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Chapter 10: Lost
Why was I lying?
Sure, I was upset. On the scale of one to ten, I was way past ten. Way, way past it. I was on the verge of breaking down completely. In the past two weeks, all my life had been was drama, drama, drama and even more drama.
It was like fate was asking itself, 'hmm... how can we possibly make life harder for her?” and I was sick of it.
Hmm... how about we make her lose her memory?
Hmm... how about we make her worst enemy try to be her best friend?
Hmm... how about we kill her father?
Hmm... how about we send a murderer after her?
And that barely even covered it.
Poor Rose. What had she meant? Was Malfoy after my Mother? My Mother knew something? Knew what, exactly?
We took the Floo Network home from London. Nobody talked. There was no point. We were all thinking the same things.
Except for me. Because I was planning on having a nice little chat with my Mother. Oh, and revenge.
But first, the chat.
“MUM!” I yelled as soon as I burst through the door. Bella followed, confused. “MUM, GET DOWN HERE RIGHT NOW!”
“COMING,” she hollered back.
She trotted down the stairs.
“Why are you back so early?” she asked, “ I thought you'd be gone another three hours!”
“Change of plans, Mum. We're having a chat instead.”
“Oh.. okay,” she replied uncertainly, and sat down on the couch.
“Mum. Just don't mess around. Why does Lucius Malfoy want us dead?”
“Oh, I knew this day would come, but I never -”
“Never what? Never thought that Dad would end up dead? Because he's dead, Mum. And you know the truth, so you'd better spit it out right now.”
“Willow. I just want you to know that your father and I, we're your family, no matter what.”
“Get on with it.” I folded my arms. Bella sat down on another couch.
“Willow, honey... you're adopted.”
“Adopted. You're adopted.”
I wasn't too shocked, to be honest. But at the moment, I'd believe her if she said I was really a flying pink elephant.
“My real last name...”
“We don't know your real name -”
“Don't lie to me. That's the important thing, isn't it? The name.”
She took a deep breath. I let mine out. I hadn't realised I'd been holding it.
“Gaunt. Your real last name is Gaunt.”
“And my first name?”
“We don't know that. We really don't. Your mother – your biological mother – left you on an orphanage doorstep when you were about two. The Ministry traced her and discovered that your father – his father was Voldemort's unknown cousin. Apparently, Marvolo's – Marvolo Gaunt – son got a girl in the village pregnant. He didn't dare tell his father, because such consorting with Muggles was thought to be heresy. The child that resulted was your grandfather.”
“My real parents?”
“Dead. Suicide. Your mother left a note. They wanted you to have a better life, free of their suffering, and pretended that you were dead, too.”
“They were good people. But they'd picked the wrong side. The Aurors wouldn't have shown mercy. And if people found out that you were...”
“If you're a Muggle, how did you get caught up in all of this?”
She took a deep breath.
“My maiden name is Greengrass. I'm a Squib.”
Bella gasped, and gaped at her.
“You're related to Scorpius!”
“Well, I'm lost,” I stepped in, before my life got any more confusing. Though that would be pretty hard, at the moment. “What the hell is a Squib?”
I glared at my adoptive parent.
“Look, you've been lying to me my whole life. I don't think a few fucking swearwords are my problem, do you? What the hell is a Squib?” I didn't mention that to me, my whole life was three weeks long.
She sighed sadly.
“A Squib is somebody born into a magical family with no magical powers whatsoever.”
I suddenly wondered what it would be like to have known about magic your whole life, to have expected that you'd have that ability, and then had to watch as your siblings went off to Hogwarts without you.
She blinked back a few tears.
“Muggle. Just got caught up in business that wasn't his. We met at a coffee shop, you know? A Muggle one.”
“What the HELL was that about?” Bella hissed at me, when we were up in my bedroom, wrapping presents.
“Well,” I said slowly, “turns out I'm adopted! Yay!” Woo. Jazz-hands.
Sarcasm was my best friend sometimes.
“How did you... why did you go all 'you better confess everything or else on her'?”
“I had... I had a feeling.”
“I don't believe you, Willow. Not for a second.”
Nice to know my friend trusted me.
