Chapter 5 Consequences Part I
When I got back, Tom was standing next to an important looking man and a familiar looking woman wearing identical navy blue pinstripe suits.
"Cassie!" Tom gestured me over to him.
I walked over hesitantly, my heart grew heavy and I felt a pit growing in my stomach.
"Cassie, these are Stefanie Glazer, and Lucas Danderfield. They work for the Magical Maintenance Department of the Ministry of Magic." Tom introduced the couple to me.
"I'm Cassiopeia Zwart." I held my hand out for them to shake.
"Cassie." Stefanie shook my hand with a friendly smile.
"It's a pleasure to meet you. However I do wish it was under different circumstances." I gestured to a table for us to sit at after Lucas had shaken my hand.
"Likewise." Lucas nodded his head and promptly started pulling out stacks of paper from his briefcase.
Stefanie took her time looking at me before opening her own briefcase. Stefanie and I grew up in the same house. She had just graduated last year and now had a job at the Ministry. I was relieved to see a familiar face in my predicament.
Lucas had short brown hair that was starting to gray just around his ears. He had a mustache under his short nose that has little gray hairs randomly sprouting. His eye looked blank, like he was just here to get it over with.
"What is all this paper for?" I asked, looking at Stefanie.
"Well, when you sent your letter to…" Stefanie looked at Lucas who just kept shuffling through papers.
"My father." I watched her for a reaction.
Stefanie and I grew up in the same orphanage. Charlotte took in children both from the magical and non-magical world. Even though we didn't really interact before Hogwarts, I didn't want the first person to find out about my parentage to hate me.
"Your father." She nodded gratefully.
"We keep track of every magical family and their offspring. Your mother, Karen Zwart, happened to work for the Department of Maintenance and when she got pregnant with you, she was able to hide your father from any spells. She knew which one's were used." Lucas sniffed as he patted the four piles of paper neatly together.
"However, when you sent that letter. A member of the Azkaban security read it-"
"We read every letter sent to any of the prisoners." Stefanie interrupted Lucas.
I nodded my understanding.
Lucas gave Stefanie a glare and continued his explanation, "a member of the Azkaban security read your letter to Mr. Black and our Department was sent into quite the frenzy. Papers that had been neatly filed for fourteen years were tossed and needed to be filed once again." Lucas had a habit of sniffing between sentences.
It reminded me of Percy.
"However, as the other workers were putting your file away. The blank space on your parentage file was filled and we had quite the conundrum to deal with." Lucas finished.
"Okay?" I was not sure what I was supposed to say next.
"Now the Ministry of Magic knows that the Blacks have a next of kin. You can now take on the name Black name, and you are now in charge of the Black Estate, technically speaking." Lucas pushed one stack of papers towards me.
"Black Estate?" I asked, take a look at the first page.
'Black Estate and Inheritance'
"The Black family was a-" Lucas started.
"They were rich, and an old family, they have two properties. One being in London and the other in Wiltshire. Whatever house elves the Black family had, were not left at the Black Manor so it is started to decay and will need a lot of work. The Black House can only be open by a direct descendant of a Black, and so we don't know what it has become." Stefanie was quick to take over the explanation.
"Okay. I'm following." I said, nodding even though I was feeling a little light headed.
"This is a lot of information, Cassie. We have a lot of points to discuss and this may take a lot of time." Stefanie put a hand on my arm.
I looked into her eyes and I didn't see any judgement. She was worried for me.
"I have a question before we continue." I said after a few moments.
"What is it?" Stefanie asked.
Lucas huffed impatiently.
"Did Mr. Black get my letter?"
Chapter 6 A Friendly Surprise
I was laying in the bathtub with Ariel purring on the edge of it. Stefanie and Lucas had taken the time to explain all of the properties and such with me. I have a list of what belongings I now have, and I just didn't want to think about anything.
There was a sound of wings and Barnabas flew into the bathroom. He landed on a perch by the sink that was put there for owls.
"Hello Barnabas." My voice was thick.
He hooted back at me and fluffed his feathers.
"When I'm done, I'll set up a bird bath for you." I told him.
I was exhausted. When Stefanie and Lucas left I made it my room and had the worst breakdown I had ever gone through. It didn't help that I couldn't call Harry since the Leaky Cauldron didn't have any telephones. And I imagined the Weasley's were in Egypt or getting ready to go to Egypt so I didn't want to write a letter to them and make them worry while they're enjoying their family vacation.
Hermione was in France and I didn't how long Barnabas would be flying for.
"Remus." I said, opening my eyes and Ariel meowed at me.
