Happy Friday! Enjoy the chapter!
"What do you mean, you know what happened to dad? This wasn't just a really bad virus that he picked up from one of us?" James snapped, holding one of his father's thin pale hands tightly between his own tanned ones, not tight enough to bruise, but enough to feel that he was still there and every much alive.
Jasmine worried her lip between her teeth. "How much to you know about bioweapons and potions? They were used in the fighting ring I was a part of to sabotage other fighters before a match." That wasn't necessarily a complete lie. There were a handful or Patrons that would kill other contestants to tip the odds in their favor from time to time. The Chesters didn't associate with them very often, but Jasmine had met a family that wiped out a rival with nothing but a contaminated dishrag.
She hated that she hadn't seen this coming. Voldemort had used these kinds of methods in the past...no…her future?
The entire marriage proposal with the Avery family was a sham from the start. That letter had been a trojan horse, meant to kill everyone from the inside out. If it wasn't for the wards on the door, Jasmine would have ended up getting sick at one point, passing it to Monty, who had a weak immune system and then to Euphemia and possibly James. This was an attempt to end the Potter and Peverell lines once and for all. It would take out a light family and a very powerful grey family. Tom would get his petty revenge and take out Jasmine, it would be a win-win for him.
Euphemia swore, her usual composure nowhere to be found. She must have put the pieces together in the same manner Jasmine had. "How the bloody hell did something like that get into the house?" Then again, maybe she hadn't pieced it all together. Jasmine had been targeted like this as Harriet a few times. Being a celebrity was awful.
She let out a sigh, her hair falling into her face as she started explaining her theory. She brushed it back with a pale, slightly shaking, finger. "The letter this morning from the Avery family had to have carried the virus. It came in through the window, where there were no wards. Monty touched the letter and then never left the house. He didn't move through any of the sterilizing wards placed about. It's my fault he got sick, if I had just been more careful none of this would have happened. I'm so sorry," she looked away, not wanting to meet their eyes. They had only just called her family, now she was telling them that she had nearly killed one of her guardians because she got careless.
She would never forgive herself if something happened to Monty.
Jasmine felt a hand under her chin. She flinched at the contact, but looked up, nonetheless. If she was going to be berated, she was going to need to face that. Euphemia's lips were in a hard line, but her eyes were a soft hazel. There was no bit behind them. She didn't seem angry, just genuinely upset and that worried Jasmine more, if she was being honest. "Jasmine, it isn't your fault. How would you have even known to think about something like that. I don't blame you for what happened. I just wish that we had the letter the Avery's sent you this morning…Though, I do have one request for you, my dear."
Jasmine tilted her head to the side, Euphemia's finger dropping away from her chin. "What is it?"
Jasmine would make it up to her. She owed the woman that much. Euphemia had taken her in after all. Her guardian's eyes hardened, reminding her that this woman ran the DMLE for decades with little to no contention for her position. "Make the Avery family pay."
Jasmine's lips curled back into a rather fierce grin. Oh, she would, without a doubt. Revenge would be sweet.
She placed a scarred hand on Monty's forearm in a silent promise. She had originally planned a slow and painful loss of property for the Avery family, but ripping off the proverbial band-aid might be just that much sweeter.
The headlines of the daily prophet the next day brought a cruel smile to Jasmine's face: "Avery Family left homeless after all assets seized by Gringotts. More information on page two." She had kept the article on dining room table that morning as trophy. It wasn't all the detailed, since the Prophet hadn't been given an official statement from Jasmine. All they knew was that everything the Avery family had was now gone. It had made Euphemia crack a small smile that morning at breakfast. Her guardian had barely left Monty's side since she got home yesterday. Jasmine was honestly surprised that she had even come to kitchen in the first place, though she was probably checking on both Jasmine and James, who were still shaken up after yesterday.
It was going to be a long time before James was anything close to alright. He was going to need to see his Mind Healer as soon as possible. His worst fear had almost come true right before his eyes. Sirius was coming over later in the day to see James, and to a lesser extent, Monty, who had become a second father to the Black Heir, which no doubt grated on Orion something fierce.
Monty had woken during the middle of the previous night for about an hour. Euphemia had to explain to him what had happened to him the day before and their running theory on who was behind it. James and Jasmine had been shooed off to bed not long after that.
It wasn't until this morning that he had the strength to talk to both of them, thanking them for getting into the room as quickly as they had. The poor man looked fragile in his bed, his clammy skin still a few shades too pale for anyone's liking, but his fever had broken during the night and the healers thought that he was going to make a full recovery, or as much of one as he ever really made.
Though, when he had heard what Jasmine had done to the Avery family, he laughed himself into a coughing fit. The healers were less than amused with Monty's overzealous sense of humor.
