Chapter 3 : Flashbacks
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Chapter 3~ Flashbacks
The morning of August tenth had not been one I'd been particularly eager to reach. The reason being that it was the day I would have to attend a triple funeral for three people I loved dearly.
My Uncle Ted Tonks. My cousin, Nyphadora Tonks-Lupin. And her husband, my Uncle Remus Lupin.
Three people I loved most in the world who were never coming back.
Uncle Ted was my (adoptive) mother's big brother. He introduced my parents when he and my dad were mates at school. At the time he'd had no idea that his little sister and his best friend were falling for each other.
Dora had been my all time, absolute favorite cousin. I'd been maid of honor at her wedding and I was godmother to her infant son.
And Remus... well, Remus had been a Marauder.
The Marauders were four, infinitely cool and remarkably intelligent teenage boys, who were close as brothers, illegal animagi, and fancied themselves expert pranksters.
My real father, James, had been one of them. He and his best friend, my Uncle Sirius, had been the ringleaders in fact. They were the two coolest blokes at Hogwarts, according to Uncle Remus.
The other two were Uncle Remus and a boy named Peter Pettigrew.
I'd met all four of them.
James, being my dad, was the inevitable one.
But the other three were known to me as well.
After his escape from Azkaban and proved innocence, I visited Sirius at his house alot. He told me stories about my parents and gave me a small photo album of pictures that he'd saved (which I had him shrink for me and keep safely tucked in my purse with me at all times). He'd been more than eager to tell me about his encounters with my brother. He told me similarities we had and similarities our parents had shared.
He marveled at my features. Saying they looked identical to my mother, right down to the emerald eyes. The only thing different, he told me, was my raven black colored hair. That was my father, appearantly.
His death in the Department of Mysteries hit me hard. It was unbearable. I sat at his funeral with Aunt Andromeda and Uncle Remus, balling my eyes out the whole way.
For a while I blamed the brother I'd never known. If he hadn't been so hasty Sirius could've lived. But the old man and Remus quickly snuffed this out. They wouldn't let me meet him but they wouldn't let me hate him either. They insisted it wasn't his fault. He acted how anyone would've and it was Sirius's decision to go and fight.
At first, this made me even more angry. So it was Sirius's fault that he died? I was furious with them. I didn't talk to Uncle Remus for a month and a half.
But then I finally redirected my boiling anger and hate in the proper direction. Bellatrix Lestrange. I loathed her and was exultant when I heard she'd been killed during the final battle.
I have no recollection of Peter but I know that I met him once or twice.
He'd been my parents' Secret Keeper. So he'd come to see us. My parents, brother and I before he gave away our whereabouts away to Voldemort. Before he betrayed them.
I heard that he rejoined the Dark Lord after Sirius found him. Forced him to reveal himself in the Shrieking Shack. But for some inexplicable reason he never outed me to his master (or my brother for that matter).
If he had, there was no doubt in my (or the old man's) mind that I'd have been dead long ago. Used as leverage or bait or something worse. And Peter would've been an even more highly valued servant to Voldemort.
But for some reason, he didn't tell.
Maybe he thought Voldemort already knew about the Chosen One's little infant sister.The baby girl sleeping down the hall, unaware that a sinister hooded figure was murdering her parents and destroying the comfortable life she was supposed to have enjoyed.
My parents had kept me a pretty big secret though, so even Peter had to have realized Voldemort didn't know about my existence. He was already after my one year old brother, no way were my parents going to have him discovering me. Perhaps he assumed that his master found me there and simply killed me with my parents or that I died in the explosion. Or starved in the rubble of that little cottage in Godric's Hallow.
Maybe he was thick enough to forget about me completely.
Or maybe, just maybe, he actually felt an ounce of remorse when he betrayed my parents and hoped to gain forgiveness or something by protecting at least one of the Potter secrets.
But anyway, whatever Peter's issue was, I heard he died at Voldemorts headquarters. What he did to get the old Avada Kedavra, I haven't a clue. In anycase, the coward was dead. Murdered by the very people he'd idolized.
This made my godfather, Uncle Remus, the last of the infamous Marauders.
