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 for the tardiness in posting, work handed me more responsibilities but not the time to do them. Still learning how to manage that and sleep :)

Over 900 reviews! Thank you & special thanks to Jonn Wolfe for the beautiful book cover!

If you have the time, I would love to hear from you. Once again, thanks to all for reading!


Sitting with her back to a wall, Alya sorted through a small pile of correspondence. Every Sunday morning, since school began she and Bella dueled, only to take a break when Andromeda arrived with lunch.

According to her sources, Riddle had changed his targets. Confirmed by the Prophet, he had been lashing out, like a wounded beast, mostly against Muggle families. However, even that now appeared unwise with the British Government had become involved. Still, even with his information and financial sources drying up, Voldemort had shown to be still extremely dangerous and needed to be put down as soon as possible.

"Aunt Cissy finally contacted Grimaldi last night." Alya frowned while reading another letter to the others in the small dueling room inside the Shrieking Shack. "She's agreed to turn over a Persian copy of the ritual for a price. Even better, she doesn't care why we need it."

Knowing the consequences if such information were leaked, only a few knew of their real objective. As much as Alya didn't like it, even Luna and Hermione had been kept out of the loop.

Bellatrix took the offered letter from her niece's hand before commenting. "Her demands are not too unreasonable, Alya, could be a lot worse."

"You're right; though even if it were just galleons I would still have a problem. It's just makes me feel unclean having to deal with someone like her."

Andromeda took the letter from Bella and then read it with a frown. "Some of these books are very dark."

None of the witches in the room was surprised that Orabella Grimaldi didn't want gold but was interested in obtaining copies of some of the more esoteric books in the Black Library.

"I remember seeing these in father's library." Bella pointed to several books on Blood Magic on the list.

Alya closed her eyes, information for information.

"Excellent, but before hand over anything to her, we should confirm it's the ritual you're looking for, Alya." Andi passed the letter back to her niece.

"Of course."

"Although I don't doubt Mistress Kartal's and her husband's skills, do you think she will be able to determine the ritual's authenticity?" Bellatrix asked.

"Well, between the three of us, perhaps."

"Looks like we're going to Greece." Andromeda looked at Alya with concern.

Even Bella frowned. "Seems she wants to meet you."

"Oh, joy." Alya grimaced. Hoping that after its authentication, they could actually cast the ancient ritual. The lives of too many people depended on it.

~o~O~o~

Surrounded by students from influential families, Horace Slughorn was in his element. Admittedly, the Potion's Professor liked the soft life and the club had been started years ago for his own pleasure. However, if asked, he would insist that it was for influential children to be able to speak to one another in a relaxed and neutral environment.

From what he could see tonight, Mrs. Black had fully embraced that concept watching her as she worked the room, interacting with members of other Houses with no problems. Of course, he knew of her other plans later in the evening which he approved.

Although Alya had other things on her mind, mostly an upcoming trip to Greece she actually enjoyed being at Professor's Slughorn party. Although perhaps not entirely comfortable in this new role, even after successfully passing the Narcissa Black's school of politics, she had changed enough that she could have fun.

For Harry Potter, this would not have been the case. He would have tried his very best not to become involved, too close himself up and not to be the center of attention.

Admittedly, the Dursleys and a certain Headmaster were at fault; however it was something she would have to deal with. Being too ingrained in her personality, she still found herself fighting a lack of self-worth. However, having a goal and a real family to support her had most defiantly allowed her to blossom.

By the end of the evening only a handful of students remained, Slughorn having left making sure the younger students made their way back to their dorms. With most of the food removed by the House Elves, five students sat comfortably on decorative chairs that hadn't been used in well over a century.

Not every house had a king or queen, and some might even argue with her choices, but Alya had been at school long enough to know who the most influential students in each house were.

To her left sat Susan Bones, who sat speaking quietly with her best friend. Since Cedric's death, she had become the de facto leader of the Hufflepuffs. Of course, Hannah Abbot, who had become the face of her House since her father became Minister of Magic, had also been invited.

To Alya's right sat Richard Smyth, seventh year Ravenclaw and current Head Boy. From a well-known Potion Masters, he was working towards beating Severus Snape for being one of the youngest Masters in recent history.

"So you didn't invite Kliskey to this little get together." Richard nodded with approval at the rest of the invites.

