Part of the Willow Series
Summary: She didn’t realize when she ran that she would turn into a rare magical being that was hardly seen in the wizarding world, nor did she bargain for being given as a pet to the Dark Lord. fem!Harry/Voldemort
Dedication: This is for Flurry, my wonderful dog who died. (Written December 2014)
Warnings: rule 63, animagus forms, slight cruelty to animals (blame Lucius), bestiality (if you squint, but not really, pureblood prejudice(s), misspelling of an Egyptian god’s name
It had been quite a surprise. She had been walking through the Forbidden Forest, thinking on how she wanted to escape, her hands running along the rough bark of trees, when it had happened.
From what Flora Potter knew, one had to study to become an animagus. It took years of spells and preparations, but perhaps because of her father and what he had left in her genes, a scream tore out of her and she bounded down a path that she hadn’t noticed she was following.
She smelled a human and was interested as to why one would come so deeply into the forest. Even she would not have dared.
Flora reached a small clearing and saw, hunched over, Severus Snape collecting various flowers from beneath a tree.
However, he was more than Severus Snape. He was his magic. It was strong and mauve and alluring and as she sniffed it through her nostrils, it empowered her as if she were feasting on it.
She barked at him. That was strange, then. Not a deer as she had originally thought. Snape looked up, startled. “An annubis,” he whispered to himself, and he came forward hesitantly, leaving his basket of potions ingredients behind him. “Hush, beauty. I don’t mean to harm you.” His magic rang true—how could she know this? She wondered.
Warily, she let him approach and he came up to her and petted her lightly.
“What are you doing here? Shouldn’t you be around wizard magic to strengthen yourself?” Snape asked. “You are, after all, a creature of both human powers and animal body. I know you can understand me.”
Flora eyed him suspiciously, but he leaned down and scratched her throat. She smelled him. He smelled like someone who would not harm her, of potions ingredients, and that wondrous, life-giving magic.
“Were you abandoned? We can’t have that,” he murmured softly. Flora had never heard him be so kind to anyone before, let alone her. “I know just the master for you. His magic is powerful and it will make you strong.”
She had no idea what he was talking about. At all. However, his fingers felt so good against her throat—and it seemed like he was promising her a home of magic—magic that might be even better and more fulfilling than his—
Flora knew she was ridiculous even for considering it. However, the Dark Lord was back. He had possessed her at the Ministry of Magic and now everything had changed. If she could escape… If she could live… If she could be happy…
Snape was now conjuring a thin chain and stringing it around her neck. “So you don’t get lost through the floo,” he told her gently, rubbing a hand down her back. He went over to his basket, the thin chain trailing through his fingers, and then came back to her.
“Come, young one,” he murmured, and he led her from the clearing, back through the Forbidden Forest. She followed not because of the chain but because of that alluring scent of mystical power.
She knew she could change back at any time, at least she thought she could, but she was intrigued to see where he would take her. Dumbledore said she could trust Snape, and he had saved her life on many occasions. Perhaps he was saving her from the Dark Lord, she thought to herself, even though he didn’t know it was Flora he was saving.
“Your new master loves dogs,” Snape told her as they walked across the ground. Twilight was settling over Scotland and surely everyone must be in dinner by now. “I once heard him telling someone that he always wanted a dog when he was a boy. His familiar recently died, and I know he’ll appreciate a creature as intelligent as yourself.—He’s a great wizard. One of the greatest. His magic should sustain you.”
Flora looked up at him, confused, but still Snape’s magic hummed to her, and part of her understood on a primal level.
His black eyes peered down at her and he sighed. “Annubi feed on magic instead of food,” he offered. “You must have been going hungry in the forest. It will explain why you’re so thin. Annubi feed the best off of wizard’s magic.”
Strange, Flora thought, she had never learned about these dogs in Care of Magical Creatures. Perhaps they were for more advanced years, she thought to herself.
The corridors of Hogwarts were deserted—indeed, it must have been dinner—and Snape led her down to the dungeons. His rooms were sparse but there was a floo there. He threw in some powder and called out ‘Malfoy Manor,’ much to Flora’s astonishment.
She tripped out of the floo and Snape caught her. “There now,” he whispered. “We’re almost there.”
They traveled through marbled halls and up a grand staircase, then off to the right where there were several rooms lining a corridor. Snape stopped at one of them and knocked. Magic flickered around, past various doors, but the strongest was behind the one they were about to enter, and she wagged her tail in anticipation.
A deep voice murmured, “Come in,” and Flora was led into the room.
Behind a desk, drinking a tumbler of whiskey, was the most beautiful man she had ever seen. His dark brown eyes were almost red and his chestnut hair was clipped to his ears in the Roman fashion. He had long pianist fingers and there was something oddly familiar about him. His magic roiled about him like a great storm and Flora just breathed it in, basking in its beauty and strength.
“Severus,” the man greeted. “I had not expected a report. What do we have here?”
“A gift, my lord,” Snape offered with a bow. “I know how Nagini was recently taken ill and died, and I thought you might like a suitable familiar.”
My Lord—Voldemort! How did he look so human? Flora shifted away but the chain held fast and the Dark Lord stood and came around the desk. He looked at her.
“An annubis?” he whispered in awe. “However did you find one? They are an endangered species, Severus.”