"I don't know… I could talk to Remus about Sirius, but he and I aren't that close yet. I think I'll just have to keep this information between us for now." I pulled the plug and started to drain my bath water.
I wrapped a towel under my armpits and turned on the water in the sink. Barnabas happily started to dance in the sink. I gave a tired chuckle and watched him for a bit.
"I'm just going to bed. I am not in the mood for clothes." I held a finger out for my owl to nibble on.
I stumbled to my bed and I dropped my towel and just crawled into bed.
Over the next few weeks I made sure to make short trips down to get food, and into Diagon Alley for anything I needed. I haven't gotten any stares or strange looks, but I wasn't willing to risk it. Especially since I knew it was a matter of time before someone found out.
The day before Harry's birthday I got an owl who delivered a copy of the 'Daily Prophet' to me.
Sirius Black Escapes
Sirius Black, the most infamous prisoner to ever be held in Azkaban fortress, has managed to evade security and has gotten loose!
No comment has been made yet as to how he has gotten out of the prison.
It has recently come to light that Sirius Black has a child out. All we know is they are currently going to Hogwarts and have reached out to Sirius Black just days before his escape.
No comments have been made to the Daily Prophet.
There was more, but my stomach was too sick to read anymore.
I paced the length of the room, braiding and unbraiding my hair from nerves. I haven't received any letters but person I was waiting for a letter from was in Egypt. I had hopes that Mr. Weasley wasn't going to find out until after his trip.
There was a tap at my window and I grinned when I saw Barnabas sitting at the window looking particularly tired.
"Are you up to some more flying?" I asked as I opened the window for him.
He cooed as he flew in. And Hedwig, Errol, the Weasley's owl, and a well taken care of tawny owl came flying in.
Hedwig and Barnabas landed by the water dish. Errol, once he seemed to realize he was in a safe area, dropped to the ground. The tawny owl, Hedwig, and Barnabas, even though they were owls, I could have sworn they rolled their eyes.
"You poor thing." I picked up Errol and placed him on the bed.
He cooed weakly at me before closing his eyes and started to snore. I shook my head with a giggle as I went over to the tawny owl.
He picked at one of the two letters attached to his clawed feet.
"I can get that." I said softly as I rubbed a finger of his head.
He ruffled his feathers as I pulled off the letter addressed to me. I noticed that the package and other letter were addressed to Harry.
"If you would like to rest here you can." I said to the owl as Barnabas and Hedwig finished drinking from the water.
I placed the water dish in front of the tawny owl and he drank from it gratefully. I walked to my little desk and wrote a quick birthday card to Harry.
Happy birthday! I didn't want to worry you or the others but I figured I'd better let someone know. I'm currently staying at the Leaky Cauldron. There were more additions to the orphanage and since I was gone for the majority of the year it made sense that they would get my room.
Enough about the sad news. I'm so glad that the Weasley's got the chance to go to Egypt! George and Fred had said something about trying to get me a mummy. I wish I was there to see Mrs. Weasley's face for that conversation!
I guess I should tell you this now rather than later. And you're the first person who I am telling. The who Ministry of Magic knows, and so I've been dealing with things I never imagined myself dealing with.
Sirius Black is my father. I found out last year, but I didn't have the chance to tell anyone because of the… Well… The Chamber of Secrets thing. And so when I had the chance to finally sit down and figure it out, I sent him a letter.
I don't know if he got it. They 'can't' tell me. With him breaking out and such, they're trying to keep me out of the Daily Prophet for as long as they can. I don't think the Weasley's know since it all happened as they were leaving for Egypt. Well… Mr. Weasley may have been informed of Black's escape so I may have come up?
I am sorry I haven't said anything sooner. I had wanted to tell you in person but I didn't know when that next chance was going to be.
Hope your birthday is a good one!
I blew on the ink so that it would dry quicker. I gave it a few more minutes to dry, and for the owls to get some more water and a bit more rest. I opened my Hogwarts letter.
'Dear Ms. Zwart,
Please note that the new school year will begin on September the first. The Hogwarts Express will leave from King's Cross station, platform nine and three-quarters, at eleven o'clock.
Third years are permitted to visit the village of Hogsmeade on certain weekends. Please give the enclosed permission form to your parents or guardian to sign.
A list of books for next year is enclosed.
Professor M. McGonagall
I gave my book list a look over.
'Third-year students will require:
The Standard Book of Spells, Grade 3 by Miranda Goshawk
Unfogging the Future by Cassandra Vablastky
The Monster Book of Monsters
Intermediate Transfiguration by Emeric Switch
The Essential Defence Against the Dark Arts by Arsenius Jigger'
"How exciting!" I grinned as I pulled out the permission slip for Hogsmeade.
