Chapter 4 : First Sight
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Chapter 4~ First Sight
I don't know how I didn't see him before.
He was right there through the whole service. Sitting across and back two isles amoung a sea of redheads. So easily spotted.
Yet I didn't see him.
I sat on the end of the front isle and my mind wandered as a wizard I didn't know spoke. I only tuned back in when Aunt Andromeda stood to speak and handed a slumbering Teddy to me.
My godson sighed subconciously and wrapped his chubby little arms around my neck. I gazed tenderly down at his little face for a moment, so peacful and serene and innocent. I found my eyes welling up with tears as a fault line in my chest rippled.
And then my Aunt began to speak, "I met Ted when I was eleven." She began, "We'd both been sent to a very respected school and we were both dead nervous." She took a moment, inhaled deeply and continued, "Over the years we argued and annoyed eachother, until finally -at the end of our sixth year- he came up and kissed me. Right on the mouth." Tears began to roll down her cheeks and she swallowed hard. "All summer-All summer I thought about that kiss. I-I debated and agonized over how much my family would disapprove of the match and- and realized by the end that I didn't -I didn't care." Her voice broke and the stream of tears got faster.
"We got married and my family promptly disowned me. But I had the most w-wonderful, devoted, gentle man in the world. It was bittersweet but much more sw-sweet." A sob escaped her and my mother rushed to comfort her.
She cried for a moment or two and I felt the throbbing in my chest get worse. I was crying harder now and each drop fell onto my tiny godson. But I, like my aunt was powerless to stop the tears.
Then with a shudder, my aunt lifted her head, wiped her eyes and pushed on with her speech. "Not long after, I-I was pr-pregnant with our little Ny-Nymphadora." She sobbed and forced herself to inhale. "She was a special child. So special. She c-coo-could light up any room and make anyone smile. She was bright and t-talented and -and ...." She took another second to cry, "She was our wh-whole world."
And then a young woman stepped forward. She had long chocolate brown hair that was shockingly perfect, her eyes were a pretty light hazel green and three pink lines had appeared acrossed her pretty face.
Jane. I realized with a jolt.
Jane Friedman was Dora's best friend from Hogwarts. They'd been practically inseperable. Every summer Jane was over at her Aunt and Uncle's house. They'd braid my sister's and my hair and make theirs look the same, they'd dress the two of us in cute outfits and they'd teach us all their Quidditch moves.
When they graduated they went out to lunch twice a week, talked everyday and spent the weekends with eachother. Except when Dora was on a mission. She'd been the matron of honor at the wedding, she'd married her long time boyfriend, Ben Gallagher a year before Dora and Remus were married. Just as Ben had been promoted at his job as an Auror. Jane had gone into Magical Law but I'd heard that when the Ministry was taken over she left and joined the Order.
I realized, belatedly, that the pink lines were battle scars. And that they were from a werewolf. And not the good kind like Remus. A shiver ran down my spine.
She stepped up and hugged my aunt tightly, whispering somethign in her ear very subtly through unmoving lips. And then, as my mother took my crying aunt' back to her seat, Jane truned to the rest of us.
"Dora was my very best friend. We met on the train and she entertained me with her quirky sense of humor and all of her... other talents." Her eyes sparked as she said this and she adopted a sad reminscent smile. Some wizards and witches who obviously knew what she meant chuckled. Then she inhaled and continued, "I'd never met anyone like her. "
This was another inside joke of sorts. Jane was Muggle-born. She'd had no clue magic existed much less that there was such a kind of person like a metamorphamagus.
"We were both thrilled to be put in the same house at school. And we were practically joined at the hip for seven years. I went over to her house every summer and soon became just another member of her very welcoming family." Her eyes flickered tearfully to our row. "She was my sister in every way but blood. And that never matter to either of us."
How well I knew that feeling.
"She was the best listener, the most entertaining, clumsy and brave girl I'd ever m-me-met." She was beginning to come apart. I could see her ripping at the seams. "Wh-When we left school, she b-became the youngest Auror at the Ministry and I went into L-law. She always said I was too nice for it and I always t-told her she was too clumsy for hers." She smiled through her now free flowing tears. "W-we saw each other all of the time and when I-I g-got engage....she was the first one I told." Her voice broke and her lovely but scared face twisted in pain.
I realized my expression was a mirror to hers. I was crying silently but heavy all the same. It surprised me that Teddy hadn't woken up yet.
"She-She was my maid of honor, of course." Jane pushed on, "And then she finally told me." She stopped to take a deep breath. "She told me about her hopeless love for a man that her little cousin, Elena," Her tear filled eyes found me, "had introduced her to a few years before."
Several people close enough looked at me. I didn't meet any of their gazes. If I had, I probably would've seen him. But I didn't. I simply looked down at Teddy while my tear stained cheeks burned.
