Pansy and Millicent try to keep their new family together
Pansy needed to cry. She had never cried as a child, except to throw a tantrum in order to get what ever toy or dress or whatever her little black heart had desired. Now she needed to cry in earnest.
The Gringott’s visit had been a complete disaster. She was the last of a line of wizards and witches who had been in good stead with that asylum for insane goblins masquerading as a bank for fifty generations. Her own trust chamber was larger than most wizarding family vaults. She could, however, only access the interest on her vault, the principle was to remain untouched until such time that she could prove that she had a source of income that would equal a majority of the funds in her vault. Until such time, she could have the interest.
No, she could not have an advance on the next month’s stipend.
But now that she needed funds for a worthwhile cause she was treated like a pauper. The titles for the Crabbe estate were in probate – she and her urchins would be allowed to live there, maybe, in the interim. She had no other collateral.
She sat in a corner booth of The Leaky Cauldron mulling over a hot rum punch.
“Damnit! It just isn’t fair!”
“S’matter, Princess? Didn’t get yer new pony this year?”
If looks could kill Theodore Nott the Second would be a steaming pile of goo on the pub’s scuffed floor.
“Piss off Nott.” She said, going back to her cups.
“Now is tha’ anyway fer a pureblood princess ta talk?” Nott spilled a drop of firewhiskey on the table top as he slid gracelessly onto the bench across the table from Pansy. The drop sizzled and smoked on the pitted surface.
He swore at the waste of precious alcohol and looked up to see Pansy’s wand pointed at him. Even in his state he could appreciate the position he was in. She didn’t extend her arm and place the wand between his eyes, that was something Draco liked to do – and more often than not Draco got his arse handed to him by Potter or one of his mates.
No, she kept her elbows close and her wand steady. If she didn’t like anything he was about to say or do he would, no doubt, be treated to a dose of liquid pain. He placed both hands, palms down on the table top.
“Sorry Parkinson,” he said, soothingly. “I just come to offer you a place to flop if you need it. Me da’ kept a flat in London under grandmum’s maiden name. Ministry didn’ get it an I did.”
“No thanks, Nott.” She said, placing her wand on the table within easy reach (for her, but not for him). “Why don’t you tell me what you really want.”
“Quick, ain’t cha?”
She leveled her eyes at him and placed her hand on her wand, meaningfully.
“Whot I mean is you know whot’s up and all.”
“Purebloods bein’ treated like so much rubbish, bad as mudbloods. I figure some of us can get together, y’know, fer mutual protection and such.”
“An’ maybe we kin get back some of our own! I know Goyle’s in and maybe half the other members of our house.”
“How big is your flat?”
“Pretty big, got three floors; twelve bedrooms mostly on the middle floor, master bedrooms on the top floor. Nice view.”
He leaned forward, leering, “Interested?”
“In you? No. But that flat of yours sounds good. We could put up maybe twenty kids in those rooms. You know, get them off the street?”
Ted Nott looked at Pansy as though she’d grown spare tits. “Why in hell would I wanna’ do that for? Take in kids?” Then he brightened up, “hey, maybe you got sumthin’ there. Yeah, lotsa old wizards an hags like the kiddies, we could make a fortune!”
Theodore Nott the Third came to his senses with his head down on a wooden surface that reeked of old beer and spirits. He was sitting on a barstool in “The Hag’s Hump,” a dive that he recognized from Nocturne Alley. Someone had a hammy hand firmly planted on his bum.
He sat up straight and was shocked at his reflection in the bar mirror.
He was wigged and painted up like a cheap whore. His skirt was so short that it barely covered his arse, said arse being fondled at that moment by a large, smelly man on the stool next to his.
“Get cher shithooks offa me, faggot!” he said, then went white-faced in shock. His voice came out two octaves higher than his normal voice, owing to the charmed choker around his throat.” The looks he was getting from the bar’s patrons made him re-think his strategy. He was the only female form in the bar, and the looks he was getting from the demi-trolls in the place made him feel like a juicy steak in a room full of starving wolves.
“Look mates, this is just a prank, I’m a bloke, see?” He pulled down his narrow tube top, exposing his melon sized breasts. He was so shocked at the sight that it took him a few seconds to pull the knit top back in place. He noticed two of the quasi-trolls clearing off the top of a snooker table.
“No shit, it’s just a prank, heh, heh, see, me mates are taking the piss outta me!” he said to the bloke who still had a grip on his bum, “I’m a bloke I tell ya!”
“Makes no nevah mind ta us darlin’” the burly drunk said throwing Ted Nott over his shoulder like a sack of flour, heading for the table. “We still gonna fuck ya!”
Pansy stepped out of the Leaky Cauldron and headed in the general direction of Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes on a lark. She needed a laugh.
She arrived at Number 93 and frowned. The sign read, “Closed, till further notice. Go amuse yourself.”
Well, even closed the Weasleys were good for a laugh.
Pansy turned to see another redhead, Susan Bones, shaking her head.
“I figured it out a couple of days ago,” Susan went on, “a good prank needs a streak of meanness in it. George is brilliant, but Fred? There was just enough mean in him to make them funny, without being overly cruel.”
Pansy grunted her agreement.
“Scuse me, Miss, and Miss?”
They turned to see a little boy, perhaps five years old, in an ill-fitting tattered dress robe.
“Can you spare a few knuts for a meal?”
“Don’t give him anything, Pansy, he needs to go to child services.”
Pansy got down on one knee and the little boy looked ready to bolt.
