Chapter 1: Six Year I
Harriet Dorothea Potter, commonly known as Harri, was hiding. She was curled up with Buckbeak in the Master Room of Number Twelve Grimmauld Place. Absentmindedly, she stroked his feathers while softly crying. Her godfather, Sirius Black, had died recently. She couldn't believe he was gone. Sirius was the closest thing she had to family. She took a deep breath, and she choked back a sob as she tried to force herself to refrain from crying.
Rolling onto her side, she turned gaze towards the window and peered out at the stars. Sirius shined bright tonight. She caught sight of a shooting star and recalled her Aunt Petunia's words to Dudley when they were children: “If you wish on a shooting star, it'll come true.” It was one of the few mentions of magic Dudley got as they were growing up. Harri had plenty mentions of magic, all of which were magic didn't exist.
“I wish I could save Sirius,” Harri whispered as she saw the star.
A few more tears streaked down her face as she watched the star until it faded from her view. Suddenly, Harri was overcome with tiredness, and fell into a dreamless sleep.
When Harri awoke, she found she was well rested. A moment later, she felt the pressure of something pressed against her throat. She opened her eyes to find herself staring at four wands. The owners of those wands were a middle-aged couple, a teenage wizard, and a teenage witch. Each wore a carefully placed mask of indifference, but Harri could see the curiosity in the eyes of the teenagers.
“Where are you from?” demanded the middle-aged wizard, his grey eyes narrowed at Harri as he carefully watched the teenager. His wand was on her throat.
Harri frowned at the question, clearly confused. Where was she from? That made no sense. She was from England, but specifically she was from Number Twelve Grimmauld Place from London.
The middle-aged witch glared at her husband before turning her kind blue eyes back to Harri. “We know you're not from our time,” she said softly. “What year are you from?”
Harri's emerald eyes widened. Had she traveled through time? How was that possible? She knew time travel was impossible without the use of a time-turner. A time-turner could only go back a few hours. “I'm from July 1996,” she replied. “Where am I?” she asked, glancing around. She was in the corner of a bedroom.
“The Black London Townhouse – Grimmauld Place,” replied the middle-aged witch. “It's July 12 of 1941.”
Harri's eyes widened. She was over fifty years in the past. That was impossible! But she was Harri Potter, she was famous for doing the impossible. She was the only (known) survivor of the Killing Curse.
“What's your name?” barked the middle-aged wizard.
Both of the teenagers perked up at the question, their eyes still burning with curiosity.
“Harriet Potter,” she replied, wrinkling her nose at the use of her first name. She had never liked her name – she even disliked her nickname of Harri. Harri was given to her by a muggle schoolteacher, and the nickname stuck.
“That's a muggle name,” stated the teenaged witch.
Harri was about to open her mouth to reply that she was a half-blood when she remembered she was in the Black house and, according to Sirius, his family valued and believed in blood purity.
“Behave Lucretia,” the middle-aged witch scolded the younger witch, who was probably her daughter. “Do you know what your pure-blood name is?” she asked, turning her attention back to Harri.
Harri frowned and shook her head.
“Surely your parents told you,” snapped the middle-aged wizard, glaring at her.
“They were murdered when I was a baby,” Harri snapped. She hated talking about her parents and their death.
The two witches gasped at her reply and they lowered their wands. The middle-aged witch looked at Harri with something shining in her eyes.
“We'll just have to give you one,” the middle-aged witch declared.
“What's your middle name?” asked the teenage wizard, speaking up for the first time. He copied his mother's and sister's actions and lowered his wand. His smoky grey eyes stared into Harri's, reminding the time traveler of her godfather's eyes.
“Dorothea,” Harri replied. “I was named after my grandmother, Dorea.”
The middle-aged witch smiled at Harri. “I'm Melania Black,” she said. “This is Arcturus Black the Third, and our children Lucretia and Orion the Third.”
Harri's eyes widened as she gaze landed on Orion. She knew who he was. Orion Black the Third was Sirius' father.
“Where's Walburga?” she asked, catching the four Blacks' attention.
Orion scowled at the mention of his cousin. “With her parents in Wales,” he answered, his tone a little hostel. He loathed his cousin, she was always trying to via for his attention. She was convinced they would marry. “Why?”
“She's your wife,” Harri replied.
Orion scowled harder while his sister laughed. Mrs. Black smiled and Mr. Black's eyes narrowed.
“No, that would never happen,” Mr. Black said. “Walburga's my cousin – my children's second cousin.”
“Where did you get an idea like that?” asked Lucretia, laughter laced in her voice. She was behaving very un-Black like – at least, according to Sirius' description of his relatives. Harri didn't actually know how the Blacks behaved as she only had Sirius' word.
“Sirius,” Harri answered. She knew Sirius was the eldest son of Orion and Walburga Black.
“Who would that be?” Orion asked, trying not to snap at the mysterious time traveler. He would never take Walburga as his wife, especially now after meeting Harri. He was going to have Harri as his future wife. Before that, she needed a proper pure-blood name. Her middle was Dorothea, which gave him an idea.
“He was my godfather,” Harri replied, “and your son.”
“'Was'?” repeated Melania. “What happened – or happens – to my grandson?”
“He was killed in June,” Harri replied. “It was my fault. He died trying to save me.” Tears started streaming down her face.
Mr. Black lowered his wand as he watched the time traveling teenager begin to cry. He knew she was telling the truth. She was an open-book, and she wore her emotions on her sleeve, so to speak. His grandson's death effected her largely.
Mrs. Black gasped at the fate of her future grandson and she pulled Harri into a cry.
“How did he die?” demanded Orion, his eyes narrowed. He didn't like the fate of his son.
“He was murdered by Bellatrix Black Lestrange,” Harri replied as she leaned into Mrs. Black's hug. Her hugs felt nice, better than Mrs. Weasley's had ever felt. “She was his cousin.”
“My daughter would do that?” Lucretia asked, disbelief in her voice and her eyes widened in fear. A Black never killed a Black. It was the root of the family's very motto. Toujours pur. Always pure. Their family, way back to King Arthur's time, never killed one another.
Harri shook her head. “She's Cygnus and Druella's eldest daughter,” she replied. Closing her eyes, Harri pictured the Black Family Tapestry. She opened her eyes and said, “You never had any children. According to the Tapestry, you and Ignatius were murdered in 1961, around the time Regulus was born.”
Mr. Black made a note to deny a marriage between Cygnus Black and Druella Rosier. He knew his nephew was close to her, but that union wouldn't happen under the Black family. If they married, they would be Crygnus and Druella Rosier. He would not have Druella's children murdering his future grandchildren.
“D-do you know how I died?” Lucretia asked, her eyes still wide. She was supposed to die in seventeen years at the age of thirty. On the bright side, she didn't have to worry about telling her father she was dating Ignatius Prewett.
Harri narrowed her eyes and she thought. She recalled what she read The Black Family Grimoire. The section on the family history had a family tree, and the cause of death was recorded for each family member.
“It was a Death Eater attack on Diagon Alley,” Harri answered. She loved her eidetic memory.
“What's a Death Eater?” asked Mr. Black. Whatever it was, he was going to see there was never such a thing.
“What about this Regulus you mentioned?” Mrs. Black asked, her eyes shining with hope. “Is he another grandson?”
Harri turned to Mrs. Black and nodded. “He was Sirius' younger brother,” she answered. Orion paid more attention and leaned in closer. “He died in 1979 while serving Voldemort.”
Orion's eyes narrowed. From what he could piece together, his youngest son died at the age of eighteen, and his eldest son was killed by his cousin at the age of thirty-seven. There were a number of things he would do differently so the same fate wouldn't befall his children.
“Who's this Voldemort?” demanded Mr. Black. Regulus was serving this man. Last Mr. Black checked, Blacks didn't serve anyone but themselves – and the Queen.
“The Dark Lord,” Harri replied. “He raises the power in the seventies, I think. His followers are the Death Eaters.” Taking a moment, Harri burrowed further into Mrs. Black's arms. The feeling of being held made Harri feel safe, something she wasn't use to feeling.
Mr. Black's eyes narrowed. He had a lot of planning to do. He would see to it that this Voldemort, Dark Lord or not, never rose to power and his Death Eaters were nothing more than a dream.
“Voldmort's real name is Tom Riddle,” Harri added.
Lucretia's eyes widened at the name while her brother started to foam with rage.
“Tom Riddle is in a Slytherin,” Lucretia asked. Riddle was in the running for Prefect this year.
“He's the Heir of Slytherin,” Harri stated. No one knew that at this point, maybe not even Tom himself.
“We'll talk about this later,” Mrs. Black ordered. “It's been an early morning, and we need to take care of Harriet here.”
Harri frowned at the use of her full name. She preferred Harri over Harriet, and she barely tolerated Harri.
Later that day, Harri sat reading in the library. She was thumbing through a book on Ancient Runes. How she wished she took Ancient Runes over Divination. It seemed like a fun and useful class.
“There you are,” Orion said, finding Harri seated near the fireplace. He eyed her clothing in distaste. She was still wearing her oversized muggle clothes. He would have to talk to his mother and Lucretia about fixing that.
Harri looked up from book. She stared at Orion, and took a moment to study him. He looked a lot like Sirius with his shoulder-length black hair, grey eyes, and tall build.
“How can I help you?” she asked.
“You need a new name,” Orion said, taking a seat next to her. “I think I found you one: Theia.”
He handed Harri a book, open to a page on Theia.
Harri took the book and read: In Greek mythology, Theia (sometimes written as Thea or Thia) was a Titaness. She born of Gaia and Uranus, and wed her brother, Hyperion. Together they ruled over the sun, and had three children: Helios, god of the sun; Selene, goddess of the moon; and Eos, goddess of the dawn.
Harri thought for a moment. Theia, or Thea, could be a shortened form of her middle name, Dorothea. In a way, she wasn't discarding the name her parents gave. “Theia,” she muttered, “Theia Lily.”
“Why Lily?” Orion asked, wanting to learn more about her.
Turning to look at him, the newly named Theia smiled, “My mom, Lily Margret Evans.”
Orion nodded, noting the last name. There weren't any pure-blood families with the last name Evans, which meant she was a half-blood.
Silence fell between the two as newly named Theia turned her attention back to Ancient Runes book. Orion alerted between watching her and thumbing through a random book.
That evening, Mrs. Black presented Theia with appropriate clothing. It was a small section including two casual robes, a pair of pajamas, and a corset. Theia took the clothes with a small smile as she settled into a room next to Lucretia's.
“It'll be nice having you around,” Lucretia declared as she tossed a pillow onto Theia's freshly made bed. “I've always wanted a sister.” She smiled before her grey eyes widened. “How old are you?” she asked. Theia appeared to be around fourteen.
“Fifteen, I'll be sixteen on July 31,” Theia answered.
Lucretia nodded, she hoping for a “sister” closer to her age. Theia was either going to be a fifth year or sixth year. If Orion got to choose, she would be a sixth year with him.
A house-elf popped into the room, she bowed, before addressing Mrs. Black, “Lady Black, dinner is ready. Lord Black and yous son is waiting.”
“Thank you, Izzi,” Mrs. Black said. “We'll be down shortly.”
Izzi, the house-elf, bowed again before disappearing from the room.
“Theia,” Mrs. Black said, turning towards the guest, “it would be appreciated for you to change into something a little more presentable.”
Theia nodded, walking over to her empty clothes. She selected the black robes Mrs. Black gave her.
Without a word, Mrs. Black and Lucretia left the room, giving Theia the privacy to change.
Theia removed Dudley's hand-me-downs, and pulled on the black robes. The robes fit well enough, but it was loose around the hips and bust and the sleeves were a little long. Theia moved to look in the mirror. Her hair looked fine enough. It was pulled back a braid with a few loose pieces of hair.
With a sigh, Theia left her room. She found Lucretia waiting for her. They walked down to the informal dining room together. Well it was the informal dining room according to Lucretia. From what Theia remembered, it was an unoccupied room.
In the informal dining room, Theia found Mr. Black seated at the head of the table with Mrs. Black next to him and Orion across from his mother. Lucretia sat down next to her mother. Theia sent a moment mentally reviewing what she knew about pure-blood culture, which wasn't much. She didn't know where to sit. Luckily, Orion motioned for her to sit next to him.
Dinner passed with light conversation. Mr. Black spoke about the latest ongoings of the Ministry of Magic, and the laws facing the Wizengamot. Orion and Mrs. Black weighed in while Lucretia remained quiet and Theia listened and took notes. Some of those laws sounded fairly, especially the ones surrounding magical creatures' rights. Mrs. Black talked about her social circle, like Lady Malfoy redesigning parts of Malfoy Manor. Orion and Lucretia talked about Hogwarts and their summer homework. For the most part, Theia remained quiet.
Once dinner was done, Theia returned to the library. Once she finished that book on Ancient Runes, she wanted to start one on different rune types. Before she got to emerged, Mrs. Black sat down next to her.
“I'm interested in knowing about my grandsons,” she told Theia with a nervous expression. Melania was trying to convince herself the fate of her children and her grandsons could be changed.
Theia marked the page she was on before closing the book. “What do you want to know?” Theia asked, frowning. She could answer a few questions, but it was confined to what she read in the Grimoire or what Sirius told her.
“What were their full names?” Mrs. Black asked.
“Sirius Orion and Regulus Arturus,” Theia replied.
Mrs. Black smiled. “How'd they do at Hogwarts?” she asked.
Theia frowned, thinking about what she knew from the Grimoire and conversations with Sirius and Snape. “Regulus was sorted into Slytherin and Sirius into Gryffindor,” she began. “Sirius was best mates with my dad, James, Remus Lupin, and Peter Pettigrew. They called themselves the Marauders, and they were mostly pranksters.”
Theia paused for a moment. She wasn't really sure where to go. “Regulus was the Seeker on his house Quidditch Team, and he made Prefect,” she continued to explain. “Regulus graduated near the top of his class while Sirius was sixth in his class. I know Sirius became an Auror with my dad, and I think Regulus became a Ministry employee.”
Mrs. Black nodded with a bittersweet smile on her. It sounded like her grandsons had nice lives, but they both ended too soon.
“What about relationships?” Mrs. Black asked.
“I don't know much about that,” Theia said with a shake of her head. “I know Sirius' was a ladies' wizards and he had a reputation of dating, but he never married or had any children, and I don't know much about Regulus. He and Sirius weren't close.”
Mrs. Black frowned. It sounded like the Black family ended with Sirius. It was upsetting to know the family would be over in two generations – her son and then her grandsons.
The conversation shifted to Theia's life as Harriet Potter. Theia didn't share much, but she told Mrs. Black about her friends at Hogwarts and her professors. She avoided talking about the night her parents died and growing up with the Dursleys, and her yearly adventures at Hogwarts.
Mrs. Black knew Theia was withholding information, but she didn't call her out on it. If her son had his way, Theia would be her daughter-in-law within the next few years. Mrs. Black adored the idea.
The next few days passed in a blur. Theia spent most of her time in the library reading whatever book caught her attention. Orion would join her at some point, helping her construct her new identity. Lucretia would stop by with some of her summer homework, which Theia was happy to help her with. Some of it she knew, and a lot of it she learned along side Lucretia. After dinner, Theia would spend sometime with Mrs. Black, usually talking about the Black family or Theia's life as Harriet or what Theia wanted to see happen.
The more time she spent with the Blacks, the more she liked them. She found they didn't fit Sirius' description of his relatives. Did something make that change? While she loved her godfather, she was becoming disillusioned with his views on his family. To her, the Blacks were wonderful.
Theia didn't interact with Mr. Black too much. He spent his time at the Ministry of Magic or in his office with co-workers. Luckily, Theia had yet to meet any of these co-workers or anyone who stopped by to visit.
Theia was surprised she wasn't trying to find a way home. There wasn't much to return to. There was a war waging with her destiny to kill – or be killed by – Lord Voldemort, and the pressure of being “The Chosen One.” While she missed Ron and Hermione, and her others friends, she didn't miss them as much as she thought she would. It was weird. Theia found herself happy to be in the past.
The lack of interactions with Mr. Black stopped a week after her arrival. He found her one afternoon in the library as she was reading the Grimoire. Mr. Black had stared at her before narrowing her eyes.
“Is something wrong, Mr. Black?” Theia asked, watching the man.
Mr. Black stepped forward, staring at the book in her hands. “Why are you reading that?” he asked.
Theia glanced down at the book. She shrugged, “I was looking over the family's history.”
Mr. Black nodded. He realized she probably didn't understand the importances of the Grimoire. Only those of Black blood and magic could open the book, as long as they were deemed worthy. “Is that how you know so much about my family?” he asked.
Theia nodded, “This, the Tapestry, and talking to Sirus.”
“You were close to Sirius?” Mr. Black asked.
Theia nodded, dropping her gaze. “He was my godfather,” she whispered.
“Did he raise you after your parents passed away?” Mr. Black asked.
Theia shook her head. “He was serving life in Azkaban,” she answered, “and I was raised my mom's sister.”
Mr. Black's eyes widened. Why would his grandson serve life in Azkaban? He knew his wife hadn't heard this information yet. If she had, she would have come running to tell him.
“When my parents were hiding from Voldemort,” Theia explained, seeing the unasked question in Mr. Black's eyes, “Sirius was the decoy Secret Keeper. Everyone knew he was closest to my dad, so they used Pettigrew instead.”
Theia took a moment to take a deep breath. She disliked talking about Pettigrew. “Pettigrew betrayed my parents,” she explained. “When Sirius tried to confront him, Pettigrew blew a street up – killing twelve muggles – and he cut off his own finger before escaping. Since everyone knew Sirius was my parents' Secret Keeper, and because he was a Black, everyone knew he was guilty.”
Mr. Black's frown deepened. There was something – a lot of things, probably – she wasn't saying. “How did Pettigrew escape?” he asked.
“He's unregister rat Animagus,” Theia replied.
“What do you mean by 'everyone knew he was guilty'?”
Theia sighed. “The Blacks' developed a reputation of supporting Voldemort, and being dark and evil.”
That was something Mr. Black would be fixing. From what he understood, this Voldemort – Tom Riddle – came to power in the 1970s. He had awhile to prepare, but he had already started. Tom Riddle wasn't going to gather followers from his family or any of his allies'. His primary allies were the Zabini family and the Greengrass family. He was working on extending his alliances. He had reached out to the Potters. It sounded like his cousin Dorea was going to marry Charlus Potter. He was always reaching out to the Longbottoms.
“Let's move to my office,” Mr. Black suggested.
Theia nodded. She stood up, gathering a few books to take with her.
Mr. Black was certain she was a Ravenclaw, but his wife thought she was a Gryffindor. Only time would tell. With any luck, she would sorted into Ravenclaw or Slytherin in September. Mr. Black had already started the process of enrolling her into Hogwarts. As a member of the Board of Governors, it wasn't too hard to enroll a transfer student. With Orion's help, Mr. Black had a believable backstory and history for Theia. The only thing missing was a last name. A visit to Gringotts might solve that. A heritage test from the goblins would find the closest unclaimed family for her to claim.
The walk from the library to Mr. Black's office wasn't too long. It was out the hallway and down a flight of stairs. The office was large with bookcase lined the walls, portrays here and there. The mahogany was in the middle of the room with a large chair behind it and three chairs in front of it. Mr. Black took the seat behind the desk and Theia sat down in front of it.
The pair sat in silence. Theia didn't know what to talk about, and she was waiting for Mr. Black to ask her another question or something. Mr. Black merely watched her as he tried to think about what to talk about. He wasn't sure how much he could get her to talk about her life before she closed up. He knew there was only so much she would talk before closing up.
Theia and Mr. Black didn't speak much more that night or the following days. When they did speak, it was pleasantries at whatever meal and mindless chatter as they dined and conversed. It wasn't until Theia arrived at Mr. Black's office that they spoke – really spoke – again.
“Sirius broke out of Azkaban in 1993,” Theia said as she took seat without an invitation. “He saw Pettigrew on the cover of The Daily Prophet.”
That peaked Mr. Black's attention, and it stunned him. Escaping from Azkaban was unheard off. After twelve years in Azkaban, his grandson was sane enough to plan and execute an escape. Personally, Mr. Black had never dealt with dementors, but they sounded like horrible creatures. From what he understood, Mr. Black wasn't a fan of them.
“How?” he asked, still stunned.
“Sirius – like my dad and Pettigrew – was an unregistered Anigamus,” Theia explained. “He was a big black dog, kind of like a grim.”
Mr. Black nodded, highly interested. What effects did dementors have on other creatures? That might require the Unspeakables to study the effects, and create a way – an easy way – to detect when someone was an unregistered Animagus. If everything worked out, Sirius would never be sentenced to Azkaban.
The conversation turned to lighter subjects, surrounding Hogwarts' education. As a member of the Board of Governs, Mr. Black was interested in the school education. He was displeased to learn about a ghost teaching History of Magic, a fraud in Divinations, a new Defense Against the Dark Arts professor each year because the position was cursed, an abusive Potions Professor, and an expelled student teaching Care of Magical Creatures. Those things would never come to pass.
Theia's conversations with Mrs. Black turned from her grandsons to other members of the Black family, complete with the family tree Theia remembered from the Black Tapestry. Mrs. Black was horrified to learn Sirius was disinherited along with several other members because Walburga Black had a nasty temper and she was a foul woman.
Mrs. Black had been fascinated to learn about Nymphadora Tonks. The last Metamorphmagus born into the Black family was almost half a century ago. Theia's theory was the introduction of Ted Tonks' new magic and new blood into the family line. The Metamorphmagus trait was submissive, and without new magic, it couldn't manifest. If new magic wasn't introduced, then the magic would begin to weak until it disappeared, producing squibs.
Mrs. Black thought Theia's theory made sense. Families like the Crabbes and Goyles barely produce a magical child. If Theia's theory had any merit, then the Crabbe and Goyle lines would turn squib in a few generations.
Something else that fascinated Mrs. Black was incest being illegal, including cousin marriages, in the muggle world. Theia didn't know what degree of cousin marriage was illegal, but two cousins with the same last name marrying sounded like it was a close familial relationship. All the more reason for Orion to marry anyone but Walburg, and any of the Black cousins.
With Orion's help, Theia had completed her history and backstory. Her parents, James and Lilium Johnson, were murdered when she was a child. Her godfather, Remus, took her into hiding where he raised her and taught her before his death in June. Upon his death in June, he left custody of his goddaughter to his old friend, Melania Black nee Macmillan.
Her full name was Theia Lilium Johnson. After talking with Orion and researching pure-blood names, Theia agreed to switch Lily to Lilium for her middle name. Theia had decided on Johnson because Evan was the Welsh version of John. Her father was a muggle-born and her mother was a pure-blood from a small Welsh family.
For the most part, her history hadn't changed much. Her parents' blood statuses were switched and her mom's name changed, but Lily could be used a nickname. While Remus wasn't her godfather, he was the closest thing she had alive back in 1996.
A few days before her birthday, Izzi the house-elf woke Theia up and laid out her clothes – a light green robe with black flats and a hair comb. After getting dressed and having Izzi still her hair into a bun, Theia was led to the informal dining room where Mrs. Black was waiting for her. Breakfast passed in quiet before Mrs. Black took her to the fireplace in the family's den.
“Where are we going?” Theia asked.
“I'm taking you to the Ministry so you can take your O.W.L.s,” Melania answered, grabbing the pot of floo powder. She held it out to Theia, who took a handful.
Theia sighed. She didn't like floo travel or portkeys. She stepped into the fireplace and dropped the handful of floo powder while saying, “Ministry of Magic.”
She closed her eyes she felt the spinning increase. It started to slow down and she opened her eyes. When she stopped, Theia fell out of the fireplace. She sighed before getting up off of the floor. She had finished picking herself up off the floor when Mrs. Black exited the fireplace. Theia followed Mrs. Black as she walked through the Ministry. Since it was the beginning of the workday, it wasn't too terribly busy. A few people were arriving.
As they walked through the Ministry, Theia noticed a few things were different, like the fountain was missing and the wand-check desk was empty. Mrs. Black walked right passed. Where were they supposed to check-in at? Theia knew there had to be someplace to check their wands and sign in. Surely the Ministry didn't allow anyone to walk right in and do whatever.
Now that she started to think about, several things were off. Why didn't they enter through the telephone booth? It didn't make sense for everyone to enter through the floo network. She might have to talk to Mr. Black about all of this. The Ministry of Magic needed better security.
When they arrived to the lifts, Theia followed Mrs. Black. She was curious about what the rest of the Ministry looked like. The only place she really knew was the Department of Mysteries. When the lift came, they stepped on it, and Mrs. Black selected their floor. The lift stopped on the fourth floor for the Department of Magical Education. As Theia trailed after Mrs. Black, she found a few people – a wizard and two witches – waiting for them.
“Theia,” Mrs. Black said, “these are Professor Edgar Bones, Professor Eleanor Rosier, and Professor Rose Brown. They'll be testing you today.”
Theia offered the professors a wave.
Professor Bones, a tall man with a retreating hairline and hazel eyes, said, “Today you'll be tested in the core magical subjects – Transfiguration, Charms, Potions, Herbology, History of Magic, Defense Against the Dark Arts, and Astronomy.”
“First will be Transfiguration,” announced Professor Rosier, a young woman with dark hair and blue eyes.
The day passed in a blur of tests, both written and practical. It did remind Theia of her O.W.L. exams. It was dark by the time Theia left. She would be back the following day for exams in Ancient Runes, Arithmancy, Muggle Studies, and Care of Magical Creatures. While Theia didn't plan to take Muggle Studies or Care of Magical Creatures, she wanted to take the exams. She a feeling the Muggle Studies exam would be ridiculously easy.
The next day passed in the same manner. Theia was up early and ate breakfast before accompanying Mrs. Black to the Ministry of Magic. Her exams were overseen by the same three professors. She was done earlier, and she was glad to return to Grimmauld Place with Mrs. Black.
The rest of the evening, Theia spent in the drawing room with Lucretia and Orion. After her O.W.L exams she didn't feel like reading. The three of them talked about Hogwarts. Both Orion and Lucretia were in Slytherin with Orion in sixth year and Lucretia in fifth year. Orion was second in his class, behind a muggle-born girl named Jennifer Monroe with Minerva McGonagall trailing behind him at third. Orion was the Slytherin Prefect with Avery Rosier as the female Prefect. Lucretia was somewhere in the top twenty of her class. She knew Tom Riddle had the top spot.
In return, Lucretia and Orion learned a little about her. Theia's muggle-born best friend, Hermione Granger, was best in their year, and Theia was tenth. She was in Gryffindor with Hermione and their other friend, Ron Weasley.
Orion knocked on the door of his father's study and waited for an invitation to enter. When he heard “open,” the Black Heir opened the door and slid inside. He took walked up and stood in front of his father's desk. Mr. Black looked up from his parchments and motioned for his son to take a seat while he finished writing.
“I want to bond with Theia,” Orion declared, getting straight to the point. Both of his parents knew he was interested in Theia, but as her legal guardians, he needed their permission approach her.
Mr. Black nodded, expecting this to happen. “She'll be a wonderful edition to the family,” he said.
Orion smirked. It was all the blessing he would get from his father. He knew his mother would talk to him later. She was quiet taken with Theia. Mrs. Black had wanted more than two children, but there were complications with Lucretia that left her unable to have anymore children. Theia was the third child his mother had longed for.
“I'll need more than two grandchildren,” Mr. Black stated. “From what I've gather Sirius was born in 1959 and Regulus in 1961. You know your mother would like at least four.”
Orion nodded. He liked the thought of having more than two children with Theia. From what he gathered, Theia wanted a large family. She spoke fondly of Arthur Weasley's seven children. And Orion knew his mother dreamed of a large family herself.
On the day of her birthday, Theia woke up to Izzi the house-elf laying out her clothes. A dark green robe with long, flowing sleeves and a silver line running under the bust with a pair of black dragon-hide boots. Theia dressed in the outfit, and allowed Izzi to style her hair into a braid. Izzi could braid better than Theia could.
Once she was dressed, Theia headed downstairs to the informal dining room. She found Orion and Mrs. Black seated at the table. Theia took a seat and grabbed The Daily Prophet off of the table. She thumbed through it. A small article caught her eye. A new broom company Nimbus was released their first broom The Nimbus 001, and the company was seeking investors.
Smiling, Theia took the page out of the newspaper. Hopefully she could convince the Blacks to invest as a way to earn back the money they spent on her. Theia needed to do something to earn her keep. In fact, she might have to look over companies and help them invest in companies she know did well. Nimbus was a good broom company, and she had fond memories of her Nimbus 2000. The only thing better than Nimbus was Firebolt.
“What do you know about investments?” Theia asked, glancing between the Blacks.
Orion shrugged, “Not much. Why?”
“I would recommend this company,” she stated, pointing to the Nimbus article.
“May I?” Mrs. Black asked, requesting to see the paper.
Theia stood up and passed the paper to Orion who handed it to his mother.
As Mrs. Black looked over the article, Mr. Black entered the informal dining room with Lucretia trailed after.
Breakfast passed with a light conversation. At the end of the meal, Izzi delivered the mail, most of it went to Mr. Black with a few letters to Orion and one to Lucretia, which made the girl blush, and one to Theia. It was the first piece of mail that came addressed under her new name: Ms. T. Johnson.
Dear Ms. Johnson,
We are pleased to present your Ordinary Wizarding Level results.
Exceeds Expectations (EE)
Theia Lilium Johnson has achieved:
Ancient Runes: O
Care of Magical Creatures: E
Defense Against the Dark Arts: O
History of Magic: A
Muggle Studies: O
Professor Edgar Bones the Third
Governor, Wizarding Examination Authority
Theia felt a smile form on her lips. She had done amazing on her O.W.L.s, and she was proud of the results. She passed all eleven with two of them being self-study and another one she took a on a whim. Theia regarded taking Divination over Arithmancy and Ancient Runes in her third year. When she realized that, it was too late to switch or drop Divination. She spent the last two or so years studying on her own and looking over Hermione's notes. Her reading in the Black library improved her knowledge even more.
“Are those your O.W.L. results?” Mrs. Black asked.
Theia nodded, her eyes trained on her letter.
“How did you do?” Lucretia asked. Orion hadn't received his results yet. From what she had seen and heard, O.W.Ls were tough.
“I passed everything,” Theia said, looking up from the parchment.
“May I see?” Mr. Black asked.
Theia took one last look at her results before passing the parchment to Mr. Black. She was proud of herself, and she was curious what her original results from 1996 looked like.
As Mr. Black looked over the letter, Orion's and Lucretia's curiosity grew. They knew Theia took her O.W.L. exams over two days, and after the second day she was burnt out of reading and writing, and tired. Orion could sympathize since he finished his own back in June over two weeks. The idea of completing O.W.L.s in two days was terrifying. Theia didn't even know she was taking her O.W.L.s until the day off. Mr. Black had arranged it all, and Mrs. Black didn't inform Theia because she didn't want to stress the girl out.
