Jasmine leaned against the door to her office, her arms crossed over her chest. Her right hand was gripping her wand. She wasn't going to allow Tom any openings.
No matter how charismatic he looked, the bastard was a monster. "I thought that I would stop by. I heard that the Weasley Family has fallen on some hard times. I thought I would pay my condolences, since you've seemed to have taken them into your home," he replied with a slimy grin that might charm his fellow politicians, but caused a shiver to run up Jasmine's spine.
She let out a long sigh. Launching him into the fountain seemed like a wonderful idea. That had been immensely satisfying. He had to be aware that she still had the power to eject him if he overstepped his bounds again. "The boys have had a hard day. I'm taking them home. I'll pass along the message."
She wouldn't be passing along any message.
He gazed over her shoulder to where Sirius was still looming.
The stubborn idiot hadn't left with the others. He hadn't moved from his spot a few paces behind her. Jasmine could feel Sirius glaring at Tom from behind her. Tom was gloating, plain and simple. He no doubt had some other agenda, but for the moment he was basking in his small victory.
But, he forgot one thing, this was Jasmine's domain. He couldn't do anything drastic here without being thrown into a fountain or Jasmine hexing him. Hell, Jasmine had a more deadly runes she could use against him if he got aggressive.
The Dark Lord smirked. "Heir Black, do be careful about spending too much time around Lady Peverell. People might start to get the wrong idea. Those boys need a stable home life, not a revolving door of male suitors."
Jasmine held an arm out to stop Sirius' from lunging forward at Tom. If there was one thing that really riled Sirius up, it was Jasmine's virtue. Which was a bit too ironic for her, since he's the one that took it in the first place. "Mr. Riddle, I think you need to watch the way you speak about a Lady of an Ancient and Noble House," Sirius growled lightly pushed against Jasmine's outstretched arm.
Tom's lip curled in disgust as he watched Sirius slowly calm as he raised an eyebrow at Sirius. "Is there a reason that you are still here, Heir Black? You don't need to defend her honor, since she doesn't appear to have any in the first place. Is there a reason that your family hasn't cut ties with her? According to most dark families you could do better."
Jasmine resisted the urge to roll her eyes. It's like he'd been talking to Marlene. Just because she spoke with people of the opposite gender did not mean she was sleeping with them. Merlin, how old do they think they are? I suppose in this case they were correct about who Jasmine was sleeping with, but it was really none of their business. Bill was more mature than this and he was a first year.
"As much as I love hearing about what uninfluential dark families think of me in their spare time, I think that it's time you leave, Mr. Riddle. You and I both know why you're really here and it isn't to mock me. You have a message."
Tom chuckled, it sounded almost inhuman coming from his mouth. He was usually torturing someone in Harriet's lives when he cackled manically with Bellatrix Lestrange. Jasmine didn't think she'd ever heard him chuckle. She wasn't sure which one was worse. "It's adorable that you think you know what I'm about to do. The Dark Lord is done toying around the Great Britain. Those that don't fall in line, will be removed, or broken until they fit. There's a vote in Wizengamot coming up, Lady Peverell. I'd be there if I could, if only for the spectacle."
The session coming up had quite a few important bill proposals. Jasmine and Cassiopeia had worked tirelessly on theirs. It was a law that would ban incestuous marriages within the British Isles. The law would be revolutionary.
It would also nearly destroy Tom's entire platform if it passed.
She loved that had that power over him.
"Well, it's a good thing I've never fallen in line for anyone. And, while we're playing this little game of muggle telephone, tell your Dark Lord to come and get me. He shouldn't have to send his lawyer. He must be very afraid of me," Jasmine replied in a bored tone. She was finished with this conversation. She had four children at home. Though she nearly grinned when she saw the muscles in Tom's jaw tighten.
It seems she might have made him angry.
"The Dark Lord fears no one, Lady Peverell. You will soon learn your place," he snapped before dramatically turning on his heel and making his way down the hall.
She felt Sirius' hand rest on her shoulder as they both watch Tom stalk away. "Do you ever think he just woke up one morning and decided to become a lawyer? I mean, he's smart, but a politician would have been a better choice, right?"
