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: Harry made glass disappear when he was angry at his cousin, Faith had to blow up a birdbath with her anger at her
cousin. Seemed fitting. Apples, Trees and Roots
Sirius had had to slink away before Remus had shown up, but part of him was still in that back garden with his daughter. Someone will pay for what they did to my girl
, Sirius thought on a growl as he apparated to his childhood home. Faith could have been one of the strongest witches of her age, and instead someone in the Coven had been determined to eradicate her from the wizarding world. He was livid
“Sirius, you were not to expose yourself,” Albus Dumbledore said quietly from behind him.
“Get her here now
, Dumbledore,” Sirius narrowed his eyes at the man he’d always respected. “She was part of the damned Coven.”
“She is not
a member of the Order,” Dumbledore countered.
“Would you really rather I
go to Narcissa
and handle things that way?”
“I will see what I can do,” Albus said quietly.
Sirius took a deep breath, trying to calm the rage within him as his daughter’s words poured back over his mind. Merlin! And somehow, he found himself at the curtain covered portrait of his mother. On impulse, he snatched it back and actually watched the image shrink away from the sight of him. It had never done that before.
“Even her bloody portrait
knew about my daughter
,” Sirius yelled at the portrait, who only sneered back at him.
“That muggle whelp
survived?” Walburga Black’s portrait howled angrily.
“I should burn your damn portrait for saying that about your granddaughter!” Sirius growled at her.
“Magically enchanted against that!’ the portrait cackled back at him.
“You’ve resorted to arguing with her portrait, Sirius?” a calm voice said from behind him, cutting off whatever reply he would have made to his mother’s portrait. Sirius’s spine stiffened as he turned to face his cousin.
Andromeda Tonks had always been a pretty woman. Once upon a time, all of the Black sisters had been. Age might have sent the silver streaks into his favorite cousin’s dark chocolate hair, and added life lines around her eyes and mouth, but it hadn’t detracted from her beauty. Sirius hadn’t laid eyes on her in nearly sixteen years, and he would have never imagined that this would have been the reason for their reunion.
“Dumbledore works fast,” Sirius blinked, some of his anger lessened just by seeing her again.
“I was waiting for Nymphandora to return to her flat,” Andromeda smiled softly at him, worry clear in her eyes for her only child. “We’d planned to dine together this afternoon before she was called away on business
business,” Sirius scowled at her.
“I was never part of the Coven, Sirius,” Andromeda shook her head. “I lost my right to Mother’s seat when I married Ted. Which is why I was thoroughly shocked that Dumbledore would request my presence on the pretext of Coven business.”
“Did you know?”
“Dromeda, don’t even start with me, woman,” Sirius ground out, leveling his cousin with the hardest of glares.
“I am quite sure I didn’t hear that tone with you, Sirius Black, especially since this is the first time I’ve seen you in sixteen years and you’ve been free from Azkaban for the last three,” Andromeda crossed her arms and stared at him. “Now what Coven
business are we speaking of?”
“The Coven’s decision to bind my daughter’s
magic because she carried the Slayer Potential,” Sirius snapped, pacing away from her.
“They did what?
” Andromeda hissed out, her anger and outrage clear enough in her voice that he no longer doubted her sincerity. “You foolish old bat!”
Sirius watched the image of his mother flee
the combined wrath of the Black cousins. He turned back to face his cousin, shocked at what he saw. The normally collected Andromeda had actually whipped out her wand, ready to do the portrait harm. Tears of anger in her eyes, her hand trembled as she lowered her wand. He nodded to the sitting room off the hallway, needing to discuss this in private.
“Did - is it too late -” Andromeda asked quietly.
“She lives,” Sirius shook his head. “But she almost didn’t. So many things could have gone wrong for her. She could have died a thousand times over without me ever even knowing she was alive.”
“How old is she? What’s her name? Where is she?”
“You knew Tonks had been spared being Chosen?” Sirius asked again, deflecting her questions. He’d already had to share her existence with Remus, Tonks and Dumbledore. He wasn’t quite ready to share his daughter with anyone else.
