Chapter Two: Tragic Tales
August 10th, 1995
The London road appeared as it had every night before it: cobblestone lane that had steadily worn away with the passing years, the remote sound of an owl in the distance, majestic Georgian terraced houses lining the sidewalks...all seemed as calm and quiet as one would expect in such a suburb.
The street looked deserted, excluding the scrawny cat stifling through a garbage bin it had tilted to the ground. No Muggle would have ever thought twice to look out their bedroom window before slipping into bed, perhaps to check if their neighbor’s ghastly gnome had hopefully disappeared yet.
It was because of this that the muggles did not witness a particularly strange sight that night: two mysterious cloaked figures suddenly materializing out of thin air. The cat stopped rummaging for food, and looked up with a sharp hiss at the sudden pop.
A flash of green light hit the garbage bin only a few inches away from the creature. For the briefest of moments the cat stared, unsure of what to do, before it's reflexes forced it to scurry away with all its might.
Quickly, the taller of the two men pulled his counterpart into a dark alley and away from the main road where the cat had been; the murky shadows hid them from view.
"What on bloody earth did you do that for? Don't attract attention, you damn fool." The man quietly snapped at his partner, a pudgier fellow who fumbled anxiously with the hem of his robes.
The stout man ignored the comment. “Do you think she’ll show up here? I wish the Lord had sent more to come with us.”
“Rowle, do you really think there are enough followers after that attack of hers that are even capable of moving at the moment? Your tremendous amount of fat must have protected you better than the others.”
“We shouldn’t have left so quickly, we should have waited for more instructions. Rabastan, even if she does she up here, what are we supposed to do? After what she did...” He trailed off distressed.
“We stop her, that’s what we do.”
“You saw the magic she’s still capable of! I told you. I told you all that something like that – ”
“Shut that idiotic mouth of yours before I shut it for you, and be of some use for once! Be on the look out.”
Rabastan poked his head slightly into the street and looked both ways.
“Why would she come here of all places anyways? Wouldn’t she be more likely to go to Hogwarts and not the Black’s old manor?”
“Dumbledore’s not at the castle, Rowle.” Rabastan growled impatiently. “I’m sure Lucille will be well aware of that. Lucille isn’t stupid. Hogwarts is the last place she would escape to after all this time.”
“How are you so convinced she’ll come here? No one’s lived here for years. The bloody Black’s protected it too well, you heard Bellatrix! Even she can’t enter.”
“It was passed onto Sirius Black not Bellatrix. And where else would she go? She has no where — no one left to turn to.”
“And if no one but Black can get in, how do you suspect DuBlanc will?”
Rabastan frowned at the man, unsure of what to respond because even he didn't know the answer to that. But he was sure that she would come here. Luckily, he didn't need to answer as he heard the familiar sound of someone Apparating.
Both he and Rowle jumped into the street at once. There sprawled on the sidewalk laid Lucille DuBlanc.
But Lucille quickly rolled over, dodging the curse.
Rabastan ran quickly, only a yard away he desperately made a jump towards her.
But his outstretched arms closed around thin air and he fell heavily to the ground, one of Rowle’s curses that had been meant for Lucille hitting him in the back.
She was gone.
Moments later however, unknown to the two Death Eaters, Lucille appeared on the top step of Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place. She teetered dangerously for a moment, her balance completely thrown off by her broken ankle. She hastily grabbed onto the railing to keep from falling back and exposing herself to Lestrange and Rowle again.
Lucille could not help but curse herself for her carelessness; she should have concentrated harder as she had Apparated. It had taken her two tries to get here. But she blamed that on having had her magic drained by whatever had happened in that clearing.
She'd ended up only on the outskirts of the forest the first time. In her hurry, she had Apparated again and the silly mistake of landing only a few feet away from her target and on the street had given her away.
She pulled the twisted serpent shaped knocker back, but paused a moment to look at the street. There were several more Death Eaters hovering at the edge of the steps. She gasped at their proximity, if she moved back a single centimeter they would be able to see and capture her. How on bloody earth did they manage to always appear so quickly?
