Okay, just to clarify since a few people were confused as to why Newt referred to Iris as "they" originally... Newt honestly had no idea what gender she was until she woke up, as he was busy dealing with the creatures. Iris had been sound asleep for two full days before she woke up and Newt had just rescued several badly injured creatures when he found her. As such, his main priority was to do damage control and save as many as he could. He was also raised up in a 'proper' household, which means he wouldn't have thought to check what gender the kid was. Iris is about six-seven physically when he finds her, and it's rather difficult to tell at a glance what gender a kid is when they're that young and fully clothed.
Newt was worried, as Iris had caught a bit of a nasty cold from playing in the rain and he was out of the ingredients for a basic pepper up potion. Luckily, he knew the location of a trustworthy healer to check on her that was relatively inexpensive.
"Well Scamander, I'm happy to say your daughter is in mostly perfect health. It's a common cold, and outside of needing to eat a bit more she's fine," said Janus.
Newt was relieved, until he realized what the man had called Iris.
"Iris isn't my daughter," he said absently.
Janus gave him a Look.
"Just because she's not yours by blood doesn't mean you're not her father," he said flatly.
Newt looked ready to hyperventilate. Janus sighed.
"Alright look, how did you end up with her anyway?"
"I found her wandering the wilds after breaking up a poacher's camp," said Newt without thinking, before he clammed up.
"And what are the odds that she would have survived without outside assistance?"
"Extremely low. She was rather sunburned when I found her and her clothes were a few sizes too big. She didn't have anything to keep water in and she was looking a bit thin," said Newt. He really didn't see where Janus was going with this.
"Certain magical children, after experiencing great trauma, have a habit of latching on to the nearest magical adult capable of taking care of them as a self-defense measure. Particularly if a life debt is involved and their parents are unavailable. In most documented cases, if the parents or biological family are unable to take them in or have been permanently removed, the adult in question often becomes a magical surrogate parent or at least favored aunt and uncle."
"So what are you saying?" asked Newt.
"Congratulations, Mr. Scamander... magic has apparently deemed you a father to this little girl!" said Janus. "Which means that legally you are now her guardian in every way that matters."
"I'm not ready to be a father!" protested Newt.
"Most people aren't. You don't have to be a perfect parent...you just have to be there when she needs you and guide her whenever necessary. Everyone makes mistakes...it's part of the process."
Newt was a tad pale. He didn't know how he was going to explain this to his parents or Theseus. Newt knew that he definitely needed to fix up that ramshackle shack of his. He had put it off, but if he was going to be the legal guardian of a small child they would need more room than he had currently.
"I'll get you a list of things to look out for in magical children. She's still at an age that accidental magic is something to watch out for, especially in the areas you frequent, but she seems like a sensible enough girl. Do you want me to give her the full work up so we know if she needs any boosters or vaccinations?"
"Yes please," said Newt. "I have no idea if she might have caught anything before I found her, or if she's had them. And since I'm around foreign magical creatures all the time..."
"I'll do a basic scan...how long have you been with her?"
"Almost two months, give or take."
While Janus gave Iris a full work-up to see if she needed any boosters, Newt was busy fixing up his case. Specifically the area where he and Iris slept.
It had started to become rather cramped, and it was long overdue.
Four hours later, Newt came out to find a less than happy Janus waiting for him.
"If I find out who had her before you, I am going to hex them."
"Newt, she has basilisk venom in her blood. Enough to kill several adults. There's also a chunk in her right arm that looks about right for a massive fang to have gone through and my scans detected a slight chip of basilisk fang in the bone that's going to be impossible to remove. The only good thing is that she has enough phoenix tears in her blood to counteract the venom. And for some reason she's lacking any vaccines or boosters for common magical diseases," said Janus pissed.
Newt was appalled, and rightly so.
"I'm going to need to do a few more tests. It's only the fact that the wound in question is far too old that I'm not calling the aurors on you," said Janus honestly.
"I would have been more concerned if you hadn't considered it, after finding that," said Newt.
Basilisks were bad enough...for a child to have that much venom and even a chipped fang fragment permanently lodged in their arm...it did not speak well for whomever had been taking care of Iris.
Any thoughts of returning her to her family died after learning that particular piece of information. Anyone willing to subject a child to what could only be a fully grown, rather old basilisk needed to be arrested.
Even Newt, who loved many magical creatures and wanted to help them, was leery of basilisks and killed them rather than try to protect them.
Iris could care less about staying the night. So long as Newt was there she was happy as a clam.
A week later...
