A/N: This is a response to the challenges posted on the DC James's web page.  They got me thinkin' =)

Ok, and people – this is just a muck around story for me…Faith, and its subsequent sequels (er, one for every year is how I've planned it out) are my main concern.  But sometimes, writer's block just hits, and this idea (plus a few others) has been rattling around my head for a while.

Enjoy!

Emeralds

Chapter One: Lily

            "James?  Where are you?" Lily's tremulous voice wavered on the cold October air.  Godric's Hollow was devastated – and Lily could find no trace of her fiancé anywhere.  Though they had been dating for ages – it hadn't been until the birth of Harry that James had decided to finally get serious and marry Lily.  She still felt bitter about that.  The man loved her, in his own way – but it was a frightfully cold way, as though she was more a possession than a person.  She shivered slightly in the brisk air, wishing for the hundredth time that she'd never given birth to the brat in the first place.  She didn't like children especially much – and though she loved Harry in her own way, she could have done with several more years of freedom, thank you very much.  Lily picked her way through the rubble of the house, calmly taking in the damage that surrounded her.  "Oh for the love of God, Tom.  Go overboard much?" she muttered.  She had few illusions as to what had happened.  Peter had finally broke and told Tom where Potter was.  She snorted inelegantly.  Tom you blasted fool, she thought sourly, you've gone and ruined all my clothes! She sighed and glanced around her, finally spotting a pair of prone legs sticking out of the hallway.  Ah, so he's dead then, she thought, mildly surprised at the pang of regret that went through her.  She hadn't expected that she'd grow attached to the fool.  He was never very serious for her – she'd only have one love of her life, and he wouldn't look at her.  He probably doesn't even remember the one time we were together he was so drunk, she thought, a twisted smile coming over her face.  Her curiosity satisfied, she was about to leave when a wailing cry pierced the air.  She jerked, her eyes going wide.  Harry?  The boy wasn't supposed to be here.  Sirius was supposed to have him – James was supposed to go undercover alone, dammit!  She gasped for breath as she headed for the sound of the cry, stumbling in her haste – a mother's instinct kicking in.  She might not have wanted the boy – but he was important to her, and the bloodline.  She finally made it to a small bedroom near the rear of the house and looked inside.  Harry lay on the floor, covered in blood and dirt, wailing, his skin an unhealthy pale shade.  Lily could feel the blood drain from her face.  She rushed over to the child and picked him up, cooing at him.

            "Shh, shh.  Mama's here little one.  Don't you worry.  Mama's here," she crooned, shrugging off her jacket and wrapping it around the child securely.  She glanced around the room, brow furrowing.  What in the bloody blue blazes is Hadrian doing here? She wondered, absently calling her son by his full name.  She preferred Hadrian to Harry – the nickname was James's idea.  She rocked the child in her arms, and he slowly quieted.  She finally spotted another figure collapsed in the corner.  She walked over to it, prodding at the body with her toe.  The limp figure of a pretty blond woman greeted her, and Lily felt her mouth twist into a sneer.  So, he's been fucking off behind by back then? She snarled, happy that the bastard was now dead.  She wondered if the girl staring at her blankly was the first or just the newest filly in James's stable of whores.  She shrugged after a moment, deciding that she really didn't care in the long run.  She sighed and shifted the now silent child in her arms.  Noises from the front of the house made her jump and caused Harry to cry softly.

            "In the guest bedroom!  I heard something!" Sirius's panicked voice could be heard.  Lily scowled.  His voice was the last thing she wanted to hear.  She thought swiftly, then discarded the idea of trying to be distraught.  There's no way I'd be able to pull it off.  I'll go for shocked and see what happens then, she decided, nodding once, sharply.  She carefully arranged herself in the middle of the room and then held herself stock still, waiting for them to find her. 

            A second later, Sirius burst through the doors of the guest bedroom, pain and anguish blatant on his features.  He paled when he saw Lily standing in the middle of the room, staring blankly at the dead woman in front of her.  Quickly behind Black arrived Dumbledore, Lupin and Severus.  Lily hid her reaction to seeing the tall Potions Master – a part of her wanted him to hold her, comfort her, tell her that he loved her.  But he didn't – and she knew that.  Severus only had eyes for one person, and that was Lucius Malfoy.  Lily doubted Severus never more than once glanced her way as a prospective love interest. 

