Disclaimer: Once again - Buffy and Angel are owned wholly by Joss Whedon and Harry Potter is owned by J K Rowling - I'm just doing this for fun not money and intend no offence to either Mr Whedon or Ms Rowling by what I write.
Once settled with some tea in Dumbledore’s office, Cordelia realised how very different this world was to her own. Lucius had explained much about the wizarding world, but since neither of them seriously considered she would ever be part of it, given Voldemort’s apparent invincibility, she had never really thought about what it would be like in reality. A castle full of children and teachers dressed in old fashioned long dark robes having apparently no connection to the 21st century world – something she could never have imagined. When Lucius survived Voldemort’s murderous attack on him, he never expected to return home until the Dark Lord was defeated. Doing so could only mean his death and that of his son, who had already suffered much due to his father’s devotion to Voldemort. Cordelia had enjoyed her husband’s stories of life there, but for her they were just that – stories and were never to be part of their life together. Well, how wrong she was about that and now she was here trying to do what she thought was right for her husband and determined to honour his memory.
Gathering all her courage, she looked at Professor Snape and said, “I understand you are godfather to Lucius’ son, Draco.” When Snape nodded, she continued “He knows nothing about his father’s survival, or about me and I’m aware this will all come as a surprise or possibly a terrible shock (she smiled nervously), but I would like to meet him, if that is you think it would be right to do so. Please know that I do not seek any financial assistance for us; the Malfoy fortune remains his, as Lucius has provided well for Susie and I. It’s just now with him gone, I feel I owe it to him to try and see his son, to try and explain what happened and why. I have his memories in this bottle, which I believe can be viewed through a device you will have here, but I will go away with them now and never return, if you think it best. Lucius told me that if anything happened to him I should trust you completely. He desperately wanted a reconciliation with his son and we had made plans to get him to LA to meet, but ..” she faltered, “but we ran out of time”. Cordelia stopped and fought back tears, it had been a long speech but she hoped she’d been coherent enough. It was all too fresh, too raw for her. Lucius had been dead for only two months – her beloved husband, her child’s father and the strain of this meeting was now beginning to tell on her.
Snape surveyed the lovely young woman before him and wondered at Lucius’ good fortune in meeting her; the man always landed on his feet somehow. It was quite typical of Lucius that he should be rescued from his deserved end and begin a new life with a beautiful woman, who was every bit as lovely as Narcissa and a Seer no less. She was a rare higher being with great powers as he understood although due to the narrow-mindedness of the wizarding world, it was difficult to find out much about them. Nevertheless, she could apparate into the supposedly heavily magically fortified Hogwarts, as they had all seen first hand, so what else could this remarkable woman do? He focused on her eyes and tried to use his legilimency skills on her only for something truly surprising to happen – all he could see was a door with sign on it and the words ‘No Entry’. He was annoyed for an instant and then smirked; a woman after Lucius’ own heart indeed. Cordelia smiled, but said nothing to indicate what had happened to Professor Dumbledore.
Dumbledore turned to his Potions Professor and looked a question. Snape nodded at the older man and said, “Draco has had an extremely difficult family life, Madam Malfoy and it’s certainly true that he will find all this a shock,” Cordelia’s face fell a little at his words, “but, I feel that it is only fair to tell him what has happened and allow him to make his own decision. Please, do not be surprised if he refuses to see you, his father’s role as a Death Eater has made the boy’s life very difficult and he is distrusted by his peers at the school now the war is over. His memories of his father are not all good ones.”
It was as much as Cordelia could have expected and she was grateful. “Thank you,” she breathed, “I will be staying with a friend in London whom you might know – Rupert Giles”.
Snape started and nodded, “Yes indeed, Madam Malfoy, but I have not seen him in many years and I don’t see how ….?” He tailed off, genuinely puzzled and not a little wary at the mention of Giles’ name.