“I found her in the Forbidden Forest. It’s clear she’s been starved for magic. I thought that you might help in that regard.”
“Hello, beauty,” the Dark Lord said and then, surprisingly, he was crouching down in front of her and petting her ears. Sparks of magic leapt from his fingers and she purred slightly at the wondrous contact. “She’s a marvel, Severus, thank you. She will be well looked after here.”
Snape bowed and extended his hand with the chain. Voldemort took it and then Flora was left alone with him—and his magic.
“I will not play coy with you,” Voldemort murmured. “There have been rumors for centuries that annubi transform into humans while their masters sleep, and I will offer you every amenity possible. I will even leave out parchment and ink so that you may write me messages if you should want anything.—But I will be a good master, I give you my word. I loved Nagini greatly before a rare blight on snakes took her from me. You shall want for nothing.”
Flora looked up at him soulfully with her green eyes and he leaned forward and surprisingly kissed her nose. The spark was still there and she breathed it in, wondering at her new form and how she could just live on magic.
“You need a name, beauty.” He looked to be in thought. “Anwen,” he decided. “It means ‘very beautiful,’ and you are certainly that.—Come, it is nearly dinner and it is best to introduce you to our hosts.”
They were in Malfoy Manor. Narcissa, who still looked like she had something unpleasant under her nose, took one look at Flora and congratulated Voldemort. “Wherever did you get it?” she asked. Magic danced around her, less powerful than around Voldemort, as it did around every wizard in the room.
“She,” Bellatrix Lestrange corrected. “I think she’s a bitch, is she not?”
“Anwen,” Voldemort corrected, “is a lady and should be treated as such. I want everyone to perform small acts of magic around her, even if it’s so simple as warming up your tea, so as better to feed her. We must keep her healthy.”
“Yes, she looks underfed,” a wizard agreed. “Some house elf prepared food should do for now.” Without thinking about it, he took his plate off the table and set it on the floor.
Narcissa looked affronted.
Flora, however, had missed her dinner and so eagerly ate the sole and potatoes. It was strange eating off a plate on the ground, but she did it nonetheless.
The chain had slackened around her neck, but she returned to Voldemort when she was finished. He seemed to strangely be the friendliest character in the room—his magic certainly was the most caring and the most nourishing.
Voldemort stayed up well into the night in his study. He’d conjured a dog bed for Flora, fluffy and comfortable, and she had napped while he scribbled away on parchments and made his way through a whisky decanter.
After a few hours, she was woken up by a gentle hand running its way down her body, the familiar sparks of magic flying between his fingers and her fur, and she looked up to see Voldemort.
“Anwen,” he murmured. “It’s time to go to bed.”
Not at all willing to leave her comfortable bed, she eventually yawned and sat up, letting Voldemort rub her ears.
It was strange. He was so human now. He looked like a human; he acted like a human. He treated her with love and respect. She wasn’t just a dumb beast to him. He treated her like a sentient being and recognized her need for magic.
There was no dog’s bed in his room and he patted the end of his four-poster. “Up!” he commanded and she looked at him balefully. “Come, Anwen,” he sighed. He was strangely wearing pajamas of all things. It didn’t seem fitting for a dark lord. “I know you’ll be more comfortable here than near the fire, however warm it may be.”
She eyed him warily and then tentatively jumped on the bed. He rubbed her back and then settled in the bed. “Just don’t push me out from my side,” he instructed.
The first night, she slept.
It wasn’t until four days later that she caught the headline of the Daily Prophet that was declaring that she was missing. Voldemort looked at her speculatively.
“Well, I don’t have her,” he declared over the morning meal. “I wonder what trouble Flora Potter’s gotten herself into now.”
Flora wondered exactly the same thing.
Still, every day she would follow Voldemort wherever he went and felt herself feed off of his magic. It was a strange symbiotic relationship, yet here she felt safe from the war. It was strange that in the enemy’s camp she would find such safety, but she had never felt so secure at Hogwarts.
It took her a month before she felt safe enough to transform at night. The parchment and quill were left out for her on a side table and she simply wrote, ‘books on magical dogs.’ She tried to make her handwriting seem elegant and sloping and not its usual chicken scratch, and she somehow managed it. She wondered if the quill was charmed.
Voldemort looked at the parchment the next day. “I’ll see what they have in the library,” he told her. “They may only have basic creature books but you may find annubi in there.” He smiled at her, a warm, heartfelt smile that made Flora’s canine heart skip a beat. She secretly blamed it on the magic, even though that probably wasn’t the reason.
Over the next few weeks, when he’d step out of his office, Flora would transform and look over the notes he was making. One such time he seemed to be restructuring St. Mungo’s. It seemed wrong somehow. She penned a note.
It took him two hours to find it.
Voldemort looked over at her. “You want me to make a separate Muggle-born children’s wing instead of turning them away? I suppose it’s to allow them to not expose our secret.” He looked at her. She looked back at him with puppy eyes she had perfected over the past month and a half. “Very well. The idea has merit.”
Annubi were dogs not unlike Dalmatians. They were brown with white spots and pointed tails. Flora didn’t think they were the prettiest of dogs, but then again, it might all be a matter of taste. They couldn’t be bred but were instead born from the wild. No one knew exactly how this happened. They seemed to feed off of magic, specifically wizard magic, and died without it.
