Fandom: Harry Potter
Author: Morte206 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Series: Song Out of Tune
Title: Blood, Sex and Magic
Disclaimers: Last time I looked the initials on my drivers license were most definitely not JKR. Characters her', ideas mine.
Summary: It's the end of sixth year, summer plans are hatched and things are made clear
Feedback: Well I wouldn't say no to it, particularly in light of the fact that it was amazing feedback that generated this fic. So if you are inclined to share it (good, bad or indifferent) please do so either onlist or off at email@example.com
Archiving: Okay to the Realm, Girls Dormitory and list archives. All others please ask first. http://www.realmoftheshadow.com/morte206.htm
Author's Notes: I cannot thank Blyss enough for her thoughtful and thought provoking feedback, the direct result of which is this fic.
It was the last week before the end of sixth term. Exams were finally over and most of the students at Hogwarts were relaxing, having fun and planning their summers. The notable exception was Hermione Granger who, true to form, was still obsessing over the exams they’d only just taken. She and Blaise were in the Great Hall reviewing the last extra credit problem on their Advanced Charms final, rather Hermione was reviewing it and Blaise was trying to coordinate summer plans.
"Enough Mione. It’s done and my brain is fried. I’m sure you scored higher than any of us. Now put the quill down." Hermione carefully blotted the quill’s tip dry then placed it in its case. She stuck her tongue out at Blaise. "Yeah right babe. Seriously Mione about the summer…."
"My parents and I are going to the Netherlands for two weeks and I am expected at the Weasley’s for the last two weeks of the holidays. Otherwise I’m pretty flexible. What about you, still planning on working?"
"I always work. Death comes when it wills. Besides I need the practice."
"Just what is it that you need to practice. I thought all embalming was pretty much the same."
"It is but…still there is always room for improvement." Hermione noted that Blaise, who usually looked at you when speaking to you, would not meet her gaze as she spoke.
"There’s something else though. I’ve done some reading…it’s a rare gift, rarer even than Metamorphmagi, except in one family."
"I’m the first in three generations, the only one born in Europe in over seventy years."
"When did you find out…I mean how…Reanimation wow," Hermione said incredulously.
"When I was five we had a dog, she had puppies. I remember there were seven and one morning, when they were about a week old, I got up to check on them and found one of them dead. He was my favorite. I called him Penguino, because he was black and white like a penguin, anyway he was still warm you see and I was crying and," Blaise ran her hand through her hair, "and my hands got really hot. I could feel all this energy in the air, like it was alive you know and I don’t know how I did it but the next thing I know Penguino was alive and licking the tears off my face."
"Is he still…"
"No that’s the tricky thing about reanimation, it’s only as long lasting, as strong as the spell caster. Also the higher up on the evolutionary scale the less it works. Essentially I can reanimate a mouse for maybe about an hour, provided I have access to it within an hour of its death. With a human being the best I can do is on the cellular level. Enough to allow for tissue manipulation so that I can do any corrective work that might be needed in an embalming."
"And that --- do you have to do that within the hour as well? Is that why you always go off in a hurry when you get called out?"
"No between magical and non-magical methods time doesn’t really matter. I’ve been reading my great-great-grandfather’s work journals. He kept meticulous notes they’ve been quite helpful actually. I admit though the incident with Draco a few weeks back; that was the first time I tried one of the advanced spells. Honestly it was scary I hadn’t meant for it to work quite so well."
"Then the puppy how long did – how long did the reanimation last?"
"Penguino only reanimated long enough for my parents to see what I had done and to know what I was for sure."
"Why do you say it like that, like it’s a curse or something?"
"Because it’s the proverbial double edged sword."
"The more I work at it the better I get. The better I get the more I have to work at it. And there are other things…You don’t know how lucky you are in a way Mione. You’ll get to go to university and be anything you want. Me I get to run the company, I get to help my ‘family’ whether I want to or not."
"Surely there are benefits."
"What benefits, I get to work every holiday, I get to leave my bed in the middle of the night and go to someone’s home to pick up their loved, I get to tell little kids and old ladies that their loved one is in a ‘better place’."
"You get to make your own money and your own choices. And you’ll own a business one day."