Iris stared in awe at her new room. Newt had given his tiny shack a proper revamp, so now it was closer to a small house than a shack. There were three bed rooms, two bathrooms (one was adjacent to Iris' room and was for her personal use for when she was older), several closets, a full kitchen and a massive pantry/cold box and an expanded porch. The living room was just off the kitchen, and there was even a small library. Since Newt didn't have many books to read, the shelves were mostly bare.
Newt even had a small green house for Iris to play around with so long as he gave the okay to the plants inside and a proper potions lab that was kept separate from the house and green house that he had the sole key to. The completed potions were kept in a locked cabinet with the more dangerous ones on the higher shelves with an extra lock on it where Iris could reach quite yet.
Considering the amount of clutter he tended to accumulate, Newt added an attic as well. The entrance to the case was now a room adjacent to the home, but had extra security in case someone came down that wasn't supposed to.
Only Newt or Iris could come and go freely...anyone else coming inside would have to wait to be cleared first. The creatures would have a separate entrance.
Iris loved every bit of it, and was happily exploring her new home. Newt was glad she liked it...it had taken three days of careful spell casting to fix the place up.
It was almost lonely, sleeping in his new bed without Iris to cuddle against him to protect herself from whatever nightmares plagued her. But the smile on her face made it all worthwhile the next morning.
It was the quiet "Thank you, Daddy." that made his heart positively melt though.
He could deal with his mother's reaction to being a grandmother before either of her sons were married. He was sure they'd understand after he explained things properly, and Iris was such a darling little girl that he knew she'd have his mother wrapped around her finger in no time.
And if he happened to turn a blind eye to the fact his daughter often had random creatures snuggled up against her, well, he wasn't above encouraging her love of magical creatures. Though he still had to do a doubletake when he realized Iris had apparently won over the hippogryff he had rescued from the poachers and was snuggled up against it.
Newt was not having a good day. The poachers had finally managed to track them down, and privately confirmed his suspicions that it had been another group who kidnapped his daughter. He should have left when he spotted the burned man in the port town they were visiting, but had gotten careless.
And now there was a wand pointed at his little girl. Newt was so angry over the matter he didn't notice how calm Iris was about the matter.
The burned man gained a cruel grin as his leader spoke condescendingly to the man who wrecked their operation.
Newt saw the spell cast from the man's wand hit Iris, and his heart dropped. Everyone was taught to recognize the color of an Unforgiveable by their seventh year. It was a requirement for passing DA to know them by heart.
He knew the color of the Imperius curse, and heard the man's cruel words as he ordered Iris to kill her father, likely as a distraction.
The leader smirked coldly, likely believing the girl would follow the order without question, as she had a familiar dazed expression of one under the effects of the curse.
No one expected the sudden shout of pain from the burned man as Iris stomped hard on his foot, before using some form of hand to hand combat that was terrifyingly effective at bringing the man down to her level.
Everyone stood there stunned as Iris disarmed the man and stole his wand. They only really started to move when she started hexing the leader with spells meant to do serious damage in a short amount of time.
Newt didn't think twice. He immediately moved to protect Iris, even as he was casting spells. He scooped up his daughter, apparated long enough to get his case from the hotel, then disappeared into the African wilds before anyone really understood what was going on.
They would have to avoid ports for a while.
Newt found the most secure area he could, warded it to the best of his ability...then sat his daughter down for a serious talk.
Children should not know how to disarm grown men, throw off and fake being under the Imperius curse, or know how to calmly cast such powerful spells. Not without the kind of training that only serious Aurors or Hit Wizards went under for their job.
Iris was only seven. The idea of her being a child soldier made him ill to his stomach.
It did not help matters that Iris' eyes were too old, too tired and leery of him.
"Iris...how did you do all that?"
Iris had a sardonic expression that should not be on a child's face.
"I blame a magical ritual gone wrong, and the meddling of a force that apparently decided I needed a proper childhood," she said flatly.
Newt's stomach dropped. Iris wasn't much of a talker, but the way she spoke sounded more like someone closer to his age than a seven year old. It was so world weary that it hurt to hear it.
"Who are you, really?"
"My full name was Iris Circe Potter-Black...and I'm from the year 2002."
Newt already had a headache.
"What happened?" he asked, trying to get through this conversation first before he hit any of the hard liquor he kept stashed. Not just for drinking, but also for emergencies when he needed to sterilize a wound and didn't have anything better on hand.
"There was a magical war, after Grindlewald was dealt with. Far too many good people died, and entire families were wiped out or traumatized in a way they would never fully recover from. A Dark Lord who was angry over the fact that his father never wanted him and that the magical world could care less about him because he was a supposed muggleborn. Then he discovered he was a Founder's Heir and it would allow him to convince the pure blood faction who think the only thing that matters is their bloodline to follow him. He gathered them in large numbers...and started attacking not just the muggles, but anyone who didn't agree with him."
