Author's Note: Hello Cyber Void and Occupants Thereof. This is my first stab at FanFic publishing- brace yourself. I have roughly 30 pages of this particular patch of nonsense, I hope you enjoy the first installment...?
Hogwarts type stuff starts happening in ch. 9 if you refuse to enjoy the ride, fully appreciate character development, or read about adorable toddler geniuses...
Disclaimer: Contrary to popular belief, I am not Queen Rowling and therefore do not own Harry Potter. If I had a soul this would make me cry at night.
Content warning: brief reference to gore, mild swearing
Calla didn't bother with cleaning charms for her bloodied robes when she landed on the front walk of Nott Manor. Her traveling companion hadn't enjoyed their first time side-along apparating and struggled mightily to wrestle free of Calla's arms and robes.
"Oh no you don't," she muttered, catching the little girl firmly about her waist, then shoved her bloody, disheveled hair behind her ear with her wand hand, nearly putting her eye out in the process. She huffed in frustration, tucked her wand behind her ear, settled the girl more firmly on her hip, (the girl was not interested in being accommodating with this new arrangement, crying all the louder), and yelled, "HISSY!" above the din.
The older nanny- elf appeared immediately, pointed ears and bugged grey eyes alert at the sight of her gore spattered mistress and the screaming, equally gory toddler.
"What can Hissy do for mistress?" she asked politely, sketching a curtsy with the neat edge of her pristine tea towel.
"Prepare another nursery chamber, please, next to little Theodore's." The ebony front doors swept open and a black haired wizard with grey gathering around his temples swept down the front steps toward her. Calla shot him a smile before readjusting her fussy burden and adding to the elf, "Would you be so good as to heat up a bottle of milk and some other food, dear…? I'm not really sure what she'd like to eat but maybe she's hungry…" The elf gave the toddler an examining look, glanced at Calla with poorly disguised incredulity then disapparated. "What!? She might be hungry," Calla muttered to herself before smoothing her expression to face her husband.
Thoros, for his part, never let his face betray him, but his voice was less obedient. "Good evening dearest," he began, brushing the customary kiss against her cheekbone before drawing back and touching the flakes of dried blood he'd acquired. "How was your shopping trip?" His eyes flicked toward the screaming girl for a moment to let her know that he could not care less about the garden seeds, given her appearance and companion. "Dare I say it was unexpectedly fruitful?"
Calla beamed while the little girl increased the volume of her screams and thrashed harder. "Oh Thoros! I've had the most shocking and exciting evening!" She waited a moment for the customary softening of Thoros' face anytime she expressed enthusiasm for anything. It was slower in coming than she'd hoped. "I was on my way to the apparation point when I heard this little one crying…"
"My dear, kidnapping is not an acceptable response to..."
She shot him a glare, and caught the smile he had to suppress, despite the strain in his voice. Whatever unease or annoyance he felt over her and the toddler's appearances, her sass was some point of comforting normality. "I didn't finish, Thoros. I heard this one crying and when I looked toward the little hovel, a woman had just collapsed on the doorstep! She was calling for help!" Her husband's eyebrows were migrating north from his dark blue eyes. She hurried on, "The mother was covered in blood from any number of cuts, but she still had the strength to grab me and demand I save her daughter." Thoros' mouth was tightened. "I ran upstairs and found this awful muggle man looming over her! I used that curse you taught me and destroyed him!" her excited smile twisted and she glanced down at herself, seeming to notice the human remains for the first time. Thoros suppressed an eye roll at the innocent surprise that flitted across her features and flicked a cleaning charm at his wife and the girl.
Her shining brown eyes met Thoros' dubious ones and dimmed. When he spoke, even the girl quieted slightly to hear. "Let me see if I have this straight, Calla… You went into a muggle home, one you knew to be dangerous-"
"It was a muggle with a knife, Thoros, I was hardly in any danger." His inclined his head slightly, but his eyes remained less than enthusiastic.
"To rescue a muggle girl," his voice clutched its velvet veneer.
Calla's brown eyes lit and she drew herself to her full, if still inferior, height. "Touch her!" She shoved the kicking toddler toward him. His face twisted in revulsion. "Thoros this child is not a muggle," her brown eyes were huge in her earnest explanation. He continued to refuse. She returned the girl to her thoroughly bruised hip. "Her hair was shooting green sparks in her distress. Sparks! They had to have been budding magic! I know I can feel her aura! And her name is Hermione."
Thoros squeezed his eyes shut for a moment, took a deep cleansing breath, and continued, "Hermione, then. A Greek name, I believe. Meaning earthy… perhaps interpreted as muddy…" he muttered. Calla had been a mother for two years and could hear quite well despite prolonged exposure to screaming.
She smacked him.
Thoros jerked back, his eyes wide. "Her name is Hermione Calladora Melanthe Trastamara i Nott," Calla declared, one fist on her hip. The knuckles white under her olive skin. "She's mine. Her mother said I must protect her, and by Merlin, Circe and Samhain, I will. Even if her adoption means protecting her from you, Thoros Nott." Hugging the precious, still kicking and screaming, bundle to her chest, Calla shoved past him.
Thoros spun after her. He was too well bred to sputter, but if there was a refined, gentlemanly way of sputtering, he did it. "Darling, I realize you've had a rather trying evening, but adoption?! Of a muggle?!"
"Hermione has had a trying evening as well. I think she'd like a bath and some sleep," Calla replied primly, still walking.
Thoros paused, rethought his approach in the space of two steps then hurried after his retreating wife. He caught up in time to guide her through the front door, his courtesies very strictly back in place. "The little girl is not the only one who needs a bath, Dearest," the teasing note in his voice the product of extreme effort. He kissed Calla's cheek again, and felt her relax slightly beneath his hand.
