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The Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division was an extra-governmental military counter-terrorism and intelligence agency, tasked with maintaining global security, organized to protect the United States, and later the entire world, from any and all possible threats. It was widely speculated to be the greatest military power on Earth, and with Nick Fury as Director, external threats dwindled greatly, an accomplishment he took great pride in. S.H.I.E.L.D.'s most notable milestone, was the induction of Black Widow, a master spy and one of the world's greatest assassins to have graduated from the Red Room. With Hawkeye and Black Widow as S.H.I.E.L.D.'s staunchest agents, everything seemed to be going swimmingly, and Nick Fury was able to breathe a lot easier.
That was, until, the emergence of Shadow Swan. The unknown assassin proved to be an even greater threat than Black Widow had ever been, relinquishing her of the world's greatest assassin title in less than a year. Quickly appearing on S.H.I.E.L.D.'s radar, Nick sent STRIKE Team Delta after her, to eliminate the threat she posed to global security once and for all. But Shadow Swan ended up being the little girl they had been fruitlessly trying to free from the Red Room's unyielding grip, and the child assassin proved herself a tough nut to crack, for unlike Romanoff, she wasn't a team player and wasted no time in declining the generous proposal to work for S.H.I.E.L.D. in return for her freedom, and life, and a clean slate.
Thus becoming a major thorn in Nick Fury's side.
The previous day, Agent Coulson returned from his latest mission, knackered and frustrated, bearing zero results; all the painstaking efforts were ultimately rather otiose. He had tasked his most trusted Agent and friend to search every single 'Potter' in the United States in hopes they could finally get a lead on Shadow Swan, or at least background information on the assassin. But deep down, Nick knew all their hard work would be ineffective; they stumbled upon Shadow Swan once since she surfaced, and it was only because she wanted them to. She planned it. Shadow Swan was an iniquitous manipulator and a shit-hot strategist, and unless she wished to reveal herself to S.H.I.E.L.D., they wouldn't locate her.
Shadow Swan had made Director Fury very desperate.
Which was why he currently stood in front of a quaint house, situated in a seemingly idyllic town he swore, eleven years ago, he would never again step foot in. His one good eye burned a hole through the front door, and, steeling himself, Nick Fury ascended the porch steps and courteously knocked on the front door, unable to delay the inevitable any longer.
The door swung open, stern mahogany orbs narrowing and expression displaying no surprise at his unexpected appearance, none whatsoever. "Nicholas. I was wondering when you'd decide to show your face around here," the woman curtly acknowledged him.
Quelling his nerves and overlooking her obvious resentment of him – not that he expected any less – Nick went straight for the kill, "This isn't a social call, Sheila. I need your help." In response, she pursed her lips in a stern line and held the door open for him, "I expected as much." And Nick couldn't help but inwardly wince at being held in such low esteem by the foreboding woman he never got along with.
"Now," Sheila sharply scrutinized him the moment she joined him in the living room, a tray in hand with freshly made coffee, "What makes you think I'd be willing to lend you… my certain type of help?"
His confidence resurged at that point and he fixed the old matriarch with his good eye; she may despise him and the very soil he walked on, but if there was one thing the Director knew without a doubt about Sheila Bennett, was that she was purely good, an outstanding citizen and a Good Samaritan. Sheila would never turn her back on people in need, not if she could help. And with that in mind, Nick relayed all the gritty details of Shadow Swan, not leaving anything out lest he evoked her ire and his plea for help got turned down.
The more information Nick imparted, the thinner her pursed lips became, culminating with a disapproving glint in her eyes that never bode well.
"If I had anybody else to turn to, I'd be there Sheila. This child- this, this monster, she's made me very desperate. I had my agents scour every nook and cranny for her. S.H.I.E.L.D.'s system and database has never failed us before, forcing us to widen the search manually. Now-"Nick drained the last drop of coffee and leaned forward, "-the only advantage I can think of, is my knowledge regarding your heritage and the existence of witches in the world. I am forced to come to the conclusion that Odette Potter is either a witch, and is using magic to cover her tracks, or… or she has a powerful witch on her side."
Sheila considered the man sitting in front of her, who she utterly loathed, and after a long minute, nodded – her decision made. "I don't like you, Nicholas. You know that. However," she enunciated, "I am not blindsided by my hatred of you. Personal feelings aside, you are a good man and truthfully, I am able to sleep at night knowing that you are there to protect the country from a certain sort of evil." Elegantly, Sheila stood up and padded over to her bedroom, retrieving the supplies meant to perform a tracking spell. "I assume you have an item that belonged to this assassin?" she inquired upon her return.
"I have a napkin she wrote in. Would that do?" Shadow Swan was excellent in covering her tracks, and in the past five, nearly six years, the napkin she purposely left behind still remained the only connection S.H.I.E.L.D. managed to achieve. Sheila's eyebrows arched upon reading the note, her lips twitching slightly, realizing Shadow Swan had a knack for irritating Nick Fury, and if the situation were any different, Sheila might actually like the girl. "It will do. Since it is in her hand, an essence would be left behind," she informed him.
However, much to Sheila's indignant surprise and Nick's palpable ire, it was an unproductive venture. Shadow Swan still managed to elude them; ten steps ahead of S.H.I.E.L.D. just like Barton and Romanoff predicted upon meeting her.
