Disclaimer: All publicly recognisable characters and settings are the property of their respective owners. Original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended. Not beta read, don't jinx; however corrective spells are more than welcome to be cast in my direction…
Cue The Long-Winded Notes: Regular readers of my fan fiction will know that canon and I have an up-and-down kind of relationship; we're in love, but I'm not very faithful, I suppose you could say. With this story, however, I have actually set out to be as true-to-canon as plot will allow. A fair way through my first draft, however, my attention was drawn to the fact that JKR had thrown a few more tidbits in our direction – which meant that suddenly I didn't have 'merely' the Epilogue to work with, but also a kind of "oral canon". Mostly this wasn't a terrible tragedy: I had done quite a good job of guessing details about the various Weasley grandchildren, and the biggest nuisance was adapting myself to new names. For example, my Dominique actually began life as an 'Own Character' with a different name, but all three of us (she, my muse, and myself) have survived the name change.
There is, however, one place where I have chosen to diverge from JKR's "oral canon": the case of Mrs Draco Malfoy. According to JKR, Draco actually married Astoria Greengrass, the younger sister of the Slytherin Daphne Greengrass. Well, not in this story. In this story the wife of Draco Malfoy, and the mother of his son Scorpius, is not Astoria at all, but a witch of foreign extraction. She is a minor yet integral part of my plot, story, and universe, and I'm afraid I just couldn't give her up. Consider it the indulgence of a fan fiction writer with a weakness for Own Characters. P.S. The prophecy does have relevence. Honest.
Sorta-beta'd by Isai.
...written to celebrate exactly one year writing fan fiction!!
Issue of the present will be founder of the past:
Where those lines meet life intersects.
At the moment of return the issue of the past
Is renewed into the future of the present
As bloodlines knit impossibilities.
Then shall the true heir to Merlin arise;
Then shall the die be cast –
He who controls the Heir, controls the present,
He who controls the present, controls the past,
And he who controls the past, controls the future.
I: A Duel In The Forest
It won't surprise anyone to hear that it all began in the Forbidden Forest. Most things do, in one way or another, at least in the lives of the more adventurous of Hogwart's students. Of course, it goes without saying that none of them were supposed to be there. Not the sixteen-year-olds crouched in the sparse underbrush with a certain Invisibility Cloak concealing them; not the Slytherin blundering his way towards them; and most assuredly not the two younger boys spying from behind an old, gnarled tree, watching the small clearing anxiously. Probably the sixteen-year-olds were to blame for it all; no doubt that would be how an authority figure would see it. Sixth Years should know better, they would declare loftily, those who are older and so theoretically wiser. How nice it must be to view the world with such black and white simplicity! But, on the other hand, what more could you expect from a sixteen-year-old boy with a father happy to dose out advice along the lines of don't duel anyone 'til you've learned how…? As for the girl – well – to try and debate which of the two were more mischief-prone is an argument best left to those more with more organised minds than mine. As it was, the girl seemed the more relaxed, and it was she who was singing; her clear voice wound upwards with ease amongst the lower branches of the dark trees swaying languidly around them. It was an old folk song, taught to her by paternal grandmother, and quite pleasant to the ears:
'Black is the colour of my true love's hair
His lips are lips are like some roses fair
He has the sweetest smile and the gentlest hands…'
There was a decidedly less pleasant sound as her companion jammed his elbow into her side, and gave her a sour look. 'Would it kill you to sing a different song, Meeks?'
Dominique elbowed him right back, almost sending him tumbling from the Cloak's protection, and grinned. 'Oh, but I thought you liked that song. Didn't I hear you tell Ophelia Wood just this morning how nicely she was singing it at breakfast?'
'Only because I couldn't think of a better way to shut her up, short of hexing her, and you know it,' he muttered. 'Girl's a menace.'
'But you do know that she was singing about you, dear, sweet, adored Jamie?' teased Dominique, and tweaked a lock of her best friend's unruly black hair.
James Potter groaned. 'That's what was so menacing about it; she's going to give me grief on the team this year, I can see it coming. Can't you pick something else to sing?'
'I don't see why I have to sing at all. Why don't you?'
'Gregory Goyle isn't going to come traipsing through the forest to hear me sing, Weasley. And you know this won't work unless he's here minus his cronies. Sure, we could have some fun hexing the lot of them but… Goyle on his own is so much simpler, don't you think?'
She looked more than a little bit miffed. 'I still can't believe he'd actually think that I could fancy him. He looks like he got dropped on his head as a baby.'
James snickered. 'Maybe he was. Have you ever met his old man? Goyle senior? The one who was at school with my old man? He's the type who would drop a―'
'Sshh.' She swung her hand onto James's knee and squeezed, indicating silence. 'He's coming.'
