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It had been her fourth year when Parvati and Lavender finally convinced Sonya to reveal the name on her wrist- the name that had confounded her for years. She had searched through many books of wizarding genealogy for a name, but had yet to find anything on him. She was sure he was a wizard, right?
"I've been trying to find out who he is, and so far I've had no luck. Perhaps, having grown up in the wizarding world, you may be able to point me in the right direction?" Sonya said hesitantly.
"Of course!" Lavender squealed, glad that the Girl-Who-Lived was finally 'opening up' on such matters.
Hermione also leaned forward. It had been the one thing that her best friend had yet to share with her. Slowly, Sonya rolled up the right sleeve of her robes and bared her wrist and the elegantly written name there, as if tattooed in black ink. A mark that everyone had from birth, and the only thing that had given her hope that she would one day find someone who would love her when she grew up with the Dursley's. One simple name, almost a mantle, she thought. T'challa.
Lavender's face fell as confusion set in, but both Hermione and Parvati gasped. "What is it?" Sonya asked, looking at the two. "Do you know who he is?"
"Yes but… he's not a part of the wizarding world," Hermione said. It was now Sonya's turn to be confused. Not a wizard? Then how did Parvati recognise the name?
"While wizards in Britain are largely dismissive of muggles, many other wizarding cultures are well aware of Wakanda," Parvati said. "And extremely wary of them. They are not a people you want as your enemy. Largely muggle, but their wizarding society is blended and acknowledged within their society. They have some of the best warriors the world has ever known, led by the warrior known Black Panther, a mantle passed from warrior to warrior within their royal family."
"Sonya," Hermione said, reaching over to grasp her friend's hand. "T'challa is the son of T'chaka, the king of Wakanda, and heir to its throne."
"You mean her soul mate is a PRINCE?!" Lavender shrieked the last word as shock was the primary feeling Sonya was currently experiencing. That and disbelief. How could that be? She wasn't good enough to be the soul mate of royalty. She was also shocked when, the next day, news of the discovery hadn't been spread all over the castle. She shot Hermione a grateful look over lunch, knowing her friend had everything to do with keeping Hogwarts' resident gossips quiet. It only took her a few days to come to terms with the idea of who her soulmate was, but she soon resigned herself to never meeting him. After all, what would she have to offer a prince except a deadly threat to him, his family and his kingdom?
FOUR YEARS LATER
A month before her eighteenth birthday, Sonya Potter had snuck herself out of Order Headquarters and went for a walk, trying to put as much distance between herself and Grimmauld as possible. Between the Order and Dumbledore pressing the idea of her duty to the wizarding world in the war and Kingsley, Hermione and Remus in pressing her into trying to leave, she was going spare. She needed out, and when everyone else was distracted, she had legged it out the front door. That was how she had ended up, sat on the railing of Hammersmith Bridge, looking out over the Thames as it ran along beneath her, parts of it lit, only by the cities lights. Wind blew her black hair away from her face and she closed her green eyes, listening only to the sounds around her.
Sonya was startled out of her thoughts by the sound of someone climbing up and sitting down on the railing beside her. She looked round to see a man who could not have been two years older than her, looking at her. "Err, hi?"
"Hello," he said. "I hope you don't mind me joining you?" he said. His accent reminded her a little of Kingsley. He was tall, and broad, his face was handsome and his dark eyes clever- and worried.
"Not really, but I'm a bit confused as to why?"
"Well, I saw a young woman sitting alone with her eyes closed on the edge of a bridge. I must admit to being worried."
It clicked for Sonya then. "Oh you thought I was… oh no, not that. I just came out here to think. Clear my head a bit. I've been inside an old stuffy house listening to lectures for the last few weeks. I needed a little space."
His strong shoulders relaxed and she realized that he had reminded her of a cat, ready to pounce. He must have been preparing himself to catch her if she had jumped like he had feared. "Well that is a relief to hear. But why choose to sit here? Surely there would be less questionable places to sit and think?"
"Not necessarily where people would look for me though. Besides, I like being near the water and seeing it like this. It's calming. I've always liked the water."
