This was written for Ellory as a holiday gift. She has served as an inspiration for several years.
Fandom: Harry Potter
Pairings: James Potter/Saturn Black; and one-side James Potter/Lily Evans
Warnings: alternate universe; female!Sirius (Saturn); het; mild language; original characters; nice!Narcissa Black; bashing of Lily Evans; bashing of Walburga Black; and mentions of evil Black family members
Summary: Days after deciding he was done with Lily Evans, James Potter found a familiar face in Diagon Alley. Saturn Black was last seen at the end of their second year.
Stand by Me
The turning point came over the holidays. The second day of the Winter Holidays, James Potter was done moping – not that he would admit to moping in the first place. It was time to get over it, and it was time to move on with his life.
The day, most people never thought would come, had finally arrived. James Potter was moving on from Lily Evans. For years, James had tried and failed to win the heart of the beautiful and kind Lily Evans, but she had no interest in him. Lily seemed to hate the very sight of James/ she rarely gave him any time, and she only paid attention to him if James sought her out or Snivellus Snape started something.
Upon their depature form the Hogwarts Express at Platform Nine and Three-Quarters, James had tried to bid her farewell and wish her a happy holiday when Lily glared at him and wished he would drop dead. She said it with such loathing it broke James' heart.
At the age of eleven, James met Lily and her family at King's Cross Station as he was boarding the train. Her red hair and green eyes caught his attention, but it was the kindness and friendliness to other students that peeked his interest.
When he introduced himself to Lily and her friend, James was met with rude comments from Severus Snape, which he returned in kind. Lily didn't take too well to her best friend being insulted and she jumped to his defense. After their first encounter, Lily Evans took a strong disliking to James Potter. Over the following years, that dislike grew and grew.
Now that he had decided to move on from Evans, James needed to focus on other things. There wasn't another witch who had caught his eyes. When he return to Hogwarts in January, James would pay more attention to the other female students. There had to be someone for him.
In the meantime, James turned his attention to his schoolwork. He would rather go flying, but it was below freezing outside and there was homework to attend to. Today was a good day to spend inside. Besides if he completed his schoolwork now then he would have more time to fly or plan pranks when he returned to Hogwarts.
Apparently James didn't have to wait until his return to Hogwarts to find someone new. While he was shopping in Diagon Alley, two days later, James saw Saturn Black. He spotted her running up to the rooms above the the Leaky Cauldron.
A frown crossed his lips at the sight. A pub was no place for an underage witch or wizard to live. While James and Saturn were once close friends, they hadn't seen each other in years. Saturn was removed from Hogwarts by her parents before their third year. According to popular rumors, Saturn was betrothed to an older wizard who didn't want her to finish school.
Interest peeked, James decided to wait in the pub. What was Saturn doing here? While he waited, James took a seat, facing the stairs, and he pulled over that day's issue of The Daily Prophet.
After an hour or so, Saturn deceased the stairs, allowing James a better look at his old friend. She had grown. James remembered Saturn as a short girl with pale skin, dark hair, and grey eyes. at the age of sixteen, Saturn had a tall and slender figure with pale skin, silky dark hair, and bright grey eyes. She was dressed in second-hand robes.
At the sight of her, James stood up and he slowly approached his old friend. When Saturn caught sight of him, her eyes widened.
"Heir Potter," she greeted with a bow of her head.
James frowned. The Saturn he knew never called anyone by their title, let alone someone she considered a friend. "Heiress Black," he said, returning the greeting.
Saturn flinched at the use of her title. "It's Miss Black," she muttered, her eyes focused on the ground. It was important he knew the change in her title – in her status – so he would use the proper title.
His frown deepened as James debated what to ask. He wanted to know what happened or what changed because this wasn't the carefree, fun loving girl he remembered. Instead of asking a question, James settled on saying, "It's nice to see you, again."
Saturn froze at the comment before she slowly lifted her head. Her grey eyes met his hazel eyes. That wasn't what she expected to hear. "You too," she whispered, tears entering her eyes. Oh, how she missed James and Hogwarts.
"Do you want to grab some ice cream and catch up?" James asked, his face flushing. This was the first time he asked another girl other than Lily out.
