(A/N: My French is shoddy at best, so I apologize for any mistakes.)
It was a particularly warm morning in early August, and Draco Malfoy was looking over the list of things he'd need for his sixth year at Hogwarts, when he looked out his window and saw someone approaching the house. It was odd to have a guest, since his father had been incarcerated and then died in Azkaban a few months prior. His mother didn't really entertain anyone anymore, and Draco didn't blame her. He personally was done grieving for Lucius, his mother having told him a great deal of his father's past acts of evil, that he had lost his adoration for the man rather quickly. It was terrifying sometimes to face a world of new, open possibilities without the desire to be just like Lucius, but he was facing it all rather stoically. He rushed downstairs curious to know who was coming, and instructed the elf to have whoever it was shown into the library, where he would speak to the person.
A girl younger than him was shown in, wearing a long light gray dress that may have looked austere if not for the bare shoulders and arms. She was not as tall as himself, but he could see she was leggy, curvy enough, and of an athletic stature. What seemed off to him, considering the month and the heat, was the matching almost silver toned hat she had on, concealing all her hair. She walked across the room to greet him and her skirt swished as she walked. Despite her shape and the beauty of her face, he didn't find himself attracted to her, and this surprised him even further. He ignored this feeling when she extended her hand and spoke, it was with an almost familiar tone, but he couldn't place it at the time,
"Geneviéve de Lyon, and you must be Draco Malfoy." She had a French accent to be sure, but something lilted about it, the vowels drawn out in unexpected places. He wondered for a moment if he ought to switch to French, but since she started the conversation in English, he took her lead.
"Yes, pleasure to meet you..." He looked her in the eyes and found it was like looking in the mirror. Only Malfoys had those eyes…was she family? Some distant French cousin he'd never met? "…may I ask what brought you here today?"
He could tell she'd seen something change in his own eyes, and she sighed, and seemed to give up on the effort of pretense. She removed the hat, and a torrent of long, white blond hair tumbled down to her lower back. Or it would have been regular hair, had it not been spun into tiny tight dreadlocks and decorated here and there with silver clasps and moonstone beads. She looked even more feral all the sudden, tribal and wild in her appearance, but he was not displeased.
"I was hoping to speak to your mother, but I was informed that she is not home today, and so I am speaking to you. I owe your mother my life, and I came here to thank her."
Draco was speechless for a moment, taking in her appearance and wanting to douse her in questions before carrying on anything like a normal conversation. This Geneviéve, this girl, must have sensed this.
"I'm sure you have questions, but if you could limit yourself to one at a time, I'd appreciate it….With which one would you like to begin?"
His mouth was hanging slightly open in a disgraceful fashion. He finally found words, and blurted out his first question, but practically had to bite his tongue to hold back the entire torrent that was rolling around in his brain.
"Who are you?"
She smirked, and again he felt like he was looking at a disturbing younger female version of himself. She answered bluntly, paused, and then corrected herself.
"Your sister…Well, your half-sister."
"What? How? Who is your mother?"
"My mother is Anaïs de Lyon, and it could be said that Lucius knew her."
Draco comprehended this immediately, his father knew her mother, physically.
But the girls face stopped, and the tightening in her jaw signaled the onset of rage, he knew the tension from his own face, and continued,
"No, then. I seem to be confused, so if you could please explain the circumstances then I could avoid insulting your mother or yourself again."
This seemed to placate her, but then her face fell a bit, as if she obviously didn't want to explain, but she sat up a little straighter and began speaking, quietly as if hurt by her own words,
"My mother is Muggleborn. She was captured one night after the end of the first war, and brought here as a plaything for Lucius. He thought she had been killed after he was done violating her, but she lived, and thus, so did I."
Draco had wished she'd stop speaking almost as soon as she'd begun. He knew of the attack, his mother had told him, begged him never to become evil like Lucius and had listed his father's crimes, including the rape and murder of one Muggleborn witch in their very home.
"I don't understand," he started shakily, "if he meant to murder her, how did she survive?"
"Your mother was supposed to have killed mine, he had assigned her the duty of it, but instead she saved my mother and brought her elsewhere to heal, and later, Narcissa served as my mother's midwife, and brought me into the world."