            "Lily?" Sirius's weak voice echoed in the room.  Lily made herself jump slightly and turn to the sound, keeping her eyes wide and her lower lip trembling slightly.

            "Sirius?" God how she hated playing the weak fool.  But it served her needs – that she had to admit.  Sirius's face crumpled further, and he rushed to her, scooping her into his arms, causing Harry to cry loudly. 

            "Harry?  He's alive!" Sirius started to sob loudly onto her shoulder, his antics upsetting the child further.  Lily pulled out of his grasp as quickly as she could without causing suspicion. 

            "What's going on here?  Sirius, I thought you were babysitting for me?  Why was Had-er Harry here?" she asked, mentally smacking herself for the near slip up.  Sirius sobbed harder, sitting abruptly on the ground.  Looks as though he'll be of no use to me, she thought disgustedly.

            "He – James, I went to the store with Harry, and he – I saw him and that girl and I got angry.  Then James said I should come back to the house and he'd explain everything.  He – he – and then he said to get Remus, so I did, leaving Harry here, and then, and then -," he broke off, unable to continue.  Lily gritted her teeth.  So.  James had been parading his whores through Diagon Alley.  No wonder everyone was whispering about her when she was pregnant.  Lily seethed silently – to see the last of the line of Slytherin brought to this point, she thought disdainfully.  Then an evil thought crossed her mind.  James never claimed Harry as his son, she mused, a calculating look passing over her face.  She looked down at her son and smoothed the few wispy strands of hair off of his face.  That's when she noticed the scar.  The long, jagged cut was still oozing blood slightly, and Lily swayed a bit, before going and sitting on a piece of the fallen wall.  She stared at her son, true shock rattling through her.  She knew what the scar was from – and just who had given it to him.  She felt true rage burn through her – that BASTARD, she snarled, a red film starting to cover her eyes.  Tom, so help me.  You had better be dead or I'll kill you myself – blood relative or not.  She felt the others crowding around her, asking her questions, but she ignored them.  Instead, she concentrated on her blood relatives, feeling out the links that connected them.  All descendants of Slytherin had the ability – and considering the closeness of her own connection with Salazar – she had a stronger ability to feel out the family than they did to her.  For Lily wasn't the witch that everyone thought she was.  Indeed, 'Lily' wasn't even her real name.  Her real name was Lilliana, daughter of Octavia, granddaughter of Livia and Salazar Slytherin themselves.  She was the last of the pure Slytherin line – Octavia having had her own child out of wedlock and keeping the family name.  True enough, she couldn't find a trace of Tom, bah that Lord Voldemort foolishness.  Ridiculous name.  But there was something there – an odd echo she didn't like at all.

            Lily snapped herself out of her musings and looked at the squabbling men around her.  They all seemed to attempting to decide where she should go, what she should do – while all Sirius did was sob on the ground.  She narrowed her eyes at them, deciding that it was time to speak up for herself.  She was damned if she was going to let these, these – Gryffindors decide what was best for her.  She was a Slytherin, damnit!  She would take care of herself.

            "Gentlemen," she said coolly, grabbing everyone's attention.  She stood gracefully and regarded them all for a long moment, her gaze hard.  "While Hadrian and I appreciate your concern, you have no right to attempt to dictate my next move.  Lord Voldemort – also known as Tom Riddle is dead – or nearly that.  I will do what is best for my family now – without the interference of the likes of you," she said shortly, chin raised challengingly.  They all gaped at her in surprise, much to her amusement. 

            "But – but Lily!  What -," Remus began to sputter.  She sneered at him, holding Harry tightly to her.  She glanced at Dumbledore and felt a cold shiver work its way down her spine.  The old man had a calculating look on his face, and she would bet he was close to figuring out who she was.  She thought swiftly, and then made up her mind – why the hell not?  What are they going to do?  She turned her attention back to the werewolf.

            "Remus, I'll be fine.  I have a manor, a family name and plenty of money to support me.  I'll thank you to stay out of my way, and out of my business," she snapped.  Remus stared at her, eyes wide and hurt.  She had never liked the werewolf in the first place.  Nor Sirius, and definitely not Peter.  She sighed and glanced at the Headmaster again.  He was staring at her now, face expressionless.  Ah, so he's finally figured out where he's seen my portrait then, she thought vindictively, a tiny smile crossing her face.  There was a portrait done of her just before her eleventh birthday, hanging in a remote gallery somewhere in Hogwarts.  Her grandfather had commissioned it, and then sent it to Godric as a gift.  She hid a small, fond smile that would have looked horribly out of place in the grim room.  Her grandfather had had the wickedest sense of humor.  Oh how I miss him, she thought sadly, smile fading, raising her head and staring the Headmaster in the eye, daring him.  He took a deep breath, and let it out slowly.