“You look like someone I knew at school, is your name Scott?”
The child looked sideways at her, as if measuring the distance she might cover in a short time.
“Brian, do you know Ethen, or Bernie, or Collette?” she asked softly.
The little boy’s eyes grew wide at the last name.
“You know where Collette is?” He pleaded.
Pansy nodded, “They came home to a house where hope still lives.”
“They found Mama Pansy?”
Susan’s eyebrows went up to her hairline as she mouthed “Mama Pansy?”
The dark haired girl groaned, “Yes, they did. And tonight they’re going to have a decent meal and sleep in a warm bed.”
“Do you know where Mama Pansy’s is?” he pleaded.
“Pansy, what is he on about?” Susan asked.
In the time it took for Pansy to think about a reply the little dodger was gone. Like so many street-wise children, he’d learned the value of speed.
“Good job Bones,” she groused, “now there’s another one who’s going to go hungry tonight.”
She got down on both knees and looked for a bit of soft stone; she found a chunk of chalk and wrote on the sidewalk.
“Mama Pansy is in Hogsmeade.”
Then she stood, dusting off her fingers, and walked toward the Leaky Cauldron to floo back home.
“Pansy, wait!” Susan called after her.
The dark haired girl stopped, turned then looked past Susan, dumbfounded.
A dozen children who looked to be between the ages of four and ten were straggling along behind the redhead.
“This is all of us,” Brian said, gesturing at the ragged mob.
“We want to go home too.”
Three weeks later Susan Bones walked into the offices of the Daily Prophet and asked to speak to a reporter.
The editor in chief directed her to a tiny cubicle that was cluttered with awards reflecting a long and distinguished reporting career. She stepped into the small walled space just in time to hear the lone occupant lament.
“So this is hell.”
Rita Skeeter turned her best faux smile on the recent Hogwarts graduate. “Let me guess, you have a story. Something juicy, something that will deliver me from this small minded purgatory?”
“I don’t know about that, but I have a story about a once proud Slytherin princess who now works like a house elf on behalf of three dozen war orphans.”
“Ah, abuse and neglect. That’s a good start.”
The next morning found Rita and Susan sitting to breakfast with thirty-three war orphans, Pansy and Millicent.
Millicent fingered her wand and asked “Ms. Skeeter, is that a “quick quotes” quill?”
“No Miss Bulstrode, it’s a Non-prevaricating Verbatim Plume. Quick quotes quills have been banned by the Prophet’s new owners.”
Satisfied, Millie put her wand away. “Susan, would you help Pansy set up the primary classrooms while I give Ms. Skeeter the cook’s tour?”
Rita looked cautiously at the large girl offering her a hand up from the low bench at the table.
“Is this the part where you threaten my life and livelihood if I don’t make your girlfriend look good?”
“Something like that. Look, if you can’t do this in a way that’s going to help Pansy, then leave now.”
“Because for the first time in her life Pansy is doing something worthwhile; she’s put her heart and soul and all her money into this place just to keep those kids off the streets. She’s found someone who loves her.”
Rita’s eyebrows went up.
“Not me, I do love her, just not that way. It’s the kids. She loves the kids like they were her own. They are her own.”
“I heard one of them call her “Mama” Pansy.”
“Yep. Ms. Skeeter, what is love?”
“Um, affection? Caring?”
“Love is when someone else’s needs are more important to you than your own. I can tell you that she’s up before dawn getting food ready; she always eats last, when I can get her to eat. She tucks all the children into bed at night and tells them she loves them.
“She’s put her heart and soul into this place and every knut she can get her hands on goes to their care.”
Rita looked again at the Ten Guidelines, and remembered her own childhood – she’d been a war orphan too. The ministry-run shelter for magical children provided them with food and clothing and sent them to school but there was something missing.
These people, the young adults, the volunteers, the kids all had a sense of belonging.
They were a loving family.
She felt wetness on her cheeks and realized that she was mourning the loss of her own childhood.
Rita Skeeter put her quills and notebooks away, rolled up her sleeves and asked, “What can I do to help?”
Susan spent the next few weeks lobbying the Wizengamont for funding to support private initiatives aimed at helping all those orphaned by the war.
Rita spent her time cooking, cleaning, wiping noses and hugging children when they suffered skinned knees or broken hearts.
She realized that she was working on the single most important story of her life and it had to be perfect.
Susan visited an old friend, who came to see the manor for himself. Harry Potter affected a blond glamour and wore contact lenses that changed the color of his eyes. He introduced himself around as James Evans and spent a great deal of time talking with the children.
He asked Pansy and Millicent what they needed more than anything and was surprised when Mille told him “we” don’t need anything, but our children need everything. Teachers, a healer or two, a more varied diet – the chickens were laying, but you could only have eggs for meals two times a day for so long.
“James” was shocked when he recognized Rita Skeeter teaching a primary letters class. She looked better in a simple house robe than she ever had in her designer fashions when her pen had dripped with poison ink. It was obvious that she finally liked herself.
Harry had decided to endow the Parkinson House with all the operating capitol it needed when the manor and grounds were surrounded by DMLE agents and the newly appointed head of Magical Children’s services, Delores Umbridge.
In her sickly sweet birdsong voice she said “This establishment is not licensed by the Ministry of Magic, has never applied for a permit with the Department of Magical Children’s Services, has never submitted to an inspection by the MCS, and harbors children of known death eaters.” The toad like woman placed a ministry decree on the long dining table.
Her grin was feral as she ordered “Aurors, do your duty!”