He grinned. "Well, I suppose that's a fair enough excuse. What draws you to the water?"
"Water's a cleanser. It helps the healing process. And I guess I want to help people. I want to help them heal."
"That sounds like a good idea. What are you studying?"
"I just completed my A-levels. I'm just waiting for the results to come back. I have several offers for medical school abroad, but I don't know if I should go, which is why I'm out here I guess. Thinking everything over."
"What's stopping you, if you do not mind me asking?"
Sonya did not know why, but she felt like she could trust him. He was easy to talk to. It was almost like she already knew him, but she did not even know his name. "There are quite a few people around me who want me to follow my dad's footsteps, go into the police force, do my duty so to speak. A smaller group are pushing me to leave, to get out and make my own path for myself, do what I want, not what's expected."
"And what of your parents?"
She shrugged. "I wouldn't know. They died when I was one. One of their oldest friends is urging me to go, become a doctor. I suppose that's the closest I have to what they would tell me."
"I am sorry," he frowned.
"Don't be. I long ago came to terms with the fact. What about you? Are you studying anything?"
"Yes, business. I'm just about to graduate, and then I will return home to my father. I think you should go for your degree, if that's any help. The police force can wait. One more person in their ranks would not make a difference, no matter who they were. Go, travel, and get your degree. If after that, you wish to return, or continue you can do either, with the benefit of experiences." He was smiling at her.
She smiled in return, before ducking her head and blushing slightly. "Perhaps I will," she agreed.
They spoke for over two hours, and very easily, much to Sonya's surprise. He was easy to get on with and they had many interests in common, such as literature and music, and surprisingly science. "One day, you must visit my home. We have some of the best technology and our doctors' skills are unparalleled."
"I would like that a lot," Sonya nodded. She looked down at her watch and sighed. "I'd better get going. They're probably all going spare by now."
"I've just realised I don't know your name," he said.
She smiled sadly. "I don't think knowing my name is a good idea. Or me knowing who you are."
"Well I cannot keep thinking of you as without a name," he said.
She thought for a moment. "Then call me Rose," she said. It was her middle name. That would cause no harm.
"In that case, call me Jaheem," he responded with a grin. "But before you go, here," he reached into the inside of his jacket pocket and produced paper and a pen. Leaning the paper on his leg, he jotted down his number and handed the paper over to her. "I have enjoyed our conversation. When you get a chance, call me."
Sonya glanced down at the paper. "Now I'm going to have to get a phone," she grinned.
"You don't have one?"
"No. But I can get one. I'll give you a call at some point. See you around, Jaheem."
"Goodbye, Rose," he nodded, helping her back onto solid ground.
They went their separate ways and Sonya clutched the paper tightly in her hand as she walked across the bridge. She should chuck it into the water, she knew, and never contact the sweet man who, for a while, helped her forget. It would be the best way to keep him safe. But she couldn't bring herself to do it. Something about him made her want to speak to him again. And really, if she kept the communication to muggle means, then no one in the wizarding world, none of her enemies, would ever find out, right? She tucked the paper into her pocket and headed off towards Grimmauld Place. It was time to tell Kingsley and Remus that she agreed to their plan.
T'challa sighed as he sat down in his room in the London townhouse his family owned. Rose. It was not her real name, he knew, but he could not stop thinking of her. He did not know what had drawn him to that bridge, but he knew he was meant to be there. All he could do now though was wait for her to call him. Hope that she called him. He had been surprised that she did not own her own phone, but right from the beginning, Rose had been an enigma. And she had been scared of something, which had stopped her giving her true name. He had wanted to tell her who he was and swear he could keep her safe, if she would let him help and tell him what was wrong, but T'challa had quickly guessed that would have been a bad thing to do for her. So he had settled for giving her his number. Hopefully she would call him, and he would be able to be sure she was safe. Besides, he was sure they had far more to talk about, especially once she started her degree. Rose appeared to really want to go through with that. It would be good for her if she did.
A/N: What do you think?