"Mother always used to say 'someday' I'd have a sibling when I used to pester her," Draco mused to no one in particular; he was staring off at the bookshelves in wonder, "I assumed she meant she and Lucius would have another child, but I always thought that impossible, they'd kept separate bedchambers for as long as I can remember…"
Geneviéve chuckled lightly, and waited patiently for him to come back to the conversation. She snapped her fingers, and a house elf appeared, from which she politely asked for un café au lait, s'il vous plaît. When he did turn back to her she was shaking her dreadlocks over the back of the chair and scratching at the nape of her neck, but still managed to make it look dignified. He found himself smiling at her, and probably making an ass of himself, for a moment before coming to his next question,
"How old are you…when's your birthday?"
"I'm almost two years younger than you, I was born April 26th, 1982."
The elf came back with her coffee, and she sipped quietly, while he formulated his next tumult of questions.
"The accent, did you go to Beauxbatons?" Her smirk returned.
"No, my mother's family is French, so her mother refused to let her leave the country for her education. She did however come here to marry a man, but that fell through shortly after I was conceived. And I, ever rebelling, chose to go to school in America."
"That one in Salem?"
"No, no, it's much too cold in Massachusetts for me. Now that I think of it, it's much too cold here. I attend École à Vieux Carré Noir. It's in the French Quarter of New Orleans. The headmistress is from Haiti, but otherwise is quite austere…loves me though."
"Are you going to transfer to Hogwarts?"
Her face faltered for a moment, and then the subtle expression of confusion settled over her features, the slightest wrinkle between her brows.
"I wasn't expecting an offer of a family reunion. Quite frankly, I don't think your mother wants me around considering what I represent. I came here to thank her, and then return to school in the fall…" She stopped speaking, but Draco waited, knowing there was more to come,
"I would have to discuss it with maman…but she did say she'd love to have me closer to home…" She looked him straight in the eyes as she continued, "I was expecting you to reject me because I'm not pureblood, honestly. I have read about you…"
"The Daily Prophet is bollocks. I gave up those ideals long before Lucius' death. The man was vile, and you are obviously my sister. I would like the chance to be your older brother, and as for my mother, if she cared enough about your mother and you to care for you both so diligently, don't you think she'd like to see the positive result of her past risk?" To this Geneviéve nodded slightly, seeing his point.
"And how would I explain who I am at Hogwarts without exposing all my past and dishonoring my mother?" There was a strong bitter taste to this sentence, and Draco had the decency to pause and think about the pain and societal shame involved in their relationship before the solution struck him.
"You'll be my cousin, Geneviéve. Lucius' family roots are in France, so your looks and your name all fit the disguise. No one need know about the past…it's an old family joke that we've been despised here because we were originally French, and mon arrière-grand-père always used to say it was the fault of the 'bloody English dogs.'"
She laughed openly, her smile relaxed and open, lighting up her strong jaw and high cheekbones. It made her face look much less hard. Draco found himself feeling the strangest thing—a warmth in his chest one could only describe as the start of sibling affection, and inside his hope for her to come to Hogwarts, the deep protective urge welled up. He leaned forward in his chair, elbows on knees, and shook his head to himself and muttered,
"Had no idea fraternal feelings would kick in this bloody quickly."
She had heard him, and reached forward and held one of his hands. She smiled again when he looked up. She had always wanted a sibling too, and it showed in her eyes.
It was this moment that Narcissa walked in on, halfway through calling out Draco's name, expecting him to still be in his room, and seeing instead the girl's back, and the telltale shock of long blonde hair, touching her son's hand and the small satisfied smile gracing his face. He looked up, a little shocked at her sudden reappearance in the Manor, and stood abruptly to face his mother. She walked closer slowly as Geneviéve stood and turned towards her, her face tilted toward the heavy Persian carpets as if in shame or worry at Narcissa's reaction. Narcissa let out a sound, somewhere between a squeal of joy and a sad sigh of recognition, and took the girl immediately into her arms.
"Geneviéve, petite chou, I knew you'd come eventually. I'm so glad you're here. Does Draco know everything now?" She felt the girl pull her closer into the hug, and nod slightly against her chest. The girl was so much shorter than either her or Draco, and now enveloped in her arms, seemed almost as small and fragile as the day she was born. Narcissa found herself running a calming hand around Geneviéve's shoulders and pulling in her delicate fragrance—of homemade white sage soap Narcissa knew Anaïs always made, the lingering smell of something sweet baked this morning, a light Tunisian amber perfume, and the distinct smell of the girl's skin and hair. It brought back so many memories and feelings—horrible recollections of healing the woman who became her friend, and the triumphant days after Geneviéve's birth puttering around the cottage she had bought for them being women and companions. She felt the single tear run down her cheek, and knew that Draco saw it, and she extended a hand to him as well, pulling him in to her other side and hugging them both close. When the children pulling away slowly, she took Geneviéve's face between her hands, and saw the shape of Anaïs' eyes and the thick lashes she so remembered of her friend. She had visited every year for about a month when both children were away at school and considered this woman her confidant and close friend, outside the hateful, conniving circle of pureblooded women she was forced to socialize with to maintain appearances.
