Chapter 1 : A visit too late
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The mist hung low in the morning air, and the trees stood tall, unmoving. There was no wind, but that did not stop it from being cold. You couldn’t have an English autumn without the freezing temperatures. But despite the weather, someone was out.
She had decided to brave the cold. She had decided to put in the effort, and walk through the morning fog, with limited vision. Because she didn’t care. The cold did her no harm. She was on a mission with simply one mind-set, and nothing was getting in the way.
The leaves crunched beneath her feet as she walked. Along with her ragged breathing it was the only sound to be heard. For where the chirping birds should perch, there was nothing. But then again that was not uncommon, as there were never any birds anymore. At least not in this place.
The woman began to slow her strides across the park, and her steps finally came to a halt some 10 metres later, right next to an old abandoned playground. She stood there for a while, opening her mouth a few times but closing it abruptly unsure of how to proceed. After standing in the cold for nearly 10 minutes, she found her voice.
“Hello Bella” she said clearly. “Or should I call you Bellatrix? Do you feel that would be more appropriate?” she asked the silence. She hesitated for a moment, pondering the question before continuing.
“No. I think Bella will do.”
Nervously, the woman shifted her weight from on foot to the other, and moved her head to look directly at the set of swings.
“I don’t know exactly why I came here. You weren’t buried here or anything, but…well…I don’t know. I just figured that if you could go anywhere it would be here. But I don’t know for sure. You might be at You-Know-Who’s secret hideout or somewhere else to do with him and dark magic.
But I guess…if I had gone to one of those places, and you had been there… then would I be meeting the person I wanted to? I mean, if you had chosen a place of death and horror, and not your old playground, then well…, is that the Bella I would have come to see?”
There was a long pause, in which the woman looked around sadly, examining the playground.
“We used to play here remember? When we were little kids. You loved this place. You used to beg mum to take us,” she said with a small smile. “You and Cissa always used to fight over what to go on first. Cissa would want to play tag on the play equipment, but you just wanted to go on the swings. “The best invention in the world” you used to say. But then you found out it was invented by a muggle and you never went on them again…”
Her smile slowly faded as she said the last line. However she immediately perked up with the next thought.
“Cissa’s ok though. I don’t know if you were alive at the time of her epiphany, but she decided to swap sides. She even saved Harry Potter’s life. She got away with barely any punishment because of that. A lot of people got angry about her dismissal but if they had arrested everyone who had helped You-Know-Who then over half the wizard population would be in Azkaban.
Anyway, she is fine. Happy even. I hear that her son Draco is engaged actually. Can you believe it? Cissa might get a daughter-in-law and some grandchildren after all. She always loved children,” the woman mused.
“I’ve got a grandchild now myself. His name is Teddy. My daughter, Nymphandora, married Remus Lupin, and a few months later she was pregnant. I must say, it came as a surprise. A good one though. Something needed to be going right in such a dark time,” she stated firmly.
“I was such a fool though,” she whispered. “To think that all the death and destruction wouldn’t reach them. I was wrong, so terribly wrong.”
A tear leaked from her eye, and slid down her cheek.
“Both my daughter and her husband died. It was so tragic. No one knows who killed them, but now they are gone. And poor Teddy’s got no parents.
They named him after my husband, Ted Tonks. He died too. All because of his blood.”
A sob escaped the woman’s lips and the tears began to flow freely.
“Why Bella? Why? They were decent people! And because of you, your ‘friends’, and your pathetic Lord, they’re gone.” She spat the word ‘Lord’ as if it was some type of contagious disease.
“But do you know the really pathetic part? I can’t hate you. I can’t even dislike you. After all the terrible things you’ve done, I still can’t force myself to hate you for them.
Everything you worked for has caused me nothing but pain. Nearly everyone I love is dead because of it. The love of my life, my daughter and her husband, their friends, you... All gone,” she croaked, her throat closing up.
“Merlin Bella, I miss you!” she cried loudly, flailing her arm desperately. “I miss everything about you. Your voice, you laugh, your eyes, your smile. I just wish I could see you again. Just talk to you. To apologize for leaving you and Cissa, to apologize for not being there, and to apologize for not trying to stop you when you went to the Dark Lord. I just hope that wherever you are now, you can hear me. And…and… I just hope you forgive me,” she breathed. “For everything.”
There was a long pause in which the woman simply stood there, trying to stop the tears. After a while she finally moved, raising her hand to swipe her eyes.
“I should go,” she sniffed. “Oh and umm… I brought you some flowers. They are frangipanis. You favourite.”
Slowly she bent down and placed a bouquet of flowers at the base of the swings.
“Goodbye Bella,” she whispered.
Then with a final, heart-wrenching sob, she turned to leave, and made her way across the park towards the gate, never looking back.
A/N. Please review!! Please please please please please. They make my day. Constuctive critism is welcome. Appreciated even! So please review.