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Hermione really didn't think this is what she'd be doing when she decided to come to the past. Instead of the expected fighting and chasing after Death Eaters, she was seated in one of the amrchairs on one of the many porches in Manor, doing what she´d been doing for two whole days now.
»Afternoon tea time is not a mandatory obligation in Hogwarts anymore sadly, but properly raised Purebloods still partake in the tradition, those sorted in Gryffindor or Ravenclaw usually only partake in it on Sundays but for Hufflepufs and more importantly Slytherins, this is a daily function that you will partake in, as it is a prime time for forging connections.«
She didn´t tune Ariana out, she still listened, it was fascinating after all, but she still marveled how much of goings on at Hogwarts she completely missed in part due to her own obsession with studying, her Sorting into Gryffindor and constant worrying about Voldemort.
It was 31. August, last day for preparation before Hogwarts starts. They weren't in the past for even two whole weeks yet but it felt like forever. Plus, she learned so much in such a short time, ancient libraries of these families are a goldmine and the intricate details of family magic are too fascinating not to want to learn everything she possibly could.
But still, best to focus on now and there. Tomorrow they will be all boarding the train to school and as much as she was glad to be returning home, she was apprehensive about the changes and the role she has to play.
Pollux and Arcturus were firmly aware of the image they striked when they strode in unison down the long hallways of Ministry of Magic, chamber of Minister their destination. They were after all senior members of one of the most influential Pureblood families, senior members of Wizengamot and both proud holders of Order of Merlin First class, for their services in Grindelwald war. The second they turned the corner towards the desk of Minister Minchum's secretary, they were firmly aware of blue twinkling eyes focused on them.
»Headmaster,« slight inclination of their heads and they deemed it done, especially when the uncultered clot did not return the gesture, but the old fool decided to speak. He stopped mid pacing across the short hallway when they turned the corner and as they stopped before the secretaries desk, he spoke up.
»Misters Black, what brings you to Ministry?« while the tone was polite and inquisitive, Arcturus, for the unnumerable time in past few decades, silently wondered how Albus Dumbledore managed to secure his many high role positions without engaging in and sometimes outright ignoring even simplest of proper manners. He knew it irked many of the gentlemen from the Sacred families, but alas, he is who he is, which meant ignoring him would not be proper at all.
Doesn't mean he has to be nice though.
»Good day to you too, Headmaster. Looking colorful as ever,« Arcturus spoke, his voice just above ice cold, glancing across the mans ridicolous bright yellow robes with little blue orbs and wands all over them.
»We're here to meet with the Minister, we have an appointment.«
»Oh, I am uncertain about that, I myself have been denied a meeting with Minister due to full schedule, I'm just trying to talk some sense into Miss, here.«
»Lord Black and Mr. Black, Minister will see you now,« said the older witch who seemed to take pleasure in interrupting and denying Dumbledore.
»Ah, Miss that must be some sort of mistake, I've been trying to see Minister for la-«
»Well, Dumbledore, maybe next time you should make an appointment and not just waltz in the Ministry. I am aware you prefer loose structures of discipline but my schedule is too tight to welcome your unannounced visit every time you see it fit to barge in here,« sounded voice from Ministers office followed by Minister Minchum himself.
Same as Arcturus and Pollux, Harold Minchum was properly raised gentleman, with strong views of the world and Albus Dumbledore's disregard for rules and penchant for mind games of strategy with current Dark Lord, were strongly dissagreable with him. Plus the old coot got offered his job of Minister without any kind of election and in Harold's opinion, letting this fool decide everything on his whim would be simply disastrous. Order and balance had to be sustained, after all.
He promptly turned away from Dumbledore, shaking hands with Arcturus and Pollux and leading their way into the office, his secretary firmly closing the door behind the three men, stating to Dumbledore that the Minister can't see him today but if he wants he can make an appointment for next week, when Minister comes back from his business trip.
Arcturus had to remind himself to keep his smug smile hidden and partook in exchanging of pleasantries going on in the office.
»Minister we are here to inform you of additional member of our family and to enroll her in official records and Hogwarts.«
»For the last sixteen, almost seventeen years, we have omitted the fact that we have an additional granddaughter. Our Heir Apparent Sirius Orion Black, was born with a twin sister, her name is Luna Walburga Black. To be completely honest with you Minister, your next two appointments are with Lord Malfoy and Lord Potter, who will also inform you of their additional family members.«
»Why in Merlin's name was all this necessary?« said Minister his voice utterly disbelieving and suspicious.
