Act II - The Warlock of Hogwarts
Chapter 1 - Back to School Part 1
"I just don't get it," Pansy Parkinson said rather sourly. "You of all people muddying yourself by fraternising with the likes of Potter. Seriously Daphne, did you check for love potions?"
Daphne rolled her eyes, choosing to stare out of the Hogwarts Express that was currently halted at the Platform Nine and three-quarters of Kings Cross station. The entire platform was overflowing with throngs of witches and wizards for their annual departure to Hogwarts. Even with the grey smoke drifting off the chimney of the majestic scarlet locomotive, she could see first-years gawking around, giving every single thing awed looks. Older students milling about with their friends and family or reserving compartments while parents were helping them with their luggage or saying goodbye. Kneazles of all sizes and colours were roaming across the platform, while owls hooted from their cages, with some of them flying around.
She was sitting in their usual compartment, accompanied by her sister Astoria, Pansy and Tracey Davis. News of the summer events had reached everyone, especially with her father acting as Harry's Defense Counsel and attorney, and welcoming him as a Greengrass in front of the entire Wizengamot. Her entire family being spotted at Black Manor for the party and his overt acknowledgement of her actions only added fuel to the flames.
Naturally, her friends were drilling her for details. Pansy was just having a harder time dealing with the surprises.
"Stop being overdramatic, Pansy," claimed Astoria, taking a bite into the steak sandwich Kenny had packed for them from home.
"Overdramatic?" Pansy fumed. "I've seen your sister clench her jaw for the last four years every single time his name came into conversation, Tori. Even Draco knows not to mention his name in front of her."
Daphne slipped Pansy a curious glance, but stayed quiet. Her disdain for Potter was well known, but Pansy had associated it with the usual Gryffindor-Slytherin rivalry. Draco's derision with Potter lay in his initial spurning in the train, followed by his sorting in Gryffindor and choosing to befriend a Weasley and a muggle born over him. That Professor Snape held an equal if not greater animosity towards Potter didn't help matters either. Obviously, she couldn't share the real details behind it, so it wasn't like she could blame her best friend.
"My reasons for disliking Potter were my own, Pansy. As are my reasons for liking him."
"Pansy," Daphne pinned her with a stare. "I always knew that my life would centre around Potter. You must've seen how I watched him from our table."
"Because you hated him."
"Yes, and not because he's a Gryffindor, and certainly not because Draco can't stand him. For Morgana's sake, didn't you read the Prophet? Harry's status as a Greengrass was there on the front page for the entire week!"
"Yes! And it makes sense you'd hate him for that! That half-blood's trying to steal your bloody inheritance."
"He bloody well isn't," Astoria growled. "Do you not read, Parkinson? House Black and House Potter, both Noble Houses, are under his banner. He's got Albus freakin' Dumbledore on his side, and House Longbottom. You should've seen how cosy Mister Black was with the DMLE Director."
"Watch it!" Pansy snapped. "This is about the Greengrass lineage, Tori. This doesn't concern you."
"PANSY!" Daphne's eyes went round, as she yelled in anger, but the damage was done. Astoria had gone from angry and dead silent, and slowly sat down in her seat. She knew how much Astoria hated the fact that for all her name and relation, she wasn't technically a Greengrass. Their father, Joshua, had been a Pince scion that had married Anastasia Greengrass, Daphne's mother, and taken up the Greengrass name. After her demise, Joshua had married Elizabeth Carrow, and had had Astoria, because Daphne needed a mother. It was the sad truth of the family that despite calling herself Daphne's little sister, Astoria was merely a half-sister.
"What?" Pansy defended. "It's not like that's not right."
"Doesn't. Fucking. Matter," Daphne growled. "Who gave you the right to say that to Astoria? If it doesn't concern Astoria, then it doesn't concern you either. Astoria is my little sister. You are a Parkinson. What right do you have to question the decisions made by the Regent and Lady of Greengrass?"
A wary neutrality replaced every trace of anger on Pansy's face. But Daphne was far from done.
"I don't fucking care what you think of Potter! He carries the blood, and my father acknowledged him as one. I'm the Lady and I acknowledged him as one. We've hand fasted and come next summer, we're to be wed!"
"Not your business," Daphne shot her down frostily. "Harry is not trying to steal my inheritance. He's not put me under any love potions, and he's not after my family's gold. Unless you forgot, he's both Lord Potter and the Black Heir, not Draco Malfoy, who's been tooting that horn since we were eleven!"
"But he's a half—" Pansy began, but her words died in the wake of Daphne's scornful laughter.
