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Butterflies fluttered all around me as I stepped into the room. They’d slowly been gathering, multiplying, over the years and now they started to fade. The bright colors dulled and as quickly as they gathered there, they began to disappear. A beautiful, pure, innocent magic brought them into my life and now a sad reality was taking them away. I sat down among them all, watching as some landed on my shirt while others around me.
The butterfly that started it all was soft yellow. I can remember it floating across the living room and landing on my nose. The muffled giggles of the small blonde girl rang in my ears before I saw her head dart back down the hall. From that night on, a butterfly found its way to me every night and landed on my nose.
After three weeks of butterflies had gathered on the walls, I made this room. My little girl loved flowers and I filled it to the brim with the brightest and most colorful flowers I could get my hands on.
Her face lit up brighter than the stars when she saw them. That night a very large purple butterfly landed on my hand. I smiled and walked down the hall. Silently watching the little feet lift off the floor and scramble into bed before hiding under the covers.
“Did you like my butterfly daddy!?” the excitement in her voice rang in my ears. She always brought a smile to my face. “Purple is mommy’s favorite color isn’t it daddy?”
“Yes it is dear.” Pulling the sheets up to her chin I sat down on the edge of the bed.
“Daddy?” She had her mother eyes and had her same bright spirit behind them. “Do you think mommy will like the butterflies?” Her face beamed as she squirmed her way out of the covers and on to my lap.
“She’ll love them because she loves you.” I kissed her forehead and put her back in the now frumpled covers.
“Mommy loves you too daddy.” Even as she yawned the words their sincerity brought tears to my eyes.
Her mother was in France at the Beauxbatons Academy teaching for ten months out of the year. We saw her for two months during the summer holiday and a couple weeks for winter holiday. It was such a short time to be with someone who played such a large roll in our lives and brought tears to my eyes.
“Daddy, don’t cry.” She had managed to get out of the covers and on my lap again. Her little hand touched my face as she made me look her in the eye, like she had seen done on the television so many time. “She’ll come back. She always comes back.” I couldn’t help but chuckle at her actions. “And when I get big I’ll go to school with mommy and you can come visit us whenever you want.”
I put her back in bed and pulled the sheets back up to her chin one last time. “I know dear.” I kissed her head again. “She’ll love the butterflies. Goodnight.” The little head lay softly on the pillow and she was asleep before I reached the end of the hall.
We started a count down until the day that her mother would come home for winter holiday. Seventy-eight was the magic number today October 6. December 22nd would be her last day there and then January 4th would be her first day back to school. A short-lived holiday and time with her, but time with her was more precious than anything else we could get for Christmas.
Twenty-four days until her mother came home and I was out watering the flowers when a lovely tiny red butterfly landed on my cheek. My little DeAnna was at her grandmother’s house and must have been now getting into bed. I smiled and shook my head softly. It land on a large white rose, resting yet moving its wings as though it was preparing to take off again.
That night I walked around the small pavilion. There were exactly one hundred fluttering, floating butterflies among the flowers and I knew that it was my little girl that had brought them all there. It was my little girl who had figured out how to channel her magic at such a young age into something incredibly. I was amazed to say the least.
I couldn’t get DeAnna to sit still to save my life. Her mother was due to arrive anytime at the bus station. All around people were bundled up and huddled together talking in hushed whispers attempting to stay warm. Then there was DeAnna and I. I stood there trying to catch the five year old that seemed to be weaving around my legs and feet almost tripping me. This was one of those times when you realize that there isn’t much different between a child and an energetic puppy.
I gave up and just told her to make sure that she stayed by me. I understand why in America they have what are referred to as ‘Leash Children.’ Soon the terminal was filled with giggling girls filled with excitement about the holidays; talking too fast for me to understand anything. I returned to trying to get DeAnna to hold still so that I wouldn’t lose her in the crowd.
“Happy Holidays, Madam Gamét!” My head snapped up at the name.
“You too Loreen. Do wish your parents my best dear.” I couldn’t find her among the throng of people. I momentarily caught a glimpse of DeAnna before she darted out of my sight and into the crowd once again.
“Mommy! Daddy’s over here, he wants me to stay still but he just doesn’t understand that I can’t. I’m just too happy that you’re home mommy! I have a surprise for you when we get home. Daddy helped me with the flowers but I did everything else. Well not everything else, but...we need to go home so that I can show you mommy!” I watched as my girls appeared from the crowd. DeAnna was pulling a larger version of herself by the hand. It was the most wonderful sight I’d ever seen. The lady just smiled weakly at her child. Something was wrong but I didn't ask and just gave her a hug and a kiss and we left.
