Not Over Yet
Title: Apples, Trees and Roots
Disclaimer: J.K. and Joss own all. I own battered copies of their collected works.
Spoilers: Season 7, book 5, my ficlet Numb the Pain
Summary: Faith never thought she’d become somebody’s family or The collected Black family reacts to their newest ‘misplaced’ member.
A/N: Flashbacks ensues in this chapter. Secrets are revealed about both Regulus’s, Faith’s and Marni’s pasts. And if Regulus is alive - and just what his and his father’s wills state on the future of the Black Heir. And I will be bending canon - slightly as to the whole necklace issue.
Also - AVPS title. Seriously I’m playing the songs from them on repeat for days (along with Selena Gomez, but that’s for an entirely different reason). Apples, Trees and Roots
Not Over Yet 1988
Marni Lehane stared up at the woman who was working the whole Raven angle pretty hard in her clothes. She was glad Faithie had been in the back with Rome learning how to cheat at Go Fish. The old crone would give even her brave little girl nightmares as would the little midget hiding behind her skirts. Who the hell wore skirts like that in the middle of summer?
Her girl’s grandma apparently. Marni stuck her chin up and grinned. Reggie had been hanging around her for two years - and Sirius’s face was permanently etched in her memory. Did the old biddy really think that Marni wouldn’t see the connection?
“You filthy little trollop!” Mrs. Black hissed.
“Specials tonight are tuna melt combos and hamsteak. You wanna look at a menu?” Marni ignored the hateful words - she’d heard worse from her own mother.
“How dare you spin lies to my son?”
“But, ma’am, those are the specials,” Marni didn’t even bat a lash at the dropped jaw of the little thing behind the woman.
“That little bitch is no blood kin to me!” the woman hissed, pointing a bony finger at the little dark head that was peeking out of the doorway, her eyes wide on the little creature behind Walburga.
“That’s it,” Marni slapped her pad on the counter and jerked the woman away forcefully.
Walburga gaped at her, and her house elf tripped along, readying his magic to aid his mistress in any way. Marni positioned herself between Faith and the bitter old witch.
“You’re gonna get your sorry magic-trick ass outta my place of employment or else I’m gonna go Southie on your ass so fast, your elf won’t have more than half a second to scoop up your ashes,” Marni snapped. “I didn’t ask for hand-outs or charity from your boy - either one of them. Faith is mine, and there is no way in hell am I giving her up to Pureblood fuckin’ stuck-up witches to raise. We’ve gone years without magic, and we’ll do fine without it.”
“As if I would wish to raise a filthy little muggle bitch in my own -”
“She’s not fully muggle. And Reggie obviously didn’t share the little secret with you, now did he?” ~*~
Faith stared up at the ceiling of the room Andromeda had given her. Sunlight trickled in through the curtains, and she could hear birds singing like it was the best day ever. She’d picked through dinner the night before and had been exhausted beyond belief at just the thought of chewing.
Then there had been the fucking secrets that made up her life. A boy named Harry, her non-existent father, her apparently bat-shit crazy cousin, Andromeda’s family, her not-quite-dead uncle, and her bitch of a grandmother.
It was weird, but now that whatever spells had been placed on her had cracked, she could remember snippets of memory. That woman and the little creature that had been with her that day. She’d seen that thing a second time - what had her Ma called it? An elf?
A tiny pop from behind her bed had Faith reaching for the dagger she’d stashed behind under her pillow. Some girls had security blankets or stuffed animals - Faith had a seven and a half inch stiletto dagger she’d won in a card game with B’s ex-boyfriend’s buddy. She’d always been a knife girl.
“Mistress, it is I!” the elf she remembered from her dream cowered in the corner.
“Kreacher?” it’s name tickled over her tongue, a deeper memory of seeing him in the corner of Uncle Reggie’s hospital room, tears streaming down his ugly little face.
“Mistress Faithie remembers her Kreacher?” his old face crinkled into a broken smile.
“Hell no,” Faith groaned. “Tell me I did not just inherit a gremlin some joker fed after midnight!” ~*~
“Kreacher!” Sirius shouted for the tenth time. He needed the key to his mother’s study, and only the little loyal fool held it. Sirius growled as he paced up and down the halls shouting the house elf’s name.
