The Serpent's Blossom

A/N: Ah, welcome to another rewrite of one of my stories. I started this fic young and inexperienced, which produced a very immature story that was soon too full of plotholes to continue. However, Nova and her gang have been bothering me relentlessly since. Therefore, I offer a new version of the story, completely different storyline and changes in characters. Hopefully, it will enthrall you! This is set in Harry Potter's seventh year instead of Post-Hogwarts.
Warnings: Angst, Slash, Violence, HBP Spoilers
Pairings: HP/DM, RW/HG, SS/OC, OC/OC
Disclaimer: Harry Potter characters and ideas are not mine. The original characters, races, and the situations are.

Dedicated to Ashley, my strongest supporter for the story. Happy birthday, babe.

Prologue
The Ill Princess
She coughed wetly into her hand, a little, white lace handkerchief held tightly within her fist. Her skin was nearly the same color with only the barest bit of peach, except on her brightly flushed cheeks. The thick black hair that fell in sweat soaked trundles around her face like the arms of a sea beast, selfishly guarding its hoard. She lay huddled in a large bed, the red sheets and blankets swallowing her small body up. All around her were soft pillows, large stuffed animals, and ruffled curtains. Along the walls was beautifully crafted furniture of dark wood, covered with toys and hair accessories. However, the little girl wasn't able to enjoy any of it.

"Baby, relax, or it won't stop."

A pale, blonde haired woman sat down on the side of the bed. She reached over and brushed back wet hair from the girl's forehead. Wide, tired, near black eyes looked up at her imploringly.

"…-toria…."

"Shh, honey, don't try to talk. Just rest. I'm going to take care of you."

A cool compress was laid upon the girl's forehead as she closed her eyes again. The woman stroked her long hair and her fever reddened cheeks.

"…d…daddy…."

"I know, baby, I'm trying to contact him…Just give me a little more time. It'll be all right."

Slowly, the little girl calmed into a restless sleep, her breathing harsh and loud. Only when she was sure of sleep did the woman get up and leave the beautiful bedroom. The other rooms of the large house weren't as fancifully rich, but they were far from being poor. Each room had exactly what it needed of the finest quality, but little more. No homey touches. The blonde woman walked purposefully through the quiet, still house, until she came to a large fireplace with a black marble mantle. She reached up to a small bag of powder and threw a pinch into it. The fire gave a burst of green flames before settling. Taking a breath, she knelt in front of it and spoke.

"Dumbledore."

A few moments later, the head of an ancient wizard appeared in the flames. His blue eyes twinkled from behind half moon glasses, but the twinkle lessened as he took in the strained look on the blonde woman's face.

"Victoria, it has been some time. What can I do for you?" he asked congenially.

"His daughter," she responded quietly, her thin brows drawing together. "She's gotten sick again…and it's getting worse. She hasn't left the bed in three weeks."

"I see. Have you consulted a mediwitch?"

"Three mediwitches, four muggle doctors, and two shaman in the last week. Who knows how many before that…." She shifted to sit cross legged, worrying her hands in the lap of her long skirt. "None of them agree with one another, nor can they give a definitive answer. They simple prescribe more and more medications and potions that haven't helped her at all. What time I'm not spending with her, I'm looking up information to make sure none of them cross badly…"

The older man sighed very softly. "I'm coming to see for myself with Poppy. Is that all right?"

"Poppy is a miracle worker," replied Victoria softly. "I was going to ask for her anyway."

"Good. Expect us within the hour."

"Thank you…"

"Think nothing of it. After all, this is a very special little girl…"

When the two visitors appeared on the property, Victoria was already there, wrapped in a shall to cover against the dwindling sunlight, to escort them inside. They wasted no time in small talk and went right to the pretty little bedroom. The girl was still asleep in her large bed, dwarfed by the sheets and coverlets. Madam Pomfrey stripped the covers away, ignoring the little shiver of the child, and began her spelled examination.

"My word…It's as if her magic is trying to come out all at once…" the amazed mediwitch murmured. Victoria looked up at Dumbledore for some kind of reassurance, but the old man's face was unreadable. Madam Pomfrey continued her examination, murmuring soft words to the child after any sleepy whimpers and soothing her back into deep sleep. When she was finished, she carefully laid the covers back over her and stepped out into the hall, beckoning the other woman to follow.

"Can you help her?" Victoria asked anxiously, breaking the silence.

"I'm afraid there's little anyone can do for her," replied Pomfrey softly. As the blonde woman's face began to fall with sorrow, the mediwitch reached over and took her hand. "Her magic is trying to awaken into a body that just isn't ready for it yet. I've seen this before and many children survive to live full, productive lives…"

Victoria gave a little nod, but her pale eyes were already filling with tears.

"Take heart, child," Pomfrey continued. "I'm prescribing a list of nutrient and strengthening potions. Keeping her body as healthy as possible will greatly improve her chances. Whatever the others have tried before me, give me a list and I'll see if any should be continued."

"Thank you," Victoria whispered. Pomfrey embraced her and patted her back. Moments later, Dumbledore exited the bedroom looking mildly disconcerted.

"Victoria, what color are her eyes?" he asked. The pale woman glanced over at him with confusion.

"Brown."

"How interesting…" He was quiet and both waited for him to exit his thoughts once more. "In any instance, I'm sure Poppy will take care of this better than I can."

"Thank you for coming," Victoria said quietly. Dumbledore began to leave the house but paused and looked back at her.

"Have you been bothered here?"

"No, not at all. They've left me in peace."

"Good. I'm glad that you're fairing better here."

She nodded and he went on out.

"I forgot to send this earlier today," said Pomfrey as she dug in her pockets a moment. She pulled out two vials of dark liquid and held them out to Victoria. "Your serum."

"Thank you," Victoria replied quietly as she took them. Poppy offered her a soft smile before following Dumbledore. With a heavy sigh, Victoria put her serum in its rightful place and returned to the pretty bedroom and its ill inhabitant.