“You've done outstanding,” Mr. Black declared, passing the parchment to his wife. “I am curious as to why you took the Muggle Studies O.W.L.”
Theia shrugged. “I'm muggle-raised,” she said. “My friend Hermione mentioned the class was dreadful boring and outdated. Honestly, the O.W.L. exam is so easy a five-year-old muggle could pass it.”
Mr. Black frowned. While he wasn't fond of muggles himself, the Wizarding World needed to be up-to-date on muggles so they could understand them and they could blend in.
“From what Hermione told me,” Theia began, “Hogwarts might want to hire a muggle-born or a muggle-raised professor and make it a core class for magical-raised students, and create a Magical Studies class for muggle-raised and muggle-born students.”
Mr. Black nodded. That sounded like a good idea. He would have to get started on that right away and present it at the next Board meeting. If muggle-raised and muggle-born children learned about the culture of the Wizarding World than other people – like Albus Dumbledore – wouldn't feel the need to change their world to make the newcomers happy. Honestly, what was the man thinking when he suggested changing Samhain to Halloween, and Yule to Christmas? Despite being muggle-born or muggle-raised, those children were witches and wizards and they needed to learn the proper culture.
He would have to get on it, and he had just the muggle-born in mind to nominate as professor. If his alumni newsletter was correct, Marcus Bell just graduated from a muggle university with a Mastery in English and Teaching.
“Do you know what classes you want to take?” Mrs. Black asked.
Theia thought for a moment. Originally back in 1996, she had wanted to be an Auror, but she didn't want to do that anymore. She liked the idea of teaching because she had fun running the D.A., and she loved flying, which was why she played Quidditch. Recently, she thought about being a Curse Breaker like Bill Weasley. She would get to travel and explore the world, but that could interfere with her desire to have a family. The options were open on classes, but she needed to figure out a possible career so she would have the proper classes.
“I haven't given it much thought,” Theia answered. “I figured I would continue with Defense and Charms. And now that I've seen my results, I'm interested in Ancient Runes, Arithmancy, Potions, and Transfigurations.”
Mrs. Black returned the piece of parchment to Theia. She could tell her children were curious about Theia's O.W.L. results, but they were Theia's to share.
That afternoon, Theia was summoned to Mr. Black's office. She had no clue what the man wanted to discuss, but she was curious. When she entered the office, she found Mrs. Black and Orion in there as well. She took a seat.
Mr. Black placed a piece of parchment on the desk. It was official looking. Along the top it said Betrothal Agreement. Theia's eyes widened and she glanced between the three Blacks.
“Please read it,” Mrs. Black said in a gentle tone.
Theia grabbed the piece of parchment, and read it over a few times. Orion Black wanted to marry her. She hadn't seen that coming! She had gathered Orion had no interest in marrying Walburga, which was shared by his parents. The arrangement was simple. If she agreed, she would enter a courtship with Orion and they would “date” until he proposed. After graduating from Hogwarts, they would wed. Upon marrying, Theia would take the Black name, being Theia Black, and their children would bare the Black name. Orion, and his parents, were interested in more than two grandchildren with four grandchildren being preferred. Neither was allowed to cheat. If they were to divorce, Theia return to being Theia Johnson, and any children would keep the Black name.
Theia looked up from the parchment, and she turned to look at Orion. She had come to care for him, and she didn't see him as the bitter man Sirius described. Could she love him, and could he love her in return? Theia understood pure-blood marriage weren't founded on love so much as alliances and political advancements. She promised herself she would only marry for love.
Biting her lip, Theia asked, “Will you love me?”
Orion's eyes widened at the question. Of all the things to ask, he hadn't expected Theia to ask that. “I think I will,” he said. Orion was fond of Theia, and he knew he fancied her. Of course, there was no guarantee they would fall in love, but, honestly, Orion could see himself loving her and he wanted a family with her.
Theia nodded. Her thoughts drifted to Sirius and the future she came from. By agreeing to marry Orion there was a chance Sirius wouldn't exist, but Theia ignored that thought. She was determined to have Sirius, it wouldn't be her godfather Sirius, it would be her son Sirius. By agreeing to this, she would save Sirius, from his terrible childhood and his horrible family.
“I'll do it,” she whispered, reaching out to grab a quill. She glared at the quill, recognizing it as a Blood Quill. Fingering the quill, she thought about how to sign her name before signing Theia Lilium Johnson.
The Betrothal Agreement glowed gold before rolling itself up and disappearing. Theia knew that meant the contract was accepted, and it was filed at Gringotts.
Theia was given her birthday presents that evening after dinner. There were more presents than she was expecting. She figured there would be three or four gifts. Instead, there were twenty presents. She was hand one gift at a time by Mrs. Black. Most of what she received was clothing, new robes and new shoes. When Mrs. Black was done handing her gifts, Lucretia presented Theia with two books on Ancient Runes that weren't in the Black library, and Mr. Black gave her three blank diaries. Each one had a different design, and she had a different usage. The first one had a black cover with a celtic knot, which was a diary for her school years. The second one had a white cover with a space for a portrait of her, which was for her time between school and her marriage. The final one had a brown cover and it was meant to be her own personal grimoire. In a family as old as the Blacks, being presented with the option of keeping a personal grimoire was a great honor. Most families only had the family grimoire, but many families had lost theirs over the years.
Orion gave her her final gift. It was a jewelry set containing a necklace, earrings, and a bracelet. Most pure-blood jewelry sets didn't include a ring. The only rings a pure-blood lady wore were her promise ring or her betrothal ring, her engagement ring, and her wedding ring.
The following morning after breakfast, Orion, Lucretia, and Theia were presented with their Hogwarts letter. Theia's was a little thicker. Her letter included the standard acceptance letter signed by Alaric O'Riley the Deputy Headmaster, a copy of her O.W.L. results, and a long supplies list, which included the supplies for each N.E.W.T.s class she qualified for. She qualified for ten N.E.W.T.s classes based off her O.W.L. results. The only one she didn't qualify for History of Magic, which she didn't want to take anyways.
As Theia looked over the list, she decided to take seven N.E.W.T.s classes, everything but Muggle Studies, Care of Magical Creatures, and Astronomy. She was taking most of the standard courses – Charms, Defense Against the Dark Arts, Herbology, Potions, and Transfiguration – and two elective courses – Ancient Runes and Arithmancy.
“We'll go to Diagon Alley tomorrow,” Mrs. Black promised. She looked at Theia with a twinkle in her blue eyes.
The rest of the day passed with Orion and Theia spending time in the library before Theia got bored and decided to take Orion's broom outside to fly around. Orion owned a Cleansweep 120 . While it was a slow broom compared to Theia's Firebolt , or even her Nimbus 2000, it was still refreshing to fly around.
“Do you play Quidditch?” Lucretia asked, her grey eyes wide in curiosity.
Theia nodded, “Seeker. I'm the youngest played in a century to make a house team.”
Lucretia smirked. If Theia were sorted into Slytherin, she could try out for the Quidditch team. The current Seeker was Mervin Rosier and he sucked. All Lucretia had to do was get Theia sorted into Slytherin. Despite knowing the girl was a Gryffindor, Lucretia thought she was more of a Ravenclaw, but the girl had some Slytherin traits. If she was stubborn enough, she might be able to convince the Sorting Hat to place her in Slytherin over Ravenclaw.
The next day, Theia wondered with the Blacks through Diagon Alley. For the most part, Diagon Alley was the same as the future. A few stores – like Madam Malkin's Robes for All Occasions and Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlour – were missing, but Theia was certain they would appear over the next few decades.
Mrs. Black purchased new school robes for both of her children and Theia at Twilfitt and Tatting's. She also picked up several new robes for Theia. Most of the new robes were formal, but there were a few causal ones.
After getting their robes, Theia went off with Orion and Lucretia to Flourish and Blotts while Mrs. Black collected their potions supplies. Theia collected her textbook before grabbing several other books at random. There was a lot to learn.
“Have enough books?” Orion asked, mischief sparkling in his gray eyes.
Theia blushed, glancing at her basket of books. “I might,” she replied.
Orion smirked and grabbed the basket. He took her books and joined Lucretia in line with Theia right behind her.
The cashier rang up the books and bagged them. While Orion paid, Lucretia used her wand to shrink the bags. Orion placed the bags in his pocket for leading the girls out of the bookstore. The last thing they needed was for Theia to get more books.
They made a quick trip by the trunk store, where Theia got a three-compartment trunk and a messenger bag. In her research, she found some spells and charms she could use on a bag to make it weightless and bottomless.
Afterwards, Lucretia needed to go by the pet store to get new owl treats. As Lucretia browsed the different kind of owl treats, Theia wandered around the pet store. There were a few owls and some cats, but none of them caught her eye.
“See something you like?” Orion asked.
Theia shook her head.
The trio left the store a moment later.
Soon afterwards they reunited with Mrs. Black and returned to Grimmauld Place.
The rest of the summer sped by. Theia spent time with Orion, getting to the young man better. They connected, and she found herself starting to fancy him, if only a little. The more she got to know the man, the more she liked him and the more she questioned Sirius' descriptions of his family.
Theia was close to Lucretia. Lucretia was the little sister she longed for, and tried to make Ginny Weasley but Ginny had no interest in befriended her older brothers' friends. Theia and Lucretia started to jokingly daydream about her future with Orion and their – at last count – six children. Though they joked about it, Theia started recording names she liked for her future children. Sirius Orion and Regulus Arturus were already decided.
Mrs. Black – who insisted on being called Melania – was the mother Theia dreamed about as a child. When she met Mrs. Weasley – after Ron and the twins, Fred and George, rescued her from the Dursleys – she found the woman to be overbearing, and Theia thought of her as an aunt. A much better aunt than Petunia Dursley.
Her relationship with Mr. Black was interesting. The man was happy to discuss politics with Theia and how it might effect the future. Mr. Black regularly asked random questions no normal teenage would know, but Theia knew thanks to her eidetic memory. In fact, that fascinated Mr. Black as well. The thing he was most interested in was passing it along to future generations. When Theia didn't have the answers, Mr. Black was forced to turn to a muggle-born colleague, David Turner. With Mr. Turner's assistance, Mr. Black was learning about the muggle science of biology.
All in all, Theia's life was shaping up to be amazing. It was what she longed for in her own time: a chance to be normal. She found herself missing parts of the future and her old life, like Hedwig and a few of her distant friends, like Luna Lovegood. She did miss Ron and Hermione, but when she left they were barely on speaking terms. Their relationship had never recovered from the past summer – between fourth year and fifth year – when neither of them would tell her anything other than “stay safe.”
A week and a half before Hogwarts started, Theia learned she would meet the rest of the Black family at the Annual Black Family Reunion. It wasn't so much a reunite as a chance to boast about children, and have Mr. Black – who was technically Lord Black – approve marriages and betrothal contracts and welcome new members into the family.
For the occasion, Theia wore a new set of her dress robes. These dress robes were a dark green with a low neckline, long flowing sleeves, and a silver embellishment on the neckline. To go with the dress robes, Theia was given a pair of black flats and a few pieces of jewelry – a pair of silver star earrings, a diamond bracelet, and the Black family's prized promise ring.
The Black Family Reunion was held at the Black Villa in Italy. The Black Villa was a family business with the winery and it was a tourist attraction in Wizarding Italy. While no one lived in the villa, it was used by the Black family for the Annual Reunion and few other events over the year.
To get to the Black Villa, Mr. Black arranged for a portkey. After using the portkey, Theia was reminded of how much she hated them. Hopefully apporation would be better than both floo travel and portkeys.
Black Villa was located near a small magical town in the countryside near a river. The villa was placed on a large piece of land with a several different fruit fields, a pool, and a few large building. All but one build were open to the public with the tasting room, and a small vault filled with different wine bottles.
The Reunion was held in the private building, which was only open to those of Black blood or through invitation of Lord Black. Theia didn't a chance to look around the building before Orion took her to the library. The library of the villa rivaled the Hogwarts library. Theia spent a moment glancing around before heading off to explore the library.
At random, she found a book and picked it up. Orion glanced at the title and found it to be a bunch of squiggles and lines. Clearly, it wasn't English. He watched as Theia's green eyes widened she thumbed through it in fast speed. Curious, Orion walked over to her and glanced at the pages over her shoulder. The writing was the same as the cover – squiggles and lines.
“Was so interesting?” Orion asked, frowning as he watched his promised flipping through the book.
“It's,” she began, sounding breathless, “it's Parseltongue.”
Orion stared at the book with more interest. Theia had mentioned in passing she could speak Parseltongue. Clearly Parseltongue was a written language as well. Maybe it was Parselscript in written form.
“I didn't know it was written,” she said, glancing over at Orion. Her eyes held curiosity. A smile formed on her lips, “I guess I'll have to explore the Chamber of Secrets.”
That caught Orion's attention. Salazar Slytherin's infamous Chamber of Secret. It was greatly debated whether the Chamber was myth or real. “Do you know where it is?” he asked, curious. Maybe having a son in Gryffindor would be his own fault. With Theia around, Orion was more curious about everthing. Curiosity was a topical Gryffindor trait.
Theia nodded, closing the book. “I've been in it,” she replied. She frowned. “I killed the basilisk in my second year,” she said.
“A-a basilisk?” Orion repeated, his eyed wide. That was the monster Salazar left in the Chamber, located in a school full of children, was a basilisk. That man was insane.
Theia nodded, hugging the book to her chest. “It killed a student in 1947, when Riddle was a sixth year.” She paused for a moment, before continuing, “It opened my second year. I killed the basilisk and Riddle to save a friend.”
Orion nodded. He was curious, and he planned to ask more questions later. He would need to bring his father in on this. A basilisk at Hogwarts was official Board of Governors business, and it needed to be dealt with. This wasn't the time or the place to have this discussion because someone – another relative – could walk in on their private discussion.
“May I see the book?” Orion asked, holding his hands out.
Theia handed the book over without a second though.
With the book in hand, Orion walked over to a table and set the book down. He pulled out his wand, and muttered, “Gemino!” waving his wand over the book.
Theia stood next to him and watched as a copy of the book appeared next to the original. Orion handed the copied book to Theia with a smile.
“Thank you,” she muttered, talking the book. She blushed a little.
“You should look for some others, if you want,” Orion muttered softly, brushing his hand against her cheek.
Theia nodded setting the copied book down and taking the original to return to its place. She spent awhile wondering around the library collecting the books she was interested in. She found a few more in Parseltongue, a few personal grimoires that weren't in English, and an assortment of books that covered the Dark Arts, Defense, Ancient Runes, Magical History, and Astronomy. Given the presences of the Parseltongue books in the Black family's ancestral library, there might be an ancestor who spoke Parseltongue. Theia was determined to find out.
As Theia returned to the table where she left Orion, she found Orion talking with a young woman. Theia stopped moving and watching the pair for a moment. The young woman was a blonde with grey eyes. Theia didn't recognize the other woman. She watched as the other woman touched Orion's arm and leaned in too closely.
Theia frowned. Orion was hers! Their Betrothal Agreement saw to that. Taking a deep breath, Theia forced herself to think of a plan. She needed to think like a Slytherin or a Ravenclaw – not a Gryffindor. She didn't want to rush in there head first. She knew Orion wanted her, but Orion's friend didn't know about her.
Setting the books down, Theia thought for a few second. She couldn't think of anything, but her head was clear enough to, hopefully, not act like a Gryffindor. Theia's gaze fell onto her hand. On her finger was one of the Heir Betrothal Ring, which Orion gave her a few days ago. It was a platinum band with diamonds imbedded in the band and a larger round-cut diamond in the middle.
Taking a deep breath, Theia knew she had to discreetly show her ring. As long as the other girl was magical-raised, she would recognize the ring. This ring hadn't been used in almost a century. The last time it was used, the betrothal hadn't ended well, and before that the ring had a history of creating long and lasting marriages. After the last usage, most Blacks wrote the ring off as broken or cursed. The ring had served its purpose and it was no longer needed, but Orion thought differently. He knew it was the ring for Theia.
“Orion?” Theia called out, gathering her books. “Where are you?” She knew perfectly well where Orion was, but she hoped it was a way to alert the blonde there was someone else in the library. Hopefully Orion would catch on.
“Over here, Theia,” Orion answered, turning away from the blonde. He searched around the bookcases close to him for his betrothed. He found her a few bookcase over with an armful of books and several other floating around her.
As he over at looked Theia, Orion was well aware of Walburga watching him. His cousin was persistent about a union between them.
“There you are!” Theia declared, walking towards Orion. She smiled at him, a twinkle of mischief visible in her green eyes.
Without a word, Orion took a few books from her arms and led her back over to the table from earlier. Neither of them acknowledged Walburga's presence. At the table, Orion and Theia placed the books down before Orion produced a copy of each book.
“Orion,” Walburga Black said in sickeningly sweet voice, “who's your friend?”
“Cousin, this is Theia Johnson,” Orion said, purposely leaving off Theia's status as his betrothed. He had a feeling Theia had a plan for that. He knew she knew where he was, but she chose to play “damsel in distress” for a reason. “Theia, this is my cousin, Walburga Black.”
Walburga's nose wrinkled at Theia's last name. She was clearly a mudblood. There was no pure-blood family with the last name Johnson.
“It's a pleasure,” Theia said with a smile as she held out her left hand. The Heir Betrothal Ring was on her right hand.
Walburga eyed the hand in distaste. “For you, I'm sure,” she said without reaching out to shake hands. She wouldn't soil herself by touching a mudblood – she was much too pure for that.
Theia dropped her hand and frowned, looking sad. It was horrible for a member of a pure-blood family to insult another member's betrothed, especially the heir's betrothed. Theia's plan was to play the sweet and caring betrothed, determined to make a good impression on Orion's family. So far, Walburga was helping by unknowingly insulting the future Lady Black – and disrespect her in the process.
“Orion, let's go to the Ballroom,” Walburga said, launching onto Orion's arm. Another sign of disrespect. A respectful witch didn't act so familiar with another witch's betrothed in front of her or without her permission. It didn't matter if the witch was a cousin, only a sibling or a mother could act so familiar in front of the betrothed. It was the same way with wizards' interacting with a betrothed witch. It was one of those pure-blood customs Theia didn't understand, but she intended to follow.
Walburga dragged Orion from the library without another word. Theia watched them with a sad-looking frown before smirking when Walburga was out of the library. She was proving to be her own undoing – and maybe that of her parents.
“Izzi!” Theia called, as she collected the copied books.
The house-elf appeared and bowed. “Yes, Miss Theia?” she said. “How can Izzi helps you?”
“Can you take these back to my room?” she asked, motioning to the piles of books she organized.
“Yes, Izzi is happy to, Miss Theia,” the house-elf answered. She bowed before disappearing, along with the books.
With the house-elf and the copied books gone, Theia turned her attention to collecting and returning the originally books. As she did so, Lucretia and another young woman found her.
“There you are, Theia!” Lucretia said, frantically. “You have to come with us.”
Theia glanced over at Lucretia. “I take you've seen your brother with Walburga,” she stated, continuing to returned the books.
Lucretia frowned. “Yes,” she answered. “Have you?”
Theia nodded. “I might have set Walburga up,” she said.
Lucretia's eyes widened.
“No way!” declared Lucretia's companion. She looked like a Black: long dark hair, grey eyes, and high-cheek bones.
A smile bloomed across Lucretia's lips. “That's very Slytherin of you, Theia!” she declared.
Theia smiled at the young girl before turning her eyes to the other girl. “I'm Theia Johnson,” she said, holding out her right hand with the Heir Betrothal Ring visible.
The other girl's eyes fell on it and her eyes widened. “I'm Aries Cassiopeia Nott,” she said, reaching out to shake Theia's hand. “It's a pleasure to meet you, my lady.”
“No need to be so formal, Aries,” Theia said with a gentle smile. “Please, call me Theia.”
“O-of course, Theia,” Aries said.
Theia turned back to books. She recognized the name Aries Cassiopeia Nott as someone Walburga blasted off of the Tapestry. She was the only child of Cassiopeia Black Nott and Thaddeus Nott. From what Theia remembered, Aries married a half-blood Hufflepuff named Eugene Brown. Aries went on to study and design wards for Gringotts while Eugene was a Curse Breaker. They died in 1980 when a tunnel collapsed on them and their party while exploring in Egypt. Aries made a small fortune from her wards, all of which her patented in her name and her husband found a few valuable magical artifacts, including the Cat's Eye. From what Theia knew about Walburga and gathered, she assumed Walburga disowned Aries because she didn't like the woman. Disinheriting Aries was a foolish mistake, and it was one Theia wouldn't be repeating.
Once Theia was finished with the books, she followed Lucretia and Aries to the Ballroom. When she entered, she found herself staring many Black family members. There were more than she expected. She spotted Mr. Black – Arcturus, she corrected herself – speaking with a few other men, including his brother, Regulus Black the First. Melania was speaking with Arcturus' sister, Lycoris Black. After a little more searching, she found Orion talking with a few of his cousins with Walburga clutching his arm.
With Lucretia and Aries, Theia walked over to join Orion and his circle of relatives. Walburga sneered at her and moved closer to Orion. Theia's eyes narrowed, but she didn't say anything. Walburga would learn her place soon enough.
“I don't think I know you,” a young man next to Theia said. He had blonde hair, grey eyes, and tall build. “I'm Alphard Black,” he said, offering Theia his hand. Theia knew Alphard was Sirius' favorite uncle. He was blasted off of the Tapestry by Walburga when he assisted Sirius.
Theia glanced at Orion from the corner of her eye. He nodded his head once, giving permission to socialize with Alphard. Alphard didn't know she was the future Lady Black, but he was a pure-blood gentleman. The same rules applied between a female betrothed socializing with other wizards as the male betrothed with other witches. All those outside of the immediate family needed permission from the betrothed.
“I'm Theia Johnson,” she said, taking his hand with her left one and offering him a smile.
“What's your relation to the Black family?” Alphard asked, curious.
“I'm Melania's ward,” she answered, remembering her new backstory. “My godfather recently passed away, and he asked Melania to look after me until I'm of age.”
Alphard smiled. “She has a large heart,” he said, longing in his tone. Walburga was his parents' favorite child. His father had plans of her marrying Orion someday soon. Pollux Black longed to control the Black family while Irma Black dreamt of the prized jewelry locked away in Melania's vault.
“Yes, I've noticed that,” Theia agreed.
Theia spoke with Alphard, getting to know him a little better. Lucretia and Aries joined in their conversation. Alphard was starting his fifth year and Aries was starting her sixth. The two were pleased to learn Theia was attending Hogwarts in September, and they encouraged to her join them in Slytherin.
While they conversed, Alphard caught sight of the Heir Betrothal Ring. His eyes widened and he paled before his eyes darted over to his second cousin. Theia noticed immediately.
“Orion already gave his permission,” Theia stated. “I received it before shaking your hand.”
Alphard nodded, looking relieved and unable to say anything due to shock. Acting familiarly with another wizard's betrothed was heavily frowned upon and it went against numerous traditions.
“And please,” Theia quickly added, “called me Theia.”
“Of course,” Alphard said, clearing his throat a little. “My parents are going to be pissed,” he whispered, eyes darting over to his sister. Her dreams and plans of being Lady Black were gone. There was no way Orion would chose Walburga over Theia. And at the off chance he did, Orion would either be influenced by love potions or just plain stupid.
“Not as much as my parents,” Lucretia stated, “when they find out how badly Walburga's been treating Theia.”
Alphard eyed his sister again. He believed that. He knew his sister rather well, she was a pure-blood snob all the way. Honestly, she acted like a Malfoy.
Silence fell between the group as they watched Walburga hang off Orion's arm. The young man had tried to shake her off, but Walburga wouldn't have it. Orion was too polite to cause a large scene at the Reunion.
“I think we should go find my parents,” Lucretia declared, grabbing Theia's elbow.
The three girls walked away with Alphard following behind. This was too interesting to pass up, and Alphard wanted to make sure Arcturus knew he had permission to befriend Theia. Arcturus Black valued for tradition.
When Melania noticed her daughter, Theia, and two of the Black children making their way towards her, she hushed her conversation.
“My, Lucretia, you've grown,” Lycoris Black said as she stared at her niece. She noticed the others with her niece. She recognized Alphard and Aries, but not the other girl. Lycoris was a middle-aged woman with dark hair, grey eyes, and pale skin.
“Hello, Aunt Lycoris,” Lucretia said, dropping her hold on Theia's elbow so she could hug her aunt.
Standing around with Melania and Lycoris were Irma Black, Phoebe Black, and Jessica Black. Each of the women had married into the Black family. Irma was the wife Pollux. She had large woman with a round shape, brown hair, and narrowed hazel eyes. Phoebe Black was the second wife of Scorpius Black. She was a short woman with red hair, blue eyes, and pale skin. Jessica Black was the second wife of Castor Black. She was an average woman with a regular build and regular height, brown hair, brown eyes, and a kind smile.
“Lucretia,” Irma Black said, “who's your friend?” Her narrowed eyes were trained on Theia.
Theia took a deep breath and forced herself not to say anything. Irma Black had addressed Lucretia and not her.
“This is Theia Johnson,” Lucretia replied. “She's –”
“She's Melania's ward,” Alphard said, cutting his second cousin off. It was rude, but he wanted to see his mother's reaction. If she knew Theia was Orion's betrothed, she would treat Theia was false politeness.
Melania's eyes narrowed at Alphard. She glanced over at Theia, Aries, and her own daughter. The three girls were wearing small smirks. They were up to something.
“How nice of you, Melania, to take that girl in,” Irma said, ignoring Theia's presence. It was rude to speak about someone like they weren't there. In pure-blood culture it was one of the most insulting things a person could do. Irma Black, and her daughter Walburga, were only hurting themselves.
Theia clenched and unclenched her fist. She hated being referred to as “that girl,” “the girl,” or “girl.” It was how the Dursleys address her. It took a lot for Theia not to react to Irma's snub.
“It's a pleasure to meet you, Theia,” Jessica Black said, holding her hand out. “I'm Jessica Black.”
Theia reached out and shook the woman's hand. “I'm Theia,” she said, being polite.
Irma rolled her eyes and muttered under her breath.
Phoebe Black clearly heard because she glared at the woman.
“I'm Phoebe Black,” the other woman said, offering her hand.
Theia took the offered hand. “Pleasure,” she said, shaking the hand.
“Please,” Irma scuffed, “there's no need to be so nice to the girl.”
Lycoris remained quiet. She watched the young woman, taking in her reactions and mannerisms. She looked for a moment to stare at Irma, when Theia moved her right hand and something caught Lycoris' eye. It was a ring. Lycoris didn't get a good enough look at the ring to determine what kind, but the ring had a diamond.
Irma left the group a moment later. She couldn't be caught socializing with a mudblood. When her daughter seized control of the family, Walburga would have to put blood traitors in their places. There was no room in the Black family for mudbloods, muggle-lovers, or blood traitors.
“Theia,” Lycoris said, after Irma had walked away, “may I please see your hand?”
Theia offered the woman her right hand, knowing it was the one the woman wanted to see.
Jessica and Phoebe leaned in when they spotted the diamond ring. All three of the women recognized it as an Heir Betrothal Ring.
“Orion has good taste,” Lycoris stated, examining the finger on Theia's finger.
“You should tell him,” Theia said with a smile. “I think he'll be pleased to know that.” Theia knew he was a little nervous about giving her that particular ring.
Lycoris nodded. “When was this betrothal arranged?” she asked.
“About three weeks ago,” Theia answered.
“Orion wants a traditional bonding,” Melania explained.
That caught everyone's attention, excluding Theia and Lucretia.
“I hope to invited to the ceremony,” Lycoris said.
“What house are you in?” Phoebe asked. She didn't recognize Theia's name from her own children letters.
“I was just accepted to Hogwarts this year,” Theia answered. “Orion and Lucretia believe I'll be a Ravenclaw, a Gryffindor, or a Slytherin.”
“My stepdaughter, Vega, is a Ravenclaw,” Jessica said. “She was made Head Girl this year.”
“Leave it to Orion to find a Gryffindor,” Lycoris teased.
A small conversation flowed between the women and Theia, with Lucretia, Alphard and Aries cutting in at times. At some point during the conversation, Phoebe spotted Walburga hanging off Orion's arm.
“Did you notice your betroth's second cousin?” Phoebe asked, scowling. It was distasteful for a young pure-blood woman to act so familiarly with another witch's betrothed.
The other women turned to looked.
“I have,” Theia answered. “She reacted like her mother to my name, and she failed to notice Orion's cufflinks.” When a wizard was betrothed he wore a special pair of cufflinks. The pair varied depending on the occasion.
The older women scowled. Melania would see to Walburga was justly punished. Her behavior was insulting.
Theia was taken away by Aries and Lucretia to meet some of their favorite cousins while Alphard remained behind to speak with Melania. Out of everyone she met, Theia was fondest of Virgo Black and Libra Rosier. Virgo was the ward of Cassiopeia, Aries' mother. Her mother passed away when she was young and upon her father's second marriage, she was handed off because his new wife didn't want his oldest children around. Libra was best friends with Aries and Virgo. There mothers were close, and decided to name their daughters after the Zodiac constellations.
Eventually, Theia ran into Pollux Black. He was a little nicer than both his wife and his daughter, but not by much. He failed to notice the Heir Betrothal Ring as well. Shortly after their introduction, Arcturus walked by.
“Arcturus, my cousin,” Pollux said, turning his attention to the Lord of the Black Family, “may we discuss the terms of the Arranged Marriage?”
People around the conversation leaned in. The family was awaiting the announcement of Orion's future bride.
Arcturus stared at the man with narrowed eyes. He glanced over Theia and motioned for her to come to his size. “I see no need,” Arcturus said, “as everything as already been decided.”
A look of glee settled on Pollux's face. “Excellent,” he declared. “We'll need to schedule a meeting to sign everything.”
“There will be no need,” Arcturus said as Theia settled at his side.
“W-what?” Pollux asked, looking startled. “I thought we were in agreement to arrange a union between Orion and Walburga.”
“That won't be possible,” Arcturus declared. “My wife and I have already finalized a Betrothal Agreement for Orion.”
Pollux's eyes widened and his face turned red. “What tramp has stolen Orion away from my daughter?” he bellowed, drawing attention from around the room, including his children's and his wife's.
“Daddy, what are you talking about?” Walburga asked, dragging Orion over to her father and Lord Black. Trailing close behind were her mother, Alphard, and Cygnus as they gathered to see what the commotion was about.
Pollux turned to look at his daughter. “My cousin, here, tells me Orion is promised to another.”