"She is blocking me," Sheila scowled after concluding her third futile attempt at pinpointing Shadow Swan's location. "You may be correct in your assumption, Nicholas. Either this child is a witch, or has allied herself with one. I am sorry, but it seems even I cannot help you."
It was when Nick stood up to leave, did Sheila address the elephant in the room.
"Are you not going to see her? Ask about her? Nothing at all, Nicholas?!" Sheila looked downright intimidating, eyes blazing with contempt. Letting out a dejected sigh, he turned around to confront the foreboding witch, "Abby has my private number. She said she would call if there was an emergency."
Sheila let out a bitter scoff at the mention of her wayward daughter and shot Nick a sardonic smile, "Abby abandoned her daughter six years ago, Nicholas." and the matriarch took great pleasure in observing the impassive mask slip, continuing with relish, "No note, no location, no number, nothing. She stole away in the dead of the night, without a word and she hasn't returned to Mystic Falls since, she hasn't even bothered to call. Seems I was wrong all those years ago, you two were a perfect match," she angrily concluded.
"Who's taking care of Bonnie?" Nick demanded, fists clenching at the disclosure. And again, Sheila arched an eyebrow at him, "I am, of course. And Rudy."
Running a hand down his face, Nick ignored the war waging in his head and wrote down the number to his private line on a piece of paper. Wordlessly, he left it on the table and turned to leave, only for his one eye to shutter when Sheila barked out a rebuke in a cold tone. "She's your daughter, Nicholas! She deserves better than two absentee parents!"
One hand on the doorknob, Nick kept his back turned, preferring to not establish eye contact with the furious woman, "Yes. And in order to protect her, I cannot be a part of her life. I have many enemies, Sheila. It is imperative she remains a secret. Enemies that would come after her, use her against me as leverage. Bonnie does deserve better, which is why it is best she continues to believe Hopkins is her father. …Goodbye Sheila. You have my number in case of an emergency."
And with that, Nick Fury, like Abby Bennett, stole away, departing Mystic Falls without another backward glance at the daughter they did not hesitate in abandoning, both of them truly believing, with every fiber of their being, that it was for the best… for Bonnie Bennett's safety.
***THE FORGOTTEN POTTER***
Something ailed her husband.
Lucius had been detached from reality for months now, before the children returned for Yuletide. If Narcissa were to pinpoint the exact moment Lucius started acting oddly, it was when Draco sent a missive regarding the opening of the Chamber of Secrets.
Currently, Narcissa sat in the sunroom with Bellatrix, having afternoon tea, and while her older sister chattered her ear off about one thing or another, Narcissa's mind was elsewhere, trying to decipher what troubled her husband, who had yet to leave his office in the past two days, except during mealtimes.
"Cissy?" Bellatrix snapped her fingers, attempting to garner her younger sister's attention. Narcissa jolted in her seat, blinking at her sister, cheeks slightly flushed at being caught daydreaming. "What is the matter with you?"
With a loud sigh, Narcissa smoothed the skirt of her dress, deciding the best choice was to confide in her sister. "It is Lucius, Bella. He hasn't been himself lately. He spends most of his time sequestered in that office of his. He's had the house-elves in a flurry, ferreting around for Merlin knows what! The Manor has been turned inside out, and I am at my wits' end!" she ended in a hysteric note, a handkerchief pressed to her lips in an effort to muffle her sobs.
"Why haven't you confronted him, Cissy?" Bellatrix scowled; now that it had been brought to her attention, Bellatrix was astounded at her oversight, unable to comprehend her failure in discerning Lucius's skittish behavior, the lack of house-elves scurrying around aiming to please their masters' every whim, and her sister's sporadic inattentiveness. Narcissa mirrored Bellatrix's scowl, "You think I haven't tried already?! Every time I do, he dismisses my concerns!"
Huffing, Bellatrix shot up to her feet and dragged her sister alongside her, up the staircase and down the hallway toward Lucius's office. It was not in Bellatrix's nature to remain unaware of important matters, and she didn't tolerate being kept in the dark. Bellatrix was the type to demand answers and loved to be in control, traits Narcissa apparently lacked.
Allowing themselves in without an invitation, the Black sisters found themselves rooted to their spots, sporting similar shell-shocked expressions, unprepared for the unruly sight that met their eyes.
The ostentatiously immaculate office that clearly screamed luxury no longer appeared to be in its compulsive shipshape order, but in utter disarray. The desk, made of Muninga wood obtainable in Southern Africa and meticulously purchased by Nana Malfoy due to its resistance to decay and versatility, was cloaked by heaps of important contracts and spare parchments, cluttered carelessly and coated with a thick film of dust. All artifacts decorating the office were haphazardly piled in one corner; the matching Muninga shelves stripped bare, only occupied by a thick layer of dust building up at rapid speed, along with a few cobwebs. And lastly, the plethora of glossy, well-cared-for books hoarded by generations of Malfoy patriarchs were strewn all over the carpeted floor, an unkempt Lucius Malfoy knee-deep in the clutter, frantically rooting through each book in arm's reach in a frightening manner of utmost desperation.
