Chapter 6 - Minor Revelations: "Talk about what?" Nixie asked, her entire demeanor going hostile. She wasn't going to play some angel boy's games.
"I think you know."
"Oh, how nicely cryptic. I got enough of that when I took Divination." She scowled. "What do you want with me?"
The three Halliwell teens were watching with concern. Chris finally said, "Uh, Dad, we'll see you later. We'll be in the library." And they left. Patty looked back at her uncle and her sister, wondering what was going to happen now.
"Phoenix, I'm not the enemy here," Leo said, trying to calm the girl.
"No? Could've fooled me."
"Is that what your father's told you?"
"No, that's what a past-viewing spell told me," she snapped. "And just so you know, I said past-viewing, not memory-viewing, which means what I saw was unbiased."
"But you brought your biases to what you saw," Leo commented calmly. "What you have to understand is that none of us knew what had really happened. The Source was a good enough actor that he fooled us all. And later, with you, everything pointed to you being the Source's child, and whether you were or not, Phoebe wouldn't have been able to stop the Seer from taking you. She didn't know how."
"Of course it looked like she was pregnant with demon spawn, she was. I had a twin brother, he was the evil one!"
"Why didn't anyone realize there were twins? Do you know that?"
"No. Maybe the demon spawn hid me. Spells wouldn't show me that." Nixie glared at him. "Is this what you came for? Information? There you go, it's all I've got. Can you leave me alone now?"
"That's not why I'm here, Phoenix. I haven't said anything to your mother yet, though one of your aunts also saw the letter - "
"Great. And did she say that Dad and I need vanquishing? 'Cause she seems to be the trigger-happy one of the bunch," the girl said acidly.
Paige had not considered a vanquish, though she had been about to orb to Hogwarts and "kick Cole's ass into the next century" as she'd put it, but Leo had stopped her, not wanting to cause a problem just yet. He'd managed to talk her down, which had taken a while, but eventually he'd elicited her promise that she wouldn't attack Cole - or say anything to her sisters just yet. "No, she didn't," he said honestly. "And no one else knows."
"Yeah, for how long?" Nixie said skeptically. Why wouldn't he go away?
"I don't know," Leo admitted.
"Well, that's just bloody fantastic. Look, will you just go away? I don't have anything else to say to you."
"Phoenix, I don't want to - "
"Leo, I believe my daughter asked you to leave her alone," Cole said, coming up behind his daughter and putting his hands on her shoulders. "Nix, go, will you?"
"Yeah, gladly," she replied. She glared at Leo before leaving. Then Cole was glaring at him, and Leo felt a headache coming on. He could hardly blame either Turner for their hostility, but that didn't mean he enjoyed dealing with it.
"Cole, look, I - "
"You what, Leo? What the hell are you doing badgering my daughter? We don't want anything to do with you people, so leave us alone."
"I wasn't badgering her, I was just talking to her," Leo replied tiredly. "And you're lucky it was me and not Paige. She wants to kick your ass."
"What else is new? And how did she find out? I'm guessing she's the only one, or you wouldn't be the one here."
"Patty wrote me; she doesn't want Phoebe to know yet, but she wanted advice. Unfortunately, Paige came into my office unexpectedly and saw the letter."
"What was Paige doing at Magic School?"
"She teaches there. Cole, if you don't mind my asking...?"
"How are Nixie and I alive?" Cole finished for him. He relaxed slightly; he really didn't have much against Leo. "I found her in the Wasteland," he explained, "after I contacted Phoebe and she shut me down. Once I found Nix, I was determined to get us out of there, and I eventually was able to make contact with someone who helped us out. Not an evil someone either, just neutral, and that's all I intend to say about that. This person gave me back my powers as Belthazor, without the demonic consciousness, so I could protect myself and Nix if need be, and also told me about my father's family history. So once I got out, I went in search of the Temaida family. It took a few years, because it's hard for an outsider to get anywhere in the Wizarding world, but I finally tracked Jazlyn down."
"And she accepted you, just like that."
"Just like that. She was in a bad situation at the time; her husband had been given a life term in Azkaban for a crime he didn't commit, and everyone shut her out because she wouldn't say he was guilty. She believed in him, and was being punished for it. When I told her my story, she decided to give Nix and me a chance, and it worked out for all of us."
