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Vega Black (-Potter) fic for atropos87 and calico321 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Vega Black (-Potter) fic for atropos87 and calico321
Another challenge fic, suggested by atropos87 and seconded by calico321.

Vega Black-Potter, the niece of Phineas Nigellus, was introduced in chapter 1 of "Of a Sort," as ickle!Dumbledore's Defense against the Dark Arts professor in the 1850s. In the Sorting of Sirius, he mentioned that she was the last Potter blasted off the family tree. The others had all gone when he mother was a teenager, but Nigellus had stopped him from erasing Vega, because he had a soft spot for her. atropos87 wanted to know more about her. Since all I knew about her before this afternoon was that she was James's great-great-grandmother and the source of his messy hair, it sounded like fun.

Start 12:38.

Hogwarts, 1846.

"Vega! Where are you going?"

Vega Black looked over her shoulder, irritated by the harsh whisper. Why bother whispering if you were going to do it loudly enough to wake all of Gryffindor Tower, anyway?

But the girl behind her didn't look like she'd done it deliberately. She was a first year, Muggle-born girl, and Vega had made a point of being nice to her, as not many were doing so. Jack Potter--a fine gentleman who had once offererd her kindness when she needed it--had asked her if she might look to helping out at Hogwarts, getting the new children acclimated, as he tried to do at the Ministry. He'd winked, knowing exactly how well Uncle Phineas would take it if Vega became a welcoming committee for the Mudbloods, but she'd decided to do it anyway. She'd been alone and frightened once herself.

She found a smile. "'Lo, Nancy," she said, as quietly as she could. "Just having a bit of a walkaround."

"I thought we weren't allowed."

"Perhaps not technically."

Nancy frowned and bit her lip, obviously not wanting to have a confrontation with a third year, but feeling she was meant to do something. "I, er..."

Vega winked. "Would you like to come along?"

"Oh, but--"

"It'll be fun. I'm going into the Forest."

"But if they catch us..."

"We'll get a detention. Probably together. We could end up rearranging my uncle's office. Or flooding old Flamel's dungeon. And that will be fun as well."

Nancy shifted from foot to foot, then, to Vega's surprise, smiled widely. "All right, then," she said. "I'd like to go."

Vega, who had expected her to hear "detention" and "my uncle" and go running back to her dormitory, was nonplused, but she had made the invitation. She shrugged and pushed open the portrait hole, clambering out into the hall. The Fat Lady was dozing, and barely woke up from the movement.

"How do we--?"

Vega shushed her and took her by the elbow, leading her down the stairs, from shadow to shadow, to the entrance hall. The great doors frowned down at them, and Nancy was looking at them with some trepidation. Vega tugged on her sleeve and slipped into the Great Hall instead. "Passageway," she mouthed.

The passage was a short one, not one of the twisting ones that led all the way into Hogsmeade. It was matter-of-fact as well--just hidden behind a single bookcase in an antechamber, and it opened to a perfectly normal--if always locked--door on the outside of the castle. Vega supposed it was meant for teachers who wanted to slip out after meals without going through hordes of students. She moved the bookcase aside and led Nancy down the narrow stairs to the door.

"Someday," she said when they were outside, "my uncle will wise up to this one. Until he does, the night is ours."

Nancy smiled nervously. "Er... why are you... well, we... going to to Forest?"

"I saw a bowtruckle earlier," Vega said. "When I was in Care of Magical Creatures. It was running off toward the forest, and I want to follow it. They guard wand wood trees."

"Don't you already have a wand?"

"Well..." She shrugged. "I want to make one of my own. Get the wood from the tree the bowtruckle leads me to, then find the animal for the rest. Maybe it will be something interesting."

"What if it's a dragon?" Nancy asked, alarmed. "My wand has dragon heartstring in it, and I don't think they could get that without killing a dragon."

