Chapter 7 : Revelation
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“I honestly don’t know what to do, Minerva.” Terese said, defeated, in Professor McGonagall’s office. She had been called in as Francesca had yet another detention that week. “She’s been furious with me since Christmas. She wants to know who her father is. But how can I honestly tell her without screwing her head up?”
“I understand it’s difficult for you, but I’m concerned that she’s going to waste her potential.”
“I can try and talk to her again. And she sometimes listens to Remus. We could go and talk to her.”
“Do you think that will help?”
“Honestly? I really don’t know Minerva, but it’s worth a try. If not she may listen to Molly Weasley. She’s always been good to her.”
“If you want to try this evening, you would be welcome to use my office.”
“If you don’t mind, I’ll go and speak to Remus. She may feel more comfortable in his office.”
“As you wish.” Professor McGonagall replied with a brusque smile. Terese took her leave and made her way to Remus’ office. She knocked on the door and when there was no response, she went in. The office was empty. There was a piece of parchment spread out on the table. She recognised with a jolt. The Marauders Map. How on earth…?
She glimpsed at it. In the bundle of names in the Shrieking Shack she saw Francesca Jones. Harry Potter. Remus Lupin. Sirius Black. Her heart stopped for a split second. Her daughter and her godson. And Sirius.
Without thinking she hurtled out of the office and through the castle, going all the back routes and short cuts she could think of until she got to the shrieking shack. She levitated a stick to prod the knot on the Whomping willow and allow her into the secret passage.
The minutes passed in a blur as she ran through the passage and into the dilapidated shack. She thundered up the stairs. She heard voices.
She burst through the door to the bedroom. She saw her daughter and Ginny, Ron Weasley, Harry and another girl on one side of the room with Remus and Sirius on the other. She was torn between getting her daughter away and hurting her husband.
“Hello Tess.” Sirius growled. Francesca looked at her mother, confused.
“Francesca. Go back to the school. All of you…” she began.
“Terese…” Remus began.
“I’m going no where” Harry snarled, glaring at Sirius. Obviously he knew.
“Mum, I’m not going.”
“Do as you’re told for once.” Terese said.
“Tess…” she lost her temper and threw herself at him, hitting every part of him that she could.
“NO… It’s all your fault… Everything!” she screamed.
“Tess. Tess Stop.” He said, wrapping his arms around her. She pulled back and whirled away so she was standing in front of Francesca and Harry, pointing her wand at him.
“Francesca, I told you to go.” Terese said.
“Sweetheart, listen…” Remus said. She stared at Remus, the man who had stood by her and her daughter for twelve years. “You’ve been helping him, haven’t you?” She whispered.
“No. I haven’t.”
“Mum, you can’t believe that Uncle Remus would…” Francesca said. “Let him explain.”
“You’ve done a good job with her, Tess.” Sirius interjected, staring at their daughter.
“Don’t you dare…”
“She’s my daughter too, Tess” he said angrily. Terese froze as she felt Francesca’s shock.
“What?” She said.
“HE’s my dad?” she asked, shocked.
“She doesn’t know?”
“After what you did?”
“Terese. He didn’t do it.”
“YOU KILLED MY PARENTS!” Harry shouted suddenly.
Hours later, Francesca and Terese were in the hospital wing. Terese was in bed, having been weakened by the arrival of Dementors in the school grounds. Francesca was sitting next to her on the bed. Remus had transformed without taking his potion, Ron and Ginny were unconscious. Sirius was locked up in one of the towers.
“Francesca…” Terese began.
“You lied to me.”
“I never lied sweetheart, I just didn’t tell you.”
“All this time. And his face has been everywhere all year. How could you not tell me?”
“How could I tell you? How would you have felt thinking your father did all that?”
“But he didn’t. It was that rat boy.”
“I know Cesca, but I didn’t know that until tonight.”
“Why didn’t you believe he was innocent?”
“You know how ill I was after you were born. I was unconscious. I had no memory of how I got to be attacked. I met you, passed out and when I woke up again….” Her voice broke. “When I woke up James and Lily were dad and everyone told me Sirius was responsible.”
“So you just let it go- you let him stay in Azkaban?”
“I was barely coping with everything sweetheart.”
“Did you even love him?” Terese stared at her daughter for a minute.
“Francesca. I never loved anyone like I loved your father. I fell in love with him when I was sixteen and I never…” her voice tailed off.
“You never what?”
“Do you still love him mum?”
“I… we went through so much together. And he’s your father, and you are the most important thing in my life.”
“So do you want to get back with him?”
“I don’t know. There are things I need to think about.” The truth was she was furious that he didn’t fight harder to prove his innocence so that he could be with them; so they could bring Francesca up together, maybe have more children. And on top of everything else he knew how badly she’d take losing James and Lily. Instead he’d given up and left her and Francesca to fend for themselves. She wasn’t sure she’d be able to forgive that.
“Like what?” Francesca asked, breaking her chain of thought.
“Things I need to figure out by myself sweetheart.” She said softly. “He said he got you a necklace.” Francesca nodded. “Can I see it?”
“Uncle Remus took it, in case it was cursed.” Francesca saw her mother’s expression. “Don’t look like that. He didn’t want to worry you.” They sat in silence.
“I still can’t believe you didn’t tell me.”
“You don’t understand…”
“I’m not a child mum.”
“If I’d told you your father was one of the most feared men in the past twenty years, other than Voldemort, how would you have felt? Would you have told anyone? I didn’t want you to have to bear that burden sweetheart.” Francesca stared at the floor, her jaw set in a way too familiar to Terese. “Forgive me, sweetheart?”
“I don’t know.”
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