Chapter 18 : Hidden Truths
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“Anna...why don’t you sit down and have a cup of tea with me?” asked Lily who had been looking for a chance to talk to me properly for the fast two weeks since I had been living with her. All she got out of me was a mere: “Dumbledore thinks I’m in danger...don’t know more than that.” Yet I was not a good liar, which was seen as a quality rather than a defect in a world where everyone was paranoid that someone else will kill them on the street.
“I have some Potions work to finish....”I mumbled heading towards the stairs and avoiding Lily’s eye.
“Okay. Please let me know when you stop avoiding me. It would be great.” The sarcasm in her voice made it clear that she was starting to get annoyed.
I stopped halfway going upstairs. I didn’t want to lie to her, but I didn’t know how to say it either. Dumbledore had mentioned that I should keep quiet about my situation for a while...but even though I lived with Lily I felt terribly alone and sometimes I had the urge to just burst it all out to her. Yet the memory of Dumbledore’s mysterious gaze through his semi lunar glasses always acted as a silencing charm.
And so one whole month passed, without me and Lily communicating much. An owl delivered the Daily Prophet every morning and each day I grew more and more paranoid that the Death Eater raids will eventually find us. I could barely sleep and I started having back pains, so walking around was not as pleasant as it used to be before I got pregnant. Eventually, I sort of gave up going up at all and used my room in Lily’s house as a sort of sanctuary where I blocked every negative thought. It was only the thought of Edwin that kept me going through my bad days and I came to wish that he could invade my mind, only to see his face. I wondered whether Snape told him anything...but knowing Edwin I guessed that he would probably talk to me in one way or another if he knew anything.
Lily started growing more and more suspicious of my mood, especially when she caught me with my head in the toilet every other day. I told her I had a stomach virus that would take some time to get out of my system and that Madam Pomfrey gave me a potion for it...but I was more than sure she didn’t believe me. She was bright. Very bright, since she ended up on Slughorne’s shelf. I just hoped she didn’t realise I was pregnant.
My mood swings came and went every few days. Sometimes I felt happy...but that was rare. Most of the time I felt angry...stupid and depressed that I allowed myself to be so stupid. These were desperate times...of war...not exactly the right time to have a baby. I sometimes even blocked out the fact that I was pregnant, just to remember what it was like before.
Lily and I were carrying some grocery bags back to the house. She had a very long hood on so that no one can recognise her and she did not talk to me much. I guessed she was right to be angry at me. But as we were walking up the road towards her English cottage, a woman with a baby in her arms passed us by. The look on her face was so stressed that I had to turn away and take another direction.
“Anna?” Lily stopped in the middle of the road and stared after me confused. “Anna, wait!”
She caught up with me in no time and I didn’t have time to change my distressed look into the I’m fine mask I wore for the past month or so. “What’s the matter?”
“Nothing.” I said mechanically.
“Why did you turn around when you saw that woman?” she asked looking towards the small figure in the distance of the woman that turned my stomach upside down.
“I did.” I admitted miserably. “I thought I knew her...she seemed familiar.”
“You know, you’re a terrible liar.” She said looking at me in a disapproving way and for the first time in my life I felt very small compared to her. She was that mature woman Harry dreamt of...Lily the mother...not Lily the kid. I looked down. “Come on, let’s go back to the house.” She said and placing a reassuring arm over my shoulder, headed the way.
My hands were clenched on the hot cup of tea that Lily placed in front of me. She was sitting down across from me, not taking her eyes off my face.
“Anna...what’s the matter with you?”
“Look...I know Dumbledore is a secretive man...but you are acting very strangely since you came from Hogwarts.” Said Lily placing her red hair behind her ears. “Why is it suddenly so dangerous for you to be at Hogwarts?”
“Because...well...because....” I knew no good lie to say to her, so instead of finishing the sentence I just looked out of the window at the rain.
“Okay.” Said Lily getting angry again. “Fine.”
“No, you listen! I am not forcing you to tell me anything, Anna...I’m just trying to help. If your choice is to keep it all to yourself, go ahead. But please stop acting like the end of the world is coming...you’re making me very nervous about Harry...” she said in a cold voice that drifted away when she mentioned Harry. In fact, she looked quite close to crying.
“I’m pregnant.” I said looking down at my boots.
“You’re WHAT?” asked Lily as the shock washed across her face.
“I’m pregnant.” I repeated in a small voice, gathering up courage to look up at her wide, green eyes.
“But I though you and Harry....”
“We broke up, like you asked...and I met someone.”
“It...it doesn’t matter.”
“Of course it matters!” said Lily. “Pregnant....Anna...why would...?”
“I didn’t plan this Lily...it just happened.” I said feeling extremely small.
“Who’s the father?”
Lily raised one eyebrow at me.