"I'll have to give this to Charlotte before I leave for Hogwarts." I said to Barnabas who only blinked at me.
"It'll wait until after you get back." I reassured the barn owl.
Hedwig gave a hoot as she fluffed her feathers.
"Hold on. I've got treats for you." I smiled at the snowy owl and started to dig for owl treats.
The rest of the night I made sure to put water into Errol's beak, and the tawny owl put his head under his wing and slept for a few minutes. Ariel had found a few feathers from a feather duster and was chasing them around the room. I was enchanting them to float in the air and she would jump for them. It was a good laugh for me.
I sent all the owls on their way with a kiss. The tawny owl hooted with displeasure when I got him but I only giggled. I watched them fly until I couldn't see them in the night sky. The breeze felt good on my face. It has been a hot summer and the night air was refreshing.
I don't know how long I was standing in the window, but Ariel had started to rub herself against my legs.
"Okay, we'll go to-"
There was a whimpering sound from the street below.
Looking down, I couldn't see anything on the dark street.
The downside of being a metamorphmagus is that we can look like other people, and change certain aspects about ourselves into animals. But we couldn't take on their cool 'powers', as I call them. I can change my eyes to the amber eyes of Hedwig, or my nose into a pig's snout, but I can't see at night like an owl. Or smell what a pig smells. I just have plain human senses when it comes to that stuff.
My first year I was swimming in the lake and I had managed to get some gills to breathe underwater. I still needed a lot of practice and I was hoping to get it in at Hogwarts this year.
Before I could continue on what all I wanted to get done this year, something moved and caught my eye. I focused on a darker spot in the alley.
There was a dog who was limping and walking slowly. His hair was matted and he looked miserable down there.
I pursed my lips and tried to whistle. It was a quiet whistle, but his ears perked up and the dog looked around.
"Up here." I called down.
The dog looked around but before he could take another step, he collapsed.
"Oh boy." I said.
"Ariel, let's go save a dog." I looked down at her.
She meowed back at me and together we ran as quietly as we could down the stairs and out of the inn.
"Cassie?" Tom called out.
"Just a moment!" I called back as I ran out the door.
The dog had moved a few steps but he was struggling to take another step.
"Easy boy." I said, snapping my fingers to let him know I was coming.
He started growling at me.
"I know I know. Stranger danger, protect yourself. All that stuff. I'm here to help you. You need to eat and I can get you food." I went around his side so that there was a safe distance between us and so that he could see I meant no harm.
He growled some more but Ariel hissed at him. His tail thumped, which caught me by surprise, but his jaws were still snarled at me.
"You have to come with me to get the food. I don't think you'll be here if I leave." I crouched down.
He had light brown eyes and they were hard. There wasn't much life left in them.
"My name is Cassie, Cassie Zwart. I just want to help." I held my hand out, palm up for him.
He froze. Looking at me with his eyebrows raised, he slowly got himself up to his feet.
"I will need to remember to introduce myself to any animal. Especially one that needs help." I said quietly as he crawled weakly to me.
I let him sniff my palms and he gave me one last look.
"Please let me help, Snuffles." I whispered.
He blinked once, and then licked my palm.
"Good boy." I couldn't help my grin as I slowly scratched his chin.
He made a content sound as I gently pet him.
"Now I'm going to say something, and you're probably not going to believe me. But I'm a witch." I whispered quietly to him as Ariel started to sniff the dog.
His eyes widened and his tail gave a weak thump.
"I know. I had the same reaction." I giggled as I gently scratched behind his ear.
"I'm telling you this because I can't carry you. As thin as you are, I don't think I can carry you. I can use a spell to get you off the ground. But you'll need to move your legs to make it look like your walking so that the muggles don't get suspicious okay?" I pulled out my wand from my pocket slowly.
He made a quiet gruffing sound.
"Alright, I'll try not spook you if you don't try to spook me. Okay?" I slowly started to stand up.
He sighed and I gave a look around to see if the streets were cleared.
"Wingardium Leviosa." I whispered with a swish and flick of my wrist.
Snuffles rose in the air and I helped guide him feet down so that he could at least look like he was walking.
"We're going this way. Don't worry we're going into the Leaky Cauldron. Tom is the owner and he won't mind me bringing in an extra guest." I explained as I kept a hand on his shoulder as I guided him to the inn.
He relaxed against my hand and we made it into the inn without any muggles on the street thankfully.
"Cassie, what in the world?" Tom asked once Snuffles and I had made it into the Leaky Cauldron.