The pair beneath the Invisibility Cloak fell silent and watched as Goyle appeared in the small clearing, looking around for Dominique Weasley with a greedy expression on his face. He seemed to expect that the one-eighth Veela would be waiting for him, probably gift wrapped or something. Dominique made a gagging noise beneath the Cloak at the thought, and the noise made the Slytherin snap his eyes around in their direction.
'Weasley?' he asked gruffly, clearly starting to get a bit doubtful about the whole thing. 'Weasley, are you here?'
'Oh, you bet I am,' she hissed from beneath the Cloak, and before he could blink she'd Stunned him. He fell with a loud clomp. After a half-heartbeat's wavering, Dominique and James pulled the Cloak from around them and hurried to Goyle's side, squatting to their haunches, and started searching his pockets briskly.
'YOU'VE GOT DAD'S CLOAK!'
The outraged cry cut through the clearing. Sharing a glance swiftly the Sixth Years rose to their feet with their wands pointing in the direction of the cry before they'd even had time to realise who they were pointing at: Albus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy stood in front of them, Al positively shaking with indignation.
'You've got Dad's Cloak!' he repeated at the top of his lungs, own wand drawn and pointed, quavering, in the direction of his older brother.
Malfoy, on the other hand, had registered tensely that James and Dominique hadn't gotten around to lowering their wands yet. 'Al…' he cautioned.
'Shuddup, Mal,' muttered Albus testily and continued to glare with righteous anger at his big brother. 'You stole it!'
James groaned. 'I did not, you little squirt. He gave it to me.'
'I don't believe you! I asked Dad about it over the holidays and he said that none of us could have it, because we'd just argue. Said he was planning on giving it to Teddy next birthday!'
Dominique rolled her eyes, shoved her wand away in her robes, and lowered herself back down onto her haunches, muttering something about 'little brothers'. James let his wand sink too, and tilted his head to one side. 'Okay. So maybe I… borrowed it. But it's not like Dad uses it anyway. He won't even notice it's gone, you know? And I'll be putting it back at the end of term anyway – all you have to do is keep your great flapping mouth shut. This cretin,' he nudged Goyle's Stunned form, 'nicked something of mine at the end of last year, okay? The Cloak seemed the simplest way to get it back.'
Around them the trees rustled and muttered while Albus stood there, teetering on the edge of looking rebellious, but before he could say anything his best friend brushed a lock of straight blonde hair from out of his eyes and piped up, 'What'll you do for us if we stay stummthen, eh?'
Dominique, who was still searching Goyle's robes with a look of distinct distaste on her face – how many pockets did one fat Slythern need, anyway? – paused to smile wickedly up at the Fifth Years. Batting her eyelashes mockingly she crooned, 'Oh, it's more about what we'll do to you if you don't keep your mouth shut. You know James and I are more than adept at the most intriguingly mischievous range of magic nowadays, Mal. Do you like your anatomies as they are, lads?'
Malfoy and Albus Potter exchanged a distinctly uneasy glance: they knew Dominique well enough to know she didn't believe in empty threats.
'Scum's waking up,' continued the girl in an undertone, prodding Goyle and giving James a significant look. James nodded hastily, pulled his wand back out and pointed it at Goyle. With the mutter of a spell – which must have verged on unintelligible even to his wand: Albus and Scorpius could barely make out the Accio – what looked like a thickly folded piece of old brown parchment came flying from the Slytherin's robes. 'Gotcha!' bellowed James happily and, before the younger boys could see what it was, he hit it away inside his own clothes. Half a second later he'd whipped his father's Invisibility cloak back around himself and Dominique, and his disembodied voice was advising in a laughing tone, 'I'd run if I were you two ratbags. Brains here is about to wake up and he might misinterpret things if he finds you gawking down at him.'
As though to punctuate James's words, Gregory Goyle groaned. He blinked slowly, reached for his wand, and rose to his feet in an unsteady but furious kind of way.
Oh, okay, so maybe it didn't begin in the Forbidden Forest. Maybe it began with Goyle and James's mutual vendetta. Or maybe it began with Rose Weasley's little heart-to-heart with her Head of House, or maybe with the prophecy that Dominique was busy pretending that she had never made. Come to think of it, maybe it had all begun twenty-five years earlier – or thirty – or― Ahh, you see how complex it can be? Start trying to pick the threads of history's carpet and you'll find it unravels in the most baffling way. So we'll stick to the old simplistic mantra and say that it all began that day in the Forbidden Forest.
