Prologue: June 1980
Beautiful chapter image by amour. @ TDA!
"Hush my little Ana, don't dare cry. Tomorrow comes with another try," the young woman crooned affectionately to the screaming bundle in her arms. She was desperately trying to serenade the baby into slumber.
The light melody of her tired voice rang throughout the child's nursery room. Like a canary, Julienne's song was lovely to the ear and soothing on the spirit. Yet, for some unknown reason, the pleasant sound could not quiet the wails of the baby in her arms.
The beautiful young woman appeared every bit like the new wife and new mother that she was. She wore her silver-blonde hair pulled up in a ponytail and out of the child's grasp, where it fell into tangled mass of curls down her back. Her pale, angular face was complete with small purple bags under her eyes and a ragged expression. One, she felt, seemed to be permanent these days.
Julienne Macnair glanced down at the child and started to bounce her up and down in her arms, thinking that the constant motion would ease the newborn's cries to silence. But the action did not help the exhausted mother any. For her daughter's features were still scrunched up in anguish, and her tiny hands and feet did not stop squirming underneath the pink blanket.
Silently, Julienne wished that both her voice and the bouncing would make her child feel calmer. And, more importantly, make her child feel the need to take her nap; so that her mother could finally take the one she desired so badly. But she just could not seem to stop the child's tears from falling, or the screeching from escaping out of the child's mouth.
"Just sleep tight," she started up the well-known pureblood lullaby again. The lullaby was being drawn from the furthest place in her mind: from childhood, when her mother sang to her and her older brother in the same manner. And sadly, it was the only one she knew by heart and was known to work. If she had known of any other child's lullaby she would have sung it instead, for she was not fond of its true meaning.
"Safe here at home," she sang. Her voice was dwindling weaker with each fleeting note.
Now that she had a little one of her own, and her sister-in-law had popped her nephew out earlier this month, Julienne could not help but wonder just how her mother had done it, raising two children. She almost felt guilty for putting her mother through her rebellious age.
Almost being the key word.
She had learned far too many valuable things in life from her rebellion than she would ever care to feel guilty for. Things that she would gladly pass onto her daughter, instead of the foolish pureblood ideals she had been force fed as a child.
"Someday you'll have the world for your own," she continued, but her voice was not steady or soothing anymore. The sound was beginning to fade and turn weak, just like its owner.
An anxious expression lingered on Julienne's face as she thought about all the times she had been kept her awake since her daughter's birth, which was barely two weeks ago. She continued to bounce the baby girl in her arms as she begun to pace around the room, hoping that maybe by moving around the child would stop screaming its head off. But that attempt was just as futile as the rest.
"I'm not cut out for this," she sighed. Her strained voice came out as only a pathetic whisper, which stopped her from picking up the song again. She was fighting back her tears of stress and exhaustion from not only the child, but from all the other changes that had occurred over the last year.
Everyone and everything had been so chaotic. With the move into her new home and the marriage to her once-loved Walden, Julienne frequently found herself lost in the shuffle, and tossed around like a child's rag doll in the process. And as she purposely faded into the background of her life, becoming highly reclusive in the process, she tended to stay holed up in the nursery with her daughter. But that had turned out to only add more stress to the pile that she has been trying desperately to avoid.
Even though Julienne was with the child in the nursery she still felt so alone because she didn't have anyone to talk with or to trust in anymore. And sometimes the isolation from the rest of world played tricks on her mind, and now was one of those times when her exhaustion took the reins and drove her right into a hallucination.
She felt like the light pink walls were starting to close in on her. All of the cloth diapers, rattles, teething rings, blankets, and rocking basinet with matching rocking chair for mummy were growing bigger and bigger too. Julienne felt both lost and claustrophobic in all the accessories a new mother and her baby could need. Like she couldn't breathe with all these foreign mothering objects surrounding her; trapping her in a complex maze of stuffed toys and bottles. They were caving in on her, burying her beneath their constant presence.
She couldn't handle it anymore. This wasn't the life she had wanted for herself. She just wanted out; to be free of the shiny metal cage that she considered her life. But she knew that she could not escape its bindings, for she was in too deep with a daughter and a husband now. Thinking about all of her suppressed feelings caused tears to swell up in her crystal blue eyes.
Quickly, they flooded over, and plummeted down to the soft carpet without a sound, joining the ones left by her daughter earlier.
With tears streaming down her pale face, she hurriedly placed her daughter down in the white bassinet that lay furthest from the window, feeling as if she could no longer carry the weight. As soon as she had placed her burden upon the cushion, her daughter's face relaxed and her fidgeting ceased. Julienne was still anxious that the calm was only going to be temporary, and the wailing would be begin the second she breathed the wrong way.
Any second now
, she thought, as she tried to stop her tears from running freely, so they would not startle her baby. Her breath remained hitched and her pulse quick as she stared down into the bassinet; anticipating a screech or something. But no sounds of anger or fidget of annoyance came from her daughter, instead the newborn only yawned in comfort. Julienne was almost positive that there was no way that her little Illyana was actually going to take a nap without any further complaints.
Staring down into her child's small eyes, which were so similar to her own in color, she knew that both her daughter's silence and light eye color couldn't last very long. For she was pretty sure that the clear blue would turn into her husband's dark brown, since the fact was that a child's eye color usually changed a few months after birth...or so her mother told her anyway.
As she took in her daughter's blue eyes and her few blonde wisps of hair, Julienne could not suppress the fact that her daughter could pass for a miniature portrait of herself at that tender age. And then she could not help but wonder if they shared more than a physical bond; if her daughter would act and think like she did too.
If she was going to end up in the same damaged and unwanted mess as her mother. If she was going to make the same mistakes, the same broken promises, the same choices, or the same anything that her mother did. Or was she going to be braver than her mother had ever been; was she going to posses a level of bravery that would cause her to leave this caged life and fly free...
Would she posses the strength to leave, unlike me?
Julienne continued to wonder, as she watched her daughter's eyelids shut slowly without another peep. A rogue tear escaped from Julienne's eyes, as she stared lovingly at daughter, who was laying in her child-like bliss.
Taking another look at her little Illyana, she knew that she could no longer clutch onto her past dreams. She had to give them up, just like she had given up an escape from her parents and their Dark Lord's grasp all those years ago.
She brushed her tear aside.
If she was to leave, her daughter would fall as easy prey to the trappings of the world she knew was wrong. She would not stand any sort of chance of a free life with the wolves of the Dark Lord's still circling around her family, and her brother's family. Julienne was going to take it upon herself to stay and protect her daughter, by equipping her with the abilities to break free and to leave.
And she was going to make bleeding sure that her daughter knew what she had learned after all those years of rebellion: that love doesn't make you weak, and that one man's hate could destroy the world.
nrb writes: I would love to give the most special thank you to all of my Quizilla friends that helped with ideas for the lullaby! But most of all I want everyone to know that the genius behind the lullaby used was *drumroll*
Also, just a warning this will contain spoilers from the 7th book along with a few minor deviations. The most obvious deviation, and really the only one, is Julienne's existence and any other Malfoys I create from here. The rest of the story will follow canon and could be seen as the Slytherin DH-companion if you would like ;)
Hope everyone enjoyed and will enjoy this series. Any comments would be greatly adored, thank you!