Vega hadn't considered this, assuming that it would be a unicorn tail hair, like the wand she'd bought at Ollivander's, or perhaps a phoenix feather. (Professor Flamel had a phoenix, of which she was quite fond, but it had turned up its beak when she'd asked if she might have a feather.) "Well," she said, "it probably won't be anything dangerous. And if it is... I have my wand."

Nancy didn't seem to find this convincing. She tagged a few steps behind Vega as they headed into the eaves of the Forest. "But you're only a third year. And a girl."

"Of course I'm a girl. What on Earth has that to do with anything?"

"Shouldn't we find a boy, if there's dragon-slaying to be done? There's an awfully cute boy in fifth year..."

"You really haven't been here long." Vega scrambled over a deadfall and helped Nancy over the other side. Muggle-born girls, she'd discovered very quickly, had all sorts of odd ideas about what they should and shouldn't do. It irritated her. Sometimes they tried to spread these notions, and it was nearly enough to make Vega give up and join the rest of the family in opposing them. But in the end, it would be better to get them to change. "There's no need for a boy to slay a dragon. And it won't be a dragon."

"But there are other things. What if we run into something bad?"

"I can take it." Vega walked ahead grumpily, sorry she'd invited Nancy and guilty for feeling sorry. She wasn't afraid of any of the creatures here. No matter what they were, she'd seen worse.

...it glides across the floor of the hut, shapeless in the heavy tropical night, slithering down from her parents' now empty bed, and...

She closed her eyes and opened them again. The Forbidden Forest at Hogwarts was not the small wooden house in Malaysia where her parents had died. There were dangerous things here, but she could handle them. If she could handle... that, she could handle anything the Forest had to show her.

"Are you all right?" Nancy asked kindly, putting a small, warm hand on Vega's elbow. "You looked a bit far away for a moment there."

"I'm fine. We can go back if you'd like, really. You don't need to be here if you're frightened."

Her smile became shaky. "The Sorting Hat said I was brave," she said. "I never thought I was, but perhaps... perhaps I should try to be."

"That's the spirit."

The walked on in silence for awhile, using their wands to light the path and catch the motion of bowtruckles. They didn't see so much as a badger.


"What is it?"

"An older boy told me..."

"Told you what?"

"That you... beat a lethifold. When you were only seven."

"Depends who you ask," she said. "Some people think I imagined it, and Jack Potter rescued me. He's with the Ministry now."

"What about you?"

"I don't remember."


"Of course. I was only seven."

This was, of course, a flat lie. Vega remembered the lethifold every day. Twice or three times, sometimes. She remembered it coming to her, sliding over her feet and up to her knees. And she remembered seeing her parents' empty bed, and then seeing her lace-dressed dolly and thinking how much she would like to play with it again, and then there was a bright flash of something white, and the lethifold was slithering away into the jungle and Jack Potter--an apprentice Healer at the time--was picking her up and carrying her away. It was Jack who swore she'd done it herself. "Never saw anything like it. A Patronus, I'm telling you, and her only seven and without a wand." Vega, who knew only that she'd felt something huge, some vast power, surge through her, wasn't sure. She'd certainly not been able to conjure one since. Uncle Phineas had told Jack not to talk about it anymore--too many people asking too many questions--and Vega had loved him for that, if nothing else in the whole time she'd lived in his house. But she also knew that Jack hadn't meant anything bad by it, which Uncle Phineas didn't believe. He had a vague notion that any Potter was likely to have evil intentions when it came to any member of the Black family.

"Look!" Nancy cried, pointing off the path with her lit wand. "Is that one of your what-nots?"

"Bowtruckles," Vega said, catching the motion Nancy had seen. "Yes! Well-spotted, Nancy!"

Nancy grinned happily and started off the path toward the tree. Vega had time to say, "Wait!" before a vine whipped down from a branch, grabbing Nancy by the arm and lifting her six feet in the air.

She screeched.

"Hold on!" Vega said. A bowtruckle ran across her feet and made a rude noise.