Of course, she was right, but still.
“Bella... you're right, I -”
I was cut off by the loud sound of James appearing in mid-air, and landing heavily on my bed. He then rolled onto the floor.
Because he was elegant like that.
I started to laugh, then realised I was still mad at him. Oh, and in the light of things, it probably wasn't right to laugh. With Rose hospitalised and all.
“Guys. Bella, Willow.” He started, once he'd manoeuvred himself into a sitting up position. “Parents want you to be with us for Christmas dinner tomorrow.”
Oh, Christmas. That must be why we were wrapping presents.
“We cleared it with your Mum. We're having it at St Mungos.”
Oh, that was going to be cheery.
Well, it was a good start to the day, when I woke up. The sun shining, me needing to hurl...
Yeah, good start to the day.
Bella walked in on me puking up last night’s dinner. And possibly yesterday’s lunch. And breakfast.
“Ugh, Willow, you’d think it would be reversed.”
“Must have a bug. I won’t be able to make it to Christmas dinner.” I cheered at the thought.
“Nonsense. Take some medicine and you’ll be fine. You probably ate some Puking Pasties or whatever they’re called.”
Damn it. Damn it all.
“No buts, Willow. You’re having Christmas dinner with us, if we have to knock you out and fly you there on a broomstick.”
Willow groaned. I smiled.
“Besides, I saw the way you were eating last night. Pig.”
And hence the conversation ended. She obviously hadn’t worked out yet that I bluffed more often than not. It was a Slytherin quality, I thought. One of those that I’d picked up from my parents. Of course, I never could tell when they were bluffing. Sometimes they did, sometimes they didn’t.
I remembered the Sorting Hat commenting that I was quite well suited Slytherin, way back in first year.
“Hmmm... I see... yes,” the Sorting Hat had murmured.
“You enjoy keeping people in suspense, don’t you?”
I’d felt everyone’s eyes upon me. Including my elder brother’s; Jared. Yes, there was something new. Barely anyone knew I had a brother. Seeing as I ended up in Gryffindor, he didn’t encourage that sort of thinking. I was just some Mudblood that shared his Pureblood family’s last name.
Anyway, he’d been mouthing Slytherin at me.
And I’d suddenly felt a surge of rebellion.
I didn’t want to be a Slytherin! I didn’t want to carry on the family honour! I didn’t want to be looked down on by everyone as though I was worth less than a slimy slug. I wanted to be like that girl, who hadn’t even seemed the slightest bit embarrassed that she’d practically taken out a table of Puffs, and gatecrashed the Sorting Ceremony. I could hear the elder students taking bets on which house she’d end up in. Some were betting outright that she’d be expelled before the Hat even touched her head. Nobody was betting Hufflepuff.
“Don’t put me in Slytherin,” I told the Hat. “Please. I don’t want to end up like him.”
By him, I’d meant Jared, of course. The snot-ball who stuck up his nose at anyone less than a Pureblood.
“Why not? You’d be quite well suited to Slytherin. It’s what your family wants.”
“I don’t give a shit!” I’d thought. Yes, I – whom has never uttered a curse word in her entire life – swore, “they can go scrub a toilet with their toothbrushes. Anything but Slytherin!”
In my family’s mind, the order of best to worst houses went something like this: Slytherin. Top dogs. Obviously. Then, it was Ravenclaw. They weren’t too bad. But then, nobody was sure who was worse; Hufflepuff or Gryffindor?
“Well, let’s see. You’re nice enough for Hufflepuff, but there’s something about you... You’re not so much of a pushover as your brother. He didn’t really want to be a Slytherin, but he was too scared to stand up to your parents. Pity. He would have made an excellent Ravenclaw. So, it must be GRYFFINDOR!” the Hat yelled the last sentence out loud, dooming me to disownment.
Before I could thank the Hat, he was whisked off of my head, and the next little firstie was called up. I’d stumbled my way to the Gryffindor table, ignoring the glares from Jared. I was dead to him from that moment onwards.
I’d sat at the Gryffindor table, lonely. Nobody wanted to talk to the Deatheater’s kid. Sometimes – a lot of the time, actually – I really hated being a Pureblood.
