I've found some time to complete this chapter. I hope I did well with my characterizations as they are all new to me, in one way or another. I tried to clear up some thing and put some plot twists in others. Please tell me how I did with the different povs as I struggled a lot with some of them. I only ask that you remain polite and don't try to put down my whole story simply because one character was not how YOU imagined them.
Thank you to all those who reviewed. I appreciate every single one of you, even if I had to put your comment through google translate to understand it ;)
I've got no idea when my next update will be, as I should be studying right now for my exams. Could help myself, I didn't want to let the plot bunnies escape. I might get another up around early July, but I also might start again on my other story, A Different Don.
Something else entirely that I do want to share: I GOT AN INTERNSHIP IN GERMANY as part of my last year at college, next year. I'll be in Dresden from February 2019 till May 2019. I'm so exited!
Hope you enjoy the story and please leave a review!
Chapter 25: And war does not determine who's right
When Ariana drifted back to consciousness, she froze. For one terrible heartbeat she was back in the casket, alone and frightened. Then the moment passed as someone's magic washed over her and for the first time in along while she felt at home. This magic, it had called to her when she finally escaped and she had followed it. Blindly disappearing and appearing in some busy street, she had run towards the pull and had bumped into someone. As their magic mingled, exhaustion took over and everything turned black.
Not wanting to face the real world just yet, she curled closer in the soft sheets and simply listened. The room was quiet except for steady breathing close by. The magic embracing her must be from this person, the man on the street? She didn't know. Slowly she turned towards the noise, trying to be as stealthily as possible. Hesitantly she peeked through her eyelashes. If this person had noticed she was awake yet, she wanted to keep that advantage.
A gasp nearly escaped her mouth when she saw her — saviour?, captor? — sitting in a chair next to the bed. He was stunningly beautiful with soft black curls and a strong frame and cheekbones that could cut glass. Well, that's what they looked like. Almost against her will, Ariana sat up, supporting herself with one arm. She'd dreamed about this man, he'd been the only thing keeping her sane in her enchanted sleep.
'Tom,' his name came to her. She'd seen him grow, from boy to man, to horrid creature and back to man. Her soul had yearned for him as she had witnessed the events that nearly broke him.
Albus had been so mean! He'd always been a bit big-headed, leading their childhood games and looking down on Abe for not been as smart. He'd avoided Ariana when her magic went haywire and her mind struggled to wade through the muck that filled her head. She had not realised back then, but the sleep had cleared her mind and now she knew his pitying looks for what they were. Recalled his conversations with that blond boy — Gellert? —. He'd planned bad things, though he did love her, in his own patronizing way.
No, Albus' biggest problem was that he liked being better than everyone else. Not with Gellert, but the rest of the world needed to be dumber, so Albus could teach them. Tom —Ariana savoured the name in her mind — had been competition from the start. She didn't understand why he couldn't banter with Tom as he had done with Gellert, had never seen Gellert when her soul visited Tom.
Instead of embracing Tom's genius, Albus had tried to ruin the boy. And Ariana had been able to do nothing but watch as her connection to Tom grew weaker and weaker. Some time ago she'd lost him entirely, though she had caught snippets of another boy, who looked a bit like Tom, except wilder and frailer in a way Ariana couldn't explain. Like he was more like her than Tom? It made little sense when she tried to formulate such thoughts.
How happy she had been when her connection with Tom had been restored in full and he had regained his human appearance. And then the Witch had stayed away as the sleep wore off. For the first time in — months, years, decades? —, Ariana had awakened fully. She had panicked when she realised she was lying in a coffin. Her magic had lashed out instinctively and the coffin had broken around her. She had taken her chance to escape and now she was here.
On second though, where was here? The room was big with rows and rows of beds, all with the same white bed linens. Looking down at herself, she saw her favourite blue dress from when she was fourteen, except it was several inches to short and almost showed her knees! It was also very tight around her breasts, which where sticking out much more than the last time Ariana had noticed them. She hastily threw the bed sheets around herself, lest someone saw her dressed so indecently! Oh Merlin — Ariana nearly fainted at the thought — Tom had seen her like this. She had even fainted in his arms. He must think her loose or unmannered to walk around like this. How could she ever survive this…this horrifying experience!