"I'm not." Hannah looked away embarrassed surprised to have spoken out loud.

The Head Girl, Laura Kliskey, although a well-liked Hufflepuff, was a surprise. Everyone thought it would be Amelia Wilkes, but she along with her family had left England early in the summer.

"Too bad you couldn't have invited your boyfriend, Black." With Harry Potter not in school, Alya invited the popular Jonathan Towler sat across from her. Although she had a feeling, she was about to regret that decision.

"So who am I dating now?"

"Potter."

Alya had tried not to be annoyed. For someone who wasn't even in school, he was still one of the main objects of discussion. At least her fellow Snakes had better things to talk about, well for the most part.

Susan couldn't help but giggle at her friend's reaction. "Come on Alya, you have to admit that the two of you looked good dancing."

"Moving on." Alya rolled her eyes. "What's up with the bookends?"

Cormac McLaggen and Dafydd Terfel looked up, surprised that they were being addressed. Standing in the back of the room the two were overheard whispering about not trusting snakes. At least Towler had the decency to look embarrassed.

"I assume they're here to protect your virtue, Johnathan?" Susan asked with a grin while ignoring the heated glares from the two seventh-year Gryffindors.

"Guys, I think you can go."

McLaggen looked at Towler like he was insane. "What about Sinclair?"

Talitha, who had been standing on the other side of the room, merely raised an eyebrow.

"I don't have a problem with her. I'll be okay."

Smyth smiled. "Don't worry, Ill escort him back to his common room. Of course, as it's almost curfew the two of you might end up getting detention of you stick around."

Dafydd sighed, grabbing Cormac by the arm. "Fine, we can take a hint lets go."

"Idiots," Hannah mumbled.

"Speaking of idiots, I heard that you put three of your own under Madam Pomfrey's gentle care yesterday, Alya." The Gryffindor grinned quite pleased when he heard the news.

No one was exactly forthwith about what exactly happened, but there were plenty of rumors. From the lack of detention given to the Head of House Black, it was most likely the fault of the three Slytherin males.

Alya made a face, not thrilled to be reminded of the incident. Oh, she wasn't upset that she put Avery, Nott, and Montague into the hospital. It was because she turned her back on the three thinking they wouldn't do something in front of so many witnesses.

"Well, I know Alice and her two friends were thankful you interfered." Hannah smiled.

"Not a big fan of bullies, at least Bletchley apologized. Can't imagine his father would be too happy if he learned what happened."

"I didn't know Bletchley was involved."

"He was until he found out who exactly he was bullying," Susan could help but suppress a giggle. Watching a seventh-year boy apologize to the small girl the next morning was priceless.

Leaning forward in interest, Towler asked. "So what exactly happened?"

"Bunch of first years went looking for the potions class and got lost. Unfortunately, Alice and some other first years ran across Nott and his cronies."

Johnathan made a face. "Nice, but who is this Alice you keep talking about?"

"Mainer, I imagine since Bletchley apologized to her," Richard commented with a small smile.

"Still lost."

"Merlin, when you get a chance look at the bottom of your Potions kit." Susan rolled her eyes.

"Bloody Hell, that Mainer." Johnathan sat back; the family supplied most of the Apothecaries in Magical Britain. "And most of Bletchley's money comes from all their Greenhouses, right? Still, it's not like Bletchley knew that the girl was Hugo Mainer's what granddaughter."

"Doesn't matter, he's still an idiot," Hannah grumbled.

"So you stopped them from their fun and they cursed you?"

"Something like that." Alya shrugged.

"Lovegood said that you cast a wide area Banishing Charm."

Alya nodded at the Ravenclaw Head Boy. Everyone in school knew that Theodore Nott and Alya Black did not get along. Only a few knew why it escalated, mainly because Crabbe's grandmother and mother asked for protection which Alya happily agreed. Vincent telling Nott to bugger off in the middle of the Slytherin common room was just the icing on the cake.

"OK, so why are we here." Johnathan sat back.

"Were trying to restart the Hogwarts's Council," Susan explained. "With the change of Headmaster's we thought this would be a good time."

"Dumbledore would have agreed if you asked him."

"No likely," Alya murmured, aware that even after everything that had happened the Towelers might still be in the Headmaster's camp.

"Perhaps, except no one really thought about it until Alya brought it up at one of the Ministry Dinners. We talked about it for most of the night." Susan explained.