We got back to the house shortly afterwards and DeAnna couldn’t get her mother, Arabella, to move fast enough through the backyard. I walked with them watching DeAnna’s excitement grow as we got closer and Arabella’s energy drain. She held onto my arm and started to support herself more and more as we got closer to the small building.
Arabella crossed through the threshold and a butterfly promptly landed on her nose. She stood there not knowing what to do as she watched cross-eyed as it’s wings slowly moved back and forth. Then she started to laugh. Her eyes sparkled and her laughter mixed with our daughters giggles, made the sweetest sound I had ever heard.
We stayed in the pavilion and had some tea watching the butterflies dance around the flowers and one another. DeAnna had a story for each butterfly and each butterfly had a name.
That night two butterflies flitted into the sitting room where we were exchanging thoughts quietly about the plans for the holidays. They were both pure white and landed on each of our cheeks. My wife’s eyes questioned me. I simply smiled and told her, “It’s bed time.”
Christmas passed rather quietly. We stayed home and did not host any parties or attend any. Arabella grew weaker each day and we fought about her returning to Beauxbatons Academy. I insisted that she stayed home until she regained strength and she insisted that she return.
Then New Years Eve she collapsed.
Arabella stayed at St. Mungo’s Hospital that night. DeAnna’s grandmother met us to take DeAnna back to her place.
“Daddy I need to stay here so that mommy knows I love her.” DeAnna’s eyes were brimmed with tears that she would not allow to fall.
“DeAnna. Mommy knows you love her. She knows you love her with your whole heart and that nothing will ever change that.” I pulled her into my arms; cradling her head against my chest I could feel the tears fall on my shirt. She was so brave and so strong for someone so young, but even the strong cry. “You need to get some sleep though missy and so does mommy.” I smiled as she pulled away from me.
They got their things together and DeAnna gave me one last hug before she left. “Daddy, take care of mommy.” This time a tear stung my eye as I barely chocked out the words, “I will.”
I watched them walk out of the small waiting room. When I thought that they were far enough away I sat down with my head in my hands. What was I going to do?
I felt something move on my middle finger of my left hand. I turned it over and two tiny soft purple butterflies perched themselves there. Looking up I could just see eyes peering around the corner on DeAnna’s face. “You didn’t tell me good night daddy.”
I opened my arms and she ran to them, “Good night my little DeAnna.”
Arabella looked like she was sleeping. It was now June and she hadn’t moved on her own since she was admitted in January. Her students had started to visit her since school was let out.
Each one of the girls looked on her with awe. They all were surprised to see that the invincible woman they loved wasn’t all that invincible, just like I had. DeAnna and I had taken up residence in the hospital and soon they girls came to visit Arabella just as much as they did to visit DeAnna.
Arabella’s students filled the room with white flowers at DeAnna’s request. DeAnna in the mean time filled it with purple butterflies in every shade and size. Cards littered the room with well wishes scrawled across them all.
It didn’t matter how many well wishes, flowers, and butterflies filled the room. We lost Arabella that month.
The July breeze softly blew hundreds of girl’s dresses and hair as they all stood barefoot in the grass. No one raised their head to look around. The usual giggling laughs that I had become so accustomed to accompanying the girls were gone.
DeAnna eyes were fixed on her mother. “Daddy, why is she in a box?” Her innocence was almost unbearable.
“It’s like a bed for her so that she’s comfortable. She’s going to sleep for a long time.”
“But she’ll wake up for my birthday right?” her eyes gleamed with tears. I couldn’t say anything so I shook my head. “She’s not sleeping like we sleep is she daddy? She’s sleeping like Papa is sleeping isn’t she?”
“She’s sleeping like Papa.” The tears broke free from her eyes. She twisted her dress between her fingers trying to stay calm. I pulled her into my arms listening to the girl’s soft singing behind me.
“Daddy, mommy doesn’t like small spaces. She can’t be in her box bed daddy! Daddy she needs more space!” She was talking a million miles an hour, tears falling freely down her face. She was hysterical and couldn’t catch her breath. “Shhh. You are right. We’ll make sure that she’s with your butterflies.”
DeAnna’s butterflies landed on the people who were gathered with us to remember Arabella. They were almost calming, like the innocence and joy they were made with wore off on each person. However the more comfort they brought to people the more their vibrant colors seemed to fade. They were never same and neither was DeAnna.