“He’s not coming,” Remus looked up from the paper he was reading at the dining room table as Sirius passed him for the seventeenth time.
“Where’s he got to? It’s not as if he’s got mates he sneaks out to meet!” Sirius grumbled as he slumped down into the chair across from Remus.
“Apparently, he has,” Remus held out the parchment that had come hurling from Andromeda’s place.
Sirius snatched the paper from him, his face blanching as he read his cousin’s words. Kreacher was with his daughter - and he had Orion’s will and the location of where Regulus had vanished. ~*~
Faith sat staring at the papers her Aunt was studying. Kreacher had been beyond pissed that Faith had handed them over to Andromeda for further inspection, but honestly she couldn’t figure them out. Andromeda knew more about the wizarding world than she did - she‘d grown up in it while Faith had been thrown into it. Nymphadora was staring at the way Kreacher was bending backwards to see to Faith’s comfort in a daze.
“He’s actually being nice
to you,” Tonks frowned.
“Huh? No, K, I don’t want anymore tea, damn. A shot a Jack might help though,” Faith sighed as the cup disappeared and a snifter popped into it’s place. “Damn, that’s handy.”
“One finger or two, Mistress Faith?” Kreacher asked.
“I was only joking, K,” Faith shook her head.
“It was like pulling teeth to get him to unlock the loo at the house,” Tonks gaped.
“Mistress has always been kind to Kreacher and Mistress is not a stinking half-blood, like some,” Kreacher sneered. His eyes widening as he realized he’d let out a secret a moment later, wiping the sneer from his wrinkled face.
Tonks’s fork clattered to her plate, and Andromeda looked up from the papers. Mother and daughter shared a look, then glanced as one to Faith.
“Nothin’,” Tonks looked down, biting her lip.
“No, spit it out. My Ma was normal - her parents were normal. Sirius was a wizard, so wouldn’t that make me a half-blood or muggleborn or whatever?” Faith demanded.
“Mistress’s mother - was the daughter of a half-blood Squib.”
“What the fuck is a Squib?” Faith snapped.
“A Squib is a child born of magical parents that never develops any magical ability. A half-blood squib would mean that one of your maternal great-grandparents was a pureblood who married a muggleborn witch or wizard,” Andromeda glanced down at Kreacher, who glowered at her. “Which explains why Kreacher is fawning over you.”
“Huh?” Faith shook her head, not following where Andromeda was going.
“Sirius and myself were considered blood-traitors - him for going against the Pureblood agenda of Voldemort’s and me for marrying a muggleborn. His dislikes Nymphadora on principal that she is a blood-traitor‘s daughter,” Andromeda stared at Kreacher, who nodded begrudgingly. “But house elves have always had a soft spot for squibs. Often they’re employed by wizarding families alongside house elves. And presumably, your great-grandparent, whomever they were, was a big enough power to earn Kreacher’s respect. That and the fact that you are the
Black heir.” ~*~
Kreacher begrudgingly left his Mistress and returned to the odious Master Sirius. Had he known where Mistress Faith had been hidden from him for nearly fourteen years, he would have abandoned his first Mistress’s home and cleaved to her side. It had been Master Regulus’s last command of him - to aide Mistress Faith, or Faithie as she’d called herself back then, in any way he could. To protect her. And Kreacher had failed. It did not matter if Mistress Faith’s own mother should have been a great witch like Faith would become - as Kreacher knew she had been, not that he was about to tell any more of Mistress Faith’s secrets. It did not matter that her own father was a blood traitor. His beloved Master Regulus had asked this of him, and Kreacher would not fail.
“You’ve gone to her, then?” Sirius asked quietly, for once not yelling at the house elf he had despised for most of his life - at least since his eleventh year, when he’d been sorted into Gryffindor and most of the family had turned their back on him.
“Mistress Faith is the true Heir of the Most Noble House of Black,” Kreacher said mutinously.
“Good elf, Kreacher,” Sirius smiled.
Kreacher frowned at the beloved son who’d become hated enemy. Sirius looked tired, broken. And part of Kreacher - the younger elf who’d helped raise a son who was always never enough - worried over the health of his master. For the first time in a very long time.
“You keep an eye on her, Kreacher,” Sirius caught his attention again. “You take care of our girl no matter what. See that she never wants for anything.”