»We were approached in time of Sirius and Luna's pregnancy by the Voldemort himself, of course back then he was known by the name of Tom Riddle and the extend of his Dark potential was a mystery to us, but we declined his offer of him personally influencing our children into Dark Magic. As is custom, the children and Walburga remained in Black Manor for the first year and later we decided it would be best to keep just Sirius in public eye, as we were apprehensive about Riddle dropping his intentions for our children. And with Malfoys in the same predicament, we decided to send the children into hiding.«
»And Potters? Why did they hid a child?«
»My sister Dorea was already older by the time she fell pregnant, it was a risky pregnancy, risk doubled when it was twins. The second child was of poorer health and I offered my sister's child the same protection as to Luna,« said Pollux.
Meetings the Minister took this afternoon were rather enlightening, confirming in his mind that the old guard still held much more power than most people thought. But still, hiding existance of five children was no easy feat and educating them to the point where they could already be taking their NEWT's at the age of sixteen without formal education was a feat. But as explained by all the Purebloods that came through his office this afternoon, the children wanted some independence and a chance to form some connections. Of course, connections was the word used, instead of friendships. Politicians from the cradle, the lot of them.
But still it checked out and the children were expected to board the train tomorrow with the rest of the students. Dumbledore won't be happy about everyone going over his head, Minister was in the middle of composing the letter to him, informing him of the extra students. He'll time it so the old coot gets it too late to be able to storm into his office, voicing whatever complaints Harold was sure he had.
Coming back to musing about the old families and their influence, he soon began to form the ideas about how he could persuade and shape that power into his own gain. He quite liked being a Minister. And being alive. He may soon be neither, if the threat of Voldemort wasn't eradicated.
The morning of September first 1976 can only be described as interesting. Or hectic. Chaotic is also an appropriate word.
Sirius wasn't sure if he ever saw his mother as frazzled as these last two days and that woman raised him. It seemed Luna's aloofness transforms into not always caring about things that should be important to a heiress of Black family, like appropriate clothing and conversational manners. And what was most surprising to him, was the fact that Bella and Luna seemed to buddy up to each other. Of course Bella and Luna both knew the importance of Luna sucessfully fitting in but Bella took to teaching Luna some hexes which will sucessfully remind everyone who she's related to.
It was an interesting few days, with all women trying to equip time travelers with life time worth of stuff and clothes in just short two days, plus all the shopping was done in Paris, which meant requesting and waiting on international portkeys, possible on short notice just because of their names. And the lessons! Sirius was never so bored in his life, he and James were practically forced to help Draco master all he had to know but seeing as Abraxas and Lucius were also there, actually teaching Draco stuff, that meant Sirius and James got to sit two long, long days in two very uncomfortable chairs and all they had to amuse themselves with was seeing Draco fail to understand proper dress code for gentleman wizard. Any attempt at shenanigans was threatened with life threatening punishments. Best not to annoy mommy too much, heh.
And Draco and Luna turned out to be the easy cases, Ginny and Hermione, never two girls who had much interest in fashion or anything relating that, now had a lifetime of makeup magic, dress codes and manners to learn and remember. Now, for Ginny who will probably end up in Gryffindor again, some minor failings can be overlooked but with Hermione´s new status as a Malfoy, Slytherin tie around her neck, was almost quaranteed. Which brought them to the millionth thing those girls either never noticed in Hogwarts or the tradition fell to sideways, and that was that one individual in Slytherin was always deemed, for lack of better word, Leader of the House. It was usually someone from one of the Sacred 28 famillies, who was very good at maneuvering House politics and allegiances. To Hermione´s surprise, Head of House, which was still Slughorn, practically never stepped into Common Room, all issues, disputes and complaints, whether in House or out, were handled by the Leader. Slytherins, always shunned as the bad and dark ones, developed this system as to always display a united front and to minimize the conflict with other houses. And seeing as the last Leader was Narcissa who just finished her schooling, the position was wide open and it was monumental that someone from their famillies fills it. That is, if they can remember all the rules.
No wonder his mother is frazzled.
Lilly Evans was looking forward to her sixth year at Hogwarts, no OWL´s anymore and a whole school year before the stress of seventh year, so she just had to focus on her studies, being a good Prefect and earning Head Girl badge. And ignoring Severus and Potter.
The latter seems to already be going bad. She was waiting for Marlene near the entrance to Platform and who else would walk in than the git Potter himself, probably accompanied by – wait, who is that? James, his parents and a creepily Potter-like looking girl, she mentally went over the family, she has seen the first trio many times, Potter´s family was annoyingly consistent with showing up for their son. But who was she? If she didn´t know better, Lily would guess sister but why wouldn't Potter ever mention her? And where was she until now?
She barely teared eyes away from the Potters, when, right behind them, the Blacks made their way onto the Platform and Lilly was seriously starting to question her eyes when, right behind Sirius, there was a girl who looked exactly like him, plus a full head of tight curls, intricately pinned up. Could this be some disorder? Disliking someone so much you start seeing their female doubles? She looked over at where Severus waited for the train doors to open and she disproved her theory. Not crazy then.