Ignoring the brass knocker, Lucille began to pound on the door, bruising her knuckles. A smear of blood appeared on the faded wood, but she continued to rap with all her force.
A loud shriek of protest erupted from within; Lucille snapped her attention to the masked army below her. But they didn’t seem to hear it; they had split up now covering more space around the street.
Lucille’s heart stopped for a split second, what if they could see her. What if they were simply waiting for Voldemort to come? Waiting for him to finally seize her, like he had vowed to do.
Voldemort would arrive in seconds, what if he found a way up the stairs? What if he was able to reveal the house? What if...
“No,” She whispered vehemently. “Impossible.”
Dumbledore had explained: he himself had cast half of the protective spells around this place; even Voldemort wouldn’t be able to breech this home, not with Albus Dumbledore guarding it.
Despite this reassuring thought, the moment the battered front door opened, Lucille jumped into the house and slammed the door shut with such force that the wailing voice stopped momentarily, creating a perfect silence. The silence lasted only a heartbeat before the house shook with one continuous ear-blasting shriek.
The screaming seemed to wake up the portraits lining the entrance hall, which joined in with the voice of the wailing woman.
Lucille looked around wide-eyed. Dumbledore stood next to her calmly, albeit a small smile upon his worn features.
“Not to worry.” She somehow heard the old man’s low voice over the uproar.
Lucille had been leaning against the door to support herself, Dumbledore must have noticed because he quickly leaned towards her foot. She couldn't hear what he muttered as he tapped her leg with his wand, but the pain lessened immensely.
Dumbledore stood and placed a gentle hand upon Lucille’s shoulder and slowly led her down the hall, mindful of her limp. His motions were done so delicately that he seemed to think that she would wither away under a touch any stronger.
Heads seemed to begin poking out of every nook and cranny in the house. They stared at her with curious round-eyes, confusion clear upon most faces and sleep plaguing the others.
Albeit Dumbledore's spell, her ankle still throbbed so violently that she feared she would let loose a shriek far louder than that of the portraits. Lucille bit back the tears and hobbled along with Dumbledore.
She looked around to distract herself from the pain. The home seemed so different to what she remembered, it was no longer lit by elegant crystal chandeliers, house-elves weren’t running around hurriedly in preparation for the next great event, and the luxurious shine that everything had once held was long gone.
Instead, the home was filled with suffocating darkness and Lucille could not help but cringe at the smell of dust and rotting wood that assaulted her.
“You disgusting Mudbloods! Leave my house at once! Dirty Blood-Traitors! Scum! Sons and Daughters of filth plaguing the home of my father!”
The screaming had turned to comprehensible speech and Lucille realized that a prim-faced woman in a large portrait was the cause of the commotion.
Lucille’s momentary pause in front of the portrait caused it to direct its obscenities towards her. “Oh! How dare you enter my home! You foul creature with blood dirtier than—”
The portrait suddenly choked, then leaned down as if trying to examine Lucille more closely. Her thin eyebrows unexpectedly shot up in surprise.
“Oh dear. Oh dear. I…um...I, err…” The portrait spluttered as she tried to smooth her rich ivory colored satin dress and tuck her curls back into a presentable form. “Lucille. Lucille DuBlanc?” She finally managed.
The other portraits instantaneously stopped their shrill complaints at the mention of the name.
“Walburga Black.” Lucille replied dryly.
Walburga curtseyed. “My sincerest apologies Miss. DuBlanc, I was not aware that a proper guest was due to arrive.” Lucille hadn’t realized that portraits could blush until a deep shade of crimson spread across Walburga Black’s face. “Kreacher!”
A soiled house-elf was next to Walburga’s painting at once. He bowed deeply.
“Kreacher show our guest with the utmost hospitality. Well, what are you standing there for! Bring her some tea, you insolent good for nothing—”
“That won’t be necessary, Walburga. But thank you, anyhow.” Dumbledore flicked his wrist and the curtains wrenched shut over the portrait before Walburga could scream a reply.