“Oh, I live in LA now but I grew up in Sunnydale where the hellmouth was. My friends included the Slayer and her watcher was Rupert Giles” explained Cordelia.
Dumbledore’s eyebrows shot up at the mention of the infamous Boca del Inferno. It was a subject of which he knew something but one which the wizarding had preferred to ignore in favour of their own concerns. If this young woman had indeed grown up on the hellmouth, then she must have seen much in her young life and a look in her eyes revealed that they seemed older and tempered by experience greater than her age. And to be able to call the Slayer a friend was something remarkable in itself, as not many would have met a Slayer never mind had one as a friend. But looking at Cordelia he thought how sad it was to be a young person forced to grow up well before their time, as only too many Hogwarts’ students had been forced to do for several decades now. He could feel the anger rising up his spine but he fought it down as this was not the time. He had to hold on to his belief that in the end all those lost lives would have achieved something – it was all he had left.
Snape had begun to speak again, but Dumbledore had missed the start of it so lost was he in his own thoughts. It seemed he must have asked Cordelia for her contact address, as when he looked up she was handing over a piece of paper to Snape. She smiled at the two professors and holding her child closely to herself apparated out of Dumbledore’s office, leaving behind two men trying to take in all that had transpired in the previous half hour. They both realised that nothing was ever going to be quite the same again.
Cordelia arrived in Giles’ comfortable sitting room with a very sleepy Susie in her arms. Giles smiled sympathetically and moved forward to take the toddler from her mother and Cordelia sat down on the sofa. “How did it go?” he asked, “what sort of reception did you get?”
“Well, I made a hell of an entrance – Luc would have been proud of me,” she said with a ghost of a smile. “The Snape guy was straight with me over Luc’s past treatment of Draco and I think he’ll put our case to him, but I don’t know if it means the kid will agree to see us,” said Cordelia tiredly. It had been a long day and she was exhausted.
“Alright, you’ve had enough Cordelia – time for something to eat then bed,” said Giles. “Come on, I can do a decent omelette and then you can get some rest,” he said. Cordelia didn’t want to eat, but she was too tired to argue and in any case, she knew Giles was trying to comfort her and she was grateful. The past two months had been very tough and most days it was a struggle to cope. If she hadn’t had Susie, she didn’t know what she would have done. She had received kindness from many unexpected quarters, including the Powers that Be who had given her no visions and she realised that they were allowing her to heal. Soon though she knew they would need her services, as evil didn’t exactly take holidays but when they came again she would deal with them. Luc would have expected nothing less from the woman he called his ‘warrior queen of the light’.
Back at Hogwarts Snape sat in his study trying to work out how to handle the difficult task of explaining the day’s revelations to Draco. The professor was fond of his godson and proud at how he’d coped with the loss of his father and the unfriendliness of the other students when his activities were revealed, but they weren’t exactly on close terms. In fact, Snape was not a hugger of anyone, never mind his godson. He realised the news of the arrival of an entirely unexpected stepmother and half sister might go down very badly with the already emotionally damaged Draco. The idea that his father hadn’t died four years ago at Voldemort’s hand at all, but had survived, been rehabilitated and gone on to start a new family and life, which had not included him was going to be devastating. From the little that Madam Malfoy had said it was plain that the Lucius she had known was a very different husband and father from the one Narcissa and Draco had known. This was going to take more delicate handling than Snape’s most complex potions. He sighed and reached for his bottle of firewhisky and shook his head at his own weakness, but Merlin knew it wasn’t going to be an easy task and he needed to steel his nerves for it.
