A/N This is a very old fic that I have taken out, dusted off and rewritten. I started writing it whilst waiting for HPB, and the idea is not at all original, but with all the Wizarding World's emphasis on blood and family, there were a few things that I wanted to explore.
It takes one small thing to change history as we know it...
1. Blood Will Out
It started as yet another summer where mother had to collect me off the train on a luggage trolley. Bit more serious than last year, and I spent half my summer in the critical ward of St. Mungo's. I had a lot of time to catch up on my reading. Once I got my hands and eyes back, that is.
Merlin only knows what I was hit with, and by whom. I certainly didn't. One minute, I was squaring up to smack Potter with a faceful of boils. Or possibly just Crabbe. I hadn't totally decided. The next thing, well, it's all a bit of a blur, involving a great deal of pain and indignity. We'll pass over that.
The Manor was very quiet without Father. Mother made me sit at the head of the table, and that felt wrong, too. And then one morning, a particularly malevolent raven dropped an envelope into my breakfast. Ornate heavy seal and good parchment, and enough florid legal language that it took me half an hour in the library to decipher it.
Turns out that I'm the last male descendent of the House of Black. I now own a house in London. Or I will, the day I turn seventeen. It's some madly old-fashioned thing about blood, of course. Wasn't that a blast, finding out why mother doesn't like to talk about her family? Maybe we should just endow a wing at Azkaban for my relatives. It would make a change from hospitals. I've been vaguely aware for a while that I have a cousin - half-blood, of course, but if she'd been a boy, she would still be the one inheriting. Well, until mad Auntie Bella caught up with events, most likely - she is not a fun house-guest. I mean, the Occlumency was interesting, but the boring on about our 'dark destiny' wasn't. And that wasn't the worst of it...
Anyway, just because the Family (and I can hear the capitals when my mother says it) disowned Sirius and Andromeda, it didn't alter the fact of who they were, and the blood that flowed in their veins. Regardless of who he was, and what he did (or didn't) do, Sirius Black couldn't leave that house to his godson, who might be descended from a Black (oh, how lovely, Potter's some kind of cousin), but not as directly as I am.
So, I'm the scion of two Pureblood Houses. Inheritor of wealth and power and strange magics.
This doesn't make up for having to watch Fenrir Greyback eat at my dining table.
I was not at my best when we had to go shopping. Mother was still clinging rather too tightly, and I needed to get away. I was already at the end of my tether when the Golden Trio pranced into Madam Malkin's, bringing an odour of sanctity with them. I'm not joking – I could literally smell them. So I was rude, and they were rude back, and then I had a row with Mother about it, before I finally managed to give her the slip. Knockturn Alley reeked enough to set my teeth on edge, and I had to use blunt intimidation on Borgin. At least that scary bastard Fenrir is good for something.
On the train, and heading back to Hogwarts, I finally got to relax. Bit of amusement, watching Zach Smith go flailing past the window with a face full of Bat-bogeys. I could have told him – do not mess with the baby weasel. I know I should probably have stirred myself to dock points, but he's only a 'Puff. Anyway, some fat walrus of a bloke turned up, blowing through his moustache, and hauled her off. So that was my first sight of Horace Slughorn. Zabini came back, and brought news of the general social climbing going on. He also brought back an uninvited guest. Potter has an Invisibility Cloak, the lucky bastard. And that explains so very, very much. If it hadn't been for a glimpse of white, and the fact I could smell his aftershave, he'd have got away with it.
Well, of course I stamped on his face. I spent a month in a jar because of him and his cronies, and I still can't sleep properly or keep a meal down. My father is in prison, and my childhood home is full of deranged monsters. I'm being sent into a battle I can't win.
I'm not stupid. I would not stand a chance against a wizard like Dumbledore. This was an elaborate plot to get me killed, and thus punish my father.
Ergo, I was screwed.
Anyway, it wasn't like the Golden Boy was going to be missed for long. I was barely halfway through my dinner when Snape, of all people, turned up with him.
After dinner, I managed to give Parkinson the slip – the girl seems to regard me as her personal property. It's not that I have any particular objection to being treated as a sex object, simply that I felt that being sick down her robes would not go down well in that capacity. I needed a bit of peace and quiet, frankly, because dinner wasn't sitting well. I managed to make it into a toilet in time, luckily, but I was still left clinging onto the basin, and cursing weakly. I was hating my life, and what I had become, what everyone was forcing me to be.
Then, it all went to hell. My whole body cramped, the room spinning... A wave of pain, like being Crucio'd from the inside out, my skin burning with it, and every nerve screaming, and a feeling of immense pressure forcing the air from my lungs and stretching my joints until they cracked...
The world suddenly got a lot bigger. And smellier. And full of people where they shouldn't be. My erstwhile henchmen Crabbe and Goyle come to check up on me like good little Death Eaters in training. (Your fathers stood around and watched me get branded like livestock, you bastards.) A boot stamped at my head, Crabbe's complaint about 'a rat'. There was a sad and very final crack, and my wand was so much firewood.
The world looked wrong, drained of colour, and everything was too big and too loud, and I had to get away get somewhere safe, dodging the stamping feet, running for cover, got to get away, where the hell am I? What the hell am I? And I couldn't see anything from this height, running away with my so-called friends in pursuit, and please don't let them catch me...
Being suddenly picked up in pair of slender, strong hands. Whoever it was knew what they were about, because I couldn't turn my head to bite. I found myself held up against a shoulder, while a girl's voice berated the crowd for frightening a defenceless animal. A long plait fell past my nose. Red hair.
The youngest Weasley. The one with the magnificent line in hexes, the stand-in Seeker, the one who got herself possessed in her first year (and whose fault was that? Comes the sudden disquieting thought.) If she knew who she was holding, she'd probably stamp on me, too. Whilst everything in my upbringing tells me to leap away, my instinct is to cower.
I knew what I was, now – I remembered this shape.
And at the moment, I weighed five pounds, I was twenty inches long, and I was as much use magically as a chocolate wand.