Disclaimer: I own nothing, all of it belongs to J.K Rowling, I am just playing in her sandbox for a while.
Authors Note: AU: This is a gender-switch story; if it's not your cup of tea, you have been warned. It will deal with some mature topics, so will be rated as such. Parings, oh to be sure. If you don't like Fem!Slash once again, stop reading now. Anyway, enough of the warnings. It's not my first fanfic but it's my first Harry Potter, so I hope you enjoy it. The story starts at the end of the 5th Book.
Language Note: "I'm speaking a different language or to myself."
Black family Etiquette : Note as someone pointed out in the Black family tree (I have a lovely copy of it) how technically Narcissa and Andromeda are not Alya's Aunts, you are correct. However, in many families including my own, it is common to call older cousins, usually those near our parents age Aunt and Uncle. Members of the Black family do the same.
Sorry a little shorter than normal, works been keeping me busy. Which really is a good thing, I guess. :)
A special thanks to djkauf for beta. If you have the time, I would love to hear from you. Thanks to all for reading!
While a small group of people sat around the kitchen table at one of the Black villas on the English coast, Alya wandered in looking a little worse for wear. With eyes half closed, she grumbled a greeting before taking a seat at the head of the table.
"Bless you, Kreacher." She whispered grabbing a large mug of coffee placed in front of her. During her stay in Malta, she had become seriously addicted to the sweet drink filled with spices and orange blossoms.
Once the cup was half-empty, Tonks slid the morning's Daily Prophet to her.
"Thanks." Alya set down the cup, and then looked at her cousin. "I'm surprised you're not at the Ministry already."
"I'm on detached duty."
Narcissa who looked about as awake as everyone else did asked. "What does that mean?"
"After last night the Ministry believed that a certain high priority target should have twenty four hour protection. Not sure who came up with the idea, but I half expected it was Mad-Eye."
"So who are you protecting?" Ted asked, his wife and Bellatrix not at the table as they were both still France.
Tonks grinned at her father. "Harry Potter."
Alya rolled her eyes before looking at the Headlines on the front page of the Prophet. Last night's St Mungo's Ball had been interrupted by the news of an attack on the wizard's prison called Azkaban. However, unlike past administrations, cooler heads prevailed and the Minister of Magic insisted that the festivities continue.
Except for the giant headlines on the front of the paper, there was actually little detail on the attack. "I'm impressed. Madam Bones must have her Auror's on a tight rein to keep from talking."
Even the number of dead and injured weren't released except for a notable exception.
"Moody got the set, seems he took down Amycus Carrow last night."
Tonks nodding while nibbling on some toast. "He didn't tell me much however, from what I heard Carrow was actually leading last night's raid. "She then shrugged. "Sorry we're under oath for a lot of what's going on.
Alya knew that the old Auror's membership in the Order of the Phoenix had been a cause of disagreement between Madam Bones and her old mentor. From what she knew, Moody had more or less resigned from the Order to take the field against Voldemort again.
"Keep reading; about thirty or forty seemed to have vanished. Their handlers went missing as well."
"Crap, one too many." Alya grumbled how she despised those things, even more so now. "What about the Death Eaters already imprisoned."
"None of them were released." Nymphadora refused to say anything more.
"Do we know why Voldemort didn't show? Seems rather odd considering the importance of the raid." Ted commented.
Narcissa replied. "Frankly, I'm not surprised."
That got everyone's attention, so she continued. "The Dark Lord recruited each of his Inner Circle for particular skills; Lucius for his ability to recruit and convince others to donate to the cause, Macnair for his relationship with dark creatures especially giants, Snape's potion making skills, Rockwood for his knowledge about the Unspeakables and so on.
From what Lucius told me, only Bella, her husband, Travers and Dolohov and maybe a couple of others were trusted enough, or had the ability to command the others on raids."
Tonks smiled. "And most of them are still in prison and Alya took care of Travers outside Bone's manor."
"Still doesn't tell us why Tom isn't stepping up and leading them himself."
"As I mentioned before, Alya, whatever happened to him at the Ministry and a few days afterwards greatly affected his strength." Narcissa replied.
"Can't imagine that's going to be a permanent issue." The raven-haired girl took another sip of coffee then almost spit it out. "Shit qaddisa ma darb'o?ra"
"I see our little ray of sunshine just discovered the article at the bottom of the front page." Tonks sniggered.
"Please don't tell me." Alya closed her eyes as if in pain." With Voldemort on the prowl, attacks on muggle-born and a raid on Azkaban how does Harry Potter's love life still make the newspaper, much less the front page?"
"I thought it was a nice picture of the two of you." Ted said with a grin. At the bottom of the page Tonks and Alya dancing at ball the night before. The article below continued with some rumors on Harry's previous 'so called' girlfriends and speculation that Alya Black might be the next one.
"That's just so wrong."
"I heard there is going to be a special edition of Witch's Weekly in a few days." A dream voice said before Alya felt warm and rather wet lips on her cheek.
The blonde haired Ravenclaw bounced around happily before setting down a large package, covered in little ravens wrapping paper, on the table. Before Alya could ask about it, another person entered the kitchen.
"OH good, I'm not late." Hermione said as she set down a second nicely wrapped package on the table before giving her friend a warm hug. "Happy Birthday, Alya."
"I knew she would forget." Tonks grinned reaching down from under the table and placing her gift on the table.
"Open mine first." Luna said pushing her box forward.
As Alya started to peel the wrapping, she gave Hermione a good-natured smile. Her friend only rolled her eyes. Both knew how pedantic she was about how she removed wrapping paper from gifts. Alya just tore into them with gusto.