"A politician would have been too obvious. He could also verse himself in various old laws without anyone questioning him. He wouldn't have unrestrictive access to certain libraries and archives without being a career lawyer in the ministry. He's going to try and either forcibly marry me off to someone, or take the boys away. He wants leverage, but due to Old Laws, he can't touch me. I'm backing him into a corner."
Jasmine shut her office door and locked it behind her, her security activating with a bright blue glow. No one was going to be getting into this room until she came back day after tomorrow.
Sirius snorted as he opened the side office's door for Jasmine. She rolled her eyes fondly at his very ingrained manners and pulled him in after her. His father would be delighted to know that his lessons in etiquette paid off, even little bit. "Love, he wants complete power over you. He isn't going to settle for anything less than that. Sick bastard," he grumbled as they flooed back to the Estate.
Both Bella and Euphemia were waiting for them by the fireplace. Euphemia was seated on a velvet sofa, her back straight and completely poised, despite the day she has had. She was the image of a Lady of the House of Potter. Bella, on the other hand, was sprawled on the adjacent sofa, her long limbs were loose and hanging over the edge and scraping the floor. Bella reminded Jasmine of a puppet whose strings had been cut than any kind of pureblood lady. Cassiopeia would have had a heart attack if she saw the way her favorite niece was acting in public, but then again, Jasmine was family now.
The boys were out of sight, but Jasmine had spent enough time with the twins during her various lives to know that they were never out of listening range if they had the opportunity to eavesdrop. She had a feeling that the twins learned it that from either Charlie or Bill, Jasmine would hopefully live long enough to find that out for herself.
"So, he's planning something?" Bella asked, pushing herself up off the arm of the sofa and propping her head in one of her hands.
Jasmine shrugged her shoulders. "He's always planning something, but no, he was there to gloat, I think. He made some vague threats. It isn't anything that I can't handle. I have a meeting set up with the goblins."
"Goblins? I thought you had unlimited access within Gringotts already? Why ask them for something?" Bella asked as the blood rushed to her face.
It had become a joke within her department that she was on such good terms with the goblins that they let her roam the bank without an escort. "You and I both know I can't do that Bella. I might have higher clearance than most, but I still need to ask for permission. On top of that, the goblins will probably want to look into this themselves. I have a feeling that aren't going to like what they find in Yaxley's vault."
"It's really in Yaxley's? I thought he would have more sense than to store an illegal dark object in his vault," Euphemia commented as she drummed her fingers along her arm.
Bella cackled, "The Yaxley Family as fallen in line with the other weak willed dark families. Though, they are still closer to moderate than extreme. From what Auntie Cassie sources say, they want to be on the winning side of the war and they felt that the Dark Lord would prevail. The fools. Don't they know that the House of Black never chooses the losing side in a war?"
Sirius rolled his eyes and sat down next to his cousin and pulled up back up on the couch. Bella had only come to the funeral to support Amelia and, more importantly, watch Sirius. Tom attacked Narcissa in her own home, who's to say he wouldn't try something while Sirius was at the Ministry. "We've lost wars before, Bella. It's happened only a handful of times, but it's still happened. It wasn't like the world ended, but we're going to make damn sure that we stop this mad man from killing anymore witches and wizards. There are too few of us already," Euphemia reminded the younger witch as she held back an unladylike laugh as Sirius manhandled her.
Jasmine bit her lip and stopped herself from saying anything. Merlin knew that she had lived too many lives in a world where the Black Family chose the wrong side of the war and magical world went to absolute shit because of it. The Blacks were supposed to house the secrets of the British Ministry. It was their deal with Lady Magic. They failed her and thus the foundation of Britain slowly degraded.
"Regardless of the Yaxley Family's allegiances, they have an illegal soul container sitting in their vaults. The goblins can't be seen with those, they could lose their credibility as a secure and magically neutral bank if that thing starts siphoning off magic. There shouldn't be any items of white or black magic within its walls," Jasmine replied as she summoned a letter and parchment.
For a few minutes only the sound of Jasmine's quill could be heard throughout the room. The quiet scratching lulled the group into a comfortable silence. It had been a draining day and it seemed none of them were particularly willing to say anything. Molly and her children hadn't deserved the fate they'd been dealt. Tom was moving his pieces around the board and taking out Dumbledore's people. But, this time he had over reached. He had moved into Jasmine's domain.
