“This part is sparkling, don’t you let it go, I’m wonderstruck, blushing all the way home, I’ll spend forever wondering if you knew, I was enchanted to meet you.”“Enchanted,” Taylor Swift
“You do know she’s my cousin,” Imbolc stated imperiously as she watched one of the Carrow siblings about to torture little Io. “I am fond of the Malfoys and Selenadora Black. I would be most displeased if any harm were to come to them.”
She was taking a gambit, hoping that the Carrows would actually know she was someone of importance and, thus, would listen to her.
Amycus Carrow just sneered at her.
Imbolc inspected her nails. “My husband, while he goes by Peverell to ensure me anonymity, is a direct descendant of Slytherin. He even has this large snake that he speaks to a great deal. Nagini even tried to eat my cat when I first took up residence in my husband’s manor.”
Everyone around them went silent and Imbolc flashed her violet eyes. As Carrow was currently speechless, she continued.
“My mother was a spy. She was never placed in Azkaban for it, but she was one nonetheless. My grandmother Madeleine was also a spy and spent over ten years of time in that prison. Do you doubt my loyalty?”
“You’re the daughter of blood traitor Sirius Black!”
“With whom I have never lived. Now, release my kin. She’s twelve. I am most displeased, which is not an enviable position for you.”
Iolanthe was shaking against the wall, her hair in an intricate braid, trying not to show her fear. Imbolc reached out her hand and the little girl took it. “I think we’ll be off now,” she stated. She shared a long look with Amycus Carrow, daring him to look away, which he finally did.
“I shall write on the matter.”
“As will I,” she promised. “I’m sure he will be of my opinion.”
“What are you doing?” Draco demanded. “You practically told the entire school you were the Dark Lord’s wife or mistress! It’s bad enough that you came back married. But this!” He threw up his hands.
They were behind their tapestry with a silencing spell up so no one could hear them.
“Would you like your sister under the Cruciatus Curse? You’ve been under it. Or don’t you remember? It was when you were trying to force me to marry you!” Imbolc demanded. “She’s too young. I saved the entire Malfoy family. Again. The least you can do is—“
He pushed her up against the wall and slammed his mouth against hers. It was chaste as always, but that didn’t make it any less startling.
She pushed him away. “What are you thinking? Peverell could behead you for that!”
“Better that than my having to live each day without you.” He was pacing again, his hands in his hair. “By the old gods, my parents are forcing me into a courtship. We’re now arguing about rings since I won’t reuse yours.”
She held her hand out. “Then give it to me. I will keep it safe and you can honestly say that you no longer have it.”
The two cousins stared at each other for a long time before he nodded his assent and pulled a thin chain from around his neck. He hooked it around her own and she slipped it under her shirt and sweater vest. “What will the Dark Lord say?”
“He knows I have a past. I shall simply bring up your concerns to him. I’ll make him understand. I usually can.”
Draco just looked lost.
“I will remember the good times,” she promised. “And perhaps my son will use it when it is his turn to court.”
“You’re having a son?” Draco looked at her in wonder.
“He will be conceived at Yule. I have seen it. Perseus Lux Peverell. Do you think it suits?”
“If only the child were mine,” he bemoaned, and Imbolc took a deep breath.
“That could never be, not since you left me after I was attacked, Draco,” she reminded him.
“But, Immy, what? You betrayed my trust. You had the perfect opportunity to steal my heart completely away and you ruined it. You chose to leave me alone with Potter, who if I had any affection for, I might have married him even if he is a filthy half-blood.”
“The Dark Lord wasn’t there.”
“The Dark Lord couldn’t be there and he got the vampires to apologize and send me gifts. My face only shines gold because of him.” She sighed. “This is pointless. We’ll just keep on arguing.” She took down the privacy ward and exited the tapestry.
They may be Head Boy and Head Girl, but all they ever did was fight each other outside of their duties.
She had an appointment over Christmas at the Ministry for Magic. Peverell had, of course, arranged it. Imbolc barely paid attention when the wizard weighed her wand and she made her way to the lower basements.
Minister Pius Thicknesse himself was giving her the tour.