The box contained a beautiful silk red and white negligée, along with matching knickers adorned with little white hearts.
Alya couldn't help but blush as quickly closed the box before smiling at Luna. "Thank you, it's beautiful."
The rest of the gifts were less embarrassing, Tonks gave her a book on Advance Dueling Tactics, Hermione a biography on Howard Carter from her Aunts and Uncle an old book on The Essential Handbook of Witch's Etiquette and a set of law books both muggle and Wizarding. She even received a book from Draco of all people on famous American Witches.
"I feel like Hermione with all the books." Alya mumbled in which both Tonks and Luna laughed. The bushy-hair girl just punched in the arm playfully and called her a prat.
"What are those?"
Tonks turned around and added a few more boxes to the table. "Harry's presents."
"Oh." Alya just looked down at them then hesitantly opened the first one. "It's from Ron." She gave a half smile finding a small collection of Chocolate Frogs; the rest, homemade fudge from Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, a collection of joke products from the twins, Neville a book on Spells and Charms for the Young Man and finally from Ginny, a green and yellow Holyhead Harpies t-shirt.
"Of course, the other family members will bring their gifts at your party on Friday."
"Other family members." Alya looked down and gave a small smile. Pretending she didn't just wipe the tears from her eyes, she said. "Sounds like fun."
Across the channel in a small French farmhouse, Andromeda Black walked upstairs to check on her sister. Since the ritual, the three had tried to get back into the familiar relationship they once had. However, it didn't take long for them to realize it wasn't going to happen quickly.
For Andromeda it was almost like dealing with her daughter. Bella had always, at least in their eyes, acted much more mature for her age. However, it appeared now as if she regressed which came as no surprise to the Veela Mind Healers who were assisting them.
Bella wasn't a prisoner; they knew she wouldn't try to leave, especially after giving Alya the same loyalty oath as Narcissa. However, she also couldn't move forward with their plans. The senior Mind Healer who knew the plans for her physical transformation kept putting it off, wanting more healing.
However, Bella being Bella was stubborn and said that it was a small price to pay for her freedom. Andromeda also knew, being a Black, that Bella was also plotting some sort of revenge on those who had held her captive all these years.
"Tabitha." She called out after finding her sister's room empty.
The house elf sighed. "On the roof again, poor lass."
Deciding she was too old to climb on top of the roof like they used to do as children, Andromeda Apparated to find Bellatrix still dressed in her familiar bell-bottom jeans, sandals and a Hawkwind t-shirt, Andromeda couldn't only assume was some sort of Muggle band. Although she knew that her sister had heard her arrival, Bella didn't even acknowledge her.
"Fire Whiskey again?" Andromeda looked down at the empty bottle and a partial filled one next to her. "And cigars. Isn't it a little early for both?"
"I've been here for yonks, plus sleeping; such a drag."
At the disapproving face on her sister, Bella rolled her eyes.
Grabbing the bottle, Andi took a swig. Surprised at its smoothness, she looked at the label. "1895 you have good taste but really, where in Merlin's name were did you find cigars."
Bella smiled, grabbed back the bottle, and took a swig then a long pull from the cigar before answering. "Sirius and I found his father's secret stash when I was twelve. Remember how Aunt Walburga hated these things. Even with magic, she couldn't allow uncle to smoke in the house."
"Because the damn things will kill you." Andi said before reaching over and taking the cigar from her sister's hand. She took one long puff, and then returned it.
The two sat around in silence before Bella grabbed an empty bottle then tossed it into the air before banishing wandlessly towards the beach. "Sweet Mab this sucks."
"I don't know. I always thought that was impressive."
"Alya can do it as well." Bella replied. "Anyway, that's not what I mean. She surprised me the other day?"
"In what way?"
"She offered me a new wand." Bellatrix had been shocked when Alya allowed her to try her old one however upon touching it made her feel unclean. "Why?"
"What do you mean?" Andi asked while taking another swig of the Fire Whiskey, realizing the two of them hadn't talked like this in a long time.
"Fuck." Bella swore in frustration. "Why did she offer me a new wand? Why did she save me? I'm not sure I would have."
Bella had been having dreams, terrible dreams. If half of them were true, she knew what kind of monster she had become. Worse, there were things her sister's weren't telling her obviously worried about how she would react.
Andi gave a small sad smile. "Alya didn't really have a family growing up. You thought our childhood was difficult; it pales in comparison to hers. With that, she tends to be very protective of those around her now. Also., remember how you and I wanted to change the world. How there were things in the Wizardry world we wanted to change."
"We'll she has the same dream, however we missed the most important place to start first, our family. Uncle Cygnus knew a sickness had taken hold of the Blacks. With all of the bitter infighting, we were slowly killing ourselves from within. Truthfully, we had become rotten to the core and it only took a little push from Voldemort to almost destroy one of the most ancient and oldest Wizarding families."
Bellatrix couldn't disagree. "What does that have to do with me?"
"Even before she discovered that horrible bond, she was still willing to give Bella Black a chance. Believe me; Bellatrix Lestrange would not have been given such mercy. And it's not just you, look at all the others. Your family."
"So she's bringing us all back together."
"Yes, although I think Uncle Cygnus might have left some notes, it's all her. Trust me, the Wizengamot has noticed. A powerful Black family is going to be a force to be reckoned with."
"One in which the Dark Lord is not going to allow to stand, so she's going to need our help." Bellatrix frowned, looking at the bottle of whiskey. Standing up, she threw it into the dunes.
"Alright, Andi contact the Delacours. Tell them I'm ready to get back into the game."