Sense of Belonging

Chapter 14

Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter (that magic belongs to J.K. Rowling).

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Narcissa greeted the three First Years at Platform 9 ¾ as they arrived home for their winter break. Jett seemed a little unsure of what to do or say, knowing from Izzy's warnings that the Malfoys could be a bit stuck up and stuck on their pureblooded superiority nonsense. She had spent most of the train ride with Isabelle and Hermione, eating candy and talking about their past Christmases. Iz also made her change into proper wizard clothes (rather than her comfy Muggle jeans and tee). When they finally got to the train station and said their goodbyes from within the compartment, the blonde-haired Gryffindor still wasn't sure exactly how to act in front of the Malfoys.

Apparating back to the Manor from the platform like the family had on September 1, the four arrived in the entrance hall, already all decorated for the holidays. Iz glanced at Jett, who appeared a little sick from the magical transportation but who quickly glanced up and around in awe.

"It looks awesome. This is where you live?" Jett was used to the finer things in life as well, never having wanted for something she couldn't have – except for her mother's disapproval of Muggle clothes, playing Quidditch, or any other significant part of her daughter's identity – but it still blew their extravagant home in France out of proportion. The grand staircase extended up into the house on their left, boughs of holly strung through the railing. A large fir tree, all decorated with magical light orbs and sparkling tinsel-like strands, stood in one corner of the entrance hall. To Jett's right was a plain door which gave no inclination as to where it led. In front of the small group were a pair of double doors, which promptly opened, beckoning them further into the manor.

"Isn't it nice? It is really big, so you'll get your own room near me and Draco. We have a couple of drawing rooms, the formal dining room, the sun room, the family tree room, the library, and – "

"Slow down, Isabelle. There will be plenty of time to explore the house. And the grounds, if you would like," Narcissa gave a small smile to Jett, still unsure of the girl. "First, Daisy will show our guest to where she will be staying. The blue guest room, just down the hall from you both." There was a small pop and the house elf appeared. Iz glanced at Jett, who seemed unfazed by the creature. "Dinner will be at 6 o'clock sharp. Don't be late." The tall, blonde woman kissed both Draco's and Isabelle's heads before disappearing down a hallway.

"Here, we can go and put your stuff in the room, then I'll give you a tour." Izzy offered as they followed Daisy up the stairs. Draco had already run ahead to get to his room, his door closed as the girls passed it. Reaching the guest room, they entered behind the house elf into a world of blue.

"Wow. Guess this really is the blue guest room," Jett commented, raising an eyebrow at her friend. Not as big as Izzy's bedroom but still sizeable, the room was just down the hallway. It had a small seating area, access to a balcony, and a large, comfy-looking bed. The short Gryffindor girl walked to the center of the room and sat on the bed, glancing at Daisy who dropped her bag on a chair nearby before popping away.

"Yeah, well, blue is better than scarlet red at least," Isabelle smirked at her short friend, jokingly. "Will you be alright staying in here? I can see if one of the other guest rooms are ready – "

"It's fine, Izzy. And scarlet red is better than your emerald green, anyways." Jett practically stuck her tongue out, prompting Iz to roll her eyes in response.

"Okay, then let me show you around the house. Come on." The two girls walked through the entire manor, Isabelle playing the hostess and showing Jett her favorite spots. They even ventured outside for a few minutes, a light dusting of snow on the grounds, so that they could check out the frozen pond. As they re-entered the manor, Izzy assured her friend,

"We'll definitely be able to ice skate at some point. Just let me know when you want to, the house elves can get everything all set. Oh, and – "

"When are we gonna be able to prank your brother?" Jett asked suddenly, smiling mischievously. She had already been preparing a few good ideas on the train ride back and couldn't wait to have someone to try them out on.

"Uh…I mean, we can. We'll have to be careful, Father hates it and Draco also goes and whines to him. Did you have an idea?" Izzy replied cautiously, unsure that she wanted to get in trouble on their first day back from break. At the same time, however, she was ready to have some fun and she knew that Jett was a whole lot better at pulling pranks than she had ever been.

"Absolutely."

~:~

The girls spent the first few days of break in a prank-war with Draco. From getting him to eat food that sparked in his mouth to turning his hair multi-colored, Jett and Isabelle had enjoyed their partnership despite getting into trouble with both Lucius and Narcissa. Draco had retaliated in his own ways but was never as successful as the two girls. Jett proved herself a pro at pranks and seemed to have settled in at the manor.