"Lucius!" one of Narcissa's hands pressed against her chest, while the other covered her mouth, cerulean orbs widening at her husband's poor state. Bellatrix found herself rendered speechless, a rarity, unable to contribute to the scenario; even when the Dark Lord was at large, she had never seen the arrogant, polished Malfoy Lord looking so distraught. The wizard in question however, barely spared the shocked intruders a glance, but simply increased his pace in perusing through the stack of books surrounding him, frantically digging a hand through his knotted and greasy platinum hair, its patent luster all but gone.
The pathetic image Lucius made, coupled with the pearly tears cascading down her terrified baby sister's face motivated Bellatrix to collect her bearings and take charge of the problematical situation. After placing a firm, yet comforting hand on Narcissa's shoulder, the dark-haired sister strode toward the mountain of books and yanked the wizard onto his feet, forcing panicked silver-greys to meet her inquiring violets. "Lucius Malfoy! What in Circe's name is the matter with you?!"
The Lord of the Manor jolted from his frenzied state, eyes swiveling from Bellatrix to Narcissa in palpable confusion, "Bella? Cissa? What-, when did you-… I didn't hear you come in."
"How could you?" Narcissa snapped out of her emotional turmoil, eyes blazing at her husband, "I will not take any more dismissals out of you Lucius Malfoy! Something is horribly wrong with you! I've kept quiet. I've let it go for months, but it's gone on for far too long. I demand you confide whatever is ailing you!"
Lucius's shoulders slumped in defeat, eyes desperately beseeching the Black sisters as he choked out in a pathetic whimper, expression painted in unadulterated fear, "It's gone." More confused than ever, the sisters traded wary glances before their attention returned to the wizard. Covering the distance between her and her husband, Narcissa gently held his hands in both of hers and softly inquired, concern heavily lacing her words, "What is gone?"
"The Diary. The Diary the Dark Lord entrusted with me for safekeeping. It's gone."
And while Narcissa remained bemused, Bellatrix understood the magnitude of Lucius's predicament, and it didn't bode well for any of them. Bellatrix's thoughts flashed toward the golden cup the Dark Lord entrusted to her, making a mental note to visit her Vault at Gringotts the moment she departed Malfoy Manor.
"How?" Bellatrix hissed, eyes wildly roaming toward the cluster of books on the ground. Lucius shook his head frantically, "For thirteen years it remained untouched in the bookshelf of this office. I was only alerted to its disappearance once Draco informed me of the Chamber of Secrets opening on Halloween. Dobby knew nothing of it. I can only assume a fellow ally," he sneered, referring to their fellow Death Eaters he forced himself to keep in contact with, "recognized the Diary and pilfered it when I had my back turned."
Bellatrix sucked in a sharp intake of breath at the correct deduction; it was no secret that the other Death Eaters envied the Malfoys and the Lestranges for their upstanding position in the Wizarding World as well as their esteemed position in the Dark Lord's inner circle, not to mention the unbreakable connection they had with each other and the Zabini Family through marriage.
Narcissa inhaled deeply, immediately tackling the crux of their perilous situation, "Did you have Dobby and the other elves list the identities of those that were given access to your office?"
A partially insulted expression appeared on Lucius's weary visage, "Of course I did, Cissa. The problem however, is I have no clue when the Diary had been taken. Perhaps it was pilfered years ago and only now they decided to plant it at Hogwarts!"
The ruthless, unmerciful expression Bellatrix had discarded long ago reappeared on her face, fists clenched tight enough to draw blood, and a fire was lit in her belly, more dangerous than the flames of Fiendfyre, "Whoever's responsible will not continue unpunished. Nobody dare crosses us without reaping punishment!" Yes… nobody harmed her family and got away with it… nobody! Bellatrix Lestrange may have resigned from performing murder and leaving trails of chaos in her wake, but in no terms did she lose her touch or her daunting title amongst all witches and wizards; she was and would always be the violent, ruthless and slightly sadistic witch with a dangerous temper, only fueled by her fierce love and devotion to her family.
***THE FORGOTTEN POTTER***
Throughout the years, they punctiliously observed her.
They were present through the many stages of her life; they watched the rejoicing of her birth, how the adults would fuss over her, and the melodious sounds emitted from her whenever she giggled, the infectious cadence impacting them. Then, one night, the circumstances entirely changed; they watched as her presence, and prominently, her birthdays, went ignored by those that were meant to care for her, nurture her, provide her with safety, and love her irrevocably. They silently observed as her brother ganged up with their brother and callously bullied her, and although at times they approached with the full intention of intervening in her defense, the inaction and complete indifference of their respective mothers planted the seed of doubt, making them uncertain regarding the correct course of action to partake. After all, at such a young age, they looked up to their elders, they trusted them to educate them on what is right and what is wrong… right?
However, they were rebels by nature and mischief-makers at heart, and even at a young age, they aspired to test limits and their mother's patience; for that particular reason, when they spotted her playing by her lonesome, they moved towards her and offered their company, a vibrant smile blooming at the meager act of kindness. No sooner had they started building blocks, did their respective brothers disrupt them, spouting off cruel words to her, their mother in tow, who, instead of berating her youngest son for acting indecently to the innocent girl, reprimanded them for purposely allowing themselves to be in close proximity of, and entertain, the Squib – the word spat out with such wholehearted disdain, they believed it to be, for the longest time, an obscenity of the worse kind, synonymous to Mudblood, the taboo term in their household.
