Chapter 1 : Summer
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“Francesca! Open the door please!” Terese Jones stood outside her daughter’s bedroom.
“No” was the obstinate reply.
“Go away. I hate you!”
“Cesca…” Terese heard something thud against the door as her daughter threw something- presumably she was the target. She sighed and went downstairs. They had lived in the same house in Brighton since Francesca was a baby.
Remus was sitting at the kitchen table reading the paper. He had been there for her and Francesca ever since Sirius had been sent to Azkaban.
“No. She won’t talk to me.”
“Do you really think stopping her going back to school is going to accomplish anything?”
“He’ll… Harry’s there… she knows him…” Terese said through clenched teeth. “And how long do you think it’ll be until she works it out?”
“How would she? You’ve made sure there’s no obvious connection.”
“Dumbledore and Minerva know. And Snape… you know he’d love to tell her.”
“Dumbledore won’t let him. You know that.”
“I don’t trust him, Remus.”
“Maybe you should tell her first.”
“Tell her?” Terese repeated incredulously. “How can I tell her? Tell her that her father is actually the most wanted man in the country because he betrayed us all and murdered twelve other people?”
“I can’t let her go, Remus. He was willing to give us up to Bellatrix; what would happen if he thought she would get in his way?”
“She’s my daughter Remus; I can’t just let her…”
“What?” she asked, angry at being interrupted.
“I’ll be there.”
“I got the job. I’m going to be teaching Defence.” She stared at him in disbelief.
“Really? Dumbledore gave you the job?”
“You don’t have to sound quite so surprised” Remus said wryly.
“I… I’m not…” She sank into a chair. “Sorry Remus. Congratulations.”
He looked over at her as she processed the information. The strain of the last few days was showing clearly in the tense set of her shoulders and the taut lines around her mouth. Ever since she had woken up in St Mungos and he had had to tell her that James and Lily were dead because of Sirius’ betrayal, he had been close by. He had offered to stay around and she had agreed, knowing that she wouldn’t be able to cope with raising Francesca all by herself. She occasionally hinted that she thought they might be preventing him getting on with his own life and having a family. He of course would deny this, telling her he didn’t want to be anywhere else. He was as much in love with her as he always had been, though he appreciated that her daughter would always be her priority. He was Francesca’s Uncle Remus, her mother’s best friend and often the one that would persuade Terese to stop being so protective.
It was a pity he hadn’t been there this morning when Terese told Francesca that she didn’t want her to start her second year at Hogwarts. Francesca, predictably, had been furious and stormed and shouted and railed against her mother. When she was like this, she reminded Terese of her father. The way her eyes flashed angrily, the stubborn set of the jaw… it could be Sirius staring back at her. This more than anything made Terese dig her heels in.
She looked up at Remus and forced a smile on her face.
“So you’ll be at Hogwarts with her?”
“And you’ll keep an eye on her?”
“Terese, I’m not going to follow her around. She’s not going to want me breathing down her neck all the time.”
“What?” Francesca was standing in the doorway.
“Cesca!” Terese exclaimed, relieved that her daughter left the bedroom.
“What do you mean you’re not going to follow me around? Why would you do that?”
“I’m the new DADA teacher sweetheart.” Remus told her.
“What? Does that mean I can go back?” She looked at her mother hopefully. Terese bit her lip. She looked over at Remus and back at her daughter. She needed her to be safe. But she trusted Remus above anyone else. And surely Francesca and Harry would both be safe with Dumbledore around.
She wished she could tell her daughter that they were related; that Harry’s father had been like a brother to her. That she had wanted to take Harry when James and Lily died and raise him as well. But Dumbledore had hinted it might not be a good idea for that yet. And Francesca was friends with Ginny Weasley, whose brother was Harry’s best friend.
“You can go back if you promise me you’ll stay in grounds and don’t wander off where it’s out of bounds.”
“Mum. This Sirius Black bloke is hardly likely to go after Hogwarts students is he? Not if he’s on the run.” Terese paled slightly.
“Just promise me Francesca. Please.”
“Alright, mum, I promise. God, you’d think I spent all my time in the Forbidden Forest.”
“Terese, calm down. She’s not even going into Hogsmeade yet!” Remus said.
“I know, I know. Look, I have to go to work, sweetheart…”
“Can Ginny and I go to Diagon Alley.”
“Not today, sweetheart. I’ll take you tomorrow.”
“Francesca, Basta!” (a/n- 'enough') she exclaimed. She always resorted to Italian phrases when she was angry or stressed, a habit she had picked up from her father.
“I’ll take her if she wants to go.” Remus offered.
“Fine. Just not on your own. You are only eleven, Francesca!”
“I’m nearly twelve…”
“Why does everything have to be an argument with you Cesca? You’re not going to Diagon Alley by yourself. I doubt Molly Weasley would let Ginny either.”
“Whatever.” Terese rolled her eyes.
“I don’t have time for this sweetheart. If you want to go, you go with Remus. End of discussion. Now I have to go.” She leant over to give her daughter a kiss, but Francesca turned away. Terese sighed sadly and left.
“You know you shouldn’t be so hard on her sweetheart.” Remus said gently.
“Me, hard on her?” Francesca said incredulously. “She’s the one who wanted to stop me going back to school.”
“I know, sweetheart, but she worries about you. She’s lost everything more than once and she couldn’t bear to lose you as well.” Remus realised his mistake as soon as the words came out of his mouth.
“What do you mean? ‘She’s lost everything more than once’?”
“Uncle Remus, what do you mean?”
“Your grandparents, and your aunt.”
“I know that. But you said more than once, did you mean my father?”
“Look, sweetheart, it’s not for me to tell you.”
“But she won’t. You know she won’t…”
“Well that’s up to her sweetheart. Just remember she always, always, has your best interests at heart.”
Francesca rolled her eyes and stomped off upstairs to get ready.
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