Saturn bit her lip. "I can't," she replied. "I have to get to work."
James' curiosity increased. "Mind if I escort you?" he asked, offering her his arm.
With a blush, Saturn nodded and she accepted the arm.
"Where I am taking you?" he asked as they neared the brick wall.
"Rosa Lee Teabag," she replied.
James knew that shop since his mother liked it. She enjoyed a pot of tea there every few days.
James returned to Diagon Alley everyday to visit Saturn, usually at Rosa Lee Teabag while she was working or after she got off work. It took a little work to reestablish their friendship. They avoided the topic of Saturn's current situation because James didn't know how to ask the question and he wasn't even sure if he should ask, meanwhile Saturn didn't want to talk about it.
The topic came up when Narcissa Black spotted the pair together. She waited until James was alone before confronting him.
"What's your plot?" she demanded, the moment James dropped Saturn off at work. Her eyes were narrowed and she had her hands on her hips.
James started at her with narrowed eyes of his own. "What are you talking about?" he asked.
"Don't play dumb with me, Potter!" Narcissa hissed, crowding into James' personal space. "What are you doing with Saturn?"
"Talking to her," James replied, his tone a little hard. How was this any of Narcissa's business?
"Leave her alone," Narcissa demanded.
"How is this any of your business, Black?"
"It's not, anymore," she snapped, "not since Arcturus discovered she was a bastard."
James' eyes widened as he felt his stomach drop. Being declared a bastard would explain a lot of Saturn's current situation: leaving Hogwarts, living at the Leaky Cauldron, becoming Miss Saturn Black, and her job at Rosa Lee Teabag.
"But I make this my business," Narcissa continued, "because Saturn is family – no matter what Arcturus or anyone else says about it. Blacks stand by one another."
Listening with half an ear, James' mind was whirling. If Saturn was branded as a bastard then she had until her seventeenth birthday to bond with someone. At seventeen, she would lose her family magic and she would slowly deteriorate without new family magic.
For someone like Saturn, who was the heiress of a Noble House, she would need to marry into a family of an equal or higher status to maintain her magic. Since she was disinherited before her fifteenth birthday, one of the important magical inheritance birthdays, she would need a powerful source of magic.
Without even bothering to acknowledge Narcissa, James walked away. He had a plan, and he needed to act quickly. If he remembered correctly, Saturn's birthday was on the twenty-third of December, which was tomorrow.
With assistance from his mother, James had everything planned out that evening. Dorea Potter was a Black by birth, and she had an insight to the family. She knew how the politics worked and she knew what Saturn was taught.
When James approached Rosa Lee Teabag, he had a betrothal contract and the Scared Heart Betrothal Ring, last belongings to his great-great-grandmother, in his pocket. While he was retrieving Saturn, Dorea was overseeing the details of the bonding ceremony.
Inside Rosa Lee Teabag, James found Saturn wiping down a table with her boss, Ivy Fawley, standing at the counter. James knew from his past visits, Ivy was fond of Saturn, treating her something like a little sister.
Ivy noticed James' arrival first. She raised a blonde eyebrow before turning her attention to a pot of tea.
Taking a deep breath to calm his nerves, James approached the counter where Ivy was working, passing Saturn without a glance. He was focused on his mission.
"Evenin', Jamie," Ivy greeted, glancing up at him. She wasn't one for manners or pure-blood protocol. She tended to give people nicknames or she would use their first names without permission.
As a member of the Ancient House of Fawley, Ivy was raised to be a pure-blood lady. She rebelled during her Hogwarts years by dating a half-blood, Alexander Prince. Upon graduating, Ivy decided to open her own business in Diagon Alley instead of settling down with a pure-blood wizard and having little pure-blood children. Personally, Ivy wanted more in life than marriage and children. She wanted to travel and experience the world before settling down. Luckily, Alexander understood.
James placed a folded up piece of parchment on the counter in front of her.
Ivy raised her eyebrow before reaching out to pick up the parchment. After unfolding the parchment, both of her eyebrows rose. She glanced between James and the parchment a few times as she read. When she finished reading the message, Ivy folded the parchment up and she placed it in her pocket. Placing her elbows on the counter, she leaned towards James with a serious look on her face. "You better treat her right," Ivy whispered, his voice quiet and her tone harsh.