She stopped talking after that day. Her giggling laughter was absent from the house. Despite the large windows that flooded each room with light, it was a very dark place to be. The life in the house was gone.
Even though she didn’t seem like my little girl, she still sent me butterflies every night. They didn’t seem to float across the air as much as push through it. Like the butterflies from before the colors weren’t as bright, but they were still very beautiful, pure and sweet.
One large blue one crossed the room today. With each flap of its wings it looked more and more like it was going to suddenly fall to the ground. This was common anymore, but hard to watch. I had become just as attached to the butterflies as I was to my family.
I headed down the hall, a muffled sound was coming from DeAnna’s room making me pick up the pace. I pushed the door open to find tears running down her cheeks. I sat on the edge of the bed and she crawled into my lap with a piece of paper in her hand.
“What do you have there DeAnna?” she just continued to cry softly as though she didn’t hear me. For a child of seven years to be absent from the world they live in crushed my heart, but I continued to try to find her again. “DeAnna what’s in your hand can? Can I see it?”
She didn’t reply but loosened her grip on the page and I slid it out of her fingers. It was a card made by the hands of a seven year old. Its purpose was stated on the front in wonderfully clumsy letters.
“Hapy Birfday Mommi”
I could feel my heart falling to pieces.
A huge thanks goes out to LilyFire who helped me with editing on this chapter.
I looked at the card closer after she was asleep with tears in my eyes. The inside was empty except for a few marks resembling flowers here and there.
April 21st was tomorrow, Arabella’s birthday. She was taken so young. Only 26. We were young and foolishly in love. DeAnna was born when we were only 19 and we married shortly after.
DeAnna was heart broken but content celebrating everyone’s birthday last year around her mother’s hospital bed. This year she knew that she would gather around her mother’s grave instead, I don’t know if that reality ever set in though.
The next day she worked on the card until we left, not letting me close to her to see what she was doing. Tears swelled in her eyes as she colored, but she managed to keep them back.
She held my hand as we approached the field of flowers where Arabella laid just like DeAnna wanted. Black dresses waved at me in the wind contrasting the white flowers that littered field. DeAnna’s butterflies were out of the pavilion causing splashes of colors amongst the white and green.
Her former students stood at a distance whispering to each other. Stories about Arabella sang softly on the wind as DeAnna gripped the card in her hand, not sure what to do with it. She knew that this is where her mother was, but that she couldn’t give the card to her. She couldn’t put the card in her hands.
She placed the card in my hands timidly and sat down in the grass. She seemed at ease being near her mother, even if she couldn’t see her. Even though she couldn’t find her.
I opened the card finding the letters even more rough and crude then those that were on the cover. I carefully mulled the letters over in my head, trying to figure out what it said exactly but the spelling was not what it should be. Words that my eight year old had been spelling for over a year were filled with misshaped letters and were misspelled.
When I finally figured it out my tears swelled up in my eyes. And so it read, “Mommy, I hope you are happy. Daddy says that you watch me every night and my butterflies send you my kisses when I sleep. I love you mommy.”
I left the card by some flowers that were bundled together. As I watched DeAnna, and my heart sank. Her understanding of the world seemed to be fading and she was falling back into herself. She seemed to be more helpless and numb to emotions.
She got worse over the following days. Then the butterflies stopped flying around the pavilion, refusing to open their wings. A week following that, there were no more butterflies visiting me at night and I took her to St. Mungo’s.
The healers seemed at a loss, not knowing what was happening to her. It was like watching Arabella all over again. I was losing her and all I could do was watch. All anyone could do was guess at what was wrong. DeAnna moved around and did stuff but like a child three years her younger.
I started asking questions to the healers. Trying to find out more about what was going on with DeAnna. Trying to find any information about what happened to Arabella. They all insisted that they found no signs of magical involvement and simply shook their heads when I asked what was wrong. “We’re working to find out.” I heard this phrase so many times. She was dying in front of me and all they kept telling me is that ‘they’re working on it to find out.’
Finally I came across a minor healer, Smethwyck, who said he may have some knowledge on what happened to them.
He said that it was just a theory and some muggle research that he had not involved himself in. He had been looking into Arabella’s case, having seen it more and more recently in others, not having an explanation for what was going on with any of them. “Each case is similar but some live longer then others and are able to do function. You’re wife seemed to have a more sever case.” He said they called it lung kancer or something like that. That it meant there was some sort of growth in the lungs.