“You wouldn’t know him.” I added quickly to detach the conversation away from Edwin or Snape, as Dumbledore asked me to. “Dumbledore thinks its better I stay hidden in case they think it’s...”
“In case they think it’s Harry’s.” Said Lily in a grave voice. “Does Harry know?”
“Anna...oh dear. Come here.” She said and put her arms around me, enclosing them in a tight hug which did not make me feel any better. “It’s going to be okay...” she reassured me even though I knew it was not going to be okay. “Does the father know?”
“I don’t think so. Not yet.” I said as I imagined Edwin’s face when I would tell him I was expecting his baby. Oh Merlin...why had I been so stupid?
Ever since I told Lily that I was pregnant, she acted as if I was in a very fragile soap bubble that could burst any minute. And truth to be said....there were many Death Eaters who wanted to burst that bubble with a sharp needle, just to get to Harry. But this wasn’t just about Harry any more...this little, fragile human, developing inside of me was more important. I had to keep the baby safe...I had to.
Yet I felt better for telling Lily. It was as if suddenly, the burden of my life had been made smaller and I would walk again towards a brighter future, instead of crawling towards it. The baby became the centre of my existence...it was all I had, now that Edwin was Merlin knows where.
And so three months passed with me hiding away behind the shadow of a woman who was also hiding away. Every morning I would look at the bump in front of me...stoke it and wonder what the future would bring for my baby. Will it even have a father? I was quite lucky that I was a thin girl...because the bump was not that obvious if I was careful to wear baggy shirts.
Every morning I would spend a few hours on my Hogwarts work...just to make sure I am not left behind. I wondered what Hermione and Ginny were doing. What did they think when I just disappeared? What about Harry? Was he worried? Did he care? Did anybody care? At night, I would grow restless thinking about Edwin. Was he safe? Was he happy? Did Snape tell him about the baby? I wish I could stay with him. I didn’t want to think of what my life might have been if Lily were not by my side, but I also felt quite trapped inside her house. We barely went outside anymore and I was screaming with boredom every time I flicked through the TV channels or flicked the pages of some random book. I missed my freedom. I wanted to shift yet I thought better of it. What if it harmed the baby? What if I got distracted when shifting back? What would happen to the baby then? Even though I was grumpy and restless I had to keep the boredom of silence and near solitude near me. It was safer.
One day I came down for lunch and found Lily wiping away some tears. She didn’t notice me coming, so she didn’t try to prevent me from seeing that she was crying. I felt strange...I felt sort of guilty. I never thought what she must be feeling, seeing me pregnant and all when she had to give her son up when he was just a baby.
“Lily?” I asked in a soft voice, not sure of how to comfort her.
“Oh, hey Anna...I was just cleaning some stuff up. Do you want to eat
something?” she said giving me a hint that I should ignore the fact
that she was crying.
“No.” I said and sat down at the table, by the window. “Are you okay?” I asked even though I knew she wasn’t.
“Aha...yeah I’m fine.”
“Hmm.” I said as she started washing some dishes. I could only see her back, but the burden of whatever she was carrying was visible on her slim shoulders, like an invisible weight pulling her down. “You know...my mum once told me when I was little, that I’m like a magnet. Whenever I see sad people, I tend to just come close to them. I used to hate it, because I always feel awkward when people are crying around me...I’m not good at comforting people. I have no idea what to say. But mum always used to call it a gift and whenever I saw her crying, she didn’t hide it from me, because she knew I saw her. Sometimes she would tell me what was wrong...other times she said I was too little to understand.” I said looking as Lily’s pale hands were no longer washing the dishes. “I’m not little any more, Lily. How can I be little when I am pregnant?” I asked, half smiling to myself, my hand protectively placed over my belly. “You’re afraid of treating me like a friend and I know it will make you feel better if you talk to me about it.” I said feeling more like my mother than I had ever done before. I missed her, and sometimes I didn’t see her in me...but when I was talking that way with Lily, I felt her presence more alive than ever before.
Lily turned off the tap and turned to face me. Her face was red and her eyes were puffy with tears. She dried her hands on her jeans and sat down next to me looking out the window at the peacefully falling rain. Her green eyes seemed far away and she seemed older...more tiered...sadder.
“I guess you can’t run from memories forever. They always catch up with you.” She said giving the ghost of her past a half smile. “Oh Anna...you’re going to be a mother and I don’t see you smiling about it...you should be so happy...it really is the best time of your life. Being able to feel that small little human developing inside of you. Depending on you.” She said, her eyes finally studying my face.
“Is that how you felt when you were pregnant with Harry?” I asked, not sure of where this conversation would lead to.
