Chapter 1 : Time
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DISCLAIMER: JKRowling? Moi? Sadly, no.
The center of my deepest fears, where the truth is oh so clear
Embracing inescapable truth
And that's facing up to you
Keeps me shackled to the ground
I've been in dire need of revolution
For far too many days to count
I thought I was safe in my hiding place
But it sure is exhausting living in chains
~Facing Up, By Kate Voegele
Chapter 1~ Time
It was over. It was really over.
He'd done it.
Just like the old man had said he would.
I could barely register my friends chattering happily around me as I stared down at the paper that declared the news. His picture was there. Plastered on every inch that wasn't text, proclaiming his greatness.
A few had escaped. But I was confident that it wouldn't be long until they were caught. And then locked up in Azkaban where they belonged. I knew they'd never be able to escape like Sirius.
I swallowed. Hard. My stomach trembled. I was going to be sick. I really was. My stomach was weak lately. As if had known this was coming. It turned sickeningly in my abdomen. My palms were sweaty all of the sudden too.
Could I do this?
No. A very pessimistic voice inside my head told me. It sounded a tad like me but slightly off due to the lack of nerve. You can't. So you might as well just stay here and finish out this year and next then get on with your life.
But what kind of life would that be? He was the only family I had. And I was the only family he had (even if he had no idea yet). I just had to go tell him. Didn't I?
I wasn't about to make nice with those dreadful muggles.
I remembered watching them- the one time I'd gotten close enough to see them. They were absolutely horrid. I could tell just by watching. Snooty and self-righteous. The boy was spoiled and ugly and the parents were just as bad as their snivelling son.
They were not family in my eyes.
But I'd never even seen him before, though.
I'd heard how horrendously they treated him. From those who'd actually been fortunate enough to know him personally. But I'd never watched him with my own eyes. Only in pictures.
He hadn't been there that Christmas I got close to the Muggles.
And the old man hadn't ever allowed me to get that close.
I'd -or I should say we'd (Nat was with me)- snuck to that quiet little Muggle street without adult knowledge. We'd done it stealthily. I was lucky to get anywhere near that obsessively neat front yard. I never would've gotten near the school.
Not even when he was gone.
Everytime he was coming to that house I had to leave. Even if I was in the middle of a sentence for Merlin's sake!
I hadn't been allowed to go, the one time our schools mixed. The old man had spoken with Madame O and told her that only seventeen year olds would participate but fourth years and up should really only be allowed to attend.
The year directly above mine.
Not. A. Coincidence.
I'd been livid. I was so excited at the chance to see him- just see him- and the wretched old man couldn't even allow me that. Afraid I would tell him. I'd been more than ready at the time. And now I wasn't.
But it was finally time.
He'd done it. And the old man had told me that once it was all over I was to go as soon as possible. I wasn't supposed to wait.
But how could I not wait?
First I had to finish the last week of school. Because my education came first at the moment. It just had to. Even the old man couldn't tell me different.
Then, after school, I had to go there. And traveling from country to country is not as easy as it used to be. Even for a witch.
Then he expected me to track him down and tell him.
Just like that.
But it was never as ridiculously simple as the old man made it sound.
I'd always known that.
Because I couldn't just walk up to him and simply blurt it out. That would not work. Definitely not. After everything that had happened in the passed seventeen years, you couldn't just spout off something like that and be welcomed warmly like the old man seemed to have thought.
Urgh! I couldn't just turn his life upside down again!
After everything he'd been through? All the things he lost? All the sacrifices. All the emotional peril and mortal danger. And the public humiliation and then jubilation when he must be so torn. I couldn't do it!
It wasn't nice. And I do consider myself to be a fairly nice person.
Plus there was the little fact that he would never believe me.
Even with that stupid letter. Even with the memory!
I mean, come on, really, it is a little unbelieveable.
I only believe it because I've known for so long. My entire life, almost.
So how the hell am I supposed to convince him?
I'm not exactly what most people would call persuasive. It's not a dominate trait in my person to be perfectly honest.
Clumsy? Yes. Awkward? You bet. But persuasive? Forget it.
And, to top it all, he probably has tons of this kind of stuff happening right now. People trying to get close. Get famous quickly. Fake cousins popping out of the wood work and all of that.
But I'm not his cousin. And I'm not fake.
I'm completely real.
And I'm his little sister.
"Ellie, it's time."
I looked up from my book. Standing in the door way of my room was a would-be goddess with loose black curls falling around her shoulders that were identical to mine and blazing blue eyes that were looking at me with that instinctive look that only a best friend could have.
