where does he live?”
“Not sure,” she answered.
“Right,” he stated. “We’ll pick at random.” He stopped at a neat little house with a rose garden and knocked through the door, and they ran up the stairs and found a husband and wife and two children, a teenage boy and a preteen girl. Lucius silenced them and forced them out with Lily taking up the rear. The door was slammed shut and they entered the graveyard and into the thin trees just out of sight. It was easy enough to restrain them, hands behind their back and then fastened together so that they hugged the trees in a disgustingly beautiful mockery. Lucius was behind her when she tortured the husband with the Cruciatus Curse and he died within a minute and a half. They had silenced the area to intruders and the man’s screams were somehow exhilarating and she didn’t even need to think of Potter as she cast the Cruciatus Curse on the wife and the son. She turned to Lucius when it came to the girl.
He kissed her masked forehead before he came up and tortured her for fifteen minutes, not killing her, before leaving her. “Shall we tie them to gravestones and leave a trail for them with the ravens out toward the road?”
“Potter gravestones?” she asked sadistically.
It was as good a plan as any. All that was left was the green mark of their mischief above the trees and when Lucius whispered the word morsmordre to her, she shot her magic into the sky, and they rushed away in a magical embrace.
They came back laughing far before moonset. They dropped their cloaks and masks and told a house elf to put them in their individual rooms and then wandered toward the kitchen where the same house elf made them pink lemonade, Lily’s favorite.
Neither had any doubt of the Dark Lord’s approval. He sent a bouquet of black roses to the Heir’s Wing—a sign of dark magic—applauding them for the ingenuity.
Two days later, Lily opened her eyes to see fresh white roses beside her bed along with a piece of parchment. Thinking they were from Lucius, she automatically opened it and was surprised to find it was personal invitation to a ball.
“It’s the Blacks,” Lux explained when they were at tea at The Wicked Stepmother. “There are four lords, Uncle Lucius is the heir to one of them, and another is the Blacks, Heir Regulus Black’s father. I believe you know him and his brother, Monsieur Sirius.”
“I do,” she answered cautiously. “I don’t know how to dance, at least, not the way they probably expect. It’s in a week. I don’t think I have time to learn.”
“Oh,” Lux said. “There’s plenty of time to teach you. We have an old family spell. All will be set to rights. I must admit I’m looking forward to seeing my godbrother there.”
Lily looked at her for a moment. “Who’s your godbrother?”
She honestly didn’t know how to respond to that, so Lily didn’t speak a word.
With the help of Lux, she chose a Ball Gown from her closet, all deep crimson and slashes about the arms, virtually no cuff at all, and in the regency period with no slashes to the skirt surprisingly.
Lucius had gotten a basic book on dancing and had held it to her temple, whispering words in Latin while he held his wand to her temple, and all of a sudden she knew how to dance. It was extraordinary.
“Tell me of Narcissa,” she begged one night when they were playing a simple game of Chinese checkers to amuse themselves. “I don’t want to encounter her and know—nothing.”
“Father chose her for me,” he admitted. “I tried to do my duty, but I was indifferent to her, and I did not want to be indifferent to my wife. I began to hate her for it so I put off proposing for months on end. I began to try and strategize how I could get out of the relationship without being the one to blame. Then I walked into The Wicked Stepmother and the rumors were flying about Lily Evans, the young witch who had so much power, and the idea intrigued me and then I saw you, sitting there with your tea, and you enchanted me.” He looked at her earnestly, his ice blue eyes shining through. “I hoped it was you, so beautiful and lovely, and although I am not a romantic I do believe that I fell in love you upon my first sight of you, Lily.” He took her hand, turned it over, and kissed her palm, making her gasp. “And then I heard that this strange unknown witch was in fact you, so I hurried to your side so I might secure you. That night I broke it off with Narcissa as I had a chance of a future with you. I didn’t care that you were so young; I would wait a decade if I had to for you to grow up and to gain your father’s consent, though we now know that Muggle is not your father. I didn’t care that you have auburn hair instead of blonde. I did not care that you had a name that no one would recognize. I loved you and that is all that mattered. For the first time, I put myself before my family.”
She paused, her hand still in his, and put down her checker. “And Narcissa is well born?“
“Yes,” he admitted. “She is the niece to Lord Black.”
“And she did not take it well.”
“I can only imagine. However, the only thing she has that you do not is her hair. You have magic, darling. Intoxicating magic. I could have married you in the tree line if you would have permitted and made our marriage bed in the forest.”
Lily remained quiet and then bowed her head in recognition of what he had said. “The Dark Lord said I was an age to marry. Is that what you want?” Her voice was quiet and she looked away.
Lucius reached out and touched her cheek until she turned to him. “I want what you want,” he promised. “If you want to wait until after Hogwarts, then we will wait. I love you. Believe me.”
She looked at him, her eyes softening. Lily couldn’t say the words back, and he seemed to speak the words that made her heart skip just for the smallest of seconds, but that was worth the world to her.