            "I assume that we will be able to reach you at the Slytherin Estate?" he asked in the silence.  Severus's head whipped around to stare at the Headmaster in shock, while Sirius stopped sobbing to also look up in confusion.  Lily smiled, her expression sharp and cunning.

            "Very good, Dumbledore.  And yes, you may reach me at the Estate should you need to contact me.  Good bye, gentlemen," she spat, not looking at Severus as she gathered herself, and Disapparated.  The men were left in silence, the three younger wizards staring at the older man. 

            "What the hell was Lily talking about?" Sirius finally spat, eyes wide and shocky.  Dumbledore crossed the rubble-strewn room and sat heavily on part of the fallen wall, shaky.  How could I have missed it? He thought to himself.  How could I not have seen? He sighed and ran a shaking hand over his face, tired and grief-stricken.  James had been like a grandson to him, and seeing his body lying in the hallway had pierced the old man's heart. 

            "She's not Lily.  She is Lilliana, daughter of Octavia, granddaughter of Salazar Slytherin himself," he said softly, almost unable to believe his ears.  "The true Heir of Slytherin has defeated Lord Voldemort," he murmured, wondering faintly what the wizarding world would make of the news. 

            "But, but how -?" Severus trailed off, for once speechless.  Albus sighed and bowed his head.

            "There was a story, handed down from one Headmaster to the next, about the four demons of Slytherin – the demons being, I believe, a humorous nickname for his daughters; Augusta, Octavia, Dementia and Lucretia.  They were supposedly beautiful girls, who were headstrong and spoiled by their father.  As legend has it, Leon Gryffindor, Godric's third born son of his second muggle wife, fell in love with Octavia's daughter, Lilliana, who was barely thirteen.  Godric tried to put the boy off of his idea, but the boy would have none of it.  So, one day, Leon went over to the Estate and tried to kidnap Lilliana.  The girl panicked, and disappeared – and never returned.  That's when Salazar and Gryffindor had their epic battle – for Godric had merely rebuked the lad, instead of punishing him.  Salazar had wanted the boy's head on a platter.  The two men dueled, and you all know the outcome of that, but that is the true reason why, from that point on, Salazar hated all things muggle or muggle-born related.  He blamed the whole Gryffindor line for his granddaughter's disappearance, and then left the school," the Headmaster finished tiredly.  The men in the room stared at him, wide-eyed. 

            "So, she – Lily, is really Lilliana Slytherin?  And, but, how -?" Sirius mumbled, confused.  Severus sat heavily on the floor, eyes wide.  A Slytherin.  That little girl with the hopeless crush had been a true blood Slytherin.  It's a wonder she didn't kill me, he thought faintly.

            "What's going to happen to Harry now?" Remus asked, a frown appearing on his face.  The Headmaster sighed, rubbing his temples gently.

            "She's taken him to the Slytherin Estate.  No one knows where it is, really.  There's a fireplace in the school that can take you there – but you have to call ahead of time in order for it to work.  Otherwise – the last recorded mentioning of the Estate is somewhere near Salisbury, England," he said. 

            "A Slytherin," Remus murmured, finally closing his eyes.  "But what about James?  Harry was his son too." He pointed out.  Albus said nothing for a long moment.

            "I am blind to many of James's faults, Remus, but unfortunately, where the little boy is concerned I am not.  James never claimed the child, Remus.  He never wanted to be a husband.  He never wanted a wife – or a child for that matter.  He wanted his freedom, his women and his drink.  Lily has all rights to the child – his upbringing, his schooling, his name – everything.  We have no control over them," Albus said, finally, sadly.  Remus looked as though he wanted to argue, but finally sighed and slumped.  They all knew it was true – James had been cheating on Lily from the very beginning. 

            "What will happen now, Albus?" Severus asked in the silence.  The Headmaster looked up finally and locked tired eyes with the Potions Master.

            "I don't know, Severus," he said quietly.  "I don't know."

End Chapter One

A/N: Ok, to remind you all, this story is probably not going to be updated as fast as I update Faith.  This is just a small, side story that I work on when I hit writers block.  And I'm listening to the Gladiator soundtrack.