Who's That Girl?
“George?” Hermione called as she headed for the back of the joke shop that everyone still referred to as “the twins’ shop”. At some point, maybe they’d start calling it George’s, or maybe George and Ron’s, if Ron didn’t get accepted into Auror training and ended up staying, but it hadn’t happened yet. Verity, the girl who had been working for WWW since its grand opening, waved and pointed them toward the office.
She’d half expected Ron to just trail her into the office, but he actually made it to the door ahead of her, opening it for her. Once he’d closed the door behind him, though, it was like he could no longer contain himself.
“Draco Sodding Malfoy has a sister our age,” he blurted.
George looked up from the lunch he was just tucking into.
“Hello to you too, little brother. Hate to tell you, but no one’s going to fall for that. Worst one you’ve tried yet- absolute rubbish.”
He resumed eating.
“It’s not rubbish,” Hermione said. “We’ve just met her.”
George smiled as he swallowed and took a sip of butterbeer to wash it down.
“Getting Hermione in on it is a nice touch, Ron, if you’re lucky, you might be able to fool Harry.”
“Oh for heaven’s sake, George, it’s not a joke!” Hermione exclaimed. “It’s probably going to be all over the gossip columns by tomorrow- it’s not like they were trying to hide.”
“You can’t be serious,” George protested. “Hey!”
Hermione had waved her wand and packed his lunch neatly back into the takeaway carton it had come in.
“We’re going to ours,” she said. “Kreacher’s probably got lunch ready by now, and we’re going to see if Ginny, Luna, and Neville want to pop round. Might as well tell everyone the story at once.”
George raised an eyebrow.
“Not like you to be Little Miss Tittle-Tattle, Hermione,” he said thoughtfully. “You think something’s off about her?”
“Oh, you haven’t heard the best part yet, bro,” Ron said, shaking his head.
“There’s more?” George asked in surprise.
“Oh, there’s more,” Ron assure him. “So, you coming, or should I make Hermione unpack that?”
George didn’t hesitate- given the choice between takeaway and the possibility of a proper cooked meal, who would? Especially if there was a chance Kreacher was experimenting with pudding again. Hermione had gotten a book on Italian cookery from Flourish & Blott’s last month, and she had mentioned Kreacher was running through the recipes. Harry had complained that if he kept it up, he’d have to take up jogging before he put on weight.
Ron pulled the small pot of Floo powder they kept for personal use from his desk drawer (leaving it out was dangerous, as they sometimes tested new ideas in the office) and handed it to Hermione.
“Ladies first,” he said politely.
“13 Grimmauld Place!” Hermione told the fire before stepping in.
Ron followed, and George replaced the pot in the drawer before tossing his own pinch onto the flames and stepping into the fire.---
When he arrived in Harry’s kitchen, he found Ron was waiting for him to come through before he tried to Floo the Burrow or Luna’s house. Harry was doing his best to be out of the way. Kreacher was bustling about, with Hermione apologetically telling him there’d be a few extra for lunch if that was ok, while the elf fussed that if he had known company was coming, he would have planned something nicer.
George sat down at the other end of the kitchen table, out of the way of his brother and any other arrivals, and gratefully accepted the hot roast beef sandwich and generous heap of chips Kreacher brought him. Harry dropped into the next seat, looking bemused at the sudden whirl of activity, and a similar plate (with slightly bigger portions) was set in front of him.
“Thanks, Kreacher, this is brilliant,” he assured the still fussy elf. “I’m sure everyone will love it, and next time we’ll give you notice before we spring a crowd for lunch on you.”
Ginny popped out of the fireplace, and came to sit next to Harry.
“So what’s the fuss about?” she asked. “Percy’s working, something’s going on and he can’t skip out for the afternoon, he said he’ll be lucky if he has time to grab lunch at his desk, so he’ll have to hear later.”
They’d only just started to eat when he heard the bell ringing for the front door.
“That’ll be Luna and Neville,” Hermione said, hurrying up to let them in.
When the three of them returned, and everyone had been served lunch by a no longer flustered Kreacher- who was probably plotting an impressive pudding to make up for such a pedestrian main course- Harry finally asked.
“All right, what happened in Diagon Alley that the two of you came back so worked up?”
Hermione and Ron glanced at each other. Hermione won the silent conversation about who would answer.
“Draco Malfoy has a sister who turns eighteen next week,” she said calmly.
Neville promptly choked on a chip and had to be whacked on the back by Luna.
“The amazing bouncing ferret has a sister?” Ginny demanded. “How come we never saw her at Hogwarts?”
“Easy,” Ron replied. “She didn’t grow up at Malfoy Manor.”
Even Hermione looked startled by that.
“How do you figure, Ron?” she asked.
“Hermione, she was perfectly nice to you, and she didn’t know who you were, even though everyone else in her family does! Lucius Malfoy knew you on sight already our second year, and Narcissa recognized you at the Quidditch World Cup- where, by the way, I don’t recall seeing Buffy sitting with Mummy and Daddy and big brother Draco.”
“What are you saying,” Harry asked. “That she’d been raised by relatives and sent to another school?”
“I don’t think she was raised a witch,” Ron replied. “She told Hermione Draco had just bought her a broom because she didn’t have one, and she was carrying a parcel from Ollivanders. Wherever they stashed her, she hasn’t been in the wizarding world.”
“Maybe she was being trained by the Watchers’ Council,” Hermione protested weakly. “It would be unusual, but not unheard of!”