“Always, Master,” Kreacher said quietly, promising him as Kreacher had promised his brother fifteen years ago.
“Does she wish to reclaim the home?”
“No,” Kreacher frowned, distaste in his mouth as he spoke the words.. “She has ordered me to care for the people staying within these walls.”
“Oh,” Part of him had wished she had ordered them all out, even while he knew the Order needed a place of secrets and whispers.
“And Mistress has ordered me to be nice to Mistress Nymphadora,” Kreacher looked ill. Sirius smiled at that. ~*~
Faith stood in the back yard, her eyes closed as she meditated. If she didn’t meditate, she was pretty sure the heady combo of magic and slayer strength were gonna make her head implode. The heavy hitting news that she was an heiress with a fucking manservant - elfservant, whatever - and had squatters in the old homestead along with the added perk of her uncle probably being alive, and her ma’s family knowing that magic was a possibility and keeping it from her had left her drained. She didn’t flinch when she felt the presence of Andromeda behind her. God, she was getting soft.
“Faith, dear, I’m going to be gone for a bit,” Andromeda said quietly. “Is there anything you need before I go?”
“Nope, I’m five by five,” Faith kept her eyes closed.
“If you need anything, Ted should be home shortly,” Andromeda sighed. “I’m going to see Mr. Giles - is there anything you’d like -”
“I’m good. G-man knows I’m a liability to the girls - I’m pretty sure he’s always known.”
“You are not a liability - you’re simply untrained, and it is often the untrained who are the strongest of us all. It’s an asset, Faith, not a hindrance,” Andromeda’s fierce reply had Faith cracking her eyes open to look at her. “You are an intelligent young woman, and I will see that you are properly trained as you should have always been. Just as soon as I deal with my little sister.” ~*~
Regulus stormed out of his mother’s house. Honestly - that is what it had been since before his parents had married. Her father had left the house to Walburga, and she took charge of it just like she took charge of everything in their lives. Her way. He’d found the papers concerning her coven work and had felt ill. They’d spared Andromeda’s daughter but condemned Sirius’s? He couldn’t wrap his head around the why of it all.
How was it that his stupid brother didn’t even know that he had a child? Logically, he knew how it was possible, but Sirius had never struck him as the type who would abandon his own flesh and blood - at least, not an innocent child. He’d watched the beautiful Marni for days, enchanted by her. And that should disgust him. She was supposedly a Muggle. Her parents were Squibs or at the very least children of Squibs themselves, which were essentially a half-step up from Muggles. They at least carried the bloodline.
And she’d mistaken him for Sirius the first time she’d spotted him. A passing glance when he hadn’t been able to sneak down an alleyway fast enough. She’d laughed the first time he’d screwed up the courage to approach her, and realized her mistake.
And Faith - she’d been the most darling little child he’d ever set his eyes on. The girl had stolen his cold heart with her readily open one. The visits to see Marni and Faith were never as long as he’d wished they could be, and he’d had to hide his activities lest he gain the watchful eye of his cousin Bellatrix. She’d brand him a blood traitor like Sirius if she knew how much time he was spending with Muggles. Even if they really weren’t
Which is what Faith would be if his mother and cousins had their way. If she manifested powers around her eleventh birthday, they would automatically bind her powers and make her a slave to destiny. He wouldn’t have the darkness swallow his precious niece whole or in bits. He would do his damnedest to stop that from happening, even if it made him the enemy of the Dark Lord, Bellatrix or even his own mother. ~*~
Andromeda stood beside Rupert Giles and the witch Willow Rosenberg. They waited for Helene Duvaelle, the former 13th member of the Coven of Thirteen and current leader of Devon Coven to make herself known. It had been over twenty-five years since Andromeda had last set her eyes on the Earth-magic witch, and she was surprised when she saw the young woman enter.
“Willow,” Helene greeted her with a kiss on the cheek, which she duplicated with Rupert. Then her eyes landed on Andromeda. “Andromeda Black. My Goddess, how long has it been?”
“Far longer than it ought to have been,” Andromeda smiled, hugging her old friend. “And it’s Tonks, not Black anymore.”
“Yes, your aunt cried down the heavens at your desertion of your fate. Though many of us would have still welcomed you with open arms had you come to claim your seat within the Coven,” Helene’s eyes sparkled. “And now you are
back to reclaim it. Have you spoken with Talia?”