Flora wondered why she would transform into such a strange creature.
Christmas Eve was approaching and she made a decision. At night, she would nip into the Malfoy master suite and steal potions from Narcissa’s cabinet. It seemed Narcissa wasn’t a natural blonde. How odd.
There was also wizarding cover up that would help hide her scar. The night before Christmas, she took the potion and watched as her hair transformed from ebony curls to dark blonde waves. She took the concealer and covered up her angry scar and then used Voldemort’s wand to cast a Notice Me Not spell on it.
Surprisingly, she hardly recognized herself. She doubted Voldemort would either.
Flora shook Voldemort awake. His eyes snapped open and took her in. She was still wearing her Hogwarts robes and he instantly had his wand in his hand.
“It’s me,” she squeaked. “Anwen. I thought I’d give you a Christmas surprise.”
“You’re a Hogwarts student,” he observed.
She shrugged. “I’m afraid I’m woefully behind on my studies. I wonder what one of my friends would say.”
He sat up and took her in. “You’re a woman, now.”
That was certainly confusing. “Yes, I suppose,” she admitted. “I was wondering if I could have Malfoy’s notes. Draco Malfoy. I know this is your Christmas present, but it would really help, and I could borrow your wand—“ She bit her lip, but Voldemort was moving toward her, a hand cupping the back of her head.
“This isn’t what you normally look like,” he surmised.
“I stole some of Narcissa’s potions,” she admitted. “Did you know that she’s not naturally a blonde?”
“I hadn’t thought on it,” he admitted. “I could get you more of the potion, Anwen, if you want not to be recognized.”
“Could you?” she asked eagerly. “It would be lovely to walk around the Manor, even if everyone’s asleep and—“
She hadn’t expected him to kiss her. At first her eyes were wide open, but then she remembered the man he was. Always planning for the future, trying to envision a better world.
The fact that he was Voldemort and had his Death Eaters wreaking havoc across England just didn’t make any sense.
This man was kind, and gentle, and loving, and—she had closed her eyes and given herself over to the kiss. His magic danced across the skin of the palm of his hand and into the flesh of her neck, feeding her. Interesting. It seemed she was somehow an annubis even as a human.
A tongue sought out the seam of her mouth and she opened her lips obligingly. Soon, the kiss deepened and she moaned despite herself and he chuckled.
“Tell me that was your first kiss,” he whispered against her mouth, her eyes still closed.
She breathed against him. “Does a peck on the lips when you’re only a third year from your friend’s brother count?” she asked. She remembered how George had kissed her, but there had never been anything more. Sometimes she thought she must have imagined it.
“Hardly,” he laughed and then he was kissing her again, softly and gently, until they finally pulled apart. Magic fed into the kiss, and she moaned not only from the contact but from the magic power that surged into her. “Anwen,” he breathed. “I knew when Severus gave you to me it was an act of Providence.”
“I chose to come,” she announced. “He promised me a home and I’ve never had one of those before.”
“Never had a home. Neither did I,” he admitted. “I was raised in an orphanage.”
It was surprising to hear him speak so frankly about his childhood. She hadn’t known much about him apart from the fact that he opened the Chamber of Secrets when he was a boy. Dumbledore had wanted to give her lessons on him but she declined. Some things should just remain in the past.
“I wasn’t left in an orphanage,” she admitted quietly. “Mum had a sister. She hates magic.”
“Squib then?” he murmured, tracing her bottom lip. “Your cheekbones tell me that you’re a pureblood.”
She didn’t deny it. She’d heard it enough before.
“Were there other children to play with?” she asked, cautiously. “I never had anyone to play with. They all thought I was abnormal.”
“No, they pretty much thought the same of me,” Voldemort agreed.
“You’re old enough to be my grandfather,” she realized. “You probably knew my grandparents! No, this can’t be right. I hear everyone calling you ‘my lord’ and you sign everything ‘Voldemort.’ I call you that in my head, but you can’t be him. He murders people. He tried to kill Flora Potter!” It was odd talking about herself in the third person, but she had to. She couldn’t admit who she was. Here, now, she was just Anwen—who was soaking up his magic even as they spoke.
Voldemort took her hands in his and stared at them. “I’m not a perfect man,” he admitted. “I have murdered people.”
“But why?” she asked desperately.
He laughed, the sound rich and full. “I have a vision for this future. I know you read my papers. I’ve seen your scribblings all over them. Sometimes people get in the way of that. Tell me, Anwen. Do you like Muggles?”
“No one’s asked me that before,” she admitted, startled.
“You were raised as one,” he surmised. “And didn’t it make you angry to learn that you weren’t a Muggle but a witch and that they’d been lying to you this entire time?”
She looked away from him, knowing that it was true.
“There are other punishable crimes, Anwen,” he murmured close to her ear. “Think on it. You’re young yet, perhaps you’ll understand with time.”
They remained sitting there, together, their fingers intertwined, magic passing from him and feeding her, and Flora sighed. “Let’s talk of something else. This is your Christmas present.”
“Then tell me of yourself, Anwen. You’ve observed me for months. I know nothing of you except that you’re an annubis.”