The vine jerked Nancy up further. Vega couldn't see up into the tree, but she knew only one plant that snared its victims. She'd never heard of Devil's Snare growing in a tree, but anything was possible. And even if it wasn't Devil's Snare, a shot of flame should probably put the fear of witches into it.

She levelled her wand at the vine and set it on fire. It shook wildly, whipping Nancy back and forth with it, finally flinging her high in the air and letting her go.

"Damn!" Vega shouted.


She raised her wand, hoping against hope that it would work, and cried, "Wingardium Leviosa!"

Nancy stopped falling and hovered above the Forest floor. Vega guided her down carefully and set her on the path.

"Are you all right?"

Nancy nodded. "I think so."

"I'm sorry. I shouldn't have brought you out here. We should go back."

"Without your wand wood?" Nancy smiled impishly. "Come on. I was just getting used to it!"

End 1:41

Ach. Too much introductory work for an hour-long piece. Not enough time to tell a story!

ETA, though it's related to nothing; I just don't want to do a whole new post for it.


(Er, that's a Star Wars thing, for you pure HP folks who read my journal. This makes me do happy dances. My main complaint about AotC was a serious lack of japor. But it's back, it's back, it's back. Temporarily switching icons to celebrate.)

I feel a bit...: sick sick

10 comments or Leave a comment
myf From: myf Date: April 15th, 2004 10:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
*g* I'd like to know where this is going!

Typo: nonplussed, with a double s, I think.

Maybe a Brit can let us know, but I think 'acclimated' is a largely US usage. Here in Aus. we'd use 'acclimatised' or even just 'made to feel welcome/at home'. But I'm happy to be proven wrong.

I need to go back and re-read that chapter of 'Of A Sort'. More of that coming, by the way?
sarah531 From: sarah531 Date: April 16th, 2004 12:08 am (UTC) (Link)
*starts the Japor Snippet fanclub* :D

Loved the fic. :)
atropos87 From: atropos87 Date: April 16th, 2004 05:17 am (UTC) (Link)

You did my suggestion - how exciting! And isn't she turning out to be interesting. Trouble is, I want to know all kinds of other things about her now, like how Phineas reacts when she becomes a Black-Potter and what gave her the idea to make her own wand and, most of all, what's going to happen next.

Will there be any more, do you think?

(On myf's Britpicking point, "settled-in" would be a much more normal term here than "acclimated")
atropos87 From: atropos87 Date: April 16th, 2004 06:05 am (UTC) (Link)
How craptastic of me not to notice earlier that you are still sick. Feel better soon. Remus is ready to pop over with soup if you need him.

(BTW thanks to jiminyc for the new icon. I snagged this from you and just realised that I didn't ask first *blushes* Hope that's OK. If not, let me know.)
From: sunshyndaisies Date: April 16th, 2004 06:34 am (UTC) (Link)
Did you see "the picture" with the necklace? :)

Pregnant Padme!!! Luke and Leia's first scene, awwww... Sorry, it's early and my brain's still in warm-up mode. You'll have to excuse me...
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 16th, 2004 11:17 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, yeah, I saw it. Vindication!!! Of course he knew!!!
calico321 From: calico321 Date: April 16th, 2004 07:21 am (UTC) (Link)
Yay! That was great!

I'm already intrigued about the way Vega and Jack met. Sounds like James and Harry took after her quite a bit! :D
scionofgrace From: scionofgrace Date: April 16th, 2004 07:50 am (UTC) (Link)
The whole thing with the lethifold and the parents' empty bed is giving me serious chills.

Great fic!
kizmet_42 From: kizmet_42 Date: April 16th, 2004 10:27 am (UTC) (Link)

No more one hour fics.


No more.

It must now be TWO HOUR FICS!

Do you hear me? TWO HOURS!!!

Kizmet, who is a very demanding gushy fan-girl
moonspinner From: moonspinner Date: April 19th, 2004 04:45 am (UTC) (Link)

*joins the Japor Snippet fan club (winces at the Ep3 Spoiler first)*

I like Vega. :)
10 comments or Leave a comment