Daphne sneered at her. "You keep calling him a half-blood. And yet he's a vessel of a Noble House so old that it makes House Parkinson look less than a muggle born."
"Watch it, Daphne!" Pansy growled.
"Oh, does that hurt now?" Daphne shot back, her eyes shooting sparks. "He carries the Greengrass bloodline. He carries the Peverell bloodline. Sirius Black made him his heir. He's the first person in centuries to advance a House to Noble status by elevating its magical potential, unlike you, who fails at a bare stunner. You call him a half-blood, but guess what? He's a Parselmouth, like Salazar Bloody Slytherin himself. He could cast a corporeal patronus that drove away a hundred dementors at thirteen, while the oh-so-pure Draco Malfoy spent weeks in the hospital because a hippogriff scuffed him. And honestly Pansy, Harry Potter, Albus Dumbledore and even the Dark Lord himself, are all half-bloods, and your father kneeled before him and kissed his robes."
Silence rang in the compartment for an entire minute. Even Tracey and Astoria were looking at her like she had grown a second head. Pansy… Daphne couldn't interpret her expression. There could have been anger in it, or suspicion or envy or plain betrayal. Whatever was going on in her head to make her face look like that, she couldn't translate it.
"What?" Daphne challenged. "You've got something to say?"
"No," Pansy said, her lips twisting, "I'm fine with just thinking about it."
"Pansy," Tracey tried, "what's the issue, really? Why are you so hung up on this?"
Pansy glowered at her.
"What?" Tracey shot back. You're a bitch, Parkinson, but I know how much you care for Daffy here."
"Don't call me Daffy!" Daphne growled.
"Right," Tracey grinned, completely ignoring her. "And I know you love Tori like a sister. So why don't you stop being a stuck-up bitch and tell us what's actually pissing you off?"
Even Astoria was looking at her, brows knitted.
Pansy scoffed and looked away. "You wouldn't understand!"
Daphne crossed her arms. "Try me."
The girl avoided her gaze and gazed at the floor.
"Fine! Be like that!" Daphne snapped and looked away at the window. Seriously, what the hell was wrong with Pansy? She knew she could be a bitch, but this sort of behaviour was most unlike her. It was almost like she was feeling—
Daphne spun around and looked at her friend with dawning recognition. "Pansy Parkinson, are you afraid that I'll be breaking my friendship with you 'cause of Potter?"
Pansy's eyes were glossy, as she lifted her face and glared at Daphne. "Are you telling me you won't? You're my best friend, Daphne. We've known each other since we're five. And now, with the Dark Lord being back, there'll be lines drawn. And Potter will definitely not be on our side. He'll fight for Dumbledore and the blood traitors and the mudbloods, and you'll have to choose him because he'll be your fucking husband!" She was outright yelling at the end.
Tears were running down Pansy's cheeks. "I was the happiest when I got to know Draco was going to marry you. I'd be Lady Malfoy, and you'd be Lady Black. Morgana! Draco told me he had asked for Tori as well, so we three would be happy together. Far from this mess. And now look what happened! That blasted Sirius Black stole Draco's inheritance, and now Saint Potter is taking my best friend from me. So yes, I've got a MERLIN-DAMNED PROBLEM!"
Daphne's lower lip trembled. As much as she wanted to deny it, Pansy wasn't wrong. With the Dark Lord back, lines would be drawn and everyone would have to choose a side. But growing up with a magical supremacist had taught her that war was politics with bloodshed, and Joshua was against the spilling of magical blood, no matter which side it belonged to. It was this ideology that bound the neutral families together, regardless of how either side painted them as fence-sitters at best, to blood-traitors at worst.
But Pansy wasn't right either. Because the tinted lens of Draco Malfoy and the Gryffindor-Slytherin rivalry marred her perception of Harry Potter. She had not spent the week with him at her manor, interacting with him all day, and seeing his reaction to things. If she had, she'd have known better than to place him with the muggle borns and the blood traitors.
"You know," Daphne began conversationally, "Harry stayed at my house for a week during the summer. Before the trial."
"He did?" Tracey asked.
"Yes," grumbled Astoria. "And conveniently, when I was away. Who knew my elder sister was so possessive? Green is so not your colour, Daffy!"
Daphne leered at her, only for her little sister to blow her a kiss.
Tracey just rolled her eyes.
"Well?" Pansy asked, raising her chin. "And what of it?"
"I asked him why he was doing it." She further clarified. "Taking the mantle of Lord Potter and everything. Because trust me, he could've gotten out of that trial without it."
"Why else?" Pansy growled. "'Cause he's a glory hound! That's why!"