“I like languages,” she offered. “We took French at Muggle primer, and I rather excelled.” Flora looked him in the eyes. “I wish Hogwarts taught languages.”
“I see you’ve been reading my notes on Hogwarts.”
“I disagree with your approach to Muggle Studies,” she admitted. “But I would have liked languages.”
“Human or creature?”
She thought about it. “Human, I think. Make creature languages an elective, but have everyone studying French and Latin. I think it would improve our spellwork.”
“A valid point,” he agreed. “I’ll get you out some books in French. Various levels. We’ll see how much you recall.”
“Thank you, Voldemort.”
“Tom,” he insisted. “To you I’m Tom.”
She smiled at him.
Flora fell asleep in his arms, his magic humming her to sleep, only managing to wake up a few minutes before him and change into her animagus form, if it was even that. It seemed she was a magical creature that was not born but created.
For Christmas she was given all sorts of dog treats and, on Boxing Day, Tom presented her with a full closet of robes and hair potions.
“I want to take you to Diagon Alley,” he admitted, rubbing her head as she was in her annubis form. His magic filled her so she was no longer hungry. “The potion for your hair should last a month. However, I think it’s time we got you a wand.”
She was also given copies of all of Draco Malfoy’s notes for the semester.
He was rather an unexpected surprise. As soon as he saw her, he was down on his knees and rubbing her ears. “Oh, she’s excellent, my lord,” he said happily to Tom. “And so sweet.”
“She rather loves chasing after your peacocks,” Tom admitted. “She doesn’t catch them on purpose, but she does enjoy the chase.”
It was over break that Flora transformed once again in the morning before Tom was awake, her hair still blonde, and applied the cover up and Notice Me Not to her forehead.
When Tom woke up, he was greeted with the surprise of Flora Potter in blue robes, his wand dangling from her fingers. “Is today a good day?” she asked. “I heard Narcissa mention to Draco something about The White Witch and how they have divine food. Perhaps you can take me there.”
“I certainly wouldn’t mind being seen with you,” he said, getting up and drawing her close. “You look beautiful today, Anwen. However, your hair.”
“What’s wrong with it? Would you prefer it ginger because I don’t have any potions—“
“No,” he stated emphatically. “However, as a pureblood maiden your hair must always be on top of your head. Only your lord can see it down, along with family members.”
“I don’t know what you mean by ‘lord.’”
“Husband,” he clarified. “Instead of ‘husband’ and ‘wife,’ we say ‘lord’ and ‘lady,’ Anwen.”
“I don’t know how to put up my hair,” she admitted. “I just—would a ponytail work?”
“Decidedly not.” He got up from the bed and went into the en suite. Five minutes later he was wearing his usual black robes. He took her hand and led her to the room where she had found Narcissa’s potions.
He knocked on the door. There was a flurry of activity and then a ruffled Narcissa Malfoy in a dressing gown and a net on her head emerged. “My lord?”
“Anwen needs her hair styled,” he said pleasantly. “We’re going out for the day.”
“Anwen?” she asked in confusion, looking at Flora. “Of course, my lord. She’ll be ready by breakfast.”
Flora’s hair went down to the small of her back (Aunt Petunia never bothered to cut it) and Narcissa went to work on it. “You must show deference to the Dark Lord at all times,” she advised. “Remember that he is the most powerful wizard England has seen since Merlin and Morgana.”
“I’ve been living with him the past few months,” Flora defended. “I think I know how to act around my own master.”
“You’re human now. It’s different, Lady Anwen.”
If only Narcissa knew how different.
Tom kissed her hand when he saw her and led her to the place next to his. He didn’t pay any attention to any of his followers, though he did glare at Draco Malfoy when he caught him staring too much at Anwen.
The chime tinkled when they entered Ollivander’s. “My, my,” the wizard said. “Mr. Riddle. It has been an age.”
“We’re here to get Lady Anwen a wand,” Tom explained and he led her forward to the old wizard.
“Ah, yes. An annubis. Your identity is safe with me, young lady. Now, what to get you considering your previous wand?”
She ended up with holly and unicorn hair and it was rather supple in her fingertips.
“This feels so different from my other wand,” she admitted as they strolled through Diagon Alley. They were making their way toward a glass dome that Flora strangely hadn’t noticed before. “I like how I can feel magic spark through my fingertips. It’s feels like when you touch me. I’m feeding the wand magic, just like you feed me.”
“It may respond to you that way because you are now an annubis. I take it you were not always one.”
“Part man, part beast,” Tom whispered. “The stuff of legends.”
“Tom,” Flora suddenly said, stopping. “Where is this going? Am I to forever be your dog until you may one day be defeated?”
“I’ve made arrangements,” Tom explained, leading her forward. “You’re to be given to a neutral family anonymously. You can, of course, transform and claim you were my prisoner, Flora.”
They looked at each other and understanding passed between them.
“Did you think I would not notice the Notice Me Not spell on your forehead?” Tom mused.
“But you never said anything!”
“You are my faithful companion Anwen,” Tom said decidedly. “You could have killed me as I slept at any point. However, you didn’t. Instead, you chose to stay by my side, feed off of my magic, and be a loving and loyal dog.”
“You won’t tell Dumbledore? Or Snape?”
“I’ll tell no one,” Tom agreed. “It’s our little secret.”