When they made it down there they reached one of the courtrooms. “Oh,” she stated unhappily. “I rather dislike Dolores Umbridge. She suggested I was a bastard two years ago even though my parents were legally married.”
Thicknesse looked horrified and had his aide take down the information.
She watched on as the woman tried to insist that she had gotten her wand from Ollivander and that it had chosen her, and that she hadn’t stolen magic at all.
“Can you steal magic?” Imbolc asked Thicknesse in genuine curiosity. “I’ve never heard of such an idea.”
Imbolc then had a thought. Stepping forward and thinking of her own mother’s death, she demanded, “Whom did you kill?”
“I beg pardon?” the sniveling woman asked.
“Well, it seems to me, that if you stole magic, you must have gotten it from somewhere. The surest way of stealing it from a witch or wizard is to kill them. So, I ask again, whom did you kill?”
Umbridge looked eminently pleased with the line of questioning “Hem. Hem. Yes. Killing. Quite. Who was it, dear?”
“But I didn’t!” she cried. “I swear I didn’t!”
“Come, come,” Imbolc reasoned. “I saw my mother shot through the head with what the muggles call a gun, all because I performed some accidental magic. Is that what happened, or did you get envious of another child? Whose magic did you steal? What crime did you commit?”
The woman started sniffling. “There was this boy in a coma.”
Imbolc nodded for her to continue.
“It was up in Manchester, I used to visit him, and he died one time when I was there.”
“Do you know the name of this boy?” Imbolc questioned.
The Muggleborn shook her head.
“Madam Umbridge, I think you have your case against this woman. Obviously, she stole it from the child in a coma, who was most likely never identified and so never transferred to St. Mungo’s. She gains the magic, the wand recognizes her. May I also say this is a fascinating process.”
“Did your uncle, Lord Malfoy, arrange for this trip?”
“No, my husband, Lord Peverell. He believes in continuing my education in politics.”
She swept from the room, followed by Thicknesse.
“The woman’s clearly incompetent if I was the one who got the confession. Get her out. Now.”
The man bobbed his head and continued the tour.
“You surprise me,” Imbolc reasoned, afraid to touch her own husband. “A glamor. Truly?”
“We’re to the village,” he declared, putting on nice slacks and a turtleneck. She was putting on an Illyria dress and boots. “I show my face once a month to show that we still take an interest.”
“Muggles,” she breathed out in disgust. “Still, ever a test in good manners.”
He smiled and moved in to kiss her and she shied away.
“I’m sorry. It’s just, you don’t look like my husband.”
“Hand holding, at least,” he begged her. “I very much want to show off my wife.”
She looked down at the fingers that were shorter than usual and had a healthy peach glow. “Mal, this is not you,” she protested. She reached up and touched his dark hair. “This may have been what you looked like, but this is not whom I married.”
“No,” he agreed, kissing her hand and holding her close. “However, this is what the town needs to see. I am my own grandson, by the way, though I have never shown my wife before.”
“You look only twenty-five,” she remarked. “I suppose it is not uncommon in the Muggle world for you to take an eighteen year old bride.”
“Hardly,” he agreed, leading her out of their bedroom on his arm. “I’m Mr. Riddle and I’ve been telling everyone you’re Lady Imogen Riddle.”
“Imogen?” she laughed. “I suppose that’s more common than ‘Imbolc.’”
“Exactly my thought.” He kissed her hand. With lips. It was utterly disturbing to her.
They walked down to the village to a warm looking pub where he settled her into her seat. “Let the acting begin,” Imbolc intoned as their waitress came up to them. “I still can’t get over the fact that you have a nose.”
“It will be gone tonight,” he promised her quietly.
“I want to try something,” Peverell declared. His face was snake like again and she breathed out.
“Am I going to like it?”
“I don’t know,” he answered honestly. “You may, you may not. I think we owe it a go, just to see.”
She rolled over in bed and looked at his strange, ethereal face. “Explain it to me.”
“Well,” he said, kissing her shoulder. “Do you remember the time on the desk?”
“Where you flipped me over and made love to me that way?” she asked. “I was rather startled, to be honest, but I was giving you a good memory.”