It seemed a blur as suddenly the hallway was filled with commotion again. People bustled around Lucille anxiously, the lights were all lit in a flurry as Dumbledore ushered Lucille into the kitchen, a woman handed her tea, and more occupants filled the room. Everything was a blur as the pain echoing through her body made her dizzy. Lucille could barely remember, but she had somehow calmed down enough to relay her story.
“Err—thank you, Molly.” Lucille whispered lightly, accepting another steaming cup that was handed to her by the woman she vaguely remembered.
The redheaded woman looked frazzled as she bustled around the kitchen, gathering potions and forcing them down Lucille's throat, whilst dabbing medication on her bruises and cuts. She had not paused for a moment since Lucille had arrived.
Between cleaning every spec of the room (“Filthy, absolutely disgusting. We weren’t expecting anyone so important, you see. We all thought it was just another meeting...but we should have known when Albus requested of so many of us to stay the night; it seems as if he simply forgot to mention that we were expecting you.”) and poking and prodding at Lucille’s injuries, Molly would still pause momentarily, as if in shock, stare incredulously at Lucille, shake her head and begin rummaging through the cabinets again.
She didn’t seem to know what to do with herself.
Despite Molly’s complaints of how no one ever cleared away their dishes, the kitchen seemed to be in a much better state than the few bits of the home Lucille had just seen. The dust and cobwebs had been contained, and it smelled distinctly of pumpkins and fresh bread.
“I was expecting you over an hour ago, but not to worry an hours worth of beauty sleep is nothing I cannot very well catch up upon.” Dumbledore looked serene.
In fact, his calm demeanor had not changed even when Lucille had informed him of the Death Eaters’ presence outside. He’d simply waved the information off, albeit having sent a stocky man Lucille did not recognize to “keep an eye on them.”
Typical Dumbledore, she thought. Lucille had just escaped death by a fraction of a hair and he looked absolutely untroubled.
“Uh, right, sorry, had a little run in with a few old friends.”
Taking Albus’s lead, she had tried to lighten the mood, but had failed miserably. The kitchen was packed with members of the Order, all of who immediately tensed at her words.
Wrong choice of wording, she cursed at herself. Very wrong.
“My Disillusionment Charm wore off.” Lucille hastily offered as a way of explanation. “One of their spells was able to bring my broom down; they managed to surround me in the forest.”
“How many of them were there?” Alastair Moody asked gruffly from across the table. Moody had suggested having an immediate meeting that very night, but Dumbledore had dismissed the idea stating that there would be time for that later.
“About a dozen of them in the forest, but there will be more than thirty of them outside of the house by now.”
A few people gasped, others broke into hurried whispers amongst themselves.
Dumbledore spoke up, “I have full faith in our security measures: this will remain the safest place to be at the present time. I’m certain they are monitoring Hogwarts more fiercely, even though a few men may have claimed to see Lucille here.” He looked around reassuringly. “In fact, I’m certain he will be more occupied with punishing his followers tonight for their utter failure than anything else.”
When Albus Dumbledore spoke, people usually paid him with the utmost attention. Tonight however, Lucille couldn’t help but notice the distracted glances sent her way. Some were more subtle, looking for a few seconds before casting their eyes away as if they had simply been staring at the vase on the shelf behind her, but others were gawking and not even bothering to look away when she matched their gaze.
One particular girl by the stove caught Lucille’s attention, and not because of her bushy hair or her bright pink owl-patterned nightgown. The girl’s head was cocked to the side, her eyes squinted as she bit her lip in concentration, and it looked as if she were trying to decipher a particularly difficult riddle.
“Yes, but there will be no more using the street,” Moody said sternly. “Everyone will have to Apparate to and from the top step only. No taking chances with so many Death Eaters keeping a close eye on the place.”
There were noises of agreement and then the room fell into a strange silence.
Suddenly, so unexpectedly that Lucille nearly dropped her mug, somebody gasped vociferously. Lucille, along with the rest of the kitchen turned to look at the bushy haired teen with the owl-patterned pajamas. Her eyes were wide and her hands covered her mouth in surprise. “You…you’re…” she spluttered. “You’re Lucille DuBlanc.”