The night of the ball, Lucius was waiting for her, his parents smiling at the two of them, his mother taking a picture of them before they floo’ed away.
“What was that for?” Lily laughed.
“The mantle to show they approve of the relationship, and for my personal desk.” He whispered, “They like the idea I’m dating the darkest witch alive.”
“Your family is strange,” she countered before he led her to the floo. Immediately he was twirling her toward the floor and they stood in two lines across from each other and they were moving back and forth across from one another, switching partners, before coming back to one another, their gloveless hands grasping each other’s as they once again coming together. Lily laughed in joy, when the dance ended, clapping at the orchestra before Lucius took her hand and led her from the floor.
They stayed together, drinking glasses of champagne, dancing until there was a hush among the guests.
Lily looked toward the doors of the ballroom at Black Castle and that’s when she saw him: the familiar snake face, the elegance, the way he moved as if on the very air. He moved among the guests, not acknowledging anyone as everyone bowed and curtseyed to the man and then he came upon them and took Lily’s hand, raising it up to his lipless mouth.
“Black card,” he greeted. “I am glad to see you among your own people. I understand from Lucius that it is highly doubtful that you are remotely related to the girl who is said to be your sister.”
“No,” she answered, “Petunia and I have never looked alike.”
“Would you dance?” he asked, changing the subject. “The waltz, perhaps?”
“I was told that was a bit daring in wizarding culture,” she murmured, never breaking his gaze.
He leaned forward. “Let us break precedence.” Turning to Lucius, he said, “I will bring her back.”
Lucius bowed his head in answer.
The Dark Lord and Lily walked to the center of the floor and the Dark Lord made a signal to the orchestra. And then she was in his arms, neither saying anything until she murmured, “Do many wear a black mask?”
“No,” his high voice responded. “Only you. I thought it appropriate given your card and the fact that you are not my official follower. I don’t believe Lucius would allow it.”
She turned her head toward him and murmured, “He’s not my husband.”
“He has taken guardianship of you as you are an orphan, if you will. He’s your beau, he is old enough, you live in his home. Need I go on?”
Lily had nothing to say to him. When the dance ended, the Dark Lord brought her back to Lucius, and the night continued. Sometimes she thought she caught a glance of a familiar face, but it was gone as quickly as it had been there. Lucius danced almost every dance with her, whispers following her wherever she went, especially when the Dark Lord appeared again and claimed her.
“I have a thought,” the Dark Lord told her as he fetched her a glass of champagne. “You have a sister and a father, who are not a sister and father.”
“What if they were to—leave this earth—their bodies in tact? A green skull with a snake crawling from its mouth? Would that make you happy?”
“I don’t—“ She sat down on a chair, her head reeling.
“Lucius can grab a friend or two. They can help you, give you space, give you support, but this is your operation, black card. I’ve already spoken to Lucius when you were dancing with the Lestrange boy.”
She nodded, her mind in a whirl.
“Now,” he said, “let’s lay this Narcissa nonsense to a rest.” He helped her up from a chair and took her to where a man who seemed to be Lord Black was speaking with his colleagues.
“My Lord,” he said, bowing, but he ignored Lily.
“Will you not recognize my favorite?” he asked angrily. “Lady Lily Evans holds the highest place among my followers. Her antics against Muggles are truly sadistic and more than remarkable given that she’s had no prior training in the Dark Arts. I must admit that she is perfect as the potential bride for the Heir of one of the Four Lords.”
“I have an excellent teacher and master in the arts,” she told the two wizards.
Lord Black nodded to her. “Lady Lily, you are truly a welcome edition to our party. I will be certain that you are on Lady Black’s list of guests for all of our events.”
“Thank you,” she said strongly, looking into his gray eyes. “I have a great respect for your heir.”
The Dark Lord then lifted her hand and walked away, leaving through the double doors, leaving her to find Lucius, who instantly took her to the floor.
And then she felt it, as if the whole ballroom melted away and it was just she and Lucius. She was draped in dark red silks and he was elegantly wearing black and dark blue robes with a red waistcoat that subtly matched her. His hair was held back—and then magic occurred. Suddenly she felt her legs encased in dragon skin, boots taking the place of slippers, a cloak around her flowing shirt and bustier, hood down to reveal her braided hair that was up in a knot. A black mask hiding the top of her face except for her greener than green eyes.
Lucius was in his similar outfit, the white half-mask upon his face, his wondrous hair tied tightly against the nape of his neck. He was smiling at her slightly as if he knew what was happening. Their hands, somehow encased in dragonhide leather touched again and again, down the line, but there was no line. There was just them, two faceless wizards dancing with each other as if neither knew the other except that they were dark. Dark, dark, the magic forbidden to them dancing in their veins until the song ended. She nodded to him and she clapped to the orchestra that was not there and when she looked at Lucius: he placed a gloved finger to his lips.