Remus was the only Marauder I'd known my entire life. He was the one I was closest to. A definite father figure. Just as present in that respect as my adoptive dad was.
While Uncle Sirius was locked up and Peter was playing house rat, Remus visited me every week (except of course, full moons) at my adoptive home until I went off to Beauxbatons. Then he wrote me all the time.
For the majority of my life, my godfather had been the only real link I'd had to who I was. My real identity. News of his death had buried me under a mountain of pain.
Mixed with the grief over Uncle Ted and Dora. Not to mention the empathy and remorse I felt for my newly orphaned infant godson, Teddy. And the added stress of my secret wieghing down on me, forcing an intense inward debate. The past month few months had been unbearable.
So this day had been horrific from the start.
.... "Why can't I go? Give me one good reason why, for Merlin's sake, can't I go with you?! He's my brother!" I argued for the billionth time.
"I know." Remus sighed in a worn out way, "But Dumbledore gave strict orders-"
"Dumbledore!" I exclaimed in mounting frustration, "Dumbledore! Dumbledore DUMBLEDORE!" I began to pace in a tight circle in front of my tired godfather, "What did Dumbledore know?!"
He chuckled without much humor and opened his mouth to speak, but there was no stopping me in this rant once I got going.
"He shut Sirius away, just like he did to me! And look what happened!" I yelled, not looking to see his expression at my comparison, "Who was he to- to -to deprive me of the only blood relative I've got left?! To keep me- even after his DEATH-!"
Remus winced as I spat the word, but I didn't pause my emotional prattling.
"-away from my big brother?! He wasn't a real authority anyway!" I scoffed, disgustedly, "Headmaster of a school. What kind of superior power is that?! He had absolutely no right to- to-" I felt traitor tears well up in my eyelids. "-to tear us apart after..." I forced myself to swallow and take a deep breath,"Stupid, bloody OLD MAN! He had NO right, no AUTHORITY to force me into hiding all of this time! And now he can't stop me!" I scowled fiercely. "I don't CARE about that foul, evil, slime Voldemort!"
I began swearing profusely in French, which seemed to amuse Remus immensely. Because, of course, he had no clue what I was actually saying. Otherwise I'm sure he wouldn't have let me use such profanity.
And then I burst out again, "I don't care anymore! I DON'T CARE! Let him try to off me!" I laughed shrilly, the laugh of a mad woman. "I've got so much anger built up at this point I'd like to see 'em try! Forget what that blasted pro-" I stopped short.
I'd almost revealed a different secret.
One that not even Remus knew. One that Dumbledore had told me, not long before his death. One that only three other people in the world knew. Three individuals I'd never met.
"Enough, Ellie." Remus said in a low- but firm- voice, "Dumbledore had his reasons."
I scowled once more, with infinitesimal eyes.
"I just thought you could use an update." he told me, "And don't waste your time planning anything for tomorrow. He won't be there."
I felt my lower lip jut out in a pout and continued to glare at the floor. I didn't bother to ask why they weren't waiting for him. I already knew. Instead I mumbled "Fine."
grudgingly. Like a three year old that hadn't gotten their way. That's exactly how I felt.
Remus chuckled, stood, kissed my forehead and told me, "Just be patient, sweetheart. You'll meet Harry eventually."
I didn't look up at his scarred face. "Yeah, easy for you to say." I muttered darkly, "you've already met him. And he isn't even your brother!"
Remus just laughed again, gave my hand a squeeze and left with a, "See you at the wedding"....
"Elena, Lena." a voice cracked through my shell of slumber. "Len, C'mon wake up. We have to get ready."
I sat up, yawned and stretched but there was none of the normal disorientation. I immediately knew what day it was.
I didn't fight things this morning as I normally did. The morning light and I still weren't friends but we'd come to an agreement. Or rather, I'd come to a conclusion. I already knew this day wouldn't be pleasant anyway. No point in making things more difficult.
I got up numbly and walked over to my trunk.
I donned my new black, V-neck dress that stopped just above my knees, emphasizing my long legs. Naphtalie had bought it for me, of course. It was a very dangerous thing for my parents' purse pockets that Nat and I were the exact same size. It had a dark green sash that tied around my slender waist and set my eyes aglow.