The White Witch was heavenly. Narcissa had booked them a table and a photographer even took their picture given the high priority location they were given.
“Think of what I could give you, my dear, when it’s all over,” he murmured over a glass of champagne. “Think of what I can give you now.” He slid a box over to her and she carefully opened it.
Inside was a ring with a stone pressed into it.
“An old Gaunt relic,” he breathed. “I want you to have it.”
“Who are the Gaunts?” she asked, as she allowed him to slip it on her ring finger. “Are we engaged?”
“My mother was a Gaunt. They were descendants of Salazar Slytherin.—and, yes, we are.”
“But you tried to kill me as a baby. You murdered my parents!”
“Facts which you have chosen to overlook by staying with me. In a court of law we have been living as wizard and wife since the day you came to Malfoy Manor. It’s only right that we make it official. And I want you. I always get what I want.”
That sent a shiver through her and she looked into his brown-red eyes and read only truth there.
“I’ll marry you if you get rid of my scar,” she said decidedly. “And we will never speak of the prophecy.”
“No, if we ignore it, it should become defunct. I’ve spoken to some seers—one says that it has already come to pass.”
Flora looked up at him, startled. “You’re serious.”
“I’m always serious,” he stated and then he took her hand and kissed the ring, magic flowing from him into her. She didn’t really need to eat the food. She was never hungry with all of Tom’s magic around, but still it tasted heavenly. “Dumbledore need never know. Flora Potter will merely fade out of existence, and Anwen Riddle will take her place.”
“I’ll stay blonde,” Flora warned. “I won’t have anyone connecting me to—before.” She sighed. This was madness. Absolute madness. However, Tom had given her a home, he wanted to give her a life apart from The Chosen One and the Girl-Who-Lived. She’d seen his plans for the future. Most of them were forward-thinking and he listened to her tweaks and suggestions.
How could she even be thinking this? It spat in the face of everything in which she believed.
But then she looked at the man across from her. He was kind to her, loving. No one had loved her before.
“Do you love me?” she whispered. “I’m your dog, I know, but do you love me?”
He paused, as if considering. “You are my faithful companion. You want nothing from me but affection, and I will be an affectionate husband to you, Anwen.”
“That’s not the same as love,” she persisted. “Do you love me, Tom? Or do you simply want to keep me?”
“I will learn to love you,” he decided. “I already care more for you than I have any right to. You have worth to me, Anwen, your humanity—if we can call it that. You’re now a magical creature by rights—I can’t say that about anyone else I’ve ever known.”
“But can that be enough?” she sighed.
He had no answer for her.
There was a mass breakout of Azkaban. Flora knew that Tom was planning something. He’d taken to having private meetings with his followers while she remained curled up on her dog’s bed in his study. She hadn’t questioned him about these meetings. She realized that some aspects of his organization should be private. He gave her privacy, after all. Some days she would spend in their room and just read books in French or study Malfoy’s notes.
She rarely showed herself in human form except to Tom. Flora felt odd around the Death Eaters. She didn’t like their assessing looks or the way they praised Tom for taming her.
Annubi, she read, were sought after creatures. They were believed to bring good fortune to their human mates and death to anyone who crossed them. It didn’t seem like there was the same stigma to the fact that they were beings as there were to Centaurs and Veela. She found it strange, but didn’t question it.
Lucius Malfoy was the strangest addition to the household. When he first saw her, he kicked her in the stomach. No one was around to see. His magic was oily and vile and made her sick on top of it.
That night she transformed as soon as she was alone with Tom in their room and huddled into his arms. “He’s hateful,” she spat. “He kicked me and then poked me with his horrid cane when I snarled at him.”
Tom tensed. “Lucius Malfoy?” he guessed. “We’ll soon see about that.”
Flora heard the screams echo in the study the next morning, the magic shrieking and yet full of power and nourishment. Tom had called Lucius in and had promptly put him under the Cruciatus Curse. “How dare you harm my familiar! Did you think I would not know? Lord Voldemort knows all! Crucio!”
She looked away, being unable to bear it, but she still heard his cries for mercy.
“Are you so stupid that you do not recognize an annubis when she is in your presence? Annubi are sacred to us, you wretched creature!”
That was something that Flora had not read. It would explain why there was no stigma attached to them and human-annubi relationships were seen as blessed.
“I’m sorry, my lord,” he screamed. “I thought she was a filthy cur!”
“Then Azkaban has muddled your brains,” Tom answered. “Now get out of my sight and if you ever harm Anwen again, I will have your head on a spike and put it up on the lawns!”
Lucius Malfoy fled the room.
Tom was attentive that night once she’d transformed. He brushed her hair and kissed the side of her neck, his hands on her shoulders.
“What is it?” she asked him in curiosity.
“I want you to sleep in my arms tonight.”
She looked up at him, turning in her chair. Somehow a vanity had appeared after Christmas and she had just sort of accepted it. “Wouldn’t that be worse than sleeping on the same bed as annubis and wizard?”
“No one will know,” he persisted. “Everyone in the manor knows that my companion is you. They know we share a room. What harm could it do?” He kissed her lightly, sweetly, and she still marveled at the fact that he was Voldemort.