Leo nodded. "Cole, I know you don't like the idea, but Phoenix deserves the chance to know the rest of her family, to learn about her heritage. I'm not going to push anything, but you know enough about the Halliwell family to know that secrets don't last forever. Phoebe's going to find out, and when she does, she's going to show up here, probably with Piper and Paige in tow."
"Yes, to save the poor kid from the evil demon, I imagine."
Well, thought Leo, that answers that. Cole didn't know what they'd found out about the Source. Which meant, for once, he had the perfect parting shot. "Actually, no, considering that we know now that you were possessed by the Source and not responsible for what happened." And then he orbed away to the library, leaving a stunned demonology professor behind.
Nixie stalked down the hall, furious. It wasn't so much what Leo had said, it was just... She'd been able to get on with the Halliwell kids because they hadn't been alive when everything went to Hell, so she couldn't, by rights, blame them. But Leo had been there, and he was a Whitelighter. Weren't they supposed to know things, and have all-knowing bosses? So how had her father's possession slipped the radar? Obviously someone had screwed up, and maybe it wasn't Leo, but he was there, and he was someone to get angry at. Unfortunately for him, he was the only one available, so all of Nixie's fury was focused on him at the moment.
"Hello, Phoenix, is everything all right?" a dreamy voice asked. Nixie looked up. She'd reached the courtyard by this time, and Luna Lovegood was sitting on a bench a few feet away, looking up at her.
"Sure, Luna, just dandy."
"Oh, because you looked like a Ragnar got you. They make people fly into rages, you know."
"No, Luna, no Ragnars," Nixie said. "Just angels who don't know when to leave well enough alone."
"Angels? They don't exist, so how could they bother you?" The sheer oddity of Luna claiming something didn't exist made Nixie laugh.
"I know Dad's class is on demons, but I know he's mentioned Whitelighters a time or two," Nixie commented.
"Oh, Whitelighters, I see now. Was it your uncle?"
"Well, the Halliwell boys are half-Whitelighter, and they're your cousins. It's obvious their cousin is your sister, you look so much alike. It's sad that there's a family feud that kept you apart," the blonde girl said complacently. Nixie goggled at her. Luna was so weird she sometimes forgot how perceptive and observant the younger girl was. Not exactly a wise thing to do, all things considered.
"It is sad," she said quietly, sitting next to the Ravenclaw. And it was, wasn't it? Infuriating, obviously, but also... just sad. She'd never let herself be sad before, to wish she'd had her mother. As a little girl, there'd been Jazlyn and her secret teacher, and as a teen, she'd still had Jazlyn, and Tonks when she wanted a younger opinion. As for other family... well, she'd had her father, and also Alex. After third year, she'd had Harry, Remus, and Sirius, to varying extents. But this year...
She thought of the stories Patty told her. Remembered the flashes of longing she'd ignored, and of the rightness of spending time with her little sister. Today, with Wyatt and Chris there too, had been just as right, somehow. What exactly did it all mean? And what, exactly, did she want?
"It's OK to be confused, Nixie," Luna said matter-of-factly. "I would be in your position. But I'm sure it will all work out."
"Luna, you don't even know what happened. How can you be so sure?"
"I know that whatever it was hurt a lot of people. It's very obvious. Maybe if you and your dad thought about that, and if the others involved do too, it will go easier for all of you."
Had anyone else been hurt? She imagined Phoebe Halliwell hadn't wanted to vanquish her husband; she'd become the Source's queen first, after all. Maybe Leo was right about her bringing her own biases to the things she'd learned. "Maybe you're right," she told Luna, her thoughts far away.
"So according to Leo, somehow they found out the truth. I have no clue how, and I don't really care at this point, but they know," Cole finished, looking to Jazlyn for her response.
"Fascinating," she murmured.
"That they know. It changes things a bit. Your main reason for keeping Nix from them is gone, Cole." Jazlyn expected the glare, and was unaffected by it.
"Jaz, why do you keep pushing that?"
"Because, as I've said before, Nixie deserves to know her maternal relatives. And not just for the emotional reasons, but because of her powers."
"Nixie's not a Wiccan witch," Cole argued. "She's never practiced it."
"You know as well as I do that she did once, and you made her stop."
"And you know why! I didn't want the Elders to be able to track her!"