Walburga's eyes widened before narrowing. “Who stole Orion from me?” she demanded, stomping her foot.
Around the Ballroom, people stopped what they were doing and started paying close attention to the scene between Lord Black and his cousin, Pollux. Melania, Lycoris, Regulus (the First), and Lucretia gathered around Arcturus and Theia. Orion forcefully removed himself from Walburga's grip. He moved to stand next to his parents.
“Well!” demanded Pollux, glaring at the Lord of the family. “Who was this whore who stole Orion away from Walburga?”
Orion glanced at his father, seeking permission to formally announce his betrothal and courtship with Theia.
Arcturus nodded, resting a hand on his wife's back.
Orion stepped forward. “Have care how you speak,” he warned, glaring at Pollux. “I will not tolerate you speaking about my betrothed like that.”
“I'm your betrothed!” Walburga shouted. “Me! Our grandfathers approved the match.”
“Be that as it may,” Melania said, “it isn't up to Sirius the Second and Cygnus the Second to determine a proper match our son. That decision it left to my husband and I.”
There was a two second pause, during which Melania gave her son a small, encouraging smile, while Theia stepped forward to Orion's side.
“I, Orion Black the Third, Heir to the Noble House of Black,” he announced, “am pleased to announce my betrothal to Theia Lilium Johnson.” Orion took Theia's right hand and held it out, showing off their Heir Betrothal Ring.
Most of the people in the Ballroom broke into excited whispers. This was the news everyone was waiting for! The betrothal of Orion Black was big news.
Orion lowered Theia's hand and laced their fingers together.
Walburga's face turned red – red to the point where it matched the Weasley red hair – as she stared at the couple. “Why would you chose this tramp over me?” she demanded, her hands on her hips.
Orion stared at his second cousin. He had would never understand why his Grandfather Sirius the Second and her Grandfather Cygnus the Second thought a union between them was a good idea.
“She's a better person than you are,” Lucretia replied, walking up to her brother's side. “She'll assist Orion lead our family into greatness!”
Shortly after Lucretia's declaration, Orion and Theia left the Black Villa and returned to the London Black Townhouse, Grimmauld Place.
The days following the Black Family Reunion, Grimmauld Place was busy. Numerous owls were coming through at all hours of the day. Most of the owls were concerning Orion and Theia's betrothal. Some where people wishing them well, others were cursed. Arcturus had meetings schedule in his office concerning Hogwarts with other members of the Board of Governors.
Theia, Orion, and Lucretia prepared for Hogwarts. Each received a few owls from their friends and classmates, most inquiring about the betrothal. Orion ignored most his, only replying to his closest friends: Edward Nott and Anthony Greengrass. Theia was surprised when she received a few owls from Aries Nott, Virgo Black, and Libra Rosier. They were excited for her upcoming year at Hogwarts. Like most of the Blacks, all three of them were Slytherins.
On September first, Theia woke up and ate breakfast with the Blacks, like any other morning. After breakfast, they flooed to Platform Nine and Three-Quarters. Theia exchanged farewells with Arcturus and Melania before boarding the train, which allowed Orion and Lucretia a few extra minutes with their parents.
Theia wondered around the Hogwarts Express, searching for a compartment. She found a large one towards the back of the train. She stored her trunk and took a seat, pulling out one of her Parseltongue books. She had yet to start the research on any Blacks with Parseltongue abilities. At the moment, she was thinking about saving that research project for winter break or the following summer.
About twenty minutes passed before Orion and Lucretia joined Theia. Orion sat down next to Theia with Lucretia across from them. A short time later they were joined by Aries Nott, her cousin Edward Nott, Virgo Black, Libra Rosier, Anthony Greengrass, and Peony Hazelwood, Lucretia's best friend. With the arrival of those six people, the compartment was starting to feel a little crowded. There was one spot left for Lucretia's other closest friend, Stephanie Bell.
Stephanie boarded the train with a moment to spare before the departure at eleven o'clock. She found her friends, and joined the group in the crowded compartment. The ride to Hogwarts was filled with conversation and laughter. It was a lot of fun, more fun than Theia remembered having before. She had good times on the Express with Ron and Hermione – and Luna, Ginny, and Neville the year before – but this trip was the best. People weren't stopping to guck at her, there was no Draco Malfoy and Pansy Parkinson to find her, or any of the usual things. Theia left she was on track to have a great year – a normal year.
When they arrived to Hogwarts, Theia followed the older students to the carriages. She took a moment to stare at the thestrals before climbing into the carriage behind Aries. Anthony followed in behind her. The ride up to the castle passed quickly, Theia looked out the window as she watched Hogwarts come into view.
Walking into the castle felt a little like coming home, but the feeling had changed since her fifth year. If she had to guess, turning Harri Potter into Theia Johnson helped change that. She was still the same person, but as Theia Johnson she found a family and a sense of normalcy, both of which she craved as Harri Potter, the orphaned Girl-Who-Lived – the girl famous for surviving the night her parents died.
As she walked through the Entrance Hall, Theia was greeting by the Deputy Headmaster, Alaric O'Riley, the current Head of Ravenclaw and Defense Against the Dark Arts professor. Alaric was around forty-eight with short dark hair, glasses, and navy blue robes.
“Ms. Johnson, I take it,” Professor O'Riley said, studying the girl over the top of his glasses. “Please, come with me.”
Theia waved at her new friends before following the Deputy Headmaster. He led her to the chamber off the side of the Great Hall where the first years would gather soon. Theia watched as Professor O'Riley left and returned with a group of first years before departing again. Some of the first years stared at Theia, but none where brave enough to ask a question. Among the group, Theia recognized two or three Blacks. One of them, a boy with blonde hair and jade eyes, smiled and offered Theia a little wave. Theia returned the smile.
After a moment, Professor O'Riley returned and escorted the first years out. He glanced at Theia before leaving with the group of new students. It looked like she would be sorted later. When the group of first years left, Theia paced the chamber a few times. She was nervous, but she wasn't really sure why.
As Harri, Theia had been sorted six years earlier. The most nerve wrecking part was when the Sorting Hat wanted to put her in Slytherin, after she learned dark wizards came from there, including the man who murdered her parents.
Maybe these nerves were related to the possibility of her future house. She wanted to go to Slytherin this time. She felt like she might be a better fit for Ravenclaw or Gryffindor.
Theia stopped pacing and tried to patiently wait. Her patiences didn't last long before the nerves returned. The waiting for this sorting was worse than her first one. At the first one, she waited in the crowd of first years while she was waiting away from everyone this time.
About twenty minutes later, the doors leading from the chamber into the Great Hall opened. Taking a deep breath, Theia squared her shoulders and lifted her head up high before walking into the Great Hall. As she walked between the Hufflepuff table and the Ravenclaw table, she felt every pair of eyes in the Great Hall on her. She forced her eyes to remain in front her where Professor O'Riley waited with the Sorting Hat in front of the Head Table.
As she stopped in front of Professor O'Riley, Headmaster Armando Dippet stood up. The headmaster was an old man with pale skin, brown eyes, balding white hair, and a long white beard. He wore a set of black robes. “I am pleased to announce the arrival of Ms. Theia Johnson,” Headmaster Dippet said. “Ms. Johnson is joining us as a sixth year transfer student. I hope you all welcome her with open arms.” The headmaster sat back down, and motioned Theia forward to be sorted.
Taking a deep breath, Theia stepped up and sat on the three-legged stool. The Sorting Hat was placed on top of her head. This time, the Hat fit on top of her head better than either her first or second years when she wore it.
“Interesting,” a familiar voice said. “Very interesting, Ms. Johnson. It seems we've met before – several years in the future.”
The Hat paused. “You're a Gryffindor, I see. A mighty fine choice. You've done well. But the question remains: Where to put you? You would do well any house. You're determination to save your Sirius is a trait worthy of both Gryffindor and Hufflepff – out of bravery and loyalty. You're incredibly smart, worthy of Ravenclaw. And you're cunning – as shown in your meeting with Ms. Walburga Black.
“Still, where to put you? I must say, Ms. Potter, you're a difficult individual,” the Hat stated.
“It's Johnson, Theia Johnson,” she corrected the Hat. “I'm not longer Harri Potter.”
“Ah, my bad, Ms. Johnson,” the Hat said. “Now, where to put you? Any preferences, Ms. Johnson?”
“Slytherin,” she replied.
“Ah, my original choice,” the Hat stated in glee. “This just goes to show you, Ms. Johnson, I know best. I wish you the best of luck in SLYTHERIN!”
Theia smiled as she removed the Sorting Hat and handed it to Professor O'Riley before joining the Slytherin table. Orion, Lucretia, their friends, and anyone of Black blood were clapping. Anthony slid to away from Orion to give Theia a spot, which she took with a smile.
The Opening Feast passed in a blur of food, laughter, introductions, and conversations. As she ate, a number of witches and wizards noticed Theia's Heir Betrothal Ring. Word of Orion's betrothal to the new transfer student would be all over the school by morning.
After the Feast was over, Headmaster Dippet had several announcements to make. The announcements were the usual: list of banning items, no spells in the corridors, curfew. There were a few new ones: mandatory classes for all students Muggle Studies for magical-raised students and Wizarding Studies for muggle-born and muggle-raised student; more Hogsmeade weekends for older students; and other rewards coming later in the school year. As the headmaster made the announcements, Theia was shocked. She and Arcturus had discussed many of those things, but she didn't actually think Arcturus would input her suggestions. She was pleased though, very pleased.
Among her suggestions, were the Muggle Studies and Wizarding Studies classes as well as rewards for students. Those rewards included more Hogsmeade weekends for older students, a Yule Ball before the winter break, and some form a reward system that wasn't simply based on house points. And some of these changes would, hopefully, help promote inter house unity.
Theia knew from experience that a house might rely on a group of students for all their points while others lost those points – like with Hermione and the end-of-the-year adventure to earn Gryffindor the points while the Weasley twins and herself with Snape got them all deducted. This would hopefully track what professors deducted the most points from either certain students or a certain house, and rewarded the most points to certain individuals or a house. There was even a way to track unfit Prefects – like Ron and Malfoy – and track a Prefect, or a student, worthy of becoming either a Prefect or Head Boy or Head Girl.
Theia was excited to see how this would all work out.
After the Feast was over and the students dismissed, Theia followed Orion to the Slytherin common room. The password, at the moment, was Parseltongue . In the common room, the older students assembled themselves amongst the armchairs and couches. Orion sat close to the fireplace with Anthony, Edward, his sister, and the older Black relatives. When Walburga tried to take the seat next to Orion, she was quickly kicked out and ordered elsewhere. The seat next to Orion was Theia's, as it was her future place. As Theia took her seat, she surveyed the surrounding Slytherin students. She recognized a few, including Abraxas Malfoy and Tom Riddle .
Theia's eyes narrowed when she caught sight of Tom Riddle. He was surrounded by his year mates, clearly the leader. His dark eyes trained on Orion and his allies' spot. Even as a fourth year, Tom Riddle was power-hungry. Theia quickly looked away. She didn't want to be caught staring.
“Orion, why did you choose this mudblood ?” asked a fourth year girl to the left of Tom. She was short with her dark hair pulled back in a ponytail and a sneer on her pointed features.
Theia turned to study the girl. Her pointed features reminded her of Draco Malfoy, even the sneer. This had to be Druella Rosier, Malfoy's grandmother from the Black side of the family.
“ A mudblood in Slytherin! ” hissed a voice. Even though it sounded like English, she knew the language was Parseltongue, which gave her an idea. She saw Tom Riddle smirk.
A smirk crossed her lips when she found the portray. It was a young woman with three snakes. She placed her hand on Orion's arm, drawing his attention before subtly indicating to the portray.
Orion smirked and slightly lowered his head. Yes, that would be perfect. Theia could pretend to be the Heir of Slytherin.
“ Careful how you speak, someone might overhear you, ” Theia said, eyes narrowed at the portray. Everyone in the common room went quiet, and Tom Riddle stopped smirking.
“ A speaker! ” hissed all three snakes in the portray as the young woman turned to stare at Theia with narrowed green eyes.
“Druella, I'll be writing our grandfather about this,” stated Libra Rosier as she crossed her arms. While Libra wasn't from the main line, Grandfather Evan favored her over most of her cousins, including Druella, the daughter of his firstborn.
Druella paled slightly, shrinking back into the crowd of students. Grandfather Evan wasn't going to be pleased with her. The man, Lord Rosier, had been trying to establish a solid alliance with the House of Black for two generations. Her insult to Theia Johnson and Orion could harm her grandfather's hard work. She knew her Grandfather was trying to arrange a marriage between one of his grandchildren and someone in the Black family. Druella knew she was being considered a bride for either Cygnus or Alphard, Lord Black's cousins.
Libra glared and crossed her arms. She wouldn't allow her relatives – or anyone – to speak of her future Lord and Lady that way, especially since Theia was becoming a close friend of hers. Libra was hoping she could marry into the Black family and take the Black name. She had always felt more like a Black than a Rosier.
Whispers broke out among small groups.
Theia noticed Riddle staring at her. There was something in his dark eyes that made her uncomfortable. She had an inward debate about whether or not to tell anyone. She was use to handling her problems on her own, but she had people now – Melania, Arcturus, Orion, Lucretia, a number of Black relatives – and she didn't have to handle it on her own anymore. She would alert someone about Riddle, probably one of the three cousins in her year – Aries, Virgo or Libra.
“Come on,” whispered Aries Black, settling a hand on Theia's shoulder, “let's go to the dorms.”
Theia nodded. She leaned over a pressed a quick kiss to Orion's cheek before following her new friends to the sixth year girls' dorm. She blushed a little. Despite the betrothal between her and Orion, they had yet to kiss. When they did kiss, it would be her first kiss. Theia would admit to herself, she was daydreaming about it – and falling in love with Orion.
Chapter 2: Six Year II
-July 1941: Harri arrived to the past in July 1941. She was taken in by the Blacks, who are curious about her knowledge of the future and her. With some help from Orion, Harri picked out a new name -- Theia Lilium Johnson. On her birthday, Theia was signed a betrothal agreement with Orion Black.
-August 1941: Theia accompanied Arcturus, Melania, Orion, and Lucretia to The Annual Family Reunion. Theia met several members of the Black family -- including Walburga and her brothers, Alphard and Cygnus, Aries Nott, Virgo Black, and Libra Rosier. While exploring the library, Theia stumbled upon a book written in Parseltongue.
-September 1941: Theia journeyed to Hogwarts with Orion, Lucretia, their friends, and the three Black cousins (Aries, Virgo, and Libra). Upon her arrival, Theia was sorted into Slytherin, where she received a lukewarm welcoming. Eager to change opinions, Theia spoke Parseltongue, which led several of her housemates with welcome her more warmly while drawing the attention of fourth year Tom Riddle.
The next morning, numerous Slytherins were watching Theia Johnson closely. No one had heard of her before the Sorting. She had a mudblood last name, she spoke Parseltongue, she acted as a pure-blood, and she was betrothed to Orion Black. She was a mystery.
Among those watching her was Tom Riddle. He wanted to know more about her. The other Slytherins were assuming she was the Heir of Slytherin because she spoke Parseltongue. No one in Slytherin knew Tom spoke Parseltongue. He was keeping that ability secret until he was made Prefect next year. Between the rank of Prefect and his Parseltongue abilities, he would become the new leader of Slytherin, replacing Orion Black.
But Theia Johnson ruined that – all of that.
As he watched her, Tom started to grow obsessed. He needed to know everything about her. Her presence in Slytherin was ruining his plans.
With narrowed eyes, Tom watched as Theia left the common room with Orion Black, his friends, and the sixth year Black cousins – Virgo Black, Libra Rosier, and Aries Nott. That group would remain in charge until their graduation, then leadership would fall to Lucretia Black by default since she was Orion's sister and a member of the main Black line.
Unless something could be done. Tom would need to do something, but he needed to study his prey.
Theia was less than impressed with the Head of Slytherin, Horace Slughorn. He was a young looking man with a blonde mustache, blonde hair, and large proportions to his body. While passing out the schedules, Theia noticed the man had favorites. Theia was glad she wasn't among them.
As he passed Theia and her friends, he simply handed out schedules with minimal talking before moving onto the next group, where he struck up longer conversations.
“They're members of the Slug Club,” Aries Nott whispered, disgust in her voice.
“It's a club made up of Sluggy's favorite students,” Libra Rosier explained with a roll of her eyes.
“Basically,” Virgo explained, “Sluggy's favorites are students he thinks have bright futures ahead of them.”
Theia nodded. That didn't sound like something that interested her. As a professor, Slughorn should encourage all of his students instead of focusing on select few. She smirked, taking note of whom Slughorn had selected. Theia knew some of the brightest of this generation, and so far Slughorn's guesses were wrong.
“Let's compare schedules,” Theia said, changing the subject. Looking down at her own, she found she was content with it. She was only taking seven classes: Defense Against the Dark Arts, Charms, Ancient Runes, Arithmancy, Potions, Transfigurations, and Magical Studies.
The four girls talked as they compared schedules. They had two classes together: Defense and Charms. Other than that, Theia shared Ancient Runes and Arithmancy with Aries, Potions with both Libra and Virgo, and Transfigurations with Virgo. Theia was the only member of the group taking Magical Studies since the others had Muggle Studies.
A few minutes later, Orion, Edward and Anthony joined them with their schedules. Orion and Anthony joined the girls in Defense and Charms. Edward and Orion joined Theia in Transfigurations and Potions while Anthony joined her in Ancient Runes and Arithmancy.
“I don't see why we have to take Muggle Studies,” Edward Nott said, grabbing a piece of toast. “Who even came up with the idea?”
Some of the others agreed.
“Lord Black,” Theia answered, drawing the group and some surrounding Slytherins' attention.
“But why?” whined a fifth year girl with dark hair and a pug-like nose.
Theia glanced at the younger girl. She had to be related to Pansy Parkinson. They're noses were practically one and the same. “He saw my O.W.L. result,” she explained. “I passed with an O.”
A few Slytherins muttered something about blood traitor and mudblood lover, but they were ignored.
“The test is so easy a five-year-old muggle could pass it,” Theia explained. “The old textbook – The Muggle Experience – is horribly outdated. It's hardly mentions electricity.”
Theia paused for a moment, “And don't forget muggle-born and muggle-raised students are now taking Magical Studies.”
Conversations broke out amongst the Slytherins. Several of the pure-blood were pleased to learn the muggle-born and muggle-raised were learning the proper customs and traditions of their world, but they were far from happy about taking Muggle Studies.
“I still don't see the point,” commented a sixth year girl with pale blonde hair, green eyes, and a round face. Theia recognized her as Athena Malfoy. She would one day marry a muggle-born Ryan Chase, and she would have a promising career in Potions before her death at the hands of Death Eaters. Some believe she was killed by her nephew, Lucius Malfoy.
Theia thought for a moment. “Would it interest you to know the muggle fashion industry is worth several million pounds, worldwide.”
That caught several female students attention.
“Muggle designers release new clothes each year,” Theia explained, hoping she was correct. Her information was from the 1990s, but the fashion industry had to be old. “They're are new trends and new styles.”
“Really?” asked Athena, green eyes wide in curiosity.
Theia nodded. “I can get few magazines to show you,” she offered.
“What's a mag-zine?” asked a seventh year girl with brown hair, an oily face, and large teeth.
“Magazine,” Theia corrected. “It's a small book full of pictures and advertisements – but none of the pictures move,” she explained. She might want to look into a potion that made muggle pictures move.
“Can you, please?” Athena asked as several girls nodded.
“Sure,” Theia agreed. Hopefully, Izzi wouldn't mind running a few errors for her.
Conversations changed to excitement.
“Will help us with our homework?” Aries asked.
“Of course,” Theia replied.
Theia left the table a little later. She took her schedule and head back down to the Slytherin common room. Her first class was in almost two hours.
The first week of classes went by quickly. Theia attended each one of her classes, impressed the professors with her knowledge, and she did her homework in timely manner.
It was strange being back at Hogwarts without Ron or Hermione. Theia kind of missed them, but she didn't miss being Harri Potter. She was happy to be Theia Johnson. Being at Hogwarts with Orion, Lucretia, and the Black cousins was interesting. Libra, Aries, and Virgo were excellent roommates and friends. The three of them were better than Lavender Brown and Pavarti Patil as roommates.
Theia found the politics of Slytherin to be interesting. Since Orion was the King of Slytherin, she was the Queen of Slytherin. Theia wasn't certain who the prince and princess were, but she was willing to guess Lucretia was the Princess of Slytherin. The identity of the prince was a mystery.
Since Theia was the Queen, everyone in Slytherin treated her with respect. She wasn't foolish enough to believe that might everyone liked her. Her experience as Harri Potter with the media was fickle and with it people. People would say and act one way in front of her, and another behind her back. She knew this would be no different.
None of that really matter. Theia knew who her allies were, and she had an idea of who her enemies were.
The top of her enemies list included Walburga Black and Tom Riddle. Walburga's dislike of her was no secret, and Walburga didn't even try to conceal it. Tom Riddle watched her closely, and Theia knew when his eyes were on her. She knew Lord Voldemort well enough to know Tom Riddle. Tom Riddle was young, and he didn't have the experience of Lord Voldemort, making Riddle easy to watch. The rest of her list was made up of their allies. Riddle was the leader of the fourth years and he had a good number of the third years. Walburga had limited allies. Most people in their years sided with Orion, knowing the power he would wield as Lord Black. Interestingly, Cygnus remained neutral, either siding with his sister or his cousin.
The days of September quickly went by. Theia continued to adjust to her new life. If she wasn't the top student of her year, then she was close. She knew the material, she completed her homework, and she assisted others.
Theia knew she owned Hermione something special. Her friend had taught her to do her best in class and to get her homework done in a timely manner. It took Hermione awhile to break Theia's old habits. The Dursleys won't have her doing better than their son, and if she did then there was hell to pay.
Theia found she liked most of her classes. Defense Against the Dark Arts was still her specialty, and one of her favorite classes. Professor O'Riley knew his subject, and he was passionate about it. While Theia hadn't had Professor O'Riley before, she could tell there was a difference in the learning with one continuous professor. Professor O'Riley started the year off with a review before moving onto new material.
Ancient Runes and Arithmancy were amazing classes. Theia was kicking herself for never taking them before. She shared both classes with Aries, and Aries was amazing to watch. Theia knew the future career Aries had ahead of her, and her passion and skill were clear at sixteen.
Charms wasn't the same without Professor Flitwick, but Professor Addams knew her subject and she was a good instructor. Speaking of Flitwick, Theia wanted to look him up. If she remembered correctly, he was quite the duelist in his youth.
Potions was a different experience with Professor Snape breathing down her neck. It appeared that Theia was decent at Potions. While she found the subject more enjoyable, Theia still hated her professor. Professor Slughorn didn't even try to conceal his favoritism. He even went as far as to award points for “correctly cutting” or “lending a helping hand” to his favorite students, all of whom were members of The Slug Club. If another student did the same actions, the student was ignored.
Theia wasn't sure what to think of Transfigurations with Professor Dumbledore. It was different. Professor Dumbledore was a good professor, but he was bias towards his own house, Gryffindor. Professor Dumbledore wasn't as bad as Professor Snape, but it was obvious.
Magical Studies was an interesting class. Professor Caldwell knew her subject, and she had plenty of information to teach each class. For the most part, Theia knew a good amount of the information from studying the Black library and lessons with Melania over the summer.
Theia took notes on each class with the pros and cons on the professor, and she sent her reviews to Arcturus. There were areas the he and the Board could improve on: such as notifying parents or guardians when a student received detention with who and why; and posting a list of points each student gain and loss, and the reason.
There were mixed reviews amongst the Slytherins concerning the Muggle Studies class. Theia didn't know what most of the Slytherins thought, unless they shared their opinions in the middle of the common room like Walburga Black.
Ever the pure-blood supremest, Walburga thought the class was a waste of time and the subject was useless. She was one of several Slytherins skipping the class. Her attendance record would be reflected in her grades.
Grading was another change Arcturus was bringing. The grading system would remain the same with Troll through Outstanding. A grade would now incorporate more than homework and tests. It would now include attendance and class participation. Passing a class would require more than studying and decent homework.
From amongst her group of friends, the Muggle Studies class was something of hit. The pure-bloods and magical-raised were stunned at the advancements of the muggle world. There was a wireless radio system and horseless carriages called automobiles. The advancements were mind-blowing.
Virgo, Aries, and Libra asked Theia numerous questions about everything ranging from pens to automobiles to major muggle cities. Theia answered the questions to the best of her abilities, but she didn't know much about major muggle cities in this time period. Most major European countries were gearing up for the Second World War. If Theia remembered correctly, it would start soon – if it hadn't already.
In addition to magazines, Theia would need Izzi to pick up some muggle newspapers.
September turned into October with rainy days and colder temperatures. Theia adjust to life in Slytherin. She was doing well in classes, and she making friends. Having more than two close friends was surreal to her.
Growing up, Theia didn't have any friends. Dudley and his gang scared everyone away from her while Petunia and Vernon warned off parents. When she got to Hogwarts, she had Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. While there were other people, like Ginny Weasley and Neville Longbottom, that were amongst her friends, her closest were Ron and Hermione.
Now, Theia had Orion and Lucretia. She was closest to both them with Orion being her betrothed and Lucretia being like her little sister. Lucretia and Theia shared numerous secrets between them. Most of their secrets were about their relationships and their opinions on somethings. For example, Lucretia was debating what to give Ignatius Prewett for their one year anniversary.
In addition, Theia had Aries, Libra, and Virgo. Out of the three cousins, Theia was closest to Aries Nott. They were close enough friends that Theia knew Aries considered herself more of a Black than a Nott, and she wanted to marry into the Black family. This was a feeling shared by Libra Rosier. Knowing this, Theia was trying to think of someone for each girl to be betrothed to. Theia thought Alphard Black might be a good choice for Aries. She just needed to figure out a way to broach the subject with Alphard, Aries, and Arcturus.
Theia wanted Alphard to have a good future. She remembered he never married or bonded, and he was Sirius' one of favorite relatives. Aries, also, deserved a better future.
When Samhain came, Theia attended classes before retreating to her dorm room. The Slytherin dorms were warded against entry from other students. If it wasn't their dorm, then they couldn't enter. The wards gave Theia peace of mind. She knew Walburga couldn't enter her room and go through her belongings.
In her dorm room, Theia changed out of her uniform and into a set of casual dark blue robes. Wanting to keep her mind off of the day, Theia pulled out some of her copied books. There was no better time to start her research into the Black family looking for a Parselmouth. There was so much to learn.
Theia didn't know how much time passed before her roommates returned. A look of relief passed over Virgo's face when she saw Theia seated on her bed.
“There you are,” Virgo said. “Orion and Lucretia are looking for you.” She dropped her bag on her bed and turned to look at Theia.
“Are you alright?” Libra asked, staring at her friend.
“I'm be fine tomorrow,” Theia answered. “I don't like Samhain.”
The three cousins shared a look. None of them knew the reason. Hopefully Orion or Lucretia knew.
“Orion wants to talk to you,” Aries said.
Theia glanced up from her book. She nodded, marking the page. Without another word, Theia got up from her bed and she headed to the common room.
Orion was seated in the common room with Edward and Anthony next to him. When she stepped into the common room, Theia felt the hairs on the back of her neck standing up. Turning around, she found Tom Riddle staring at her. A shiver ran down her spine as Theia turned her attention to Orion.
Taking a deep breath, Theia headed over to Orion, Edward, and Anthony. At the sight of her, Edward moved from Orion's left over a seat, making room for Theia. She sat down and leaned against Orion's side.
Orion frowned, studying his betrothed. Theia looked tired with dark circles under her eyes. Why wasn't she sleeping? Was she worried about something? Orion racked his brain. He remembered there was something about Samhain in Theia's past.
It took a moment. Orion's eyes widened when he remembered. This was the day Theia's parents died, killed Voldemort. This was the night she became famous for surviving the night her parents were murdered.
“How are you?” Orion whispered, leaning into Theia's side. His gray eyes looked her over in concern.
Offering him a shrug, Theia's eyes dropped to her lap. She didn't know how to convey what she was feeling in words. Since learning the truth at the age of six, Theia no longer liked or enjoyed Halloween. Petunia and Vernon were all to happy to inform her that her parents died on Halloween. Of course, their story was far from the truth: James and Lily Potter died in a drunk driving accident that killed another family with Theia being the only survivor.
Orion frowned, but he said nothing as he wrapped an arm around Theia's shoulders.
Theia remained quiet as Orion returned to his conversation with Anthony and Edward. Every once in awhile, of the three would glance at Theia in concern.
“Time for the Feast,” announced Libra as she joined the group.
Edward and Anthony stood up.
“I'm skipping,” Orion announced, his arm tight around Theia.
“Alright,” Libra said, a frown forming on her lips. Hopefully Orion would help Theia with whatever she was feeling.
Orion and Theia remained the couch as they watched their group of friends exit the common room with several other students.
Pulling out his wand, Orion cast a few privacy spells. Orion didn't want to risk anyone overhearing their conversation. It was no one's business. This was between Theia and himself – and his parents to some extension.
“What's on your mind?” Orion asked, his voice soft.
“Everything and nothing,” Theia whispered with a shrug. She didn't know how to describe it. One moment she was wondering what her life would have been like if her parents lived and the next moment she was kicking herself. She had a family, now. She had Orion, Lucretia, Melania, and Arcturus. She had the promise of a future with Orion – Sirius, Regulus, and other children.
A frown grew on Orion's face. He didn't know how to respond to an answer like that.
Theia sighed. “I haven't liked Halloween since I was six,” she whispered. “I don't have any good memories of Halloween.”
Orion remained silent, simply listening to his betrothed as she started to talk. He didn't know too much of her past as Harri Potter. And to be honest, he didn't needed to know anymore. All that mattered to him was his place in Theia's life.
Theia started babbling about her various Halloween memories. She wasn't allowed to go “trick or treating” as a child – which Orion didn't know anything about. Her relatives were all to happy to remind her of her parents' deaths – their version of events, not the real thing. Her Hogwarts years had Orion's hair turning gray: a troll in her first year, the Chamber of Secrets in her second year, a criminal breaking into Gryffindor Tower her third year, being forced to compete in a deadly tournament her fourth year, and recurring nightmares her fifth year.
When Theia was done talking, she curled her legs underneath of her and she rested her head on Orion's chest.
Orion remained quiet, thinking over Theia's words. How could he comfort her? When he was younger, his mother would rub his back and she would tell him nice things that made him forget his troubles. So, Orion started moving his hand up and down on Theia's arm.
“Samhain is a day to remember the dead,” Orion whispered. “Remember that your parents loved you. They loved you so much . They loved you enough to ensure your survival.”