"You look so like your maman. Absolutely beautiful," the girl blushed at this, but smiled as well, "Does she know you're here today?"
"No. I will be needing to head to Diagon Alley soon and purchase my school things quickly before heading home to her."
"Then we shall all go together, Draco has been procrastinating and still needs to do the same thing." Draco scuffed his foot on the carpet, either from embarrassment at the intimacy of the moment, or from impatience now that a goal had been set. Geneviéve seemed shaky for a moment, and then grabbed her hat quickly before nodding in agreement. She pulled her wand from a small bundle of dreads on her crown and tapped her head briefly, turning the hair jet black. Narcissa made a small face, something that spoke of quiet disapproval.
"Why the glamour, child?"
"Habit. Maman generally doesn't want me seen in Diagon Alley…Although, Draco, do you suppose I ought to forgo it this time, considering our plan?"
He grinned to this suggestion, like Geneviéve's own smile, it was mischievous and cheery. Narcissa looked between the two children and held out her hands, clearly seeking an explanation. Draco spoke first, still smiling, his body seemingly quivering in excitement at the intrigue and possibilities involved. He was now a big brother after all, and was finally allowed by fate to fulfill this new role.
"Pending a conversation with Anaïs, my lovely cousine français Geneviéve is going to transfer to Hogwarts."
They both hurried from the room, calling after Narcissa, Draco in the lead to the Apparition point beyond the garden gates, where Geneviéve had come from earlier that morning.
When they all arrived in The Leaky Cauldron, Geneviéve couldn't help but notice all the inquisitive eyes on her, wondering who she was, obviously a Malfoy of one sort or another, and wondering why they'd never seen her before. In fact, they had, but being that she normally hid her real identity, she had always been anonymous here before. Narcissa suggested they get lunch before shopping, and they took to a table in a private corner of the pub, which was normal for them. Tom approached and addressed Narcissa first, taking her and Draco's orders politely and quickly, before addressing Geneviéve.
"And what can I get for you?" Narcissa spoke up, taking the rouse into her full control.
"Tom, my niece Geneviéve is transferring to Hogwarts this year. Her English is improving, but imperfect. I'll ask her what she'd like." She turned to the young woman who Tom was still unabashedly scrutinizing, and asked her what she'd like to eat, in perfect, aristocratically-toned French. Geneviéve found herself playing along and pointing to the menu, and questioning Draco, and finally deciding on fish and chips, which she joked about being 'quintessentially English'. Draco and Narcissa both laughed, and Tom looked confused, but nonplussed. He didn't wonder if he was somehow the butt of their joke, he was too used to it to be bothered anymore. That wasn't his goal anyway; he had something better to return to the bar and the other customers: information. He gave the order to the cook and returned to his perch at the end of the bar, turning to the waitress resting her feet on the stool next to him, her face demanding answers,
"She's a Malfoy cousin. Bloody French. Transferring to Hogwarts this year…couldn't be more than sixteen or so. Young Master Malfoy there is seventeen, and she looks a bit younger anyway. Her name's Jean-Vieve or some such."
Within thirty minutes, they'd eaten, paid, and left the pub, but already the vendors on the closest bottom half of Diagon Alley knew that a young female relative of Malfoy was coming through to buy her school things and they were all ready to pamper her senseless to get at that cushy Malfoy money. They didn't know that Narcissa had decided to put herself firmly between the vultures and her 'niece.' Narcissa had realized immediately that the announcement of another Malfoy would garner lots of attention, and not all of it positive or benign, she was going to protect Anaïs' daughter as if she was her own. The poor vendors had no idea she would come in spouting rapid French with Geneviéve and Draco and not allowing them even their usual sycophantic side comments. The first stop was Madame Malkin's to get her new uniforms that were appropriate for the Scottish Highland winter that she'd be experiencing for the first time, including a winter cloak that Draco had proudly picked out, lined in shiny black mink. Geneviéve made a point of saying she needed winter boots and Draco ran across the street and picked up a pair of knee-high dragon hide boots that he though she'd like—they appeared black, but shone the same dark silver as her dress in the sunlight. Narcissa refused to let Geneviéve pay for anything, as they circled around to the cauldron shop to pick her up an English standard, and Flourish & Blotts for books. Leaving the bookshop, Geneviéve spoke up,
"Tante, Narcissa, I'd like to stop at Ollivander's."
