Sense of Belonging

Chapter 2

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

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"Jett will be here any second! I'll wait by the fireplace!" Izzy called to her mother as she raced down the stairs, excited to finally have a friend over for the summer. Letters weren't the same as seeing each other in person. Plus, it had already been a week and a half since they had agreed to have Jett come over. Leaving Narcissa to finish instructing Daisy in setting up the guest room once again for her daughter's Gryffindor but pureblooded friend, Isabelle ran as quickly as she could so as not to miss Jett's arrival.

Her father was home for once during the daytime, not holed up at the Ministry of Magic as he usually would be. Lucius hadn't come home happy, however, and Iz had heard him yell at Narcissa before going to his study. Checking to be sure the fireplace was safe and ready for Jett, Izzy couldn't help but be curious as to what had him in such a terrible mood. With the study just around the corner from where her friend was set to arrive any minute, Isabelle snuck up to the two double doors to try and listen. Sometimes her father would talk to himself or even Dobby, his house elf. She had caught him multiple times doing so when he was angry or worried about something.

" – that damn bloodtraitor! Arthur Weasley is going to pay for his insolence. He thinks he can form a task force to raid any home he pleases. And for what? Useless Muggle artifacts. And he had the /audacity/ to inquire about /my/ Manor? Like I would keep such ridiculous and useless items here." Izzy jumped as some object slammed into the door she had been leaning against. Missing a couple of words, she leaned closer to continue listening. "…found other items, that would not look so good for the family. I will not be able to thwart his persistence so easily again…" This time Izzy anticipated her father's rage and moved away from the door before another object shattered against it.

Unsure what any of that meant, she returned to the fireplace to wait for Jett. Growing concerned as she was almost fifteen minutes late, Iz was about to leave to ask her mother when the fire roared and soot spewed everywhere. Daisy the house elf appeared and, with a snap of her fingers, had cleared away all the dirt from the floor and on the short girl standing in the fireplace.

"Jett!"

"Izzy! Hey, I made it." Dropping her bag on the ground next to her, Jett gave Iz a quick hug before adjusting her casual wizard robes as if she found them uncomfortable.

"You did! A little late, but what did I expect? How are you?" Isabelle gave a slight nod to Daisy to indicate that she could take Jett's belongings up to the guest room and the two girls made their way to the South Lawn Drawing Room.

"I'm good, a little tired actually. Moo- My godfather made me get up early to make sure I was packed and to help clean the cottage a bit. And I can't use magic because we live too close to the Muggle village. Plus, he's a rule-stickler." Jett shook her head but she was smiling, as if she found it funny.

"So you like him? He's really nice to you and all?" Izzy asked as they sat down, having poured them both a glass of lemonade.

"Yeah, absolutely. He's actually pretty chill. He lives alone and he loves to be outside and he has all this Muggle stuff in his house, it's awesome! He doesn't care if I wear my Muggle clothes around the house or when we go out. I don't think he and my mum get along – I guess he was my father's best friend or something – but since she is still M.I.A., she doesn't care. I think it's a lot better than I could have hoped for. Except I can't use magic. And I have to help with chores. But," Jett shrugged, leaning back in the chair that was too big for her, obviously happy.

"That's cool! So he knew your dad? Did they go to school together?" Having almost asked if he knew where Jett's father was now, Iz bite her tongue lightly. She and Hermione had tried probing further into Jett's family history, not enjoying the unsolved mystery of who her father was. All they knew was that he was British, went to Hogwarts, and never married her mum. Hermione thinks, as Jett didn't want to talk about it, that her dad was dead but Izzy didn't think so. As such, she waited for Jett's answer, still determined to figure out the mystery.

"Yeah, I think so. I don't know that much about him, though. He sometimes leaves to go and work during the day and lets me stay home and do whatever I want. He looked like he was getting sick, though, when I left today." She shrugged again, gulping down her lemonade. Standing, she was eager to see the grounds in the summer (rather than the snowy winter it had been when she was there at the Christmas holidays).

