Are you asking if Walburga has a nickname? Maybe if you consider “Miss Black” to be a nickname, or “ma’am,” if you really insist on being informal. Walburga Black has never had a nickname: even as a child she was too serious to answer to anything besides her full name, fixing whoever decided to use something as intimate and familiar as a nickname with her with those startlingly light eyes that she inherited from her father—the purest continuation of the color, in her opinion.
31 December, sixteen years old.
Of course, Walburga’s wand is of Ollivander make. It is thirteen inches long, inflexible, and made of dogwood with a dragon heartstring core. Although, of course, Walburga is never meant to actually do anything with it, hers is a powerful wand with a taste for dueling—not that she would ever partake in vulgarities such as physical violence outside of punishing those who speak ill against the Most Noble and Ancient House of Black, of course. She’s as quick with her wand as she is with her words or judgment; she can’t wait for the Trace to finally snap on her seventeenth birthday. Mudbloods—that includes halfbloods, really—had better start clearing a way for her in the corridors.
Walburga, strangely enough (although if you asked her, the word would be “befittingly,” as she is the oldest), is taller than both of her younger brothers. It isn’t by much, but it is certainly by enough that she carries herself like a queen, her back perfectly straight and her chin tilted just a little bit more proudly around Alphard and Cygnus than around anyone else—although don’t think that by any means she relaxes her carriage when she’s walking through the halls of Hogwarts. Appearances are just about everything, after all. Like all members of the Black family, Walburga possesses an imperial grace that marks everything she does; however, hers has been more refined by years of a strict upbringing. As a result, her moments are measured and precise, and even when she’s in the throes of her temper, face red and eyes wild, she moves no more than she has to.
While Alphard has their mother’s brown eyes—what a pity—and Cygnus’s are dark as well, Walburga is the only Black child with light-colored eyes, although that certainly doesn’t stop her from considering her own eye color to be a purer distillation of their fathers’. As if it would be anything else, Walburga’s hair is black, straight, long, and shiny. It is almost unfashionably long, in fact, hanging thick and straight to her waist, although her one concession to femininity is the time she’ll dedicate in the mornings to braiding it or winding it up into some overly complicated knot at the back of her head. It’s very rare that she’ll leave it down, since it’s difficult to keep so much hair in place, and the thought of herself in disarray can bring about an almost physical feeling of illness.
Like her brothers, Walburga is slim, with long and elegant hands, smooth-skinned, with shiny nails with smooth edges. As in everything, she seeks perfection in her appearance; chipping a nail is enough to set off her temper, and has lead from everything to a broken vase to Walburga sitting with her head held high in the headmaster’s office as Dippet lectures her on how it is inappropriate to curse your dormmates over something as small as breaking a fingernail. Nevertheless, she wakes up early every morning to ensure that she has enough time to prepare herself for the horror of the day when she sits stiffly at the Slytherin table in the Great Hall or at her desk in a classroom, a shining beacon of Black perfection in the middle of all the filth and trash that has somehow made its way into Hogwarts.
The public knows what’s important about the Most Noble and Ancient House of Black: that its members truly are the royalty of Wizarding society and most certainly expect to be treated that way. Individually, though, Walburga is known for a temper even sharper than her younger brother’s, courtesy of generations of pureblooded Wizarding inbreeding, although hers is never accompanied by physical violence. Rather, it’s a commonly known fact that a curse from Walburga Black’s wand is an excellent excuse for spending a week or so in the Hospital Wing. She rarely if ever speaks to anyone outside of Slytherin House, save to command them imperiously to move out of her way, and surely does her best never to even acknowledge somebody with less than pure blood.
More than anything, Walburga Black wants to be perfect. So far, things are going relatively well: she is engaged to her second cousin Orion Black and will be able to keep her name, that which she is proud of more than anything else in the world. What is more perfect than being a Black until the day she dies? However, the need for absolute perfection weighs heavy on her, and the thought that she marred her chances for it from the day she was born by being a girl has always bothered her. Nevertheless, she still strives for it, driven by having been brought up to herself as above everything and everyone around her, especially the filth that’s somehow gotten into the venerable Hogwarts, even Slytherin House itself.
It truly bothers Walburga immensely that she doesn’t fit the mold of a perfect pureblooded young lady, although she’ll never be able to trace that imperfection back to the crisscrossing of families and interbreeding in the bloodlines she believes make her the unchallenged queen of Slytherin House. Lucretia might be Head Girl and seventeen, but Walburga is and always will be a Black. The name is truly central identity, and the thought of being blasted off the family tree has always been enough to scare her straight when it comes from her father, although she’ll react to any mention of the thought from Alphard or Cygnus with sneering dismissal. And yet, her own personal nightmares definitely consist of her picture replaced with a black scorch mark—she just does her best not to show it.