“Yes.” She said looking out the window. “But it’s only your first pregnancy which makes something inside you wake up. And when it does...your mind is directed at your child even when you don’t know it. Even when he is gone away from you and you don’t know anything of him.” she said and her eyes saddened. “And when your child dies, that feeling that grew for so long turns into the most unimaginable pain.”
“Lily...Harry isn’t going to die.” I said trying to reassure her as much as I could. “Dumbledore will help him defeat the Dark Lord and...”
“I’m not talking about Harry, Anna.” She said in a small voice, directing a very serious gaze upon my raised eyebrows.
“But...Harry doesn’t have any borthers or sisters...” I said getting confused.
Lily looked down and said in a sad voice: “He did.”
“What? I don’t understand...what happened?”
“James wasn’t my first husband. I was married once before, when I was very young...we married a few months before we finished
Hogwarts. I was pregnant.” She said looking at me and smiling at some pleasant, far away memories that disappeared and appeared on her face like ghosts.
“To Severus Snape.” She said her eyes twinkling with light for a few seconds, before a darkness came upon them.
“What!?” I asked, my mouth forming an O shape. “You and Snape were married?” Wait hold on...you were pregnant with Snape’s kid?”
“I found out a few months before finishing Hogwarts...we knew each other for so long and we were best friends...but then something else grew between us, something that neither of us could resist. And we both gave in and I got pregnant.” Said Lily looking into my eyes, seeking understanding.
“I told him as soon as I found out...Severus wasn’t like other boys...he was different. He was gentle and kind and a real gentleman who would never run away from a problem. Actually...to be more honest, I sent him a note in the Slytherin Common Room asking him to meet me in the Room of Requirement. I was going to tell him straight away but I passed out. I woke up right before he could take me to the Medical Wing and I told him then and there.” Said Lily fidgeting with a dirty tissue on the table. “You should have seen his face.”
“At first I saw fear...then it turned to shock and then he smiled at me and started kissing me, saying we will be okay. And we were okay. After our final exams, in which we both excelled in, we got a small house in Hogsmade, not too far from the Castle so that he could drop in every now and then and speak to Dumbledore. He worked in Potions for a while, assisting the teachers and within a few weeks he became one himself.” She said smiling with a sort of pride only a woman in love could know. “And nine months later, I gave birth to our baby boy. He was beautiful...so pale you would say he was made of snow...and when he opened his eyes, your heart would melt. He had the shape of Severus’ eyes, but my colour. He was perfect. Sev adored him...every time he came from work he would play with him for hours. We were so happy and we didn’t even need too much money.”
“But then things started to change. I presume you know about Severus ditching the Death Eaters...well...Lucius Malfoy wasn’t fooled. One evening we were all in the living room...I had just put Edwin to sleep...we called him after my great- grandfather, when Dumbledore just apparated into the house. His facial expression was extremely worried...I had never seen him like that before. He told us to move away from Hogsmade, as far away as we possibly can, because Voldemort found out about Snape and he was seeking revenge. So we moved away from any major city or village, seeking refuge into the solitude of the coast. We bought a small cottage by the sea and changed out names for a while, hoping he might just forget about us.” Said Lily in a sad voice, but then she stopped abruptly as if the words trapped in her throat were too painful to say.
You cannot imagine what I was feeling, but I decided to act dumb for my nerves’ sake and so I asked her to continue: “Did he find you?”
“We were relatively safe for a year. Sev worked in a small Potion Brewing shop in the nearest wizard village, while I stayed home and looked after Edwin. We avoided going into London or Hogsmade or any other locations out of fear that a Death Eater might see us. We didn’t even need cities....the sea was enough to keep us entertained. When it was warm, we used to swim...Edwin loved swimming...he used to dive underneath and pick up shells and stones, when he was only one year old. Even when I gave him baths he used to splash water everywhere...” said Lily as her eyes started watering. “But then it ended so soon. He did find us, and when he came he was erupting with fury. It was on a cold evening in November, as we were preparing for bed. I had finished reading Edwin a bed time story and Severus was kissing his forehead, when we heard the front door slam to the wall. We knew it was him, even before we saw him flying up the stairs in his black robes. It was the time when he still looked human, but his blue eyes were sometimes worse than his red ones. You could see what was going to happen to you if you looked into his eyes when he was angry. “ said Lily as the tears started running down her cheeks.
“And then he started torturing Severus and then me, until Edwin started crying in the opposite room. Riddle was surprised...I don’t think he knew we had a son. And that’s when he started smiling. He...petrified Sev as he started walking towards the room where Edwin was. I was lying on the floor, wanting to do something, yet my muscles would not respond to my brain...the Cruciatus aftermath can leave you semi paralysed for a few moments. I could...I could hear Edwin screaming in pain in the other room and then everything went quiet, as Riddle came back out and undid the spell on Sev. He started laughing...as Severus went into the room and started...shouting through sobs, but it was only when I could move my muscles that I started crying and trying to attack Riddle. I didn’t care what happened to me any more...because he killed my little boy.” Said Lily as the tears increased in size and numbers.