When Marvolo woke up, it was to his beloved coming out of the bathroom. She had changed her old dress to a more appropriate size. He was glad not to have to focus on her face — not that he didn't love her beautiful face — in fear of getting more than an eyeful of her…considerable bust. He took in his soulmate now that she was awake and not hysterical. She moved with innate grace despite the fact that she was several inches taller since she was last fully conscious. Despite her bare feet and her hair falling down her back, she looked like a lady.
Marvolo had distinct standards when it came to how people should behave, dress, etc. And maybe those standards were somewhat old-fashioned. But as a prominent member of society and Lord of one of the oldest Houses of Britain, he needed to keep to appear perfect at all times. Not to mention that he found modern fashion too…forward.
He gently cleared his throat to make his soulmate aware that he was awake. She whipped around, only to blush softly. He stood from his chair, subtly hiding his soreness from sleeping in an awkward position. He bowed formally as he introduce himself. "My lady. I am Marvolo Slytherin, Lord of the most Ancient and most Noble House of Slytherin."
She curtsied. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Lord Slytherin. I am Ariana Dumbledore, youngest daughter of Percival Dumbledore, Lord of the Ancient and Noble House of Dumbledore."
So he had been right. She was indeed the missing Dumbledore child. Somehow he couldn't find it in himself to care. Her past didn't matter much to him, she was his now. He couldn't help but soak in her appearance, her magic. She soothed his senses, raw from years of neglect and abuse.
Ariana looked like she wanted to say something, so he smiled softly to encourage her. Tears welled in her beautiful eyes as she bit her lip. Suddenly she threw herself in his arms, sobbing. His breath caught as he focused on her, and her only. The feel of her frail body, the faint smell of lavender in her hair, and — oh —her magic. It was intoxicating. He'd gladly spend the rest of life with her in his arms.
After a few seconds Marvolo centred himself enough to be able to listen to what Ariana was saying. She wasn't making much sense, seemingly jumping from one thing to another.
"Merlin, I thought I'd lost you…Please don't ever leave me…I was so scared, I thought I'd be in that coffin forever and ever…Everything felt wrong…Tom!"
He froze, before his knees gave in and he collapsed in his chair. Pulling Ariana more secure on his lap was more of a reflex than real thought. Marvolo gripped her chin softly and tenderly turned her face towards him. Tears were streaming over her cheeks and he wiped them away absentmindedly.
"How do you know? That name, how do you know that name?!" he asked insistently, yet keep his voice very evenly.
She stopped sobbing before looking a little embarrassed. In a small voice she began to explain how she'd been dreaming about Marvolo since he'd been a small boy. How the connection weakened over the years until it disappeared completely. The relief she'd felt when the connection had been restored.
By the time Ariana finished Marvolo was horrified with himself. He'd been regretting making his Horcruxes and this sealed it. He tightened his arms around Ariana. He wasn't ready to apologize yet, out loud at least. But he did want her to feel like he cared.
Exhausted by the tumultuous emotions and being embraced by Tom, Marvolo's magic Ariana drifted back to sleep. Her last thought was how ironic it was she was constantly sleeping when she'd escaped a life of enchanted sleep.
Marvolo didn't take long to follow his beloved to dreamland. He felt so at home that any thoughts of propriety didn't even enter his mind. When Madam Pomphrey came to check in on her patient, she merely covered the sleeping couple with a blanket and went back to her office. The poor dears deserved some love.
Bill had been flabbergasted when the pretty French girl that had been flirting with him all week suddenly gave him the cold shoulder. He'd been very amused by her frustration as he ignored all her attempts at flirting and casually threw of her Allure. She reminded him so much of Abigail Smith, he'd had nightmares of his fifth year at Hogwarts for the first time in ages. Not in looks. While Abigail had been very pretty, Fleur Delacour was naturally in a class of her own.
But they both were beautiful, from a prominent pureblood family, and very popular. Abigail had been Hogwarts's angel during Bill's time there. They'd started in the same year, though Abigail had been a Ravenclaw. In fifth yearn they'd been paired for an Arithmancy project. Looking back, he could now admit that she'd manipulated him from the moment they'd officially met. She had flirted so he would do the whole project on his own and later bragged to her friends about the excellent marks 'that foolish Weasley' had gotten her.