Listening to Orion's words, Theia felt something lifted off of her shoulders. Since learning about the prophecy, Theia had blamed herself for her parents death. While Orion never her parents, listening to him gave her a sense of peace and serenity.
Silence fell between the pair. Theia repositioned herself so her head was laying against Orion's shoulder. She closed her eyes, finding herself relaxed for the first time that day – in several days, really.
That night brought about a change in Theia and Orion's relationship. It grew more intimate, both emotionally and physically. Whenever they were seated next to each other, Orion and Theia would touch in someway, whether holding hands beneath the table in the Great Hall or leaning against one another in the common room at night.
They would tell one another secrets or something personal. Theia told Orion about Trelanwey's numerous death predictions and the predictions about Theia's children dying young. Trelanwey's predictions about her children dying young got Theia the most. Having her own family was a dream for her. It evolved over time, in her childhood it was someone coming to save her from the Dursleys and recently it was a husband and children.
Orion in turn shared his dread at having to marry his cousin, Walburga. Growing up, he got along with his cousin. They were friends. When they started Hogwarts, everything changed – specifically, Walburga changed. She went from a friendly young girl to possessive and hateful girl. As far as Walburga was concerned, Orion belonged to her.
The second weekend in November marked the first Hogsmeade weekend. There would be another Hogsmeade weekend in December, a few days before winter break.
Theia spent a few days debating whether or not she should ask Orion to escort her or she should wait to see if Orion asked her. To be honest, Theia didn't really know how this was done. She had never gone on a date, unless attending the Yule Ball with Dean Thomas counted. Personally, she didn't count the Yule Ball as a date, it was more of a required event as a Triwizard Champion.
“Johnson,” someone called the moment Theia entered the common room on Monday morning.
Glancing around, Theia spotted Tom Riddle making his way towards her. A sense of dread filled her. What did he want? All Riddle did was stare at her.
“Yes, Riddle?” Theia said, her hand reaching for her wand.
“Go to Hogmeade with me,” he demanded.
Theia raised an eyebrow. He knew – like all the other Slytherins – that she was betrothed to Orion. And these actions were a serious breach of pure-blood customs. One wizard does not escort another wizard's betrothed anywhere without permission. Theia knew how to handle this situation like a Slytherin.
There were several Slytherins listening in on other conversation.
“What did Orion say?” she asked.
Riddle's eyes narrowed.
“Sorry, Riddle,” Theia said, “but without Orion's blessing, I won't be going anywhere with you.” She turned to leave when Riddle grabbed ahold of her arm.
“Is he that controlling?” Riddle asked. “I would never control you in such away.”
This was going perfectly, for Theia. While Riddle was a Slytherin and he supported pure-blood supremacy, he didn't understand the customs and the culture that were a part of pure-blood society.
“It shows how much you know on pure-blood customs, Riddle,” Theia said. “Now, unhand me.”
“You heard her,” Virgo Black said, appearing next to them. Her eyes were narrowed and her wand was raised.
Riddle glanced between Virgo and Theia before releasing his hold on Theia's arm.
The moment she was released, Virgo stepped forward and escorted Theia away from Riddle and out of the common room. As they walked, Virgo glanced over her shoulder, watching Riddle.
“I never knew Riddle was that much of a creep,” Virgo announced, once they left the common room.
“He's always been that way,” Theia said, shaking her head, “once he's obsessed with something.”
Virgo's eyes narrowed at the comment. There was something about the say Theia said it. It was like she knew Riddle. But that was impossible, wasn't it? Theia was a new student, and Riddle fancied himself the Prince of Slytherin.
“How long has he been obsessed with you?” Virgo asked with a frown.
“Forever,” muttered Theia.
Nodding, Virgo vowed to keep a closer eye on Riddle. She would need to tell Orion about this, but she would give Theia a chance to do so herself.
After dinner that day, Theia and Orion were headed back to the common room together. Theia gathering her Gryffindor courage.
“Will you escort me to Hogsmeade this weekend?” she asked, turning to look at Orion.
The question caught Orion off guard. He tripped before turning to look at Theia with wide eyes.
“You haven't asked me, yet,” she explained, “and I'm done waiting. So, I'm asking you.” She placed her hands on her hips as she stared at Orion.
Orion's cheeks turned pink. “Of course,” he answered. “There's no one I would rather go with.”
Theia smiled as she dropped her arms from her hips.
The couple resumed their walk to the common room, each busy with their own thoughts.
Theia was relieved. She asked, and Orion was taking her. She would have to pretend it was her first Hogsmeade visit, but she hoped that wouldn't be too hard. Assuming Hogsmeade was like Diagon Alley, it would be missing some shops and places, like the Shrieking Shack.
Orion was slightly panicked. He was planning to ask Theia, but he hadn't been the right time. He didn't know things were done from when she was from, but witches don't ask wizards to escort them. Maybe this was her inner Gryffindor showing.
When Theia woke up on Saturday morning, she took a shower before heading over to her wardrobe, looking for an outfit for her date with Orion. How did someone dress for a first date? Looking at her robes, Theia frowned.
“Need any help?” asked Aries with a hint of amusement in her tone.
Theia turned to look at her friend. She nodded with a look of helplessness crossing her face. Her only experience was watching Lavender Brown and Parvati Patil.
Aries stepped forward and she looked through Theia's clothes. Her eyes landed on a set of light gold robes trimmed with black, which would compliment Theia's skin tone nicely. Those robes would go well with the black boots and a pair of black pearl earrings. She took the items and handed them to Theia with a smile.
“When you're done, I'll style your hair,” she said.
Theia nodded, taking the clothes over to her bed. Ten minutes later, she was tying her boots.
A few seconds later, Aries and Libra stood on either side of Theia. Aries reached out to touch Theia's damp hair while Libra thumbed through a small book.
“I have just the spell for loose curls,” Libra announced, showing Aries a page.
That caught Theia's interest. She closed her eyes, trying to recall what she knew about Libra Rosier. Like most of her generation, she was killed by Death Eaters. It was alarming how many people the Death Eaters and Lord Voldemort killed.
Libra Rosier was murdered in an attack on Diagon Alley in late 1950s. It was one of Voldemort's first attacks, making Libra one of his first victims. At the time of her death, Libra was in the process of opening a salon in Vertigo Alley. She had several original spells and potions, and she was known for her skills in beauty. Theia remembered Lavender and Parvati looked up to her.
“Maybe we could a few curls back, away from her face,” added Aries.
Libra nodded, drawing her wand. She wrapped a piece of Theia's hair around her wand, and she softly muttered an incantation. When she unwrapped Theia's hair, it was loosely curled. It took several minutes for Libra to finish the curls. As the curls were finished, Aries ran a hairbrush through each finished section. Libra pinned several curls back, using magically conjured bobbypins.
“We're done,” Libra announced with a smile.
Aries handed Theia a mirror.
Theia's eyes widened at the sight of her reflection. She looked different.
Before leaving the dorm, Aries handed Theia a black cloak with a hood. It was the middle of November, and it was cold and rainy outside.
Theia entered the common room, Virgo was behind her. Both girls noticed Riddle seated a few feet away from the stairs. His eyes followed Theia's movements. Virgo's eyes narrowed, Riddle was a huge creep. It was like just like Theia said, he was obsessed with her.
The pair quickly walked out of the common room, and they headed up to the Great Hall. As they sat down at the Slytherin table, mail arrived. Theia received a letter from Arcturus and Melania, and her daily package from Izzi. Without opening the letter, she placed it in the inner pocket of her cloak. She had a feeling this was something she would want to read alone. The package from Izzi would be opened after she finished eating.
As she ate, Theia overheard Athena Malfoy conversing with some seventh years. Their conversation was about Grindelwald. Apparently, his growing more and more powerful. There were even rumors he allied himself with squibs and muggles.
Knowing her history, Theia knew it was true. Gellert Grindelwald would continue to gain power until his fateful duel with Albus Dumbledore in 1945 – the year after Riddle graduated from Hogwarts. The defeat of Grindelwald was one of Dumbledore's greatest accomplishments. It was instrumental in appointing him Headmaster of Hogwarts – and his numerous other jobs, titles, and duties.
It was, also, an event that Theia was debating changing. While she didn't want to defeat Grindelwald, it would be important for someone beside Dumbledore to achieve. This was a critical event in wizarding history, and it tipped the balance of power.
While Theia wasn't the biggest fan of Dumbledore, she wanted the man to have a good life. He was kind man, but he was misguided. Theia thought the power and pressure of his various jobs and duties caused some of his actions – and inactions. Everyone was allowed to make mistakes, but Theia wanted to minimize some of Dumbledore's, like the situation with prophecy, her parents, and Voldemort.
Unaware of the activities going on around her, things on the Slyrtherin table started to shake. The shaking slowly increased as Theia's eyes narrowed.
Suddenly, Theia jumped, pulled out of her trail of thoughts – and the shaking stopped.
“Theia?” Virgo said in concern, reaching out to touch her friend's hand. She frowned. “Are you alright?”
Theia blinked a few times, glancing over at her friend. “I'm fine,” she said. “I was just thinking about Grindelwald.”
A grim expression settled on Virgo's face as she nodded. “He needs to be stopped,” she said.
“Hopefully, soon,” Athena added, joining their conversation.
Theia nodded, knowing if history remained it would be another four years. That probably wasn't soon enough for most people.
“Do you think this will crossover with the muggle war?” Athena asked in a whisper. “I've heard rumors that it has.”
“No way!” Virgo hissed, shaking her head.
“Yes,” Theia answered.
Both pure-bloods turned to look at her with wide eyes, silently asking for an explanation.
Theia sighed. “This muggle war is a huge war, involving most of Europe and Japan,” she explained. “It's the Axis Powers – consisting of Germany, Italy, and Japan – against the Allied Powers – of England, France, China, and the Soviet Union. The fighting's happening in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Pacific.”
Virgo's and Athena's eyes widened farther. That was a lot of the planet! Their Muggle Studies class hadn't covered this much. Then again Professor Bell was busy covering a lot muggle things – like the First World War, modern muggle technology, and muggle celebrities.
“What about Canada and the United States?” asked Athena, her voice a little higher.
“And Australia?” added Virgo.
Theia thoughts for a moment. The United States didn't enter the war until Pearl Harbor, which happened on the seventh of December of 1941. If she remembered correctly, both Canada and Australia were fighting. “Both Australia and Canada are part of the Allied Powers as commonwealths of Britain,” she explained, hoping she had her facts straight. “And the United States aren't part of the war, yet .”
“Yet?” repeated Athena.
“You think they'll enter the war?” asked Virgo, sharing a look with Athena. It was a look of panic. How could one war be so big ?
“Yes,” Theia replied, “and it'll be soon.” The seventh of December was only weeks away.
To be honest, Theia had briefly toyed with the idea about trying to warn the Americans, but she decided against after a few sleepless nights. She didn't come back in time to save the world. Some events had to happen or the world she recognized might never come to pass. Based on history, Theia knew the Second World War was a critical event. It was something that couldn't be changed.
While Theia's mission was to save Sirius, she would do everything in her power to save the Black family and assist others as she could. It was scary how many people the Death Eaters and Voldemort killed.
Tension fell between Theia, Athena, and Virgo. The things Theia said were world altering to Athena and Virgo. Their worldviews were changing.
“How excited are you, Theia?” Lucretia asked, dropping into the seat next to Theia.
Theia turned to look at the younger female and she blinked a few times before she realized what Lucretia was talking about. “I'm very excited,” she answered with a smile.
Orion appeared at the Slytherin table shortly before students could head off to Hogsmeade. He offered Theia a smile before seating down with Edward and Anthony. While Orion was busy with his friends, Theia turned her attention to the package from Izzi. Since she asked, the house-elf was sending Theia several muggle newspapers.
Theia started off by reading the European newspapers, which reported a lot of the on-going war between the Allied Powers and the Axis Powers. While reading the muggle newspapers, Theia was teaching herself how to read faster and how to skim better. Both were useful skills that could benefit her schoolwork and her research projects.
At the thought of her research projects, Theia paused to think for a moment. She identified the Parselmouth who married into the Black family as Isla Estrella. She married Hydrus Black almost two thousand years ago. There wasn't much information on Isla in the books and grimoires Theia had. She would need to do some serious research over the winter break. Hopeful the library at the Black Villa could contain more information on Isla and her family. There was something familiar about the name Estrella, but Theia couldn't place it.
“Are you ready to go?” Orion asked, startling Theia.
Theia glanced up, finding Orion standing over. She returned the newspapers to the packaging before shrinking it and placing it in her robe pocket with the letter from Arcturus and Melania.
“Ready,” Theia answered with a smile. She stood up.
Orion offered her his arm.
The pair left the Great Hall arm and arm.
Orion showed her all the sights of Hogsmeade. Theia noticed several missing sights: the Shrieking Shack, Madam Puddifoot's Tea Shop, Wizarding Wireless Network Headquarters, and the hairdressing salon across from Honeydukes.
After a walk around the village, Orion led Theia to The Three Broomsticks. Inside the pub was filled with numerous Hogwarts students and other patrons. Theia spotted an emptying booth, so she grabbed ahold of Orion's arm. They quickly claimed the booth before Orion headed up to the bar to place their lunch order.
Left alone in the booth, Theia leaned back and turned her attention to the crowd of people. The crowd of students was amazing. While Theia was use to this time-period, the amount of students was still astonishing. There were hundreds of students in each year instead of forty to fifty, which realized in nearly a thousand students enrolled in Hogwarts versus a few hundred.
The drastic shift in population had to be related to more than just Voldemort's uprising. While the Death Eaters and Voldemort killed hundreds of thousands of people, Theia was positive there was more than the one event. Theia was willing to bet the inbreeding of pure-bloods contributed on some level, and some muggle-borns were ignored.
Theia shook her head, forcing those thoughts out of her head. They had no pursue here. Her thoughts shifted to the letter from Arcturus and Melania. Pollux and Irma were far from happy about Orion's betrothal to Theia. The pair were trying everything they could to dissolve the agreement. They went as far as to get Sirius the Second, Arcturus' father, and Cygnus the Second, Pollux's father, involved. There was little that either man could do about the betrothal agreement, the situation made Theia nervous.
“Theia,” someone called to her, shaking her from her thoughts.
Turning to her left, Theia found Lucretia and a young man with auburn hair and piercing blue eyes standing next to the booth. “Yes, Lucretia?” she said.
“Do you mind if Ignatius and I join you?” Lucretia asked, blushing a little.
“Please,” Theia nodded with a smile, motioning to the seats across from her.
Lucretia smiled as Ignatius whispered something to her before departing. She slid into the seat. “Where's Orion?” she asked.
“Ordering,” Theia replied, motioning to the packed bar. There were several people, including Ignatius, trying to do that same.
Lucretia nodded before her expression grew serious as she casted several privacy charms. “How are you doing?” she asked.
Theia frowned, wondering where the question was coming from. “I'm fine,” she answered. It was unusual to have so many people worrying about her.
A frown crossed Lucretia's lips. “What were you talking about with Athena and Virgo?” she asked. From the tension, she had a feeling it was heavy conversation, and she heard about the shaking at the Slytherin table. She knew Theia lost control of her magic when she got upset or angry.
“The Second World War,” she said, crossing her arms. This war was one of the worst events in history with all the death and destruction.
Lucretia frowned. What second world war? She knew from Muggle Studies and Professor Bell there was the Great War a few decades ago. And she from Theia's newspapers and magazines there another war going on, but surely it couldn't be that big.
As if sensing the unasked question, Theia explained, “This current war will continue for another four years, and it's going to get worse.”
Lucretia's eyes widened and she paled a little. From what she understood, the Great War was long and horrible, and Theia was making this one equally worse, at least.
Before Lucretia could ask another question, Orion returned. He smiled at his little sister before turning his attention to Theia as he slid in next to her.
After enjoying butterbeers and food with Lucretia and Ignatius, Orion and Theia wondered back to the castle. Theia was busy going over her homework for the upcoming while Orion thought about Theia and Lucretia's interactions. Something was going on between them.
Before they arrived back to the castle, Orion grabbed onto Theia's wrist. Without a word, he leaned forward and he pressed his lips against hers.
The letter Theia received from Melania and Arcturus was a notice that they had moved out of the London townhouse and into their Welsh cottage. The bombing of London was happening, and they wanted to avoid the city as much as possible.
In her reply, Theia included a copy of the Bombing Wards. The Bombing Wards were developed a few years after the Second World War by a muggle-born named Hector Jones. These wards never became popular due to the inventor's blood status. Pure-bloods had no interest in some muggle-born's useless inventions.
The Bombing Wards were designed to repel bombs or other hostile items dropped on them.
From what Theia remembered, Grimmauld Place escaped with minimal damage. Only the garden shed was destroyed, which currently acted as the potions lab.
For the most part, Theia kept the information about the Second World War to herself. She didn't want to risk changing history too much. Keeping the information to herself was making her feel guilty because there thousands of lives she could save, but any interactions would change the course of history – the history she knew. There was no way to knowing how her meddling would turn out. She might make things better or even worse. It was something Theia didn't want to find out.
After the Hogsmeade date, the relationship changed between Orion and Theia. They remained close, but their relationship became a little more physical. Theia would lean into Orion's side and Orion would place a hand on Theia, usually on her back or on her knee.
Everyone around them noticed the change. For close friends, like Edward and Virgo, it was a welcome change and a good sign. Everyone could tell Orion and Theia were crazy about one another, and now they each knew it. For others, like Tom and Walburga, it was an unwelcome sign as each wanted the couple to break up.
November turned into December with snow and plummeting temperatures. For most students, it was time to avoid the outdoors and the dungeons as much as possible. The outdoors had snow and cold weather while the dungeons had cold temperatures. Luckily, the Slytherin common room and dorm rooms were nicely heated via the fireplace and Heating Charms.
Theia spent her free time divided between the Slytherin common room, the library, and the Room of Requirements. When she needed time to herself, Theia would head to the Room of Requirements, where she usually worked on a research project of some kind. There were a few things she was working, including a few potions.
On the second Monday of December, the eighth, Theia opened several muggle newspapers and a few magical American ones with headlines about the Attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. Theia scanned the articles before passing them Professor Bell with a grim expression.
“Here,” she said, offering the professor her package. “You might want to change your lesson plans for the day.”
Professor Bell, a tall and slender man with dark hair and blue eyes, looked at her with narrowed eyes.
“The United States was attacked by Japan,” she explained.
With wide eyes, Professor Bell grabbed the newspaper on top. He paled at the sight of the front page. “T-thank you, Miss Johnson,” he muttered, his attention focused on the newspaper and his mind whirling.
Theia nodded, not knowing what to say.
Without another word, Professor Bell took the package and he dashed away, headed to his classroom. He several lesson plans to rewrite. For now, the class would focus on some modern muggle events. This war sounded like it was officially a world war.
The next morning, on the ninth, Theia delivered another stack of newspapers to Professor Bell. He took the pile with a grim expression.
“Let me guess: the Untied States has entered the war?” he said.
Theia nodded. “They've declared war on Japan and Germany.”
The Muggle Studies professor shook his head. “This going to be a long war,” he muttered.
“You have no idea,” Theia stated as she walked away.
There were mixed reactions from pure-blood and magical-raised students over the next week. Most of the students had trouble understanding the concept of a world war, and how muggle technology could be so affective.
Some of the blood purists, led by Walburga Black, were pleased at the annihilation of some many muggles. Most of these students failed to understand the power of muggle technology. Theia hoped they would before August 1945. If not, the atomic bombs might change their minds.
The others were both terrified and intrigued by the power of the muggles and the idea of the war. These students were trying to understand how the muggles developed such advance technology.
The muggle-born and muggle-raised students were terrified. They had news of the war from their families. They knew about modern muggle technology, and they understand the destructive powers of muggle weaponry. Most of the students feared for their loved one and their houses.
The following day, The Daily Prophet reported Gringotts had new wards that could be added to houses. These wards were called Repelling Wards. They would repel bombs and other harmful items dropped on or near the house. For a small fee, Gringotts would install the wards. If payment could not be made in full, then the goblins would allow for a payment plan.
Several muggle-born and muggle-raised students were contacting Gringotts for more information, specifically inquiring if those wards could be added to their own residences.
After Arcturus and Melania received the Bombing Wards, the pair studied them before passing them onto a trusted friend. A few modification were made, and the wards were submitted to Gringotts. Unlike most business transactions, there was no goal of profit from these wards. Both the goblins and the Blacks, representing the anonymous inventor, were more concerned about safety. While the goblins were greedy, they understood the danger this war possessed to their future profits and clientele.
Most of the fees involved were payment for the warders and the materials needed. There was a small profit margin, all of which Gringotts got to keep. The inventor, J. L. Black, and the Black family had no interest in profiting off the wards, at this time.
Before anyone knew it, the Winter Holidays had arrived. Unlike previous years, Hogwarts was closing for the holidays. The wards were being updated and the Repelling Ward was being added. As a result, all students and staff were forced to leave the castle. Most students were eager to head home while others, like Tom Riddle, dreaded the idea. Of that small group, some students made other plans.
Arcturus and Melania Black decided to spend the holidays at the Welsh cottage, The Coastside Cottage. The idea wasn't overly thrilling to Theia because she wanted to start her research project into the Black ancestors, looking for a Parselmouth. This project would be easier with accesses to the library at Grimmuald Place.
When the Hogwarts Express pulled into Platform Nine and Three-Quarters, there was a mad dash to reunite with families and leave King's Cross. Theia followed Orion and Lucretia off of the train, each with the trunk shrink and safely stored in their pocket, as they headed off to find Arcturus and Melania.
After a few minutes of looking and pushing their way through the crowd of people, Lucretia spotted her parents. She squealed before grabbing ahold of Theia and Orion to pull them with her. Theia stood back as she watched Orion and Lucretia greet and reunion with their parents. Once Melania was done with her children, she turned her attention to Theia, who stood back. With a frown, Melania stepped towards the young woman and she pulled her into a hug. At first, Theia was stiff before she returned the hug.
Melania glanced over at her husband, who stood watching their interaction. Why didn't Theia understand she was a valued member of the family? This was something they would worry about later.
“It's good to see you,” Melania said with a smile.
Theia returned the smile, but she didn't say anything.
“Grab on,” Arcturus said, holding out a cane portkey.
With a frown, Theia reached out and grabbed ahold.
The Coastside Cottage wasn't a simple cottage. It was somewhere around a house in size. There was a kitchen, a dining room, two living rooms, two studies, a large library, a master bedroom, five bedrooms, and a four bathrooms. There was a view of the beach and the waves.
As soon as the Blacks arrived, Izzi and another house-elf arrived to take the children's trunks to their rooms. Theia followed Arcturus and Melania into further into the cottage. She glanced around as the couple led the three teenagers into one of the living rooms.
This living room was similar in size to the drawing room at Grimmuald Place with gray walls. There was a long black couch and a pair of black armchairs with a dark wood coffee table in the middle of the room. Arcturus and Melania sat down in the armchairs with Lucretia and Orion taking a seat on the couch. After a few seconds, Theia sat down in between Lucretia and Orion.
“We will be staying here for the duration of the holidays,” Arcturus explained. “Even with the new wards, I feel it's too dangerous to return to London.”
“What about this summer?” Lucretia asked.
“It will depend on the war,” Arcturus answered, glancing over at Theia.
Theia closed her eyes and she thought for a moment. She never studied the Second War that much. She learned about it in primary school and she read some books over the summer to keep busy.
“I think the German bombing will be lighten up,” Theia said, opening her eyes. “With the American in the war, things turn in favor of the Allied Powers but it's still going to be a long war.”
Arcturus nodded, a mask of indifference settling on his face. “We will revisit the issue closer to summer,” he promised.
“From April to June there will be attacks in some towns,” Theia said with her eyes narrowed. She remembered a little about the Baedeker Blitz. She slowly listed, “Exeter, Bath, Canterbury, Lincoln, York, and some coastal towns.”
“Any other bombings?” Melania asked. The London Blitz was a horrible nine months.
Closing her eyes, Theia slowly listed everything she could remember.
After the meeting in the living room was over, Theia headed to her room. She collected several things from her trunk – books, parchment, her Grimoire, and quills and ink pots – before she sat herself up in the library. It was time to work on one of her many projects.
Theia started off with adding more to her Grimoire. She was slowly filling the pages with her life as Harriet Potter. At the moment, she was somewhere in her second year. As she added information about basilisk when she dropped her quill, silently cursing at herself. With a wave of her wand, the ink stains were banished.
Standing up, Theia fled the library and she headed towards the living room. Hopefully Arcturus and Melania were there, if not then she needed to find them. With Hogwarts empty for the holidays, this was the ideal time to deal with the basilisk.
When she arrived to the living room, Theia found Arcturus and Melania were still seated in the armchairs. Arcturus was reading while Melania was embroidering something.
“I forgot to tell you something,” Theia said, slightly out of breath.
Both Arcturus and Melania glanced up at her. Arcturus closed his book and he motioned for Theia to take a seat.
“What did you forget, Theia?” Arcturus asked, his tone gentle.
Theia took a seat and she fidgeted. It wasn't so much that she forgot that she didn't want to deal with this issue in question. There was a chance Orion mentioned it to one of his parents, but the lack of questions on their parts led her to believe that wasn't the case.
“I know where Salazar Slytherin's Chamber of Secrets is,” she replied, “and I know what his monster is.”
Arcturus and Melania shared a look. As former Slytherins, they knew the myths about the Chamber of Secrets, but like most people, they had written them off as nothing.
“What is the monster?” Melania asked.
“A basilisk,” Theia answered, staring at the couple.
With their eyes widening, the couple shared another look. How could Salazar Slytherin think it was a good idea to place a basilisk in a school full of children?
“Why didn't you say anything earlier?” Arcturus demanded, his tone harsh.
Theia flinched at the sound of his tone. “I forgot,” she whispered, her gaze dropped to her hands. “No one's ever really cared about the things I know and what I've done.” Or me was silently added.
Melania glanced over at her husband and she motioned for him to leave.
Arcturus left the living room without a word. He had people to contact and arrangements had to be made.
Standing up, Melania walked over and she took a seat next to Theia. She placed a hand on Theia's back, causing the young woman to flinch. A frown crossed Melania's face. Some pieces were starting to fall into place about Theia and her life before.
“Of course, we care, dear,” Melania whispered, rubbing her hand up and down on Theia's back. “If we didn't care, we wouldn't have you around.”
Something about Melania's words triggered the memory of Theia's arrival.
“'We know you're not from our time,'” Theia whispered. “'What year are you from?'” She lifted her head and she glanced over at Melania. “How did you know I was a time traveler?”
“I was wondering when you would ask,” Melania said. With a sigh, she explained. “The land Grimmauld Place sits on as been in the Black family for centuries and the land has some of the most advance wards – some are too advance. According to family legend, magic blessed the land. As a result, the land is something of a sanctuary. You're not the first time traveler.”
Theia's eyes widened. She had never heard any of this before. She wanted to learn more.
“We care about you because you're a strong, caring young woman,” Melania said, her fingers carding through Theia's hair. “You've been through so much and you haven't given up.”
Melania sighed as she switched from carding her fingers through Theia's hair to braiding it. “At first, we were curious about the future and the knowledge you held,” she admitted, “but we understood that you were lost and confused. You needed us more than we needed the knowledge you possessed.” A few tears entered Melania eyes. “We love you. I love you,” she whispered. “You've brought us so much and you've asked for so little in return.”
Theia sat rather still as she listened to Melania's words. She started to cry at the sincerity of those words. Turning, Theia flung her arms around Melania's waist as she pulled herself close.
A half a second, Melania froze as she watched Theia, before she placed a hand on her back. Melania watched in silence as Theia cried in her lap. Gently, she returned to rubbing the young woman's back.
After a few minutes Theia stopped crying and she turned onto her side, moving head onto Melania's lap. Theia laid on the couch with her eyes closed. “You're the first person to say that to me,” she whispered.
A frown crossed Melania's lips. She had said a lot, and she didn't know what part Theia was referring to.
“At least you're the first person I remember,” Theia continued to say. “I'm sure my parents told me they loved me, but I don't remember. I only remember their deaths.”
A wave of emotions overtook Melania. She almost wanted to cry, but this wasn't the time to cry over all that Theia had endured. “I know your parents loved you,” Melania whispered, “trust me.”
“I do,” Theia whispered.
Dinner that evening was tense. Neither Orion or Lucretia knew what was going on, but they both knew it was something between their parents and Theia. Looking at his betrothed, Orion spotted the redness around her eyes. It was a sign she had been crying.
Once dinner was over, Arcturus took Theia and Melania into his study with Orion following behind. While Orion didn't know what was going on, he wanted to be involved. Clearly this was something important.
Arcturus stared at his son before turning his attention to Theia. “What can you tell me about the basilisk?” he asked.
Orion's eyes widened. “Are you talking about the Chamber?” he asked.
Both of his parents turned to look at him – Arcturus with narrowed eyes and Melania with disappointment.
“The question,” Melania said, her tone hard, “should be why didn't you tell us about the Chamber?”
A blushed covered Orion's face. “I forgot,” he admitted. “I learned about it at the Reunion.”
Arcturus glared at his son while Melania pressed her lips together. Theia had told someone, but Orion failed to pass that information on. Melania would need to have a serious discussion with her son.
“The basilisk is over a thousand years old,” Theia answered. “It only obeys the Heir of Slytherin.”
Arcturus nodded, scribbling down a few notes.
“A basilisk can grow to be fifty feet in length,” Theia continued to explain. “A typical basilisk has green skin, yellow eyes, and scarlet plume onto of the head, if male. Looking directly into a basilisk's eyes is deadly, but seeing the eyes through something else merely results in petrification. The venom of a basilisk is lethal, and the only known cure is phoenix tears. The easiest way to kill a basilisk is with the crow of a rooster.”
By the time Theia was done, all three of the Blacks were stunned and they were staring at Theia.
“What?” she asked, her reddening. “I researched basilisk after my second year, and all this is in my Grimoire.”
“How about the Chamber?” Arcturus asked.
With a shrug, Theia explained the only entrance she knew into the Chamber along with the details she remembered.
Chapter 3: Six Year III
-July 1941: Harri arrived to the past in July 1941. She was taken in by the Blacks, who are curious about her knowledge of the future and her. With some help from Orion, Harri picked out a new name -- Theia Lilium Johnson. On her birthday, Theia was signed a betrothal agreement with Orion Black.
-August 1941: Theia accompanied Arcturus, Melania, Orion, and Lucretia to The Annual Family Reunion. Theia met several members of the Black family -- including Walburga and her brothers, Alphard and Cygnus, Aries Nott, Virgo Black, and Libra Rosier. While exploring the library, Theia stumbled upon a book written in Parseltongue.