Tom and Albus were always playing chess with each other. Their people were pieces on some grand boardgame that only they could see. Jasmine didn't have the stomach to treat people like pawns. She had built a small international group of powerful witches and wizards that were willing to stand against Tom, should he push his boundaries.
Trying to murder a French businessman, his daughter-in-law and unborn child was enough to have her French agents contacting her. Marianna had already sent word that she would be back in Britain within the next few weeks. She was with a potential contact that could give them additional allies in the fight to come.
Mikhail had already told her his blades were at her disposal whenever she needed him. He was more of a business powerhouse than someone who could give her fighters, but his contributions had halted Tom's international business ventures.
A light tap on the door frame pulled Jasmine's gaze away from her letter. Bill was standing there, he looked exhausted and wrung out. His eyes were red and puffy and he was bouncing from foot to foot. "Jasmine, can I talk to you?" He asked, his voice a hoarse whisper as he wrung his hands along his wrists.
Jasmine gave a brief nod to Sirius, before she put the letter to the side and made her way towards the hall. He got up as well, but made his way in the opposite direction to the other kids' rooms. Euphemia and Bella made their way towards the floo. Her aunt gave her arm a quick squeeze before vanishing into the fire.
"Did you want to talk in here or somewhere else?"
Bill didn't respond, instead he just leaned against the nearest wall and slid down to the floor. He put his head in his hands and let out a shuddering breath. Jasmine did the only thing she could think to do and sat down next to him and put an arm over his shaking shoulders. He threw his arms around her and broke down.
She rubbed his back as he cried, not sure what to do. Merlin, she wasn't prepared for this. Usually, she was the one dealing with dying parents. It wasn't any better on this side of the scenario. As Harriet she mostly had to deal with the grief alone. There were a few where Blaise's mother would comfort her, but Marianna, bless her, was even worse with comforting people than Jasmine was and that was no small feat.
"I'm here. You aren't alone in this…" she muttered as his grip tightened.
The mind healer appointment was only a few hours away. She didn't care if they had a hard time talking at first. The first appointment always feels a bit awkward, but these boys needed to work through what they're feeling at the moment and Jasmine and Sirius just weren't equip to deal with this kind of trauma.
Merlin, they were still working through their own.
Bill let out another shuddering sob.
Jasmine wished she could fix this, but there was nothing she could do or say to make it better. Molly was gone, half his siblings were gone, and his father was off the continent and might never be fully functional again. Bill had a lot to mourn and she wasn't going to minimize that. She wasn't going to say it was going to be alright, because it wasn't and she was never someone who could sugar coat the truth. She sure as hell wasn't going to lie to the kid.
They sat on the floor for nearly fifteen minutes when a tray of tea and biscuits popped into existence in front of them. The pot was still steaming hot and the tea blend smelled lovely. There were some handkerchiefs as well. The house elves were sweethearts. She was going to need to thank them later.
Bill pulled away at the smell of the treats. He snatched a handkerchief and wiped his eyes and face. He was very lucky he wasn't an ugly crier. Jasmine handed the kid a biscuit. "Was there anything else you needed to ask me when you came in or did you just need a good cry? I don't mind if you just needed a shoulder to lean on, it's why I'm here, but I just want to make sure-"
He brushed a bit of red hair out of his face. "Why doesn't anyone know that you and Sirius are married?"
Ah, she had forgotten to explain that bit of information to him. He had been sworn to secrecy over it when she had taken him in as an apprentice, but he probably didn't read that in the fine print. He had been very excited to get the opportunity to study with her that he didn't question it.
Jasmine sighed, "Well, I suppose, most of it has to do with the Wizengamot. Sirius and I both retain our seats there. We are in different magical factions. I'm neutral, The Black Family is Dark. We didn't want anyone to question the integrity of my family's votes once I started attending meetings. If we had announced it right away no one in the neutral house would really have wanted anything to do with me."
A great question. This was going to come up eventually…
"Because they would assume the Black Family would control my vote. Sirius is my husband and therefore his family would control my seats. That isn't how we negotiated our marriage contract with each other. I retained full autonomy do with my money and influence as I see fit, but more traditional members wouldn't believe it. Not until they saw the contract, which is prohibited. So, we kept it a secret."
Bill nibbled on a snickerdoodle, his brows furrowed. Jasmine poured them each a cup of tea. It was a nice chamomile blend. It should help Bill calm down a bit without the aid of a potion. She didn't want any of the kids becoming reliant on drugs to sleep. That kind of habit wasn't worth it in the long run.