Lucille held in the urge to snap at the girl, obviously she had not been there when Walburga had come to the same conclusion. And it was rather pitiable that a painting had figured it out so much more quickly.
The girl’s mouth opened and closed several times before spitting out a jumble of words. “But…but why? uh, how? I mean, you're supposed to be...everyone one assumed that you were...dead.”
The room tensed.
“Alright children off to bed,” Molly whisked towards the teenagers.
“What! No! No way!” A red headed boy exclaimed.
The boy next to him, identical to his brother joined in. “Not fair Mom!”
“This is Order of the Phoenix business and it does not regard children!” Molly, evidently their mother, glared.
“But we’re of age!” The twins exclaimed simultaneously.
“We’re not children, Mom!” Another redheaded boy cried out from next to Bushy-Hair girl.
Jeez, another one? Molly and Arthur sure had kept themselves busy.
“You didn’t even know she’d be coming! None of you did! So how could this regard the Order?”
Wails of protest filled the kitchen from the kids. Mrs. Weasley’s face was a shade of burning scarlet.
“I think,” Dumbledore began, instantly quieting them, “that there has been enough excitement for one night…for everybody. I suggest a good night’s sleep. Now, chop chop, off to bed.” He addressed everyone, not just the children.
There were grumbles of protest, but the inhabitants’ thoughts of sleep finally won over as they trudged out of the room.
Mrs.Weasley rocked back and forth on the heels of her feet uneasily, a contemplative look upon her face before finally ushering her family out of the room. Bushy-Hair gave Lucille the same round-eyed look as before, and the blonde woman could not help but feel a tinge of annoyance toward the teenager. Kids today knew nothing of tact, did they?
Only four people remained.
Remus Lupin took a seat at the table. Lucille had avoided looking at him the entire time, but couldn’t help but glance his way now. His face looked worn, faded scars adorning his skin…far more than Lucille could recall there ever having been. His light brown hair was streaked with premature grays and hung low over his tiered eyes.
She could recall the handsome Remus from Hogwarts, always jubilant with joyful eyes and a dashing smile. All that seemed to have vanished leaving in its space a tiered and worn man. He looked at her through a few long strands of hair but quickly looked away, before looking back at her again.
Behind Remus stood a boy: untidy jet black hair, round-rimmed glasses crookedly placed on his face, almond shaped eyes, and if Lucille squinted hard enough she could make the faint outline of the lightning shaped scar beneath his unruly hair. She wasn't sure if she could really see the scar, or if her eyes automatically imagined it on his forehead because she knew it to be there. Flashes of nostalgic memories stunned her fleetingly.
Lucille hadn’t seen the boy since he was a little baby, but it didn’t take any brainpower for her to realize he was Jame’s and Lily’s little boy.
Harry inched towards the table and moved to sit beside Lucille, but the woman jumped to her feet immediately. She wanted to avoid this…all of the questions and the awkwardness…and…just everything. She was drained, and speaking to Harry Potter of all people was not what she needed right now. Not now when there only remained one question on her mind. One question that she had been trying to spit out since getting to Grimmauld Place. One question that she couldn’t bring herself to ask because she was afraid of the answer she might receive.
“Yes, time for bed indeed.” Dumbledore stood up as well. “I’ll take you up to your quarters Lucille.”
Lucille didn’t need telling twice as she led the way out of the kitchen, knowing her way all too well in this house already. Dumbledore nodded at Lupin and Harry and followed Lucille out of the bright kitchen and into the dark musty corridors.
Harry looked after them, a confused expression very evident on his face. “Remus, I don’t get it. Who is she exactly?”
Remus rubbed his face tiredly. “Lucille DuBlanc.”
“Well, I gathered that much from Hermione’s outburst.”
“Yeah, Hermione’s always been a clever girl. Most likely ran across Lucille’s name a few times in those books she’s always got her nose in.”
Harry tilted his head slightly, his head swimming. “Lucille is, um – in books?”
“Oh yes, several of them in fact. A DuBlanc is a DuBlanc after all, and this one tends to be a tad more special than the rest of the lot.”