Then she saw it. All around the ballroom were figures in black cloaks and masks, as if part of the room were put under a spell. Lucius took her hand and drew her to one guest who nodded to them when Lucius murmured, “Now.” Then a fourth joined their group and Lily followed as they placed their hoods up and the four held hands as Lucius side Apparated all of them to the street where Lily lived.
“Will they be home?” a deep voice asked.
“What time is it?” Lily asked. “I’m not wearing a watch and—well, if Tuney looks out the window and sees magic—“
“Who cares if she tells?” This was Lucius now, and he bent to kiss her forehead. He performed a small spell, which told them it was half past one.
“Good Lord,” she murmured. “I hadn’t realized I had danced that much. Both Petunia and Dad—sorry, the Muggle person-thing-er-right.” She had no idea what to call him. “Mr. Evans,” she decided, “should be there.”
“You carry a Muggle’s name?” the fourth asked, but Lucius stared at him. “What’s the plan?” he asked. “What does the Dark Lord want?”
“He wishes for Lady Lily to go in and kill them all. We’re here for back up as she has only killed Muggles whom she had never met before using the Cruciatus Curse. This is different. She knows these Muggles and she will be using the Killing Curse. We are to contain the situation and offer support and assistance when needed. Remember, Lady Lily is the Dark Lord’s favorite.”
“She’s ‘Black Card’?” the first asked incredulously.
“Strangely,” Lily supplied. “Now let’s go see how drunk my supposed father is.”
Getting into the house was, naturally, easy. They each had a lumos spell on their wands as they spread out along the downstairs. It was one of the others who found her not-father. He was drunk, as usual, his blond, grimey hair giving him away. He wore jeans, dead shoes that shouldn’t even be given to the Salvation Army, and a wife beater.
“That’s him?” Lucius asked. “You’re definitely not related. What color hair did your supposed mother have?”
“Er—blonde. From a box.”
“I don’t understand,” the lighter voiced wizard murmured.
“Later,” she promised.
She held her wand out and then, well, she froze. Again, Lucius was behind her, his hand holding out her arm, his gloved hand enveloping her fist. “Darling,” he murmured. “I want you to think not about what you are going to do, but every reason how he hurt you and even your sister.” When she didn’t respond, he continued, “He’s a drunk. He drank all your money away. He starved you. You had to earn your living playing cards with—“
“Avada Kedavra,” she murmured, green lights flashing out of her wand.
The man stopped snoring. Funny, she hadn’t realized that he was. One of the other wizards rushed forward and felt for a pulse. “He’s dead.” It was confirmed.
Lily felt her feet give way and Lucius immediately caught her and put her in an armchair. “Better than ravens?”
“They didn’t make me tired.”
“It can be a bit tiring at first,” the man with a higher voice and a pierot mask agreed. “How many more?”
“The one,” Lucius answered. “The daughter.”
They each went upstairs and fanned out again, Lily taking Petunia’s room. There she was sleeping, her Muggle boyfriend with her. She hated the sight if it; it made her sick. The sound of her killing her sister woke the Muggle. “Who? What are you?” he stammered.
“I’m a freak,” she answered. “Has Petunia never mentioned me?”
“She said,” he gulped, “that you were in a facility for the criminally insane!”
Lily looked over her shoulder and saw the deep voice looking at her. “Well,” she replied, “you know what they say about us loonies. We’re great at picking locks and killing people. Avada Kedavra.” When the deed was done, she looked at her companion. “I think he died naked. How disgusting.”
Pierot was the one to place the Dark Lord’s mark in the sky and then they all whispered back to their respective homes.
She was giggling when they arrived in the marble entryway. “I killed them. I killed that fat Muggle! How is this happening? I want to run out of this house and point at anything and make it dance for my own amusement. I want to kiss you and never stop but I somehow know you’ll never let me.” She grasped his chin with her fingers. “Oh, Lucius…”
“We can’t until we seal our engagement with a kiss and then not again until we seal our marriage.”
She leaned back as if slapped. “What?”
“I am sorry, Lily.”
“Why not?” she asked in little more than a whisper. “Why for heavens not? I’m of an age. I know I still have years of Hogwarts, but—“
And then he leaned down and kissed her, softly. There was promise in that kiss, more than she could ever imagine. “We will find who—“
“I don’t care,” she breathed. “We know I’m a pureblood. We know I’m dark and the Dark Lord’s favorite. Need we know more?”
“Well,” he laughed a little. “There is my curiosity.”
Lily looked at him through her mask. “Then do it on your own time when I’m at Hogwarts,” she told him, before she grabbed his hand and ran out of doors, the albino peacocks scattering in her wake.
When she woke up late next morning, it was to find the afternoon edition of the Daily Prophet open to the announcement section. In it was circled one particular one that was in rather large print, which somehow had a picture of her and Lucius that must have been taken at The Wicked Stepmother. She squealed. Her life would never be the same again.