“Did you enjoy it? You can be honest with me, dearest.” He ran a hand through her hair, his thumb brushing her golden scar.
“I—I’m not sure,” she answered. “The desk was rather hard, and I was rather focusing on that. For me it was more about you. Was that wrong?”
“No, darling. Love can often be like that.” She surged upward until their mouths met and their tongues entwined. Pressing her body against his, Imbolc shivered at the contact.
Drawing back, she whispered, “What do you want to try?”
“I want to do it how the Romans did it.”
“Really?” Her eyebrows rose in question.
“You,” he explained, “on all fours and me from behind.”
She looked at him aghast. “Really? You can do that?”
“And much more,” he promised her huskily.
“Well,” she decided, pulling off the sheet and taking the recommended position. “If I say ‘stop’…”
“You say ‘stop’,” he agreed, caressing her hips. “You truly are a wonder, Lady Peverell.”
“You are insatiable, Lord Peverell,” she shot back, only to end up on her elbows as he made love to her.
“I need to see a Healer,” Imbolc broached with her aunt. “And I can’t bring one to my home.”
“Are you unwell, dear?”
She shook her head. “No, quite the reverse.” She took a deep breath. “I really shouldn’t say unless I know. But could you get a healer here quickly?”
“Consider it done. Go to your old room and she’ll be with you in the next ten minutes.”
Nothing had changed. The walls were still blue and silver and her writing desk was still in the same spot. A knock to the door interrupted her musings and she opened the door. There was a small Asian woman and Imbolc smiled. “Healer?” she asked.
The woman nodded.
Imbolc let her into the room. “I think my husband and I are expecting a child,” she explained. “I need to be sure before I tell him.”
“How far along are you?”
“A week,” she said frankly. “Two weeks? I know, I know, but I’m a Clairvoyant.”
And she was right. She was only a week along but she was with child, with a little boy. A smile graced her face and she paid the healer for her time and her silence. She floo’ed back to Riddle House.
Again there was a meeting, but he went up to Peverell and whispered in his ear. His face, at first, was impassive, before he broke out into a wide grin. He picked her up and swung her around as she laughed happily to his joy.
“Heir Perseus Lux Peverell,” he declared, much to the astonishment of the assembled crowd.
“Yes,” Imbolc agreed. “Heir Perseus Peverell, our little boy.”
“I think you could aim higher,” Imbolc confessed. “You gave her the ring?”
He shrugged. “It’s nothing special. A band of gold.”
“I’m surprised you allowed your parents to settle on her. She’s dirt poor even if she is from a low upper house and her hair is strawberry blonde. Imagine the children, Draco. Imagine the children!”
“What do you think I’ve been doing?” he questioned, running his hand through his hair in the way he always did when he found something taxing. “It’s just all the blondes are half-bloods apart from you.”
“Then wait ten years,” she counseled. “You need not marry now. Our situation was a stolen coincidence.”
“Until you were stolen away,” he said petulantly.
Imbolc crossed her arms. “I was not stolen. I was whisked away from a forced marriage.”
“And placed in another forced one,” he insisted. “Really, Immy, the ancient rites. He could have had you restrained and… and…” here he dropped his voice “forced you.”
“It sounds all very sordid when you put it like that, and I’m sure that if he dies and loses the war, I’ll claim something similar, but that is not what happened.”
“I don’t believe you.”
“Fine. Don’t,” she pressed. “Can’t you just accept that I’m happy, Draco?”
He made no answer. Sighing, she stood from their table in the library and walked away.
“Selene,” Imbolc said tensely. “Get in the wall. We don’t have much time.”
“I’m fighting with Harry,” she defended. “I haven’t spent a year hiding from the Carrows to hide in some dark place full of spiders.”
Imbolc tried not to roll her eyes. “I’ve been in here before. There are no spiders. The victor knows to release us, both Harry and the Dark Lord.”
“How can they possibly know that?”
“Because I told them to,” she said through clenched teeth. She’d left a letter with Harry when he wasn’t looking the day of the wedding and, well, of course Peverell knew. He was her husband after all.