Nat's matched mine - of course, Naphtalie loved to match- except for her sash was a sky blue color that sent her eyes sparkling like the Mediterranean on a summer day.
I wobbled in my new heels- that Naphtalie had bought yesterday, with a small black and white checkered pattern on them- over to the mirror and stared at my reflection pensively.
I surveyed my appearance, skeptically. From the rounded toe of my three inch heels (that matched my dress nicely even if I could just barely walk in them) up to the roots of my loose jet black spirals that I pinned back half way in a chior-girl hairstyle.
I carefully applied some eyeliner to my almond shaped eyes and a smidge of clear lip gloss that tingled on my lip and made them look fuller.
Then I pulled out two velvet black boxes. Inside the first was a necklace and inside the second was a ring.
.... "I have something for you." Remus told me, the summer before my third year. His face looked worn, he had several new pink scars on his cheeks. And purple bruises under his eyes.
"Really?" I asked, instantly curious and eager."What is it?"
"Well," he smiled, "it's two things actually. Close your eyes."
"Aw," I groaned. "No fair."
He fixed me with a don't-be-stubborn look.
I sighed. "Alright, fine."
"No peaking," he added in an amused tone.
I opened one eye to give him a mock-glare.
"Eyes closed, Elena Lily Potter." he chastised.
I shut my eyes and heard a rustle as he looked in his bag. Then I felt him place something in my hand, and something else in the other.
I reopened my eyes and saw two small velvet boxes.
He didn't have to tell me twice.
I lifted the lid of the longer one first. It revealed a thin, elegant silver chain. I removed it carefully from the box and saw a heart-shaped emerald dangling from it. Five carrats, at least.
"It was your mum's." He informed me, "Both of them were, actually. Sirius and I helped him pick them out." He said, I heard the smile in his voice but I couldn't take my eyes from the emerald. "That one was for her seventeenth birthday. The first one she had while they were together."
"It's so pretty," I whispered.
He chuckled, a happy youthful sound from a man who'd aged too early. "Open the other."
I felt a swell of emotion and forced myself too take a deep breath because I felt tears springing to my eyes. I swallowed hard, trying to gulp the lump in my throat down, futily. Then I carefully lifted the lid of the second box.
Nestled inside was a ring.
I heard myself gasp again.
I pulled it out gently for further examination. It had a thin sliver band and three clear cut diamonds-two smaller and one big in the middle-and something caught my eye inside of it.
My sharp intake of breath made Remus chuckle again, softly.
The inside was lined with tiny emerals all the way around, except for directly behind the diamonds. There was an engraved message there; To my Doe. Forever yours, Prongs.
"And that, my dear," Remus murmured, "was her engagement ring." ..... I slid the ring onto my right hand and then said, "Hey Nat?"
"Would you mind helping me with this?"
She came out from the bathroom and said, "Sure."
I pulled my hair from my neck as she draped the necklace onto my collarbone. Then she fastened the small clasp at the back. I let my curls back down and she laid her chin on my shoulder.
"You still gonna sing today?" Nat asks me.
I sigh and nod my head. "I said I would. I just hope I don't start to cry in front of everyone and make a fool of myself."
"No one will see it that way." she assured me.
It was a wasted effort. I would see it that way. It would be a sign of weakness if I cried while I was singing. A sign that I wasn't strong enough to handle what was ahead of me.
And that was a very bad thing.
I sucked in some of the cool air, "Natty?"
"You ready?" I asked her, trying to fight the urge to cry here (Thank God I had water-proof makeup).
Naphtalie sighed, "Not even a little bit."
"Uncle Remus, this is my cousin Nymphadora." I beamed.
Dora shot me an exasperated look. "Tonks." She corrected stretching out her hand in friendly gesture.
Remus smiled amusedly. Maybe it was because of our exchange or maybe it was because of the fact that, moments before, Dora had knocked over a strange antique vase of Mrs. Blacks and she was now shouting in the background (even though Dora fixed it).
"SCUM! FILTH! SLIME! INFECTING THE NOBLE HOUSE OF BLACK! BESMIRCHING THE FAMILY NAME!"
"Remus Lupin." He said, taking her hand.
