Despite the cold, the flowers of the Luma Apiculata shrubbery growing in the greenhouse were blooming perfectly, this year.
She put a bit more of the special soil in the flower pot and made sure the plant was comfortable.
After all, she had always been an expert in Herbology, sometimes even surpassing some of the Hogwarts’ teacher’s skills as a student there, many, many years ago.
Time was becoming quite heavy on her, now. And frighteningly swift, though.
First, to grow up – study, have fun, learn, discover, laugh, cry.
Then, love, marriage, children.
And now a grandchild.
Nothing as she could have ever imagined.
A shame on her family name.
On her blood.
The woman sighed.
Well, the child was a witch, no doubt about that! Those outrageous pigtails changing from pine green to sparkling red were a rather visible way of showing it!
On the inside, Druella Black half-smiled.
On the outside, her blonde-hair-turning-to-grey just got a little brighter and yes, a golden shimmering could be seen once in a while, revealing with no mistake from where the child inherited that precise characteristic.
She enjoyed the sun on her face for a few minutes.
Having no worries was relieving. Even if it was for just brief moments.
Her life had been full, but not quite as plain and predictable as she desired it to be.
She had given birth to three perfect jewels, three brilliant stars of the purest lineages of all times before and after.
Two of them kept the family pride, and enhanced it, making valuable matches.
But one of them...
Dromeda chose love for a useless muggle-born over the brightness of family values, of social pride and consideration.
In vain she pleaded.
In vain she hated.
In vain she cried.
No means could ever have changed Andromeda’s mind, nor – as she called it – her “feelings”.
She had to be punished – her name was scorched in the family tree, and she would be banished from her loved ones for eternity.
And still she kept on her convictions.
How could she ever forgive that?
How could ever she forgive her daughter, her own kin, the child she secretly loved the most?
How could she act otherwise, when her position serenely told her that was the best choice, though something deep inside her yelled “Forgive!”, “Love!”, “Forget!”.
She chose the logical path, of course.
However, a grandchild carries the family blood – though bitterly spoiled
now – to the next generation, and that child could not be kept away.
If only Bella would have decided to have children!
Nothing could be more perfect to a union between Blacks and Lestranges than a child with both untainted bloods.
But no child would come.
-“Grandma, look! A “lellow” butterfly!” – the child spoke excited, in her naive tone.
“Grandma”. She could get used to it.
They both ran after the “lellow” butterfly as it was touring around the ancient garden of the family manor.
-“Would you like some hot chocolate, dear?” – Druella asked, after a warming race on the cold sunny afternoon. Something inside her treasured that new emotion the child brought her. Or was it only the festive season?
-“Yes, please, it’s my favourite!”.
It was her favourite too.
As if that thing inside her screamed once again.
As if she was not looking anymore at her grandchild, but to a mirror image of herself, a long time ago, a reflection of her past running and jumping and giggling and laughing in her garden, just as she had done once.
She could see it plainly.
And she rather liked it.
In no time, they were by the generous fireplace, sitting on the carpet, sharing a warm blanket, having a cup of hot chocolate and fresh from the oven cinnamon cookies.
They were her favourite, also.
They chatted the rest of the afternoon about all sorts of silly things, such as the sparkling angels on the Christmas tree, music boxes with sad pale ballerinas or forests where flower fairies with dragonfly wings dwelled, they played with cookies and told gingerbread men stories, taught Christmas songs to each other and invented a few more, guessed secrets inside the boxes under the tree.
When finally tired, Nymphadora felt asleep on her lap, and Druella had the time to fix the flames in the fireplace and to think of an afternoon very much like that one, many years ago.
When she herself was about her grandchild’s age, when she had a grandmother to spend happy endless hours with her in a cold Christmas afternoon, chasing “lellow” butterflies and telling gingerbread men tales, when she could sleep on her grandmother’s lap.
When she believed Christmas WAS magic, even though she lived in a world already filled with Magic.
As a child, she was not aware of all the prejudice that blackened people’s souls and troubled people’s minds as when she started to think as an adult.
Since she had to do it, forced by her own kind.
Her grandmother had different opinions, but then again, she didn’t stay much time to make them worth, or even noticed.
Her grandmother, for a while, was her light in so black a family. And by then she didn´t even know she would become a Black herself!
After she became a Black, everything she saw and everything she believed in was different, it was stronger, deeper, because that was the way of the people she dwelled with in her new life.
Before becoming a Black, she had just a black soul, and black feelings, and black words, and black deeds.
But there was something before those times that yearned to linger outside. For a while, she let it, but then reason, the death of her beloved grandmother or what ever grounds she stand upon, caused that feeling to hide behind black walls.
Maybe things could have been different with her life, if...
Maybe things still had a chance to be different.
As she looked at the child sleeping on her arms, she could not see the blood, the prejudice, the hate.
She saw Innocence.
She saw Love.
She saw herself when she could love freely and unbound.