Calla glanced at him then at the furious child in her arms, her brow furrowed.
"Actually, Thoros, I could do with a glass of wine… the Málaga Trasañejo?" She watched him through her lashes.
He'd given up too easily.
"Of course," he replied, the picture of mannerly consideration and accommodation. "Hissy!" he called. At the nanny elf's appearance he made carefully expressive eye contact, that Calla caught, "If you would please take the child to the prepared chamber? She may require a bath,"
"And feeding," Calla interjected.
"… yes…" Thoros said, then cleared his throat and continued, "If you might also attempt to calm her? I understand it's been a difficult evening."
The matronly elf nodded sagely and held out her arms for Hermione. Hissy was barely bigger than the little girl, but she managed her efficiently enough and disapparated.
"Thank you, Thoros," Calla murmured, still vigilant.
"Of course, my love. Now for your drink." He ushered her through the front parlor and into the private sitting room, unclasping her cloak and handing it off to an elf who promptly vanished. "Perhaps, we should check and make sure the girl does not have some other family looking for her?" he said as they went.
There it is, Calla thought. "It was her mother's dying wish that I protect Hermione, Thoros," Calla shot back.
"Yes, darling, I remember," he replied, his hands stroking over her hair and shoulders. He used the subtlest of pressures to settle her onto the settee. "I am just thinking of any complications confused or angry relations might present. They've lost the girl's mother and father as well, you know. They might be driven to… imprudent measures from the shock and grief of it all."
An elf appeared with a dusty bottle and two glasses, poured, bowed, then vanished. Calla didn't fully process what he'd said, her brain occupied with the sight and keeping the slaver for the soothing beverage inside her mouth. "Yes, of course," she replied, batting at his hands so she could retrieve her own glass.
Thoros chuckled and settled into the chair beside her. His eyes were almost smug amidst the seeming adoration he sent her while the two sipped for a moment.
Warmth spread through her chest and abdomen and shakes she didn't realize she'd had stilled. His words began to stab into her consciousness through her comfortable haze. Calla's brown eyes snapped to his dark blue ones. "What do you mean the relatives might come after her? What measures? I didn't steal her!"
"Of course not, my love, but muggles don't tend to understand death vows… You didn't exactly take a copy of her family tree… We have no way of knowing if she's alone in this world."
Calla turned pale then red. "It doesn't matter! She's mine! It was a death vow, Thoros! If they come and take her, I'll… I'll…"
Thoros cut soothingly across her tirade, setting his cup on its saucer and placing a comforting hand on hers. "Of course, dearest. I would never risk you losing your magic. Don't fret! Even if there are distraught relatives desperate to find their niece or granddaughter, I doubt the old magick will hold a vow made between a muggle and a witch…"
Calla turned worried eyes on him. "Distraught relatives?"
"Don't concern yourself, mo ghràdh [Scottish Gaelic for my love]. I'm sure that just because one muggle can brutally murder its own kind and a toddler, the relatives of a kidnapped child won't be too vicious… Though… I wouldn't want them near our Theodore…" Thoros purred, tasting victory.
There was a shuffling, sniffling sound from the doorway. A thin, pale, little boy, his dark curly hair standing up in random places, appeared, yawning and rubbing his eyes, the effort almost knocking him over. His robe hung off his shoulders and he was dragging a black teddy along with him by the neck. Calla was out of her chair and smothering him with hugs in seconds. Thoros sighed at the lost momentum then smiled at his son.
"To what do we owe this late night pleasure, Theodore?"
"Hissy loud," came the muffled answer from somewhere in the flurry of Calla's arms, lips, and hands.
"Oh I'm sorry, guapito [little handsome one]! That's Hermione, mijo [my son]. She's going to be your new sister; won't that be lovely?"
Bloody Merlin's balls. Damn it all. Thoros grit his teeth and braced himself against his son and heir's shining blue eyes which appeared from under Calla's arm through the screen of her wavy black hair.
"Really?" his high little voice asked breathlessly.
"Well, Theodore, your mother and I were still discussing…"
"Yes guapito! And she's just your age! You two will be the best of friends and you'll have someone to play with, won't you?"
Theo's eyes had achieved a size and happiness never before seen by Thoros, who could feel a migraine growing.
"Uh huh an' in the gawden?"
"We don't know…" Thoros tried, but Calla was quicker.
"YES, my beautiful brilliant boy! And we can teach her our games and you can teach her how to plant the flowers and feed the ducks! Won't that be fun?"
"Yes, Momma," Theo looked like he wanted to continue but he was cut off by his own jaw breaking yawn and drooping eyes.
"Calla, why don't you take our little prince to bed. Perhaps you could tell him a story…" Thoros said, quietly resigning himself to a cease fire in their discussion on the kidnapped muggle turned "magical" girl. If Calla got her nonsense into his son's head, he'd be training it out of the boy for months. However, there would be no reasoning with either of them in this state.
Calla and Theodore disappeared in a flurry of skirts and Spanish endearments. Thoros turned to the side board. Picking up the blown glass container of Ogden's Finest, he poured two fingers into a crystal tumbler and drank it in one. As the familiar burn worked down his throat, he stalked off to bed and Calla. Perhaps in the morning, when her traumatic evening and the shock of it all had worn off, she'd see sense. He wrapped himself in such comforting thoughts as much as his silk sheets that night.
He should have known better.
So there you have it! Calla being from Andalucia, Spain. If any of you lovely humans (?) see a problem with my Spanish, or a way to make it more natural, feel free to PM me!
Love and such... in a totally platonic detached sort of way... OK FINE I LOVE EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU. shut up...