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: I lied. Sirius is in the next part. Apples, Trees and Roots
Tonks chewed at her lip at the pain rolling off the woman who was her long-lost cousin. She let her hand fall to her hip. When Dumbledore had assigned her to shadowing Remus as protection, she’d been hurt that he hadn’t sent her to meet her cousin. Sirius had looked so stunned that he’d had a daughter when they’d been told five days ago. Added with the fact of what had been done to her - her magic bound for her Muggle heritage as a Slayer - had baffled him.
Coupled with her own emergence of Slayer powers, the truth from the Coven on her Aunt and Great-Aunt’s actions of nearly a decade ago. She shuddered at what could
have been her own fate, had both of her parents not been wizards and had she not had that little quirk of hers. She tried to school her emotions and keep the grin on her face.
“No, actually, I don’t need you for help controlling unseemly power bursts,” Tonks let her nose grow hooked and turned her hair platinum blonde with riotous curls, her chest expanding and her legs lengthening to make her statuesque.
“Wow, magic can make you into Baghead-bang Barbie,” Faith drawled. “Am I supposed to be impressed by this, G?”
“Damnit, Nymphandora! No one is supposed to know about that!” Remus snapped at her.
“She’s family,” Tonks shrugged and shifted back into her ‘normal’ form. “And stop calling me that.”
“I ain’t shit to your family. I don’t want
shit from your family. And if you don’t need me, then I’m out, G-man.”
“Faith, wait!” Tonks cried, stepping between her and the door. “Please. Will you talk to me?”
“Why? Why should I even bother?”
“Because you’re my little cousin, and I don’t have many of those,” Tonks shook her head at the neediness in her tone. Her father was an only child, her evil Aunt Bellatrix had never spawned - thank Merlin, and all she had was Sirius and Draco. One had been in prison for a little less than half her life and the other wouldn’t be caught dead speaking to a relation with Muggle in their bloodline.
“Not interested in playing happy family right now, Tonks,” Faith shrugged past her.
Tonks felt her shoulders droop in defeat. She was determined not to snivel over this. It would only prove Dumbledore right, and honestly, she hated it when he was right. Bad things always happened when he was right, the old coot. She felt Remus’s hand on her shoulder, and a tiny frisson of heat curled up her spine. Tonks straightened her spine and turned to give Remus and Mr. Giles her most dazzling smile.
“Don’t worry, I’ll win her over. Even if it kills me.”
“How exactly did they get away with it?” Giles asked, leaning forward on the desk.
“Who? The Old Coven?” Tonks asked. “Twenty years ago, Walburga Black ran
the Coven with an iron fist. Dear Great-Auntie was a pure-blood fanatic.”
“Faith’s paternal Grandmother?”
“Yes,” Remus sighed. “Far as we can piece together, the moment Faith was born with that flicker of Magic, her name was sent to the registry. Any child born with a flickering of magic has their name sent automatically into a registry at a Ministry of Magic, no matter the country or continent. And if a child is born of at least one Magically inclined parent, their names are sent on to a tentative school enrollment at Hogwarts, or to the magical school in the country of their Magical parent.”
“Because Sirius was her father, Faith’s name was set down at Hogwarts,” Tonks frowned. “I could have definitely used her on the Quidditch pitch against the Slytherins. Natural athletic ability runs in the Black family. Except for Draco, but that I blame on the Malfoy blood.”
“Tonks,” Remus frowned at her.
“Right. So, Great-Aunt Walburga found out that she had a granddaughter sired on a Muggle, and that turned her twelve shades of purple. I do believe she sent a howler to my mum for setting a bad example by getting a whelp on a Mudblood. I was all of four at the time. But at the same time that Faith’s name was being put down on the Potential Slayer list. The Coven’s Seer foresaw her wielding a sword and a wand. Walburga, of course, was convinced that Faith would never rise above her Muggle taint.”
“And the Council didn’t come looking for Faith until she was ten,” Giles looked ill. “Bloody hell.”
“Such a sweetheart. But, ten years ago, Walburga was already gone. She’d passed on not long after cousin Regulus. And seeing as Auntie Narcissa was her favorite, she left it up to the Malfoy branch to ensure her disowned son never knew of his daughter. Sirius had already been in Azkaban for five years,” Tonks sighed.
“Walburga wasn’t original enough plan it all out by herself. It was an old system long before Faith arrived to make it personal,” Remus shook his head. “Wizarding families faced with having their daughters sacrificed to save the Muggle world need only drop a word to certain Coven members to keep their daughters safe.”
“Binding either the Slayer gift or the Witch gift on a need by need basis. For a tidy sum of course,” Tonks shifted her eyes to the partially closed door.
“And here I thought that only the Council had been corrupt. Now apparently even the Coven is suspect,” Giles rubbed at the bridge of his nose.
“Well, your wandless wonder witch fixed that. Her magic was strong enough to break the binding spells on those witches and slayers already affected,” Tonks eased towards the door, the prickling feeling gone. “I should have been called first. I
broke the line of Chosen ones, you know. Layla, me, India, Buffy, Kendra, then Faith.”
“I had worked out that there was a gap between Layla and India’s ages,” Giles heard the irrational guilt in her voice.
“But now I wonder if Walburga’s ‘saving’ me caused fate to Call Faith,” Tonks said mournfully.
Part of her wished that her little cousin had stayed hidden behind the door to hear the remorse in her words. And part of her was happy that she couldn’t lay unnecessary anger and resentment on already burdened shoulders.