"Lena, her twin Naphtalie and I plotted and scemed and tried everything to throw them together. But we weren't successful." Jane smiled at this and several people chuckled half-heartedly. "Finally, one day, I got and owl f-from m-my gorgeous, radiant, live-lively best friend saying Remus had finally given in and they were together." A sob escaped her at the end. She paused for a moment as the tears gushed. "Not long after, they were married. A-and m-my best friend was the happiest woman in the darkest of t-times." Her tears slapped softly against the podium and her eye once again traveled my way.
But she wasn't looking at me now. She was gazing in pain with Teddy.
"She c-c-called m-me th-the moment she found out she was p-pr-pregnant. And we were ecstatic. W-we t-talked all night about....about our future." she said that part wtih a broken voice. Pain rang in every word.
My heart throbbed. The fat water droplets refused to relent and I kissed Teddy on the forehead. It wrinkled at my kiss as he slept and then, after a moment, smoothed into serenity once more.
I could hear my mother and aunt crying. I could hear people sniffling and sobbing. I even heard some blow their noses a few times. Mine had, thankfully, not turned into a fawcet like my eyes had.
"She- she promised to make me the g-go-godmother of her s-sec-second b-baby." She keened agonizingly and then continued with a sniff, "Because Lena-as the one who'd introduced them- was to be Te-Teddy's." Her eyes found me again and we shared a miserable look. "I-I never thought m-my best friend, my sister would be taken from me so-so forcefully. She was so strong. I never thought my ... nephew?"
The word fell off her tongue uncertainly and Aunt Andromeda gave her a watery nod. Confirming that this was the right term.
Her voice was rough with even more emotion when she continued, "would be.. parentless. I lo-loved Dora and Remus and my second father, Ted. And I p-plan t-to celebrate their life." A sob escaped her, it came from deep in her chest. From her broken heart. Out of her strugglingm lungs. She swallowed painfully and said, "And to tell that baby boy how wonderful his mummy was."
She was finished. Her composure had gone completely, washed away with the waves of pain. Ben rushed to her side and pulled her back down to their seats right behind me.
Then it was my turn. I'd insisted.
It had been the first thing I'd said when Aunt 'Dromeda had asked me to sing. I would sing, yes, but I would talk first. I hadn't told my parents and my brother. I'd only told Naphtalie. She'd approved.
But I wouldn't be saying much. I wouldn't give anything vital away. I'd only say what I needed.
I shifted to hand little Teddy to my sister and stood. With possibly the largest breath I've taken in my life, I straightened out my dress and wiped the tears from my face. I threw my shoulders back and moved numbly up to the podium. My legs felt like jelly.
And then, as I turned to face everyone, I spotted him.
It felt like I'd been punched in the stomach. All the air in my stomach seemed to rush to my chest where my swollen heart had began a frantic sprint. My face had frozen, my jaw was slack.
He was looking right at me.
I vaguely realized that the sea of redheads was the Weasley clan I'd heard so much about and that he had his arm around the very pretty girl... What was her name again? His forehead was wrinkled in confusion as he stared directly back into my identical sad emeralds.
Did he see it? Did he realize?
Of course not. And annoying voice told me. He thinks he's an only child.
I'd waited so long to lock gazes with my big brother. My real big brother. My own flesh and blood. Genetically tied to my heart for eternity.
I'd scemed and plotted and daydreamed a million times about staring directly into his eyes. The only other set of eyes like mine in the world. It had been nothign more than a fantasy for ages. Years.
It was so surreal to actually be living the experiance. Subconciously, I'd doubted it would ever happen. I hadn't believed that I'd ever stare at him in person. I'd only ever stared at him in pictures.
But this was not a picture. This was real.
Harry Potter. My Harry. My big brother, Harry James Potter was sitting right in front of me. How had I not noticed him there before?
I was staring, transfixed at him. And he was staring back.
I could see the purple bruises under his ancient eyes. I could see the tuft of hair that was sticking up in the back of his head. I could see he looked pale and worn. Like he hadn't slept soundly in a very long time. I could see him.
And he could see me. From my slightly swollen eyes to my aching feet.
I was only snapped out of my trance when someone cleared their throat loudly. My head whipped over to see Naphtalie giving me a worried look as she rocked my no longer sleeping godson. She obviously hadn't seen him either.
I regained my composure and gave her a reassuring look.
"Hi." I opened shakily, "my name is Elena... Porter." I hesitated at the name. Never had it rolled off that unwillingly. I hardly ever hesitated at my surname.
But seeing Harry for the first time had caused something strange to happen.
It was like something in my chest clicked into place. Or I should say clicked back into place. Re-clicked.
I felt more like Elena Lily Potter than I ever had. And suddenly Elena Lily Vera Porter had seemed to slip into the back seat. The Potter girl pushed her way to the front of my head and reclaimed her territory.
Turns out Elena Potter was more forceful than Elena Porter ever was.
A rush of bravery washed up on me and suddenly I wasn't afraid to reveal too much anymore. The feeling nearly intoxicated me.
"I was... am Ted's niece, Dora's little cousin and Remus's... goddaughter." I saw Naphtalie's eyebrows shoot up.
She hadn't expected me to say it. A half-sad, half proud sort of smile brushed gently acrossed her lips.