The students were all in their common rooms talking and speculating about the strangers who had apparated into the school. Wilder and wilder theories swept the school as the students tried to work out what was happening. Even in the Slytherin Common Room there was chatter, those aloof and disdainful students were as interested as the rest even if they weren’t willing to show it. Snape entered the Common Room and looked for Draco. He was sitting in the corner, detached as ever from the low rumble of conversation. “Malfoy, I would like to speak to you,” said Snape. The boy looked up, one eyebrow raised in a half-sneer, but he got up and obediently followed Snape out. They walked down to Snape’s study and Draco wondered what exactly he’d done this time to upset his godfather. When they arrived in the study Snape indicated a chair and Draco sat down. Snape considered the boy carefully for a moment, no not boy, not any more; he was nearly as tall as Snape himself and broadening out like a man. Finally, he spoke, “Draco, I have something to say which will be a shock for you. Your father was not killed by Voldemort four years ago. He was terribly wounded, but he did survive until quite recently.”
Draco looked at him, not reacting in the least. They looked at each other for some moments and then Draco said, “I don’t understand what you’re saying”. “I know,” said Snape, but I will tell you what I have learned today and perhaps we can go to see someone who can give you the answers you seek.” Draco was no fool; rather he was one of the smartest students in Hogwarts, second only to the Gryffindor know-it-all, Hermione Granger. He realised that all of this must have something to do with the unexpected arrival of the woman and child that afternoon. “It’s got something to do with her, hasn’t it? The woman who apparated in with the child? Who is she? What has she to do with my father” he demanded angrily.
Snape breathed deeply and began, “Her name is Cordelia Malfoy, Draco and she is your father’s widow – his second wife. The child is your half sister and her name is Susannah.” Draco looked at him blankly then his face began to show a succession of different emotions – shock, disbelief then fury.
After some moments he said, “But he got married again and he didn’t contact me. He started a new family and forgot me. He was a bastard to me, but I’d never have dreamed he could do this and just write me out of his life.” And now Draco was near to tears, but fighting it every step of the way. Snape realised that the boy must have cried many tears due to his father’s treatment and this was yet another cruel blow. He felt a wave of sympathy wash over him as he sought to comfort the boy. Knowing that a hug would be unwelcome, he stood up and gripped the boy’s shoulder then strode across the room to the bottle of firewhisky and poured him a glass. Draco took it and gulped it down, coughing a little as he did so. “I can see there is more to come, please sir, just tell me straight” he begged.
Snape looked at the boy and felt a surge of pride in his courage. Lucius would have been proud of him for this – damn the man for causing this mess. Snape cleared his throat and began again, “Your er, that is to say Madam Malfoy,” he couldn’t bring himself to say ‘stepmother’, it would only have upset Draco further, not to say it was ludicrous to think of her in those terms given she was obviously not much older than Draco. At a guess he’d say she was in her early twenties. “She is not a witch, but a Seer, who works for the Powers that Be in the non wizarding world where there are Slayers, Vampires and Demons. She is extremely powerful in her own right – more so than anyone in our community.”
Draco looked like he didn’t know what to make of that and said nothing but waited for the rest.
Snape went on “As I said she is extremely powerful and she was as you saw able to apparate into Hogwarts and she can read minds, even mine without permitting access to her own. I’d imagine she has many other abilities to help her in her work. She works with an agency in LA specialising in assisting people with supernatural phenomena.” Draco sank back into the sofa and tried to digest all this. He looked up again at his godfather and said “What does she want? Why did she come?” Snape attempted to reassure him, “She wants nothing from you but to meet if you are willing. She has your father’s memories she would like you to have. She and her daughter are well provided for financially and she is making no claim on the Malfoy fortune. As I say she would like to meet you, but will not press the point and has told me if you refuse, that will be quite alright and she will return with her child to LA and trouble you no further.” The professor paused and then added, “I should say that I believe you have nothing to fear from her, Draco. While she is powerful, her aura is a pure one and she poses no threat to you. She is grieving for your father and I believe meeting you would perhaps help both of you in the long term.”