"Why child, do you need your wand fixed? It seemed fine earlier today…"
"Tante, it's Maman's. She gave up the craft aside from schooling me. I've never had one that was only my own…I'd like to see if I can." Geneviéve spoke quietly, so others might not hear, but also as if trying to avoid a topic she found embarrassing. Draco was shocked at the idea—his wand was like an extension of his body, and the thought of having anyone else's seemed like trying to accept a foreign transplanted limb. He had also needed the confidence having his own wand had given him when he was much younger, it was his and his alone and he took great pride in it. He briefly took his younger sister's hand and led her toward the eerie wand maker's shop. He gave his mother a look that said it all. She needs this, and I'm going to take care of it, I'm her protector now.
The shop was as dark as always, dusty and unkempt, stacks of wand boxes stacked precariously and looking as though a mouse's sneezing could send them all toppling over. The man emerged from the inky shadows of the back corridor and approached them. He nodded politely to the two Malfoys he knew, and addressed the third, her pretty but slightly nervous smile surprising him.
"And the pretty young miss is?"
"Geneviéve de Lyon. I'd like to purchase a wand today."
"But you're no first year…you're what then, fifteen?" She smirked in response, and then answered his real inquiry.
"I'm transferring to Hogwarts, I've been attending Vieux Carré Noir and using my mother's old wand. Today, I would like one of my own."
He gestured to see the former wand, which she pulled from her hair and he tutted at seeing this, but smiled crookedly at her regardless.
" This is one of Royer St. Clair's, not mine…your mother's French, aye? …Hmmm, yes, Hazel, 11 ½ inches, springy…bit jaunty for you I'd think…what's this…Abraxan mane? Well that'd explain the abruptness and arrogance here…"
The man was muttering about the wand, but still Geneviéve found herself smirking at his assessment of her mother's wand, it could be described as jaunty, she preferred to call it meddlesome and had taken to perfecting wandless magic as much as she could instead of using it. It lacked subtlety. He placed it in a box and handed it to Narcissa for safekeeping then rushed off and began stacking boxes in his arms that teetered just as badly as the stacks in the shop. He laid a few down on the counter and handed the first to Geneviéve with a reverent description,
"Rowan, 12 ¼ inches, swishy, unicorn tail, good for charms work."
Unfortunately, the moment it touched her hand, a cabinet full of glass jars exploded. Geneviéve was shocked, having dropped it immediately back on the counter and turned toward Draco for shelter, but Mr. Ollivander was nonplussed and continued to the next,
"Alder, 11 inches, a little stiff, and dragon heartstring…"
This time it was a stack of empty boxes at the front of the shop, but they began whizzing around the shop hurling themselves into cabinets. It went on like this for nearly an hour, and at one point, Geneviéve was convinced she could continue dealing with her mother's pernicious wand and stuff the entire ordeal. She voiced this, and Ollivander noted everything from her determined tone to her appearance, obviously a Malfoy, but separate, different. He interrupted her mid-sentence,
"No no, miss I must impress upon you the importance of letting the right wand find you. I think maybe I have been making less-than-perfect suggestions, allow me to try just one more…Please, indulge an old man, I do so enjoy seeing people find the right choice!"
His face and tone were shaky and emphatic, so she acquiesced and waited a full three minutes before he reappeared with a wooden wand case, as opposed to many others in the shop made of heavy paper, and allowed her to first look at it. He whispered,
"Willow, 9 1/3 inches, supple…the most interesting feature…two cores…female griffin heartstring, and the eyelash of a female sphinx…sisters bread from the same magical lion father…most obscure…please do try."
Geneviéve took it into her hand, and merely held it for a moment, the wood warming in her palm, before attempting anything with it. When nothing erupted into flames, she turned towards the cabinet of glassware that had exploded earlier and aimed a small Reparo at it. Glass rose from the shop floor and with a slight tinkling sound, everything righted itself; apparently this oddity wand had chosen her, and it seemed fitting. Ollivander seemed delighted at the idea, and he shook her hand before the family exited. He had made that wand almost a century prior, with a very specific woman in mind, who reminded him very much of the one who'd just stood in his shop—a woman of mystery, and power—beautiful, cruel, and lion-hearted. So, Mademoiselle Geneviéve de Lyon was much like a young woman who'd captured, and later tortured, his heart in Egypt when he was young—good for her.