I knew that if she had any idea what had cause this sudden burst of confidence she'd be even more proud. If she knew who was sitting acrossed the isle and three rows back with a very new expensive looking suit on she'd be glowing with pride.
She always wanted me to be bold. And this was about as bold as I got. Potter or not this was my limit.
"All my life Ted was the fun uncle that tore the mickey out of me to show his love. Teasing me relentlessly about my shyness and my tendancy to trip of my own two feet." Several people chuckled at this and I smiled a watery smile. "Dee, who many of you knew as Tonks, was like my big sister rather than my cousin. She braided my hair as she gave- as she gave me tips on boys. And- and- an..." I had to take a breath, "And I'd groan and- and te-tell h-her that the thing she was tugging at was called hair and it was attatched."
More soft chuckles.
I sighed wearily, "And Remus was like another father to me." I didn't say 'second father' because I already had two for Merlin's sake. "He would put up with my rants and -and my impatience." I smiled to myself, thinking of all the times I'd whined about not getting to meet the very person that I felt staring at me so intently now. "I wasn't an easy- an easy little girl to deal with. Ask my parents."
Another round of soft subdued laughter.
"I was stubborn and indecisive and I talkedhis ear off alot. But he was patient and kind and guided me through the tough times with subtle, gentle hands. He never lost his temper with me, no matter how bad I behaved, no matter how much trouble I- ...how much t-trouble I gave him." I paused to fight back the tears that had begun to form again. "He always had chocolate for me, which made me love him even more," I stopped for the quiet laughter to subside, "And- and he-he was alway willing to tell me stories of his younger years."
I looked over, through my tears, at the blurry casket holding the last Marauder, remembering all of the stories he'd told me about my real parents and all the adventure he and the other three Marauders had taken. How much trouble and mischief and choas they'd caused. And all of the times he'd told them. Over and over again. I felt a drop of water slide down my cheek silently.
"No matter how many times I made him tell it." I murmured softly.
Pain rippled in my chest.
I suddenly wanted to yank my heels off, fling them acrossed the room and run out. I wanted to find some deep dark hole and fall down into it where I could curl myself into a miserable ball and let the sobs rip free. I wanted to keen and cry all day and all night.
I wanted to forget about my brother and what was lying before me and just retreat within my own agony. To grieve alone. Somewhere, where not even Naphtalie could find me. Completely isolated from the rest of the world. I wanted to feel the waves of pain, excruciating and hostile, crash over me.
At the same time I wanted to run. Just run forever. To let my heart explode with the loss and make my brain shut down for once.
But I couldn't. I couldn't because I was currently standing in front of a boat load of people, staring directly at me. Waiting for me to speak or breakdown. And I refused to have a mental and physical meltdown in front of all these people. Especially when one of them was my oblivious, long-lost, older brother.
Swallowing hard, I pushed on. I wasn't done yet. "When I excitiedly introduced my favorite big cousin to my beloved-to my beloved godfather, I had no idea that they would end up falling for each other. I had no idea that I- that I wasn't the only stubborn one and that Remus would resist my gorgeous, amazing, incredible cousin as long as he did. And I had no idea they'd end up married with a baby."
I had to stop for another minute. Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale. I met Nat's eye and she urged me on with one look. Strange how she could do that even though we weren't really twins.
"In the-in the last weeks of- in the last weeks of their lives, I saw Dora and Remus and how happy they were together. In the darkest of times they-they both radiated warmth and life and family. They-they played with little Teddy and-and stole kisses when they thought I- when they thought I wasn't looking, " My voice broke. "I wi- wish I'd've appreciated these moments of their life more and- and showed them how much I loved each of them."
I had to pause for another moment and force myself to breathe.
"When I needed to be cheered up, I went to Uncle Ted. When I needed girl talk and advice from someone-" I was going to lose it, a sob was trying to break through. I knew they could hear it in my broken voice. "When I needed advice I-I went to Dora." I keened at the end of the sentence. I couldn't help it. It slipped through my control. "And I went- I went to my Uncle R-Remus for everything. He-he was a rock that-that I always had t-to... that I always had to hold on to. He w-was m-my shoulder to cry on and my ear to rant to...."
I met the pair of confused and sad eyes I'd begged to be allowed to see for years. I blinked and the tears fell, sloping over my eyelids and down my cheeks.
"I hope they knew how much they were loved. I hope they knew how special they were. And-and I hope they knew that their d-death," I shuddered at the word, " will leave a unfillable void in so many lives."
Jake was at my side in an instant. He pulled me into him and cradled me as I finally let single a sob rip it's way through me. He kissed the top of my head in the way only a big brother can but he didn't try to console me with words. Because he knew there were none.
(So there is the fourth chapter. My intention was to have her sing after this as people came up to the caskets and said goodbye. And I was going to put the lyrics to the song and everything but I decided this was a good place to stop. It was sort of depressing me.
So what do you think so far? Good? Bad? Should I keep it or abandon it? REVIEW!
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