“You’re a spy,” she accused.
“Oh, really, you’re going to accuse me of being a spy? Now?”
“Ladies,” Draco said, sticking his head out of the hole. “Just make a decision and get in.”
“Right,” Imbolc said. “In or out.”
Selenadora turned away. “I hope no one comes to let you out,” she said spitefully. “It would serve you right for your double-crossing nature.”
Imbolc went into the hole and closed the door behind her. Draco cast a Lumos so that all the Malfoy children could see each other.
“I didn’t know she knew that word ‘double-crossing’,” Draco commented. “I know she speaks English well, but not that well.”
“Apparently it’s her native language,” Imbolc confided. “It was her mother’s dearest wish after Uncle Regulus died.”
They’d brought a pack of cards with them and so played exploding snap throughout the battle. They couldn’t really hear much but the foundations of the castle shook a few times and everyone but Iolanthe would look at each other, wondering exactly what was happening.
The four of them must have been there through the night, because finally the door creaked open and a face appeared.
“No,” Imbolc breathed as she saw the visage of Harry Potter and she ran past him.
“Immy!” Draco cried. “Remember your immunity!”
But she didn’t stop. Instead she ran and ran until she heard voices and Imbolc came across the Great Hall. Draco and Harry were next to her. “Where is he?” she asked in a desperate voice.
“Who?” Harry asked, confused.
“The Dark Lord,” Draco supplied. “She’d like to see the Dark Lord.”
Carefully picking his way through the bodies, Harry showed them to a figure dressed all in black, his snake face looking up toward the ceiling.
“His eyes,” she pleaded to no one, leaning down to touch, but Draco staid her hand.
“Remember, Immy. You have immunity.”
Harry looked at her for several long seconds before reaching down and closing his eyes. He conjured a black sheet and placed it over the body.
Imbolc was barely able to hold in the tears, but Draco held her close and rubbed a hand up and down her back.
“He needs to be given back to his family,” he instructed. None of them noticed that Kingsley Shacklebolt had come up behind them. “He has a family. A wife, a child. They deserve to bury him.”
“I did not know that a man without a heart could have such a thing as a family,” Shacklebolt admitted. “Where should we send the remains?”
Imbolc pulled away and drew herself up. “Riddle House,” she said succinctly. “The house elves should know what to do.”
It was days before she could leave, but when she did, she found a plot in the cemetery purchased and Peverell in a casket of black wood, the top made out of glass. She pressed her hand to his face, wishing she could feel it, but all she felt was coldness.
She didn’t invite anyone to the funeral. The stone said everything it needed to say: Here Lies Marvolo, Lord Peverell, Who Was Born Tom Marvolo Riddle, Jr.
Draco wouldn’t go with her to Gringotts and Harry was the only other person who knew her secret. “I’m afraid Lord Peverell was simply styalized,” the goblin said. “He was Mr. Riddle as you are Lady Imbolc Riddle. Your son, though he will be Lord Perseus Riddle, all of his children will not carry titles.”
It was a hard blow.
Still, they had decided on Perseus for their son, and Perseus he would remain.
She was eight months pregnant by the end of August, and she moved back into Grimmauld Place so she could be near family for her confinement. Harry never reproached her for her marriage, which she found surprising. He would sometimes stare at her ring, and when she asked why, he said he thought it held a piece of Voldemort’s soul in it.
Strange. He had once said the same thing when she was half-asleep.
“I don’t know what to accept,” he said one day near the end of August. “I have so many offers that I just don’t know what to do.”
“Let me see them,” Imbolc offered and she shifted through various parchments. “Is Auror out?”
“You were right. I don’t want to fight dark wizards anymore.”
Selenadora looked up, completely surprised. It seemed she didn’t know Harry as well as she thought she did.
Imbolc paused at one. “Here,” she stated, “Undersecretary to the Minister of Magic. Very politically powerful. Can set you up for the rest of your life. Take it.”
“Are you sure?”
“Positive,” she decided, giving him the paper. “I’d write back now, if I were you.”