And then, the strangest thing happened.
They both froze for a fraction of a second, staring at their touch hands. And then let go quickly and blushed furiously.
I stared in comfusion.
What was that about?.......
It had to be a Muggle funeral, of course.
All of the Tonk's- except for Uncle Ted, Aunt Dromeda and Dora- were Muggles. Meaning most of them were oblivious to all things magic. And my Aunt and mother prefered to keep it that way.
Which is the reason Teddy had to wear a hat, that he promptly threw off whenever he got the chance.
I sighed, yet again and picked the baby's cap off the ground.
Of course, since I was the godmother, he was immediately passed to me the moment Naphtalie and I arrived so that my mother and aunt could accept condolences from guests and be up by the caskets.
I couldn't bring myself to go up there yet. To even look at the still, lifeless faces of three people I loved most. The service hadn't started yet, so I stayed in the back.
Naphtalie had been directed to prepare my aunt's house and yard for after the service and she had exasperatedly disapperated on the spot, muttering to herself. She assured me that she'd be back in time to hold my hand during the service and keep me calm before I had to sing.
Teddy hiccuped, as I placed the small hat over his - at the moment- midnight blue tuft of hair, once more. It had been a long morning already.
.... "Are you ready?" I asked the lovely redhead in front of me.
Her eyes blazed a strangely enchanting violet color. Her nose was a smaller version of my brother Jacob's. She had high cheekbones and elegant bonestructure all together. Her flowing white dress was strapless and her delicate shoulders and collarbone just added to her all arond elegance. She was positively glowing.
She inhaled deeply, "More than ready." she grinned.
"I bet." I grinned at her. " 'S about time you made an honest man out of Uncle Remus."
Dora laughed happily, "Are you still going to call him Uncle Remus when he's your cousin-in-law?" She asked.
I stuck my chin out, "Yes. Are you still going to make everyone call you Tonks instead of Nymphadora when you're a Lupin?"
She laughed again. A tinkling bell of a laugh. "Yes."
"Well, that's it then." I grinned.
"I'm glad I have you for a baby cousin, Ellie." she told me, using the name for me that was so seldom anymore. She began to get choaked up, a rare occurance for Dora. Her voice even broke a couple times. "Really, really glad."
Tears sprung up in my eyes too. "I'm glad I got you for a big cousin, Dee."
She laughed through her tears, "Why are you crying?!"
"I dunno! Why are you crying?!"
We laughed together again and she pulled me into a vise tight hug.
"Lena! Dee! It's time!" Naphtalie hissed from her look out spot by the window. And then we heard her run down the stairs in her heels.
"Love you, Lena Lily." She told my tearfully with another hug.
"I love you too, Dee."......
"Hey stranger." a familiar, husky, bass voice said behind me.
I turned, knowing who it was already.
Smiling empathetically at me was a tall, devistatingly handsome young man with familiar blue eyes, swoon-worthy dimples and a strong jaw. His curly black hair matched his suit and his nose was a larger version of little Teddy's.
"Hey Jake," I greeted him, returning the half-hearted smile. I hitched my godson slightly up my hip, where he was slipping and went to go hug my adoptive big brother, giving him a peck on each cheek.
"How're you holding up?" he asked me softly.
I inhaled deeply and exhaled in a huff, "I've definitely been better. How 'bout you?"
He just shook his head sullenly, causing a few curly tendrils to fall onto his forehead. Then after a moment he asked gustily, "You ready to sing?"
I laughed without humor and echoed the answer Naphtalie had given me that morning, "Not even a little bit."
He nodded, understandingly.
"You ready to play?" I asked him, "Where's your guitar?"
He sighed. "It's over there."
He pointed to a small platform at the front near my aunt and parents where a podium stood. A little farther back on it I spotted a stool and his familiar black leather guitar case. I remembered how expensive it had been and how he'd begged my parents for it after recieving the guitar from Muggle relatives for his birthday.
I sighed again and nodded. "Is it bad that I'm already dead tired and it hasn't even started yet?"
His answering laugh wasn't the usual mirth filled bark he normally had. It left a bitter after taste. "It's going to be a long day."