As the family finished dinner a couple nights later, Narcissa sparked up a small conversation over dessert.

"As tomorrow is Christmas Eve, we must be prepared for the annual Ministry ball." Jett gave Iz a confused look, unsure what Narcissa was talking about. "We will go shopping for new outfits in the morning – don't give me that look, Draco, we must look our best." Draco had made a face at the idea of shopping, dreading it every time his mother wanted to go – unless it was for Quidditch supplies. Lucius chimed in,

"Listen to your mother, Draco. I will be able to join you all tomorrow. Perhaps we can make a stop at Marco's while the rest finish their shopping." The spoiled eleven-year-old boy cheered up, excited to both get out of being stuck shopping for /forever/ with his mother and sister as well as the possibility to see the up and coming Quidditch uniforms.

"In any case, we will all be making a stop at Twilfitt and Tatting's so as to be dressed appropriately." Narcissa then turned to their young guest. "You are of course welcome, Jett, to join the family while shopping. I'm sure Isabelle could use the help finding an appropriate outfit for the occasion."

Before the Gryffindor could answer, Izzy asked, "Isn't Jett invited to the Ministry Christmas Ball as well? I'm sure they wouldn't mind if we brought another. Please?" Narcissa glanced at Lucius, who shrugged as if he didn't care. The tall blonde-haired woman sighed and replied,

"I'll send a note to the Parkinson's so that they are aware. I am sure it will not be a problem. Do you have anything appropriate to wear?"

Cautiously, Jett responded quietly, as if unsure, "Not with me, I do not believe so. But I am sure I can find something tomorrow when we are shopping. Would that be alright?"

"Of course." Narcissa nodded, moving on to logistics of when everyone should be ready to go. The three children were dismissed from dinner and quickly returned upstairs.

~:~

As the Malfoy family and Jett made their way through the busy Diagon Alley shopping, the young Gryffindor could feel the stares the family received. Some were glares, she noticed, from passers-by who obviously disliked the well-off purebloods. A few families, usually well-dressed and completing their own Christmas shopping, called greetings to Lucius or Narcissa. Isabelle ignored most of the stares, having learned early on to pay them no mind. Draco, on the other hand, always enjoyed the attention, following his father closely, chin-up in a proud manner.

Reaching the high-fashion wizarding clothes shop that Narcissa frequented, Isabelle and Jett broke off from the others to look through the girls' clothes in the back-right corner. "These all look awful," the blonde-haired Gryffindor commented, giving Iz a look as she stared at all the dresses. They were all a creamy, plain color with no taste at all.

"They aren't /all/ awful. You just have to find a design you like – they'll change the color for you. Haven't you ever been shopping before?" Izzy raised her eyebrow at her friend, already piecing through some of the familiar designs she owned at home.

"No. My mom always just bought stuff for me that I wouldn't wear. I used to sneak out and go shopping for Muggle clothes, but that's a lot different than this. What even is this?" Jett held up a gown with a ruffled neckline, trying to hold in her laughter.

"That…is awful." Isabelle giggled, then pulled a different dress out to show her friend. "What about this?" At Jett's expression, she quickly put it away and tried a few others. Finding it easier to shop for Jett than find a new dress for herself, they quickly had a small pile for the short French girl to try.

"How is it going over here? Your brother and father just left to go to the Quidditch shop." Narcissa joined them, then looked at the pile of wizarding clothes. Glancing at a few of the price tags, she commented, "These should be adequate. I'll be sure to contact your mother, Jett, to cover the expenses, we have no problem helping you buy your outfit today. Just be sure not to overspend, I do not want to strain your family – "

"Oh, thank you, Mrs. Malfoy, but I should be alright." Jett replied semi-sweetly, not liking Narcissa's tone as she talked down to her. She quickly pulled a small package out of her bag and opened to show the two Malfoys the money inside. "You don't have to bother my mother, I have plenty to buy a dress." Enjoying the surprised look on both Izzy's and her mother's faces, Jett stowed the money away and returned to sifting through her pile. Instead of commenting, Narcissa turned to her daughter,

"Have you found anything yet, Isabelle? They have a new collection closer to the front."