That night, they scampered into their eldest brother's room and inquired over the definition of a Squib. Once their curiosity had been effectively satiated, their confusion skyrocketed; unconsciously observing her throughout the years, they noticed her perform bouts of accidental magic quite a number of times. But, their identically raw and red buttocks encouraged them to keep their mouths shut, not quite ready to receive another round of punishment from their incensed mother.
And then, one day, she was gone. But what shocked them to their very core, was that nobody either cared, or noticed. Days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months. Months flew by and it was when they hit the year mark of her unexplained absence, did their perspective change, and they started to regard their elders in a completely different and unflattering light, pushing their innate rebelliousness to the forefront and to increase tenfold.
The years passed, and while everyone failed to recall her existence, they never did. Not even when they disembarked to Hogwarts. Woebegone, almond-shaped emerald eyes haunted their every move, consuming them with guilt as they were now old enough to recognize the neglect, and the appalling behavior meted out against her person.
It was when they congregated with their housemates during their third year for the welcoming feast, did they lay eyes upon her for the first time since her inexplicable disappearance seven years ago; and unlike their peers, they wholeheartedly accepted the fact that she was the first Potter to ever get sorted into Slytherin – for they had a secret of their own, the Sorting Hat found itself torn between sorting them into Gryffindor or Slytherin, but alas, they lacked her bravery and indifference toward the public's expectations, and beseeched the Hat to place them in Gryffindor, allowing them to follow in the footsteps of their ancestors.
Initially, it was an unwitting habit performed through innocent eyes, but as the years progressed, the unconscious habit became purposely administered through curious ones. And so, they curiously observed her day-to-day activities, surrounded by fellow snakes that came from ancient lineages and a background of wielding dark magic. They easily distinguished the disparity between her present self and the little girl that mysteriously disappeared: expressive and innocent emerald eyes were now blank and impassive, eerily lifeless; it was a rarity to discern a genuine smile on her face; she wandered around apathetically, successfully managing to terrify seventh years with her cold gaze, and had an impressive sneer that would give Snape a run for his money. Odette Potter was callous, intimidating, and dispassionate, who surprised all those that believed her to be a Squib by portraying a prodigious talent in magic, her talent unparalleled in regards to her twin brother, the arrogant, Boy-Wonder, Boy-Who-Lived.
Therefore, due to the habit ingrained into their system after years of shamelessly observing her, Fred and George instantly noticed when the impassive ruby-haired witch trained her watchful, calculating gaze onto them, almost in retribution. Whether they were in the Great Hall, or passing each other in the hallways, entrancing emeralds locked on them, as though three magnets collided.
Finally, after nearly three weeks of being on the receiving end of her inquisitive stare, the intimidating second-year approached them, sauntering toward them with panache no twelve-year-old girl should have, radiating an air of apathy as her cold, yet shrewd gaze collided with their identical, warm blues. "Weasley, Weasley," her voice was curt, a far cry from its previous childish glee, and she dipped her head in acknowledgement before confidently eyeballing them. "I have a proposition to make, one that could prove quite beneficial and immensely profitable in the long-run. Are you interested in hearing me out?" vague, blunt, and straight to the point, which greatly amused the mischievous twins.
Leaning casually against the wall, Fred smirked down at her, not at all disconcerted by her flinty stare, "What, no hello?"
"How are you doing?" George supplied.
"Is the weather to your liking?"
"I'd like to have a word with you-"
"Alright, alright! Knock it off you two," Odette abruptly interjected, pinching the bridge of her nose with a thumb and forefinger and desperately trying to squash the bubble of amusement at their playful banter and twin telepathy. "Hello. I'm just swell-" she sarcastically drawled out, prompting identical cheeky smirks out of the twins, "-I don't give a shit about the weather, and we need to talk. Happy?" she crossly placed both hands on her hips.
George chuckled, his baby blues shining with mirth, and he mockingly bowed, displaying a certain flair for the dramatic, "What can we do for you, m'lady?"
"Like I said," Odette dared them to interrupt with their usual quips she heard so much about, "I have an offer to make, one that I thought long and hard about. I'd like to start an alliance with you rapscallions. I promise that if you accept such a venture, it would only end fruitfully. What do you say?"
Yet two other discrepancies the twins noticed; she had an exotic accent, a mixture they couldn't put their finger on, and had quite an impressive vocabulary in her repertoire that made her appear mature for her age.
Fred scrutinized her closely, eyes roving her impassive visage, "Depends really."
"Why come to us?" George curiously inquired; they may not share the same bigotry toward Slytherins, but their interactions with unsavory few – Flint, Warrington, Rowle and Macnair came to mind – taught them to practice caution, especially when making deals with the cunning individuals.
She examined her nails, portraying utter nonchalance, but internally, Odette was debating how much she should reveal.
"I have an eidetic memory, you know? Unlike your harpy of a mother… no offense," her eyes flickered between the two, not sounding apologetic in the least, the words merely a formality which shouldn't amuse the twins, but it did. "That brother of yours who constantly walks around with a stick up his ass, the complete sloth with abysmal manners and the future Mrs. Boy-Wonder," that was definitely an appropriate jab toward Ginny Weasley, "I remember that simple act of kindness you two bestowed upon me when I was three. But… that's not the point," she solemnly gazed at them, the twins taken aback by her brilliant memory and astounding confidence to insult members of their family right to their faces. "Contrary to popular belief, you two aren't as dumb as you make yourself out to be. You have a brilliant mind, are a mischievous pair to boot, and what I truly respect the most, you have ambition. Correct me if I'm wrong, but you two plan to open up a joke shop once you've graduated, am I right?"