"And where," Daphne shrewdly put in, "have you seen him acting like one?"
"Are you kidding me? He's acted like that every single time."
Pansy wrinkled her nose. "Excuse me?"
"Name. One. Time," her lip curled, "one incident, when Harry's been a glory hound."
"Why is he Harry? And what's not to name? Remember how he claimed to have killed Slytherin's monster in our second year? Bunch of lies!"
"He didn't," Daphne calmly refuted. "All we got was the Headmaster saying that the monster in the Chamber of Secrets was taken care of. And by the way, he killed the monster."
Pansy leered at her. "Oh, you believe him now, do you?"
"Yes. He showed me a memory of the event in our pensive. I'd be a fool not to believe him after that."
"He did?" Tracey and Astoria asked together, before proceeding to glare at each other.
"Yes," Daphne smirked, crossing her arms again. "Me, Dad and Sirius Black watched it with him. It was a thousand-year-old, giant basilisk. I nearly fainted at the sight." She shivered, remembering the memory. "Blasted thing was over seventy feet long. It could've gobbled him alive in a single go. Instead, Harry killed it with the Sword of Gryffindor."
"You've got to be kidding!" Tracey breathed.
Pansy rolled her eyes.
"I'm not," Daphne calmly refuted. "But I can tell you this. Dad contacted Dumbledore about the basilisk, to see if they could harvest it. Under the Laws of Conquest, Harry has a claim on it, but he's agreed to decrease his share to forty percent, while another forty percent will go to Hogwarts. Dad will get ten percent and even that should be several hundred thousand galleons after the harvesting is done."
Pansy blinked. "Excuse me, did you say a hundred thousand?"
Daphne smirked. "No. I said several hundred thousand, and that's ten percent of the profits. Imagine how much that will bolster House Potter's wealth. Dad's got a runologist and a curse-breaker hired for Christmas, and requested Harry's help in deciphering the secrets of the Chamber. He thinks Harry could use his Parselmouth powers to help understand and translate Salazar's lost works. Harry's already awarded the position of a Warlock by the Wizengamot. Can you imagine the power he'll have in his hands in the future?"
"But I digress," Daphne continued. "During his stay at our manor, he told me he's only interested in living his life and ensuring his family doesn't end with him."
You mean—" Tracey whispered.
"That he has stayed neutral over the conflict. Harry Potter isn't fond of the Ministry or the Dark side. But if anyone comes after him or those he considers dear, he'll fight back." Daphne met Pansy's eyes. "And yes, I'll support him."
"You know the Dark Lord will never—"
"Then the fault lies on the Dark Lord," Daphne shot back. "Harry represents not one but three Noble Houses. He has brought back a Family Magic lost to time. If the Dark Lord is really fighting for our traditions and our wizarding culture, then he should support Harry, not kill him. Unless…" Daphne sneered, "it's not about them, but sheer bigotry."
Pansy's nostrils flared. "Now you're drawing a line, Daphne."
"No, I am not, and neither is Harry. Believe me, he will not start the fight, but if you pull him in, he's definitely going to finish it. We all know what happened at the end of the Third Task, don't we?"
"Big Sis got a kick-arse husband out of the draw!" Astoria quipped. "And I got a cool brother-in-law."
"Brother-in-law?" Daphne drawled, "I think your exact words were: Do you think Papa would mind if both of us got married to Potter?"
Astoria went pink.
"And now I don't even know if you're joking," Tracey shook her head at their antics. "But seriously, is that even legal? Like earlier, Pansy mentioned you three marrying Malfoy and now this… wouldn't it be… you know…"
She looked at them helplessly, unable to find the right word to express her conflicted feelings.
"Illegal?" Pansy asked. "It's an obligation. But I wouldn't expect you to know. You're only a half—"
"What Pansy means," Daphne interrupted the girl, much to her annoyance, "is that Harry's obligated to marry more than once to satisfy his role as Lord of his Houses."
"And which House," Pansy asked, giving up her pretence of detached interest, "are you marrying into?"
"House Black," Daphne said. "The House I was supposed to marry. By contract, our first-born will inherit the mantle of Lord Greengrass. Until then, I will carry on its duties as its lady and maintain the House's appearance at the Wizengamot."
"And Potter?" asked Pansy.
"He's happy to let me deal with it. Says politics isn't his thing."
This coming from someone that had thrown the Wizengamot into chaos on his very first day. Yeah, it boggled the mind.
"I don't understand," said Tracey. "Why would the House matter? I mean, Black or Greengrass, you're still gonna be married to him, aren't you?"