“I’ve never slept with anyone before,” she admitted. She wondered what his magic would feel like that close to her body all night. Remembering Christmas Eve, she was sure that it would be heavenly. “Except that time when that spell went wrong and Lavender’s bed was soaked and she shared with me. She elbowed me all night.”
“That hardly counts,” Tom murmured. “Come. I want to hold you in my arms.”
“Are you sure you’re Voldemort?” she asked, standing. “I have nothing to wear.”
“Au contraire,” he said, going into her closet. He came out with a silk nightgown that would barely cover her thighs.
“I’m not having sex with you,” she stated emphatically, arms crossing her chest. “This is ridiculous. I’m your dog.”
“You’re my Annubis fiancée,” he countered before going back into the closet. He came out with a pile of silk and handed it to her. She pulled at it and saw that it was a pajama shirt. “Is this more to your liking?” he asked quietly.
“Yes,” she admitted. Flora looked at him. “You won’t try anything.”
“I promise, Anwen. You know me to be a man of my word.”
True, he hadn’t harmed her and she knew he was studying the properties of her scar. He spent nearly an hour in the Malfoy Library every morning before dealing with his regular meetings and planning.
Flora sighed and went into the en suite. She looked at her reflection. Her curse scar was peeping out from behind her hair, dark gold and shining, and her face was glowing with health, something she had never seen before. It seemed she really did feed off of the magic of humans now that she was an annubis.
Nothing was known about how annubi came into existence, whether they were born or made. Flora now knew she wasn’t an animagus, but beyond that she really couldn’t say other than the fact that she had somehow morphed into a magical creature.
She changed out of her robes and into the pajamas that were pure white.
“I take it there’s symbolism,” she said as she came out of the bathroom. “The negligée was white as well.”
“It’s how I see you, darling—pure and innocent. Untouched.”
“Can you spell me a hair tie? I don’t want it getting in my face.”
“Very well,” he agreed and then, with a wave of his wand, handed one over to her. It, strangely enough, was also white.
The ring was still on her finger and she made to take it off for the night, but he quelled the motion.
“It won’t come off, dearest. It’s spelled not to.”
“I’ve never worn jewelry to bed,” she admitted, sitting down on the edge of the bed. She turned the ring with her finger. “This is nothing like the bands that Narcissa and Bellatrix wear.”
He pulled back the covers and gently lifted her underneath them. She rested her head on a pillow and Tom climbed in next to her, pulling her against his chest. He felt strong and warm, and Flora couldn’t help but nestle into his arms. He reached out for her hand and examined it. “They wear traditional engagement bands. They’re bought at a jeweler and are imbued with certain spells. Fidelity and protection charms, and the like. They are completely circular to show that magic never ends. It’s considered bad form to give a ring that has been worn before as most witches are buried with their engagement bands on their fingers.”
“Then why not give me one of those?” she asked, turning her head to try and look at him.
“I thought about it,” he admitted, “on Christmas Eve when you first came to me. I knew who you were—both my beloved Anwen annubis and Flora Potter—and decided that I would fly in the face of the prophecy and marry you. But we both come from Muggles, Anwen. We understand the meaning of family heirlooms, how precious they are. And this ring is special.”
“Why?” she whispered.
“It holds a piece of my very soul,” Tom murmured. “I trust you with my very life, Anwen.—Of course, I put the usual charms on it. It would not do to neglect you in the wizarding fashion.”
Flora turned so that she was facing him and he released her hand, the loss of his magic almost taking her breath away. “Your very soul?” she murmured. “I don’t understand.”
“It’s very old magic,” Tom explained. “When we’re wed, I’ll hide a piece of your soul so that we will live forever together. Death will not part us.”
A shiver ran through her. “Strange,” she said aloud. “I’d never thought about death except in the concept of you killing me.”
“You need never think of your death at all,” he promised her, kissing her scar.
She fell asleep in his arms, as if she had always belonged there.
It was a few mornings after that Tom insisted she come down to the breakfast table. She was kneeling on the bed, ready to transform, but he stilled her with his hand. His magic calmed her.
“I’d rather not,” she admitted, sitting up. “I don’t care for Lucius Malfoy. I’d rather just go to the library and wait for you there.”
“He needs to see you,” Tom argued. “My followers need to see that I’ve found my Dark Lady.”
“Don’t call me that,” she bit out. “It would kill my parents.”
“It’s what you are,” he said decidedly. “You’re my lady and I’m the Dark Lord.”
“I’d rather be Mrs. Riddle,” she admitted. “No one but Dumbledore knows of that name.”
“A few others from school,” Tom admitted. “Still, they must see us. I want rumors to circulate throughout Britain about you. You are someone to be respected, honored. Come, Anwen.”
She took his hand and tentatively stood. He brandished his wand and her scar was unnoticeable.
“I’ll just get dressed, shall I?” she said, waltzing into her closet. Really, she had far too many robes to choose from.
Eventually she settled on blood red and descended the steps with her lower forearm pressed against Tom’s arm, their hands resting one on top of the other. She could feel magic flashing between their skin. Tom insisted that this was how purebloods led their ladies, and she didn’t argue with him. She had noticed that a few books on comportment and manners had been added to her little table in their room just that morning.
As soon as Narcissa saw them together, she gave up her seat and Tom led Flora toward it. Lucius looked at her speculatively and then over at his wife.