"Tell me about it." I agreed, "These shoes Nat picked out are killing me and I haven't even been wearing them for two hours yet."
Jake laughed once again, a..... not quite happy laugh, but not nearly as bitter as before. "Where is our dear little sister anyway?"
"At Aunt 'Dromeda's." I answered, "Mum sent her to get it ready. She should be back any second though."
He grinned but it didn't reach his eyes, "Been using magic for everything, has she?"
I sighed, "Yep. For the past five days, she's refused to even pick anything up by herself."
..."What happened there?" I asked curiously looking at a spot of the kitchen floor in Grimmwald Place wher ethe wood was chipped here and ther. I was sure it hadn't been there a week and a half ago on my last visit.
"Broken dishes." Dora answered.
"Did you trip again?" I laughed.
"No!" She exclaimed indignantly. "The Weasleys- you remember me talking about the Weasleys right?"
"The redhead family."
"Yes. That's them." She nodded. "They have the twins, Fred and George-"
"Mmhmm. And they just turned seventeen. So they refuse to do anything without magic."
"Oh lord! That must be fun." I laughed.
"Oh yes," she rolled her eyes, "loads. It's preparing me though, I s'pose."
"You and Naphtalie."
I laughed, "No. Nat'll be the lazy one not me!" I insisted.
She laughed, "True."
"So isn't this house supposed to be full? I thought that-"
"They're all out for the day." She answered before I could finish. She knew what I was asking and she knew my motives. "The Weasley's have gone off somewhere or other. And Harry's trail is today."
She heard my sharp in-take and nodded sypathetically.
I'd completely forgotten that his trial was today. I'd been so worried all this time but now that it was here I'd forgotten. He'd be either expelled- in which case he'd most likely live here. Or he'd be allowed to go back to school. I just prayed he got the result he wanted. Either way I didn't get to meet him.
And that's when the kitchen door swung open. I whipped around to see both Uncle Sirius and Uncle Remus standing there grinning at me.
Just as we laughed a voice from behind said, "Hey look who I found."
We turned to see Nat tugging a tall bloke Jake's age behind her. Like Jacob he wore a suit and tie, his hair was dark with the same kind of red tint mine got in the sunlight. It was straight and he'd put gel in it, spiking it in a way only he could pull off without looking sloppy or ignorant. And his eyes, deep and dark. Fathomless pools that I'd fallen into so many times.
Which, of course, was one of the reasons she'd dragged him over to us. That, and he was Jacob's best friend.
"Hey Aidan." Jake said as they approached us. He didn't see the scorching look I was shooting our sister as she smirked in my direction.
Naphtalie was the only person I'd ever revealed my hopeless love for Aidan Vance to. I had no secrets from her. And I was regretting that decision.
Because Naphtalie didn't seem to grasp the reason I wanted to keep my infatuation private. She thought Aidan and I were perfect for each other and, in her mind, there was nothing keeping us from being a couple. But you can't just date your big brother's best friend. It's off limits. An unspoken rule of being a sibling. No dating each other's friends.
And it is even worse to date the bloke you've known and loved for ages if you have a fairly large secret you're keeping from him. Especially if that secret involves your identity. Your genetic code, itself. The very cells that make you, yourself.
You just can't do that to the guy. Most especially, when he's already off limits to begin with because he's your adoptive older brother's best friend.
But Nat wasn't buying it. She kept arguing that we'd known him forever (since he's our neighbor and all) and that he was fair game. So she constantly seized any chance to throw us together that she could think of. Lucky for me though (Well, sort of), we went to seperate schools. Aidan attended Hogwarts.
"Hiya guys. How're you doing?" He directed the question at me, which thrilled Naphtalie.
I shrugged and picked Teddy's hat off the ground again. When I straightened back up, he was directly in front of me. He smiled affectionately. But the tenderness in those smoldering eyes wasn't for me. He was looking at my small godson.
There was a faint sadness in his topaz eyes and it was in his voice too, as he said, "Hi Teddy."
The tiny boy cooed and reached his chubby arm out to Aidan, curiously.
Aidan took his small out stretched hand into his own giant one and bounced it gently. He was always great with kids.