None of it was planned, or at least, none of what came next. It wasn't as though Albus picked it up deliberately; Merlin, he just wasn't that kind of kid. Fate? Destiny? The present rolling out in front of us like a pre-written parchment? You'll not be blamed for thinking any of those things, since the more improbable the circumstances, the more likely people are to give them some kind of mystical explanation. Hell, maybe It was even longing for company, though that seems farfetched even to me; either way, it happened. Happened, and what more can I say? When Gregory Goyle rose groggily to his feet and sent Albus flying with a neatly placed jinx, the fifteen-year-old landed most gracelessly on the forest floor in a pile of soggy leaf debris, head spinning. When Albus stood back up again, a good deal of said debris had gotten into his clothes, sticking with damp, smelly little fingers to his clothes and squelching its way into the hem of his robes where they were unravelling from him having caught the thread the day before, on the Hogwarts' Express. The Stone was amongst the mulch. The Resurrection Stone. The second of the Hallows.
There are some things that really ought be destroyed when one has the chance.
Or at the very least, not left lying around on the forest floor…
'OI!' James bellowed, reappearing from beneath the Cloak in a sudden flash of injured family pride, 'Pick on someone your own size you bloody menace!' He directed a hex at Gregory, nicely dodging one aimed right back at him, and as the bumps started to rise on Gregory's face their duel began in earnest.
Dominique was just fingering her wand and debating whether James's would be cross if she joined in the fun when the clearing was rocked by a fierce bang that made the very trees shake and sent the birds flying off into the distance with complaining shrieks. A woman appeared at the edge of the tree-line, a strange white wand gripped in her left hand and all of the boys – Gregory and James and Scorpius and Albus – frozen on the spot like statues. Quite comical statues, actually, if the circumstances had been different.
The unknown witch's voice was frosty. 'Nice day for a stroll in the woods, was it? Nice day for a bit of cursing, hmm? I might be new to Hogwarts, boys, but I was under the distinct impression that Headmistress McGonagall had mentioned the Forbidden Forest as being just that – forbidden. Actually, I would rather have imagined that the name itself gave that away, it's rather self-explanatory.' She was glaring at the four of them with slate-grey eyes and her voice had such a strong, strange accent to it that Goyle in particular seemed to have a few seconds of trouble working out what it was she was saying, and if it were even English in the first place. If the witch noticed their difficulty, she gave no sign of it, but moved her wand specifically in the direction of Albus and Scorpius. With a twitch of it, yet not a word spoken, she returned feeling to their bodies. 'You, and you,' she said, 'have just lost your Houses ten points each for being out here. Which ones?'
For moment or two they didn't understand what her question meant, then they realised that she was asking which Houses? They stared at her in gobsmacked disbelief.
'Er… Gryffindor,' answered Albus, his green eyes blinking rapidly and his eyebrows a little further up his forehead than they were normally. Clearly both his anger at his brother, and his pain from being jinxed, had evaporated in the face of a professor – for surely she had to be a professor – who couldn't place students in their proper Houses with just one glance.
'And Slytherin,' added Malfoy, pointing with a self-explanatory mien at the small silver-and-green crest on his robes. He too had a bemused look on his face that verged awfully close to a sneer. What kind of teacher couldn't tell the uniforms apart at a glance?
'Right,' said the teacher, completely unfazed to the looks on their faces, 'Well, as of now you're library monitors. I was speaking to Madam Pince just this morning and she mentioned she could do with a hand. Report to her immediately, if you'd please, and tell her Professor Welsh sent you.'
'Yes, Professor,' they muttered and hurried off, shooting furtive glances back at James and Goyle and the spot where they had last seen the now-invisible Dominique Weasley.
'As for you two…' Professor Welsh turned her attention upon the older boys, releasing their frozen forms, and casting an intent glance at their uniforms. 'Another Slytherin and Gryffindor, am I right? And the other badge?' She was motioning at James Potter with her pale wand.
James raised his eyebrows in a cockier version of his younger brother before half-grinning and glancing down at the badge on his chest with unconcealed pride. 'Quidditch Captain, miss.'
'Right' said the witch again, obviously indifferent. 'Forty points from the pair of you for being here, for duelling, and for leading younger students astray. Names?'
The professor nodded, her eyes lingering with a peculiar darkish light, or at least so it seemed to him, upon James. 'I'll be speaking to your Heads of Houses about your punishment. And now get back to the Castle.'
Goyle muttered something and headed off. James turned too, resolutely not looking at the place where he knew Dominique was, before pausing to ask with an impertinent grin, 'So, where'reyou from, miss?'
'Aotearoa,' the professor answered curtly, 'New Zealand to you.'
She scanned her eyes around one last time, then waved James ahead of her, and out of the clearing.