“Friends,” Tom greeted the table, sinking into the chair at the head of the table. “I’m sure you remember Lady Anwen. I would like to announce that we have been engaged since just after Christmas. I trust that you’ll disseminate this information to the rest of my followers and even to Britain at large.”
Flora held his gaze, not willing to back down, before she looked over to Bellatrix. “Is there cocoa? I have a hankering. I haven’t had chocolate in so long.”
Still she felt Lucius’s gaze on her as she accepted warmed chocolate from a small house elf named Minxie.
There was toasting that night and Flora had her first taste of mulled wine. Tom had his arm around her waist and more Death Eaters than Flora thought existed came up to her and kissed her hand, wishing her felicitations.
She smiled, warm with wine, and didn’t protest when Tom finally took her cup from her hand and lifted her easily into his arms.
Tom found out nothing about her scar and soon it was the end of the school year. Flora was horrified to wake up one day to read The Prophet on Tom’s desk, declaring that Albus Dumbledore had been killed and Hogwarts openly attacked.
“What is this?” she demanded. “Who killed him?”
“My Death Eaters can’t decide if it was Draco Malfoy or Severus Snape. Either way, both are housed here at the moment. They’ll be paying their respects to you when you next show your human face to my followers.”
“But Dumbledore is dead!” she all but screamed. “You killed Dumbledore!”
Tom stood from his desk rather suddenly and looked her in the eye. “You know I kill people, Anwen. It’s not a secret. I capture and torture Muggles in this very house, where I keep you safe from the world. Don’t you know what I’m doing? I’m building us a better world, one that will be safe for our children, where they never have to fear Muggles like we did. Anwen, please.”
“But you killed Dumbledore,” she whispered.
“Yes.” He shuffled papers around his desk. “Did you know that his father died in Azkaban? He was sent there for torturing three Muggle boys, interestingly enough.”
“I didn’t—what does—“
“I’m saying there’s two sides to every story,” he whispered. “Now, go. You need some air. Walk the grounds a bit.” He raised his wand to her and she flinched.
He sighed and whispered a word. Her scar was now hidden. The magic at least soothed her and fed her, something which food no longer did for her.
Flora walked out the door, her head held high, and wound her way through the familiar corridors until she was standing outside in the fresh air.
“Ah,” Narcissa Malfoy said from her seat in the sprawling gardens. “Lady Anwen. You remember my son, Draco. However, have you met my two daughters? This is Lacerta,” she pointed to a familiar looking girl with platinum ringlets and blue eyes, “and little Iolanthe.” Iolanthe was no more than a child, possibly eleven. Flora thought she looked familiar from the sorting. She had golden hair like her mother and the Malfoy eyes.
“Hello,” she said. “Malfoy, thank you for your notes.”
“A pleasure, Lady Anwen. If there is any way I can serve—“ He left the sentence hanging open.
Flora nodded to him. “Perhaps you can help me with the practical side of your notes,” she suggested carefully. “I’ve been having difficulty with some of the wand movements.”
Iolanthe came up and took her hand before Draco could answer. Her magic was soft and sweet, just like she was. “Will you wear a crown?” she asked in childhood innocence.
Flora laughed. “I don’t know, Iolanthe. Perhaps for special occasions.”
“Does the Dark Lord have a crown for you?” Lacerta questioned.
“I have no idea,” she admitted. “It hasn’t come up.” She smiled a little, thinking of what type of crown she would wear, and what her parents would think. Would they believe she had sold her soul to the devil? Most likely. She remembered the Order. She remembered how Sirius had almost died at the hands of Bellatrix Lestrange. She recalled the prophecy.
Suddenly she felt overwhelmed.
Iolanthe tugged at her hand again. “There’s this jeweler that Mother goes to—The Glass Slipper. I can take you there and we can get a crown.”
Flora felt tears in her eyes. “Perhaps, little one,” she promised. “I’ll see what the Dark Lord has to say.”
She curled up in Tom’s office that afternoon on her dog bed and thought about how much her life had changed. She was no longer Flora Potter, she realized. Flora Potter had been declared dead given her long absence. She didn’t doubt that the Order hoped that she was merely captured and would be returned to them.
Their perfect little Chosen One.
How it sickened her.
“I need to go,” she declared one night. “To the Order. When my hair has changed back.”
Tom was in the process of turning off the lights when he looked at her. “Are you sure that’s wise, dearest?”
“No,” she said decidedly. “I’m not.”
“Then why in the old gods’s names would you want to go?”
“I’m their Chosen One. I want to say goodbye.”
“Couldn’t you do that in a letter?”
“A letter can be forged,” she reasoned. “No, I want to say goodbye to my godfather. I owe him that much.”
“I don’t want you going alone,” he stated a bit petulantly. It was odd to hear that tone in his voice, but she supposed Tom was used to getting his own way.
“Then send Snape with me. He’s infiltrated the Order—did you know? I figured you must have given the fact that you seem to know everything about your followers. He must be on your side because he gave me to you,” she reasoned.
“You’ll go in human form,” he stated emphatically. “In the dead of night. We’ll shroud your hair so that it can’t be seen. Pureblood ladies do it sometimes. Narcissa doesn’t favor it but Bellatrix sometimes does.”