The twins were perceptibly gaping at her now, eyes widening in surprise and unadulterated shock.
"How did you-"
"Know? I have my ways," Odette waved a hand in dismissal, "That's not important. What is important however, is that your mother would never allow you to, and you lack a financial backer for your ingenious venture, especially when you have Zonko's to compete with. If you are to accept my offer of alliance, I would give you the money, not loan. Give. For everything! Construction, supplies, ingredients… at least until you're able to stand on your own two feet. And if you want to branch out to different wizarding districts all over the world, I'd invest in you."
Floundering, George managed to eloquently string a few words together to formulate a semi-coherent response, "Y-you want to give us money. Just like that? No strings attached-"
"No devious schemes?"
"And you'll settle for being an investor?"
"We don't buy it. Nobody's that generous," George concluded, skepticism clearly coloring his features.
"Besides, no offense," and Fred genuinely meant it, "But your parents don't strike me as the time to give you allowance or your own trust vault-"
"I have my ways, Weasley," surprising the twins, Odette didn't even bat an eyelash, not the least bit affected by the honest, yet brutal observation that her parents didn't give two shits about her, making her appear ten feet tall to them. "Maybe one day, if our alliance grows to friendship," something Odette truly doubted, the possibility of making more friends not enticing at all, "I'll share some of my secrets. But its quid pro quo, Weasleys. I promise I won't force you to partake in an act you'd prefer to avoid, however… I do reward those that provide me good service. Think of it like… a bonus payment."
Fred and George's gaze collided, no doubt communicating via their twin-telepathy they were famous for. A few seconds later, two identical hands extended, thrust in her face and with matching mischievous, Cheshire grins that would have any normal person running the opposite direction for fear of their sanity, intoned, "Deal!"
Shaking their hands, Odette smirked at her success and without further ado, gave the twins their first mission. The alliance would be very beneficial for her, and besides… Loki had been incessantly badgering her to introduce him to the two mini-tricksters that worshiped and idolized him, just like the Marauders did once upon a time during their youth.
***THE FORGOTTEN POTTER***
True to their reputation that would make the Norse God of Mischief and Lies proud, Fred and George succeeded a couple of days after they formed an alliance.
Snatch that Diary Nott Sr. had that gormless, fetid pustule plant in Ginny Weasley's possession.
Odette could've easily pilfered the accursed diary from the mindless, bootlicking, sycophantic, Boy-Who-Lived fan with not a hair out of place, therefore swiftly accomplishing her task, but Odette felt it was crucial to test the twins, and see how far their loyalty lay. Fred and George, while immensely curious and a touch suspicious, didn't question her motives and rapidly carried out their mission, gaining Odette's favor and allowing her trust in them to mount a smidge.
Once the Diary fell into her possession, her entire form was consumed with darkness, almost to the point that it suffocated her with its sheer intensity, and Divus' shrieks vibrated loudly in her head, warning her mistress to keep it far out of reach. Odette didn't need to be told twice; due to her bond with magic and her ongoing training in nature magic with Frigga, Odette knew it to be vile magic, one of evil intent that could effortlessly seduce its possessor into executing its nefarious biding. One had to wonder how the daft chit failed to sense the alarming, malicious power the innocuous-looking Diary possessed.
And they accused her of being a Squib!
The moment Odette acquired the Diary, she sent a missive to Ragnok via her faithful daemonion phoenix, informing the head goblin that a meeting must take place at his earliest convenience to discuss a delicate matter of high importance. Perhaps the sagacious goblin discerned her distress by way of the simple piece of parchment, or perhaps it was her venerated title as goblin-friend, Ragnok sent a response post-haste, scheduling their meeting to take place in the next hour.
Knowing her absence wouldn't be noticed as it was a Saturday, Odette bid adieu to her friends, hid behind an alcove, transformed her appearance with her nifty metamorphmagus ability, and shadow-traveled to an isolated alleyway behind Gringotts bank.
A minute later, Odette sat in the customary chair in front of Ragnok, and not bothering to exchange any pleasantries, tossed the noxious object onto the goblin's pristine desk.
The reaction was immediate; black pupils dilated from within slanted eyes that became unusually round, and the head goblin who took immense pride in his poker face, portrayed an amalgamated expression of absolute shock, disgust and fury, and holes were indented on the table due to his sharp nails.
"From where did you procure such profound perversion?!" he boomed, slamming a fist hard onto the tabletop, the nuance echoing forebodingly. Although deeply unsettled by, not only Ragnok's vast change in demeanor when addressing her, but his stark reaction toward the book, Odette merely arched a crimson brow, radiating utmost indifference, "Calm your horses, Ragnok. What on earth is the matter with you?"
Inhaling and exhaling sharp lungful of oxygen from the room, Ragnok dragged a hand down his dome-shaped face and scrutinized the powerful assassin with eyes that regained its normal shape, "You mean to tell me, you do not know what evil is in your midst?"