Draco nodded, not really surprised. He knew, of course, that he didn’t have to meet her, but he was curious about what had happened to his father and he had also been very lonely in recent years. This woman could answer many questions about his father and the child was his sister – real family, and he had so little of that apart from his Aunt Andromeda whom he barely knew. It had to be worth taking a chance, he was certain of it. He sat up straight and said “I’ll meet her, sir. Could you let her know, please and if you would be willing to come with me that would be great?” Snape nodded approvingly. “I’ll be going back to my room now, I think. It’s all been a bit overwhelming,” he said. Snape stood and walked Draco to the door and put his hand on his shoulder one last time. “It never ends with my father, does it?” asked Draco and shrugged as he left the room.
Snape sat down at his desk and wrote a few lines to Madam Malfoy inviting her to return the next afternoon with her daughter to meet Draco. He went up to the owlery and sent off the message then, weary himself, he retired to his bed to rest.
The following afternoon the visitors returned this time apparating discreetly, if such a thing were possible, into Dumbledore’s office. Cordelia seemed a little nervous but otherwise composed and Draco much the same. Susie’s presence lightened the mood considerably as her eyes darted around the room taking in her surroundings. “I’m pleased to meet you, Draco, my name is Cordelia and this is Susie” said Cordelia.
“Hello,” replied Draco, “this has been something of a shock, but I’m pleased to meet you both.” They all sat down and looked at each other rather shyly not knowing what to say or do next. Dumbledore immediately stood and moved to the door followed by Snape to leave the three young people to their conversation, but Cordelia raised her hand to stop them and said “Wait, I don’t see any need for you to leave as far as I’m concerned.” Draco looked a little relieved and nodding Snape and Dumbledore resumed their seats. He then looked at Cordelia taking in her appearance and smiled inwardly – a real looker, what else could he have expected, given his father’s love of the best things in life? Susie suddenly turned in her mother’s arms and gave him a beaming smile like she had done the professors the day before. He knew instantly she was his little sister, would have known it without being told. It was like looking into his own image. He smiled back and she beamed even more widely and let out a string of completely unintelligible words.
“That’s your big brother, Draco, sweetie. He looks very like your daddy, doesn’t he?” said Cordelia. She took in Draco’s appearance and realised she was looking at her husband some twenty years earlier. The boy was handsome and tall like Luc. A little pain stabbed at her heart, but she didn’t cry. “There must be so many things you want to ask me, Draco, please go ahead and shoot,” she said. “Oh, and I’ve brought your father’s memories and his journal, which should fill in some blanks, too.” The three men looked momentarily confused at her language, but then Draco smiled and realised what she had meant.
“Well, yes so many things. First, Professor Snape tells me that you are a Seer and that you work for a supernatural organisation, which is how you met my father?” he asked. “Yes, that’s right. Uh, this might all sound a little weird or maybe just plain crazy, but I work for an organisation called ‘Angel Investigations’ in LA. Our motto is ‘we help the helpless’ and we investigate supernatural occurrences in the region and help those affected” replied Cordelia. She left out the bit about Angel being the legendary vampire with a soul and the former Scourge of Europe – he was worth a week’s visit by himself and she didn’t want to freak this kid out more than necessary.
Draco looked at her curiously and asked, “So how did my father get involved? We all thought Voldemort had killed him. We believed he had received the killing curse.”
Cordelia wondered how much she could say and then realised that the more honest she was the better. “Draco, your father was hit by a very old and seldom used curse and left for dead by Voldemort but he was still alive. My employers are the Powers that Be and they sometimes rehabilitate people and restore them to life to work for them. They can give second chances to people who have done evil – they can allow them to atone, if you like, especially when they feel they have a role to play for the light. This is what happened to your father,” she said. She paused for a moment to let that information sink in and wasn’t surprised to see the intent and shocked faces of the three men looking at her, waiting for the rest. “Lucius was sent to LA to Angel’s organisation to become my Champion. Every Seer is given Champions who assists her in her role. Lucius was to be trained by Angel to do this and then work for the organisation,” she said.