"I already own the business, just because I am. It’s always been that way in our family the ‘True Necromancer’ amongst us has always been the majority holder. And when we die it’s held in trust until the next one is born. I have a trust fund that sat and gathered interest for over one hundred years. I don’t have to work but it’s expected of me."
"I thought you liked working for your father. I thought you liked being a mortician."
"No, between you and I, what I like is the freedom of movement it allows me. A word of advice, if or rather when you settle down with someone don’t end up with a funeral director, wizard or otherwise. It’s a job that lends itself to easily to affairs and other illicit doings."
"Add to that the muggle side of your family and their business…"
"So you see what I mean."
Hermione grinned and gave a small laugh. "I’ve seen ‘The Godfather’ movies…I just…I can’t really see you as a delicate Mafia Princess who needs to be kept in the dark. You’re more of a Michael, maybe Sonny."
"I always fancied myself Tom."
"No that’s my job. Tom to your Michael."
"Does this mean I should call you consigliori?"
"And I should call you ‘Godfather’ is that it?"
"Godmother is fine, " Blaise joked before returning to a more serious tone. "Hermione, seriously love, you know more about me, my ‘business’ than anyone here. Than Padma even. I just wanted you to know, wanted to tell you, that I appreciate you very much. Appreciate the way you accept me as I am, even with my faults, and my secretiveness. I appreciate your discretion and that you respect my boundaries. I wanted you to know that…you’re the first female friend I’ve ever really had. I don’t know how I would have gotten through this last year without you. I am supremely glad you found my magazine on the train."
"Me too. It’s funny, you know, this time last year if someone had even suggested that I would be such good friends with a Slytherin I’d have laughed in their face. Now I’m not sure how I’m going to get through the summer without you."
"Then don’t. Come stay with me after your holiday with your parents. Besides I thought you said they were still kind of antsy about you being around."
"Yes I’m still the big secret. Until a child is placed with them I think they’d rather I wasn’t around much." Hermione squeezed her eyes shut in an effort to forestall the tears that were beginning to well. "Any way," her voice was tight, "What about Padma? I’m sure she won’t be overjoyed at the idea."
"Don’t be ridiculous. She’s going to her parents of course. Mother plans on extending an invitation to spend a week at our house in Milan. Other than that we’ll have to play it by ear. I get the feeling that her parents would rather we not spend so much time together."
"What makes you say that."
"They said so in a letter." Blaise mimicked Mrs. Patil’s accent and rhythmic speech pattern; "I know you care for this girl but I can’t help but feel that perhaps it is for the best that you not see so much of her over the summer".
"She actually said that?"
"A direct quote. We decided it would be best to write like we did last summer and to see each other once a week. An official date type deal, you know, to appease her parents. Padma thinks it’s silly that we should just see each other when we feel like it but I think this will work better. I think her parents will like me better if…I want to show them how serious I am. If that means sitting with them in the parlor while I wait for her every Saturday night," Blaise shrugged, "then so be it."
"I don’t know B. Even my Muggle parents and I have heard of your ‘family’. I can only imagine what the Patil’s have heard. And you’re in Slytherin, which we all know means you’re evil incarnate," this last Hermione said in the most sarcastic tone Blaise had ever heard her use. "Then, of course, there’s the little matter of your gender. I can’t imagine that lesbianism is culturally acceptable in their community. In fact I seem to recall reading somewhere that there is no word for lesbian or lesbianism in Hindi. Not a proper word at any rate, I imagine there are slang words, but you get my point."
"Yes I do but it’s not like they don’t know what’s going on with us now. They haven’t told her she can’t see me just that they’d rather she not see me so much. Honestly, must you make me more nerve-wracked than I already am."
"Sorry," Hermione said meekly.
"It’s okay. So you didn’t answer me. Think on it about the summer I mean. I’m sure my parent’s wouldn’t have a problem with you staying with us for a few weeks. We’re supposed to go to Las Vegas, in the United States, third week in July for the International Association of Funeral Directors trade conference. It’d be great if you could be there. Plus we can study together get a jump on N.E.W.T.s of course I have to work and I’m on call in the evenings but what else is new."