Odette rolled her eyes. "If I knew, I wouldn't be here now, would I?" she snapped rhetorically, bored with the histrionics. Ragnok leaned forward, his fingers steepled and his gaze penetrating, silently urging Odette to elucidate. "I've had quite an exciting month, friend. Alliances were made, truths were told, stories were spun, yada yada yada. Apparently, the Weasleys are the perfect target to house certain evil." Ragnok's expression softened, eyes shining with fascination whilst Odette divulged her discoveries. "I have formed close bonds of friendship with a few Slytherins in my year, one of them Theodore Nott, and according to him, he overheard his Daddy Dearest order the traitorous Pettigrew – who by the way has been masquerading as Scabbers the youngest Weasley boy's pet rat for the past eleven years – to pinch that diary from Malfoy Manor, who then proceeded to bury it in the Weasley girl's belongings. That thing-" she sneered, pointing an accusing finger toward the untouched Diary that lay between them, "-is the reason behind the entire Chamber of Secrets debacle and the besmirching of the Slytherin name!"
There was a beat of silence following Odette's heated ranter. While she aggressively drummed her fingers on the desk, Ragnok quizzically gazed at the Diary.
"If you were not a goblin-friend, you would have faced instant execution for allowing such evil to penetrate a goblin dwelling," Ragnok neutrally imparted, as though decapitation or defenestration or whatever creative death penalty goblins meted out were tantamount to casual conversations regarding the weather. Odette simply smirked, not bothered by the macabre topic. "I'd have liked to see you try and dispatch me, Ragnok," she chided, facetiously.
One thing they had in common was their dark humor, prompting a smirk out of Ragnok. Hovering over the Diary, he let out a deep exhalation of breath before piercing the notorious assassin with an intensive gaze, "Goblin-friend, do you know what a Horcrux is?"
***THE FORGOTTEN POTTER***
Do you know what a Horcrux is?
Forbidden magic… of the vilest and blackest magicks…
A Horcux? ... The wickedest of magical inventions…
A vessel where a fragment soul is hidden for the purpose of attaining immortality… A soul could be split more than once… Horcruxes can only be created after committing murder, the supreme act of evil…
Murder…supreme act of evil…!
Odette's informative summit with Ragnok continued to plague her mind like a broken record. That, in no terms meant she felt remorse for the many lives she snuffed out, or that she would call it quits regarding her profession as an assassin; she only felt remorse for one life she had been forced to take… only one… Zelda.
Shadow Swan shall prevail. But her status as a cold-blooded assassin didn't automatically imply Odette wasn't appalled by such iniquitous exploits partaken.
Rapists. Pedophiles. Such acts were taboo in respects to Shadow Swan. Ripping apart one's soul, that was one other.
Her mind was at ease though, once Ragnok immediately informed her that a ritual was obligated to make a Horcrux, and not just an act of murder. There were lines that even Shadow Swan would never toe. No… what ailed Odette was that Voldemort seemed to have made a Horcrux, and if Ragnok's assumptions were correct, which they almost always were, then Voldemort made more than one… because according to a copy of the Slytherin tapestry Ragnok showed her, Tom M. Riddle was Voldemort… a hypocritical half-blood to boot...
The ruby-haired witch was jolted out of her reverie, eyes narrowed at Tracey, who looked entirely unapologetic. Currently, the seven Slytherins were congregated in Charms class, and Odette had successfully cast a Freezing Charm (Immobulus) on her first try. Shrugging, Odette's gaze flickered between her six friends, all of whom were gazing back at her in masked concern.
"You were saying something?" Odette sighed, repeating the incantation on her bullfrog as it fought through her charm. Aaron merely shook his head in amusement, too used to the redhead's apathy toward her surroundings, "I was talking about the Easter break. My parents asked me to invite you over."
While her expression remained unaffected, her insides froze at the invite – pun unintended. The thought of spending a week at Lestrange Manor was tempting, especially since Odette – believe it or not – adored her friends' parents; however, a part of Odette knew that Rodolphus or Rabastan would inquire about the discerned lie she quickly strung together regarding her suspicious confrontation with the Petrovich brothers, and fabricating an excuse had completely slipped her mind.
Before Odette could offer a vague response to Aaron's thoughtful invitation, she was sucked into an unanticipated premonition;
"Ahh, Miss Lestrange, you're early, come in, come in," Lockhart donned his most ridiculous smile, flashing a full set of blinding white teeth, his sapphire eyes intently watching as Rhea meekly stepped into his office and softly shut the door behind her petite frame.
Jovially, the smile not cracking an inch from his rosy complexion, the Professor flicked his wand, an audible click resounding in the room, the telltale sign of the door being locked. Extending his hand out, palm open, he grinned over her, "Wands away, Miss Lestrange. Come along, there's a good girl," he cooed, pocketing Rhea's wand and patting it from the outside, "Now you'll be getting that back after you've completed your detention."
"Y-Yes sir," Rhea obediently bobbed her head, neck craned upward to establish eye contact with the merry wizard.
Without tearing his gaze from her, Lockhart took a few step backwards and parked one ass cheek on the table, ankles crossed casually as he inspected Rhea, black pupil dilating as he raked her undeveloped form. "You're such a pretty girl, do you know that?" his voice sounded husky, all joviality dissipated.