“When shall I go?”
“The night before we rid you of that scar. I want them to see it so they will have no recourse against you once we step out into the world.”
“When will that be?” she questioned, fluffing up her pillow.
“Soon,” he promised. “Very soon.”
Lucius was proving to be a problem. Lessons had commenced with Draco and both Flora and Tom were pleased with how she was proceeding under Draco’s tutelage. His magic was a wave of untapped potential and while it was not as nourishing as Tom’s, it was like a light snack in the afternoon.
She was once again wrapped around herself on her dog bed when Lucius came storming into Tom’s study. “I don’t want her,” he pointed to Flora with his cane, “anywhere near my son. He’s getting ideas.”
Tom at first did not look up. “Ideas?” he questioned. “What kind of ideas?”
“He thinks,” Lucius seethed, “that she is the perfect woman. She’s a dog!”
“She can hear you,” Tom put in lightly. “And she is not a dog. She is an annubis, one of Mother Magic’s blessed. Annubi date back to Ancient Egypt and carry magic that we cannot begin to comprehend.”
“She is a creature!”
“Do I have to kick you out of your own estate?” Tom said coldly. “I will not hesitate.”
Lucius paled. “No, my lord. Of course not, my lord.”
“Then the matter of Lady Anwen is settled. I don’t want to hear another word about it.”
Flora looked up from her bed and leveled a stare at Lucius. He had the sense to swallow.
“It’s time,” Tom told her one evening. “Bellatrix will do your hair tonight. Severus is here. He will keep you safe.”
The task of having her hair covered was arduous. There were so many spells put in place and Bellatrix was conscious that her hair could not be showing at all. It was still blonde, after all. The potion seemed to have taken effect and made it permanently that color. Tom supposed it was because she was an annubis.
Severus was waiting for her by the floo and she gave him a tremulous smile. His magic, at least, was familiar. She remembered it from that day in the Forbidden Forest.
He looked her up and down and focused on her scar.
“Sirius,” she whispered into the darkness of the kitchen and Kreacher appeared before her. “Where is Sirius?”
“He is being sleeping, half-blood.”
Flora sighed. She should have expected as much.
She climbed the stairs with Snape behind her and came to Sirius’s childhood bedroom. Knocking on the door three times, there was no answer.
Flora cautiously opened the door and saw Sirius prone on the bed, an empty bottle of whiskey on the floor.
“Trust Black,” Snape said. “He’s been like this since you went missing.”
She sighed. “Find a sobriety potion. He must have one somewhere.”
“There’s no need. I brought one.” Ever thoughtful, then. Snape always seemed to have the correct potion on him.
They roused Sirius and he looked at Flora in confusion before hugging her close to his chest. It was strange, hugging him. His magic smelled of alcohol and it made Flora feel a little ill. “Flora, darling, we’ve been so worried.”
Snape shoved the potion in his face.
“Snivellus,” Sirius growled as he took the potion and downed it. “I suppose I have you to thank for getting her out of You-Know-Who’s grasp.”
“It’s not like that, Sirius,” Flora tried to explain, remembering the story. “I’ve gone to France—to live out my life in peace.”
“But, Flora, you cannot possibly mean that. The war—“
“Is none of my concern. I’ve come to say goodbye.”
“I promised Lily and James I would always keep you safe,” he all but whined. His magic was still cloying and alcoholic. She tried not to gag.
“And you have, Padfoot, you have. Now let me see to my own safety, away from Voldemort who wants to kill me, away from a stupid prophecy that means next to nothing. Please, Sirius, let me go. I only came to let you know that I was alive and well and happy.”
“You’ve met a boy.”
“Yes,” she admitted. “He has grand plans for the future and if only you could hear them, Sirius, you would understand how great a world he’s hoping to build in France. He wants to go into politics, and it will be wonderful.”
“You have it bad, then,” Sirius surmised. “I thought you hated politics.”
“I hate the politics of being the Girl-Who-Lived,” she corrected. “There’s nothing wrong with politics in general.”
“Then I’ll come, too.” He tried to get up but he was a little unsettled on his feet despite the sobriety potion.
Snape’s wand was immediately out. “Your place is here, Black. Do not make me curse you.”
“Snivellus,” he sneered. “Are you taking her away for yourself? Because she’s Lily’s daughter?”
Flora looked up at Snape in question. He eyed her before looking back at Black. “Hardly. I am but a guide. Her boyfriend bid me take her and keep her safe. I have connections in France, given that there is a conference in Paris once a year on potions.”
Sirius snarled at him. He then closed his eyes and breathed heavily. “Then I guess this is goodbye, Pronglet.” He glanced over at Snape. “Make sure he gets you back to where it’s safe. I don’t trust him a wit, but he did get you here.”
“Thank you, Sirius,” and she kissed his forehead. This was their goodbye. She would probably never see him again.
His magic swarmed to the surface and she pulled away. It was sickening.
She came out of the floo in her annubis form and instantly sought out Tom. He was sitting in his study, drinking a tumbler of whisky, but he leaned down and petted the top of her head.
“Tomorrow, Anwen,” he promised as she looked up at him. “Tomorrow we will break the curse scar and we will be free forever.”
It was a promise that he would keep.