Naphtalie Aradia Lalaine Porter. My sister in every way but one. Genetics.
Stupid damn DNA.
But I didn't think about blood very often. To me she was just my sister. She was the one I grew up with. And she's also my very best friend.
I came to live with her and her family when I was four months old. I know the exact date too, November 7th, 1981.
That was the day I became Elena Lily Vera Porter.
Daughter of Edward and Evelyn Porter, little sister to Jacob Porter and twin to Naphtalie.
My mum is a muggle and my dad is a pureblood. My brother owned the heart of every girl who laid eyes on him and my sister's confidence left people dazzeled. I was the shy, sweet one who kept Naphtalie grounded.
My whole life, that is who I've been.
That's who everyone saw me as. That's who I saw myself as.
I celebrated my birthdays with Naphtalie on August 5th every year. I attended Beauxbatons with her in France where we lounged on the beach with all of our friends and improved our magic abilities on occasion.
I came home to England on holidays and spent them with my family in our house by the water. I spent countless summer days zooming around on my broom (a Nimbus 2001 thank you very much) playing Quidditch with my brother and sister in the field near our house that was surrounded by trees and shopping in the muggle village nearby (and giggling with Nat when the cute Muggle boys would flirt with or stare at us).
That was who I was.
But, of course, I knew the truth.
The stubborn old man wouldn't let me forget who I'd been for those four short months. He just wouldn't let it go. He refused to let it go.
No matter how hard I tried to forget.
He made sure I couldn't.
I always hated that.
I wanted to believe that I was really Naphtalie's twin sister-genetically. I wanted to believe that Jake was my protective older brother. And that I had two parents who'd given me life (that still had theirs) and everything else a girl could want.
I wanted to forget that I had such a dark beginning. I wanted to forget that I was jaded and that my first few months of life were spent in hiding and secrecy and terror. But no matter how hard I tried, it always came back up somewhere along the line. I never could fully escape it.
"Time for what, Nat?" I asked her, confused.
One thing I should know by now, when it comes to my 'twin', never ask questions. It's just not smart.
She heaved a great big sigh and plopped down on my bed- in a way that only Nat could pull off without looking ridiculous,- then propped herself up on her elbows and gave me a disparaging look. "You know what."
For a moment, I just stared back at her.
No matter what my genetic code said, this was my sister.
And here she was telling me that it was time to leave the nest I'd been brought to as an infant. Time to leave her and my parents and my brother behind and go find the one person who shared my long, practically noble, at this point, lineage. The one that genetics actually did connect me to at birth.
I felt tears perch themselves in my eyes.
What else was new? My tearducts had been ridiculously active all month. I cried at everything lately. Making up for all those years of not balling my eyes out at every little scratch I recieved, I guess.
"Do you want me to leave?"
My voice broke as I uttered the words. I felt like some high brick walls around me were crashing down and I hadn't even realized they were there until I was crushed by the rubble. I didn't really want to know what her answer was. I was afraid it might hurt too much.
Then she did the most amazing thing. She laughed.
Seriously! She threw her pretty head back and shook those raven curls like the model she should have been and laughed.
One thing about our dear Nat that you should probably know. She never acts the way you'd expect her to. Never! She's always a surprise. Even to me, her twin-sister -in- every- way- but- one. And today was no exception to that.
"What do you mean, 'do I want you to leave'? I'm coming with you!"
I almost choked on my own saliva. That's how shocked I was at that last little bit. "You're what?"
"I- am- com-ing-with- you." She said very slowly, as if she was talking to a small child.
This time it was my turn to laugh.
"I don't what's so funny." She snapped, looking annoyed.
I tried to stifle my giggles with my hand but it was a futile attempt. "Have you told mum and dad about your little plan?"
"Exactly." I'd won. I knew it.
My mother would not go for this little plot of hers.
One daughter was enough. She'd, at least, always known that this was something I would need to do. But Naphtalie? There was no way in hell, she was going to let go of both of us. And my father, weeeeeell, let's just say, there was more chance that the Cannons would win the World Cup this year.
"Excuse me, but I am sixteen and therefore I'm almost a legal adult. No one tells me what I can and cannot do anymore." She said, with the attitude only Nat could pull off without sounding a tad bratty.
"Keyword, Nat. Almost" I told her, "As in, not quite."