Then, the girl who’d been the centre of attention when she’d busted through the Great Hall’s doors, came and sat next to me.
Fred suddenly burst through the door, interrupting my train of thought.
“Hey guys!” he exclaimed.
I was glad Willow couldn’t remember hating Fred. She’d go bonkers, with him just barging into her room like that.
“Hey Fred,” she instead muttered quite amicably. I sighed. Actually, I sort of missed that. It had been an interesting twist to every day.
“Tomorrow?” he asked me, looking nervous.
“Yeah, let’s not spoil Christmas,” I grinned, though it was kind of lopsided. Christmas was well beyond repair, already. Too many horrible things were happening, or had already.
“Listen, come round to the Potters. Everybody’s waiting to open presents. We’re going to St Mungos if you’re ready in half an hour.”
Presents sounded like fun. St Mungos didn’t.
Yay. Jazz hands. If this mess – my life - was a musical, there’d be plenty. Because I like jazz hands, okay? So, there probably shouldn’t be jazz hands, the way things were not looking great all the freaking time. Maybe sarcastic jazz hands.
Half an hour. That barely even gave me time to fake an injury. Although, considering it was a hospital that we were headed to, that probably wasn’t such a good idea.
I was on breaking point, and I found myself blinking back tears every time I so much as caught site of a photo.
I walked into my walk-in closet, and stopped breathing.
Suddenly, I couldn’t stop the tears.
There was a mirror.
I hadn’t seen a mirror, ever, that I could remember. You’d think that I’d be curious to know what I looked like, but I’d found myself avoiding my reflection.
A young, pretty girl with blue, bloodshot eyes, long, light-brown hair and tear tracks running down her face stared at me. She was younger than I felt. She looked so innocent, yet her eyes were so filled with guilt and age.
Pictures of me, of this stranger, were littered on a table below the mirror. A child, always appearing so happy, so joyful. She looked like my reflection, only freer.
A feeling of despair and a strange, aching feeling gripped my heart. I was finding it difficult to swallow. My throat felt like I’d eaten a tonne of coal. Emotions were ripping through my chest, tearing me apart from the inside. A sob welled up, and I ran out of the closet.
I practically threw myself in the shower, clothes and all. I didn’t care; I just had the urge to wash everything away. I didn’t let myself let go, though. I hung on, by a tiny thread that had suffered so much in such a short time. I stumbled out of the shower, pressing my face into a towel, forcing myself to calm down.
“WHY ME?” I screamed at nothing in particular. “WHY!”
We piled into Rose’s room. Everyone and the presents.
I was hanging on to what seemed so fragile.
I leaned over Rose’s unconscious body and whispered: “I’m sorry. I just couldn’t tell them.”
Her eyelids fluttered.
“Willow... they... need to... know,” she whispered, louder than I had. Loud enough for everyone to hear. She attempted to sit up, but collapsed.
I lost it. It was like I couldn’t hear anything; everything was silent, yet my own pulse was so loud. I knew I was sobbing, wordless grief that etched out for all eternity. Raw, heedless sorrow that ripped and tore everything and anyone in its path.
There I was, laid out bare for anyone to see.
Too soon, I was returned to reality.
I was in James’ arms.
“Shhh... Willow Evergreen – you listen to me!” James was talking.
I loved him, I did. I did love him.
He was making me weep even more.
“I’m – I’m – I’m no – not – not – h – h – her.”
“Everything’s going to be fine, trust me!” he was getting desperate. I was only vaguely aware of the commotion being created by the other people in the room. Mum. Mum who wasn’t Mum. She was talking. Explaining.
“It – it’s all – all m – my fa – fault!”
“Willow Evergreen! Don’t say that! Of course it’s not!” James; still arguing with me, although I knew what I was saying was true. I was bawling.
“Gaunt. Her real name is Gaunt,” interrupted my Mother.
Wow... that was hard to write. I actually cried while I wrote it.
That's kinda sad.
But it was difficult to go through with. I'm all for a happy ending, but...
Anyway, please, pretty please, please with a cherry on top, review?
I've decided anyone who reviews gets a free air guitar from now on.