"You actually got the Goblins to go through with taking away all of their property?" James asked quietly over lunch as he took in the title on the Prophet one more time. Euphemia was working from home and had asked them to keep all noise to a minimum. Sirius was do over any minute, which would ruin the peace and quiet they had created this morning.
She nodded, taking a small bite out of the grilled chicken in front of her. The elves had done a good job on it. "Yes. I was going to slowly absorb the property, in hopes that eventually they could pay it off and have me seem more benevolent, but I grew tired of having them try to kill me and those I care about. Now, they have nothing and we're all that much safer from them. The Goblins were more than happy to help me. They love making witches and wizards miserable. Not to mention that I seem to make them a lot of money, so when I get more money, they make more money."
James swallowed a rather large bit of food before continuing, waving his fork around for emphasis.
"What about the other houses that owe you money?"
Jasmine let out a small laugh. "Gringotts has informed me that two families have already sent in their first round of payments. They don't want to share the same fate as the Avery family."
James frowned as he tapped his fork's flat end against the table. "But, you took everything because they tried to kill dad…"
She shrugged a small grin gracing her lips, pulling at her scar. "But the people that owe me money don't know that. They just saw a family that had been on my bad side, lose everything because they didn't pay up. I'd rather be known as a hard arse when it comes to money than someone who lets things go for far too long. My father did that, and nearly cost the Peverell family everything," she muttered. Jasmine had cared about her father from this life. Both the original Jasmine and herself, after seeing the memories Jasmine held so dear, but he hadn't been a perfect man. Not even close.
James stopped tapping his silverware. Jasmine turned her attention back on him, he was staring at her. "What?" She asked, suddenly worried that she had said something wrong.
"You don't mention your family very often…and usually it isn't in anger," he replied, picking at his food, his glasses slipping down his nose. He looked so much like Monty when he did that.
She let out a long sigh and twirled a bit of loose hair between her fingers. "My father was many things, but he was awful at finances. My mother handled them, but since she was a foreign witch, the Ministry wouldn't let her have access to the Peverell financials until my father went back to England to officially claim them. He let his entire family fortune, with hundreds of years of history, nearly get swallowed up by the Ministry because he was too lazy to do some paperwork."
It was a bit more complicated than that. Jasmine knew that her father had been trying to figure out pureblood bloodlines and how magic was passed down, but there was still something to be said about a man that was bound to Death and willing to let all of that history be sold away to Ministry officials. Jasmine felt bile rise up her throat just thinking about the entire situation the Goblins had laid out for her.
Death was not someone who shared…nor did he appreciate being shared. It was why he had been so vindictive when it came to the Peverell line. It was a love-hate relationship, one that they were going to play for the rest of eternity. Jasmine just hoped that she wouldn't be doing this for much longer. As much as she enjoyed being the Master of Death, she hoped that this was her last life at the helm of this sinking ship. One of her descendants can save the world next time.
Then again, she'd need to have children first and that wouldn't be for a while. Ugh, she bet Death was laughing at her right now. He always thought that it was deliciously mortal of her to think about progeny.
"He left you to pick up the pieces then?"
Jasmine gave a slight nod when a thud came from the entrance hall and Sirius' loud cursing could be heard throughout the house. "It seems that Sirius is here," she laughed as their friend came stumbling into the kitchen, his chest heaving as if he'd run a mile. The dog animagus had gained some color during his three week stay in Greece and it seemed that his shaggy hair had been trimmed to a more acceptable length that Jasmine knew he was going to grow out as soon as they reached Hogwarts.
"I came as soon as I got your message. How's Monty?" Sirius gasped between breaths, grey eyes bouncing between them waiting for an answer.
James gave him a tired shrug, pulling his glasses off and rubbing his eyes with a groan. "He's stable. Mum is pissed and going through the house to make sure that nothing like that ever makes its way into the house again. Jazz figured out-"
Sirius held up a hand, as he plopped himself down in a chair, "Back up, let what in the house? I thought that Monty had just gotten sick. That happens sometimes. I thought that he gets sick from pushing himself too hard…"
Her cousin shook his head, his messy natural bedhead flopping from left to right, "No, we have wards along the doorways and fireplaces to cleanse germs from your body. Jazz got a letter yesterday that dad touched. It seems that it was contaminated with a potion that causes you to contract illnesses. Dad didn't leave the house, so he contracted it quickly. It nearly killed him. Merlin, Sirius, if we had been a couple minutes later, he might not have recovered." James had his head on the table, his fingers curling into the tablecloth in front of him, his knuckles turning an unhealthy shade of white.
