Sense of Belonging

Chapter 5

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

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Izzy did not inform her parents of her adventures at Moony's Cottage when she returned home the next day. Doing so would have also meant to admit a few things she would rather not, such as the fact that Jett was not actually staying with her mother, but rather her godfather. Worried it might ruin any chance she had of Jett coming to visit her at least once during the summer, Isabelle decided not to mention anything other than that she had enjoyed herself while there. And secretly hoped to go back at least one more time before school.

Returning to the Manor felt strange. Though it had barely been four days, Iz had gotten used to the strange light switches and Muggle-influenced meals. Sitting in her bedroom her first evening back home, the dark-haired girl longed to watch one of the Muggle motion pictures on the box-television rather than simply reading one of her "boring" novels. (Of course, Iz would never say that the books were boring – they just seemed so in contrast to the exciting Muggle "magic" she had been introduced to. Plus, Jett had been telling her about an entire collection of princess movies that sounded interesting…) The longing slowly ebbed away as she returned to her usual routine and Isabelle found that she had actually missed practicing her own magic more than the Muggle stuff.

Draco had been happy to see his sister when she returned. Most of his friends were on vacation with their own parents, traveling in Europe and beyond. (Narcissa's excuse for the lack of Malfoy family trip so far that summer was Lucius' work at the Ministry. This did little to soothe the two siblings' expectations.) Not wanting to admit it directly to him, Izzy had missed her brother as well and happily joined him for a few hours each day in a lazy routine of being outdoors, eating snacks, and even a little dueling. No Quidditch practice or flying though!

Isabelle's yearning to find out her true parentage had also returned when she came home from Jett's godfather's cottage. She had almost forgotten about the whole situation, with Jett's reassurances and other things on her mind, that when Izzy had found her notes in her bedside drawer, she had been momentarily surprised. Not having the time her first evening back home to go through them, the twelve-year-old girl had left them where they were hidden and once again tried to forget about them. Her friend's advice had stuck with her – did it truly matter who her parents were? Sure, it would be nice to know that she was definitely pureblooded. Maybe she even had a whole bank account full of money they had left her? But either way, she was still an unofficial Malfoy. She had the family name, the money, and the family members, for now. Deciding to put off the search for a bit, the couple pieces of parchment stayed where they were for the next week. She could just enjoy the benefits of who she currently was rather than worrying about who she was supposed to be.

~:~

The timeframe for Jett's stay at Isabelle's was unexpectedly moved up a few days from August 2nd to July 28th. Narcissa had seemingly forgotten her pre-Summer Ball obligations and was hosting the decorating committee at the Manor beginning August 1st. Not wanting to risk the possibility of last summer's adventures during the event, the Malfoy matriarch had asked to move up the dates. Jett had written that Lupin was not happy about the change (as he had picked those dates specifically) but that it could be managed.

Thus the blonde-haired Moreau arrived mid-morning on July 28th to her awaiting friend in the North Lawn Drawing Room. Being immediately magically-dusted off by Deke the house elf, the two girls headed straight upstairs to the familiar blue guest room.

"Did you bring it?" Izzy asked excitedly, hoping that Jett had remembered.

"Yes, but I had to sneak it out from under Moony's nose. I told him that you were going to help me with some of the summer homework – I need to see your History of Magic essay, by the way – and so he got my trunk out for me and when he wasn't looking, I snuck it into my pocket. You're sure it's allowed here?" Jett explained before producing her wand from her bag.

"Absolutely! I use magic all the time here. Father explained it when I asked him last year that the Ministry can only tell where magic is being performed, not by whom. Unless they decided to show up here and inspect all of our wands…then we might be in trouble. But that is highly unlikely." Izzy replied matter-of-factly with a grin.

"Okay, good. I brought a swim suit as well – can we go out back to the pond for a bit?"

"Sure. Get changed and meet me at my room, then we can head out!" Iz instructed before sprinting back to her bedroom just down the hall.

The two girls were practically running down the main staircase ready to cool off from the summer heat when they were stopped at the bottom with a disapproving look.

"Hello, Mother. Jett's here. We're going swimming in the pond." Izzy informed the tall, stern-looking woman.

"I see that. Welcome, Jett. I'll send Daisy out in a few minutes with towels and some refreshments. And girls? Be sure to follow the rules." Narcissa gave them each a knowing glance before making her own way up the stairs.

"We will, Mrs. Malfoy."

"We will, Mother."

Without any other serious interruptions (if you don't count Draco discovering the two had gone swimming without inviting him and he crashing their recreational fun), Jett and Isabelle enjoyed their afternoon together outside in the warm, perfect summer weather.

"I can't believe he quit swimming after like five minutes just because we were done," Jett commented as the two girls were sitting on the stone patio painting their nails, something highly unusual for both.

"I think he's been feeling lonely, honestly, all his friends are away on vacation. Plus he wanted to mess with you, you know, he still wants to get you back for all the times you've bested him." Izzy explained as she finished the blonde girl's fingernails with a gold shimmer over the black base. Sitting back to admire her own rich purple toenails, Iz gave a slight smirk as she finished her analysis of her brother.

"Well, he'll have to wait a bit longer. I'm not planning on being bested any time soon. Speaking of, I brought a few tricks with me that we can use as pranks – plus with magic, it'll be perfect." Jett echoed the smirk, looking more mischievous. She had already begun to unconsciously pick off the newly-dried nail polish from her fingernails, as always happened.

"Good. But maybe we'll wait until tomorrow? Or later at least? I want to practice some dueling now." Isabelle stood from her spot on the ground.

"Fine," Jett said in a fake-exasperated tone, actually excited at the thought of practicing some magic. "But then prank? I have a great one for his bathroom."