It was time to relate how she herself became a Seer and that was also a rather sad subject, but she continued on, as it needed to be done. “I became a Seer after my friend Doyle passed on his powers to me just before he died. He was half demon and had received visions for the powers, which Angel used to direct our work. Unfortunately, since I am wholly human I struggled to cope with the visions. I had blinding headaches, which gradually got worse and worse to the point where I was almost driven mad by them. Then the Powers that Be took me up onto their plane and made me, well, superhuman I guess – strong enough to survive the visions and to help with their work. I was also given special powers, one of which is to do what you call ‘apparate’ anywhere I want to. I can travel through any magical barriers as my source of power is greater than magic and magic can in no way affect me, not even dark magic.”
Gasps greeted this revelation. Dumbledore had seen and heard many strange and wonderful things in his long life, but this young woman’s tale was the most remarkable yet. Snape thought to himself how apt that they should be getting a lesson on magic from a world they had no part in and even viewed with contempt – that would teach the Ministry to think the Wizarding World was the centre of the universe. He snorted. It wasn’t even close to that. Draco just sat quietly drinking it all in and trying to picture how his father must have felt in that world, what would have been to him the Muggle World. It must have been a nightmare working among Muggles. He almost laughed at that.
“Please continue, Madam Malfoy, we are all ears as you can see,” said Dumbledore, anxious to get to the next instalment of this gripping tale.
Cordelia smiled, rather enjoying the effect she was having and loving the audience and began again, “Well, as I said, my powers were enhanced and that meant I could cope with the visions and feel no pain, but there were side effects,” she said. She smiled remembering how extraordinary that time had been. “You see, I began to do all sorts of weird stuff I never did before. And I do mean weird. The first few visions passed easily but then one day, standing in the office I had a vision. I was so caught up in paying attention to what was being shown, that I hadn’t noticed everyone had gone quiet and I realised they were all looking up at me. But why up? Well, it was because I was about three feet off the ground, levitating and not only that but glowing,” she said. “That was the first weird thing and there were several more afterwards. Now, I’m a little fiery by nature and one particular client really had set me off. She was demanding and rude and after speaking to her on the phone I hung up and started to complain to Angel, about her. I got more and more angry and suddenly there was a loud rumbling kind of noise. The whole building was beginning to shake. Angel immediately stepped forward and took hold of me trying to calm me down. I calmed and the rumbling stopped” said Cordelia.
By this point Draco, Snape and Dumbledore were all leaning forward listening intently.
She went on, “Well, the next time I got mad over something – Wesley, our colleague, not making the coffee when it was his turn as usual, he’s English, too you know.” She smiled. “Anyway, as I got more and more mad the furniture began to catch fire and the guys had to put it all out with the fire extinguishers. Angel was very worried at all of this, because we had enough work trying to fight the evil in the area without having to deal with my new powers causing havoc in our building. He asked for an audience with the Oracles, who act as intermediaries between the Powers that Be and him and explained what had happened. They told him they were aware of the problem and that shortly he would be given help – a wizard sent back to earth to atone for his past evil would be coming to us as my teacher and Champion. He would help me to control my powers.”
Snape nodded – he could see how this would work, Lucius was a skilled legilimens and a powerful wizard and could certainly help the girl gain control over her powers. Cordelia continued on, “Lucius arrived at our offices, which are in an old hotel, the following day and moved in. I’d never seen anyone dressed quite like him and realised he was sure to attract attention of the wrong kind, something we can never afford to do. Wesley loaned him some of his things and I took him out shopping.” She smiled at the memory, for she had enjoyed dressing this handsome Englishman even if he hadn’t exactly enjoyed the experience. Lucius had detested the muggle clothing, but managed not to say so. He had also been worn out by Cordelia’s non stop questions and chatter, but she was a beautiful girl, so he forbore to say so. Besides, he was on his second and last chance and he was determined to make the best of it. Malfoys weren’t quitters.