"S-Sir?" she squeaked, innocent indigo eyes widening in genuine confusion and mild fear.
"A pretty girl," he sighed, tapping the tip of his wand against his lower lip, "Of course, you're quite young. Only eleven. But a few years from now… yes, yes, I can only imagine such robust beauty. You are part Italian after all, and they do have such perfect genes. I find myself… lacking the patience."
Rhea had already begun taking a few subtle steps backwards, trying to cover the distance to the door. Lockhart shook his head in disappointment, "It's useless to run, my dear. Now," he pushed himself from the table, twirling his wand around his fingers, a lecherous grin on his face that screamed perversion, "We can either do this the easy way, or we can do it the hard way. Take. Off. Your. Robes."
"No!" Rhea adamantly squeaked out; docile she may be, but she was a Lestrange and a Zabini, and she was powerful in her own right, with integrity.
"The hard way then," Lockhart sighed, genuinely disappointed in her choice.
Without further ado, he flicked his wand again, vanishing every article that covered her skin. With an 'eep', Rhea shivered and tried to the best of her ability to cover herself up, to no avail. Strong hands firmly grabbed her forearms, pulling them apart from covering her body from his randy gaze and he harshly tugged her toward him, lifting her fragile form onto his table, ignoring her litany of pleas and heartbreaking wails.
He remained robed, but let his tongue do all the work, tasting every sliver of skin before his face hovered over her tear-stained one, "Don't you cry my beauty, I don't penetrate underage girls. If you were in your sixth or seventh year I would have taken you by force."
But Rhea didn't feel the least bit better and once he was done tasting all she had to offer for an eleven-year-old girl, her clothes reappeared and she found herself staring cross-eyed at the end of his wand, "Sorry my dear, I cannot risk you blabbing to the Headmaster or your family," here he perceptibly shivered, not wanting to imagine what the fearsome Lestrange brothers or the ruthless Bellatrix Lestrange would do to him if they ever found out, "But don't worry, if there's one thing I pride myself on, it's my Memory Charms."
"N-No-"Rhea pitifully sobbed out, trying to escape the path of his wand.
Tearful eyes, pupils widened in fear turned vacant, and Rhea's hurt expression morphed into bemusement. Shaking her head in bewilderment, Rhea politely grabbed her offered wand and left Lockhart's office without a word.
Chuckling darkly to himself, Lockhart peered into his drawer and ticked off Rhea Lestrange's name from the roster with the title: Detentions, his quill pausing by the name underneath: Astoria Greengrass.
This time, the ruby-haired witch found herself being bodily shaken by her six friends and she released a sharp intake of breath, emerald eyes glowing in malice and her fists clenched hard enough to draw blood.
"You were daydreaming again," Draco drawled, silver-grey orbs torn between amusement and concern. Daphne adamantly shook her head, "No, that's not it. It was different this time. Dee, you looked like you were trapped in some hypnotic state or something."
The All-Father, Odin, had indeed been tutoring Odette on how to subtly receive visions without grabbing any unwanted attention, but it was still a lesson in progress. The long visions were harder to conceal from her peers.
Maintaining a casual disposition, Odette shrugged and said, "Hey, you guys ever got a detention from Lockhart?"
"And the reward for the best non sequitur goes tooooo…" Blaise smirked, his gaiety infecting Aaron, Draco and Tracey.
Odette's glare was positively frightening, "I'm serious, Blaise!"
"A lot," Daphne solemnly replied. Out of the six friends, Daphne and Theo were more attuned to Odette's erratic mood swings, and therefore, the icy Slytherin could tell that Blaise's complete levity greatly irked the redhead. "You wouldn't expect it. That pillock seems to be the most laidback professor from the bunch," Daphne continued as the seven Slytherins began packing their belongings and walked down the hallway for lunch at the Great Hall.
Butting into the conversation, Aaron obliviously threw in, "In fact, just yesterday afternoon when you disappeared as usual," he muttered under his breath, flashing an unamused Odette a cheeky grin, "Rhea was complaining about her detention tonight with that fraud, all because she failed his ridiculous quiz regarding his personal preferences. I'm honestly thinking of writing to Mum, she'd rain her wrath upon him."
Sinister smiles of glee materialized on the seven Slytherins' faces at the mere thought of Bellatrix Lestrange tearing Gilderoy Lockhart into confetti.
"Don't get my hopes up, Aaron," Tracey mumbled dejectedly.
It happened while they all sat down around each other for lunch at the Slytherin table. Halfway through the appetizing meal, Astoria approached them, frothing at the mouth as she reported the unfair detention Lockhart gave her for the next night. No sooner had those words left Astoria's lips, did Odette Potter drop the utensils from her hand, and storm out of the Great Hall, plans on how to exterminate the rodent formulating in her mind.
***THE FORGOTTEN POTTER***
"I WANT TO STRANGLE HIM AND WATCH THE LIGHT LEAVE HIS DISGUSTING, PERVERTED EYES!" Odette bellowed. She had been pacing around the room in furious little circles like a psychotic hamster on a wheel, and Lexi was certain the redhead was a few seconds away from breathing fire. "NO, NO, YOU KNOW WHAT? DEATH IS TOO GOOD FOR HIM, HE DESERVES WORSE!"