"I'm good, mother. I was just helping Jett first, looking for myself now," Iz said, returning to looking through the difference designs. Narcissa nodded and moved away to speak to the shop owner, leaving the two girls alone again.

"Want help, Izzy?" Jett asked, not ready to try any of the dresses on yet.

"Sure, if you want. I can't pick one I already own, but I kind of like something like this – " Isabelle held up one of her favorite dresses, owning the design in both an emerald green and robin blue. Having already decided she would get her dress in the Slytherin green to celebrate her first year at Hogwarts, she only needed to find the right design.

"What about this one?" Jett asked, holding up a cute and somewhat-fluffy dress. It was a shorter skirt that puffed out from the waste line with a plain top. Izzy shook her head, though, thinking it looked too childish. She wanted to look more like a grown-up now that she was at Hogwarts. After a few more tries, the two girls finally had a couple piles of dresses to try on.

Jett chose her favorite to try on first and immediately fell in love with it. Though she hated wearing dresses, this one was comfy yet still fancy-looking, the sparkles on the front fitting her personality perfectly. "How would this look in a maroon, or scarlet red? It /is/ for a Christmas ball, isn't it, Izzy?" Smirking at her friend's mock-glare, who quickly complimented her on such a find.

"I like it. I'm not sure about the color but you are a Gryffindor so… What about this one? Is it too simple?" Iz replied, before doing a small twirl in the design. It was an embroidered, one-shoulder design that flowed to just past the knee.

"No, it looks nice. You'll have to wear your hair up, though."

"You both look nice. Find something then? Let me see, Isabelle." Narcissa had returned, already holding two bags with the hers, Draco's, and Lucius' new outfits. Feeling the fabric and testing a few colors, she let Isabelle choose the Slytherin green she had planned. Jett quickly changed out of her dress, also buying the scarlet red she wanted. Now ready for the next day's Ministry Ball, the group returned home to first celebrate Christmas at the Manor.

~:~

The holiday ran smoothly, as expected. The Malfoys had invited their families for a Christmas Eve dinner, including Narcissa's father, Cygnus Black. His health had slowly been deteriorating and, during dessert, he accidently called his granddaughter Bella instead of Isabelle. As he was her only living grandparent, Izzy had paid it no mind and still enjoyed listening to his stories of "the good old days." He had always been a staunch pureblood-family supporter and enjoyed talking about his days at Hogwarts.

The morning of Christmas was even more exciting, filled with presents and delicious food. Hermione had sent both Iz and Jett a present by owl, simple packages of candy with a couple surprises. (Jett got a new calendar with her favorite Quidditch team's players. Izzy got a list of books for her to buy, with Hermione's recommendation, if she could.) The Malfoy children found their usual-large piles of presents near the tree in the main drawing room. Their guest had also received a few packages, though none had arrived from her mother in France.

As brunch was finished, the two girls had planned to pull one more prank on Draco before the Ministry ball that evening. Excusing themselves, Jett and Izzy ran upstairs to finish getting it ready.

" – and I bet he won't even think to look before he sits down, and then – "

The two girls quickly quieted as a knock came at Isabelle's door. Jett hid their prank under the bed as Narcissa entered the room. Pausing, seeing their guilty looks, she asked,

"What are you two up to in here?"

"Nothing."

"Hmm…well I was hoping to show you both something downstairs. Come along, there will be plenty of time to get ready for the ball later," pretending to believe that is what they were doing and not going to pull another prank on her son. As they walked down the stairs, Draco also joined them at his mother's beckoning. They walked to the north wing, where Izzy rarely had reason to go. It was mostly rooms of items she wasn't allowed to go near or old trophy rooms full of awards her parents had received or collected. Narcissa stopped at the last doorway, glanced back and then opened it.

Inside, all along the walls, stretched what looked like tree branches with names ornately written below them. There were no pictures, but rather each name showed their birth and death dates. Isabelle had not been in this room since she was seven or eight, proving to her grandfather that she had memorized the entire Black and Malfoy family trees by heart. She doubted she could still recite them all but recognized many of the names.

"Why is this wall hidden?" Draco asked, trying to peer around the curtain which concealed it. Narcissa quickly closed it tight with a flick of her wand and gave her son a look.

