Tara in Hogwarts
Tara in Hogwarts.
Chapter One.Disclaimer: Tara belongs to Joss Whedon, the Malfoys to J.K. Rowling and Abraxas Moody and his family are mine.
"The say that fate isn't cautious where it sticks its' fingers" - Terry Pratchett, Men-at-Arms.
Geryon Zabini was walking through the streets of the US… just enjoying his evening, indulging his little human fallacies for once. After all, if taking a quiet walk alone to enjoy the pleasantries of the evening didn’t make one human, what did?
Thunder boomed in the distance.
Little dust devils, stirred by the rising wind, danced around Geryon's feet.
Geryon smiled enigmatically over his cigarette. He knew what was about to take place, but he wasn’t telling.
Suddenly, the wind brought to his attention something else other than the sounds of the upcoming storm and smells of May – it was the sounds of a human crying, and it sounded like a girl.
Geryon frowned. Being the father of three girls himself he felt that it was his duty to investigate.
With a flick of his wand he extinguished his smoke and went in that direction.
The sound repeated, became louder, more urgent.
Geryon Zabini hastened his step.* * *
Mrs. McClay was weeping: was there no escape for her and her daughter? Was she bound to be captured and bound again by her family no matter how far did they go? Was there nowhere to escape?
A harsh slap against her ear knocked her down, head ringing, and also apparently answered her question.
“Just where do you think you were going with your demon spawn?” her father snarled, standing over her, while their sons smirked in the distance. “Disgracing our family again, scum? Why, if you weren’t my wife I’d-“
“What is going on here?”
It seemed to Mrs. McClay – who wasn’t quite there already due to the beating – that this somehow seemed a deviation from a script, something that wasn’t supposed to happen, and yet it did, and now the wind died down in anticipation (or was it fear?), and the rain held its’ breath instead of falling.
“Well?” the voice repeated.
“Well what, mister?” spoke the younger of her sons (being still older than Tara by over ten years), cocky and eager for a fight. “Can’t you see we’re having a little family dispute here? Take a hike and beat it – or else?”
“Or else what? You’ll scare me away with what you hid behind those pants of yours, redneck?”
Silence fell with a hiss.
“Alright mister, you wanted a fight, you’re going to get it,” Donny said and swung his fist.
Geryon sidestepped and slammed the younger male’s ear. The latter teetered, half-stunned, until a hard jab in ribs caused him to fall.
That finally got Bucky out of his stupor and he swung his baseball bat at Geryon's head. Geryon caught the bat and hit the other man into the very delicate area. Needless to say, Bucky released his bat and that sealed his undoing as Geryon hit him in the head with it, effectively poleaxing the younger man.
“Your turn,” Geryon growled thickly, turning to Mr. McClay. “You really made me angry, you know?” His eyes glowed red.
That broke Mr. McClay’s nerve and he fled into the labyrinth of the city’s streets, quickly vanishing in the rain.
Geryon looked down at Mrs. McClay and all of his anger drained out of him, upon seeing this near-broken woman lying before his feet. Ah, Muggles, they never stopped surprising him, pleasantly and otherwise.
“Please,” the woman said, showing him a little, three-year old girl. “Save her,” she said, before she fainted.
Geryon looked at the girl, looked at the comatose woman, and finalized his decision in a split second.
“Don’t worry, I will take care of her,” he promised the woman.
And then he smiled.* * *
When Tara awoke, she was lying in a comfortable bed, with a worried-looking friendly lady looming over her.
“You are all right?” she asked, seeing that Tara was awake.
“Yes… how’s mommy?” Tara managed.
“She’s… fine too,” Louise Zabini calmly spoke, blithely telling the girl… a half-truth at best.
“When can I see her?”
“I am afraid it’s not so simple, kid,” a man said, entering the small room as well. “I am afraid you won’t be able to see your mom for quite some time – she, uh, didn’t make through what those men did to her.”
“No! Daddy couldn’t…” but even then Tara knew that he could and probably did. “But mommy’s not a demon!” she cried. “I’m not a demon! We’re witches – good witches!”
“Really? Care to hold onto this?” Geryon said, as he gave little Tara his wand.
Tara took it.
And the wand glowed brighter than it ever did.
Geryon merely raised one of his eyebrows. “Interesting,” he said, as he gently took his wand back. “Tell me, kid, would you like to go to a witches’ school when you’re older? A real witches’ school, you know? And in poshy old England, too.”
Tara’s eyes lit-up. “Really? Like in Mary Poppins?”
“Exactly, kid. Well, maybe not exactly but close enough. So, we have a deal?”
“Yeah!” and Tara’s little hand shook Geryon much bigger one.
Geryon's eyes twinkled. He loved it when things came together on the first try.* * *
Geryon nonchalantly sat in an armchair before a fireplace. “Malfoy Manor, England,” he said, as he threw a pinch of powder into it. A head of Lucius Malfoy popped in existence shortly afterwards. “Abraxas? Why are you calling me?” he asked as soon as he saw who summoned him.
“Tell me, Lucius, how are the things on your home front – still the same?”
“Yes, but what are you going to do about that?” Lucius sighed. “Damn the Blacks! Of all their daughters I got the one that nobody wanted!”
“Well, how about this: you – and your wife, of course – become sponsors of an adorable three-year-old Scottish-American witch. How does this sound?”