-September 1941: Theia journeyed to Hogwarts with Orion, Lucretia, their friends, and the three Black cousins (Aries, Virgo, and Libra). Upon her arrival, Theia was sorted into Slytherin, where she received a lukewarm welcoming. Eager to change opinions, Theia spoke Parseltongue, which led several of her housemates with welcome her more warmly while drawing the attention of fourth year Tom Riddle. The new Muggle Studies class started with mixed reviews from the Slytherins. Some like it and others don't bother to attend class.
-October 1941: Theia built friendships with her classmates, becoming closest to Virgo, Libra, and Aries. On Samhain, Theia mourned the loss of her parents with Orion, building on their relationship.
-November 1941: The first Hogsmeade weekend was announced. Tom Riddle tried unsuccessfully to ask Theia out, drawing the attention of Virgo. Based off Theia's comments, Virgo knows there is history between Theia and Riddle. In the end, Theia asked Orion to Hogsmeade.
-December 1941: When they returned to King's Cross, Arcturus and Melania took Orion, Lucretia, and Theia to the Coastside Cottage to escape London. In unrelated news, Theia remembered to tell Arcturus and Melania about the basilisk living at Hogwarts.
With the information in hand, Arcturus scheduled an emergency meeting of the Board of Governors. Several of the Governors were irritated about the interruption to their holidays and the time with the family and loved ones, but those attitudes were quickly lost. When Arcturus presented them with the information about the Chamber of Secrets and the basilisk within it, the Governors were ready to act quick and cost wasn't an issue, for the time being. The main concern was the safety of the school and the students within it.
The meeting went quickly and plans were made. While their politics involved in the Board, and there were different agenda within the Governors, safety overruled those opinions – for a little awhile, at least.
With the warding scheduled to be complete on the New Years, the basilisk would be removed from the castle the day after. The Ministry of Magic was sending several officials to assist in the removal of the basilisk.
After working out the removal of the basilisk, the discussion turned to ownership. It wasn't everyday someone found a thousand year old basilisk. Everyone wanted a piece of the basilisk, but no one knew who had the most eligibility. Arcturus had a feeling this was an issue that would go before the Wizangamont after the basilisk was dealt with.
The removal of the basilisk was the main concern, and the profits were second.
With the Chamber of Secrets located inside of Hogwarts, Headmaster Armando Dippet felt the school was entitled to the corpse. Since the Ministry was providing several officials, including five Unspeakables, they felt they were entitled to either some of the corpse or some of the profits. Members of the Board of Governors, several of whom had children or grandchildren as current students, felt they were entitled to some of the profits for “stress” and “suffering” related to the situation. Then there were a few that felt the corpse belonged to the family of Salazar Slytherin. It was his basilisk, and by all rights it should be the property of his heirs.
Arcturus felt Theia was most entitled. She knew where the Chamber entrance was located, and she knew there was a basilisk. Instead of leaving the basilisk alone, she informed someone so the basilisk could be properly removed. This time, Theia wasn't trying to deal with it herself.
After the meeting ended, Arcturus scheduled an appointed at Gringotts. They needed to check her inheritance.
Once the matter of the Chamber of Secrets and the basilisk was discussed with the Board, a festive spirit settled in the Coastside Cottage. While Arcturus was at the Board of Governors meeting, Melania had the house-elves baking cookies and the three teenagers decorating.
Theia was making an evergreen wreath while Lucretia was hanging mistletoe around the house and Orion set up the Yule tree. Melania was placing some decorations around the dining room.
“Did you have all your Yule gifts purchased?” Melania asked, entering the living room. She glanced over the decorations, glaring at her daughter as she huge another piece of mistletoe.
“No,” answered Theia. “I have a few more to get.”
Orion and Lucretia were quick to agree with Theia.
“I'll see about making a trip this weekend,” Melania promised, shaking her head. She wasn't too surprised by her own children's lack of gifts. Theia being unprepared surprised her a little since the young woman seemed to always be prepared, but family holidays were hard to prepare for. Melania had a feeling this would the first real Yule Theia experienced.
Saturday morning found Arcturus and Melania escorted their children and Theia to Diagon Alley. While Melania was hoping for a quick trip, Arcturus planned on spending the entire day in London. He scheduled an appointment with the Inheritance Department at Gringotts for Theia to be tested. While the testing would be quick and easy, there were mounts of paperwork to fill out for each individual vault Theia claimed.
Arcturus had a feeling Theia would have a claim to five or six, but he wanted to be prepared. He planned to spend the day with his wife and their account managers filling out paperwork while Theia, Orion, and Lucretia did their shopping.
Upon their arrival to Diagon Alley, Arcturus followed his wife to Gringotts where they approached two different bank tellers. While Melania without money for their children's shopping, Arcturus had an appointment to keep.
“How can Gringotts be of service today?” the goblin teller asked.
“I have an appointment with the Inheritance Department,” Arcturus replied, handing the teller a piece of parchment with the information.
The goblin read over the parchment. “Is Miss Johnson present?” he asked.
Arcturus nodded, motioning Theia over. Orion followed a step behind, leaving his sister with Melania. Smirking a little, Arcturus could already tell his son was hopelessly in love with Theia.
Theia politely greeted the goblin.
“Adnaff will with you shortly,” the goblin said, dismissing the three.
Arcturus led Orion and Theia over to the small seating area while they waited for Adnaff. Orion and Theia took a seat in two matching armchairs while Arcturus looked around the bank. There was a good amount of business. According to a recent letter, the Repelling Wards were a huge hit. The bank had made a little money off of them, and people interested in were returning to open accounts. One person in particular caught Arcturus interested.
Why was his father here?
Sirius Black the Second was harden man with steel-like gray eyes, short gray hair, and three scars running parallel from his forehead down to his chin, over his left eye. Thanks to family magic, the left eye was saved and repaired. Sirius wore dark robes and a stern expression as he approached his son.
Arcturus was irritated. He knew his father well enough to know the man was up to something.
“What's he doing here?” Orion demanded, a scowl settling on his face.
Next to him, Theia glanced around, trying to find the man her betrothed was taking about. There were several male customers in the bank.
“Him!” Orion said, pointing out his grandfather. Orion and Sirius the Second had never had a good relationship.
Theia watched as the man approached the small seating area. She recognized the color of his gray eyes as the same shade of her Sirius. The realization made her brighten a bit. It was nice to see familiar features among the Blacks.
Next to her, Orion's scowl deepened.
“Arcturus, Orion,” Sirius the Second greeted, his voice hard. “Who's your campaign?” His gray eyes inspected Theia, cataloging each detail so he could judge her.
Theia stood up, remaining quiet for Orion to introduce her.
Orion's eyes narrowed as leapt to his feet. He knew perfectly well that his grandfather would know who Theia was. The man pretending otherwise annoyed him.
Wrapping an arm around his betrothed's waist, Orion took a moment before answering his grandfather's question, “This is Theia Johnson, my betrothed.”
Sirius the Second nodded, his eyes continuing to trail over Theia. “For now,” the old man stated.
All warm feelings she had for the man disappeared when Theia heard that. She eyes narrowed, and she racked her brain, trying to remember when the man died and how.
When it came to pure-blood society, Theia was new and she was still a little ignorant, but she was learning fast. In a matter of years, she would be Lady Black and she would be excepted to act the part.
From what Theia had learned, the titled of Lord stayed within one certain bloodline in the family. The title didn't always pass from father to son, which was the common line of succession. When the title passed, it could only move forward. The title would not return to a previous holder, unless all members of the family were died.
One thing Theia had learned was the family could force the title onto another individual from the same family line. The process was long. It involved over seventy-five percent of the seventeen or older, blood family members to deem the current Lord unfit for a valid reason. A valid reason usually involved breaking the law or an infraction in the family charter. If a Lord was found unfit, then the title would pass to a brother or a son, sometimes an uncle or a cousin or a nephew.
From what Theia had seen, most of the family respected Arcturus as Lord Black. No everyone liked him, but they respected his position. Arcturus was about bettering the family. He didn't disown or disinherit an individual for petty or selfish reasons. He upheld the family values and the family charter. He wasn't on overlording dictator. While he could approve or deny any betrothal contract, he usually approved as long as the individuals involved consented. Not every match was founded on love or even like, but Arcturus wanted each match to be founded on consent, like his own match with Melania.
Above all, Arcturus wanted his family to be happy – as long as it didn't violate any laws or the family charter.
“Why do you insist on matching Orion with Walburga?” Theia demanded, glaring at the old man.
Sirius the Second's eyes narrowed.
Theia stood tall, standing her ground. It was impolite to ask such a thing in public.
“That's none of your business,” Sirius replied, his lips pressed into a scowl. “It's family business.”
“Theia is family,” Arcturus stated, placing a hand on her shoulder.
Sirius turned to look at his son. “She isn't family until the bonding,” he stated, “and even then, some will never accept her as family. She's a mudblood.”
Theia's eyes narrowed. “I prefer the term 'first generation witch',” she stated. “And, for the record, I'm a half-blood. My mom was a pure-blood and my dad was a first-gen wizard.”
Next to her, Orion smirked. He pulled her a little closer. His betrothed was amazing. He couldn't imagine anyone better.
Before Sirius could say another word, a goblin approached the group.
“Lord Black, Miss Johnson,” the goblin greeted, “Lord Adnaff will see you now.”
Without another word to Sirius the Second, Arcturus led his son and Theia away from the man. They followed the goblin to a small antechamber off of the lobby. The goblin knocked a set of double doors before they opened.
The goblin walked in, with the three humans close behind. The office was rather small with a large desk and three bookcases, and a number of weapons displayed on the walls.
“Lord Adnaff,” the goblin greeted with a bow of his head.
“You're dismiss, Boglor,” Adnaff stated. “Please, be seated.”
Theia followed Arcturus' lead as she sat down in middle of the two Black men. She eyed the items on the desk: a needle, a bowl, a quill, and a few pieces of parchment. There appeared to be some kind of liquid in the bowl, which Theia assumed was a potion.
“Prick your finger,” Adnaff ordered, gesturing to the needle, “then place seven drops of blood in the bowl.”
Theia pressed her lips towards as she picked up the needle. Ever since Voldemort used her blood in his regeneration ritual, she had trouble with the sight of her own blood. Taking a deep breath, she jabbed the needle into her left index finger. Holding it over the bowl, she counted as her blood slowly dropped in. After the seventh drop, she pulled her hand back.
The potion took a moment to react. It changed from green to an opaque black, looking like a black ink.
The goblin dipped the quill in the bowl, where it observed the liquid, before placing the quill on a piece of parchment. Before everyone's eyes, the quill started to write, filling one piece of parchment after another with words.
Name: Harriet Dorothea Potter
Date of Birth: Thirty-first of July of 1981
Father: James Charles Potter
Mother: Lily Margret Potter, nee Evans
Godfather: Sirius Orion Black
Godmother: Alice Marie Longbottom, nee Monroe
Secondary Godfather: Remus John Lupin
Legal Guardian: Petunia Cecilia Dursley, nee Evans
Heir of House of Potter (by Blood, through father)
Heir of House of Peverell (by Blood, through father)
Heir of House of Witton (by Blood, through mother)
Heir of House of Ravenclaw (by Blood, through mother)
Heir of House of Slytherin (by Magic, though Conquest)
Heir of House of Black (by Magic, through Godfather)
Member of House of Hufflepuff (by Magic, through Unity Pact)
Member of House of Gryffindor (by Magic, through Unity Pact)
Representative of House of Gaunt (by Magic, tied to House of Slytherin)
Representative of House of Gryffindor (by Will, tied to Unity Pact)
Theia started at the results with wide eyes. There was a lot about her family she didn't know.
On either side, both Orion and Arcturus were stunned by the results, which they planned to discuss later.
“Well, Miss Johnson,” Adnaff began, “it appears you're quiet the mystery.”
Theia's cheek turned a little pink. “No one else will know, right?” she asked, her tone soft.
Adnaff grinned. “I won't tell anyone, for the right price,” he said.
Theia turned to look at Arcturus. The man had his eyes narrowed. “I'll allow her to offer investment advice,” he stated.
The goblin nodded. “That sounds promising,” he agreed. “We'll continue this discussion later.” Open a desk drawer, Adnaff withdrew a quill and a bottle of black ink. He moved the pile of parchment aside before grabbing a new piece. “How should this read?” he asked.
Orion and Arcturus quickly filled the goblin in as he wrote out the information.
Name: Theia Lilium Johson
Date of Birth: Thirty-first of July of 1926
Father: James Charles Johnson
Mother: Lilium Elizabeth Johnson, nee Witton
Godfather: Remus John Evans
Godmother: Never named
Legal Guardian: Melania Sarah Black, nee Macmillian
Heir of House of Witton (by Blood, through mother)
Heir of House of Ravenclaw (by Blood, through mother)
Heir of House of Peverell (by Blood, through father)
Heir of House of Slytherin (by Blood, through father)
Member of House of Hufflepuff (by Magic, through Unity Pact)
Member of House of Gryffindor (by Magic, through Unity Pact)
Member of House of Black (by Magic, through Betrothal Agreement)
Representative of House of Gryffindor (by Will, tied to Unity Pact)
Ward of House of Black (by Magic)
“It's nice to see the Witton line lives on,” Adnaff stated, looking over the new results. “The Witton line was believed to have died out a century ago, and many were saddened by the loss. The Wittons' were the last known descendants of Rowena Ravenclaw.”
Theia eagerly listened. She would need to learn more about the Witton family.
“If you summon Lurkit and Ulkor, I'll begin the paperwork,” Arcturus stated, “allowing you to discuss investments.”
Adnaff grinned before sending off a message.
A pair of goblins and Melania Black arrived a moment later. While they began sorting through paperwork, Theia looked over a list of companies. She pointed out successful companies that survived into the 1990s and she pointed out ones that were successful before declining. From what she understood about investments, it was about making money – the most money possible. She also wrote out a list of future companies to invest in – that didn't exist yet..
By the time Theia and Adnaff were done, Adnaff was on his way to be one wealthy goblin. As agreed, he presented Lurkit and Ulkor with the fake results before handing the real results to Arcturus. Without the real results, no one would ever know the truth about Theia.
Due to the creature bias, no one would believe a goblin about Theia Johnson being a fraud. Adnaff was happy to capitalize on that for lots and lots of money. With Theia's advice, his status in goblin society would drastically improve. After all, goblin society was built on wealth.
After finishing up with Adnaff, Theia and Orion escaped back to the lobby.
Unfortunately, they were greeted by Sirius the Second and an irritated Lucretia. At the sight of her brother, Lucretia perked up. She tried to join them before Sirius cornered the group. Her plan didn't work.
“Ah, Orion, nice of you to join us,” Sirius greeted. “We have reservations at The Golden Apple.”
Green eyes narrowed, Theia pressed up against Orion's side. She knew Sirius was up to something.
“Sorry, grandfather, we have plans,” Orion said, wrapping an arm around Theia's waist.
Lucretia leaned against Theia's other side. “We're going to Under the Sea,” she added.
Sirius frowned, his eyes narrowed. “We really must spend time together,” he stated. “You must think about the future of our family.”
Theia refrained from rolling her eyes. She knew it wouldn't turn out to be a good future. While she disliked the man, Theia respected the man's desires, even if they were stupid and misplaced.
Both Orion and Lucretia narrowed their eyes.
“We have,” Lucretua said, her tone sharp. “Theia is an excellent choice. There is no one better.”
Sirius' eyes narrowed. How could he get through to his grandchildren and his son? It was like Theia had all three spellbound. This mudblood was nothing but trouble, surely Arcturus would understand that. Sirius would take measures to make sure his son understood that.
“You're welcome to join us,” Theia offered. She was trying to be the better person, even though she had no desire to be.
Orion and Lucretia shot her a quick glare at the suggestion.
Taking a moment, Sirius thought. While he had no desire to spend time with the mudblood, he could take the opportunity to observe her. Those observation would assist in his efforts to remove her from the family. This Theia Johnson had to go. “Alright,” he agreed.
Theia offered the man a forced smile.
Orion sighed before leading the group out of the bank and towards Under the Sea. Under the Sea was a new restaurant that Theia had never heard of, unlike The Golden Apple. The restaurant was located at 93 Diagon Alley.
A frown formed on her face as Theia thought about the address. There was something about the address that was familiar, though she couldn't place it. Theia knew she knew it, but it wasn't coming to mind.
As they entered the restaurant, Theia's eyes widened. This was a nice place. All around was a giant aquarium with a lot of fish swimming around. It was a beautiful setting. The place remembered her of a muggle aquarium she visited on a field trip in elementary school.
“Welcome,” the hostess greeted, looking over the party of four. “Do you have a reservation?”
“Yes,” Orion answered, “under Black.”
The hostess nodded, checking the book. “If you'll follow me,” she said, collecting four menus. While the reservation said party of three, she wasn't going to argue with them over an additional person.
She led them to a small table, in the corner away from the other guests. She had a feeling they wanted privacy. Each table was warded for privacy against neighboring table. The table was circular with five chairs.
Orion pulled Theia's chair out. After taking the seat, she was pushed back in by Orion and he moved to sit next to with Lucretia's on her other side. Silence fell over the group as they settled at their table. Theia glanced over the menu.
Overall, lunch was stiff and boring affair. Orion and Theia weren't willing to talk about the results of the Inheritance Test, which Lucretia wanted to. While the three teenagers hadn't been forbidden from discussing Theia's status as a time travel, none of them wanted to share the secret with Sirius the Second. It was something Arcturus and Melania got to decide.
In fact, the three teenagers had no plans or desires to tell anyone. It was a risk to Theia's safety.
Once lunch was over, Sirius the Second went on his way, leaving the three to do their shopping.
The group visited several shops around the alley. It made sense for the three to stick together instead of splitting up.
Orion sighed as he waited for Theia and Lucretia to hurry up. They decided to visit Twilfitt and Tatting's first. Orion picked up a few ties for some relatives and a jacket for his friend Edward. In the time he had made his purchases, Lucretia had managed to shove Theia into a fitting area with several robes and a seamstress.
While Theia was being poked, Lucretia did some shopping before running to her friend's side for safety. Orion wasn't allowed in the fitting areas.
After an hour, Theia left the fitting area with a scowl on her faces before she started walking around. She had several gifts to purchase. Luckily, she knew what she wanted: ties, cufflinks, scarves, and cloaks.
Orion watched his betrothed with a frown. He could tell she was annoyed with something, probably his sister and the clothes. While he wanted to comfort Theia, he decided to keep his distance since she was shopping.
Theia finished her shopping within thirty minutes and she had Izzi take the purchases to her room at the Coastside Cottage.
With both Orion and Theia done, Lucretia quickly finished her own shopping.
After Twilfitt and Tatting's, the group wondered around to different shops before coming to a small used bookstore. Orion and Lucretia knew they would be there awhile when they saw Theia's eyes light up upon entering.
Theia quickly started looking through the selves, pulling out books as she went. Some she put back and others she held onto. Orion browsed before turning his attention to his betrothed. He watched her face she picked up and discard various books.
About an hour later, Theia placed her basket of books on the counter. The woman behind the counter sighed as she abandoned her magazine when she eyed the basket before running her wand over the books. The books levitated out into a bag while the woman counted the books. After the books were placed in bags, the woman muttered the price before turning her attention back to her magazine. Theia placed ten galleons on the counter before picking up the bags. She called Izzi to take the bags to the cottage.
A half dozen shops later, the three teenagers had completed their shopping. The group returned to Gringotts where they found Arcturus and Melania finishing up the paperwork for Theia. As her legal guardians, they wanted to do everything in their power to care for Theia, which included claiming her Houses and her vaults.
Until Theia turned seventeen, Melania would be managing her vaults, her stocks, and everything else, except for her seats on the Wizangamont and the Board of Governors. As the Heir of Hogwarts, Theia would have a lot of power and sway on the Board of Governors, and she would have a good standing in the Wizangamont. Despite being her legal guardian, Melania couldn't access the either position since she wasn't a blood relative. When Theia turned seventeen, she could appoint someone to fill the seats.
While they waited for Arcturus and Melania to finish up, Theia looked over the vault and account information, including any properties, stocks, and holdings she inherited. Orion and Lucretia read over her shoulder, ignoring any sense of manners. They were family anyways.
With the shopping completed, Theia turned her attention to her research projects: the Parselmouth in the Black family and the previous time traveler Melania had mentioned.
Armed with the name of the Parslemouth, she started looking through the various books she had from the Black Villa library for any mention of Isla Estrella. While there was something familiar about the name, Theia couldn't place it. It was driving her crazy. This was one of the first times she couldn't remember something that she actual wanted to remember.
The previous time traveler would be harder to find. That was probably a secret locked away that very few people knew about and even fewer had access to. She needed to ask Arcturus about it.
For the time being, she would focus on Isla Estrella – and her homework. The homework wouldn't take to long, and she had plans to work on it with her friends and Orion. Currently, Aries, Libra, and Virgo were coming over after Yule.
The night before Yule found Theia looking through her wardrobe for something to wear. Sirius the Second, and Arcturus' siblings, Regulus and Lycoris were coming over dinner since Yule was a family holiday. Since the death of Hesper, Arcturus and Melania had been hosting the family meals. Sirius was big on upholding family traditions, but he demanded it of his children, usually Arcturus since neither Regulus and Lycoris had children or spouses of their own.
In the end, Theia selected a light gold colored robe with darker gold and dark blue accents with dark blue shoes. The outfit was a nod to her Ravenclaw heritage with the dark blue. She styled her hair in a braid.
Once she was presentable, Theia left her bedroom and she made her way to the living room. She found Melania and Lycoris seated on the couch, each with a glass of wine in hand, and Arcturus was conversing with Regulus. Lucretia was seated on the couch next to her mother with a bored expression on her face. Neither Orion or Sirius were around.
Lucretia was the first to spot Theia when she entered the room. Her eyes lit up before she leapt to her feet. She rushed to Theia's side, pulling her in the direction of the couch.
“Good evening, Lycoris,” Theia agreed as she took a seat next to the older woman.
Lycoris offered a smile. “How are you?” she asked.
“Alright,” Theia replied. “I'm enjoying the holidays and time away from school.”
With a laugh, Lycoris nodded in agreement. “I remember those days,” she said. “How are you and Orion doing?”
“We're good,” Theia replied with a smile. “He escorted me to Hogsmeade, and we had a lovely time.”
“What did you think of the village?” Melania asked. This was the first she had heard of their date. She was curious about Theia's impressions of Hogsmeade.
“It was nice,” Theia replied, thinking for a moment. “I think the village could use additional stores, like a salon or a bookstore.”
Melania nodded, wondering what Theia was familiar with.
“I can see that,” Lycoris said, thinking about expanding her own business. Hogsmeade would be a good location. It was the only all magical village in the United Kingdom. Numerous witches and wizards visited Hogsmeade from all over the country and from all over the world. A store might be a good idea. She would think about it.
“Honeydukes was amazing!” Theia quickly added. It was a store she loved to visit. Her favorite item was the chocolate.
Melania and Lycoris both laughed.
“What classes are you taking?” Lycoris asked. From what she gathered from Arcturus and Melania, Theia was an incredibly bright young woman.
“Defense, Charms, Potions, Transfigurations, Magical Studies, Ancient Runes, and Arithmancy,” answered Theia. “In addition, I'm self-studying in History and Muggle Studies.”
Lycoris' eyes widened. “That's a number of classes,” she commented. Personally, she had taken six NEWTs classes and she passed each exam. “What do you plan to do?”
Shrugging, Theia answered, “I haven't decided. I'm thinking about Warding, Curse Breaking, and building a library.”
The last option threw everyone off guard.
“Building a library?” repeated Lucretia.
Theia nodded. “I'm thinking about building a private library,” she explained, “largely filled with Parselscript books.”
“What is Parselscript?” asked Lycoris, unfamiliar with the term. It sounded like Parseltongue and Parselmouth.
“It's what I call the written form of Parseltongue,” Theia replied.
“There's a written form of Parseltongue?” Lucretia demanded, her voice loud. It drew the attention of Regulus and Arcturus.
“What about Parseltongue?” Regulus asked. As a Slytherin, the ability to talk to snakes had always interested him.
“Apparently there's a written form,” Melania answered, taking a sip of her wine.
That interested both Regulus and Arcturus.
“How do you know that?” asked Regulus. He had never heard of such a thing.
“Theia does,” Lucretia replied, pointing at her friend.
Everyone turned their attention to her, and she blushed.
“You should know better than me!” she exclaimed. “I found the books in your library.”
“Which library?” Arcturus asked.
“What books? Where are they? What does Parselscript look like?” questioned Regulus.
“I found them in the Villa library,” Theia answered. “I made copies of the ones I found, and I would like to look some more. To you, Parselscript looks like a bunch of squiggles.”
“How do you know that?” Lucretia asked.
“It's what Orion told me,” Theia answered.
“Do you speak Parseltongue?” Lycoris asked. From what she was understanding, it sounded like Theia did.
“She does,” Lucretia answered for Theia.
Both Regulus and Lycoris looked at her with increased interested. Originally, Theia was somewhat interesting because of her sudden appearance and how quickly Arcturus and Melania had taken to the girl. When she became the betrothed of their nephew, Theia began rather interesting. The more they learned about the girl, she became far more interesting.
The conversation lagged for a little. Arcturus and Regulus resumed talking between themselves while Lycoris continued her interrogation of Theia, trying to get to know the girl.
Conversations were halted when a disgruntled Orion entered the living room followed by his grandfather. Theia's eyes narrowed, staring at the old man. There was something about Sirius that she didn't trust – that she couldn't trust.
When he entered the living room, Orion headed directly towards Arcturus' side. Based off of his son's expression, Arcturus knew it wasn't a pleasant conversation he had with Sirius. It was something he would hear about later.
Sirius' eyes narrowed at the sight of Theia seated on the couch. “I wasn't aware your guest would be joining us, Melania,” he said, his tone sharp.
“Theia isn't a guest,” Melania stated, her eyes narrowed. “She's a member of the family.”
“She's no more a member of the family that Regulus' mistake,” Sirius said, his voice close to hissing.
The sound of glass breaking came from the fireplace. “Meissa is no mistake!” Regulus yelled, his face flushed in anger. “She's my daughter.”
“Your bastard daughter,” Sirius corrected. “She isn't a real Black, and therefore, she has no place in this family.”
Regulus' lips pressed together as he glared at his father.
Arcturus placed a hand on his brother's shoulder, which Regulus shook off before storming out of the living room.
“Nicely done, father,” Lycoris hissed as she stood up from the couch. She shot her father a glare before leaving the room after her younger brother.
Sirius' face turned red in anger. He turned his attention to his eldest son. “Get her out of here,” he demanded, pointing at Theia. “She has no place here.”
Melania's eyes narrowed and she pressed her lips together.
Arcturus sighed, suddenly feeling tired. “Theia is family,” he stated, “as much as Meissa and my children.”
“No she isn't!” Sirius the Second declared. “She is nothing but a gold digging, mudblood whore.”
Silence fell over the room as everyone turned to stare at Sirius.
Theia sat on the couch, her mind racing. She didn't know Regulus had a daughter. As a bastard, she would have her mother's maiden name. She wanted more information on Meissa. There were a few women named Meissa in the Black family history.
The animosity she received from Sirius wasn't a huge surprised. She knew the man did not like her. He had made that very clear. She was surprised with how obvious he made his dislike. Theia expected him to be more subtle about it.
Without anyone saying anything, Sirius turned his attention to Theia. “Go on,” he demanded. “Get out of here, girl. There's no place here for you.”
Theia gritted her teeth as she forced herself take a few deep breaths. Sirius' words were hitting close to home at some of her insecurities, and he called her girl. One of the things Theia hated the most was being called girl, it reminded her of the Dursleys.
All around the living room, the glasses started to shake.
Orion and Lucretia turned to look at Theia with wide eyes. They were both present at breakfast before the first Hogsmeade trip of the year when a similar occurrence happened. How was she doing this?
Leaning over, Lucretia placed a hand on Theia's shoulder, pulling the other girl out of her thoughts. When Theia turned to look at Lucretia, the shaking stopped.
Without a word, Theia stood up and she left the living room without a word. Having no interested in dealing with people, Theia headed to the library, where she planned to spend the night reading in front of the fireplace.
In the end, Theia spent the night before Yule in the library. She curled up in front of the fireplace with a stack of books. Theia had grabbed several books, nothing related to homework or her research projects. Most of the books were related to Transfigurations. Theia was interested in becoming an animagus, like her dad and her Sirius were.
She had a few books on magical creatures. On a night like this, Theia was feeling lonely. While she didn't want to be around people, she wanted company of some kind. She realized how much she missed Hedwig. Her snowy owl was amazing, and she wanted her presence.
It was time to look at getting a new pet.
Glancing out the window, Theia saw several bright stars.
Maybe she would be granted another wish.
When Theia woke up the next morning, she dressed in a simple blue robe with black shoes before she headed in the dining room. The house-elves were picky about allowing people into the kitchen, and no one was allowed to cook except for them.
In the dining room, Theia found Regulus was up with a cup of tea and the newspaper in front of him. He glanced up when she entered the room before returning to his newspaper.
“Izzi brings yous mail and tea,” the house-elf said as she popped into the room. “Izzi be backs with biscuits.”
Taking a seat, Theia's shoulders slumped a little. This wasn't the type of holiday she was anticipating. So far, this was shaping up to a lackluster Yule. It was hard to say how this holiday would compare to Christmases with the Dursleys.
Theia pulled her cup of tea closer as she started to flip through her mail. The pile was largely made up of muggle newspapers, filled with the latest news on the war, with a few letters. As Theia opened a newspaper, Izzi returned with a place full of biscuits before leaving the dining room.
As she was reading the newspapers, Melania and Lycoris entered the dining room. Each woman was silent as she took a seat. Izzi returned with tea and mail for each.
When Theia finished the different newspapers, she sorted them into piles. Some she was keeping to share with students upon returning to Hogwarts, and some were being discarded while the rest were sat aside for further review.
Once she was done with the muggle newspapers, Theia glanced over the magical newspapers from the other countries, like Canada and the United States. Most of the newspapers had nothing of interest for Theia, but she sat them aside incase someone else wanted to look over them.
After she was finished with the newspapers, Theia looked through her letters. There were from her roommates and Gringotts. The letters from Aries, Virgo, and Libra were filled with well wishes for the holidays and they inquired about their study date in the coming days. Before she could finalize the study date, Theia would need to check with Arcturus. They were schedule to go to Hogwarts to deal with the basilisk and the Chamber of Secrets the day after the New Year.
Before opening her letters from Gringotts, Theia took the time to finish her cup of tea and eat a biscuit. When her cup was empty, Izzi popped into the room with a teapot, which she used to fill Theia's cup.