"You want to hold him?" I asked politely, ignoring Nat's smug smile.
"Um, yeah. Sure," He told me uncertainly.
And, as I passed my godson over to my object of lust, a deep voice said, "Oh well that's dangerous."
Aidan and Naphtalie turned and Jake and I looked passed them. Two very tall redhead young men and a shorter black one with dreads stood before us, smiling taintedly. It seemed no one could escape the sadness today. Recognition flashed in both my brother's and my love interest's eyes.
"George! Lee! How are you?" Aidan and Jake both greeted them. Jake shook hands with them both and Aidan attempted a quick handshake while holding onto Teddy.
"Been better, mates. Been better." The redhead they'd acknowledged replied solemly. "This here is my brother, Percy." He motioned to the other redhead beside him. "Perce, this is Aidan Vance -Emmeline's grandson. And that's Jake Porter."
Aidan and Jake shook hands with the one called Percy. "Pleased to meet you." he mumbled, solemly.
Naphtalie cleared her throat, impatiently. Waiting to be introduced.
All five of them looked at us now.
"Oh sorry," Jake realized what she wanted. "These are my younger sisters. That's Naphtalie and that's Elena. Nat. Lena. This is George and Percy and that's Lee."
"Nice to meet you." Nat said as we shook hands with the three of them.
"Are you two-?"
"Twins?" Naphtalie finished, "Yeah. We are."
All five of them tensed.
I guessed that the one called George hadn't been about to ask the inevitable question. Strange. Something about this had made them all wary. Four pairs of eyes had darted to George. His sort half-smile was frozen and there was tight pain deep in his eyes.
I cleared my throat awkwardly. "Um.. so which one of them did you know?" I jerked my head subtly towards the caskets holding two of my uncles and my very dear cousin.
All of us seemed to look down at the floor. As if the answers to life and death laid in the stiff fibers of the carpet.
Intriguing George answered, "We knew all three. But 'specially Tonks and Professor Lupin."
It was odd to hear them called that. I knew that Dora had everyone not related to her call her Tonks of course. And I also knew that Uncle Remus had taught at Hogwarts for a year (before some vile individual let slip about his secret). But to hear them called by names other than Dora and Remus was sort of surreal.
"So you went to Hogwarts too then?"
"Yeah," Lee answered this time. "Lupin was the best Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher we ever had."
"Not very hard though," Aidan smiled crookedly. "All of our others were complete nutters."
We all laughed softly.
"How'd you know them?" Percy asked curiously.
Naphtalie answered, "Ted was our uncle, Dora was our cousin and Remus, of course was Dora's husband." She told them, thankfully leaving out the part about Remus being a Marauder. I nearly sighed aloud I was so relieved. But then she added, "And Lena is Teddy's godmother." She nudged her head slightly in my direction.
All three pairs of eyebrows shot up in surprise as they looked at me.
I blushed, of course.
"Really?" George said, voice burning with curiousity. "You know who Teddy's godfather is right?"
"Yes." I turned even redder. I could feel my cheeks on fire. "I heard Dora and Un- I mean, Remus," the name rolled off uncertainly, "made m- I mean, Harry Potter the godfather." I'd almost said 'my brother'. Thankfully I caught myself in time. It was too easy to slip when I'd been with Nat all summer. I could talk freely when it was just us and-when I got back out into the world- I sometimes forgot.
"Yeah. Harry's dad was one of Remus's best friends."
My lips twitched at the corners. I couldn't help myself. The irony was too much sometimes. The fact that someone actually felt the need to tell me this. Me, of all people!
Harry's dad. My dad.
"I know." I told him.
Their eyebrows shot up again.
"R-Remus mentioned it before." I scrambled to explain.
They nodded, seeming to accept my answer.
And then the music started and I spotted my mother. She was up front and searching the faces. She had that look that she got. The one when she was looking for one of her children. Or all of them.
"C'mon," I muttered, "We'd better get up there."
And so the three of us made our way through the crowded room. Up to the front to sit and grieve with our family. My stomach trembled as I thought about singing, as I thought about my tearducts and wondered if they'd save the water works for after the service.
And then, something happened. Something that I'd been waiting anxiously for since November 7, 1981.
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