"I will," James promised.
She stared at James for a few seconds before smiling. "If you'll excuse me, I have a few errands," she said with a wave as she disappeared into the back of her shop.
Breathing a sigh of relief, James turned his attention to Saturn. Permission was granted for James to ask Saturn to bond with him.
Saturn was looking at James were narrowed grey eyes. "What are you up to?" she asked.
James smiled, walking towards her. Instead of replying, James pulled the betrothal contract out of his pocket, presenting it to Saturn.
Reaching out, Saturn took the offered parchment, not thinking much of it. At the sight of Betrothal Agreement on the top, her heart stopped for a second. She read the contract with shaking hands as her vision blurred with tears.
"What about Evans?" Saturn asked. She remembered James was crazy about her, a few years ago.
"She's never cared about me," James answered, "and I decided that I deserve better. I deserve someone who loves me as much as I love her – someone like you." He took a deep breath. "Saturn, you're the one for me, and I want to spend the rest of my life with you."
Saturn bit her lip, trying to withhold a sob, as she wrapped her arms around James. She clenched her eyes shut as she whispered, "You might change you're mind after I tell you something."
James wrapped his arms around Saturn. "I already know," he said. "My mother had planned everything."
Grey eyes as Saturn looked up at James. "How?" she asked.
"Narcissa still cares," he replied. He remembered from their shared time at Hogwarts that Saturn was close to Narcissa, claiming the girl was her favorite family member.
A bitter smile crossed Saturn's lips. "I've missed her," she admitted. Since Saturn was branded as a bastard, she was basically expelled form the Black family, meaning no one was allowed to talk to her or assist her.
"What's your answer?" James asked with a twinkle of mischief in his eyes.
A blush covered Saturn's pale cheeks as she pushed herself out of James' arms. She read over the contract once more. She would take the Potter name as would their children, and she would uphold the traditions of the Potter family.
As she sighed Saturn Melania Black, she felt a weight lifted off of her shoulders. Since she was raised as a pure-blood heiress, Saturn knew a few of the traditions of the Potter family. The Potter fmaily was known for being honorable, and their well-known traditions included a ban on divorce and a ban on disowning or disinheriting a family member without a just cause.
The betrothal contracted glowed gold before it disappeared, signaling the acceptance.
"This is for you," James said, presenting the Scared Heart Betrothal Ring to Saturn.
Two hours later, a small crowd was assembled on the grounds of Potter Manor to witness the bonding ceremony of James Potter and Saturn Black. The small crowd consisted of family and close friends. Most people in attendance were guests of James or his parents while Saturn had a few friends from her time in Diagon Alley, including her landlord, Tom, and her boss' boyfriend, Alexander Prince. Ivy Fawley had a position of honor in the ceremony.
Ivy had the honor of escorting Saturn down the aisle. It was a tradition usually performed by a male, like a father or a brother, but James knew Saturn didn't have a father-figure or a brother-figure. She had an older sister in Ivy.
With the assistance of his mother, James had selected a simple bonding ceremony with Marriage Wands. Marriage Wands had two different forms: one male and one female. The female Marriage Wand was silver and the male Marriage Wand was gold. Each Marriage Wand had the individual's name imprinted on it. Once the bonding was complete, the Marriage Wands would light up, signifying their magic was merging together and finalizing the bond.
The ceremony was being performed by Robert Longbottom, James' godfather and a close friend of his father's.
"Who presence the bride?" Robert asked, beginning the ceremony.
"I do," answered Ivy, handing over the silver Marriage Wand.
Robert took the Wand before turning to James. "Who stands with the groom?" he asked.
"I do," answered Frank Longbottom, holding out the gold Marriage Wand.
Taking the Wand, Robert turned to face the bride and groom. "In the name of Merlin's Holy Light," he began, "we are gathered here to bring forth bind two together in a magical bond to become one."
There was a brief pause as Robert turned to James, "In the spirit of all things good, James Charles Potter, do you promise to uphold all things sacred and right by Saturn Melania Black until death?"