"You have to work everyday?"
"No only if there are bodies to prepare but you never know. Some weeks that means I go in every day others it means I go in once maybe twice."
"And just what is it that I am supposed to do while you’re working."
"You could always come with me, especially on house calls, we pay cash. Forty-five galleons for what amounts to maybe 30 minutes of actual physical labor."
"You’re kidding?" Hermione seemed to consider the offer. "And about how many calls a week would you say there are?" Blaise could picture a little calculator in Hermione’s brain working out the figures, she knew Hermione was beginning to worry about University and the fees associated with higher education.
"Two, three is average but sometimes in the summer months with the heat you just never know. There was one week last summer where we had almost two dozen house calls."
"And just what would I have to do?"
"Mostly stand there and look presentable. I can show you various methods to make the lifting and actual moving of the body easier, less stressful on the back. You couldn’t go in the prep room though since you’re not a registered apprentice. As it stands I had to be bonded by the Ministry of Magic last summer so that I wouldn’t be in violation of the regulations on underage use of magic."
"Bonded, just what does that mean ‘bonded’?"
"I’m registered with the ministry, they can audit the log books and files on all my cases when they please, they fingerprinted me" -- she held up her thumbs – "literally and magically. But what I really mean is that there’s a tracking spell that is activated any time I use necromantic magic. And in the summertime I am under the same regulations as other underage wizards but for the exception of necromantic magic. "
"Oh fun, even at Hogwarts," Hermione asked.
Blaise nodded, "Even at Hogwarts."
"It’s only till I am of age, the restrictions are the same as any other under age wizard’s really except that the penalties and fines are harsher. Father had to put up a rather hefty sum of money for the bond."
"Interesting…I would have never guessed."
"Yeah well. So anyway you could do that. Make a little money before you go to the Weasel’s."
In the end she’d taken Blaise up on her invitation not just of accommodation but of employment. The trip to Las Vegas had been a memorable one they’d managed to sneak into a strip club one night and a rather trendy nightclub another. After Vegas they went to Milan where the Zabini’s were to spend the last few weeks of their holiday. Blaise was at Padma’s house in Liverpool every Saturday at six sharp. Padma was never ready on time thus allowing her parents unfettered access to Blaise, who bore the ‘Inquisitors’ as Parvati called her parents’, with as much grace and aplomb as a sixteen year old can be expected to muster. When Hermione left to join the Weasley’s at 12 Grimmauld Place Mrs. Zabini invited the entire Patil family, including Padma’s grandmother who had come to live with the her daughter and son-in-law during the school term, for a visit. Which is how it came to be that Mrs. Patil and Padma were having a rather heated discussion regarding the sleeping arrangements.
"I said no Padma. I don’t care if our hosts are okay with it. I am still your mother, you are still a minor and you will still do what I say. And if it means I have to sleep outside your door every night that we are here then so help me I will."
"Mother," Padma began to protest.
"Padma, love, enough", Blaise interrupted. "If your mother says no than no it is."
"This is your home, we are almost of age, if we want to sleep in the same bed in your house I…."
"Enough Padma," she turned to Mrs. Patil. "Mrs. Patil I’m sorry to have distressed you but I don’t like sneaking around, especially in my own home." Blaise shot Padma a look that clearly said; I’ll do it if I have to. "If we don’t have your blessing then we shan’t share a room." Blaise stroked her lover’s lower back, smiling as Padma took a tiny step backward so that Blaise’s touch was firmer. "Okay love? Pad…."
"Fine," Padma said. Blaise sighed, it looked like the other girl was getting ready to settle into a world class sulk. She bent her head down to Padma’s ear and whispered.
"Stop it. I said I don’t like sneaking around, not that I wouldn’t." This seemed to appease Padma, who smiled up at Blaise and standing on tiptoe kissed her on the cheek.
"Alright if you say so," Padma said softly.
The exchange did not go unnoticed by Mrs. Patil who somehow found it comforting to know that Blaise would not allow Padma to run roughshod over her.