Sirius hesitantly went over to James and wrapped and arm around him. James leaned in, resting his head on his friend's shoulder. He'd been a wreck all day yesterday. Hopefully Sirius could start putting him back together again. "Prongs, it will be fine. The Healers say he's going to be right as rain soon," he looked to Jasmine for confirmation and she give a quick nod. The Black heir gave a thumbs up behind James' head.
"Sirius is right, James. Monty is going to be fine. He's a Potter and has survived far worse than this during the last war. He's conscious right now and recovering. The Healers wouldn't lie about that. You mum is checking on him constantly and I've dealt with the family that hurt us," she reassured him, reaching across the table, taking his hand in hers and forcing them to release the tablecloth.
He let out a shuddering sigh, his eyes squeezed shut, mouth a thin line. "I know, I just can't help but worry about him. It's always been the three of us. Then you and Jazz came along, but it would be awful for mum to lose dad. They mean everything to each other. I know if dad dies, mum will follow shortly after and that leaves me without either of them, in charge of the Potter Family."
Jasmine understood his fear. It was obvious that Euphemia and Monty hadn't really trained him to lead the Potter Family yet. Having them leave him alone would be terrible, especially with a war brewing outside.
"You do realize that Jazz and I are here for you. We wouldn't leave you high and dry. We both must know enough about running a family to keep you going until you got your bearings," Sirius soothed, but James shook his head.
"There a lot of stuff about the Potter Family magic I don't know how to use yet. Dad was going to start teaching me this summer. It's just terrifying watching him so lifeless when he was always bouncing off the walls with energy," he admitted, his fingers tightening around Jasmine's as some of his anxiety started to leave him.
"Losing your parents is awful, and it is a pain that never leaves you," Jasmine began, good eye boring into the two young men across from her, "I still miss my parents and my aunt who raised me in their absence. They raised me and were taken far too soon, but war will do that. Tell you dad to teach you some basics of Family magic while he's in bed in a day or so. My father taught me everything he could since I was old enough to understand what being a Peverell meant, but my family is far different from yours and has been hunted for centuries. We need our family history passed down as quickly as possible through the main branches in case something happens."
Both Marauders gaped at her. Was it something she said? "You learned family magic that young? I didn't realize that the Peverell family had that many enemies," Sirius muttered biting his lip since James hadn't let go of his arm yet.
"There's a reason that there are never that many of us in the main branch. It's public knowledge that we're called upon to defeat dark lords and light lords when they get out of hand. In recent years it has been the dark lords that have been rising to power that have targeted my family. They attempted to kill off as much of the family as possible to stop us from standing against them. It would tip the balance of power in their direction. It's what got my father killed and had me delivered to that dueling ring," she explained, feeling the ghostly hand of Death on her shoulder in silent support. It was the Deity's fault that she had been targeted and killed so many times. Her lives had been a never-ending hell of death.
"Your family is mental…" Sirius whispered, Jasmine sent a rather heated glare his way before he held his hands up, "I mean that in the best of ways. I'm glad that your father was prepared for the worst. It helped in the long run. My father is doing the same thing now. Both Regi and I are learning everything we can about our rolls in case something happens to him. He doesn't want any other family member trying to taint Black Family tradition by lying to us."
Jasmine nodded, she hadn't realized that the Black family had a shadow heir. She had always assumed the Regulus was just a spare that never reached his full potential, but it seemed that the Black Family was even more traditional than Jasmine had first assumed.
"Regulus is your shadow then?" She asked, curiosity getting the better of her. If he couldn't answer, then so be it, but she wanted as many details as he could give her.
The Black Heir nodded and at James' questioning look he sighed, "It's something that most families don't even bother with anymore. My family deals in secrets, a large web of them and that means that I need someone to watch my back at all times. The main family always has at least two children. One to rule the family and one to protect the Lord of the house. I can't go into anything more specific, but that's the general gist of it."
That would explain why the Black family was so off kilter in future. The entire family dynamic was destroyed when Walburga killed Orion, who had never taught his sons about their duty to the family outside of being an heir and the spare. Regulus hadn't been bred for taking over the family. He had been created to protect Sirius. Merlin, that little detail had gotten lost in her past lives and it changed her entire perspective on the Black family.
It's odd when time travel could do…
And we're getting deeper into politics! More summer time drama is coming up, though it probably isn't going to be from a source that you'll expect. I have a few more chapters for this summer (about 6 more chapters, and then we're heading back to Hogwarts for another year of chaos) I think the story is going to be speeding up just a little bit...I mean I keep saying that...and I never follow through. So, I guess you guys are in for the long run.
I have a few more characters to introduce during the summer.
Anyway, thank you all so much for all of the favorites, reviews and follows! It's always so surprising to see how many of you enjoy this story.
See you all soon,