She narrowed her eyes, but otherwise ignored my comment. She continued as if I hadn't said anything, "And I'm not about to let my twin sister go jetting off on an adventure without me. Nuh-uh, noo-oo way. I'm coming with."
Her tone was clearly final so I didn't argue with her. It was just easier that way. Don't argue and don't ask. Two rules of dealing with my beloved 'twin sister', Naphtalie.
"So I say we leave on my birthday-"
"Our birthday." I corrected, out of habit. Technically my birthday was on July seventh but I was so used to celebrating in August with Naphtalie, that I ignored that small little detail.
She gave me another look and continued, "-That way we'll have enough time to explore Diagon Alley and go to the- um ...family stuff. And all before September."
I noticed the hesitation. It was so rare in Nat that it was impossible to not notice. She avoided the wretched word. Funeral.
We'd have to go to the mass funeral my aunt was having. The funeral for Uncle Ted and Dora and... my Uncle Remus.
I knew that I was one of the reasons that they were so reluctant to talk about it. My aunt had even been afraid to ask me to sing at the service. I had lost more than just my uncle, cousin and her husband. I'd lost one of the last links to my parents. My real parents. I'd lost a vital link to who I was.
I pushed the faces from my mind before I could start crying again and then all of Naphtalie's words reached my ears.
"What's in September?" I asked, confused again.
"Hogwarts. Duh, Elena." She looked at me like I'd lost my mind and then said, "Seems your big brother isn't one to take the easy route. He's going back to Hogwarts to finish school before he becomes an auror."
I blinked at her. "How do you know this?"
She looked at me and in a condescending tone sniffed, "I read."
I was going to ask her why, in the name of Merlin, was she reading about my brother. But I wasn't sure I wanted the answer so I settled on another, more important, question.
"Okay, but why do we need to go to Hogwarts?"
She looked at me in disbelief. "I love you, Ellie. But you are very slow sometimes."
I glared at her.
She exhaled in a huff and then said, "We are going to enroll at Hogwarts. We'll pretend to be twins- as always. Get to know this big brother of yours a bit and then once we've gotten nice and comfortable- and you're done being a coward- you'll tell him, give him the letter and all that. Your little family reunion will be complete and viola! Your life's misson is complete and you'll be free to do what you like from there."
I laughed. Yes I, Elena Porter, actually laughed at this. "What about Beauxbatons?" I asked.
She looked at me, this time she was confused. "What about it?"
"We've got to go to school! We have to finish seventh year!" I exclaimed.
I was the responsible one. I always had been. Nat was outgoing and witty and charming. And I was quiet and shy and responsible. We balanced each other out. We always had. One of the many reasons we were so believable as twins.
"And we will be finishing seventh year. Just not at Beauxbatons." She grinned at the brilliance of her plan.
"That's..." I shook my head, "That's just crazy, Nat. It's-"
"-So crazy it's brilliant!" she cut acrossed me, "It gives you a whole nine months to work up the courage to tell him, Lena!"
I knew she wasn't going to give this madness up without a fight. But I had to make her understand that there was no way in hell that I could do this. At least not without some major drug usage and I prefer to keep my brain cells thank you very much.
"Natty," I whispered, feeling small all of the sudden, "I can't."
"Yes," She told me, "Yes you can!"
"No, Nat. I really can't. I'm not you."
"So?" She said waving this away, "You're my sister."
"Yeah but not genetically. I don't have an ounce of that Porter charm or bravery that you've got."
"Psh," She waved this away too,"Genetics-Schmetics. You don't need any Porter bravery. You're his sister. There has to be a little bit of non-cowardly lion in your gene pool!"
She did have a point.
Compared to my biological sibling, Nat had nothing. Maybe I did have a bit of it in me some where in me. Maybe the gene pool hadn't totally failed me in the courage department.
Nope. That same pessimistic voice from a month and a half ago informed me. He took it all. You got zip.
Perfect. Just what I needed. As if I didn't have enough to deal with, now I'm hearing a voice. That's a real self-esteem booster.
But I knew that my best friend would bug me until I went and, seeing as she's also my adoptive sister, she could be bugging me for a long, long time.
I sighed in defeat. "We'll see."
"YES!" she burst.
"That's not a yes!"
"No. But it will be!" She kissed my cheek, "Don't worry, Len. It'll be absolutely brilliant!" And with one last squeeze she danced out of my room in a fashion that would break any ballerina's heart.
Psh, yeah. I thought. Easy for her to say.
(So there's the first Chapter. Have you figured it out yet? Tell me what you think by REVIEWING!)
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