Newt felt ill at the thought of it.
"Then, right at the height of his reign of terror, a certain influential wizard heard a prophecy that a child would put an end to it, or the Dark Lord would end them. He convinced both parents with children fitting the requirements to go into hiding, and one was picked... a half blood like the Dark Lord. The child grew up abused, hated, treated worse than a house elf all because the old man foolishly believed the child's aunt would grow to love them when they had made their opinion about magic and those who could use it rather clear. And when they finally attended Hogwarts...that child was treated like a caged bird, pressed from all sides in an attempt to make them agree to popular opinion and vilified whenever they expressed their own beliefs or did something the public didn't like."
Newt already had a feeling where this was going.
"You're that child."
"They didn't want Iris...they just wanted a caged bird that listened to what they wanted and they could put away whenever they did what was needed to bring things back to something close to 'normal'. One that would be dictated by popular opinion and did only what they were told," said Iris bitterly. "I had enough when they tried to enforce a fake contract between me and a politically chosen wizard in order to pop out heirs, since I wasn't going to follow the Ministry's demands. If I wasn't going to be an Auror, they would make me a housewife who's finances and political power was controlled by her husband instead. So I got help from a friend and we came up with a ritual that would allow me to enter the past and put an end to things before it got to that point."
"How old were you?"
"About twenty-three, give or take," she admitted. "Of course I was not expecting to be reverted to a child upon arrival."
"So your lost memories..."
"Do you really think a twenty-something war veteran who is all too familiar with the Unforgiveables and essentially turned into a child soldier just because the adults around them couldn't be bothered to clean up their own mess could act like a child?" she replied. "There's a spell on the chain that sealed my full memories unless they become necessary for survival...like if someone were to cast the Imperius curse on me. I remembered everything temporarily until the mind naturally resets, in which case it goes back to being sealed off."
"Sleep is the body's method of 'reseting' the mind so that it can properly catalog and review the day's events. Once I fall asleep, the memories are locked back up for the most part, save for one or two harmless memories that wouldn't impact my daily life. For the most part, I am a child so long as I'm not in danger or hit with high level dark magic."
Seeing he didn't get it, she conjured up a glass tea kettle and a metal filter.
She took some tea leaves and put it into the filter.
"Imagine the kettle is your mind and it's ability to function. The tea is the amount of information you accumulate while you're awake and the water is the pathways the information takes in the mind. As time goes by the leaves enlarge and the pathways become muddied. When you go to sleep, it's like cleaning out the filter and putting fresh leaves in. Understand?"
She would have used a computer comparison, but this was before World War Two and Newt was a wizard. He wouldn't have understood it without giving far too much detail on what a computer was and why it mattered.
Tea was a much simpler alternative any Brit could understand.
"So was our meeting planned?" asked Newt.
She shook her head.
"I woke up with absolutely no memory who or much less where I was. I just headed to the first sign of people, and apparently my luck lead me right to you. Until now, my full memory was sleeping."
Newt had a headache. She could relate.
"What exactly do you plan to do to avert the future you came from?" he asked honestly. If things really had gotten as bad as she claimed, then it was no wonder she had performed a desperate gamble.
"I was originally planning to track down the Dark Lord's mother and when she passed from childbirth, take him in and raise him properly. If not I'd settle for him being raised in a loving home with people who would tell him no and teach him right from wrong, because his original caretakers were too afraid and he learned rather quickly how to control his accidental magic to instill terror into them and the children he was stuck living in the orphanage with," she admitted. "He is...will be...a parselmouth like myself and is from a mostly defunct line of Slytherin."
"When will he be born?"
"Not for a few years at least. I don't know where he will be born, just where he ends up," said Iris. "I do know who his parents were, and what area they were living in though."
Iris let off a massive yawn. The adrenaline was wearing off, and her mind was making demands that she return to her previous state.
"One last question...where did you get the true silver chain from?" asked Newt. Because that had been bugging him.
"I found an ingot in my vault and used it as an excuse for why I wasn't attending boring social parties. Eventually I ran out of space and ideas, and shortly after I did something that made the Ministry really angry at trying to clean up my retaliation mess for trying to forcibly marry me off. It was after a close call that I performed the ritual," she admitted. "I had no idea the metal itself was valuable until a surrogate brother of mine nearly had a heart attack when he realized what it was, because he was a curse breaker for the goblins."