Then he told me about DeAnna. That because of losing her mother, she experienced great deal of trauma. Saying that while reading some of this muggle research he came across something called Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. A mental problem that’s extent could not be predicted but from his understanding that my DeAnna, my little girl, would never develop past her current age mental and possibly regress more. She would be here for the rest of her life while they continued to treat her.
Muggle diseases. That’s what killed my Arabella and that’s what was taking away my DeAnna? I shook the thought from my mind. Why should I listen to anyone who believed muggle nonsense? I went back to find DeAnna coloring on the floor of her room, barely able to keep the markings on the paper. She didn’t seem to have control over the fine movements anymore.
After two more weeks they told me that she had lost the majority of her language skills and probably wouldn’t talk anymore then she currently did. Not at all.
A month went by and she trusted only me. If I wasn’t there, she nervously trusted but one of the nurses, even though she remained helpless to all.
They asked me to leave. I was told that it would be for the best and that she would be more likely to improve what little she still could without me there trying to protect her. That if I wasn’t there that maybe she would let people in.
So I did. I just wanted her to be the best she could. I wanted her to get better and be my little DeAnna, sending me butterflies at night.
She started to improve slowly. I walked to the pavilion where the butterflies had returned to. They fluttered all around me as I stepped into the room the first day. Watching them as they seemed to weightlessly fly again gave me false hope.
Less then 24 hours later, they started to fade. DeAnna was getting worse. The bright colors dulled, they didn’t fly, most of them barely moved and as quickly as they gathered there, they began to disappear. A beautiful, pure, innocent magic brought them into my life and now a sad reality was taking them away. I watch one of the last butterflies she sent me as its pink wings sat unmoving on the side of a flowerpot. I could only watch it for a few minutes, because as I watched it, it started to fade into nothingness and soon it was gone.
My eyes stung with tears at the side, not yet built up, but waiting to fall. My gaze shifted to a small group of yellow and blue butterflies, DeAnna’s favorite to make before she became sick. Just like the others they too faded and then were gone. It was like watching smoke being blown away by a gentle breeze.
My vision blurred and I could no longer see the shapes of the butterflies, but I watched the bright blur of colors faded as they too were erased from the world I had created for DeAnna. Three hours was all it took to erase the butterflies from my life. Soon I was no longer sitting in a butterfly pavilion, but a green house that was filled with flowers and empty of life in my eyes. For in here the flowers were merely a muted backdrop on which DeAnna’s butterflies danced.
I sat there in the empty room for a few minutes before the door burst open a Delganté, DeAnna’s healer rushed in. My tears had dried up and my face was set in an emotionless stone. “I know.” I muttered pushing past him, knowing that he was here to tell me that my little girl was gone.
That night I set fire to the pavilion and watched as the flowers recoiled back from the flames as though they could remain untouched. They were not able to escape the fires grasp and as soon as the flames tongue licked the first plant, they all burned. I watched for but a brief moment before turning my back on the scene.
That night was the last that I walked in my house.
My steps in the house were precise and calculated. I removed any evidence of my relations with my father, favoring my mother’s untarnished name and bloodline instead. My wand in hand, I carried nothing else with me as I apparated to the back alley of the muggle pub, The Hanged Man. I easily spotted the person I was looking for when I entered, “Snape.”
The head of black hair turned at the sound of his name, “Gamét, it’s been a long time.”
“So long that I am a different man now. That is no longer who I am.” Snape’s dull look told me that I should merely get to the point, even though he already knew it. I continued to hold the same unmoved expression that I had set upon my face earlier. I watched his thin pale features, as he seemed to search his memory for something. “I have a meeting at the Malfoy’s.”
And with that we left.
The same night that DeAnna Gamét died in the Unknown Illness and Ailment Ward at St. Mungos' Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries, the same night a fire burned down the house of Pedja Igor Karkaroff Gamét's house, he met his old friend Severus Snape."
A number of people gathered at the Malfoy house that night. “If muggles are going to take my family from me, then I will happily take their mudbloods from them.” My eyes followed the wand as it depressed the skin on my arm.
“Consilio Morsmordre.” My arm burned briefly as his words hung in the air. While they were human; they sounded like a snakes hissing. Everyone watched, except Snape who was in the shadows, as the black smoke emitted from the tip of the wand. It twisted its way around on my arm leaving marks.
Many things happened on June 26, 1977 but that was the last thing to happen that night. Igor Karkaroff became a death eater taking his part in changing history forever.