The second driving force behind Walburga’s charming personality is that, if she ever submitted herself to the indignity and horror of a visit to a Muggle psychiatrist, she would find herself examined and diagnosed as a mysophobe, someone with a deep and unyielding pathological fear of dirt, filth, and contamination. With her, however, the dirt isn’t physical: it’s in bloodlines, spitting out mudbloods and halfbloods (same thing, really) and squibs, everything that makes the Wizarding world seem dirtier and dirtier around her every day. The constant presence of halfbloods in her house, even in her room as she sleeps, is like an itch underneath her skin, keeping her edgy and irritable all the time. It drives her to twitchy, anxious compulsion that she does her best to conceal under a glacial mask, although she has been caught from time to time in the girls’ lavatory washing her hands for upwards of thirty minutes in hot water, struggling to clean the feeling of a layer of dirt from her skin, dirt that’s spread from the mudbloods polluting the air and space around her.
Although she’ll never admit the extent to which mudbloods disturb her, Walburga is otherwise quite brutally honest, letting people know exactly what she thinks of them. Her judgments are sharp, harsh, and numerous; most students have been on the receiving end of Walburga Black’s opinion, especially if they’ve been so unlucky as to cross her path. She’ll usually comment on a person’s parentage if she’s passing by, only going into more personal matters such as their face, carriage, grades, reputation, and more if they’ve done something to really attract her attention.
Like most children of pureblood families, Walburga is incredibly spoiled. Being a Black has only made it worse: she expects everything to go her way, and immediately. When her casual orders to other Slytherin students were ignored during her first year, she threw major temper tantrums; it took a visit to Professor Dippet’s office to explain to her that the other students were not, in fact, there to replace the family’s House Elves. (A little known fact is that Walburga regularly writes to Kreacher, her favorite House Elf, and lets him know how utterly superior is he to the excuses for House Elves employed by Hogwarts. It is one of the few bits of affection she shows to living things; the only other two are her brothers.) Although she no longer attempts to command other Slytherins (except for the mudblood filth that’s made its way into the house to leave her presence), she nevertheless continues with the same high expectations of immediate completion and absolutely all attention paid to her.
When things don’t go well, Walburga’s temper snaps. Like Alphard, she has absolutely no control over it, although she’ll never resort to physical violence—it’s just not done. Even when she’s at the height of her temper, propriety has been ingrained so deeply into Walburga’s bones that it’s impossible for her to really go quite as mad as she will one day do in the privacy of her own home. While at Hogwarts, she has to maintain some level of reputation; as much as she despises the necessity, she understands it at the same time and therefore does her best to restrain herself if she has the time to make a dignified exit. This venting system has, of course, resulted in the shattering of windows and small trinkets around her dorm and the occasional burning of bedding—which usually results in another visit to Dippet’s office and another exchange of money between the Black family and Hogwarts—but when she can’t, things usually go poorly for whoever has managed to set off her temper.
Walburga, despite not really being expected to do anything with her magic beyond household charms, has a rather good grasp on the Dark Arts thanks to late nights in the library when she can’t stand to be in the same room as a halfblood. Of course, she’ll never go so far as dueling somebody (although she’s not above asking Alphard or Cygnus to do it for her, if an insult has been particularly egregious), but she’s also not above cursing somebody from behind in the hallways.
Most people assume that Walburga Black is utterly humorless, and unless you’re one of her brothers, this is true. While she does have a rather biting sense of humor, it’s reserved for Alphard and Cygnus only, even if it is usually turned against one of them. Although you might expect somebody as lovely as Walburga to be the social butterfly of Hogwarts, her lists of friends has two names on it: Alphard and Cygnus. Orion occasionally figures on it when she can bring herself to suffer through how unbearably dull he is, but that’s rather rare, as she does her best to avoid her boring second cousins. Lucretia is never a friend. The Black family, immediate and extended, is everything to her, however, since people lacking her surname are little more than underlings lucky enough to be allowed an education alongside her.
As a girl, she is limited in what she can do with her life, and so the ambition that helped her into Slytherin (not that the Hat would have dared to put her anywhere else) manifests through her brothers. The only two people in the world that she truly loves, she really does want only what’s best for the pair of them—if only because she can’t go out and do it herself.
It was never hidden from Walburga that she was supposed to have been a boy. The first child of Pollux and Irma Black, her delivery occurred with great pomp and circumstance, followed by… nothing. Letters were, of course, sent to the families alerting them that a baby had been born, but she was a girl, and there was little more to be said about that. Never quite treated as a disappointment, as a baby Walburga was quickly shuttled off to the endless line of governesses and tutors who she would later try and fail into parental figures, as neither of hers was around terribly often. Over a year passed before the birth of her younger brother; never having been the object of attention in the Black household, she never felt the sort of crippling jealousy towards Alphard or Cygnus that many older siblings suffer from when their brothers or sisters are born. Rather, both of them were a source of one of the few spots of genuine happiness that Walburga can remember from when she was very young: with brothers, she was no longer the mark of shame upon Pollux’s home, but rather a rough draft of the heirs to follow.