"Wait, you weren't even a student yet and you were already making plans for being on this Council."

"Not really, we just talked about it, I mean; I could have been sorted into a different House."

Alya couldn't help but roll her eyes when Talitha snorted. "Anyway, it's not as if communications between the four houses can't be anything but beneficial."

"We'll I think it's a great idea."

"Well, of course, you're a Puff." Towler ignored the look from the two Hufflepuff girls. "I know you Claws normally get along with the Snakes, but what do you think, Smyth?"

"As Abbott said, it's a good idea. There are plenty of things that go on in our houses that affect all of us, don't you agree? Plus, unless you've been living in a cave, you might have noticed that things appear to be changing inside Slytherin."

"Nott and his mates didn't seem to get the memo though."

Alya tried not to sigh, was she like this when she was in Gryffindor?

Sure things were not all unicorns and rainbows within Slytherin however with most of the fanatical Pureblood Supremacists gone it's been a vast improvement. Still, she knew that there was a lot of open hostility within the two houses but getting it from the other side was an eye opener.

"We all have our idiots." The Head Boy sighed. :"Look at Marietta Edgecombe. You would have thought she would have taken the hint last year but no, she ended up in the hospital in the first week trying to bully Lovegood."

"Lucky Luna didn't send her to St. Mungo's and yes; we know Zacharias Smith is an idiot."

"But he's our idiot, Susan." Hannah grinned. "And don't get me started on Seamus Finnigan and Cormac McLaggen."

"Alright, I get it." Towler raised his hands in surrender. "We all have our problem children. Still, we're not sitting here just to talk about them."

"It's one of the topics on our agenda tonight. But yes, we have a few things that as a group we should talk about," Susan said motioning to Talitha, who handed out a sheet of parchment to each person in the room.

The parchment contains a list of improvements that students have wanted for some time. For the most part, the school has enough gaellons to run. However, any improvements often were set aside due to the extra cost.

"New, brooms." Towler smiled. "I can get aboard on that. I refuse to have my little sister learn how to ride on those death traps Professor Hooch has in her broom closet."

"How is she as the new Head of House, by the way?" Alya asked, curious about the changes inside Gryffindor.

"Different from McGonagall. She definitely doesn't play favorites and doesn't tolerate the usual nonsense my dormmates get into. I'm surprised you Snakes have complained that's it's an unfair advantage since she's the Quidditch Professor."

Alya shrugged. "We'll beat you anyway.:"

Knowing all of their old signals and plays, it's not as if she was actively helping Urquhart to beat her former House in Quidditch. Well, nothing she would admit to anyway, especially Hermione.

For the next house, the group talked about the list items, tabling some for another time. As a half-blood Smyth was helpful in coming up with some non-traditional methods of getting galleons, although none would look out of place in a Muggle school.

Afterward, everyone agreed that there were more things they would like to change and even Towler admitted that the Council would be a good thing.

"Before we head off to bed, I would like to ask one thing though."

"We all agreed nothing off the table, Alya, so what's up? Susan asked though she knew what the raven-haired witch was about to ask,

"As Richard said earlier unless you've been living in a cave there have been some rather radical changes within Slytherin House this year."

Everyone in the room nodded; obviously the first change was when Alya Black took over the House. "Although there have been a few problems, at least on our part there has been less House vs. House incidents this year."

"Except for Nott and his little friends."

"As I said before, we all have out idiots. However, for me and my allies to make some lasting changes we need the corporation of the other Houses." Alya made sure to look directly at the Lion's representative to the council.

"Well do our part, Alya." Hannah smiled. "Besides helping out the first years over the summer, stepping forward to help our first years has made you very popular in Hufflepuff."

"And it's not just between us and Slytherin. I spoke to Zach this morning." Susan sighed. "He is going to write a formal apology to those second years, Richard. Admittedly he wasn't malicious but the prank went too far."

"Thank you, Susan, although it won't get him out of that month of detention. Oh, you don't even have to ask, Alya. I'll do my part. After what happened with Lovegood, such things are no longer tolerated in my House."

"Thank your Richard."

"Thank Merlin the Weasley twins are no longer in school," Hannah commented.

"They were geniuses," The Head Boy admitted. "However, some of their pranks were rather cruel."

"Wait you mean no pranks?"

"You think putting four-second years into the hospital was funny." Smyth frowned.