"I do," James answered, looking at his betrothed.
"Saturn Melania Black, do you promise to uphold all things sacred and right by James Charles Potter until death?" Robert asked, looking at the young woman.
"I do," Saturn said, feeling breathless.
Frank handed James a ring while Ivy handed one to Saturn.
"James, repeat after me: With this ring I bond with thee forevermore until the day we part."
Taking Saturn's left hand, James repeated, "With this ring, I bond with thee forevermore until we part." He slid the ring onto Saturn's ring finger, uniting it with the Sacred Heart Betrothal Ring.
"Ready, Saturn?" Robert asked.
There was a nod. "With this ring I bond with thee forevermore until the day we part," she said, sliding the ring onto James' left ring finger.
"In the name of Merlin's Holy Light, I hereby pronounce James Charles Potter and Saturn Melania Black as one, bonded forevermore. You may kiss."
James leaned forward and he press his lips to Saturn's. Unnoticed by the couple, the Marriage Wand lifted up from Robert's hands with white and gold sparks shooting from the tips.
The next day, Saturn moved out of the Leaky Caldron and she quit her job at Rosa Lee Teabag while Charlus Potter was visited the Department of Education to schedule Saturn's OWL testings and Dorea Potter was meeting Minerva McGonagall to enroll Saturn as a sixth year student.
Charlus managed to schedule her OWLs for the thirtieth and the thirty-first of December, which gave her a week to study between her birthday and Christmas. Dorea had secured to a placement on the conditions she passed her OWLs and she was caught up on the sixth year curriculum.
Saturn had done her best to keep up her studies, using Ivy and Alexander's old textbooks and purchasing second-hand books from the bookstore across from Rosa Lee Teabag. Despite her efforts, Saturn had fallen behind, and she only had a few days to catch up.
Armed with James' and Frank's notes from first through fifth year along with stacks of textbooks and a time-turner, Saturn got to work.
Thanks to the time-turner, Saturn was able to study while spending time with her husband. Each morning, she ate before locking herself away in the library for the morning. She would take lunch in the library before using the time-turner. On her second repeat of the morning, she would spend sometime with James before she resumed studying in their room into the early evening. At around four, she would use the time-turner to rewind time to noon. The afternoon would be spent reviewing in the library before visiting Ivy at Rosa Lee Teabag. The evening was spent with James and his parents, away from books and studying.
Before Saturn knew it, it was the thirtieth of December. Early that morning, she was escorted to the Ministry of Magic by Charlus. In the Department of Education, she met Madam Griselda Marchbanks, Professor Solomon Tofty, and Professor Edgar Bones.
The next twelve hours were spent testing, in both written and practical, for Charms, Transfiguration, Herbology, Defense Against the Dark Arts, and Potions. That evening, Saturn was drained. She barely remembered leaving the Ministry.
Saturn returned to the Department of Education for farther testing the next day. Another twelve hours passed in a blur of written tests and practical exams of History of Magic, Ancient Runes, Arithmancy, Astronomy, and Care of Magical Creatures.
Two days later, an owl delivered her results.
Dear Heiress Potter,
We are pleased to present your Ordinary Wizarding Level results. The passing grades are as follows: Outstanding (O); Exceeds Expectations (EE); and Acceptable (A). The failing grades are: Poor (P); Dreadful (D); and Troll (T).
Saturn Melania Potter has achieved ten OWLs:
Ancient Runes: EE
Care of Magical Creatures: EE
Defense Against the Dark Arts: O
History of Magic: A
Professor Edgar Bones
Governor, Wizarding Examination Authority of the Department of Education
Dorea handed a copy of the results to Minerva, who quickly made arrangements for Saturn to be tested on her understanding of the sixth year curriculum upon the start of the new term.
Saturn spent the reminder of the Winter Holidays studying with James and Frank, both of whom were eager to help.
On the day to return to Hogwarts, James and Saturn used the floo system to travel from Potter Manor to Professor McGonagall's office. While the returning students were traveling the Hogwarts Express, Saturn would be taking exams to prove she knew and she understood the sixth year curriculum. James spent the time moving into his and Saturn's new courters. As a bonded couple, they were allowed their own private rooms, complete with a small sitting area and a dining area.