A few minutes later, Orion and Arcturus entered the dining room with Lucretia a few steps behind. Orion sat next to his betrothed and Lucretia seated herself next to her aunt while Arcturus took the seat at the head of the table.
“Morning,” Orion whispered, leaning close to Theia. His voice sounded loud in the quiet dining room.
Theia offered him a smile in return.
A frown formed on Orion's face as he turned his gaze to the rest of his family in the dining room. The atmosphere was tense and unsettled, lingering from the night before. He sighed, trying to think of a way to fix it. Grandfather Sirius had ruined it.
Orion's frown deepened. Why would he name his firstborn son after his horrid grandfather? It made no sense. While he wasn't fond of the idea, Orion knew Theia had her heart set on having Sirius Orion and Regulus Arcturus. There was no changing it. Hopefully, their other children wouldn't be named after horrible relatives.
Theia turned her attention to the letters from Gringotts. The first one was a long bank statement, including detailed information about each account and each vault. The various numbers were a little overwhelming. Theia sat it aside, planning to look over it later. If there was something she didn't understand, then she would ask Melania or Arcturus.
The second later was an updated copy of her assets and holdings, broken down by each family. Everything looked the same except for the Slytherin assets. Included on the list was The Chamber of Secrets located in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in Scotland. According to the parchment, Theia owned everything inside of the Chamber, including the basilisk.
She read over the letter twice before folding it up. This was something she would need to show Arcturus and Melania.
Glancing at her guardians, Theia debating handing it to them now. This would wait, but she wasn't sure if it should. It wasn't important to the holiday, therefore it could wait. Still uncertain, Theia glanced between her folded letter and her guardians.
Next to her, Orion watched his betrothed. With a frown, he reached out and touched her arm.
Theia glanced over at Orion, noting his frown. With a shrug, she handed him the folded letter. Hopefully, Orion would know what to do.
Orion opened the letter, scanning over the parchment. While he lacked Theia's memory, he recognized most of the information. He noticed there was new information regarding the Slytherin accounts. He glanced at his betrothed, noting the confusion in her green eyes.
Turning to his father, Orion passed the parchment along.
Arcturus took the letter, glancing down at it. His eyes widened and he quickly scanned the parchment before placing it in his pocket.
“At least, your ownership is undisputed,” he stated.
Theia's eyes narrowed. “Of what?” she asked. She had a feeling it was regarding the Chamber of Secrets, but she wasn't sure.
“The Chamber of Secrets and all of its holdings,” Arcturus answered, taking The Daily Prophet from his brother.
“As in Salazar Slytherin's famous Chamber of Secrets?” asked Lycoris. All Slytherins were familiar with the myth of the Slytherin's Chamber. Several had search for it, and none had found it.
“Yes,” Arcturus replied, “the Board is dealing with some issues regarding it.” Since the Board was trying to keep the details quiet, Arcturus wasn't going to reveal anything. However, he couldn't control who Theia told and what she said. She had the most information.
Lycoris and Regulus leaned forward, silently urging their brother to reveal more information. When he didn't, they turned their attention to Theia. Since she spoke Parseltongue, she had to have more information regarding the Chamber.
“Who's ownership?” Regulus asked, glancing between his brother and Theia.
“Theia's ownership of the Chamber and its contents,” Orion answered.
“Are you the Heir of Slytherin?” Lycoris asked, her eyes wide. She didn't know much about Theia or her family. She assumed the girl had a magical upbringing with how well she displaced her knowledge of pure-blood customs and pure-blood society, making her assume Theia was at least a half-blood even her last name. As far as Lycoris knew, there was no pure-blood family by the name of Johnson.
“I guess so,” Theia replied with a shrug. “It's what the test at Gringotts said.”
Lycoris sucked in a deep breath and Regulus' eyes widened. An inheritance test from Gringotts was impossible to disputed. The test was based on blood and magic. The potion used was a tightly guarded secret that was protected by the various treaties with the Goblin Nation. No one outside of the select goblins would be privileged with the information.
“That's amazing,” Lycoris said. She would have to go peek at the results.
Tests began a public record after ninety days. Of course, getting the results would take awhile. There was pile of paperwork to fill out and a fee to pay before the goblins scheduled a meeting, where she would be able to look over the results for thirty minutes.
While the results were public record, vows were taken to protect the secrets and identities involved. Anyone could view another person's results, but they wouldn't be able to do anything with the results. All paperwork stayed in Gringotts and the parchment was charmed against cloning, photography, and sharing or viewing the memory, through Legilimency and Pensives. In addition, to biding oaths.
Theia offered a weak smile. She didn't really understand the value of being the Heir of Slytherin. Last time people called her the Heir of Slytherin, most of school feared and hated her for unleashing the basilisk. She was bullied and made fun of by several people, including her own housemates. But that was in the past. It was time to move on. Hopefully, this time, being the Heir of Slytherin would be better.
At least, this time she was in Slytherin, and the Slytherins knew she spoke Parseltongue. Only time would tell how being the Heir of Slytherin would turn out.
“Sounds like you starting place for building your library,” Regulus stated. “If you require funding or assistance, I would be happy to help.” The thought of helping Theia build her library was exciting. It would be the first – and possibly only – of its kind in Europe.
Theia offered a smile. “I'll let you know, after graduation,” she promised. Before her wedding, she wanted to travel to a few different countries, like India and Egypt. There were a few places in Europe she wanted to travel to as well, mainly Greece and Italy. All traveling would be postponed until the end of the Second World War, maybe even longer. It was simply too dangerous to travel.
“Could I see a Parselscript book?” Regulus asked. The more he thought about it, the less likely he was to wait to help Theia. If he knew what Parselscript looked like, then he could find and purchase books for her. He had an idea on who to start with.
At the thought of Shanti, his grip tightened. He longed to do right by her and Meissa, but there was little he could do. Sirius the Second had forbid the union, and Arcturus couldn't overturn the decision until his expulsion from the family or his death. Neither seemed likely to happen anytime soon.
“I have one I'm reading that I can show you,” Theia promised.
Regulus smiled, forcing himself to relax his grip. While his father was horrible, the rest of his family was good. Orion was a lucky young man because Theia was an outstanding young woman. She was someone Regulus knew would accomplish great things.
The pleasant atmosphere in the dining room soured with the arrival of Sirius the Second. He looked over the table with narrowed eyes, stopping to glare at Theia, before he took his seat. The house-elves quickly served breakfast and the meal was ate in silence.
After breakfast, Theia followed Lucretia and Orion into the informal living room. The room was decorated with sparkling lights, a magical version of fairy lights that Theia remembered were invented by Annelise Jones, a muggle-born witch in the late 1980s. Like many things, sparkling lights weren't popular. Theia only knew about them because Fay Dunbar loved them and she decorated with them every year.
The sparkling lights weren't easy to make, but they were worth it. Using strips of dragonhid, Theia linked small glass orbs together. Each glass orb was handcrafted with runes imprinted in the blowing process. Likely, two of the house-elves, Evie and Mars, knew how to blow glass. The pair had a blast making the sparkling lights.
Both Lucretia and Melania liked the sparkling lights.
Around the room were several piles of presents, reminding Theia of her days at Hogwarts with the presents stacked at the end of her bed. Glancing over each pile, Theia located hers in front of an armchair, located near both Lucretia and Orion.
Theia quickly took a seat in the armchair as she started to sort through the pile of presents. Most were from the Blacks and her friends from Hogwarts. She was surprised to receive a present from Professor Bell, and there was a present from Adnaff. Among the presents were gifts from Walburga Black and Tom Riddle.
The sight of the latter two presents made her nervous. Theia had feeling she wouldn't like either. Walburga was a jealous bitch, obsessed with Orion to the degree that she was convinced Orion was hers. Tom was obsessed with her, for some reason. Theia was sure his obsession was rooted in her ability to speak Parseltongue. For the time being, she sat the two gifts aside.
Turning her attention elsewhere, Theia glanced over at her betrothed and Lucretia. They were both busy looking through their own piles of presents. Neither had started opening anything yet, so Theia leaned back.
Over the next few minutes, Melania and Arcturus entered the informal living room with Regulus and Lycoris following behind them. Almost thirty minutes after Lycoris, Sirius the Second entered the room. He glanced around, glaring at Theia and his youngest son, before taking a seat.
Theia turned her attention to Arcturus. With everyone in the room, it was time to start opening presents. As Lord Black and the patriarch of the household, he had the privilege of opening the first gift with his wife following before anyone else would open a gift.
Arcturus selected a small, rectangular gift, wrapped in a shiny silver paper with a black ribbon. At the sight of the gift, a blush formed on Theia's face. Due to her wrapping paper and ribbons, her gifts were easily recognizable.
Apparently, decorative wrapping paper and ribbons weren't common. Theia was use to them, form her years at the Dursleys and her own holidays at Hogwarts. It wasn't easy to find wrapping paper in Hogwarts or Hogsmeade, but it was easy to bribe an older student to transfigure it. Theia had mastered the spells by the end of her fourth year.
With care, Arcturus removed the ribbon before he slowly opened the shiny silver paper. Under the wrapping paper was a handcrafted wooden box, and inside of the box was four black fountain pens with silver details. Each pen was enchanted and charmed with numerous spells, to keep the pens in pristine condition and an endless amount of ink. In addition, each pen wrote in a different color – black, blue, red, and green.
With a frown, Arcturus looked over a pen with a frown.
“They're pens,” Theia explained, drawing everyone's attention. “They write in ink, like a quill, but don't need to be refilled.”
Arcturus nodded, continuing to eye the pens. He would have to test these out later.
Next to him, Melania started opening her own gift. Theia was relieved to see it wasn't hers. Once Melania was done, Orion and Lucretia started opening their own presents. Theia grabbed a present at random.
The next hour or so passed it relative silence. Most of the noise came from tearing paper and gleeful sounds. There wasn't much of a conversation taking place, though Arcturus and Melania quietly exchanged words.
Theia was pleased with several of the gifts she received. Aries, Libra, and Virgo had gotten her a book on hair charms, a few hair ties, a black cloak, and a dozen wells of ink in a variety of colors, like silver and rainbow. Athena Malfoy had sent her a new set of dress robes, stylized after muggle fashion trends. According to the attached letter, Athena loved her Muggle Studies classes and she liked studying consumerism in the muggle world. The gifts she received from other Slytherins and classmates varied: quills, parchment, books on several different subjects, and other school supplies. From Melania and Arcturus, she received clothing items, and Regulus and Lycoris gave her a matching necklace and bracelet set. For now, she set the gifts from Riddle, Walburga, and Professor Bell aside.
Her favorite gift came from Orion. It was a few pieces of jewelry heirlooms that he selected from the family vaults, specifically from his mother's. Most of the heirloom jewelry was kept in the vault of Lady Black. The few exceptions were betrothed rings, engagement rings, and wedding rings. Her favorite piece of jewelry was a set of simple diamond stubbed earrings.
Once everyone was done opening their gifts, a few house-elves popped into the room to removed the gifts and the wrapping paper. With everything removed, Mars brought a tray of tea and biscuits in, which he placed on the table.
Theia poured herself a cup of tea and she added a little honey. Taking a sip, she leaned back in the armchair, glancing over everyone else in the room. Orion and Lucretia had their heads bent together, in a conversation of some kind. Regulus was looking through a book and Lycoris studying her shiny green wrapping paper. Melania was watching as Arcturus tested out one of his new fountain pens. Sirius had his arms crossed, glaring at her.
Taking a deep breath, Theia turned her attention to her cup of tea. Maybe this was a good time to read her tealeaves? She had Unfogging the Future by Cassandra Vablatsky memorized. No time like the present to hone her skills in a unless magic field, like Divination.
When she finished her cup of tea, she carefully studied the bottom of the teacup. The tealeaves had left a few shapes – an anchor, a star, a cat, a cross, a mountain, a grim, and a heart next to the letter O. Closing her emerald eyes, she pictured the Divination book from her third year. After a quick review, she found the meaning of each symbol: an anchor was a lucky symbol , a star meant good luck, a cat a deceitful friend, a cross meaning trails and sufferings, a mountain meant a journey, a grim danger, and the heart symbolized love and being next to the letter O implied it was love with Orion.
Opening her eyes, Theia looked over the bottom of her teacup. There seemed to be a lot of shapes in such a tiny space. Looking over the symbols, she thought about what they might mean. There were two she was most hopeful for: falling in love with Orion, and the grim symbolized Sirius Orion Black. She was concerned about the cat and what the deceitful friend might bring, but it was something that she didn't want to focus on too much. Honestly, Theia had little stock in Divination accurately predicting her future.
Leaning forward, Theia poured herself a new cup of tea. After adding some honey, she resumed her previous seat. As she sipped her team, Theia found herself wishing for a book. With a sigh, she settled herself into her seat.
Racking her brain, Theia tried to remember what came in next in a traditional pure-blood Yule. Since traditions varied family to family, Theia wasn't really sure what to excepted. She had feeling there would be a large family dinner and gathering in the coming days, probably sometime in the next few days. No one had mentioned anything, though.
Orion got up from his place next to Lucretia and he moved over next to Theia. He took a seat in front of her chair, his back leaning against her legs.
At the sight of the young couple, Sirius the Second's eyes narrowed. The very sight of their smiles and interactions filled his heart with rage and disgusted. His proud, pure-blood family was growing soft. All too soon, nothing of his proud, pure-blood family would remain.
“Get up!” he ordered, jumping to his seat.
Everyone in the room turned to look at him.
“Get up, you mudblooded slut!” Sirius demanded, his face growing red. He stoked towards the couple in large strides. “You don't belong here.”
Arcturus and his siblings were quickly on their feet at their father approached Theia.
Theia sat frozen for a few seconds before she flipped her wrist to withdraw her wand. “I do belong,” she stated with narrowed eyes. “Everyone, but you, wants me here.”
“Get up!” Sirius' voice boomed as he approached his grandson and Theia.
Orion got up, glaring at his grandfather and poking the older man in the chest with his wand. “Get out,” he hissed, his voice full of loathing.
Sirius was caught off guard by Orion's demand. “Sit down, boy,” he demanded. “This is a matter for the grownups and it doesn't concern you.”
“It does concern Orion,” Lycoris stated. “Theia is his betrothed, and she is a member of this family.”
Turning to look at his daughter, Sirius' face grew red. “That mudblood will never be a part of this family!” he declared. “She doesn't belong in this family.”
“Theia is a member of this family,” Arcturus stated, “for as long as she wants.”
Regulus and Lycoris stood on either side of their brother.
Turning back to Theia and Orion, he glared at the witch. “This is all your fault,” he stated. “None of this would be happening if it wasn't for you.”
“You're right,” Theia said, placing her teacup down. “None of this would be happening if it wasn't for me.”
Everyone, but Sirius, made a noise of protest while a large smile formed on Sirius' face.
With narrowed eyes, Theia stood up. “However, this isn't my fault,” she stated. “It's yours.” She took a deep breath as she tried to calm her nerves. “If it wasn't for your prejudice, now of this would be happening. We would be enjoying a peaceful Yule morning instead of fighting. You've started every argument since last day.”
Sirius' face started to turn purple, reminding Theia of Vernon. “You have no right to speak to me in such a way!” he yelled, pointing his finger at her. “You can't come into my home and disrespect your betters like that. You'll pay!”
Smirking, Theia bit back a laugh. “This isn't your home,” she stated, “it's Melania's. It was Melania's wedding gift, from her parents. This will never be your home.”
“Sirius,” Melania said, lacing her fingers together, acting every inch the pure-blood lady, “I think it's time you leave.”
Turning redder, Sirius turned his attention to his daughter-in-law. “Watch yourself,” he demanded, “I can always revoke your betrothal agreement.”
With narrowed eyes, Melania gracefully stood up and she walked over to her father-in-law. “Your memory is failing, Sirius,” she stated, her voice soft and her tone harsh. “It's been twenty years, and Arcturus has two children. There is nothing for you to revoke.”
Sirius' eyes widened before narrowing. He said nothing, unable to form a reply.
“I think it's time you leave,” Melania stated, placing her hands on her hips.
“I am family,” Sirius said, his tone firm. “She is not.”
“Theia is my family,” Melania corrected, “and she is more my family than you are.”
“You're married to my son,” countered Sirius the Second.
“I am,” Melania agreed. “I've been married to him for twenty years, and in those twenty years, you've never treated me like family whereas Theia was entrusted to me.”
Turning to his son, Sirius silently demanded the man say something.
“I think it's best if you leave, father,” Arcturus said. “We'll see you on the twenty-fifth for the Family Gathering.”
Lycoris quickly escorted Theia, Orion, and Lucretia from the informal living room before locking the room behind them. This was a good time for an Extendable Ear. With a new project, Theia sat off towards the library. While she didn't know how the Weasley twins made them, she had some ideas.
Without anything to do, Orion and Lucretia followed Theia to the library. They watched as Theia sat down at a desk and she quickly got to work, scribbling across several pieces of parchment. There were a few drawings and a lot of writing.
“What are you working on?” Lucretia asked. She had seen Theia do this once before, when she was working on the sparkling lights.
“Extendable Ear,” Theia replied. “Fred and George created them.”
“What does it do?” Orion asked.
“Its an eavesdropping device,” Theia answered, switching to a different color ink, “that works, unless Impertutable Charm was performed.”
Both Orion and Lucretia perked up at the thought. The Extendable Ear sounded amazing.
The three teenagers spent the afternoon together. Orion and Lucretia lost interest in watching Theia after an hour, during which she did nothing but write or draw. Honestly, they were hoping she would create the Extendable Ear before their eyes, as if it was something.
Lucretia turned her attention to homework. Thanks to Theia, Lucretia made quick work of her Muggle Studies homework. Orion decided to read. For Yule, Theia had given him a few muggle fiction books. Due to Muggle Studies class, Orion knew what muggle fiction was, but he had never read a fiction book before. Witches and wizards didn't have fiction.
When Theia entered the dining room for dinner, she was surprised to see Arcturus and Melania seated at the table. With a glance at the couple, she quickly took her seat. Over the next few minutes, Orion, Regulus, Lucretia, and Lycoris entered and each took their seats.
Dinner started off a little awkward with no one talking. The three teenagers were interested in the events that transpired between the older Blacks this morning.
“When is grandfather returning?” Lucretia asked, glancing between her parents.
“Not any time soon,” Melania answered. “We haven't decided.”
“Hopefully never,” Lycoris muttered. “Yule has been getting worse and worse since mother died.”
Regulus nodded in agreement as he took drink of his wine.
An awkward silence hung over the group. While no one was sad to see Sirius the Second go, this was an uncomfortable topic to talk about. No one had anything nice to say about Sirius, at this time.
“Think I can see that book, later?” Regulus asked, turning to glance at Theia.
Theia frowned, thinking for a moment before she recalled a pervious conversation about showing Regulus a book in Parselscript. “I'll bring it to the study,” she replied.
Slowly, conversation turned to the table. The topic varied, most of it centered around school, work, and war. When the topic of the Second World War came up, Theia sat tense and offering short responses. She didn't want to give too much information away.
“What's going on with Theia?” Lycoris asked, eyeing her oldest brother and his wife.
Theia was an interesting young woman. While she was shy, she didn't let that stop from interacting with others. She was incredibly bright and insightful with a wealth of hidden knowledge. Since Theia was muggle-raised and she was knowledgable in pure-blood customs, her lack of training was glaring obvious during dinner.
When a magical-raised witch encountered a conversation topic she didn't like, she was trained to avoid that conversation by not interacting or carefully catching the subject.
Arcturus and Melania glanced at one another.
“Theia doesn't care for the war,” Arcturus replied slowly, turning back to his sister.
Lycoris laughed and shook her head. “A fool could guess as that much,” she said. “No one 'cares for the war.'”
“She's convinced it will last for years,” Melania sighed with a shake of her head.
“It can't be worse than the Great War,” Lycoris declared, a note of bitterness in her voice. Her fiance, Blake Nott, was killed in attack on a muggle village.
“It will be,” Arcturus muttered, draining his glass of alcohol. He poured another before drinking it as well. “The second of September of 1945.”
Lycoris' eyes narrowed. That was a very specific date, and it was almost four years away. “Are you still planning to host the Family Reunion next summer?” she asked, changing the subject. She would ask more at another time.
“For now,” Melania answered. “It might change with the war.” They wanted to run the details by Theia before announcing the dates and the locations. With her knowledge and her wards, they wanted to have as safe as a reunion as possible.
After dinner, Regulus found Theia and Orion in the library. Theia sat in an armchair with Orion seated on an arm, leaning across the back of the chair as he looked over his betrothed's shoulder. Watching the young couple, Regulus was filled with a longing for his own family. He missed Shanti and Meissa. Hopefully, he would be able to see them soon.
Theia and Orion were engrossed in a book, and they hadn't noticed Regulus. Wanting to let the young couple have sometime to themselves, he glanced around the library. A pile of parchment on the desk caught his attention. While he was no expert, Regulus recognized wards when he saw them.
With a frown, Regulus reached out and grabbed some of the parchment. He glanced over the parchment, studying the wards and the runes and the notes. It didn't take him long to recognize the arrangement of runes.
He had seen these a few weeks ago when the Gringotts team installed the Repelling Wards on Shanti's house. Regulus would do anything and everything to keep his daughter and his lover safe.
His frown deepened as Regulus studied the different designs. There were several notes about improving the original Bombing Wards. Regulus recognized the looping cursive as Theia's handwriting. The parchment, also, held his brother's handwriting and Melania's handwriting and another person's. Theia's handwriting was only on the piece of parchment entitled Original Bombing Wards, and the notes included information – designed by Hector Jones and released in December of 1946.
Eyes narrowed, Regulus scanned the handwritten notes. Both Melania and Arcturus had a decent grasp on Ancient Runes, passing the NEWTs Exam with an Outstanding, and they each had a basic understanding at Warding. Most of the handwritten notes were painstakingly detailed. While Regulus was no expert, he could tell these notes were made by an expert.
Dropping the pieces of parchment onto the desk, Regulus turned his attention back to Orion and Theia. He watched as Orion leaned over Theia's shoulder to point something out in the book and whisper into her ear. Theia laughed, glancing over her shoulder at him. They shared a smile.
Curiosity getting the better of him, Regulus turned his attention back to the desk. He looked over the rest of the parchment, skimming quickly. Some of the parchment held details for something called the Extendable Ear. According to the notes, it was a device invented in 1995 by Fred and George Weasley. It was designed to eavesdrop on conversations through walls, floors, and most wards.
Glancing over at Theia, Regulus' mind was whirling. When he first met her in August, he didn't think too much of her. She was Melania's ward, placed in her custody after the death of her godfather. Then Orion announced their betrothed, which was surprising news. It was assumed Orion would marry Walburga, for whatever reason Sirius the Second and Cygrus the Second agreed upon.
Personally, Regulus was thrilled to learn his nephew found someone else and he dared to defy Sirius the Second. It was something Regulus wished he had done sooner. He met Shanti a few weeks after his father announced his betrothed to Lux Malfoy. While Regulus wanted nothing to do with Lux, he was too scared to say anything.
Luckily, Lux had enough courage to defy her family. She fell in love with a muggle-born, Marcus Bell. The couple married in secret and they had three daughters, Ivory, Melody, and Ebony.
With a sigh, Regulus turned his attention back to parchment in his hands. He returned the pieces to the desk when a small black dairy with a celtic knot caught his eye.
His eyes widened and he froze. Why would Theia have a Black family grimoire?
Families that used grimoires had special ones commissioned. The Black family had several different designs. The black one with a celtic knot was for a high ranking family member. It covered school years.
Regulus couldn't think of anyone else who the grimoire could belong to. The last time someone was given that grimoire, it was Phineas Black the Second, his deceased uncle. According to various family members, Phineas was a promising young wizard and promising Heir Black. Unfortunately, he died at the age of eighteen on surprise attack in Diagon Alley. The same attack killed Regulus' grandparents.
For Theia to have this grimoire was truly something.
Overwhelmed, Regulus quietly left the library. His mind was whirling with everything he had just learned. If only he could talk to Great-Auntie Isla.
Great-Auntie Isla was his favorite ancestor.
It was late when Theia left the library. She spent a few minutes waiting for Regulus when Orion showed up. They quickly got into a discussion about muggle fiction. For Yule, Theia had given Orion a few books that were considered classics, all with magical theme of some kind: Macbeth by William Shakespeare, The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, and Dracula by Bram Stoker.
Orion decided to read Dracula first. Professor Bell had mentioned muggles had their interpretations of vampires, werewolves, dragons, and countless other magical creatures, including witches and wizards. In fact, Professor Bell had mentioned Dracula before.
After reading the first two chapters, Orion wasn't convinced it was a muggle fiction book. He had read a few biographies like that – complete with journal entries and newspaper articles – with more information about the person.
“It's the epistolary style,” Theia promised with a smile.
“Epistolary?” repeated Orion with a confused frown.
“It's a story format told through letters, dairy entries, newspaper articles, and ships' logs,” explained Theia, remembering a lesson from grade school.
Orion frowned. While he decided to trust his betrothed, he wasn't completely convinced. For the time being, he would finish reading the book.
Before leaving the library, Orion read another three chapters. No matter, this was fascinating book.
After Orion left, Theia turned her attention her research on Isla Estrella. There wasn't much in this library, which made sense because it was Melania's. This property hadn't been in the possession of the Black Family for long.
Writing her limited findings in her grimoire, Theia made a note to look through the libraries at Grimmauld Place and the Black Villa. Hopefully she could find more information over the summer.
Chapter 4: Sixth Year IV
With Arcturus' permission, the study date was set for the twenty-fourth, the day before the family holiday gathering at the Black Villa. The holiday gathering was small, in comparison to the Black Family Reunion. Most of those in attendance were direct descendants of Licorus Black, the grandfather of Phineas Nigellus Black.
In the two days leading up the study date, Theia spent her time reading over some of her new books and writing in her grimoire. With the privacy of the Coastside Cottage, Theia found it was the perfect time to work on her grimoire. There weren't people around to look over her shoulder and no one was rude enough to pick it up and read.
Theia had limited interactions with Lycoris and Regulus, which she didn't think too much of. They were both busy spending time with Lucretia and Orion. Without Sirius the Second around, the atmosphere was relaxed and things were calm. There was something about the old man.
Flipping to a page, Theia found herself writing down everything she knew about Sirius Black the Second. He was the son of Phineas Nigellus Black and his second wife, Ursula Flint. He was born sometime in October of 1869 and according to the Tapestry, he died in December of 1952, meaning he lived to be eighty-three years old.
Theia groaned at the thought of Sirius the Second living for another eleven years. Why couldn't he die sooner? It would do her some good – and probably the man's children and grandchildren. As far as she could tell, none of them would miss the man.
Turning her attention back to task at hand, Theia knew he had five siblings: Phineas the Second, Arcturus the Second, Cygnus the Second, Miram, and Belvina. Both Phineas and Arcturus were from the first marriage of Phineas Nigellus Black. The first marriage was to Heather Brown, if Theia remembered correctly. In fact, both sons died, allowing Sirius to become Lord Black.
A frown crossed Theia's lips as she thought about the deaths. Arcturus the Second died at Hogwarts, killed by a parent of another student – which resulted in the policy of no parental visits to the school. The parent was upset with with the headmaster and decided to kill the headmaster's son as revenge. Phineas the Second, along with his father and stepmother, died on the same day, in early February of 1899, during an attack on Diagon Alley by the Brotherhood of Blood. The Brotherhood of Blood was pure-blood supremacist group from mid-1800s, found by Marcus Gaunt.
Turning her attention back to Sirius the Second, Theia knew the man married Hesper Gamp and they had three children – Arcturus the Third, Regulus, and Lycoris. Hesper died shortly after Arcturus married Melania in 1920. Consumed with grief due to the death of his wife, Sirius allowed Arcturus to succeed him as Lord Black.
Grabbing a different pen, Theia switched her ink color from black to red. There was more to learn about Sirius the Second. How did Phineas the Second, Phineas Nigellus, and Ursula die? What was the full story behind Arcturus the Second's death? How did Heather Brown die? How did Hesper die?
Swallowing the lump that was forming in her throat, Theia forced herself to stare at the written words. With the available information and the unanswered questions, this wasn't looking too good. If anyone were to see this, this would spell disaster for Theia.
After taking a deep breath, Theia switched her pen color again, from red to green. In green ink, she listed people to learn more about: Heather Brown, Arcturus the Second, Phineas the Second, and Hesper Gamp. At this time, Theia had little interest in learning more about Phineas Nigellus.
Pulling out her wand, Theia casted a Quick Dry Charm to dry the ink before casting a Notice-Me-Not Charm. In event anyone would look through her grimoire, they would skip right over the section about Sirius the Second.
Theia closed her grimoire before turning her attention to the Extendable Ear. She needed a distraction, which meant this was a good time to focus on something else.
The twenty-fourth of December found the Coastside Cottage rather crowded and full of laughter and cheer. With Virgo, Libra, and Aries coming over, Orion and Lucretia invited their own friends over. Edward Nott, Anthony Greengrass, Ignatius Prewett, Peony Hazelwood, and Stephanie Bell joined the group of teenagers.
Together, the group of eleven, crowded into the library. The group spread out over a few tables, with piles of books and stacks of parchment covering the surfaces.
“What are we starting with?” Aries Nott asked, grabbing a piece of parchment.
“Defense or Charms,” suggested Anthony. Most of the sixth years shared those two classes.
“I want help with Muggle Studies,” Libra Rosier declared.
There was a murmur of agreement. After all, Theia was their resident expert. She was very knowledgable and she shared her information freely.
“After lunch,” Theia promised, glancing up from her Ancient Runes textbook.
“Sounds good,” Peony agreed with a smile.
Within ten minutes, two different groups had formed, a sixth year and a fifth year group. The sixth year group started on Defense Against the Dark Arts. Their assignment was to research dark creatures and how to defend against them. When Professor O'Riley assigned the essay, Theia decide to focus on dementors and lethifolds with the defense being a Patronus Charm.
“What creature are you doing?” Anthony asked, elbowing his best friend.
“Basilisk,” replied Orion with a smirk. Thanks to Theia, he knew plenty about the snake and how to defeat one. If all else failed, phoenix tears and a goblin-made blade through the brain.
“Interesting choice,” Virgo Black said, raising an eyebrow. She glanced between Orion and Theia, assuming Orion was researching snakes since his betrothed was a Parselmouth. “I'm doing werewolves.”
“Same,” Anthony nodded, showing off his open book.
“I'm thinking vampires,” Aries said with a shrug.
Orion chuckled at the mention of vampires, causing everyone to glance at him.
Theia smiled fondly and rolled her eyes. “He's reading a muggle fiction book about them,” she explained.