"I saw him, and he needs help." I raised my wand and Snuffles was lifted a bit more off the ground.
"I'll send up some water and food for him. Would you like more blankets for him as well?" Tom gave a sigh but he had a smile on his face.
"Yes please. Thank you so much Tom!" I smiled back at him gratefully.
I led Snuffles ahead of me into my room. He had started to whimper just a little pathetically and I did feel bad for any pain he was in.
"We're going to feed you, and get some water for you. And you're going to need a bath." I was trying to make small talk and the silence was just a little overwhelming.
He growled at that last part.
"You stink, your fur is filthy, and I think you'll enjoy it." I snapped back.
He gave a low gruff and made a weird purring noise in his throat.
"Yeah, I don't even want to know when the last time you were bathed." I muttered to myself.
His back leg kicked out and got me in the gut.
"Oof!" I bent over into the kick and let out some air.
He let out a weird noise that sounded like a laugh.
"Laugh it up." I chuckled as I levitated the dog into my room.
As I let Ariel in before me, I saw a plate piled high with some freshly cooked chicken and a giant bowl of water. Snuffles tail started to wag in the air and I couldn't help but smile. I found a large pile of blankets and pillows were set up next to my bed on the side I sleep on.
"Don't move." I pointed at him as I laid in gently on the pile of blankets.
He glared at me with his dark brown eyes.
I'm bringing you the food! Don't worry you'll get to eat. I just don't want you to hurt yourself from walking from one end of my room to the other." I explained as I walked over to the plate of chicken and picked it up.
It was heavier than I expected so I did another levitation spell to get the food close to Snuffles.
His nose was just making the cutest movement as he lifted his head and sniffed the chicken as I levitated it over to him.
"I know you're starving, but I need you to eat slowly. I don't want you throwing up because then you're just going to be even more hungry." I said to him.
He gruffed at me but he thumped his tail once to acknowledge what I had said. I watched him as he took a bite of some of the chicken and took his time chewing it.
"Good boy." I nodded as I levitated the water dish closer to him so that he could drink between moments of eating.
As he ate I got my hair brush out of the bathroom and I ran my hand over the bristles so that the noise wouldn't scare him. I walked over to him and I sat down away from the chicken but he still watched me carefully.
"Sniff this. Don't lick it because I use it for my hair." I pointed a finger at him as i held my brush for him.
He gave it a few sniffs and snorted at it.
"I guess you can lick it. I mean, once it touches your fur I don't want it touching my hair…" I said thoughtfully.
I held the brush to him once again his time he licked it hesitantly.
"I'm sorry if I hurt you. But I hope you'll be feeling better, and looking better." I said as I scratched his ears.
They perked up but he kept eating his chicken slowly. I placed my brush on his side and attempt to gently brush out his mats. He growled at me when I was rough but he seemed to appreciate the grooming session. He had finished eating the plate of chicken and the bowl of water didn't seem to deplete so I just pushed it off to the side so that I could brush out the worst of the mats on his body.
"Alright. I did what I could do. We're going to wait and give you a bath tomorrow, it's a little too late for me." I stood up with a yawn and a stretch.
He flopped his body over and made quite the scene getting comfortable in his bed. I just grinned down at him and shook my head.
"If I didn't go to Hogwarts I would adopt you." I said as I turned around to grab some pajamas out of my dresser I had been using.
His tail gave a light thump and the noise he made sounded like a chuckle.
"I'm serious." I turned to him.
The weird noise in his throat got louder and his tail thumped harder as he wiggled around like he was having a laughing fit.
"No Snuffles, if I had a place to keep you, with all the land and maybe some birds for you to chase after. I would give you the best home you could ever have." I said as seriously as I could.
He stopped his laughing fit and rolled over to stand up. He walked over to me and leaned his shoulder against my leg.
"It's okay, but I'm sorry. I don't… well I do have a place but I need to get it all cleaned up. It has been abandoned for a really long time. And I don't know when I can go and take a look at it to get it cleaned up to take care of you." I knelt down to hug him.
He put his head over my shoulder and a paw around my body, giving me a hug.
"I know you don't trust me. And I know I just rescued you a few hours ago. But I would love to keep you, Snuffles. I don't want to see you on the streets..." I sighed into the weird, but reassuring hug.
So this is technically two chapters. The first chapter was only 750 words and that didn't seem fair, so I combined to give you guys this lengthened chapter! The reason why this is out a day early is I'm planning on being busy all day tomorrow. My brother's flying in and so we're getting him for two weeks and all that. I should be updating next week at the usual time of Saturday, but who knows. It may be Friday, or even Sunday depending on where I'm at.
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