James entered the Great Hall with the students who remained in the castle over the Winter Holidays. He took a seat at the Gryffindor table, saving the seats on either side of him for Frank and Saturn. A few minutes later, the returning students poured into the Great Hall.
Cheerfully, James greeted Frank and his girlfriend, Alice Monroe. Frank and James quickly started talking. James noticed Lily took the seat across from Alice, but he didn't bother greeting or acknowledging the redhead.
As the food appeared on the table, Saturn entered the Great Hall. Whispers broke out as she walked from the doors and over to the Gryffindor table before taking the seat next to James. Hardly any of the students recognized her.
Over at the Slytherin table, Narcissa Black smiled. While she wasn't allowed to contact Saturn, someone had sent her an announcement for the bonding ceremony of James and Saturn. Narcissa wasn't willing to believe the words until she saw her cousin. She couldn't remember ever seeing Saturn so happy and healthy looking.
Several seats away from Narcissa sat Regulus Black. He watched Saturn, recognizing several of her features as Black, but he didn't recognize her.
For James and Saturn, time passed quickly. They spent their time in class, doing homework, and together. When they spent time apart, James was usually with Frank and their year-mate Remus Lupin while Saturn was trying to make friends in her year. Most of the sixth year girls were friends with Lily Evans. Saturn tried to have limited contact with Evans since they never got along.
In her search for friends, Saturn found Pandora Laceheart and Marlene McKinnon. Both girls remembered Saturn, and they were happy with her return. Since Pandora was a Ravenclaw and Marlene was a Gryffindor, the three usually spent their time in James and Saturn's private courters.
Saturn was thrilled to be back at Hogwarts. She had missed school and she had missed being around people her own age. For the first few days, she was even happy to have homework. The happiness dwelled with each assignment until she decided homework was better than trying to study the mineral on her own.
James and Saturn's relationship quickly bloomed into love. They bonded as disconnected friends trying to repair their friendship. There were moments when Saturn was scared James would decide he didn't want her, but a glance at her ring finger would reminder that their bond was lifelong. Even if James fell out a love with her, they wouldn't divorce since it was against the traditions of the Potter family.
There was never a time James could remember being happier. He was bonded to an amazing witch. Upon his return to Hogwarts, James had limited contact with Evans. They shared classes, but he didn't sit near her and he didn't seek her out. With only polite greetings and mandatory communication as classmates, James hardly spared Evans a thought.
As the Hogwarts Express sped to the countryside, James and Saturn were curled up in a compartment. They would depart for Sydney, Australia, in two days. Both were looking forward to their honeymoon. As the train neared London, Saturn ran off to join Marlene and Pandora. Alone in the compartment, James turned his attention to the summer homework. It made sense to start it now since he wouldn't want to spend time on it once he got to Sydney.
The compartment door slid and someone stepped inside. "James?" the person, a female, said.
"Yes?" he said without looking up, focused on his Transfiguration assignment.
With a sigh, James looked up to find Lily Evans standing over him. "Yes, Miss Evans?" he asked. What did Evans want now? James only had a certain amount of time to complete as much of his homework as possible.
A blush covered Evans' cheeks. "I've noticed how much you've matured, James," she said.
"Thank you, Miss Evans," he replied. He wasn't sure how to reply, but Dorea Potter had raised her son to have manners.
"I was hoping that," Evans said, her blush growing, "that you be willing to escort me Diagon Alley?"
James froze at her question. What was Evans talking about? "What?" he asked, shocked. How could Evans asked a bonded man out a date?
"I think I love you," Evans blurted out in reply. "Will you go out with me?"
"No," James answered with a glare. What kind of wizard did Evans think he was?
A look of shock settled on Evans' face. What did she expected?
"You have a lot of nerve, Evans!" Saturn stated behind the redhead.
Evans turned to face Saturn with a glare, but she was shocked when Saturn greeted her with a slap.
"Detention!" Evans screamed, a hand holding her cheek. "What goes on between me and James is none of your business," she added.
"It is my business," hissed Saturn as she stalked closer to the redhead. She raised her left with the rings facing Evans. "This," she wove her hand, showing off her rings, "makes it my business."
