It should be noted that when he seizes a state the new ruler ought to determine all the injuries that he will need to inflict. He should inflict them once and for all, and not have to renew them every day.
Chapter III – To Hogwarts
Rosaline stood on the platform, wishing that she had been allowed to go alone.
“Oh, Sweet Widdle Rosie! You're all grown up and going to Hogwarts!” Bellatrix attacked her with a ferocious hug while Crouch and Bella's husband looked on with slight discomfort. Rosaline knew perfectly well that her pale, grim visage and severe hairstyle did little to invite hugs, even at the youthful age of eleven years old, so it always looked strange when Bella launched herself into one of these affectionate attacks.
She wouldn't dare try anything like this with Father, and yet he just tells me to put up with it, Rosaline thought with a great deal of irritation. Next time I see him, I'll ask him if I can curse her when I reach the age of seventeen.
Before she had left for the train that morning, Rosaline had experienced a tearful farewell from Foppy (one she tolerated a great deal more than Bellatrix's goodbyes), orders from Father to send letters when something important happened, congratulations from Father's followers that all sounded the same, and then a highly uncomfortable Side-Along Apparition. She was now eager to take her luggage and get away.
Other children, she noticed, were hugging their parents as they left for the train. How very odd. She had thought that only people who were mad (like Bella) did that sort of thing. With Bella, it was just uncomfortable and irritating, but seeing others do it, it looked....intimate, or affectionate, she decided. How vulgar. Had they no sense of respect for their parents?
Yet, seeing this public display of emotion, it stirred....something....deep within her. She couldn't quite tell what it was.
Rosaline decided she would think nothing more of it, and got on the train without further ado, finding a compartment to herself.
As the train started its journey towards Scotland, a ginger-haired boy around her age poked his head inside. “Excuse me, do you mind if I sit here? Everywhere else is full.”
Rosaline gave a noncommittal shrug. The boy walked in with his luggage, and she apathetically noted he had the red badge of a blood-traitor sewn into his clothes. Bella would've thrown a hissy fit if she'd known she'd sat with him, but Rosaline just couldn't bring herself to care.
He was a blood-traitor, nothing more – why should she give him the privilege of going out of her way to avoid him? He was nothing to her.
Although, it was interesting to note that she couldn't bring herself to care about anything lately, to tell the truth. Rosaline remembered having once cared about things, and having strong emotions when she was small (there weren't many tantrums Foppy had to deal with, but there were tantrums) but that was a thing of the past. She couldn't decide if that was a good thing or not.
Even Father got angry or felt happy at times, even if he never let himself get carried away. But Rosaline felt rather like the warlock in a story Foppy had read to her when she was little – the one who had cut out his heart.* She felt as though all emotion had been driven away from her as the cool, hard clamp of logic set down on the rest of her person, numbing her to her core.
The most bothersome part about it though, was the fact that she couldn't even bring herself to care whether liked or disliked being unfeeling. That was simply the way it was.
The boy set his luggage up on the rack, and sat down opposite her, his expression plainly betraying how awkward he felt. “So, uh, hi. I'm Ron Weasley – what's your name?”
He had gotten it right - up until he had asked her name. You never ask your betters their name – you introduce yourself, then wait to see if they will condescend to let you know who they are. One of the numerous rules of protocol Crouch had drilled into Rosaline's head. He had added, out of interest, that she might not ever need to use it, being the Dark Lord's daughter, and therefore royalty in all but title.
For his impertinence, she maintained her silence, and gave him her very best blank stare that she knew made some of the weaker Death Eaters squirm. Ron Weasley visibly shrunk in his seat.
Father had taught her many things about intimidation, but the manners in which they performed their forms of terror were radically different. The Dark Lord was terrifying in his displays of power and magical skill – it was demonic, almost. His imposing stature helped.
Rosaline, on the other hand, was diminutive – an ordinary looking child. Blatant displays of power gave her pats on the head, not respect. A different approach was required. Rather than have people quaking in their shoes, Rosaline would rather settle for making them uncomfortable. As much as humanly possible.
And so she had become, for lack of a better word, creepy. Her mechanical tone, automatic way of moving, and blank expression became her default setting.
Weasley twiddled his thumbs. “Sooooooo....What house do you think you'll be in?”
He was awfully persistent in his attempts at starting a conversation. But still, the question merited some thought. Rosaline tilted her head to indicate she was thinking about it.
Father would probably expect her to go to Slytherin, the Greater House, but when Rosaline gave some thought to her traits and qualities, she realized she would more likely end up in Ravenclaw, the Privileged House.
While the way the Houses interacted had been changed greatly since the Dark Lord's takeover, the Sorting Hat still refused to change its judgments on how the students should be sorted. All the persons in the separate Houses had the qualities of the respective Founders' pride, but which House you were Sorted into influenced your future, and you got privileges the higher ranking House you were Sorted into.