Draco chuckled softly, “My father in muggle clothing. I’d have given a lot to see that.”
Cordelia smiled back, pleased to see Draco more relaxed. She looked at Dumbledore to see him smiling, too and even Snape was managing a smirk. Susie suddenly giggled and Draco reached out to her taking her hand and waving it gently. She smiled and reached out her arms. Draco hesitated and then looked at Cordelia for permission and when she nodded he took the little girl onto his lap. She beamed up at him and pulled at the front of his robes. He kissed her softly on the top of her head. Cordelia’s eyes filled up – this was so unexpected. She felt a hand over hers and looked to see whose it was finding to her surprise that it was Professor Snape’s. She bit back her tears and smiled gratefully at him.
She resumed her tale, “Over the next few months Lucius spent a couple of hours every day with me teaching me mind control techniques and discovering the extent of my powers. He also learned how to use muggle technology such as computers to help our work. He escorted me everywhere and slowly but surely we became first friends, then more. I realised one day that I was in love with him and prayed I wouldn’t get my heart broken, but I needn’t have worried. He felt the same way and one evening took me out to dinner and asked me to marry him. He was worried about the age difference but I wasn’t. I knew better than most that life held no guarantees – my Doyle had died a young man and I hadn’t even plucked up the courage to tell him I loved him before it was too late. There was no way I was doing that twice. So we married and settled into married life and then realised we were expecting a child. Lucius was happy, but concerned. Frankly he was terrified that he would be a poor father, as he knew he’d done so badly with you. I told him it wouldn’t happen again, that he had changed, that he was a new and better man.”
Draco’s eyes clouded over but he said nothing at this. Snape looked across worriedly at his godson, but he knew he had to hear what was being said. Nothing would be gained by hiding information, as he knew only too well.
Cordelia stopped and waited for what Draco would say, hoping that it hadn’t all been too much too soon. She guessed the first question correctly though; she would have asked the same one herself.
Draco cuddled Susie closer and asked, “Why didn’t he tell me he’d survived?” Snape and Dumbledore looked at her intently, both men hoping she realised what was riding on her answer to this question – the survival of this very new little family being built in Dumbledore’s office.
Cordelia took a deep breath and said, “He was terrified he’d get you killed if he came back. He knew Voldemort would not let him get away a second time and would take his rage out on you, too. He’d already killed your mother and even at Hogwarts he knew your safety couldn’t be guaranteed.”
Draco nodded; he had hated his father for dying, for getting his mother killed, for so many things, but this he understood. His father had done the best he could do in the circumstances. He wasn’t happy not to have heard from him, but he accepted the reasons Cordelia gave. He had been bitter for years and it was time to stop, but he was curious about his father’s life in California and hoped the penseive would provide the answers he sought. “I thought it must be something like that – don’t get me wrong, I am hurt he didn’t find some way to contact me to say he’d survived, but I accept he did what he thought best” said Draco finally.
Sensing that he had heard enough for that day, Cordelia said, “I’ll leave you now, Draco and professors, you have my address and I’ll be here for another week if you want to talk some more.” She hoped Draco would want to see them again, but she didn’t expect it; he could make his own decisions and she accepted that.
Draco kissed a now rather sleepy looking Susie on the cheek and passed him back to his mother with a smile. “I’ll see you soon, little sister” he said smiling. Cordelia was grateful for the comment and holding Susie close she smiled at the men and apparated away leaving Draco with his father’s memories and journal.
Draco returned to his room with the bottle containing his father’s memories. Dumbledore had offered the use of his pensieve but he thought he’d not be ready to face that until the next day. He ran his fingers over the journal, but didn’t open it – perhaps he’d read it after viewing his father’s memories. All in all it had been quite a day, but for the first time in a very long time he had hope in his heart. He was no longer alone and whatever the future might bring, he knew he had a little sister and a new friend in this American seer who had stolen his father’s heart. Yes, life was already looking brighter for him.