"Shall I show you to your rooms then. The house elves have already taken your things up. I do believe everyone else is settled into their’ rooms." Blaise moved to Mrs. Patil’s side and extended her arm. "Your rooms overlook the gardens Mrs. Patil. I think you’ll find them quite lovely. Mrs. Siddartha is in the room next to you and Padma, Mother put you and Parvati in adjoining rooms across the hall from your parents."
It was almost ten thirty the next day when Parvati threw open the curtains of Padma’s room and woke them up.
"You two better hurry up and get dressed. Mum is on the warpath. She went down to your room a few minutes ago Blaise. If she finds you in here she’s going to put two and two together."
They jumped out of bed. Blaise grabbed her robe from the chair by the bookshelves where she’d dropped it last night before crawling into bed with Padma. She kissed Padma goodbye, thanked Parvati for the warning and traced a design on the door of the armoire, which slid aside to reveal a secret passageway.
Back in her own room Blaise dressed quickly. Using another secret passage she made her way to the stables. It was here that Mrs. Patil found her feeding an apple to a giant chestnut stallion.
"Good morning Mrs. Patil I trust you slept well."
"Good morning Blaise. What a beautiful horse may I pet him?"
"Certainly. Mr. Zippy this is Mrs. Patil you remember I told you about her. Mrs. Patil this is Mr. Zippy."
Mrs. Patil reached out to stroke the gelding’s neck. "Mr. Zippy…you must be quite the racer then."
"Not unless there is food involved. Zippy here is probably the slowest horse on the planet. He was my first, a wonderful animal to learn on." Blaise held her palm out so that Mr. Zippy could take the sugar cubes she held. "Were you looking for me, is there something you need? Whatever it is, anything at all, just ask the house elves."
"No everything is lovely. I heard from my husband this morning he should be here this evening in time for supper."
"Excellent I’ll inform Mother. Would you like to give him some," Blaise held a bag of sugar cubes out to Mrs. Patil. "He’ll be you friend for life."
Blaise watched as Mrs. Patil fed Mr. Zippy. It was obvious just by looking at the older woman where Padma had gotten her looks. She was not as tall as her daughters, in profile her nose was a tad overly large and where Padma’s ended with a slight upturn Mrs. Patil’s was slightly hooked. Her eyebrows were thicker than Padma’s but more arched so that they appeared to be shaped when they were not. Her eyes when they rested on Blaise seemed to take all of her in.
"How do your parents feel about you and my daughter?"
"Perhaps you should ask them. As far as I can tell they like her."
"They were okay with Padma sharing your room?"
"Not over joyed no I can’t say they were. But they, and I, would rather I not have to hide or pretend in my own home. It’s why I made Padma ask you, Father insisted. It was the only way he would give his own permission."
"Surely he must have known I would object."
"Surely." Blaise stuffed the little sack of sugar cubes in her pocket. "No more Zippy my boy." The horse nudged her hand with his nose. "We should go now he gets kind of pushy when you take the treats away." Mrs. Patil followed Blaise out of the stables. "I expect Father expected you to say no, in fact I am almost sure of it. That way he doesn’t have to be the heavy."
"How old are you again?"
"I’ll be seventeen in less than two weeks."
"I don’t recall being that savvy to my parents’ motives when I was that age. The truth is even now I don’t think I’m that savvy to my mother’s motives." She peered up at Blaise, scrutinizing her face for any sign of duplicity and ulterior motive. "She likes you, my mother I mean."
"Well I’ve certainly enjoyed my visits with her."
"You know in Hindi there is no word for…you and Padma."
"I’d heard that."
"You care for my daughter?"
Blaise stopped walking. "I love your daughter. Very much", she said seriously. "I’d hoped you’d realized that by now. I would never intentionally hurt her, there isn’t anything I wouldn’t do to ensure her happiness." Blaise began to walk towards the house again, purposefully keeping her stride short so that the older woman could keep up with her easily. "You should be proud you’ve raised a fantastic daughter, two fantastic daughters actually, she’s beautiful and smart and she challenges me, in good ways to be better than I thought possible. And I adore her for it…for all of it."
Mrs. Patil was silent the last steps before they reached the house, speaking only when Blaise held the door open for her. "This is your house if…I’m not promising anything mind you but…I’ll talk to my husband."