Daphne noticed Pansy's jaw clench. Tracey was among the few half-bloods that somehow stayed afloat in Slytherin House. Her mother, Cynthia Spinett, was a good friend of her father, which was why she had House Greengrass's protection. It kept things from getting too bad.
Still, Pansy wasn't known for tact, given how she preferred a charging bull method to her problems. How she had slithered her way into Slytherin was anybody's guess.
"It matters," Daphne said, "because the Houses involved are nobility."
Okay. This was going to take some time. But she might as well.
"See, there's a significant difference between Houses and Nobility. Do you know what that is?"
Tracey pursed her lips. "I'd say wealth and old bloodlines, but I think it's got something to do with the Family Magic thing."
Daphne exhaled. Good. Tracey wasn't being too thick-headed. "Yes. Every Noble Family has something we call Family Magic, something that's unique to our bloodline. It doesn't matter how good you are at a subject or how much power or what sort of wand you wield. If you don't carry Greengrass blood, you cannot have any access to the Greengrass Family Magic. Same for House Black and now… House Potter."
"I think I understand," said Tracey.
Daphne's eyes glinted. "What you've got to understand is that Lords and Ladies are, more often than not, the ones to hold major control over their Family Magic. And trying to mix Family Magic is an exercise that will end in either futility or catastrophe, so we do not go for it. Instead, a specific ritual is performed during… copulation," her face flushed, "when the Family Magic of the offspring is chosen. That's how I can guarantee that our first-born will… hold the mantle of Greengrass."
Tracey looked slightly pink.
"Most pureblood families only look for beneficial traits while deciding on a marriage. Some families have developed talents for transfiguration, others for runes and potions. Or maybe they've got a special affinity. Like say, Longbottom has a green thumb. The Dagworth-Grangers come from a long line of potioneers. It's entirely possible that Hermione Granger is some squib descendant of that family, which is why she's so good at the subject. Maybe if Longbottom marries Granger, their offspring would have both attributes, and add it to the family bloodline."
"And expand the fortune." Tracey said.
"I thought it was about keeping the lines 'pure'."
"It is," said Pansy, glaring at Daphne. "Potter's presence has infected Daphne, which is why she had to use the squib and the mudblood as an example of all things?"
Daphne sniffled and went on. "But for Noble families, that's the opposite. The child born must only be born with the Family Magic of a single House. Potter is… a freak of nature, I suppose. But his father never qualified for the Peverell bloodline and his mother's a muggle born, so I've got no clue how he manifested both. But because every child I'll ever have will have the Greengrass lineage through me, he has to marry another witch, of a different family, to ensure the independent survival of House Potter and its Family Magic through a separate family line."
"No worries," Astoria chimed. "I'm not really a Greengrass. I'm a Pince-Carrow."
"Someone kill me now," Daphne muttered.
"And he's obligated to do this?"
"Yes," said Pansy, "It's rare for people to end up fathering multiple lines, and even rarer for nobility. Draco carries the Black blood, so he was obligated to marry two women to satisfy both Black and Greengrass lines."
"I said obligated, not limited."
"... I see." said Tracey, "but now that Potter's the Black heir—"
"He gets just me," said Pansy snobbishly, putting her dainty palm on her chest. "The future Lady Malfoy. He can take a few concubines, but you're a half-blood, so you don't stand a chance." She sneered. "Maybe Daphne can aid you there. She's probably already listing mudbloods and blood-traitors to add to her bedroom collection."
Daphne rolled her eyes. "Ignore her, Tracey. See, Harry isn't related to House Black by blood, but Mr. Black has magically adopted him, so he might have some control on the mantle when it's time. Honestly, I'd have thought he'd have wanted Harry to marry Auror Tonks. I mean, she's got Black blood in her, and they seemed pretty comfortable."
"This is just demented!" Tracey exclaimed. "Not even married, and you're already knee-deep considering prospects to share your future husband with."
"At least it isn't Granger," Pansy muttered.
"Welcome to Nobility," snarked Astoria. "Trust me Trace, you're happier off being a half-blood. It's not all lineage and traditions, you know."
"I'm seeing that," said Tracey. "Seriously, you can't tell me you'd have no issues with your husband sharing another woman's bed?"
"It wouldn't have been with Draco," Pansy interjected. "I'd just have to seduce Daphne as well."
Daphne gagged at the mental image. Like everyone else, she too wanted someone that'd be loyal to her and her alone. Someone with whom she'd ensure the future of her line. But it was a dream, and dreams didn't come true. The diabolical blood curse hanging over her head would ensure that.