Detoxing a child would be a nightmare.
He sipped at his tea to wash down the biscuit before answering. "Are you going to start telling people? I mean, Sirius lives here with you. I can keep it a secret, but Charlie and the twins are still kids. I don't think they'll be able to lie well enough to fool anyone."
Jasmine had contemplated telling the world that they were married, but it just didn't seem to be the right time. "I think the next few weeks should be about you and your brothers. You are are my top priority right now. My marriage drama is secondary. Tomorrow I will take you and your brothers to see mind healers. You will each have your own to talk to. Once you all settle in we will figure out where to go from there."
Bill's gaze turned frantic for a moment and Jasmine was worried that she said something to offend him. "What about school? I can't just not complete my first year!"
Oh, that was all?
"Sirius and I have already arranged tutors to come and fill in the subjects we aren't personally qualified to teach. You need time to emotionally recover before heading back to school. It's already November. You'll rejoin your classmates after the winter holiday. I'm not going to keep you from Hogwarts indefinitely, that would be cruel. I just think that you need time with your brothers."
Not to mention that his brothers also desperately needed him as well. Their family magic needed the time to recover. Even if the Weasley Family wasn't a Noble House, they used to be and their magic was old and it just lost four members of the main branch, and Arthur was only just barely alive. It would be best to keep the boys together for time being.
Bill let out a sigh and sagged further down the wall. He was nearly lying on the floor. He was using the moldings on the floor to just barely prop his neck up. He looked horrifically uncomfortable and sullen.
"Is there something else on your mind?"
He chewed on his bottom lip for a moment, opened his mouth twice to say something before changing his mind. He eventually figured out how he wanted to word it.
"I never knew Marlene was such a butt."
Jasmine nearly choked on her tea.
That was how Sirius found Jasmine fifteen minutes later. She was still laughing as Bill sipped at his tea.
The day after the funeral, Jasmine and Sirius dragged themselves to another Wizengamot meeting. It was just as packed as the last one. All the different families were in attendance. It seemed that many of the members took tabling their bills for a slightly later date very literally. They wanted to push anti-werewolf legislation and mandatory marriage ages for unwed heirs. Both bills would push Britain back an additional hundred years. Jasmine doubted that the marriage bill would pass. There were too many young heirs that weren't married and had no intention to marry that would object to the bill. It was the anti-werewolf legislation that had her worried.
Even with her influence over most of the grey families she was worried that there would be a two thirds majority that would want to classify werewolves as beasts. That they would no longer be considered human at all.
The mess that would cause politically would be a nightmare internationally, but so many families are panicking over what is considered dark and what isn't. Tom and Albus weren't helping matters, but Tom's days were numbered and between Jasmine, James and Sirius they would slowly push Dumbledore out of power. They held enough influence between the three of them that they could make a difference in most votes, if they all agreed. That was never guaranteed, but on a bill like this, hopefully they could divide the room enough to reject it.
When the meeting began it was just Albus reading off the potential legislation. "Now, our first order of business is to vote on the bill proposed by Amos Diggory and written by the Brightbark Family in regards to the werewolf legislation. Does anyone have any objections to this bill?"
At least two dozen wands were raised across the room.
Why did it not surprise Jasmine that Brightbark was writing anti-werewolf legislation in his down time?
That man was higher on Jasmine's hit list than Dumbledore at this point.
Albus nodded and pointed towards Severus, "Yes, I thought that this would have a strong reaction. Lord Prince, please share your opinion."
Severus stood before the Wizengamot, one of the few halfbloods to ever even sit in the chamber as a member, his head was held high. "What is the purpose of branding them as beasts when there is a potion in development that would essentially let them keep their mind during the full moon? As long as we can provide them with it, they're harmless. Most other countries just provide them with the two days a month off, but since we seem incapable of doing that here, the potion is the best solution."
There was a murmur of voices at the mention of a potion.
Severus had been working on a modified version of the wolfsbane Harriet had been familiar with for the past few months. He was trying not to slowly poison the werewolves with the potion this time around. The tests were going well. Between Severus and Lily, they were coming up with some fairly impressive potions.
"What potion are you talking about?" Albus asked.