“Only by necessity. Talia Granville? No, should I have?” Andromeda remembered the tiny, shy little witch who’d gone to Hogwarts with her.
“She is my mole within the old Coven,” Helene frowned. “They come.”
Twelve pops and some theatrical white smoke preceded the witches who too closely resembled a murder of crows. Talia - more severe looking than she had been - was the first to emerge from the fog. Andromeda tucked herself back behind Rupert, watching as old schoolmates or their mothers appeared. Malignea Bulstrode, the grand dame who’d been in the Coven since before Walburga’s time emerged next, looking nearly hobbled. She also kept herself apart from the younger witches. Andromeda recalled the incident with her son marrying a muggleborn who would save the Estate.
Devony Nott-Lelan, a witch who was a few scant years older than Nymphadora, and Lacuna Rossiter, her aunt who was nearer to Andromeda’s age followed Malignea. Neither had been in the Coven during Walburga’s reign. Their grandmothers had held the role, and from what Andromeda remembered from her aunt’s lecture, both had born only sons. Imogen Sleighton, Renata Ulfric, and Olive Morton had all trained with Andromeda to take their mothers places, and did so after the first war.
Genevieve Treble, better known as the infamous Madame Zabini, arrived next. Genevieve had been married and widowed six times over, producing only two children that Andromeda knew of - a son and a young daughter who’d not yet reached school age. She’d been in Ravenclaw house with Andromeda, and both had bemoaned their ‘chosen’ fate. Her great-grandmother - and the previous witch to hold her spot on the Coven - had died only two years ago.
Narcissa arrived last, with her two favorite lackeys in tow - Hazeltine Greengrass and Amaryllis Parkinson. The Coven was still one short, being eleven instead of twelve.
“I am Narcissa Malfoy, the High Witch of the Coven of Thirteen -”
“You’re two short, little sister,” Andromeda stepped forward, cutting her sister off at the knees - figuratively, of course. Narcissa paled in fury at being cut off - Narcissa had always been one to throw a fit if someone upset her toys or games.
“Our final member could not be pulled away from her appointed tasks on such short notice,” Narcissa blustered on as if Andromeda hadn’t spoken. “And Helene is here.”
“Who’s the twelfth wand witch?” Helene demanded, anger rising in her at her former Coven. “I don’t ever recall meeting her, or half of your Coven.”
“Headmistress of Hogwarts Dolores Umbridge,” Narcissa’s face was pinched at Helene’s rebuke.
“Dumb Jane Umbridge?” Andromeda cried. “That’s
who you got to take Lady Prince’s spot?”
“What are you doing here, sister?
” Narcissa turned to her, finally.
“I am the liaison to the new Head of the Watcher’s Council on behalf of the Wizarding World,” Andromeda smiled. She noticed that Talia, Malignea, and Genevieve were slowly edging away from Narcissa and closer to Helene. That was an interesting development.
?” Narcissa paled again, giving a weak laugh. “How could you be made liaison? That is the honor and the privilege of the Coven High Witch.”
“Yes, I know. Isn’t life just funny sometimes?” Andromeda sneered, shocking the bluster out of Narcissa. “Tell me, sister-dear
, did you - any of you - feel a drain on some of your old spell work lately?”
“Drain? Don’t be preposterous -” Narissa started to say, only to be cut off by Lacuna, who along with her niece Devony started to edge away from Narcissa.
“We felt something snap - in the old
charms our predecessors had us reinforce,” Lacuna narrowed her eyes at Andromeda.
“Those would be the bindings the Coven did on the Chosen,” Helene supplied.
“Sorry, I’m the snapper,” Willow shrugged, giving a helpless smile that belied the power the young witch had.
?” Devony frowned. “What are those?”
“How could a muggle
snap our spell work?” Hazeltine muttered, stupidly giving herself away.
“Shut up, Greengrass,” Amaryllis poked her hard in the ribs, acting more like her fifteen year old daughter than a woman approaching her fifties.
“Less than a week ago, this powerful Earth witch gave the power to all the girls who had the potential to be Chosen,” Helene looked proud of the younger witch’s magic.
Narcissa went completely still as Malignea and Genevieve whipped around to face her, accusing stares on their faces. Andromeda seized her opportunity.