She exhaled. "There are… reasons my father had engineered the marriage contract with Draco. Reasons I have to marry into the Black family."
"Even though it's Potter instead of Draco."
"And you're not unhappy with this."
Daphne bit her lip. "It's not like I'd have been the sole wife, even in Draco's case. I mean, I'd have to see Pansy's pug face every single day—"
"Bitch!" Pansy growled.
"But yes, I'm not unhappy with the change of circumstances."
It'd have been a marriage of convenience with Malfoy. She had assumed something similar to Harry, but after knowing him personally, she was hoping for something else.
"Even if it is the Gryffindor Golden Boy?"
"She's just high," said Pansy. "That or willingly oblivious if she thinks being with Potter is better."
"I'm not saying it's gonna be easy—" Daphne began.
"Open your eyes, girl," Pansy shot her down. "You're oblivious, I'm not. You're telling me you ain't seeing how that veela wench has her claws on your betrothed? He practically celebrated their friendship out aloud at the party, didn't he?"
"He also spoke of me and my father."
"Yes, and so what? You can't tell me you aren't afraid of Fleur Delacour? She's a veela, and you know what they do. It's been a month since that party. Tell me, are you absolutely certain Potter is just friends with Delacour?"
An icy feeling grew in her stomach, but Daphne schooled her features. "You're just—"
"Saying the truth?" Pansy sneered. "I've been keeping tabs on him. Potter spent an awful lot of time hanging around Delacour all summer."
"She's his Account Manager."
"And how many Account managers go on ice-cream dates with their employers?"
Daphne didn't flinch, but she couldn't refute those comments.
"Mark my words," Pansy said, standing up, meeting Daphne's eyes. "Potter's enthralled. I bet my entire Hogsmeade allowance Delacour's already jumped on his bones. They're veela. The one thing they love more than wealth and riches is snatching men from their partners. You think she won't do that to you?"
"Harry — he—" She looked away, and gathered her words. Trying to deny Pansy would be a waste. She already knew of Harry's friendship with Delacour.
"Yes?" Pansy demanded.
"You're right," Daphne said at last. "Maybe the veela has been trying to get her hooks on Harry. Maybe she's even gotten him. But you know what? It doesn't matter. We're going to Hogwarts. Hogwarts, where he's going to be with me for the next nine months, while the veela will push papers at Gringotts."
"Care to bet on that?"
Daphne narrowed her eyes.
Pansy pointed out at someone outside the window. Daphne spun around, and found her pointing at Potter, standing there, talking to Sirius Black and Andromeda Tonks. The entire Weasley brood was there too, easily noticed by their ginger hair, with that mother-hen bossing around everyone, including the adults. She noticed Sirius Black hand over a small package Harry shoved into his pocket before embracing the man with a hug.
"Tell you what, Daphne," Pansy whispered up close into her ear. "Potter should sit with us if you're so sure. You're to be wed after all. Surely you deserve a bit of his time?"
"He sits with his friends every year."
"He shares the same dorm with Weasley. Surely he can afford to make some time for his fiancee?"
Daphne narrowed her eyes. She didn't know what her best friend really wanted to prove, but whatever, she'd get him to sit with her for the entire journey.
And besides, a secretively spiteful part of her pointed out. He's being my betrothed. Where else would he sit if not with me?
Her curiosity getting the better of her, she pushed her wand out and cast a listening jinx at Weasley, not trusting herself to cast at Harry successfully without being caught.
"Shall we go find a compartment?" Harry was saying.
"We're — well, Ron and I, are supposed to go into the Prefect carriages."
Daphne blinked. Surely she hadn't heard her wrong? Granger becoming a prefect was no surprise. She was practically a mini-McGonagall. But Weasley? Who'd make Weasley a Prefect over Harry? What was going on?
"Oh," said Harry, "Right. Fine."
"Only the starting, mate," Weasley consoled. "Meet the Headboy and Headgirl and then done!"
"That's not it, and you know it!" Granger said hotly. "We've got to patrol the corridors. Seriously Ronald—"
Daphne tuned out of the conversation. This was better than expected. With Granger and Weasley out of the entire picture, it'd be easier to get him to sit with her.
She considered Pansy.
Okay, maybe not so easy. But it was easier than before.
"What do you say?" Pansy demanded. "Care to make that wager?"
"If this is some trick to get him angry and—" Daphne began.
"Oh, I wouldn't dream of it. All I want is to ask him about Delacour. Unless you're afraid of the truth?"
Daphne gritted her teeth.
Pansy raised an eyebrow. "Well?"
"Fine," Daphne said. "You're on."
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