Harry felt like a blooming idiot for not understanding a word.
“So, uh, her family is famous?”
“They’re the elite of the elite. Where purebloods are concerned, anyways.”
Harry pulled a face.
“They’re one of the oldest and strongest pure-blood family to exist in this century, in fact. In fact she was in line after her father to be the heir to a large majority of Eastern Europe. I think they may have held some land in the Middle East as well, can’t remember the extent of it.”
“Were they Death Eaters?” Harry spat.
“Her family were the largest allies Voldemort could have hoped for in the war.”
Somewhere from deep within Harry’s throat, a noise of disgust arose at her description. “So then what is she doing here?”
“She’s here to help, Harry. She’s risked quite a lot to get here.”
“And how will she be of any use to the Order when she was Voldemort’s right hand woman?”
“I said her family, Harry, not Lucille. Voldemort’s been after Lucy for years now. She’s got incredible magic that can…” But Remus trailed off seeing that Harry’s disgusted face had not budged.
“Come with me.” Remus stood and Harry followed him as he quickly descended a set of dark stairs into the lower level of the house. They reached a large oak door, against which Remus placed the tip of his wand. After a series of metallic clicks the door slid open with a protesting groan.
The space looked like every other part of the house that Harry and the Weasleys still had not cleaned: dark, dirty, and sinister.
It was a triangular office. A large wooden desk placed in the middle of the room took up the majority of the space, and a single chandelier hung from the ceiling providing a faint and gloomy glow.
The carpet was frayed and musty; what Harry assumed was once its deep red color was now a faded brown and the walls were bare except for the peeling grey paint. Dark objects lined the room: a display of dead snakes hung across a book shelf, mysterious orbs and vials lined the desk, and it appeared as if an entire house-elf’s body had been preserved and then forgotten, shoved aside into a corner. A shiver ran through Harry’s spine at the sight of its yellowing eyes.
He imagined what Hermione would think of the sight, and instantly decided not to mention the elf to her. He’d already heard enough about their ill treatment of Kreacher to last a lifetime.
“Come here, Harry.” Remus stood next to the desk upon which sat a shallow stone bowl; it was almost a delicate porcelain color and Harry instantly recognized it as a pensieve.
Dumbledore had shown him memories of previous Death Eaters’ trials through the use of one the year before. This one, however, looked different and judging by its worn away appearance and thin layer of dust around the rim, Harry guessed it had most likely belonged to Sirius’s father.
Harry watched inquisitively as Remus placed the tip of his wand to his temple and extracted what Harry knew to be memories. Remus placed them in the bowl and Harry ventured a look inside; they swirled together in a silvery mist. He looked up questioningly.
“I don’t want you to think she’s this horrible pureblood Death Eater, Harry. It wouldn’t be fair to her. Not…not after everything...” Remus swallowed thickly before clearing his throat. “I’ve put in some memories, nothing much, just from back in school. Come back tomorrow and have a look through them.”
“Can’t I just take a quick peek now – ?”
“I’m not too keen on having Molly ring my neck for keeping you up past curfew.”
Harry nodded understandingly and headed towards the door. He paused briefly. “Can I tell Ron and Hermione about this?”
“I don’t think that I can stop you in any way from doing so.”
Harry smiled. “Goodnight, Remus.”
Remus turned back to the pensieve as Harry left the room. Tracing his fingers delicately over the mist, he smiled gently as an image of a handsome boy and girl dancing in an elegant room appeared.
But at the thought of how everything had ended, Lupin’s smile disappeared and his shoulders drooped with an enormous weight.
Lupin stared down at the moving image of the couple in the mist of the bowl. The girl was laughing, her head thrown back in delight.
What a tragic tale it had all ended up to be.
A/N: What are your first impressions of Lucille? What do you think happened to make her have gone into exile and why do you think she's really back/helping the Order? Let me know!
You will definitely start to see more of the marauders in their Hogwarts days soon. I promise! I just wanted to form the plot before diving right into Sirius and Lucille's relationship :)