"Abbott said that Smith didn't mean to get anyone hurt; it's not like all of them are bad."

"Unless you're the person being pranked, Towler" Alya sighed. "It's not just the pranks, but when does it cross the line to become bullying? What happens when someone who's had enough retaliates with lethal means?"

"I'm surprised this is coming from you Back, considering who your father was."

"My father would be the first to admit, that at times he went too far with his pranks. Especially when they hurt other people; worse, not everyone has a sense of humor and that dislike for his antics followed him into adulthood."

"I don't think I can stop the pranks." Towler raised his hand. "Sorry, however, I'll talk to my guys about leaving the other Houses alone. Plus, if you're willing to curb your idiots, I'll do as well."

"Thank you, Johnathan." Alya smiled. "That's all I ask."

~o~O~o~

The next week was pleasantly normal, at least on the outside. Few not of their House knew of the pressure building up in Slytherin House. Still, as much as she would love to spend all her time defusing the situation, Alya had to make arrangements for her trip to Greece. If everything fell into place, she would be leaving in the next few days.

"I can't believe it, one second he's accusing her of being a Death Eater and the next Towler asking her for a date." Talitha shook her head as she found a seat in the carriage.

"I didn't call exactly call me a Death Eater."

"Right…"

"He's cute a Gryff, I'd do him," Tracey Davis said cheerfully taking a seat across from Alya.

Sliding next to her was her best friend who grumbled. "Male and breathing."

"Hush you."

Setting out of the carriage, Alya looked around the snow covered buildings. How strange, she was still getting used to walking around familiar locations as a girl. Especially since Talitha and Daphne had made plans for her without asking her anything about it.

"So after Mingles, where are we going?" Alya looked the other girls, wondering what other excitement had been planned. She never thought she would be stepping foot into the Wizarding Hair Salon, much less spending most of the day to be pampered.

"Honeydukes and Scrivenshaft's."

"Oh that's right, can you remind me that I need to speak with him."

"Be sure to set some extra time aside to talk with Madam Rosmerta as well Alya." Talitha reminded her cousin.

One of the things the Council wanted to do was to get some of the typical Hogsmeade merchants up to the school sooner, then waiting for third year. Typically, prefects and Professors picked up quills and other items for the younger years.

However, there were always other things that made school more bearable. If merchants were allowed to show their wares, say in the central courtyard once a month it would be beneficial to both the school and the merchants.

"It was a lot of fun, thank for taking me into it." Alya smiled at her cousin as they made their way with her other Slytherin classmates towards the Thee Broomsticks.

"I can't believe you haven't done that before." Tracey slipped her arm into Alya's once they had left Scrivenshaft's with new quills and parchments in their bags.

"According to Tonks, one of my other cousins said that Alya had been pretty much a Tomboy until this year."

Daphne raised an eyebrow. "Really, I couldn't imagine my father putting up with that."

"My relatives didn't seem to care either way."

Still, Alya had to suppress a giggle at the thought of her uncle's face if Harry had shown up one morning wearing a dress.

"Hey Alya, we've been saving a seat for all of you."

The Slytherins turned surprised to find Susan and Hannah sitting at one of the larger tables, along with other Hufflepuffs plus a Ravenclaw or two.

"Are we really going to share a table with them?" Daphne asked, not sounding upset but a little confused.

"Sure, why not." Alya smiled, taking her by the hand and leading the other Slytherins to the table.

After introductions had been given, while waiting for their orders to arrive, Alya and Susan began to talk about what they had accomplished today.

"You seem rather friendly with Black." Gabriel Tate a member of Hufflepuff commented.

"I can't I been friendly with her?" Susan frowned, hoping other members in her house weren't about to cause a scene.

"Of course, it's just well rather odd. I mean…"

"Well, I think it's fine having friends in other Houses." Hannah Abbott looked to the other Slytherins.

"Its fine, after all some of us will be seeing one another quite often after we graduate. Alienating one another in school is not terribly wise."

"What she said" Tracy grinned, winking at Daphne. "More the merrier."

"Alright loves, here's your orders." The buxom owner of the 'Three Broomsticks' started to pass out drinks.

As soon as Alya hand touched her mug of Butterbeer, Rosmerta said, "Blood Traitor."

Suddenly Alya felt that familiar feel of a Portkey, as something hooked somewhere behind her navel before vanishing from sight,