~:~

Somehow Izzy and Jett managed to get out of any sort of trouble their first day together at the Manor that summer.

The dueling practice had not gone exactly as planned. Isabelle had insisted on reviewing the rules before trying any duels (as she had with her brother). Jett had quickly become bored and tuned most of it out, resulting in the blond thirteen-year-old just winging it. As can be imagined, this did not work out that well. Before they had even started the first match, Jett had stolen Iz's wand having thought they had gone through all of the bowing-pleasantries and had started the duel. As retaliation when she got her wand back, Izzy had conjured some water and shot it straight into her friend's face with the Aqua Eructo charm she had been practicing. This had then annoyed the French girl and resulted in the two attempting to duel rule-lessly with their limited spells' knowledge.

It had finally broken up with the arrival of Draco, who had heard the two talking about practicing dueling and wanting to do something entertaining. As he and Izzy had been practicing much of the past month together, the Malfoy boy was sure he could best their guest. Instead, he walked in on the two girls running around the make-shift training room and shooting random spells at one another. That is, until they noticed Draco had appeared and both turned their focus onto him. (It was a very short match-up which ended in a well-aimed Petrificus Totalus curse.)

By the next day, the girls had agreed on a set of rules and were simply practicing their range of magical skills. Draco was nowhere to be seen, seeming to have gotten the hint the evening before.

"Inflamarae. There, was that better?" Jett asked as she practiced setting fire to Draco's "borrowed" rubbish bin from his bedroom.

"Yes. You have to kind of move toward the object to make it stronger, though. Like this," Iz demonstrated, once again setting her brother's garbage on fire but the blaze catching much quicker and going higher than her Gryffindor friend's.

"Okay. I think that's enough spells for the moment. Maybe we can convince Draco to come back and duel us later?" Jett smirked at the thought, putting out the trash can's blaze. She enjoyed making the jerk miserable sometimes.

"I doubt it. After the prank you pulled on him in the bathroom, I think he's avoiding us. Let's go hang out in my room until dinner." Izzy responded, feeling somewhat guilty about being mean to her brother but remembering that he often pulled the same tricks on her. It wasn't her fault that Jett was better at pranks than either of the Malfoy siblings were.

"Oh, I just remembered! I meant to show you the picture Ginny sent me. I think she just cut it out of the Daily Prophet, but it's her family in Egypt!" Izzy said, suddenly remembering as they reached her bedroom. Running to her drawer to dig out the letter and picture, she also pulled out the somewhat-forgotten pieces of parchment.

"Yeah, I saw it. Moony asked me if I knew any of them from school." Jett shrugged as she relaxed into one of the comfortable chairs Iz had in front of her balcony doors.

"Oh, okay." Iz went to put the letter away and found herself holding the small packet of her notes. Glancing up with an unsure look, she decided to bring it with her to the seating area.

"What's that? And don't say homework." The blonde-haired girl commented, lifting her eyebrow slightly.

"No, it's not – though you said you needed my History essay, right? But later…these are all my notes about my parents." Izzy explained quietly, staring down at them to read a few of her points.

"Okay…"

"I've been meaning to go through them again to make sure I'm not missing anything too obvious. And since you're the only one outside the family who knows that I'm adopted, I was hoping, maybe, you could look through them with me? Please?" The dark-haired girl looked up, biting her lip.

"I guess so. Here, gimme," Jett took part of the stack and started reading through what Iz had written. Laying some of it on the floor, the Gryffindor tried to make sense of them by putting them in some sort of order. After a few minutes and with Izzy's help, they had gone through each piece of information the twelve-year-old had gathered thus far on her potential parents, large gaping holes still abundantly clear in the conclusion.

"And with all of this, I'm pretty sure that it has to be Regulus Black, Mother's first cousin. I tried asking her about it a couple weeks ago, before I came to the cottage, and she said she liked him the best. It makes the most sense, too.

I'm probably related to Mother somehow, since Father did not really want me and it wasn't his secret to tell. I look like Mother's sisters, so I have to have some Black blood in me – or it's just a huge coincidence. Grandfather never spoke ill of Regulus in his journals or his stories, and with both Sirius and Andromeda being cast out of the family, Bellatrix in prison so she's not really "gone," just Mother won't speak of her, Regulus is really the only one left. Plus, he disappeared right around the time I was born! He could have died in the war or something and so Mother had to take me in. He would have been like nineteen years old, never married, maybe someone he met at Hogwarts? It feels kind of right, I guess," Isabelle mused aloud, summarizing her main points together as she sifted through the papers once more. Looking up to meet Jett's eyes, she found her friend's expression to be a mix of emotions. "Or, I mean, I could be wrong…"

"Do you really think you're Regulus' daughter?" Jett asked in a quiet tone, as if wrestling with her own thoughts on something.

"At the moment, yes, that's where all the evidence points to. Why? Is that a bad thing? Did I miss something?" Izzy inquired, confused.

"No, it's just…" Jett suddenly leaned back in her chair, arms crossed before whispering, "It would mean that we're cousins."

"Us? But isn't that obvious? Mother traced it back the first time that you were here, at Christmas, with the family trees? Though that was through the Malfoy side, so maybe it isn't that obvious…" Iz glanced towards her friend, still befuddled.

"No, not there. If your real father is actually Regulus Black, then we would be first cousins." Jett was looking away, out the bedroom window as if avoiding the girl's curious gaze. Unconsciously, she was taping her fingers nervously on her arm, thinking. If Iz had shared a secret with her, she could share her big secret with Iz.

"First cousins? But that would mean…"

"Sirius Black is my father."