Lee walked in just then, a mug of steaming hot chocolate in his hand in an effort to appease the furious redhead; it was a miracle she hadn't lost her voice yet after one hour of uninterrupted yelling.
"Okay, pause, Dee, pause before you have a conniption fit or worse, suffer through a self-inflicted aneurysm. You obviously did something about this perv, right?" Lexi, ever the voice of reason, and the only person on Earth that had the miraculous ability to calm down the raging inferno.
Absently pecking Lee's cheek in gratitude, Odette clasped both hands around the mug, soaking up the warmth it provided, her gaze flickering between the calming brown orbs that held a certain fire underneath in regards to the news recently imparted, and Lee who looked equally furious yet held a good grip on the rage that yearned to be unleashed on the despicable, lecherous man that took advantage of defenseless kids. "Yeah, yeah, 'course I did. Who do you take me for? I'm Shadow Swan, remember?" Odette rhetorically spat out before imbibing a hearty amount of the tasty liquid.
God, she loved chocolate.
"What did you do?" Lee curiously inquired, leaning forward in anticipation.
"Last night, before Rhea's detention took place, I placed a compulsion charm on him to hand over his resignation and leave the castle," upon seeing Lexi and Lee's identical gobsmacked expression in regards to her leniency, she aggressively rolled her eyes, and enunciated, "Uh, hello? Again… may I remind you that I'm Shadow Swan! He's not getting off that easy. I can't just murder him on Hogwarts ground, that'll attract too much attention."
Lexi nodded in understanding, but before she could get in a few words, Odette started rambling again, "But it gets better. Who did Dumbledore employ to cover Defence Against the Dark Arts classes until the end of the year? I'll tell you who! Remus fucking Lupin, that's fucking who! I hate that guy! I mean, aren't I suffering enough with James and Lily constantly nearby trying to gain my attention? No. Now I've Lupin! The insufferable woe-me, why-me, werewolf!"
Yeah, it was safe to assume that Odette Potter hated yet another member of the Marauders. The hypocritical jackass that only paid attention to his precious godson, the Boy-Wonder.
"We've got news that I guarantee would turn your frown upside down," Lee smirked, always finding amusement in Odette's rapid mood swings and the colorful language she used.
Slumping on the couch between the vampire lovebirds, Odette tucked the mug of hot chocolate close to her chest and grumbled with a pout, "Somehow I doubt it, but go ahead. Give it your best shot."
Grinning widely, Lexi rotated her body to better face the redhead and gauge her reaction, "This morning, we got a call from that S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent we compelled years ago."
Alright, Odette's attention was waxed, excited emeralds flickering from Lexi to Lee in unveiled curiosity, "And…?!"
"And," Lexi chirped out, jumping giddily in her seat, "That Director guy had agents scouring Russia, Germany, and America for any Potters, hoping they'd find you or a relative of yours and gain background information."
"Obviously they failed," Lee needlessly added. The two vampires got a real kick out of watching deftly trained and highly experienced agents from a prominent government agency that dealt with terrorists and all kind of baddies get manipulated by a young girl ever since the age of seven, culminating to them running around like a gaggle of geese with their heads chopped off and no closer to identifying a simple child's background.
Odette smirked sinisterly; her eyes alight with humor, "Obviously… So what's next in S.H.I.E.L.D.'s agenda?"
"According to the Agent, they're broadening their search. Divide and conquer. One squadron will search through Italy, another Spain and the third… dum-darada-radum," Lexi childishly sang, throwing her hands into the air, "England!"
And again… a new plot formulated in Odette's head. She truly did enjoy messing around with S.H.I.E.L.D. and her latest scheme will be a doozy.
A/N: I apologize for the long delay! I hope this chapter made up for it and was to your liking?! XD
(1) So the first scene with Fury… did you expect that? :O… honestly, it was never the plan, but the idea popped in my head a few days ago and I'm like: oh why not, and I integrated by plot around that plot-twister. Also… to those confused regarding Sheila's failed spell… you remember when Odette first ran into Thor and Loki after her stint at the Red Room, she and Bree pooled their own brand of magic to cloak her from Heimdall and all sorts of tracking charms? So yeah… it was referred to in the first scene with Sheila and Fury (I honestly adore Nick Fury and I'm gonna have a lot of fun with him!). (2) I am sorry that there was no scene in Asgard, or with Loki, but there was no scene to add for them. I'll try and have an Asgardian scene next chapter, but I make no promises. Don't hate me! LOL. (3) As you can see, from this chapter on, there will be more scenes of the Marvel characters, and next chapter I gotta a little surprise for y'all… a pressie! XD (4) About Lockhart… So yeah… don't worry, plans of his assassination will be shown in the next few chapters. He'll get what's coming to him. (4) And as promised… Fred and George made their first debut. They will be recurring characters! I just adore those twins, don't you?! (5) Naturally, I added the part where Lucius noticed his book is missing, and that issue will be stressed upon next chapter. (6) I didn't mention it in this chapter (though it will be mentioned in the next one) but Odette had the Diary returned to Ginny for the sake of her plan. It will be revealed next chapter. (7) Odette found out about Voldemort's Horcruxes early on… I have the entire plotline regarding the Horcruxes already mapped out and I cannot wait! XD (8) Enough blathering from me… next chapter will be the end of Chamber of Secrets and Odette's summertime! Cannot wait! XD