The Tutoring of an Heir
Fair is foul and foul is fair[.]
Chapter II – The Tutoring of an Heir
Acceptance and patience were two things with which Rosaline Slytherin was very familiar.
It was in her nature to watch and wait and think. She knew Father was pleased with this trait of hers, so she practiced it often, only breaking her normal silence to ask necessary questions or make whatever noise was necessary for a lesson. Bellatrix Lestrange liked to fill the air with noise and chatter, but she was useful, and completely mad, so it was excusable.
In her early years of life, Rosaline had only remembered seeing two people – Father, and Foppy, the head of the mansion's house elves. Foppy had taken her for walks out in the garden, read her stories, and did for her all the things small children needed. At meals, she and Father would sit in silence and eat. Occasionally, he would give her a book and instruct her to read it. When she was finished, he would ask what she thought of it, and she would give her answer. He would ask her to elaborate on it, and she would, until eventually she could critique anything she read effectively.
Father's followers visited more often in later years. They had all apparently seen her when she was a baby, but they all seemed unnerved by her. Rosaline decided (at first) that it must be because of Father.
Ever since she could walk, she was told that she was a witch, and could do magic. Not that it was anything special. Foppy sometimes fondly told her stories of when she was an infant; she would climb out of her cradle and proceed to land softly on the floor with a gust of wind. Accidental magic so early was always a delight to adults and children.
Rosaline thought nothing of it.
Bellatrix, during her visits, would often request that she call her “Mummy” or “Auntie” and then proceed to smother her in a suffocating embrace. Father had told her to pay Bellatrix no mind, so the closest she ever got to making Rosaline call her something affectionate was the nickname “Bella.”
Overall, Rosaline's life was nothing to speak of, really.
Just miles of dark corridors, a garden full of Dark magical plants, and carvings of silver snakes everywhere you looked. There were leatherbound books, and ebony shelves, and terrified strangers - her reflection in the mirror, of a girl with ruler-straight raven hair and skin as white as milk - and magic, of course.
But this was all normal to Rosaline.
In the course of Rosaline's early education, Father had many tutors brought in to see if she could learn various talents that she might find useful. She discovered that the only instrument that she truly enjoyed was the violin, that dancing was a good skill to have, but not something she enjoyed, and to the depths of Hell with singing. Acting was something she found she liked, and did a lot of research into the history of it.
Father was pleased with this – as a reward, she received an impromptu lesson from him on how acting could be used to manipulate others. Rosaline paid attention to his lesson studiously – after all, it was something Father deemed important.
Her skill with molding clay was passable at best, but she thought that sketching and painting might be potential hobbies of hers. Most often, however, she found herself writing things – essays, reviews of books she read, and many, many other things.
Rosaline had received her first wand when she was seven.
Father came with her that day – she had been surprised; usually when she went out into the world, it was only her, Foppy, and one of Father's more trusted followers, usually Bella or her tutor, Crouch. Father was always busy with his magical research or his duties as the Dark Lord.
Her wand was oak and unicorn hair. Ten inches, stiff, and brittle in too strong a hand. Rosaline was unsure of the meaning behind that.
She began training in learning some small amounts of magic with Crouch after that – she was very good at it, but then again, Rosaline never felt satisfied with her abilities.
She never quite knew why.
On her eighth birthday, Father gave her a small, blank book with her initials imprinted on the leather cover. He told her it was a journal, for keeping one's thoughts in – charmed to have an infinite number of pages, and its default setting was the page most recently written in. Rosaline had thanked him.
Father, Rosaline eventually began to notice, was not like other people. His eyes were red, and his skin was even paler than hers. She decided to ignore it, and put it to him simply being the Dark Lord.
She noted that unlike Father, she wasn't a Parselmouth. He had told her that the ability to speak to snakes was a trait of the descendants of Salazar Slytherin. She asked him about it one day, in the library.
“I did not sire you,” he told her bluntly, never looking up from his book. “I took you from the house of some of the members of the old Order of the Phoenix and adopted you. That is why you cannot speak Parseltongue. You are not my daughter by blood.”
Many things became clear to Rosaline that day. Father taking her in had been a charitable act of mercy on his part. And as she could not speak Parseltongue, she made a request of Father the very next day.
“Change your surname? Whatever for?” he asked with a frown.
“It's only logical, Father. I am not a Parselmouth – therefore I do not deserve the name of Slytherin.” Rosaline's face was as blank as ever, her tone as cold as it had been for years. Nothing she ever did was the whim of a foolish child – she had clearly spent some time considering this.
“Would you have me give you the name of the family that birthed you?” He demanded, making his contempt clear in his voice.
“Hardly, Father. I would not take the name of blood traitors for anything – I could hardly betray your generosity in such a way.” No change in tone. Not that he expected any.
Well, that was a somewhat odd way of putting it. His generosity? He hardly ever thought of the first decision he had made that had brought her here to Slytherin Manor. If anything, he rather liked having someone around who thought in a similar way he did. Even as a child, he had always yearned to teach someone else his views – this girl had provided him with that. Someone who thought like he did, but wasn't tempered with a childhood of being a spoiled brat, or who was simply of a lower intelligence. He had molded Rosaline from her very infancy to be the perfect person for him to get along with. At last, he had achieved something that he had never thought would happen.
But he had hardly given her a gift. He had raised her with the truth, certainly – otherwise she would have grown up thinking that Muggles were her equals – but he wouldn't call that generosity, exactly. He had done nothing with the intention of doing anything for her.
Oh well. It was a puzzle for another time.
“Then what name would you have me give you?” It was more of a question to himself than to her. She had decided that the name of Slytherin was too great for her, and the names Riddle and Potter were simply out of the question. Gaunt? No, that name was disgraced – his mother and her relatives had been pitiful excuses for children of Slytherin. Then it occurred to him.
“I will change your last name to Peverell. As far as I know, it is likely you are descended from them as well.”
And so he left, leaving Rosaline to puzzle over that cryptic statement, leading to an ultimately fruitless search on her part through various genealogical records.
As it was, Rosaline Peverell was now her name. The initials on the front of her journal were changed, and over the years, she learned various magical arts – teachings of the Founders, of Merlin, of Slytherin himself. And she did it all without a single real smile crossing her face, without the slightest genuine laugh. She never saw her inner desperation, never understood why she felt the need to prove herself, why her father's pride meant so much to her.
After all, emotions were weak, silly things, of no consequence and no purpose. Father had taught her that, after all, and Father wouldn't tell her something like that unless she needed to know.
End Chapter II