Slytherin was the best – you were guaranteed to be admitted into influential circles if you went to Slytherin in your youth, and you were given special treatment from staff. Ravenclaw came next – studious and clever, they were most often deemed acceptable to associate with by Slytherins. After Ravenclaw came Hufflepuff, the Lesser House, and you weren't really well off there, as the House had a reputation for producing lower-class pushovers.
Last of all came Gryffindor, the Filthy House, still secretly called the House of the Brave in some circles. Most of the blood-traitors and half bloods were Sorted there – you could see many a red and orange badge sewn into the robes of Gryffindor students.
You would never see a brown badge at Hogwarts. Muggleborns were taught how to keep their magic under control in Mudblood housing facilities in London and Dublin – whisked away from their parents as soon as accidental magic was detected, never to be seen again. They didn't bother using Memory Charms to hide the magic being done – it kept the Muggles fearful, and well in line. They weren't taught to use wands, of course – they had no right – but they were taught how to best function in magical society, much like pureblood Squibs, and sometimes got a job involving menial labor.
None of this bothered Rosaline, of course. In her opinion (or Father's opinion, which she was expected to parrot) the Mudbloods should be bloody grateful they were being raised magically at all.
In any case, Rosaline finally decided to answer after a long and awkward silence.
“Ravenclaw is a probable choice. Perhaps Slytherin.” I might not have the drive for Slytherin, Rosaline dully thought to herself. I have no goals or ambitions – yet, anyway.
“M'brother Percy's in Slytherin.”
“I imagine that would be difficult for him.” She nodded towards Ron's red patch. He was too young to have betrayed his heritage on his own, so he must have inherited the stigma from his family.
“He publicly renounced the family – they declared him no longer a blood-traitor. He doesn't live with us anymore.”
The silence continued for several minutes. She could already see him starting to sweat.
“So - do you have any brothers or sisters?”
“No.” Did she? She'd never bothered to ask Father if there had been anyone else in the blood-traitor family. Not that she really cared – the concept was mildly interesting at best.
“Okay then....do you like Quidditch?”
If there was one thing Rosaline was truly proud of herself for being able to do, it was creating uncomfortable silences. It entertained Father to no end when she did it to his followers, and it satisfied her in a way mastering new spells and skills never could.
The snack trolley came knocking, to Weasley's blatant relief, asking them if they wanted anything. Rosaline, idly realizing she was, in fact, hungry, ordered a pumpkin pasty. Weasley pulled out some packed sandwiches as the trolley moved on, and proceeded to morosely bite into them without further ado.
It was almost fascinatingly rude, watching him simply eat a meal, without a table or even so much as a plate, like some kind of barbarian. He hadn't even asked her permission to be so bold in her presence – he could've at least said, 'forgive me, I'm terribly hungry' and she would've acquiesced.
Instead, he just sat there and took huge bites out of his sandwich, brushing crumbs off his jumper and loudly chewing and swallowing. Like he was in the presence of an equal. Rosaline didn't know whether to be offended or simply amazed. She hadn't thought that the impoverished wizard, blood-traitor though he might be, would be quite so ignorant and boorish.
Hesitantly, she bit into her pasty. She'd never had anything 'sweet' before. Father had a distinct hatred for candy and desserts – when she'd asked why, he only replied that an older person he had found unpleasant had often tried to force him to eat candy during his Hogwarts years. Having been nine years old at the time, told many firm instructions on how to be safe in public by Crouch, and overheard things about Fenrir Greyback, Rosaline had concluded at the time that it was a reasonable prejudice, given the circumstances.
As she chewed her pasty slowly, Rosaline found herself deciding that she 'liked' it. While generally ambivalent about pumpkin, she thought the pastry was good. She folded up all her crumbs (having spilled no food on her robes since she was five, and had started eating with Father in the dining room) into the napkin she had used as a plate, and proceeded to Vanish it.
Weasley's jaw dropped, pure envy in his eyes. Apparently he didn't know any spells yet.
The door to the carriage slid open yet a third time, this time revealing an aristocratic boy in black robes. Platinum blond hair, recent manicure, silk clothes, perpetual sneer – definitely a Malfoy. Rosaline had only met his father twice before, and he had made the gross mistake of calling her 'adorable' on their first meeting. He was treated to seven hours of being followed silently by an impassive six-year-old, jumping when he found her behind him at every turn.
It was truly astonishing how the simplest of acts could unnerve others so much.
“Pardon me, but – oh, a Weasley.” From his tone, he might as well have said, oh, a cockroach. The ginger clenched his fists and bowed his head. Very different behavior from when they were interacting, such as it was. It seemed he had met Draco before. “I'm very sorry you've had to share this space with a dirty blood-traitor. You're welcome to join my friends and I in our carriage.”
Rosaline shrugged, feeling overall indifferent towards the matter. “I thank you for the offer, but I prefer sitting alone. Blood-traitors matter little in general.” She spoke of them as one would a type of gnat.
Draco smirked, as though she had just given him some kind of message – which was odd, since she had meant exactly what she said. “Very well, I'll respect your privacy. I'm Malfoy, by the way – Draco Malfoy.”
