A/N: Hi, everyone! This is a modern Jily AU inspired by prompt number four of the Jily Royalty Fest. Lily is discovered as Duke Sirius and Prince Regulus' illegitimate sister. The Jily Royalty Fest is brought to you by fetchalgernon on Tumblr.
And thanks so much to my beta, Olivia! (Who you can also find on Tumblr at jem-crystairs.)
I hope you enjoy!
For some reason, staring at all the statues of naked people all around her made Lily feel the need to button her blouse higher up. They made her feel self-conscious, and she didn't understand why they had to be there. She knew the elite looked down upon women who wore slits up their skirt and low-hanging necklines; so why did they have bored-looking stone carved into such shameful poses?
Lily looked down at herself. She thought she had dressed rather appropriately to this... meeting. She was wearing a green button down with a matching knee-length skirt and a silver blazer. Green and silver were the colors of the House of Slytherin, where she had been asked to meet a Ms Bethany Bulstrode.
"Miss Evans?" said a voice from behind her. Lily turned. A black woman with a friendly face and a clipboard was standing in the doorway.
The woman smiled and approached Lily, hand outstretched. "I am Bethany Bulstrode," she said, her hand. "Please, sit down." Bethany waved her hand at the large armchairs next to them. Lily sat down, tucking her hair behind her ear.
Lily's eyes trailed around the room. She didn't know what to say to Bethany. She didn't feel comfortable here-it was too intimidating; too cold. She felt very small, looking at the large picture of Prince Orion Black above the mantel on the fireplace. The late Prince had died only a month prior to that day, but none of the people Lily saw here looked as though they were in mourning.
"Would you like some tea?" Bethany asked her. "Here, Daisy's bringing some now."
A maid came in pushing a silver cart. Lily had never seen anyone wearing a black-and-white maid uniform, and her eyes widened as they settled on Daisy. She felt so out of her element here. At home it was just Lily, her big sister, and her mum. They lived in a small house in Cokeworth. There were no maids or marble statue or life-sized portraits.
Daisy handed Lily a porcelain cup (porcelain! Lily had never even touched it before!) and put a small matching coaster on the round table next to her. She put a fruit platter and a dessert platter next to it and silently left the room. "Thank you," Lily called uncertainly after her. Daisy turned quickly and flashed her a smile.
"Now, Miss Evans," said Bethany.
"Please-Lily," she said. She couldn't remember the last time anyone had called her "Miss Evans".
"Lily," said Bethany, smiling. "I take it you don't know why you're here." It wasn't a question.
"No," Lily said anyway. "I don't."
Bethany handed Lily a folded-up piece of paper from her clipboard. "Read it," she invited.
Lily took the paper, not having the slightest clue of what was going on, opened it, and read:
I know Sirius will not mourn my death and my dear Regulus will indeed be filled with sorrow, so I leave this task to you.
As you know, Sirius is heir to my throne. He is currently the Slytherin Duke, though he does not act like it. As you also know, Sirius will reject becoming Prince, which is definitely for the best. This means that Regulus should take the throne.
Unfortunately, about eighteen years ago, I made a mistake. Regulus is not the next heir after Sirius; they have a sister.
She is seventeen, a year younger than Sirius. I am very ashamed of the girl, though we have not met. But I cannot hand the throne to Regulus knowing that it is not his rightful place.
The girl's name is Lily Evans. She lives in Cokeworth. Find her.
Prince Orion Arcturus Black
Lily felt tears prickle in her eyes as she finished reading. Slowly, she looked up and handed the letter back to Bethany. "Is this... is this a joke?"
"I'm afraid not, Lily," said Bethany. "Prince Orion was not one to joke."
"This is impossible," Lily said, not listening to the older woman. "I... I can't be..."
Why not? said a voice inside her head. You know you never looked like Dad. You know mum always changed the subject when you asked about him. You know you have the same eyes as Prince Orion.
Lily clasped her hands together tightly. Her head was spinning. This couldn't be real, this only happened in the movies. She was Lily. Just Lily. She was sure plenty of people had green eyes... who cared if her hair texture was unlike everyone else's in her family? Just because Lily didn't personally know an Evans with thick hair didn't mean there wasn't one... Or maybe she had her father's hair.
Not that father. Lily tried to undo her previous thought. I mean Robert Campbell. He's my father.
But as his picture appeared in her mind's eye, Lily knew that just wasn't true.
And so here she was. Lily Evans, no longer a simple, middle-class girl from Cokeworth. She was heiress to the Slytherin Throne.
"I don't want it," she heard herself say.
"I can understand that," said Bethany sympathetically. "His Majesty was never very kind. Good with money. Not so much with people."
"The throne," Lily said louder. "I do not want the throne."
"Ah," said Bethany softly. "Yes, I feared this might be the case."
"Why did you bring me here?" Lily asked, surprised to find her voice shaking with rage.
"I have worked alongside the Slytherin throne for years," said Bethany. "I could not bare to see something bad happen to it."
"So you decided to bring in an illegitimate princess? I'm sure they'll be loads popular now."
"We'll," Bethany said. "We'll be loads popular now. And yes, that's exactly what I think."
"Ha!" said Lily.
"It's true," insisted Bethany. "I asked around at your school. You're a bright, charming girl, I hear. You've got plenty of friends. Prince Orion, God rest his soul, thought you were a burden, but I think you might be our saving grace."
Lily shook her head. "I have to get out of here."
"Lily, please. Listen. Can you spare me five minutes?" Bethany put her hand on Lily's.
Lily sighed inwardly. She felt hurt and she wanted to go home to her mum-how could she not have told her? Did she know? Of course she knows, Lily thought. Mum's not the kind to just sleep with any man who comes knocking. Then again, Lily didn't think her mum was one to lie to her daughter about her father her whole life.
"Our House, Slytherin House, has been... the least-liked House for as long as anyone can remember. Our members have been known to be... well, not very nice. It's very different from Cokeworth, Lily, the Palace lifestyle. Because the old members of this House were-let's face it-awful, the new members are all thought to be. And between you and me," she added, leaning in, "some of them are. But enough aren't that I believe we can change our reputation. No, bear with me on this, Lily, don't go just yet. Your big brother, Duke Sirius, is someone the people could really like. And your younger brother, Prince Regulus, I think the people could like him, too! Then there's your cousin Andromeda, she's very sweet... I think her sister Narcissa has plenty of potential. Okay, their older sister is a lost cause, I know. But the other two... they're good girls! Okay," she admitted at Lily's look, "Andromeda is a good girl. The thing is Lily, these are royals the public could like. You're a royal the public already likes! Do you see where I'm going with this?"
Lily shook her head. "I'm not a royal."
"Yes, you are," Bethany insisted. "You're good as next in line to be heiress of the Slytherin throne. Doesn't matter who your mother is. You're still Prince Orion's daughter. And we know the public likes you, because you're the public! Or, you were, at least. I know you had plenty of friends. Prefect, then Head Girl, even a writer on your school newspaper. You could help change the Slytherin House... you could change history..."
And for a scary moment, Lily thought about it.
And then she came back. "No. I'm sorry-just, no. Okay? I-I have to go." Lily stood up so forcefully she almost knocked over the table. Her teacup spilled a little. "Sorry," she said again. She turned to leave.
Bethany put a hand on her shoulder and spun her around. "I understand," she said. "But if you change your mind..." Bethany put a small piece of paper in Lily's palm and closed her fingers around it. "Goodbye, Lily."
Lily opened her mouth to speak, but she couldn't find anything to say, turned, and left.
A/N: A review would be much appreciated, if you have the time!