“How do muggles know about vampires?” Virgo asked, setting her quill down.
“They don't really know about vampires,” Theia answered. “To muggles, vampires are folklore.”
Everyone turned to look at her with interest.
“Like magic?” Libra asked.
“Exactly!” Theia answered, relieved that she didn't have to explain anything.
Talking died off for awhile as everyone focused on their own essays.
Since Theia was familiar with dementors, she focused her research on lethifolds. According to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, lethifolds had Ministry Classification of XXXXX, the highest rank possible, and they were cataloged as Beast. Unlike dementors, lethifolds were carnivorous. Luckily, lethifolds were a rare species, only found in tropical climates.
From various accounts, the most notable being Flavius Belby, lethifolds appeared to resemble a thick black cloak – though the thickness varied, depending on when the lethifold last ate – and they glide across the ground. Lethifolds are only known to attack at night, with most of their victims asleep. It was Flavius Belby who discovered a Patronus Charm could repel lethifolds.
Writing the dementors section was a breeze in comparison. Theia knew most of the information – Classification was XXXX and Non-being cataloged. Dementors were, largely believed, to be created by Ekrizdis in the North Sea. After the discovery, the dementors and the island were left alone, out of fear.
It was Minister Damocles Rowle who decided to create Azkaban Prison in 1718 with the dementors serving as guards. For the most part, the dementors were left alone. Minister Eldritch Diggory thought about removing the dementors as guards, but the idea never went anywhere since he died from shortly after his visit to the prison.
Within an hour and a half, Theia finished her rough draft. After casting a Quick Dry Charm, she sat her essay aside before grabbing her Magical Studies homework, which was an essay about the Yule holiday. She wrote a short essay comparing Yule and Christmas. As Theia wrote her closing paragraph, her friends were just finishing up with their Defense homework.
The next few hours were filled with talking and homework as the group slowly worked their way through the different subjects. After Charms, Aries and Anthony and Theia started their Ancient Runes homework.
At noon, the group broke for lunch before returning to the library. It was time for Muggle Studies homework.
Dinner played host to a larger group that night with Virgo, Libra, Aries, and Ignatius staying for the meal. The three Black cousins were eager to spend time with their favorite relatives while Arcturus and Melania wanted to get to know their daughter's boyfriend – and future husband, according to Theia.
Ignatius was a handsome young man with red hair and blue eyes, traits his family was famous for. He was friendly and laid-back with an easy-going attitude. Despite being laid-back, Ignatius had big plans for his future. He wanted to open a mail-order potions business. It was an ambitious idea that got Theia thinking. Sending potions by owl was dangerous since the vial could broke or the packages could be lost, and some potions were easily damaged by excessive shaking.
There had to be a better transportation system. Theia made a mental note to review the idea later. It would be a future project or something she could hand off to someone else. Depending on the process, it would make a good runes project for Anthony.
“How was your studying?” Lycoris asked, glancing towards Theia and her dorm-mates.
“Very productive,” Virgo answered with a smile. “Thanks to Theia, our Muggle Studies homework is complete.”
Arcturus and Melania perked up at the mention of the class. The adults were interested in it. While Arcturus and Melania received letters from their own children about the class, it was nice to hear about the class from Hogwarts students.
“How is that class going?” Lycoris questioned. “I remember hearing it was a mandatory class this year.”
“It is,” Aries confirmed with a nod. “Professor Bell is brilliant, and he's taught us a lot about muggle history.”
“For example, muggles established the first democracy,” Libra explained, “and one of the earliest was Ancient Athens.”
“And wizards used muggles as the labor force when they built the Great Pyramids,” added Aries.
“Interesting,” Regulus said, glancing at his siblings. “Your professor is his name Marcus Bell?”
“Yes,” Ignatius replied.
“He's a great professor,” Virgo explained. “He has a degree in Education from a muggle university.”
Regulus nodded, smiling to himself. It sounded like things were working out well Lux. He needed to write her a letter. They had stayed in touch over the years, but they weren't that close.
“Sounds like him,” Lycoris said with a laugh as she took a sip of her wine.
The Hogwarts students looked at her in confusion.
“Marcus Bell was the Model Ravenclaw,” she explained, “top student and Prefect. He loved learning.”
“He was in your year, wasn't he?” Regulus asked.
“Yes,” Lycoris replied.
“Why wasn't he Head Boy?” Lucretia asked. From what she understood, Marcus Bell sounded like the ideal candidate for Head Boy, but he didn't get it, from what she gathered.
“He's muggle-born, not pure-blood,” Theia guessed.
“Correct,” Arcturus confirmed. “Headmaster Brutus Scrimgeour wouldn't allow a mudblood the privilege of Head Boy or Head Girl.”
“That's horrible,” Aries declared, crossing her arms.
Theia said nothing as she took a bite of her ham. Discrimination based on blood status was nothing new to her. She was familiar with it from the 1990s. It was sad to think that such biases still existed in fifty years. One of the nice things about the Muggle World was how fast things changed.
The conversation topic turned to blood status with the younger generation irritated about the opinions of the older generations. The adults shared similar views, but it was difficult to bring about change, especially with old members in their society. Pure-blood supreme had been around longer than Hogwarts.
“Try to change the system,” Theia offered with a shrug. She remembered there being some muggle saying about changing the system from the inside.
“That's a good idea!” Aries exclaimed with wide eyes.
Virgo and Libra nodded, looks of determination crossing their faces.
“You'll need to gather allies,” stated Regulus. “You'll need the majority in the Wizangamont.”
Aries groaned at the idea of the Wizangamont. “We need a new system,” she stated. “Seats passed down through families seems unfair. It should be elected positions.”
“That won't happen anytime soon,” Theia said with a shake of her head. “While we can start the work, it won't happen for awhile. A good starting point would be to offer voting abilities to recipients of the Order of Merlin, First Class.”
Arcturus glanced over at Theia interested. While she expressed little interest in politics, this girl was a wealth of information and ideas. That was something he would consider putting forward at the first meeting of the year.
“Aren't those a bunch of pure-bloods?” Lucretia asked. “The Minister gives out several a year.”
“No,” Orion answered. “The Minister can only award a Third Class. Second Class and First Class are decided by someone else.”
“Second Class by The Wizangamont, limited to ten a year,” Libra explained, “and First Class by various councils and journals, recognizing important individuals, with a limit of five a year.”
Theia glanced at her friend with smile. It was amazing that she knew that. That was something even she didn't know.
Orion, Virgo, and Aries stared at their cousin with wide eyes. Usually, it was Theia that knew this kind of information.
Blushing, Libra ducked her head. “It's no secret I like politics,” she muttered before shoving a bite of food into her mouth.
Humming to herself, Theia made a note of that. From what she remembered, Libra Rosier married into a branch of a smaller pure-blood family. After losing her husband to Death Eaters, she fled the country with her eleven year old son, never seen or heard from again.
The subject was quickly changed to summer plans. With the ongoing muggle war, it was dangerous to travel with how intermixed the muggle and magical worlds were.
Originally, Cassiopeia had plans to take Aries and Virgo to France on holiday. Since learning the German Nazi had captured France in Muggle Studies, Aries and Virgo convinced Cassiopeia it was simply too dangerous. Like many pure-bloods, Cassiopeia hadn't realized how bad the muggle war was.
Likewise, Arcturus and Melania had discussed the possibility of taking a family vacation to Italy. Regulus wanted to surprise Shanti with a trip to India and Lycoris was thinking about traveling to the Soviet Union. In the end, each of the adults had concluded it wasn't worth the risk.
“America should be nice,” Theia stated. From what she remembered, the Americas had limited fighting on their continent. The only conflict that happened was Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, which was part of the United States.
“I'll tell mother,” Aries promised, sharing a look with Virgo. They had learned a little about New York City and Los Angeles in Muggle Studies. New York City had Broadway, which was a popular type of muggle entertainment where actors performed a play and sang songs. Los Angeles had Hollywood, which was another type of muggle entertainment where actors filmed movies that would be shown at the cinema.
Nodding and smiling, Virgo agreed with the idea. Going to a muggle city sounded like a great idea for a summer holiday. Maybe they would turn the vacation into extra credit for Muggle Studies?
The topic of conversation continued to change throughout the meal. Theia listened with half an ear, her mind elsewhere.
The twenty-fifth of December, Theia woke up early. She laid in bed, recalling several past Christmases. It was likely she would never celebrate Christmas again, since it was a muggle holiday. While Theia had nothing against Christmas, it was important that she celebrate the magical holidays, like Yule and Samhain. These were the traditions that she would be expected to pass onto her children and grandchildren.
A smile crossed her lips at the thought of her future family. While she strongly disliked Sirius the Second, she was eagerly awaiting her Sirius. A part of her mourning the loss of her godfather – her original Sirius – but she celebrated the arrival of her firstborn son, Sirius. That was her new Sirius. Since she couldn't save her godfather, she was determined to save his family, to the best of her abilities.
Rolling onto her side, Theia mentally reviewed the Black relatives she would be socializing with today at the family holiday gathering. It was largely limited to direct descendants of Licorus Black. There would be a few attendees outside of his direct line.
At least the gathering was at the Black Villa. Theia was eager to explore the library. She wanted information on a few Blacks in particular: Isla Estrella, wife of Hydrus Black, and the children of Phineas Nigellus.
Deciding it was time to get up, Theia forced herself out of bed. She quickly changed into a set of casual light blue robes before brushing her hair. After grabbing her wand, she cast a quick Tempus to check the time and she was surprised to find it was a little pasted four in the morning.
Without anything else to do, Theia left her bedroom and she headed for the library. There was some homework she could finish up before turning her attention to something else. Since there were a few things she was working on, Theia wasn't sure what to focus on today. She wanted to finish up her current projects before starting something new.
With everything she had completed the day before, Theia had Transfigurations and Arithmancy assignments left. Professor Dumbledore had assigned a small research paper of the student's choice that focused on any area of Transfigurations. Theia decided to write about the animagus transformation. It was something she was interested in since both her dad and Sirius were animagus.
After skimming a few books and reviewing what she knew, Theia quickly outlined her essay before writing a rough draft. The rough draft took a little over an hour to write. With it done, Theia placed it with the other drafts she wrote yesterday. She planned to revise the drafts tomorrow or the next before writing the final drafts a day or so later. Her goal was to have all of her homework completed by the time she returned to Hogwarts.
With her Transfigurations essay done, Theia turned her attention to the packet Professor Johnson had assigned. The packet was several dozen pieces of parchment. Even after two hours with Aries and Anthony, Theia wasn't even half way through the packet.
With a sigh, Theia resumed where she left off. While the problems were easy, it was the amount that was tedious. According to the Roman numerals, Theia was one problem number two hundred and six. It was out of self-preservation that Theia hadn't flipped to the last part to see how many problems there.
The next hour and a half passed with Theia silently working on her homework packet. By the time she was done, she had managed to complete sixty-four problems. Hopefully she was at the halfway mark.
Pushing her Arithmancy homework aside, Theia turned her attention to her grimoire. She wasn't done documenting her previous life as Harriet Potter. Last she wrote, she was in the second year. She still third, fourth, and fifth left.
Picking up her blue fountain pen, Theia got to work. In her third year section, she included basic knowledge of justice in the Wizarding World, mostly related to Sirius and Azkaban. She planned to write everything she knew in the fifth year section.
Luckily, her grimoire was magical. It made it easy to organize. With a few spells, she could rearrange passages, pages, and sections. At this point, she wrote in it like a journal, turning to the next clean page before she began writing. She planned to organize before returning to Hogwarts for the spring term.
An hour later, Theia sat her pen down and she closed her grimoire after casting another Drying Charm. She had written most of her third year, with only a few things here and there to add, which she would do later. Using her wand, she casted Tempus to check the time, which was approaching eight in the morning.
Standing up from the desk, Theia stretched. She turned and left the room, headed to the dining room. If she remembered, the family holiday gathering was an noon. There was enough time for a bite to eat before returning to the library. She wanted to switch focus to translating a Parselscript book.
Her eyes widened a bit at the thought of Parselscript. She had not shown Parselscript to Regulus, yet. He was supposed to come see it a few nights ago. Reviewing the night, Theia remembered she spent it with Orion. Hopefully, Regulus was available to see it after breakfast today.
When she reached the dining room, Theia found Arcturus and Melania were seated at the table. Each had a small plate of food and a cup of tea in front of them. Arcturus was reading The Daily Prophet and Melania was reading a letter.
Taking a seat, Izzi popped into the room, holding a plate of food and teapot with mail tucked under her arm.
“Here yous go, miss,” she said, placing the plate in front of Theia before offering the young woman her mail and the pot of tea.
“Thank you, Izzi,” Theia said before the house-elf popped away.
Grabbing a cup, Theia poured herself some tea before adding some honey. She took a sip before turning her attention to her pile of mail. She glanced over the letters, from Athena Malfoy and other Slytherins, before turning her attention to the newspapers.
Theia skimmed the various newspapers as she ate her food. The newspapers were sorted into three different piles – discard, keep, and read further. When she finished the newspapers, Theia turned her attention the letters. Most of them were housemates requesting assistance with their Muggle Studies homework or other assignments.
When she finished breakfast, Theia took her pile of letters with her as she returned to the library. Starting with the first letter, she reread it before composing a reply.
Grace Anderson was a first year Slytherin, born to a pure-blood mother and muggle-born father. Since she was raised in the magical world, she was required to take Muggle Studies. Her father was happy to help with any homework or questions, but his information was a little outdated since he hadn't lived in the muggle world in over twenty years. Grace was interested in information about the muggle cinema.
In her reply, Theia included all the information she could remember about the cinema and the history of the cinema. If she remembered correctly, films were now in color with sound. In fact, the first full-color and full-sound film was Walt Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, released in 1937. From what she could remember, there were four Disney films out: Snow White, Pinocchio in 1940, Fantasia in 1940, and Dumbo in 1941.
Within an hour, Theia had replied to a third of the letters before she came across one from Tom Riddle. Theia scowled at the sight. She didn't remember receiving this one and it was unopened. Glaring at it, Theia debated whether or not she wanted to open it. Decision made, Theia tossed the letter aside before moving onto the next letter.
When noon approached, Theia abandoned her letters, heading to her room to change. Looking over her dress robes, she narrowed it down to two: a set of light green robes with a scooped neckline and a set of gold robes with long, flowing sleeves. She placed both sets on the bed before turning her attention to shoes and accessories.
While she lacked an interest in fashion, Theia was learning from her friends and Lucretia. After selected a pair of black flats and a jewelry set Orion had given her for Christmas consisting of a simple pair of diamond earrings and a matching diamond necklace. Since the diamonds went better with the light green dress robes, Theia returned the gold set to her closet.
With her outfit selected, she quickly changed. Standing in front of her mirror, Theia debated doing something with her hair. While she preferred it pulled back in a simple ponytail, she knew Orion liked it loose.
Grabbing her wand and the book on hair charms, she thumbed through it until she came across a spell for loose curls. Theia read over the directions a few times before twirling a piece of hair around her wand and muttering the incantation. She repeated the process a few more times before looking at the results in the mirror. Deciding she liked it, Theia quickly finished styling her hair.
Before leaving her room, Theia placed her wand in wrist holster and she grabbed her new cloak. From her room, Theia wondered downstairs to the living room, where she found Arcturus, Melania, Regulus, and Lycoris in a hushed conversation.
A few minutes later, Orion and Lucretia entered the room. Orion's eyes widened at the sight of his betrothed before a smile formed on his lips. He rushed to Theia's side, placing a kiss on the corner of her lips.
“You look marvelous,” Orion whispered, fingering the diamond necklace. The necklace was a simple with a large diamond in the middle, surrounded by several smaller diamonds, and placed on a silver chain.
Theia offered Orion a smile, taking in his outfit. She was pleased to see he was wearing the black silk necktie and snake cufflinks she got him.
Reaching out, Theia fingered Orion's tie. “You look nice yourself,” she whispered.
Near them, Lucretia rolled her eyes with a look of fondness. She wanted to say something, but she knew Theia would shyly move away from Orion in embarrassment and Orion would glare at her. Instead, Lucretia turned her attention to the adults.
“Are we ready to go?” she asked, drawing everyone's attention. The adults halted their conversation while Theia and Orion remained close to one another.
“We were just waiting for you,” Lycoris said, eyeing the three teenagers.
Next to her, Arcturus pulled out a portkey.
Theia swallowed at the sight of the portkey. While she hated traveling by portkeys, it was seeing that was the worst. Every time she saw a portkey, she couldn't help but remember the portkey that took her and Cedric to the graveyard, which resulted in Cedric's death and the return of Voldemort.
Taking a deep breath, Theia reached out and grabbed ahold of the portkey.
When they arrived to the Black Villa, Theia noticed they were the first to arrive. It made sense with Arcturus and Melania hosting the event, as Lord and Lady Black.
With a smile, Theia pecked Orion on the cheek before she skipped off to the library. Despite being Orion's betrothed, Theia wasn't required to greet the others as they arrived since she wasn't a Black by blood or marriage. At this time, she was the betrothed of Orion and she was the ward of Melania.
When she arrived to the library, Theia wondered around, looking at the bookshelves and the numerous books. She smiled, trailing her fingers along the spines as she looked for the family history section. There were several members she wanted to learn more about: Isla Estrella, Hydrus Black, Arcturus Black the Second, Phineas Black the Second, and Heather Brown.
As Theia walked around the library, she stopped to look at several books. Each book that interested her, she made a copy of before returning the original. The copies would float behind her, following her every footstep.
While Theia gathered several books, she hadn't found much on the individuals she was looking for. In fact, there wasn't much on the family history, which she found to be odd. Surely a pure-blood family as old as the Blacks would have a large section dedicated to their family history.
When she circled the library for the second time, Theia frowned. Where was the family section?
She sighed, deciding to ask Regulus or Lycoris before they left.
Turning her attention to another subject, Theia started looking around for Parselscript books. She hadn't bothered looking in her earlier search. Thinking back to the summer, Theia returned to the section where she found the first book. In that area, she looked over every single book.
In the end, she found three books written in Parselscript – in addition to anything that caught Theia's interest.
Moving out of that section, Theia started searching through the rest of the library, looking for other books in Parselscript.
“I knew you'd be in here!” declared Aries as she poked her head around a corner. She smiled at her friend. “Bring back any memories?” she joked, her tone gentle.
Theia returned the smile, remembering their first meeting took place in this library.
“Where else would she be?” asked Virgo, a teasing tone in her voice, as she walked down the aisle towards her friend and her cousin.
“We all know Theia's a secret Ravenclaw,” added Libra, appearing behind Virgo.
“That's quite the collection,” stated Virgo, eyeing the stacks of floating books.
Theia blushed a little. She had easily copied over fifty books, and she wasn't done yet.
“That's nothing,” Aries said, rolling her eyes. “We've seen Theia with more than this for a homework assignment.”
“Are you gonna have enough time to read those?” Libra asked with a frown. She knew Theia was a fast reader and a quick learner, but she didn't know if Theia would have enough time. They were due to return to Hogwarts in a week and a half.
Nodding, Theia wordlessly copied another book.
Glancing over the numerous books, Virgo raised an eyebrow at her friend's reading selection. She watched as Theia returned a Defense Against the Dark Arts book to the shelf before pulling out an Alchemy book.
Libra, Aries, and Virgo watched Theia copy two more books before they pulled her out of the library. If Theia had her way, she spent the next week and a half in the library, only leaving to return to Hogwarts.
Theia willingly left the library with a pout, after summoning Izzi to take her new collection of books to her room. Knowing the house-elf, Izzi would pack them away in her trunk.
When Theia followed her roommates into the ballroom, she found several people standing around and conversing. With a sigh, she straightened her shoulders and lifted her head up. These people would be watching her closely. She was their future Lady Black.
Stealing a look at her betrothed ring, Theia twisted the Heir Betrothal Ring so it was center on her ring finger. Taking a deep breath, Theia tried to force herself to relax.
“You'll be fine,” Libra whispered, offering her friend a smile.
Theia returned the smile before turning her attention to the people around.
“Most of them have heard plenty about you,” Aries said, shrugging. “A lot of our classmates love to write home about you.”
“Great-Aunt Deneb wrote me the other day with questions,” Virgo offered with a laugh.
Theia glanced around the crowd, looking for Orion. Her eyes lit up when she spotted him talking Regulus and another man, someone she didn't recognize.
“Theia, I want you to meet my mom!” declared Aries, grabbing her hand. Libra and Virgo smile as they followed the pair towards Aunt Cassiopeia.
Aries stopped next to a middle-aged woman with dark hair, light grey eyes, and pale skin. She was talking with three other women, all of whom appeared to be close in age.
“Mom,” she said with a smile, turning to face the woman.
“Darling,” Cassiopeia said with a smile, pausing her conversation. The other three women glanced at Aries and her friends.
“I wanted to introduce you to my friend,” Aries began, “Theia Johnson.”
At the mention of her name, Theia watched as the eyes of the women widened before darting to her then returning to Aries. Each woman stood up a little straighter.
“Theia, these are my mom, Cassiopeia Nott,” Aries began, pointing to her mom, “my aunts Maia and Stephanie, and my cousin Gemini.”
Reaching out, Theia offered her hand to each woman as Aries introduced them. Cassiopeia took Theia's hand with a smile as she studied the young woman. After Cassiopeia, Theia shook hands with Maia, Stephanie, and Gemini.
Maia Black was Cassiopeia's older sister, and she never married. Her dark hair was starting to turn silver with age, and there were wrinkles forming around her eyes. Stephanie Black, nee Abbott, was the sister-in-law to both Maia and Cassiopeia, and she was the widow of Perseus Black. Stephanie was short with auburn hair and hazel eyes. Gemini Black was the only child of Altair Black, and she had never married. Gemini was a ten years younger than Cassiopeia. She had dark hair and purple eyes. Theia knew these women were related to Atlas Black, the younger brother of Phineas Nigellus Black. Cassiopeia and Maia were his granddaughter while Gemini was his great-granddaughter, making her the cousin of Aries and Virgo.
“How are you liking Hogwarts?” Gemini asked.
“Well enough,” Theia answered with a smile. “I'm still trying to adjust,” she quickly added. That was the truth since she was still adjusting to the 1940s.
“Where did you attend before?” asked Stephanie.
“I was home-schooled by my godfather,” Theia replied, remembering the stories Orion and Arcturus helped her construct.
That took the women by surprise.
“You never mentioned that,” Virgo said, frowning at her. Theia hadn't shared much about her life before the Blacks.
“I don't like talking about my godfather,” Theia said, her tone sad. The loss of Sirius still haunted her nightmares.
“What's your favorite class?” Maia asked, trying to move the conversation forward. While she was interested in Theia's past, it was clear the girl was grieving about something related to her godfather – which Maia was assumed to be his death. Maybe she would need to talk Melania and Lycoris for the details.
“It's a tie between Defense and Runes,” Theia answered, quickly, relieved for a new topic.
“What do you think of that Muggle Studies class?” Stephanie asked with a frown. Personally, she liked the idea of the class since she was a half-blood. She was raised in the muggle world until the death of mother when she was ten.
“I'm enrolled in the Magical Studies class,” Theia explained. “So far, I find the class to be informative and Professor Yaxley knows her subject.”
Stephanie smiled in response while Maia's and Gemini's eyes widened.
“Aries and Virgo mentioned as much,” commented Cassiopeia with her eyes narrowed.
“You're well informed in pure-blood mannerisms,” Maia commented.
“M-my godfather taught me,” Theia muttered, glancing down at her shoes. “He knew I would be expected to learn with my mother and all.”
“Who's your mother?” Cassiopeia asked.
An awkward silence fell over the group. Aries and Virgo glared at Cassiopeia while Libra sighed, hovering close to her friend incase Theia needed comfort.
“Lilium Witton Johnson,” Theia lied, remembering the new of her mother.
“Witton?” asked Gemini with wide eyes. “As in August Witton?”
Theia nodded, recognizing the name as one of her ancestors. August was the last recorded Witton. “My grandfather,” she stated.
Gemini nodded, her eyes slowly returning to normal.
“Witton?” Libra said, glancing around at the group. She didn't recognize the name, and she wasn't the only one.
“Virgo!” a shrilled voice declared, drawing everyone's attention. Turning, they found the voice belonged to a tall woman with blonde hair and watery blue eyes. she wore a set of expense dress robes with a tight silhouette.
Virgo's face hardened at the sight of the woman. “Flora,” she said, her voice sounding emotionless.
Theia glanced between her friend and the woman. If she wasn't mistaken, this woman was Flora Black, nee Greengrass, Virgo's stepmother and the second wife of Caelum Black. Caelum was the younger brother of both Cassiopeia and Maia.
Flora smiled, holding her arms open. “Is that anyway to greet your mother?” she said.
Eyes narrowed, Virgo didn't make a move to embrace the woman. “You're not my mother,” she stated, her voice hard.
“Yes, I am,” Flora said, placing her hands on her hips. She glared at her stepdaughter. “When I married your father, I got everything he owned – including you and your brothers.”
“Leave, Flora,” Cassiopeia ordered, glaring at the younger woman. It was no secret Flora despised her husband's children. Caelum sent his children away at Flora's urging. As far as Cassiopeia was concerned, Virgo was more her daughter than she ever would be Flora's.
Flora glared at the woman. “You're just jealous!” she stated.
“What is there to be jealous of?” Maia snapped, glaring at her sister-in-law.
Turning, Flora shifted her glare to Maia. “I'm happily married, unlike you,” she said.
Maia, Gemini, and Stephanie ignored the younger woman. They were all happily unmarried, largely by choice.
“What's your favorite part of Magical Studies?” Stephanie asked, deciding the best way to ignore Flora was to focus on Theia. She knew Flora, and Flora would do something rash.
“I think learning about magical holidays,” answered Theia, keeping her attention focused on Stephanie.
“Any favorite holidays?” asked Stephanie.
“No, not yet,” Theia replied. She didn't have a favorite magical holiday, but she did have a least favorite. It was easy to guess her least favorite would be Samhain. “I prefer the family holidays, like Yule.”
Maia smiled. It was good to hear that Theia was family inclined. They needed a strong family focus. There were troubled times ahead of them.
“Virgo,” Flora began, looking at Theia, “who's your little friend? I don't recognize her.”
“I take it you missed the Reunion in August,” Stephanie said, keeping her gaze fixed on Theia.
“Caelum and I were in Italy on a sixth honeymoon,” Flora declared, “and it's not like we missed anything important. Everyone knows it's only a matter of time until Arcturus announces the betrothal between Orion and Walburga. Since the poor girl isn't glowing, it obviously didn't happen this year, so it will happen next year.”
Cassiopeia shared a look with her sister, her sister-in-law, and her cousin. Each woman smirked as their eyes locked.
“This is Theia Johnson,” Gemini said, turning to face the blonde.
“Johnson,” repeated Flora with a frown as her eyes trailed over Theia. “Correct me if I'm wrong, but there is no pure-blood family by the name of Johnson, is there?” She sighed, shaking her head. “You're a mudblood.”
Turning to look at her stepdaughter, Flora shook her head as she glared. “Clearly,” she began, “you need a firmer hand. It's beneath you to socialize with mudbloods.”
“There's nothing wrong with Theia,” Aries stated, her voice raising her volume. Aries despised this woman. It was a horrible day when Caelum married Flora.
A few people around them turned to look at the source of the noise. When they spotted Theia, everyone quieted before leaning in a little closer. There was something going on with Theia.
“There is,” Flora said, placing her hands on her hips. “Mudbloods are awful . Everyone knows they're the source of disease.”
“Actually,” Theia began, cutting Flora off, “wizards are the primary source of diseases and pathogens. It recorded that Magnus Rosewood is responsible for the most famous strand of bubonic plague: the Black Death.” She crossed her arms, glaring at the woman. This was one of the few lessons everyone listened to when Professor Binns taught it, and it was a favorite research project for both History of Magic and Potions.
Flora was caught off guard based on the opening and closing of her month. “T-that's a lie,” she said, after a minute.
Theia's statement was a surprise to several people. Aries, Virgo, and Libra leaned in closer, interested in what she had to say. They knew Theia was a wealth of information, and she knew a lot about different subjects and areas.
“Check the November 1880 issue of The Historical Record ,” Theia stated. “It's a fascinating article.”
At this point in history, this knowledge wasn't well known – in fact, it was barely known at all. The first person to publish on article on the subject was Madeline St. Clair, a muggle-born witch who lost several family members to the Black Death. The article and the story wouldn't receive any attention for another twenty years when a young apprentice stumbled upon the article when he was reviewing literature for his Mastery's in Magical History.
According to St. Clair's article, Magnus Rosewood was trying to be a Pepper-Up Potion when he had an accident. The exact accident wasn't known, but St. Clair concluded a few ingredients fell into the fire, which caused the flames to flare up. As a result, Magnus' robes caught fire and he panicked. In his panic, several extra ingredients fell into the potion before Magnus knocked the caldron over as he tried to dampen the fire out of his robes. The potion spilt on to dozens of rats that were fleeing the fire. Most of the rats had fleas, which was how the disease was spread. Since the Black Death was magical in origin, it spread through both the muggle and magical populations.
Flora glared at Theia. “You don't know anything, you disgusting mudblood!” she declared. Her loud voice carried, drawing more attention to the group.
“What's going on here?” demanded an older wizard with short, graying brown hair, and dark eyes.
“This mudblood is insulting the House of Black,” Flora said with a smirk as she turned to face the wizard.
Theia said nothing as she looked the wizard over. Based off of his age, he was likely the grandfather of one of her classmates.
The wizard turned to Theia. He looked her over carefully. His eyes landed on Theia's right hand, narrowing at the sight of the Heir Betrothal Ring on her ring. “How so, Flora?” he asked, shifting his gaze to Flora.
“She's saying awful things about Great-Uncle Phineas,” Flora lied, shaking her head. “These people ,” motioning to the Black cousins, Cassiopeia, and the rest of the group, “aren't saying anything. Stephanie is encouraging her.” She shot a smirk in Stephanie's direction.
“What did she say?” the man asked, keeping his eyes fixed on Flora.
Flora's eyes widened at the question. She was, clearly, caught off guard. “T-that he was secretly a muggle lover,” she said quickly.
The man stared at Flora with a piercing gaze.
Theia's eyes narrowed. Which Phineas was Flora talking about? There was Phineas Nigellus Black, and there was his son, Phineas the Second. In the case of Phineas Nigellus, the man was a horrible headmaster and he was a loyal husband and a remarkable Lord Black. He loved his first wife, Heather Brown, and he was devastated by her death. He only married Ursula Flint so he could provide for his young sons and have other children. Then, in the case of, Phineas the Second, he died before he became Lord Black or he even married and had children.
“Is she insulting my brother or my father?” the man demanded, glancing between Flora and Theia.