Lucius sighed. “Look, Geryon , according to Malfoy family law, only a Malfoy born in wedlock can inherit the Manor-“
“I remember. It also says that only a boy child can inherit the Manor properly; girl-children all receive a considerable dowry and are taken well cared of, but they don’t get the Manor; and that’s whom I am offering – a girl for you to sponsor!”
Now Lucius turned thoughtful in earnest. “Tell me, Geryon, this isn’t another one… like Mandy, is it?”
“No. I don’t deal with Mandy and her ilk – not that I would give you back one of your bastards in the first place.”
“I do not have bastards.”
“Lucius, I was the one stuck holding the bloody candles, remember? Just take my word for this, alright? Now, will you take her or shall she remain in our care?”
“What about her family?” Lucius said slyly.
“Trust me – those poster children for evil Muggle propaganda piece are out of the running – they beat her, Lucius, beat her and her mother.”
“What?” Lucius stared. “Impossible.”
“Trust me, Lucius,” Geryon replied, more wearily than anything else. “With American rednecks anything is possible.”
Lucius exhaled. “I have to think about this.”
“Be my guest.”
Geryon Zabini broke the connection and closed his eyes to sleep a bit.* * *
Lucius Malfoy sat in his Manor, deep in thought, for never once had his associate Abraxas been so… forthcoming.
…His association with Geryon started long ago, when Geryon was still in Hogwarts, a few years younger than Lucius and the rest of the Death Eaters’ crew. That might’ve been pivotal in their relationship, since back then Voldemort was reluctant to bring a youngster into the fold, and so were the older Death Eaters, like Dolohov and Karkaroff. However…
However, Geryon showed a remarkable mercenary ruthlessness and a great eagerness to work for money, matched only by his business-like attitude and common sense, and that was what drew him and Lucius together. Common sense. And that was important, considering that the whole Death Eater vs. the magical government of Britain struggle was growing crazier by the day.
…In the end, Geryon didn’t become a Death Eater all the same – the fact that his grandfather was a famous Auror played rather heavily in Voldemort’s uneasy mind and that was that. But he did remain a “valuable associate”, often used to do things that most Death Eaters couldn’t do (because they needed alibis or because they wanted to spread some extra confusion – never because they were afraid of doing it).
In the end, Lucius mused, it was that trip to New England that settled that. Four of them went to obtain a secure hide-out for the Death Eaters, just in case something did go wrong – he, Geryon, Walden McNair and Severus Snape. But Severus had quickly vanished in the direction of the Mid-West states, having discovered apparently something more interesting than acquiring a hide-out for Voldemort and that left the three of them, the less responsible wizards to go around their business.
It all worked-out in the end, though McNair may not have agreed – but nobody asked McNair those days, and Severus, though he certainly suspected something, said nothing, thus strengthening Lucius’ own suspicions that back in USA the current Hogwarts Potions Master had served his own interests as well…
Lucius shook his head, bringing his memory train close to the matter at hand. Narcissa… the youngest of the Blacks’ daughters, his wife… and the odd one of the three girls. Both Andromeda and Bellatrix were powerful and articulate women, not afraid of taking their own destinies into their own hands – just like their Gryffindor cousin for that matter. And if they’d work together, Lucius mused, they could’ve done a lot of things. But then again, it would’ve been impossible – Andromeda and Bellatrix never got along, and the fact that Bellatrix had married Rudolphus Lestrange because Andromeda decided that she wouldn’t and didn’t and Bellatrix knew that didn’t do any wonders for their relationship either. But they did work together, once, when Lucius threatened to divorce Narcissa, and things almost culminated in fighting…
Lucius shook his head again and began to finally think about the matter at hand. Narcissa. That woman was just crazy. Apparently, during their childhood, both of her sisters had ignored her and now she didn’t want to have any kids of her own, and Lucius couldn’t force her, because that would set of a series of unfortunate events and he couldn’t count of him being the last one standing when the dust settled, and that was the crux of the matter.
Lucius mused. He could bring one of his own bastard children into the fold – he did have a lot of them on both sides of the Atlantic – but that would be really asking for trouble. The society’s outrage would be too much even for him – and quite a few of the children, like Mandy, were proving to be forces to be reckoned in their own rights as well. But what Geryon proposed was… interesting.
Lucius smiled, imagining the look on faces when it would be proven that the Malfoys did a selfless thing. (Well, it would be for Malfoys.) It’ll be something to look for – and as for the look on Narcissa’s face…
And then, the little girl was a girl and thus would not provide any competition to Lucius’ own legitimate children, provided that he ever got any.
His mind set, Lucius re-established contact with Geryon overseas and agreed to sponsor the girl.* * *
It was later, much later that Geryon decided on a midnight snack. His family – and little Tara – was asleep, and there wasn’t anybody else around. So down he went into the secret room, of which nobody else knew about.
Inside of it stood rows of cages, terrariums, aquariums, all filled with beasts, bird, reptiles and amphibians of small to medium size.
Geryon smiled slightly and looked a row of cages with squirrels. The bushy-tailed rodents froze, as his gaze fell on them…
But Geryon shook his head. “Another time,” he said, “now for something more… substantial.” His hand closed on a cat and lifted it high in the air. The feline barely struggled, so overcome with fear it was.
Geryon smiled, revealing teeth that were too sharp in a mouth that was too big for a human, and then he chomped.
The animals froze.
A few new drops of sticky red stuff splattered over the walls.
Geryon licked his lips and went back to bed.
Tomorrow, he knew, will be a busy day.