She got physically knocked out of her musings by the force of Marlene´s hugs and pitch of Alice´s voice, so she completely missed a fond smile and looks from messy haired Marauder.
»Be patient and don´t behave like a prat and she´ll come around. You know she will, but maybe you can buy an additional year,« Ginny nudged James and smiled at him.
»Yeah, that´s the plan. Sweet talk her for me?«
»It will cost you,« she smiled, »my chocolate taste is refined.«
Hermione´s nerves were at the end, as she slowly walked towards the platform entrance, no running into the wall like the Weasley´s, she felt affectionate pang as she remembered the redhead family.
She felt one last squeeze of Cynthia´s hands, before they let go of each others hands and walked behind Abraxas and Ariana onto the platform, head held high and their masks on.
She was probably a little overdramatizing but she felt as if all eyes were on them as they walked through the slight crowd but, another difference from the Weasleys, there was no use of elbows needed to get through the crowd. A slight gape was around the Black family as annoyed looking Sirius and equally bored Luna and Regulus stood before their mother and listened to her probably twentieth lecture of the day, on proper behavior and manner. She smiled at Luna, because although this isn't the girl Hermione knew in her old life, she was fundamentally still the same, maybe a bit less otherworldly but even now, after adoption potion, she still had big bright eyes that were, most of the time, distant and dreamy but when she focused on you, it was almost unreal.
They stopped beside the Blacks and exchanged simple, mindless pleasantries and in manner of few minutes doors to the train opened and they were quickly ushered onto the train. Sirius lead the way to the end of the train where there were bigger coupe's and Ginny, James and Remus were already waiting for them. Pettigrew was not attending Hogwarts anymore, Cassiopeia pulled some strings and called in some favors with her american friends and Mrs Pettigrew was offered a good paying job in New York and they even offered to pay for Peter's tuition at Ilvermorny. And so the little sandy haired pudgy boy, still innocent and still a very good friend, had come over to James' to say goodbye to the boys. He should remain innocent and free of his horrible life that was destined for him.
Another benefit of sitting that far back in train was the fact that not many people had a chance to gawk while walking by and additionally they closed all the blinds for the last few hours of peace before arriving at Hogwarts.
Hermione allowed herself to relax and joke around, after all, the energy of James and Sirius was infectious and after watching for the last few years all mirth drained out of Fred and George and her whole family, it was nice to sit on the train with scenic imagery of Scotland passing by and just laugh, without worrying about anything. Just for a few hours.
Train came to a halt at Hogsmeade way before any of them wanted it. Sirius was seriously enjoying himself, they had great fun plus he got to sit opposite Hermione the whole way and she was wicked smart and funny.
He wasn't looking forward to all the looks and questions that will be sure to come up over the next few days. At first people won't bother him, he was a Black after all but, truth be told, Gryffindors don't really care about that.
»I'll try to convince Nargles into confusing people, so they won't bother you with questions,« came Luna's dreamy voice from his left, they were the last ones in the line getting off the train.
»Am I that obvious?«
»You've been stink eyeing those Hufflepuff girls waiting for us by the doors, since we came out of the coupe,« said Luna.
»Yeah, well, I am in no mood to deal with questions.«
Luna smiled at him and Sirius wanted to say something but he wasn't quite sure what, and they were almost to the doors when the girls started getting visibly more excited.
»Hey Sirius! How was your summer? I´ve been thinking abo-«
»Excuse you, I am trying to get off this smelly train and while I am sure my brother would love to, amuse himself with you for a couple of hours, I am in no mood to listen to your babbling. Now move!« Sirius didn´t even try hide his smile as the girls obediently moved out of the way and he went after Luna whose icy cold mask was cracking with a smile.
»That was fun!« said Luna, turning herself towards Sirius.
»You were awesome, it was hilarious, the look on their faces!« laughed Sirius and hugged Luna over her shoulders.
»Come on, let´s get you onto the boats.«
The boats were filling up quickly with overeager first years and the group smiled at hearing Hagrid´s yells of »firs´-years over here! Come on now! Any more firs´-years?«
»Well, we´ll see you later I guess. Have fun guys!« said James as he, Remus and Sirius headed to the carriages, Regulus already gone with his friends, leaving Hermione, Ginny, Luna, Cynthia and Draco to board one of the bigger boats.
She had to admit, she was so busy spouting facts about Hogwarts and thinking of how great it's going to be, that she didn't really get to soak up the magnificence of the old castle, the lights flickering in the windows, the half full moon basking the castle and lake in magnificent way. It truly felt magical and Hermione couldn't be happier to be home.