At the time however, he'd been blind to her flaws and rotten core. When he'd asked her out after the project was finished, she'd sneered down at him like he was worth less than the dirt on her shoes. She explained at length that a poor blood-traitor was so far beneath her, she'd rather date a half-blood. She was, after all, an Heiress of the Ancient and Noble House of Smith, descendants of Helga Hufflepuff herself!
After publically humiliating Bill, she had flounced off and had attached herself to Thorfinn Rowle, a seventh year Slytherin and Heir to the Noble House of Rowle and part of the Sacred Twenty-Eight. The only reason the episode hadn't destroyed Bill's future prospects, was his own considerate popularity, status as a kind and helpful prefect, and excellent grades.
The joke had been on Abigail though. Bill had returned for his sixth year as with twelve OWLs, almost all Outstandings, and Heir to the Ancient and Noble House of Prewett. He'd also filled out over the course of that summer, filling out his tall and lanky appearance.
Abigail on the other hand had been demoted as Heiress in favour of her younger cousin Zacharias. She had failed several of her OWLs and Rowle had married a French Heiress over the summer.
The whole thing had left a deep scar in Bill's heart. Sure she'd had her comeuppance, but that didn't diminish the hurt from being so humiliated by his first crush. He'd kept wary of girls after that. Only going for the meek, plain girls, who didn't approach him first. It never lasted, he always found himself bored with them after a couple of dates.
The Veela looked like she had spunk, and would give it as good as she got. But she had tried to win him minutes after their introduction. She'd basically thrown herself at him and when he didn't react she gave him the cold shoulder. Bill was torn between chasing her —doing whatever it took to get that attention back on him — and being glad she'd given up. Her flirtation hadn't just stroked his ego, it had woken something inside of Bill. Something primal that demanded he'd get the Veela's attention back on him. Thankfully she hadn't flirted with anyone else. In fact, he'd seen her brush off the attentions of many other boys.
Viktor had gotten lost, again. He didn't know how he did it, but he lost his way in Hogwarts at least once a day. It was like the castle changed on purpose whenever he walked its halls on his own. He'd stumbled upon Harry and his suitor having a private moment two times already! Not to mention that he had witnessed Hermione accepting Courtship from the dark Slytherin as well as agreeing to go to the Ball with him. And he'd accidentally overheard the dark Slytherin and the girl who also hung around Harry's suitor squabbling about how to get Ron to ask the girl —Patty? No, Pansy — to the Yule Ball.
This time he saw Luna handing over a book to Ron's eldest brother, the one with the earring. Viktor immediately turned around, he'd intruded on enough private moments. He could guess what their meeting was about easily enough. Fleur's inner Veela had decided on a mate, and her intended was wary of her desperate measures. Luna was obviously helping things along in her own cryptic way.
Cursing Hogwarts in his head for making him privy to so many secrets, Viktor didn't pay attention to where he was going. Not that it would have mattered in his opinion. He could have followed a map and still have gotten lost. This time however it meant he bumped into someone.
As he stepped back and started to apologize, Cedric cut him off. "It's my fault, Viktor, I saw you weren't paying attention to your surroundings and stepped into your path on purpose."
Viktor took in the seeker. His usual smile was a little shaky and his body language betrayed his nervousness. For a moment he allowed himself to appreciate the other's physique before focusing on Cedric's face again.
The blonde went on, "You see, I wanted to ask you something, private. I thought, since we're both haunted by our fans, and they won't be happy no matter who we take, and well the others all have date, or will have pretty soon, I thought we might go together. That's if you want to? It doesn't have to mean anything, I just …"
Viktor only half listened to the blond Hufflepuff rambling on. He'd wanted to ask the Cedric himself, but hadn't known how. His career had insured his social skills were non-existent, and being the son of the Bulgarian Prime Minister had taken care of the rest.
It looked like Cedric was running out of steam, so he took Cedric's hand between his. His "I'd love to be your date for the Yule Ball" was accented heavily, but Cedric lit up nonetheless. For some minutes they just stood there, in a deserted hallway just of the Great Hall, basking happily in each other's presence — in someone who understood them and their obligations and duties perfectly.
I made Ignatius Prewett Lord of the Ancient and Noble House of Prewett, and Bill his Heir as he has no children. At this point in time, Ignatius is still alive and asked Bill to seek a different career so he doesn't lose his Heir prematurely.