Green eyes widened at the question. She knew the man's identity based off of that question. This was Cygnus Black the Second, the father of Pollux Black and the grandfather of Walburga Black. Theia's hands curled into fists as she steady herself.
“G-great-Uncle Phineas,” Flora repeated, her voice sounding weak.
“There's Phineas Nigellus, the brother of Atlas,” Theia explained, “and there's Phineas the Second, son of Phineas Nigellus. Neither of them are your great-uncle though.”
Cygnus turned to look at Theia. He studied her for a moment. He had missed the Reunion in August since he was traveling with his wife, Violetta, around Australia, but he had heard plenty about Theia Johnson – mostly from his son, his granddaughter, and his older brother. Like his sister, Alphard had a lot to say about Theia, but his was good. Alphard was friends with Theia, and he was close to his cousin, Orion. His favorite source of information was Cygnus the Third, who had neutral information on Theia – both the good and the bad. Overall, he reported Theia was a promising individual.
Seeing her for himself, Cygnus found he was impressed. It was clear Theia was learning about the family. He wanted to see more of her for himself before he decided anything.
Flora turned her attention back to Theia, glaring at the young woman with narrowed eyes. “Be quiet, mudblood,” she hissed. “This doesn't concern you!”
“You'll find that it does!” Virgo declared, her voice raised.
Several feet away, Lycoris turned at the sound of the raised voice. Her eyes widened when saw the source of loud voices. She wasn't too surprised to find Theia around a conflict. Noticing the presence of Flora and Cygnus the Second, she excused herself from the conversation before moving over to Theia's side.
At the sound of his sister's voice, Matar Black searched the ballroom for Virgo. He was pleased to see until he noticed she was talking to their stepmother. His eyes narrowed at the sight of the woman. With a frown, he moved towards his sister's side.
It was hardly secret that there was tension between Flora and her stepchildren. She was responsible for sending them to different relative since she didn't want her husband's other children around while they tried to start their own family. Matar had barely seen Virgo since he graduated Hogwarts two years ago, and Pavo was due to start next September.
In fact, Caelum had ordered his children's caretakers to limit contact between them and his new family. While Cassiopeia Nott bended the rules, she didn't allow Matar and Virgo to have too much direct contact, in fear of Caelum taking Virgo away from her. If they were lucky, Matar and Virgo were able to exchange two letters a month, through Cassiopeia.
When Matar approached his sister, he glanced over the people around her. He recognized Maia, Gemini, Stephanie, Aries, Libra, and Cygnus the Second. His dark eyes widened at the sight of Virgo's new friend, Theia Johnson. He hadn't seen her before, but he knew plenty about her due to Virgo's letters. He saw Lycoris Black approaching the group as well.
“Flora,” Cygnus the Second said, a warning tone in a voice, “do you know who you're talking to?”
Flora glanced over at the older man. What kind of question was that? Of course she knew who she was talking to. This girl was nothing but a mudblood, unfit to be in her presence. “She's nothing but a disgusting mudblood,” she snarled, glaring at the girl.
Theia's green eyes narrowed as she stared at the woman. While she didn't believe in disowning people or dictating marriages, this woman wasn't worthy of carrying the Black family name.
“Watch what you're saying, Flora!” snapped Lycoris, catching the group's attention. Her hands were placed on her hips and her eyes were narrowed.
“This doesn't concern you, Lycoris,” Flora stated, looking down her nose at the woman. It didn't matter that Lycoris was the sister of the Lord Arcturus Black and the aunt of Orion Black, she was unmarried without any children, which made her beneath Flora.
“It does,” Lycoris stated, walking forward and placing a hand on Theia's shoulders. “It concerns everyone.”
Glaring at her in-laws, Flora turned and called for her husband. “Caelum!” she yelled, drawing further attention from the various people around the ballroom.
Theia looked over at Cygnus the Second, trying to get a read on the man. It took a little to spot a familiar twinkle in his eye. It was the same twinkle she recognized from her godfather when he was feeling mischievous. Glancing between Cygnus and those around, Theia determined the man was up to something. For some reason, she didn't think it was targeting.
As she looked at him, Cygnus caught her eye. He held her gaze for a minute before he turned to watch his Caelum Black stepping up next to his wife.
“What do you need, Flora?” Caelum hissed as he neared. He glared at his wife before looking over the group. He glared at the sight of his sisters and his sister-in-law. There was no love lost between them since the death of Julia Black, who was a close friend of theirs. Caelum had married Flora the following month before he sent his three children away to different relatives.
Turning from his sisters and Stephanie, Caelum ignored Gemini in favor of the other children, including his daughter. Virgo stood with her two cousins, Libra and Aries, and a new girl that Caelum didn't recognize. He looked the new girl over, noticing her green eyes and her high cheekbones and the presence of Lycoris Black.
“We should re-home Virgo,” Flora stated, a nasty smile crossing her lips. “She's, clearly, in need of better influences. I think your Great-Aunt Misapinoa.”
Theia's eyes narrowed at the mention of moving Virgo. She wouldn't let that happen. Virgo was happy, and Theia wanted her friend to remain that way.
“That won't be happening,” Lycoris stated, crossing her arms. Out of her numerous relatives, Caelum used to be her favorite cousin. It's funny how things had changed since the death of Julia.
Caelum turned to look at her. “This is family business,” he stated.
“Aren't we family?” Lycoris asked, silently challenging him.
“We are,” Flora replied, “but not the mudblood.”
At the mention of the word mudblood, Caelum's dark eyes narrowed and he looked over the surrounding group. His eyes fell on Theia. She wasn't the one he didn't know.
“Girl!” he barked. “Who are you?”
Theia's eyes hardened at use of girl. “I'm Theia Johnson,” she replied, locking eyes with Caelum.
Continuing to stare at her, Caelum tried to recall where he had heard the name Theia Johnson before. It wasn't one he was familiar with, but there was this nagging feeling he should know it because it was important – though he had no clue why a mudblood would be important. “What are you doing here?” he demanded.
“I'm visiting with family, like you,” Theia answered.
“Who are you here with?” Caelum questioned, his tone growing impatient.
“My legal guardians, Mr. and Mrs. Black,” she answered, purposely being vague. Most couples attending were known as Mr. and Mrs. Black.
Acting on impulse, Caelum slapped the mudblood across the face. “Now, listen here, you disgusting little mudblood,” he growled. “You will shape up and answer my questions or else, girl.”
Theia raised a hand to stinging cheek as everyone around her reacted differently. Flora wore a smug smile while the others were broke into whispers and some glared at Caelum.
“Do you have any idea what you've done, Caelum?” demanded Cygnus, calmly. He watched the younger man with narrowed eyes. While Theia's responses were vague and childish, there was no need to react with violence. A true pure-blood gentleman knew how to use his words to get results.
Caelum opened his mouth to respond, but he remained quiet as he looked over the gathered crowd. Based off of the disappointed looks and whispers, this wasn't good.
“He put the dirty mudblood in her place!” Flora answered, her loud voice carrying. She continued to draw unwanted attention.
“Whom are you speaking off?” Melania demanded, pushing her way into the crowd. Surveying the scene before her, her eyes landed on Theia as she nursed her red cheek.
“Young Miss Johnson,” Cygnus replied.
Flora grinned, proudly nodding her head. “Caelum slapped her when she misbehaved,” she boasted. “He knows how to put the mudblood in her place.”
Melania glanced over the couple. Flora continued to wear her proud grin while Caelum looked uncertain.
“Since she isn't a member of the family, she should be removed,” Caelum stated.
Melania's cool gaze settled on Caelum. “Theia won't be going anywhere,” she stated.
“You haven't figured it out, have you, Caelum?” Maia asked, shaking her head.
“Theia, show them your ring,” Virgo said, moving to stand next to her friend.
Glancing over at Melania, Theia received a nod. Given Melania was the matriarch of the family, she had the privilege and duty of handling this situation.
Dropping her right hand to her side and straightening her head, Theia calmly and slowly lifted her left hand up, displacing the Heir Betrothal Ring.
It took Caelum a few seconds to recognize the ring, which was when everything started to click into place. He remembered hearing Orion had forsaken Walburga in favor of someone else. From what he heard, it was a mudblood girl by the name of Johnson.
Flora didn't recognize the ring, but she knew a betrothal ring when she saw one. “Like he'll want you now,” she scuffed with a cruel smirk.
“Oh, he will,” Melania stated, wrapping an arm around Theia's shoulders. “My son has excellent taste.”
Slowly, Flora's eyes widened and her mouth opened and closed a few times as she tried to respond. Luckily, she failed to find the words.
“Caelum,” Melania said, “we'll be seeing you in January. We have much to discuss.” Without another word, Melanie led Theia away from the man and his vial wife. She removed Theia from the ballroom altogether with Lycoris and Cygnus following a few steps behind them.
Out in the hallway, Melania fused over Theia and her cheek, pulling out her wand to heal the injury.
“Why did he slap you?” Melania asked, her tone harsh. That man had dared to harm one of her children.
“I tricked him into it,” Theia answered. “I manipulated my answers to irritated him.”
Cygnus found himself impressed with her honesty. She could have lied, and no one would said otherwise.
“She's definitely a Witton,” Lycoris declared with a laugh.
Melania stared at Theia with a stern expression. “That's still no excuse,” she said. “Please, don't do it again.”
“I won't,” Theia agreed with a sheepish smile. She had no desire to be slapped again. That hurt too much. This the first time in years she had been physically harmed like that. While the Dursleys despised her very existence, they rarely were physically abusive. Vernon preferred his words and blunt favoritism.
“And you'll get to explain everything to Orion and Arcturus,” Melania added, crossing her arms as she silently dared Theia to argue with her.
Theia frowned, deciding to nod. It was pointless to argue with Melania. She would lose, and it would only get worse for her. “Can I go find Orion?” she asked.
Melania nodded, shooing the girl off back into the ballroom.
“So that's the infamous Theia Johnson,” Cygnus stated, watching as she walked away from them.
“That is,” Melania confirmed, her tone hard as she turned to look at Cygnus with narrowed eyes.
“Now, now, none of that,” Cygnus said. “If I wanted to hurt the girl I wouldn't done so already.”
Melania's eyes narrowed. “She's our espérance,” she told him.
“Really?” Cygnus said, raising an eyebrow. “That is most interesting.” He glanced in the direction of the ballroom where the girl had disappeared into the crowd of relatives.
Lycoris glance back and forth between the pair. She was missing something, and it was something important. There was a lot she was missing when it came to Theia Johnson, and it was a secret no one wanted to share. Hopefully her upcoming visit to Gringotts would shed some light on the issue.
When Theia returned to the ballroom, she was swept up in a conversation with Virgo, Aries, and Libra. The three cousins quickly surrounded her, asking numerous questions barely pausing to breath between them. From the corner of her eye, she saw Caelum and Flora surrounded by some of the other Black relatives. Most of them looked disappointed or furious.
“–tell Orion,” Aries stated, crossing her arms as she stared at her friend.
Theia's green eyes widened. She hadn't caught a word of what her friend had said, but she had a guess. Orion needed to know what happened, and he deserved to hear it from her – like Melania had said. Nodding, she asked, “Do you know where Orion is?”
Virgo and Libra shook their heads while Aries' eyes narrowed.
Offering her friends a smile, she said, “I'm going to look around for him. Orion should hear about this from me.” Spinning on her heels, Theia walked away from the three cousins as she glanced around the ballroom, looking for her betrothed.
As she walked around the ballroom, Theia smiled and greeted numerous people she crossed paths with as she searched for her betrothed. Ten minutes of looking later, Theia found Orion in conversation with his father and an older witch she didn't recognized. She used an ornamental white and black cane. Her dark hair had turned gray with age, her dark eyes were narrowed making the wrinkles on her face more pronoun, and she wore a sour expression.
Theia took a few deeps before she approached the group. She had a feeling this woman wasn’t pleasant.
“–Walburga,” the older woman was saying as Theia stepped up to Orion’s side.
The woman’s gaze snapped over to Theia, sweeping over her and dismissing her. “Who is this girl, Arcturus?” the woman demanded, turning her attention to Lord Black.
Arcturus offered Theia a small smile as Orion reached out to take ahold of her left hand, holding it out to present Theia’s betrothal ring.
The woman ignored Theia, keeping her attention focused on Arcturus.
“Misapinoa, this is Theia Johnson,” Lord Black introduced, “Orion’s betrothed.”
Theia’s eyes widened at the mention of that woman’s name. She was familiar with Misapinoa Black Blishwick, daughter of Licorus and Magenta Black and the sister of two different Lord Black – Hydrus Black, who was deemed unfit by the family for the title, and his successor, Cygnus Black the First. Her godfather had nothing kind to say about this woman. She sounded worse than Walburga.
Knowing who this woman was, Theia took a second look at her. The cane was handcraft and it was likely there was a wand hidden in the handle. There was an unsettling look in the woman’s eyes that made the hairs on the back of Theia’s neck stand up.
Misapinoa turned to look at Theia. Her dark eyes were narrowed and her lips twisted into a scowl. “So, this is the new Isla Estrella,” she sneered.
Theia’s eyes widened at the mention of Isla Estrella. Her heartbeat increased. How did Misapinoa know that name?
“Let’s hope you have better luck that Hydrus, boy,” Misapinoa told Orion. “If you have sense, you will leave this harlot and marry Walburga. Nothing good comes from marrying outside of the family.”
As the woman spoke, Theia’s green eyes started to narrow. While Theia couldn’t see the future, she confident that she was a better choice that Walburga. “Only time will time,” Theia told the woman.
Misapinoa’s lips curled in disgust. “I wasn’t speaking to you, mudblood,” she sneered. “I don’t leave in associating myself with those lesser.”
Theia said nothing as she watched the old woman turn back to Arcturus.
“You might want to watch your back – and your son’s,” she advised. “You can never trust a mudblood not to stab it.”
“Thank you for the advise, Aunt Misapinoa,” Arcturus said with a nod of his head.
Looking over at him, Theia felt a sense of betrayal. How could he trust this woman?
Misapinoa held herself up, squaring her shoulders and smiling. “You are most welcome, my dear,” she said. “I hope you know I will serve you as faithfully as I have your father. My services are yours.”
Orion’s grip on Theia’s hand tightened.
“I hope you don’t take offense,” Arcturus began, his tone polite, “that I will decline your generous offer. I don’t need – or want – your advise. I’ve made it this far on my own, and I will continue to lead this family into greatness – until Orion is ready to replace me.”
Misapinoa’s dark eyes narrowed and her face started to turn purple. “Why, I never!” she said, her voice loud and drawing attention from those around them. “I have never been treated with such disregard. You raised better than this, Arcturus Black! Your mother would be ashamed of you.”
Arcturus’ eyes narrowed at the mention of his mother. It was hardly a secret that Misanopia disliked Hesper Gamp. She wanted Sirius the Second to marry one of her own daughters. “Aunt Misapinoa,” he began, his tone cold, “how have I disgraced you? In recent years, you have spoke about spending more time with your children and grandchildren, and this last September, you began a great-grandmother. I am simply trying to respect your wishes.”
Pausing for a moment, he glanced at those gathered around them before he continued to speak, “You know how importantly we take family. It’s one of our guiding principles and it’s in our Words.”
Misapinoa’s face turned different shades of purple as she stood there and listened to Arcturus. He made several points, and it was a well crafted argument. As she listened, Misapinoa knew he hadn’t come up with that on his own. He had help from someone. Her dark eyes swept over the people near Arcturus, dismissing his idiot son and the mudblood whore before settling on Melania, the man’s wife.
Straightening her back, Misapinoa tried to gather what little pride and dignity she could. This family of sheep was very proud of their Lord Black. Most of them adored Arcturus, claiming he would lead their family back into greatness. None of them saw he was leading them to damnation. Arcturus needed to advocate for blood purity and the preservation of their magical heritage – without giving into the mudblood agenda, like he had when Hogwarts introduced two new mandatory classes in form of Muggle Studies and Magical Studies.
“Well, if that’s how you feel, then I think I’ll take my leave,” the old woman announced with a glare. “I can see where your loyalties lie – with mudbloods and blood traitors.” She shook her head. “I hope you can see the error of your ways before it’s too late.” Without another word, Misapinoa turned and left.
As she watched her leave, Theia made a mental to learn more about the woman. She would need to sort through her thoughts and memories later. There was something deeply unsettling about Misapinoa. Was Misapinoa working with Sirius the Second?
“–a dance?” she heard Orion ask.
Turning to look at him, Theia offered him a small smile. “Sorry, I missed what you said,” she apologized, “but I heard something about a dance.”
Orion smiled gently, reaching out to tuck a piece of hair behind her ear. “May I have this dance, milady?” he asked with a bow.
Smiling, Theia agreed as she followed him. She knew two dances: the waltz, which she learned for the Yule Ball in her fourth year, and the foxtrot, which she learned in Magical Studies.
Orion effortlessly led her through a waltz.
“You’re full of surprises,” he told her, his voice low and his breath warm against her ear.
Theia blushed. “How so?” she asked.
Instead of answering, Orion pulled her into a kiss.
There were a few audible gasps around them, which made Theia turn a deeper shade of red. This wasn’t exactly proper, but she didn’t care enough. Orion was kissing her!
After a minute, Theia pulled back with a smile. “Heir Black, I believe you have scandalized some of your relatives,” she told him.
Orion laughed in response. He pulled her close, leading them into another waltz. As they moved around the ballroom, he glanced over the crowd. Theia was correct. His actions had scandalized some of his older relatives, but the younger ones didn’t seem to care.
As they danced, Theia told Orion about her earlier confrontation with Caelum, Flora, and Cyrgus the Second. Orion’s grip tightened at the mention of Caelum slapping her.
They danced through a total of five songs before Orion returned his father’s side. He kept an arm around Theia, wanting her close. The rest of the evening passed with boring conversations. Orion found comfort in Theia’s presence. She rested her head against his shoulder as they stood and socialized with numerous people. Orion and Arcturus did most of the talking, but Theia would interject. For the most part, she stood by Orion’s side, watching and listening.
It was late when they returned to the Oceanside Cottage. Melania ushered the children up to their bedrooms with a house-elf following after each of them before following her husband and his siblings into his study for a nightcap.
“Everyone loves Theia,” Lycoris boasted with a wide grin.
“I think Caelum and Flora would disagree,” Regulus pointed out.
Lycoris dismissed his statement. “Everyone with taste adores Theia,” she stated.
Regulus chuckled, taking a long drink of his firewhiskey.
Arcturus said nothing as he turned to look at his wife.
“We’re blessed to have Theia in our lives,” Melania agreed with a smile.
Something about her phrasing caught Regulus’ attention. He narrowed his eyes, but didn’t comment on it. He added to the list of things that were strange about Theia Johnson. These were things he needed to look into. There was something mysterious about his nephew’s betrothed.
The topic of conversation changed from Theia to their other relatives. Lycoris filled the group in on Caelum and his family drama with Melania adding bits and pieces. While Arcturus tried to avoid inserting himself into these situations, he was preparing to intervene on this particular one.
Flora Black had her husband wrapped around her finger and she manipulated him to do anything and everything she wanted, such as sending his other children away. They only kept her children around – those from her previous marriage. It was no secret that Flora didn’t like her stepchildren. She was unwilling to even tolerate them.
If he needed to intervene, Arcturus would change things. Virgo would remain with Cassiopeia and Aries while Matar and Pavo would be moved to different relatives. Matar was earning his Mastery in Warding while Pavo would start attending Hogwarts in September. He was thinking of inviting both of them to come live him and Melania.
“You need to send Caelum and Flora a letter,” Melania informed her husband. “We have much to discuss with them.”
Arcturus nodded in agreement, his eyes narrowed. Orion had filled him in on everything that transpired between Theia, Caelum, Flora, and Cygnus the Second.
After drinking half the bottle of firewhiskey, the adults decided to retire to bed themselves.
In the days following the gatherings at Black Villa, Theia was busy looking over her new books and diaries. She had a list of questions she wanted answers, and she didn’t know where to start. Her days were spent in the library. At times she was joined by Orion and Lucretia, who would work on their homework or read. Other times, she was joined by Regulus or Lycoris or Melania or Arcturus.
“Make sure you’re ready,” Arcturus reminded her one evening. “We’re scheduled to remove the basilisk from Hogwarts in a few days.”
Theia’s eyes widened at the reminder. That had slipped her mind. She knew it was coming up – in the beginning of the New Year, on the first of January.
With the reminder, Theia changed her focus. She spent her time reviewing what she remembered about the Chamber of Secrets, drawing a map and labeling things.
“Can we go to Gringotts?” Theia asked Arcturus other breakfast two days later. It was just the two of them.
Arcturus said nothing, looking at her and silently requesting an explanation.
“I want to check the Slytherin Vaults,” she explained. “I want to know if there are any records pertaining to the Chamber.” She handed him the map and her notes. “This is all I know, but I’ve always suspected there was more.”
Taking hold of the parchment, Arcturus looked over the map before skimming the notes. “We will after lunch,” he told her. Holding the items up, “May I keep these?”
Theia nodded. “Feel free to make more copies,” she told him.
A moment later they were joined by Orion. He greeted his father before pulling Theia into a kiss, that left her blushing, and he took a seat next to her.
“Morning, gorgeous,” he greeted with a smile. It grew as he watched her cheeks darken. Pleasure filled him at the sight of his blushing betrothed. He loved that he had this kind of effect on her.
“Good morning, Orion,” Theia responded with a smile.
Unable to resist, Orion placed another kiss on her lips.
“Orion, watch yourself,” Arcturus scolded his son.
Orion pulled back from his betrothed with a frown. “Of course, father,” he replied.
“Remember to mind your manners in public places ,” Arcturus added.
A familiar twinkle entered Orion’s gray eyes.
Theia smiled upon seeing it. She loved it when she could spot similarities between Sirius and his relatives – especially between Orion and Sirius. It made her heart ache at times because she knew things would change.
What kind of man would the new Sirius be?
Theia knew he would be different. This time around Sirius would be her son . She would make sure he had a different upbringing and he had a loving and supportive family.
What she was most interested in was how Sirius’ appearance would change. Theia wanted it to remain the same. She loved how closely Orion and Sirius resembled each other.
“Would you care to join Theia and myself on a trip to Gringotts?” Arcturus asked, turning to his son.
Orion quickly agreed before asking, “Why are we going?”
“I need to check the Slytherin Vaults,” Theia explained, “for information about the Chamber of Secrets.”
“Can I come?” Regulus asked, excited and eagerness in his voice. His eyes were wide and pleading.
Arcturus said nothing as he looked to Orion and Theia. It was her choice. Personally, he saw a benefit of bringing his brother along. Regulus was a talented Curse Breaker when he was younger. These days, he worked as an Unspeakable and he spent most of his time traveling.
Looking into his wide and pleading gray eyes, Theia found herself helpless to resist. She simply nodded.
Regulus grinned as he hopped into his seat. “When are we leaving?” he asked, eagerly.
“After lunch,” Arcturus replied. “While we’re at Gringotts, you might to reactive your license.”
Frowning, Regulus stared at his older brother.
“I’m not at liberty to say, but you will want it very soon ,” Arcturus told him before opening The Daily Prophet .
Theia frowned as she followed the exchange. She was missing something. Hopefully, she could get some answers later. A good source would be Orion, Melania, or Lycoris.
Regulus said nothing as he glanced around the table before his eyes landed on Theia. After a moment, he grinned. “I’ll write Shanti,” he announced. “She’ll be interested.”
“I knew you would figure it out,” Arcturus said as he turned a page in the newspaper. “If you can, floo-call her and have her meet us at Gringotts.”
Regulus nodded, hoping Shanti would bring Meissa with her.
After eating breakfast, Theia and Orion retreated to the library. They sat down in front of the fireplace. Orion was reading Dracula while Theia organized her grimiore, reviewing the notes she had the Chamber of Secrets and basilisk. If she couldn’t find anything in the Slytherin vaults, then she wanted to forge something.
“What’s this about a trip to Gringotts?” Lucretia asked as she entered the library. She stared down at the betrothed couple with a raised eyebrow, demanding an explanation.
“I need to visit the Slytherin vaults,” Theia explained, closing her grimiore, “to look for information pertaining to the Chamber and its contents.” She shrugged. “If we can’t find anything then I’ll need to forge it.”
“When are we leaving?” the younger girl asked, sounding a little eager. “I’m joining you.”
Orion’s eyes narrowed as he stared at his little sister. Why did everyone keep inviting themselves along? He was hoping to spend the day with Theia. It would be easy enough to ignore his father, but his father invited Uncle Regulus along and Regulus was bringing Shanti and his daughter. Now, Lucretia wanted to come. If this kept up, they would be leaving the Coastside Cottage with Melania and Aunt Lycoris.
Theia shrugged. “Sometime after lunch,” she answered.
Lucretia beamed before plopping down in an armchair next to the couple. “How do you want to pass the time?” she asked, resting her chin on the back of her hand as she smiled at the couple.
Theia returned the smile. She wanted to spend some time with Orion, but she didn’t have the heart to tell Lucretia that since the younger girl wanted to spend time with them. “I was going to look over my homework,” she said.
Sighing, Lucretia nodded. “I should’ve guessed that,” she muttered. “Can you look over mine first?”
With a nod, Theia agreed.
Smiling at the older girl, Lucretia jumped up from her armchair to grab her homework from a nearby desk. “Thank you, Theia,” she said, presenting it to her, “you’re the best.”
“I’m happy to help,” Theia told Lucretia with a kind smile. It was crazy that she was now such a good student. If only Hermione could see her.
As she looked over Lucretia’s Transfigurations essay, she felt a pang as she thought about her best friend from her old life. While she was loving her new life as Theia Johnson, she missed aspects of her old life as Harri Potter. Those aspects were limited to friends and a few possessions, like the Cloak of Invisibility or the Marauders’ Map. She didn’t mourn the change in her identity as being Theia Johnson allowed her more freedoms.
Silence fell between the group. Orion wrapped an arm around Theia’s shoulders as he continued to read Dracula while she worked on reading over Lucretia’s essays. Every once in a while, Theia would pause to scribble something down on the parchment.
While Orion and Theia were busy, Lucretia picked up a random book on Enchanting as her eyes would drift over to Theia’s grimiore. Curiosity burned deep inside her as she stared at the older girl’s grimiore. What was in there? Lucretia knew it had to be something amazing for her father to give Theia a grimiore. It was rare for a pureblood family as old as the Blacks to allow an outsider to create one. Whatever knowledge she possessed, Arcturus wanted to keep within the family.
Lucretua sighed as she forced herself to look away again. Maybe if she asked, Theia would be willing to share.
With the teenagers busy, the adults took some time to attend to their own matters. Melania reviewed her investments, glancing at the list of companies Theia provided her with, as she sipped on a jasmine tea. A few feet away, Arcturus was going over the various letters he received. He had scheduled a meeting with Caelum and his wife for the following week at Grimmauld Place. He had received a few letters from other family members, like his own father and Aunt Misapinoa. They were demanding a family meeting. Arcturus was surprised to receive one from his Uncle Cygnus. The man was interesting in joining them – as a family, including Theia – for dinner one night before the teenagers returned to Hogwarts.
“Dearest,” Arcturus said, turning to look at his wife.
Melania looked up from her books to glance over at her husband. Wordlessly, she met his gaze.
“What do you make of this?” he asked, passing her the letter from Uncle Cygnus. The letter caught him by surprise. He hadn’t expected to receive anything pleasant from the man after refusing to betrothal Orion to Walburga.
Taking the letter, Melania read over it twice with a frown. “I believe he is genuine,” she answered, passing the letter back, “though I don’t know how honest or sincere he is.” She sighed, thinking back to the man’s words about Theia at the family Yule celebration. “He seems interested in Theia, but I don’t know why .”
Melania sighed, again, as she remembered her own exchange with the man. “I might have contributed to that interest,” she continued to say. “I made the mistake of telling him about Theia being our espérance .” Shaking her head, she added, “It spilled out.”
Arcturus tensed as his wife spoke. He wasn’t sure what to make of this. “We’ll make it through this,” he told his wife, staring down at the letter. “I will invite Uncle Cygnus for dinner on the second.”
“Are you sure?” Melania asked with a frown. That was the day they would begin the exploration of the Chamber of Secrets.
“No,” Arcturus replied in honesty, “but we need to invite him over.”
Melania nodded. “I’ll handle the arrangements,” she promised.
Arcturus sent his wife a loving smile.
Taking his brother’s advice, Regulus used the fireplace in the family room to floo-call his paramour. He wasn’t sure what to call Shanti. She was the love of his life, but he was forbidden to marry her. Marrying her would result in his automatic disownment and it would create a giant family feud – like the one Hydrus Black and Cygnus Black the First barely managed to avoid.
Regulus was lucky that Shanti undertook. She didn’t demand a ring or something. Instead, she opened her London apartment up to him and she allowed him into her bed and into their daughter’s life.
Shanti deserved a better title than girlfriend or partner. She was his everything . Since they weren’t married, Regulus couldn’t leave anything to Shanti or Meissa upon his death. He had left a letter with specific instructions for his older brother or Orion to follow upon his death. Through Lord Black, Regulus knew Shanti and Meissa would be look after and provided for.
“Regulus!” Shanti Patil greeted him with smile. She was a beautiful woman with dark skin and lean build. Her brown eyes sparkled with love and her dark hair was pulled back in a long braid. “I didn’t think I would hear from you for another week.”
Regulus smiled at her, his heart swelling with love at the sight of her. “I wanted to know you and Meissa were available this afternoon,” he said.
Shanti frowned, raising an eyebrow. “Why do you ask?” she asked.
He took a moment, debating how to answer that question. “I was hoping to see you and Meissa,” he replied with a small smile. “I’ve missed you.” He sighed, “And my brother recommended we renew our license at Gringotts.”
The woman frowned. “We don’t have any plans,” she stated, “and Meissa’s missed you.” Her silent ‘S o have I ’ hung between them.
Regulus stared at her, feeling nothing but love and gratitude towards this amazing woman.
“Why does Arcturus want us to renew our licenses?” she asked, her frown deepened. Shanti had stopped working as a curse breaker a few years ago when she was pregnant with Meissa.
There was a knowing look in Regulus’ eyes. “I can’t say,” he replied, “and Arcturus can’t officially tell me, but believe me, you’ll want in on this.”
Shanti nodded, trusting him. Even if she renewed her license today and passed the re-qualification exams, she hadn’t practiced in years and there was no guarantee that she would be chosen for whatever Regulus knew was coming.
“Trust me,” he told her. “I can get Theia to look at your profile.”
Staring at the head in her fireplace, Shanti agreed to meet him in Diagon Alley that afternoon to renew her license at Gringotts and to spend time with him.
Regulus ended the call with a large smile.