“The who?” Neville asked- speaking for most of the table. To general surprise, it wasn’t Hermione who answered him.
“The Watchers’ Council trains the Vampire Slayer,” Luna said, patting Neville’s arm. “Though they aren’t usually responsible for witches. They’re not terribly nice to the girls they train.”
“The Vampire Slayer?” George asked skeptically. “I thought that was just a legend.”
The other men at the table nodded.
“Didn’t any of you pay attention in DADA?” Ginny demanded. “Vampire Slayers were definitely covered the year Snape taught the class. He said the 6th and 7th year classes went into much more detail, but I guess that wouldn’t help most of us…”
“Maybe it was supposed to be covered in 5th year, Gin,” Harry replied. “I don’t remember it coming up in our class. Hermione?”
Hermione shook her head.
“I’ve read about them, but not for school. We must have missed the topic. Umbridge wouldn’t have taught us about anything serious, and that’s who was doing DADA our 5th year. 6th year, Snape was all about practical defense for obvious reasons.”
“I don’t remember it either, but Fake Mad Eye probably would have skipped a topic that didn’t give him a chance to shout Constant Vigilance!
at least once and tell a cool story involving his days out in the field.”
“Anyway,” Harry said, drawing everyone’s attention back to the topic, “why would the Malfoys let the Council take their daughter? I’m not a fan, obviously, but they took really good care of Draco. Narcissa wouldn’t hear of Lucius sending him away to Durmstrang, so I can’t imagine her letting her daughter out of her sight for years, and not having her brought up to be a good pureblood.”
“Oh, dear,” Hermione said sadly. “Maybe we need to ask around about her. I was going to check with Kingsley to be sure the Ministry was aware she was a Slayer, so they could make sure the Watchers don’t try to make her do the Cruciamentum- her birthday’s next week!”
“Somehow I don’t think they are,” George said thoughtfully. “I mean, I know dear old Lucius wasn’t sentenced to prison courtesy of another conveniently timed change of heart, but I can’t imagine the Ministry wouldn’t keep careful tabs on a Malfoy Vampire Slayer, can you?”
“It’s times like this I really miss Remus,” he said. “We could have asked him about this.”
“We could still ask Dad,” Ginny suggested.
Ron shook his head.
“That’s not the same, Gin,” he said. “Dad works for the Ministry. We tell him about her, he may be obliged to report her or something. Her father’s horrible and her brother’s a wanker, but she seemed all right.”
“They wouldn’t do anything horrible to her,” Hermione protested.
“Dunno,” George mused. “Depends on where she’s been all this time, and what she’s been doing.”
“Fighting vampires, obviously,” Hermione said.
“Yeah, but where?” George asked. “What else has she been up to? She can’t have been the Vampire Slayer this whole time, either- I can’t see an infant being much good against a vampire. Who’s been taking care of her?”
“Yeah,” Ron said. “And Lucius Malfoy wasn’t sent to Azkaban, but he wasn’t exactly pardoned, either, was he? There’s still a faction that would love any excuse to clap him in shackles and send him off to Azkaban. And have you done the math on her age?”
“What about her age?” Hermione asked.
“You said her birthday’s next week,” Harry said suddenly. “That can’t be right. Draco’s birthday is early in June. Narcissa Malfoy can’t have had another baby that quickly.”
“Maybe she was born early?” Hermione suggested half-heartedly.
Everyone except Harry looked at her oddly.
“What do you mean, early?” Ginny asked with a frown.
“Sometimes babies are born before they’re full term,” Hermione explained.
“Maybe for Muggles,” Ron said doubtfully. “I’ve never heard of it happening to witches. And most witches don’t have kids one right after the other like that. Gin and I are considered really close in age, and she’s still over a full year younger.”
“Oh,” Hermione said faintly, surprised at this facet of wizarding culture she hadn’t known.
“So Narcissa Malfoy can’t be her mother,” Harry said flatly. “Are we sure she’s really a Malfoy?”
“Yes!” said Hermione and Ron in unison, so decisively that Harry was startled.
“You didn’t see them, mate,” Ron told him. “If you did, you wouldn’t ask. They definitely look brother and sister. Besides, one of them said something about her being born a Malfoy.”
“Just because Narcissa’s not her mother doesn’t mean Lucius can’t still be her father,” George pointed out. “And if that’s the case… well, I just wonder who her mother is. Especially if she’s only just getting a wand now.”
The table went silent as everyone remembered but did not say out loud that Lucius Malfoy was quite capable of doing some very nasty things to defenseless Muggles.
“We need to ask someone who was in the Order,” Hermione said quietly. “Someone who was in the Order the first time and might know if Lucius Malfoy was known to be involved with any anti-Muggle incidents back then.”
“Someone who was in the Order the first time and not working for the Ministry,” Luna amended. “Whoever her mum is, Buffy must be ok enough with Lucius Malfoy being her father to be here, so we don’t want to have the Ministry haul off and arrest him when we have no idea whether he’s done anything.”
“That doesn’t exactly leave a lot of options, though, does it?” Ginny said. “When you consider that whoever we ask won’t know much unless they were fairly high up in the Order the first time- it’s not like Dumbledore was telling everyone everything, is it?”
“Professor McGonagall,” Hermione said firmly. “She was in the Order. And she was closer to Dumbledore than most people. If anyone would be able to tell us if the Order knows anything about Buffy Malfoy, it’ll be her.”