Draco ended up joining the two girls for a swim in their pond in the back. Jett challenged him to a mini game of Quidditch, itching to get some flying practice in before trying out for the Gryffindor team – plus wanting to show the annoying, stuck-up prat she was better than him. They planned the match for after dinner, while Iz was determined to stay out of it.

Dinner ran much more smoothly than Christmas break, the Malfoy family now more familiar with Jett and thus feeling more comfortable for her to join. This did not break the usual silence that accompanied the meals, however, and the Gryffindor still felt uncomfortable trying to eat in such a quiet atmosphere.

"The food was delicious, Mrs. Malfoy, thank you very much," Jett said as the house-elves took their plates. She had also learned to be sure to compliment Narcissa as often as possible, making the twelve-year-old more likeable. They had also decided that evening that Jett would join the Malfoy family on their school supplies shopping trip, as it would be easier on Jett's mother. (Narcissa still did not seem to know Jett was actually staying with her godfather and had not seen her mother all summer.)

On the other hand, Lucius still seemed indifferent toward their guest. He had not even said a word at dinner to anyone and quickly excused himself once they had all finished.

"Ready, Moreau?" Draco smirked, excited to beat their guest at Quidditch. Jett just smiled back, knowing that she could best him. Narcissa instructed them to be careful before heading after her husband, seemingly concerned by his actions that evening.

"You're gonna come watch, right Izzy?" Jett asked as the two blondes made their way for the back door.

"For a little bit, yeah. I'm definitely not flying though. Understood?" Giving them both a look, she followed them to the make-shift Quidditch pitch Draco used on the southwest lawn. After a few minutes into their game (and both their attempts to get Iz to join their side in flying), Isabelle decided to return inside to grab her book.

As she was heading back outside to join her two competitive friends/sibling, Izzy couldn't help but pause as she had earlier at her father's study. This time she could hear Narcissa's voice as well as Lucius'.

" – have nothing to hide from the Ministry, dear, you told me that anything that might implicate our guilt had been stored away from the Manor. Is it not all gone?" Narcissa sounded concerned, as well as a little unsure.

There was a brief pause. "…I lied, Cissy. I didn't want you to worry. I couldn't give /His/ items away, we couldn't be sure that He was actually gone. And now – well, I cannot risk it with the Ministry and that idiotic Weasley. I will work on ridding the Manor of any suspicious items, but I am not sure anyone will take them – not once word gets out that they are raiding homes." Lucius replied, now sounding tired rather than like his anger earlier in the day.

"Oh, Lucius… Draco and Isabelle must not know. The Dark Lord may never return again, and we cannot let them learn of such things – "

"And we will not, Narcissa. He has been gone far too long. They say He attempted to kill the Potter boy at the end of last year but I could not get Dumbledore to admit such things." Lucius sighed in annoyance, then replied more softly but with anger mixed in his tone. "You, Cissy, have not kept your promise to me. You told me when Isabelle was eleven years old – "

"I will tell her, eventually. There is no rush. What good would it do for her to know – " Izzy, who had her head pressed against the doors, heard the sound of a faint pop and the voice of their house elf, Dobby, speaking to her parents. Frustrated, she continued to listen to the conversation, something about a requested meeting with her father. She wanted to hear what her parents had been about to say! What were they supposed to tell her when she turned eleven? What secret were they keeping?

Isabelle barely moved in time as Narcissa opened the door to Lucius' study. Closing it gently but looking exhausted, she turned down the hallway opposite of where Iz was now hiding and continued around the corner, unaware that their dark-haired daughter had overheard their conversation. Making her way back outside, where the score was tied between Jett and Draco, Izzy remained a bit distracted. She didn't even open her book or admire the full moon rising overhead, just thinking over the conversation she had heard earlier.

She didn't like secrets, especially ones her parents kept. Iz didn't care what her father was getting rid of or whatever the Ministry garble was about – she had heard Lucius complain dozens of times about the Weasleys and had her own complaints about Ronald. She couldn't shake the feeling, even days later after Jett had returned to her godfather's cottage, that her parents really were keeping a big secret from her and Draco.