Draco was not enjoying his courtship to Astoria Greengrass. “She’s not you,” he complained. “She doesn’t want to swing or hold hands or just pet Abraxans.”
“What does she want?” She looked up at him.
“She wants to earn more money in her illegal Quidditch betting ring. It’s absolutely awful.” He ran his hand through his hair.
“There you go. Morality clause. Break it.” She let her hand pass through white roses and smiled at the touch of the petals.
“And you?” he asked. “When will you reconsider marriage?”
She paused, “At the moment, never,” she answered sincerely. “I’m not sure I could ever find what I could with Peverell. I have his child growing in my womb.”
“You were falling in love with me once,” he told her quite plainly, taking her hand as they used to. “Why not try again? We could give your child tutors and keep him at your old husband’s estate while we live here as we’ve always done.”
Imbolc pulled her hand away and slapped him. “Are you mad? This is my child we’re talking about. Even if I were inclined to get married so quickly after being made a widow, I would never let you take my child from me. Peverell was taken from his mother. I was taken from my mother. Why would I allow such a thing to happen again?”
“I only meant we could start again.”
“But I’ve already started, can’t you see? I have my family growing inside my womb. Within the month, I shall have a beautiful baby boy, and not even you can take him away from me.”
Draco looked as if he wanted to say something, but it just got stuck in his throat. She stared at him angrily before leaving him with the flowers, silently wondering whom she was going to name godparents.
It was six months after Perseus was born and he slept in a cradle beside Imbolc and Peverell’s old bed. She wouldn’t hear of someone looking after him when he was sleeping. She did hire a wet nurse but that was all that she would allow.
A hand lighted on her shoulder and she was instantly awake. She drew her wand from under her pillow, spun around, and pointed it at her husband.
“Mal?” she asked in confusion. “Am I dreaming? Harry Potter killed you!”
He touched the stone on her hand. “I told you that you kept a piece of my soul. I can return as often as I need with such a treasure, that I lay into your keeping that night in Japan.”
“How did you? Another ritual?”
“I merely had an agent kidnap Lucius Malfoy for insulting my person and, well, he has expired.” His red eyes glinted in the darkness and Imbolc was a little scared.
“I—“ she didn’t know what to say, so she swallowed. “You’re really here?”
He took her hand in his and allowed her to cup his cheek. “There. You can feel the warmth of my skin. Is that not proof enough?”
“Je t’adore,” she murmured as she reached up for a kiss.
“Je t’adore aussi.” He disrobed and soon was pulling her shift over her head. She wasn’t wearing any myrrh as it was just her in bed and the baby didn’t seem to mind, but he kissed every scar and they made love well into the night.
When she woke, Imbolc was alone, but her shift was pulled off and she was pleasantly sore. Throwing it on along with her robe, she picked up Perseus and ran down the hall. She found him in her writing room.
“This is shameful,” he told her looking back over his shoulder. “Lady Imbolc Riddle? Lord Perseus Riddle? I will have a talk with the goblins.”
“But Mal,” she stated, “you can’t walk into Gringotts.”
“Can I not?” he asked her, standing up and walking over to her. He kissed her gently and then looked down at their child. “He has my hair.”
“Yes,” she answered. “I think he will break many a heart.”
“You may be right,” he answered. “We certainly did.”
He brushed her scars. “They’re purple and red again. No more Winter’s Light.”
“There’s only Perseus to see,” she reminded him. “And I found, that once you were gone, I couldn’t really care at night.” She paused. “I only got your body back because Draco Malfoy insisted you had a wife and a child. Otherwise I think they might have been planning to burn it.” Imbolc shivered at the thought.
“How generous of him. I must show my thanks in some way—maybe I’ll give Lucius Malfoy a proper burial.” Her stomach clenched. That was right. Peverell had killed her oldest friend’s father in a ritual to come back to her.
“I nearly died when Potter opened the trap door.”
He traced her scars and sighed. “I never wanted you to feel that pain, to not have me for nearly a year.”
“Promise me that it will never happen again,” she begged with big violet eyes.
“I will do my utmost, my lady,” he swore as he leaned in for a long, soul searching kiss.