Chapter 4 : "Giveth and Taketh"
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The moment I stepped out of my bedroom door, I heard my Mother scream. I ran to my parents’ bedroom door to find Uncle Alphard guarding it.
“I’m afraid you can’t go in, Andi.”
“But Mother! She’s –”
“She’s having the baby,” Uncle Alphard cut me off. “And childbirth is not a sight you’re old enough to see.”
“But the scream-”
“Is perfectly normal,” Uncle Alphard said, again interrupting me.
I sighed in relief and then my curiosity set in. “Why is screaming normal? Is childbirth painful?”
“Those are questions for another day,” he said, “as well as questions that are not to be answered by me.”
“No buts, I know that you want to know now, but now is really not the time.”
“Interrupting is not polite,” I said, annoyed at his refusal to answer my questions as well as being interrupted for the third time.
“Do I look that much like your Father and Scorpius?” he asked indignantly. “I know there’s some resemblance, but I thought for sure you could tell us apart!”
I giggled, unable to stay mad at him. He grinned when he saw my laughter.
“Now what do you say we go wake up your sister and get some breakfast. Or rather lunch, since it’s past breakfast.”
I nodded; I was rather hungry.
“So,” he said as he picked me up and sat me on his shoulders. “Where do you want to eat at? That restaurant we went to not long ago?”
“We’re not eating here?” I asked.
“Goodness, no! Tipsy’s helping out with the birth, and last time I cooked you got food poisoning, remember?”
I both grimaced and giggled at the memory. The food tasted awful and I felt horrible, but remembering how Uncle Alphard cowered when my furious parents got ahold of him was enough to make me smile.
We went to a toy store and had ice cream after eating; I had a wonderful time with Bella and Uncle Alphard, and we got back just in time. When we arrived, Father greeted us while holding a baby.
“Meet your new sister,” he said with a look of true happiness that I hardly saw him wear in his eyes, “Narcissa Persephone Black.”
“It’s a girl?” Bellatrix asked for confirmation.
And for the first time since we found out Mother was pregnant, Bellatrix looked thrilled at no longer being the youngest.
We barely had time to gush over Narcissa before the healer ran into the room.
“Mr. Black,” she managed to get out before catching a quick breath. “Your wife doesn’t have much time and is demanding that you and your daughters come to her immediately.”
I looked at Father and became very frightened; I never saw him look worried or scared in my life before, but he obviously was now. It felt so strange – I had always seen Father as someone invincible who never, ever was worried or frightened.
Quickly changing his expression from worried to the firm look he usually held, he stood up and led us to the bedroom.
I was feeling only three things as I walked with him – fright, confusion, and curiosity. I could hardly ever remember being in my parent’s room as I wasn’t allowed in there, and now here I was being rushed to the room. I had a bad feeling that was strengthened by the look Father had worn a few seconds before. I was curious as to what the healer meant by “she doesn’t have much time.”
When we entered the room I gasped in shock and fear. Mother was lying in bed, but she wasn’t the Mother I was used to. Mother was strong, kind, and beautiful; the woman in the bed looked so pale and weak.
We walked over to her bedside and she smiled weakly, but sincerely.
She reached out for Father’s hand and he took it while somehow still managing to hold Narcissa. She requested that I sit Bellatrix on the bed next to her as Trix was so short, and I obeyed without a moment’s hesitation.
“I love you all, and you have all been my life for eight years now,” she turned her head to Father before continuing, “even though it may have taken me a while to realize how much you meant to me.”
I was confused by this statement, but for once asked no questions; for some reason, this seemed like a time where questions would be unwelcome.
Mother weakly stroke Bella’s hair for a moment and all of us remained silent. This moment seemed so important and so vital for some reason that I couldn’t explain and et here we all were keeping quiet when it seemed like we should be talking. The problem was I don’t think any of us knew what to say.
“Andi,” she said after a minute that felt like an eternity.
“Remember that promise you made to me last night? About being loyal to your family and yourself?”
“Be sure to keep it,” she told me before turning to my Father. “Same goes for you and Bella.”
Father nodded, but Bella just looked at her curiously.
“Andromeda, take Bellatrix and leave the room,”
I obeyed and helped Trix off the bed. When I got to the door, I turned back my head and was shocked to see Father on the crying. Of all the events that happened up until that point that day, that was the most confusing and surprising. Father never, ever showed sadness at all, much less shed tears. In fact, he said that only weak men cry, and Father was by no means weak. Yet there he was with tears in his.
When we walked out of the room, Uncle Alphard was standing against the wall waiting for us, wearing a face of pity instead of his usual grin. We stood there beside him silently – or at least I did. Bellatrix was exclaiming that she wanted to go outside.
“Not now, Trix,” he said in a low voice, and to my surprise, Bellatrix said nothing else about it.
A few minutes that felt more like hours passed by before Father walked into the hall. He was no longer crying, but you could tell he had been. He looked so tired and almost as pale as Mother had.
Uncle Alphard looked up at him, and Father began to speak when there eyes met.
“She’s dead. She said this wouldn’t …but she’s…gone,” Father managed to get out while trying to prevent from breaking down. Uncle Alphard embraced him, pride forgotten.
His words seemed so distant, so wrong. He said that Mother was dead, but that couldn’t be…death was something that happened to Muggles and Mudbloods and the elderly…not to perfectly healthy and loving mothers…not to my mother.
I ran to my room and slammed the door, something I never did. I grabbed a picture of I kept of Mother and I and saw her smiling and waving to me. That was my mother in the picture smiling and healthy, not the woman in my parent’s bed…it couldn’t be.
Author’s Notes: I’m so, so sorry for the delay. I didn’t really want to post this before it was betaed, but after several failed attempts of trying to reach her, I decided to post anyway. I hope you enjoyed it, as it’s a very important chapter, and I hope you review!