When she was old enough, about four years old, her education was turned over to her mother, who began that long gauntlet of etiquette and propriety and manners and how to look down coyly without answering a question that was the marked of a pureblood girl’s education. Not precisely a firebrand but already at a young age not interested in becoming the very image of her sad, pale mother, Walburga was nonetheless brought up with perfect manners and little more. She learned reading, writing, and basic arithmetic, of course, but the majority of her education was on pairing wine with food, how to address and send letters, and other such things that would be necessary for the wife of a great house. Irma spoiled her daughter greatly, as if to make up for all her attention being on Alphard, buying her endless dolls, dresses, tea sets, needles and thread for embroidery, although her husband had chosen a name that did not lend itself to comfortable derivatives, and so Walburga was always Walburga.
But even all the attention lavished on her by her mother’s finances was boring (and Alphie got so much of it, as well, especially after Cygnus), and so Walburga would dedicate the spare hours that her mother had deemed to be for embroidery to instead doing her best to listen in on what her brothers were learning, or at least bully them into giving her the books so that she could read them. Although Alphard liked to pretend that being the oldest boy counted, Walburga was still the oldest of the three of them, and therefore in charge, quite obviously. She never had a real conversation with her father until she was about eight years old and wanted to know if she could borrow a book from his study library to read to Alphard while he was in bed; the resulting talk was something that she had no desire to repeat, and so much of her life was spent without seeing very much of Pollux. Alphard and Cygnus became her world, brothers that she simultaneously tried to control and yet was expected to yield to as their sister, despite being older. They were her only playmates outside the dolls that she had never become fond of, never bothering to name any of them beyond Miss Black, Miss Black, and Miss Black, and if Alphard managed to slash her cheek with their mother’s wand or Cygnus threw a temper tantrum, they could be forgiven.
As she grew older, she was instilled with a sense of the Black family’s history, although she never did get to spend quite as much time in front of the tapestry in Grimmauld Place as she might have liked. Ever curious, however, Walburga could spend hours pouring over genealogies, smiling as her fingers ran down the lines that connected her name to those of some of the most famous witches and wizards in the history of magic. She liked to imagine herself at Hogwarts, surrounded by awed students who couldn’t quite believe that she, this girl who sat so demurely and perfectly and proudly among them, could be related to all of those witches and wizards. Her research, however, eventually lead her to the blank sports in the genealogy: Isla Black, blood traitor; Phineas Black, supporter of Muggle rights; Marius Black, Squib. It was these names that set a fire in Walburga’s heart, a terror that her name would one day be listed alongside these, that the painting of her in miniature would one day be blasted cruelly from the walls of Grimmauld Place. She told herself that it would never happen, that she would never even be near mudbloods, concealed safely within the stone walls of Slytherin House.
Hogwarts was a rude awakening: the train ride where she did not, in fact, have her own personal car or even compartment; the Sorting, where she was forced to sit in front of all the students of Hogwarts and be Sorted into Slytherin, as if that had ever been a question; Slytherin itself, where to her increasing horror she found that she was expected to spend the next seven years sleeping and living and eating and breathing alongside a mudblood. That was the occasion of her first temper tantrum at Hogwarts, as well as her first trip to Dippet’s office, where it took a calming draught and a patient explanation that blood purity wasn’t the only requirement to be Sorted into Slytherin to keep her from screaming. It only took a few days, but Walburga built impenetrable walls about herself during her first year at Hogwarts, walls that few were permitted behind except perhaps a few fellow purebloods.
Life brightened when Alphard joined her in Slytherin; at last, she had somebody who understood the way that she looked at the world, who understood her constant need for respect and people to clear the way for her as she passed. The Black siblings quickly became known as a pair not to cross, and that reputation only increased in Walburga’s third year, when Cygnus finally joined them. It was in her third year—and Orion’s first—when their engagement was finalized. Eyebrows were raised, but nobody understood why Walburga was pleased with the match (even if cousin Orion is unbearably dull). Some of her earliest nightmares had involved weddings and that horrible moment when she would no longer be Walburga Black, but Walburga Malfoy or Walburga Rosier or Walburga Yaxley or someone that wasn’t her, a queen among witches, royalty among the wizarding world.
Too proud to settle for academic mediocrity, Walburga works for her grades, although she does most of her work in the library or late at night in the common room when there’s nobody see the fervor with which she pours over her books. She managed seven OWLs, although she now takes fewer classes; she can’t bring herself to work that hard when any NEWTs she earns won’t be put to good use beyond directing Kreacher to tell the House Elves in the kitchen what she expects for dinner.