"That won't last long!" Evans stated. "James loved me before you, and everyone knows a Potter only falls in love once."
A sneer crossed Saturn's face. "He never loved you," she said, "he only fancied you. You had your chance at him, and you threw him away, Evans."
Evans glared, her face growing red.
"Besides," Saturn continued, her tone taunting, "everyone knows that bonding is forevermore. James is mine – as I am his."
James stood back, watching the exchange. For being dubbed the brightest witch of their age, Evans was dumb. Everyone at Hogwarts knew James was bonded and he had no interest in anyone other than his wife.
"I'll see you expelled," Evans declared, "for slapping a Prefect. Besides, it's only a matter of time before you go Dark. Everyone knows you support You-Know-Who."
"How does slapping you mean I support Voldemort?" Saturn demanded.
Evans flinched at the use of the Dark Lord's name. "You clearly hate muggle-borns."
Saturn rose an eyebrow at Evans' statement. This was making no sense.
"In order to maintain pure-blood supremacy, you tricked James into marrying you," Evans said, "so you could turn the Potter fortune over to He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. You're worried that James will leave you for me."
"Evans," James said, his tone harsh, "you owe my wife an apology."
Evans turned to look at James with wide eyes. "I owe her nothing," she stated. "Besides she owes me an apology for slapping me."
"No, she doesn't," James stated.
Evans stared at James before narrowing her eyes. "You're just like her," she declared with a sneer. "I thought you were different, but you're nothing but a pure-blood supremacist and a future Death Eater." Without another word, Evans turned and stormed out of the compartment.
"I'll owl McGonagall when we get home," James promised. He shook his head. He could hardly remember what he saw in Evans.
Saturn stepped forward and she wrapped her arms around James. "I love you," she whispered."
James returned the embrace. Pushing her hair back, he rested his forehead against hers. "I love you, too."
When the Hogwarts Express pulled into Platform Nine and Three-Quarters, James collected their trunks. He waved his wand to shrink them before placing both trunks in his pocket. Hand and hand with his wife, they stepped off of the train.
On the platform, they ran into Orion and Walburga Black. Saturn took a half step backwards at the sight of her parents. Before she could pull James in another direction, Orion and Walburga were advancing towards them with Regulus behind them.
"Heir Potter," Walburga greeted with a fake happy tone, "daughter."
At the woman's casual address of her, Saturn lifted her head and she glared. "It's Heiress Potter," she corrected the woman.
Walburga's eyes narrowed as she pressed her lips together. "Now, now, daughter, there's no need for such formalities," she said.
"I'm afraid there is, Mrs. Black," Saturn said, "as a disinherited and disowned former Black, we are to address one another by titles. I am Heiress Potter, Mrs. Black."
With her face turning red, Walburga glared at her daughter. "How dare you address me as such. I am Lady Black to you!"
"Mrs. Black," James said, cutting in, "you can't be Lady Black since Lord Arcturus Black isn't your husband, and you can't be Heiress Black since Regulus is the heir of Lord Black."
Orion watched the exchange between his wife and their daughter with a sad expression. He missed his precious daughter. "Heir Potter," Orion said before his wife could say anymore, "we're here to collect Saturn and break your bonding." He presented the couple with a piece of parchment.
James took the parchment and read it over with Saturn reading over his shoulder. "You have no grounds," he stated, crushing the parchment in his hand. "We were bund in Merlin's Holy Light Ceremony, and magic has excepted our bonding."
"But you never received permission from our family," taunted Walburga with a smirk.
"As a disowned bastard, Saturn can't have any contact with your family," James stated, "therefore, you aren't her family. If you check the records, I received permission from Miss Ivy Fawley."
Orion sighed. This wasn't going according to his father's plans. Arcturus Black wanted Saturn bonded with the Dark Lord. When Saturn refused, she was disowned for being a bastard. She would be allowed to return to the family when she accepted the bonding with the Dark Lord. Unfortunately, Saturn found a living on her own, and she successfully bonded with someone else a day before her seventeenth birthday.
Without another word, James and Saturn left the Blacks standing on the platform.