“Imagine my surprise when my daughter revealed this change in her skill set when she spoke to me of it,” Andromeda said quietly. “Now imagine my greater
surprise when the long lost heir of my poor cousin Regulus appeared on my doorstep, having been one of the last truly Chosen Slayers.”
She’d had to gauge her crowd, and hoped that Sirius and Faith never learned of her tiny white lie. She had the five witches on her side, along with Helene. Ousting the other six would be easy enough, and Umbridge’s appointment - much like her appointment to Headmistress was just a joke.
my granddaughter, didn’t you? To get me to go along with your agenda?” Malignea screeched, glaring daggers at Narcissa’s half of the Coven. “You knew, didn’t you Helene?”
“It’s why I separated from the Coven years ago. Walburga’s influence was fairly deep, and certain members would hear none of my accusations,” Helene said sadly. “It is also why the Devon Coven has been working with the Council instead of this Coven for three years now.”
“That’s why my daughter has been waking in the middle of the night, screaming her head off about the Pit and the monsters climbing out of it?” Genevieve whipped out her wand and dragged
Narcissa to her. Narcissa tried to scramble back, but by then, Gen’s hand was fisted in the beautiful coif of hers. “I will slit your throat in your sleep and disembowel your handsome husband while you watch, you bitch! What bargain did you have with my crazy great-grandmother?”
“Gen,” Andromeda quickly pulled her off of Narcissa. Fury and malice sparked in her eyes, and Andromeda had to back her up quickly. “Trust me when I say I know the anger you have towards her. I know two-fold
. And I will pay her back for every child she sacrificed. But not this way. She gets off too easily that way.”
Genevieve nodded and stepped back, the room now clearly divided. Narcissa shook with rage and fear, her boastful words to Bellatrix floating back in her ears. Her power was gone, she was now just waiting on the words to come from the sole man in the room’s mouth. Instead they came from a woman none of them had imagined to be present.
“The Coven of Thirteen is no more. You have failed in your mission, and you forfeit the compensation you have earned over the last two decades. You are disbanded, and are hereby charged with misuse of magic and child endangerment,” Amelia Bones said clearly, her eyes locking on Narcissa. ~*~
Ted had come out about an hour after Andromeda had left, sitting on the bench opposite of where Faith was meditating. Kreacher had popped up earlier, but the memories that came with him were just too much, so she’d sent him back to keep an eye on her father and Tonks.
“Feeling better, then?” Ted asked as she popped her eyes open to stare at him.
“No,” Faith shook her head.
“Well, you’ve been cooped up the last few days, what’s say we go grab a drink?” Ted smiled.
“You tryin’ to get me drunk?” Faith squinted up at him in the fading early summer light.
“Nah, just I fancy a butterbeer at the Cauldron and want to catch the end of the Quidditch match on the Floo Network. Thought you might like to come along and get a taste the Wizarding world.”
“I’m not - I ain’t got a fix on my powers,” Faith was tempted though.
“No magic required to get in the Leaky Cauldron, and if that’s not your cup of tea, we’ll pop into a London pub, pick up a pint and watch a football match on the telly.”
“Jeans good? Cause I don’t have those dresses ya wear.”
“Robes, and I’m sure the Pixie’s got one lyin’ about for you to wear over your clothes.”
“Cool. Brews sound good right about now,” Faith nodded, trusting him to not screw her over. Must be that Jigglypuff thing that Aunt Andy kept yakking on about. ~*~
Bellatrix paced, glaring at her incompetent brother-in-law. She despised most men - her husband and his brother, her lover included. Except for her Dark Lord. Voldemort owned her body and soul, and she wouldn’t have it any other way.
Lucius was looking green from Voldemort’s last private conversation with him. As the fool deserved. He’d lost one of the Dark Lord’s Seven Horcrux. Bella herself had been on the wrong side of her precious Dark Lord over the necklace - the one her stupid little cousin Regulus had stolen from her and replaced with a fake when she’d been entrusted with it.
“That stupid little fool should have reported in already!” Lucius tugged at his collar.
“Kreacher knows his part in all of this - he wants
Narcissa back in the Black family seat,” Bellatrix sneered. “The Dark Lord has already planted the seeds in Potter’s head. He’ll be there this night, and we’ll be done with the brat for good.”