"I'm working with Fleamont and Lily Potter to create a potion that allows a werewolf to keep their mind during the full moon. We've reached a point where we can finally talk about it to the public. We're hoping to have it on the market in next year or so."
The room was silent as they took the information in. Jasmine had been privy to a lot of the theories that went into creating the potion. Hell, Jasmine had been the one to come up with the idea for the potion, though with Lily and Monty funding and assisting in its creation it turned out a bit different from Severus' original brew.
"How do you plan on having werewolves afford a potion like that? It has to be expensive! You can't expect it to come from our coffers." Alecto Carrow shouted, her voice was shrill and grating on Jasmine's last nerve.
James raised his wand to signal a response. "The Potter Family has secured doners to create a nonprofit organization. Your money is safe where it is."
The Fujiwara Family made a sizable donation when they heard about the potion. They're hoping that it can be modified to include all species of were-creatures since they all suffer during their various transformations. It would be a large help to their country.
"I don't see any reason to pass a piece of legislation that would then become obsolete. It would cost more to police werewolves into cooperation than it would to have private donors spend their money keeping the population under control and completely tame during the full moon," Augusta stated to the room and many were nodding along with her.
She wasn't wrong. The sheer amount of money it would take to hunt the werewolf population down would be ridiculous. Making the potion easy receive and affordable would be ideal.
There was a quiet grumbling from the different sections of the room that had been looking forward to the hunting.
Dumbledore unrolled a piece of parchment and gave it a quick glance over.
"On to the next piece of legislation, mandatory marriage age for houses without heirs that need to be approved by the Ministry. Now, that goes against all marriage laws for the past two hundred years. It would take a three fourths majority to have this pass," Albus warned, but that didn't seem to deter the Voldemort supporters who seemed gleeful at the bill. "Though, the Black Family has brought counter arguments and current laws that would block this from moving forward. Lord Black, would you like to take the floor?"
All eyes turned towards Sirius, who nodded. "Yes, this proposed legislation goes against multiple line theft laws currently in place. It's a bylaw that one of my ancestors wrote. There are family magics that requires heirs to be of a certain age before they marry. The number of births within Britain have gone up since Lady Peverell published her father's research a couple years ago. Passing a law that would restrict purebloods and halfbloods to marrying approved matches is absurd."
Avery raised an objection. "How could this be considered line theft, Lord Black? No one is insinuating that we force the married pair to give up their children."
Sirius raised an eyebrow, "The Ministry would approve the matches. Who is to say that one family isn't going to be picked over another due to political gain or if an official will ruin a family on purpose, thus ending a line or forcing a line to integrate with another magically noncompatible family? It's dangerous, leave that kind of magic to those that understand it."
Mulciber rolled his eyes and barely held back a snort. "And you, Lord Black, understand this magic?"
Sirius, Jasmine noted, kept his temper under control, if only by the thinnest of margins. He had to keep up the façade that these idiots didn't bother him. He was Lord Black after all. His father had left rather large shoes to fill.
"Yes, I do. Working within the Department of Mysteries has its advantages. Regardless, this legislation cannot pass. Lord Dumbledore, please remove it from the docket," Sirius said with a wave of his hand.
Albus snapped his fingers and the parchment holding the legislation burst into flames. "It seems that we're out of time for our session today, we will reconvene in two weeks' time."
The room was quiet and the meeting was adjourned shortly after. Jasmine waited for Sirius and James at the exit, both of them had their arms thrown across the other's shoulders.
"Come on, let's save the celebrating for when we're all away from prying eyes."
Sirius waggled his eyebrows, Jasmine rolled her eyes and James chuckled as they left the chamber.
I hope you enjoyed! In the next chapter, things start to boil over as Tom is being backed into a corner by Jasmine and co. Dumbledore will do Dumbledore things, beware.
I hope you enjoyed the chapter. I had a rough couple days. I got my second dose of the vaccine and it kicked my butt most of the week. Glad I could get this chapter out.
Grad school assignments are starting to come in. I have something due in a month that I need to start working on ASAP. But, I think I can squeeze in some editing time. I'm only 1.5 pages away from finishing the last chapter. That's exciting.
Next update, 5/21/2021, hopefully. Otherwise, 5/28/2021. I just don't know if I'm going to have the time to edit.
See you all soon,