"Your father and I are working on restoring that section, to make it look nicer and newer. Besides, it's the closest part of our family – yours, Isabelle's, your father's, my name. So no need to see them." Moving on quickly, she turned to Izzy and Jett. "This is our family tree room, demonstrating our pureblood family line. The Malfoy family tree sits on these two walls, and the Black family, my family, are over here – "

"What does this mean?" Draco interrupted, never having spent much time in the room like Iz had. He was still looking at the Black family tree side, closer to where their family would be, hidden behind the curtain. Where he pointed there was a small crevice in the wall, the name written there barely readable.

"And…Andro… I can't read it. Why is it like that?" Draco asked confused. Izzy chimed in before Narcissa, who looked slightly pained at her son's interested choice.

"It says Andromeda, Draco. And she's technically our aunt," Isabelle glanced back at her mother before continuing quieter, "but she's a blood-traitor. She married a Muggle and eloped, so she's banned from the family. She's Mom's sister…"

"It's alright, sweetie. She made her choices, and yes, she has been struck from the family tree. Your grandmother did this to all the family trees after…it happened." Narcissa finished, still looking pained but turned to pull out one of the worn books from a shelf nearby. Turning to Jett as a way of moving on, she opened the book to show her. "We have all the family trees from the twenty-eight ancient pureblood families from Britain in this room. I was looking through some the other day and came across your family in one of the Malfoy branches. Moreau, correct? The French pureblood family?" On the page showed one part of the Malfoy tree, back at least three generations, intertwined with a few Moreau family members.

"Oh. Yes. That's…I believe, my mother's great-grandfather. I haven't, uh, studied the family trees in a few years…" Jett lied easily, having never had any interest in learning her family's pureblood connections. She could tell, however, based on the Malfoy family tree how long ago that part in the book would have been. The eleven-year-old also recognized that Narcissa was testing her worthiness, her knowledge of her pureblood heritage. "I'm not even on my family tree, not really. My parents never married, so I don't really count but – "

"So your mother is Caroline Moreau, correct? Who was your father?" Isabelle also listened intently, knowing he was British (and thus, he must be from one of the ancient pureblood families, she was sure) but wanting to know if they were somehow related.

"He…" Jett seemed a bit embarrassed, hesitating in her answer. She knew the response that she would get, she had made the mistake the first time she was in Great Britain when on vacation. "My father was – "

"Who is this, mother? Was he your cousin? Why have we never met them?" Draco interrupted, being his usual annoying and ignorant self. He was pointing at a pair of brothers, one of whose name was also maimed by a small crevice in the wall. They were very close to where the curtain began, blocking Narcissa and the rest of her family.

"Ah, they were my cousins. We grew up together as children. In fact, this one," Narcissa pointed to the name crossed out, "was a Gryffindor, the only in the House of Black's memory to my knowledge. He was a bit of a troublemaker. His younger brother, Regulus – I was a lot closer to him. Sirius, like my sister, was thrown out of the family – though I never heard the true reason why. He was only sixteen years old…" Jett shifted uncomfortably, glad she had been momentarily forgotten as the attention turned to Draco and his interest in the family tree. As Narcissa finally returned to the young blonde-haired girl, a house elf appeared to inform them it was time to get ready for the Ministry Ball.

"We'll return to this later, dear. You should go get ready – and Isabelle, let me know if you need help with your hair. I know it can sometimes be a bit difficult." Narcissa smiled fondly at Izzy, seemingly content with the discussion and Jett having proven herself at least somewhat knowledgeable about her family history (or so the older witch thought).

Jett quickly departed so as to avoid any more questions. She was ready in a matter of minutes and joined Iz in her bedroom to help her with her hair and accessories. The rest of the Christmas holiday went without trouble, the ball causing Narcissa to be too distracted to continue her questioning of their guest, Draco and Izzy sharing their usual sister-brother dance, and Jett plotting with her Slytherin friend for their next pranks.

The remainder of the holiday break went without further questions. Narcissa was satisfied with Isabelle's new friend and felt no need to further interrogate her. The girls' pranks went off without a hitch, only getting in trouble a couple more times when Lucius was home. Izzy only made it through two of her seven planned novels, enjoying the presence of another friend around to play games with or go ice-skating. Jett had even challenged Draco to flying, proving that she was just as good at Quidditch as he was. Overall, the time away proved successful and even restful for the three First Year Hogwarts students.