"I know, Cole," she said quietly, holding up her hands in a calming gesture. "But that's moot, now, and her power's getting away from her." She could still see it in her mind's eye. That night at the Ministry, and Bella had just cast the spell that should have sent Sirius careening into the Veil. But he'd flown over it instead, landing in a heap on the other side. She'd known even before turning to look that it was Nixie who'd done that. "Her powers are getting away from her, Cole."
He knew that. And he also knew what the Seer had once said, that his and Phoebe's baby would be a powerful force for good or evil, depending on what they did. He'd thought the vision had come to nothing, and yet... Nixie was a wand-witch, part demon, and, much as he wanted to deny it, she was a Halliwell by blood. If she was able to harness the full potential of her heritage, who knew what she was capable of? Which meant she needed to control it. But... "Jazlyn, I can't. I can't trust them even that much."
"You may have to."
"I can't! You don't understand. It's not the vanquish; I can understand they had no choice there, but when Phoebe left me in the Wasteland..." He trailed off. "You don't know what that sort of betrayal feels like."
"Don't I?" Jazlyn's voice was quiet. He looked into her amber eyes, meaning to respond angrily, but found himself remembering the early days, when they'd first met. Then she'd been a woman called a lovesick fool at best and an evil traitor nearly as bad as her husband at worst. The love of her life had been locked away in a hell on Earth, and all of her friends were lost either to death or her own unwillingness to deny her husband's innocence. Back then, he'd thought of her as the only one who could remotely understand what he'd been through, and if he were honest with himself, he still thought that.
"Cole, I get it. But do you? Do you get the fact that your daughter needs to learn about who she is, that everyone involved deserves the chance to right the wrongs of years ago?"
That night, Nixie slipped away from everyone, leaving the castle and going out onto the grounds. Once she was in a place where she knew no one would see her, she shimmered out. She arrived in a small cave near the edge of the ocean. This was Brighton, the seaside town she'd grown up in, and this cave had been the secret place of two young girls. She and Alex had spent many days here, playing various games as little girls, talking together as they got older. It was here that they'd taken Harry, the day he'd finally opened up about the Dursleys. And, a few years later, it was here that she and Alex had cast the past-viewing spell, where they'd told Harry the gist of what they'd seen. And so it was here she came to think.
Maybe Leo was right about her judging too unfairly. Maybe Jazlyn was right and she should meet her mother and aunts. (Just because the adults argue behind closed doors doesn't mean the children don't know, and Nixie was well aware of this bone of contention between her father and her aunt.) Maybe...
Maybe she didn't have a choice. Nixie sighed, thinking back to June, and the incident at the Ministry. She'd killed a man that night, throwing an energy ball at him and incinerating him. The man had been a Death Eater, about to kill one of her friends, and yet... But she'd killed before with energy balls, even if her previous targets had been demons. What had shaken her even more was the other thing that had happened.
She saw Sirius sent flying back by Bellatrix Lestrange's Stupefy, and all she could think about was Jazlyn and Alex, how they'd only had Sirius back for two years, and then infrequently. But to lose him like this... And something snapped in the back of her mind, she could hear the crack reverberate through her skull, and some force seemed to leave her eyes and hit Sirius, sending him careening over the Veil rather than through it. And she knew. The magic, the witch magic she'd held back for so long, was back.
And now, Nixie was forced to admit that the magic wouldn't be contained again. She'd stopped when she was five, not because her father had yelled and been angry, but because even to a little girl, the fear behind the fury had been crystal clear. She had denied herself and the only tie to a large chunk of her heritage. And she didn't mean the power. She meant the woman she'd dreamed of, a woman she knew was somehow real.
"What do I do?" she whispered, gesturing with her hand. A few small rocks floated into the air.
"You practice, and you keep on going. I told you it would happen eventually." The voice was her dream teacher, but... Nixie stood slowly and revolved on the spot, coming face to face with a woman. She was translucent, with long black hair and serious gray eyes. Nixie remembered her as tall, but now Nixie herself was slightly taller.
"You're real. I always knew it..." she whispered.
"You never told me your name, either."
"You don't know? Not now, after all of Patty's stories?"
And her suspicions were confirmed. Deep down, she supposed she'd always known they were related, but now it was beyond denial. And she smiled. She'd known one member of the Halliwell family long ago, it seemed.
"You're my aunt. Prue."
"Yeah, I am. And now it's time to get back to work, kid."
A/N: Well, R&R! Next chapter, we focus on the students of Hogwarts through faculty changes, Hogsmeade, and the return of the D.A.