As they sat in Fortescue's, Geneviéve desperately trying to get used to being openly stared at here in England, she and her brother were in a heated discussion: he wanted her to try out for Quidditch.
"I told you Draco, my school offers more than one sport, and I opted not to play Quidditch, not nearly physical enough." He scoffed incredulously at this.
"Bollocks!" Narcissa glared at him for the language, but continued to daintily sample her green tea ice cream, "You're fit! I know you could play!" Geneviéve sighed, her head in one hand, the spoon between her fingers dangerously close to dripping on her,
"Draco, I told you, I don't want to play Quidditch. I already have a sport I love!"
"Oh and what's that then?…trashy American 'soccer'?" He pronounced the word as if it were gum on the sole of his shoes.
"No, for heaven's sake, soccer players are all soft! I play rugby!" This did however, manage to shut Draco up. He'd heard of this game. It existed in an unrefined state much like early Quidditch, where more players broke bones or died than won games…or so he'd heard. Narcissa looked up at the sudden silence from the Daily Prophet she'd been skimming, and addressed them,
"What? Is there something wrong with that sport?" Geneviéve beat Draco to a response, and placated her,
"Tante, it's about as rough as Quidditch, only it's played on the ground. It's a Muggle sport," she looked pointedly at her older brother at this point, "and I love it. If I have to play with Muggles because Hogwarts doesn't have a team, much less gendered teams, then I will find a way to play with a Muggle team nearby school." She practically hissed out the last sentence, and Draco wasn't sure if she was challenging pureblood politics, or his new-found brotherly overprotective gene. They had a short staring contest, which he forfeited. He was sure she would give up this rugby business as soon as he gave up Quidditch, which was about as likely as him kissing Granger on the mouth and living to tell of it. His sister was poking his arm, and speaking, he glared at her, an expression that said What do you want now?
"Who's that girl?" Geneviéve was looking towards the door, the entrance bell still chiming quietly, as in walked the Gryffindor Princess herself.
"Oh dear Merlin," he muttered and seemed to almost shrink in his seat, as if wanting to hide before answering his sister, "That's Hermione Granger, she's in my year." Geneviéve had one silvery eyebrow rapidly and drastically arched, her brother's reaction was curious at best, obvious at worst. She ignored this, and watched the pretty brunette sit down with a small firecracker of a redhead, who Narcissa informed her, was Ginevra Weasley. The newest member of the Malfoy family had read these names in the Daily Prophet every now and again when visiting home, but never seen their faces; and she certainly never assumed that any of them actually looked or acted their age, but lo and behold. She turned back to her brother, and asked him rather pointedly if they could quickly run down to the owl shop, and kissed Narcissa's cheek as they left, a short "We'll be right back," was all she heard before shaking her head and settling back to reading her paper. On the way to Eeylops, Geneviéve turned to Draco with a serious expression,
"I need to tell you something, or rather ask you…"
"Well what is it 'Viéve?" She smiled for a brief moment at the shortened version of her name he'd already taken to using. She very much liked having an older brother, she'd decided.
"Well, where I went to school certain things were more acceptable than I feel they might be here. I think part of it was American culture, and a part of it was New Orleans, but perhaps it's not alright in old wizarding culture like here…"
"Geneviéve, I have no idea what you're talking about, please do just spit it out."
"I…well, is it unusual or unacceptable here for people to like other people of the same gender?"
"Are you trying to tell me you like girls, 'Viéve?" She nodded briskly as they continued walking slowly, the rest of the crowd flowing easily around them.
"It doesn't happen at my school that I'm very much aware of, but all things related to sex are kept rather hush-hush at Hogwarts. And it's not stigmatized in our culture here, no. It's just a part of who you are and what makes you happy." He hugged her—not knowing if she really needed his approval, but he giving it freely regardless. She was his sister, and he himself could easily understand being drawn to beautiful women, he had the same problem. She told him that they could turn back now; she hadn't really needed to go to the owl shop. Though her saying, "I already have a bird," was rather enigmatic, he accepted it, and they returned quickly to the ice cream parlor. Geneviéve was observing her brother's fidgety shrugging of his shoulders in his cloak, before they re-entered the parlor when she saw Hermione Granger look up quickly at their entrance and blush just the tiniest amount while looking at her older brother. Hmm…Interesting.