“But...did he die?” I asked not sure of what could have happened to make things so complicated.
“Riddle didn’t kill me or Severus that night. He said that Severus has to re-join him and this was a punishment for betraying him to Dumbledore. He didn’t kill us because he knew that killing Edwin would have been more painful for both of us. He knew we would have welcomed death if he let Edwin live...but he didn’t. It was only when Severus came out of the room with a bundle covered in a small blanket that I realised my son had died. Severus was crying more that I had ever seen anyone cry and I didn’t even have the strength to hold Edwin’s body in my arms and say goodbye. I was too mad at Severus and I blamed him for joining the Death Eaters in the first place. He didn’t try to defend himself...he just kept holding Edwin as he walked out of the house.” Said Lily standing up and going towards the window.
“That was the last time I spoke or saw Severus. I left the house, and the coast and moved to Godric Hollow into a small house. I didn’t come out for days...didn’t eat, didn’t bathe...didn’t speak to anyone. I just stood in bed all day and cried. Severus sent me so many letter...but I didn’t open any of them. I burned them as soon as they came...I didn’t want to hear of him again. And one year later, when I did come out of my house, I bumped into James Potter. No one knew about Edwin or what happened so it was good that people didn’t try to pity me.”
“And James was the exact opposite of Severus...he was funny and rebellious, as he was when he left school. He was amazing at Quidditch and popular and I couldn’t help falling in love with him...or falling in love with the way he made me feel. When I was with him, the hole in my heart was healed and he made me love life again. I never told him about Severus or Edwin...I tried to forget the past, by keeping the memories of my son only in my heart, as if he was only a nice dream that ended. And it was through James that I learned to forgive Severus. When he proposed to me, I accepted and that’s when I was naive enough to believe that my life would be better. I mean...it was better for a few years...especially when I found out that I was pregnant again. When Harry was born, it was as if Edwin had been sent back to me and I couldn’t be happier. I loved James...in a different way that I had loved Severus, but I loved him nevertheless. But...things changed again when the stupid prophecy came about that Harry will one day be a threat to Riddle...that Halloween night I was doomed to fall again. He killed James and tried to kill Harry and me. The whole wizardry world believes I died too...including Severus and Harry, but someone saved me.”
“Who?” I asked curiously. I knew Lily survived the killing curse, but I never quite knew how she did, as she never spoke of this.
“My mother. I was never a muggle-born, Anna...I lied about it because my mother had been an outcast from the wizardry world and she wanted to stay hidden behind a muggle mask and my muggle father. She repelled magic...she never even went to Hogwarts. She preferred a muggle life and she run away before going to Hogwarts...grew up in a foster home in London and then she met my father and they got married. But the point is that she was there that night, visiting me and Harry. After Voldemort killed James she stood in front of me, the same way I stood in front of Harry. The killing curse hit her and I fell down with her...Riddle probably believes he hit both of us in one go. I hit my head and was unconscious for a while, and when I woke up I was at your mother’s house.”
“Dumbledore told me that it was better to stay hidden for a while, for my safety and Harry’s safety...you cannot imagine how happy I was that Harry was alive...even if it meant that he must grow up without me, a fact which I did not know then. But I loathe Riddle more than anyone, Anna...he took both of my sons away from me and both of my husbands. He ruined my life and he killed my mother so I must do something against him...even if I have to stay away from Harry.”
“But why don’t you tell Snape that you’re alive? I mean...if you say that you forgave him and all...”
“Anna...you know why! He is a spy for Dumbledore...Voldemort can read his mind and if he sees that I am alive, and then he will use this against Harry.”
That night I could not fall asleep. So many facts were going through my head that I didn’t know what to believe any more. Lily was Edwin’s mother, but she didn’t know he survived....Edwin thinks his mom is dead, because Snape chose to tell him that she died that night instead of telling him that she re-married, had another son and then died. Harry has a half brother that he doesn’t know of and Edwin hates Harry Potter as he sees him as the main reason why Voldemort is using his dad whom he also hates. And then...I am pregnant with Lily and Snape’s grandchild and Harry’s nice or nephew, yet I seem to be the only one who knows of this. And I still didn’t know what happened that night...to Edwin and how he ended up in a painting. And what was worse...I had a terrible feeling that my child was to suffer for all of these mendacities and past secrets that only brought pain upon the people involved in them.
A/N Long chapter...sorry for the delay and I hope you will like it. I revealed quite a lot of things in this one...maybe the story make a little more sense now. Oh, and please excue the bad spelling as I wrote this in a hurry.
Review if you like and thanks for sticking up with this story for so long. :)
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