Rosaline supposed the superior treatment by someone of such a respected family was supposed to flatter her. She would excuse his unintentional assumption for now – he didn't know who she was, and it was proper behavior anyway.
“I heard that the Dark Lord's foster daughter, Rosaline Peverell, was to attend Hogwarts this year. I'm looking for her, to give her a welcome into high society, now that she's started school. I don't suppose you've seen her, Miss....?”
Rosaline ruminated for a few moments, and decided that she didn't quite appreciate the way he spoke of her. Crouch had warned her that many young purebloods' sons were hoping to get in her favor early on, so they had a chance at becoming the Dark Lord's heir (as if Father would prefer some spoiled brat over the witch he had trained himself – besides, he was immortal, so it was ultimately pointless).
Draco sounded hopeful when he said her name, almost dreamy, like he'd been told all his life it was his destiny to meet her and become her fiance.
Draco started, and then smiled. He opened his mouth to speak -
“There. You have met me, and welcomed me. You are dismissed.” Rosaline turned away, as if he were no longer there – as if crushing the dreams of someone she'd just met were nothing to her.
Draco, finding himself unable to speak, practically fled, leaving a dumbstruck Ronald Weasley and a perpetually bored Rosaline alone in the carriage.
Draco drew heaving breaths and fought back tears. He was a Malfoy – he was better than this!
Father was the only one in the family to have met Rosaline, and he had discouraged him from his dreams of marrying Lady Peverell one day. Mother had secretly encouraged him, and Draco had continued to dream. It seemed his father had been right. Rosaline Peverell was disgusted with him, and way out of his league.
No! No, he wouldn't give up! If she wouldn't accept him on their first meeting, then he would impress her! Draco resolved himself to his mission, and vowed he would win her over by the end of the year.
“You – You're Rosaline Peverell? You-Know-Who's daughter?” His voice was full of fear and amazement.
“Yes.” Rosaline said in her usual bored monotone.
“And you just brushed off Malfoy like that?”
“Watch your tongue. Impertinent brat though he is, he is still your better. You must refer to him as Mister Malfoy.”
“O – oh. Sorry.” Weasley fell silent, and the carriage regained its previous aura of discomfort and indifference, but this time it held an added touch of fear.
Many people came by their carriage on the way to Hogwarts – none recognized her. Rosaline knew she was supposed to correct them in their impudence, as she had Malfoy, but just couldn't bring herself to care anymore. All of Crouch's lessons on propriety and social class seemed to matter less and less – all of them being left behind as the train whisked by the countryside.
She knew she should be out on the train, making her rounds as well, assuring alliances and knowing that everyone knew their place, but Rosaline just didn't see the point. She was the Dark Lord's daughter. They'd know who she was when she was Sorted, wouldn't they? There was no reason to go gliding around the train like she was some pureblood lady, hunting for a potential fiance. Rosaline resolved to wait in her carriage in silence – alone, yet not as alone as she would like.
The sun set outside, the sky darkened, and the stars came out.
The train screeched to a stop, and the students came out onto the platform in an enormous flood. An enormous man with an equally enormous beard stood tall above them with a lantern, calling out “Firs' years! Firs' years, this way!”
As Rosaline made her way over to him (she had never been in a crowd before – it was definitely a new and strange experience) she noted, with a touch of surprise, that he bore a green badge. A half-breed – part wizard, part creature. You didn't see many of those around, and Rosaline certainly hadn't expected one around the school.
Ah, yes, the boats. Rosaline had never been on a boat before, either. Although, when Foppy had often taken her out to the banks of the lake by Slytherin Manor when she was little, to feed ducks, there had been a small dock by the lake, with gilded, mahogany rowboats that were rarely used - just as many of the things supposedly for leisure in that place were rarely used.
Rosaline made her way into one of the boats – thankfully, she managed to be the first one in. Unfortunately, Malfoy shoved himself into the boat right after her, cramming two of what seemed to be his bodyguards along with him, ensuring that no one else sat with her. Rosaline would have been pleased not to sit with anyone else, if Malfoy weren't part of the package deal. Oh well. No avoiding it now.
The boats glided across the lake, and Rosaline ignored Malfoy as he attempted to make polite conversation and brag about his Quidditch prowess. As the great castle came into view, a number of students gasped at the sight of it – even Malfoy was struck mute in awe. Rosaline looked up at the castle where she would be spending most of her time for the next seven years, and decided that she “liked” the look of it. It was odd, this business of liking things – she wasn't used to have to study something to see whether she approved. Father usually did that for her – he would like or dislike something, and she would agree. But now she was eleven, and had to do that for herself.
Eventually, the boats reached the docks, and the students clambered out of the vessels. Rosaline felt herself tense. She had finally arrived at Hogwarts – and a new part of her life was about to begin.
End Chapter III
*From the Tales of Beedle the Bard – The Warlock's Hairy Heart. The wizard in question cut out his heart so that he wouldn't fall victim to love, and threw himself into the dark arts instead.
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