“Unfortunately, that I did know,” Andromeda looked guilty. “It was the last time I spoke civilly to your mother. Uncle Orion - she shared everything with him, Sirius - he knew about Nymphandora’s quirk gift.” Andromeda had always had a soft spot for his father, and Sirius had never understood the man himself. Merlin knew, they’d both been blasted off the family tree quick enough. But now he had to wonder if that could have been lain on his mother’s quick and decisive temper. “He pleaded with both Walburga and Narcissa to sway the Coven. I never asked for it, but her gift was too rare.”
“You kept in touch with the old man?” Sirius frowned at her.
“Walburga and Mother disowned me because of Ted, but once I had Nymphandora, I started receiving letters from Uncle Orion. Bellatrix might have been your mother’s favorite, but I had always been your father’s favorite niece,” Andromeda smiled sadly. “Your mother - she didn’t live long after Regulus disappeared.”
“My sniveling little brother died
,” Sirius spat out.
“Just because that blasted family tree says he does, doesn’t make it so,” she shook her head. “There was never a body to bury, Sirius. He came to visit me, you know. Not long before he disappeared, asking me similar questions. If I knew what the Coven was up to, if I had any idea what they were doing. I assumed he’d meant binding Nymphandora’s slayer potential. But it’s quite possible your mother lashed out at him - especially if it was concerning your own daughter’s magic being bound. Merlin!”
“Bloody hell,” Sirius did not like the idea that his brother had known about his daughter before he had.
“She felt so guilty, Uncle Orion said. That her last words to Regulus had been in anger, but he’d never known why. Regulus had stormed past him and then - nothing. No word, and whispers of Death Eaters getting the Traitor’s brother. For a while, they even whispered that you must have done off with him. Uncle Orion - he lost so much so quickly,” Andromeda said quietly. “And he never knew of your daughter. That I do know for certain, because he wanted
a grandchild so very badly, Sirius.”
“A pureblood grandchild, Dromeda,” Sirius sighed. “Her mother was a Muggle.”
“I honestly don’t think he would have cared. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have honored Regulus’s will so diligently.”
“Why did my brother have a will?”
“Regulus went to the states for two years, when he was fresh out of school. I don’t know the exact details of course, but everyone speculated at the time that it was on Voldemort’s request, just as you and Remus Lupin went there two years prior to gain allies,” Andromeda sat down wearily. “But he was a very different young man when he returned. Even I could see it, and we rarely saw him. More serious, more cautious. Anyway, when Uncle Orion came to me just before he passed ten years ago, he asked me to oversee a trust that Regulus had set up.”
“A trust?” Sirius felt ill.
“When the young woman reached 21, she was to inherit a small fortune in Wizarding money. It’s been gaining interest for sixteen years,” Andromeda folded her hands. “I just had always assumed it had been his daughter, not yours.”
“Her name is Faith, she’s not yet 21, and I’ve never met her,” Sirius held his head in his hands. “She’s a Slayer, has been since she was fifteen, and she accidentally killed a man. I’ve done nothing for her, her paternal grandmother cursed her, and apparently, her uncle and grandfather ensured she’d have money to fall back on.”
“Merlin, that poor girl,” Andromeda sighed.
“You heard about the Earth-magic witch who called all of the slayers?” Sirius asked after several long minutes.
“What? That’s not possible - the Coven strongly regulates that -”
“The Coven is twelve wand carrying witches and one Earth-magic witch,” Sirius recalled his mother’s lectures on why she was cursed with male offspring who could not replace her in her beloved Coven of Thirteen.
“The Earth-magic witch no longer practices with them, hasn’t since your mother took over the Coven. I heard she started her own coven in Devon. Her leaving the Coven would weaken them considerably,” Andromeda paled. “Nymphandora -”
“Is one of a thousand or more slayers. Along with my daughter.”
Faith couldn’t stop looking at the broken birdbath, her eyes fixed on it. Tonks - her cousin - was babbling on about how she was a witch now. That her magic had been unlocked. Tonks, it seemed, could roll with the punches. She was used to having extraordinary gifts tossed on her head. Her cousin hadn’t
come to her because she needed something from Faith. Tonks had actually come to help her
Talk about fucking throwin’ her for a loop.