The fact that Andromeda was a mother shocked me- though I'm not sure why, she was always the maternal type. The fact that her daughter was a metamorphamagus intrigued me. And the fact that said daughter seemed to take such an immediate liking to me baffled me entirely.
The only baby that had ever really adored me this way was Emi. I always attributed it to the ridiculous amount of time I spent at their house when she was a baby (which also served to annoy my big brother).
But little Nymphadora Tonks had only just met me when she woke up an hour ago. Yet there she was clinging to me as I talked anxiously to her mother.
In the last hour, she'd changed her curls to my exact shade of mahogany and manipulated her bone structure to look like mine as well. Her rosebud lips were full and a bit too curved- exactly like mine- her cheek bones were high and her face was heart shaped. Even her little almond shaped eyes were a duplicate, down to the very last fleck of gold. She looked like I had at that age, my younger self in the flesh.
She yawned and nestled herself into me as her eyelids fluttered.
Andromeda smiled softly- distracted for a moment. "She only duplicates people she likes. She's very talented that way."
A smile tugged at my own lips despite my stress. It was so hard to feel uneasy with the feeling of her little heartbeat on my skin, calming me with its fluttering little rhythm.
“Every day I think about the choice I made but I’ve never regretted it,” she murmured seriously as she gazed adoringly at the little girl in my arms.
“Do you ever wonder what it would’ve been like if you would have stayed?” I asked her.
“Sometimes,” she sighed. “But it isn’t a huge mystery.”
I looked at her, confused. “What d’you mean?”
“Think about it, Mira.” She leaned in with the intensity of her words. “Think about your future. You have two paths,” she told me with certainty. “The first is the road less traveled, leaving home. You’d be able to stop lying and you’d get to be with Sirius- don’t try to tell me that’s not a done deal because I know my cousin better than even you do. If you leave home, you two would end up together,” she insisted when I opened my mouth to interrupt her. “Beyond that though, you have no idea what is going to happen.” She let that sink in for a moment before continuing. “The second path would be the… well, I can’t really call it easy because it wouldn’t be, would it? I suppose it’s the one most of the people who don’t know the real you would expect you to take.”
“To stay with my family and Rabastan.”
“Exactly. And what do you imagine would happen in that scenario?”
“Well, I suppose I’d probably never have the courage to break up with him, would I? Because my parents approve of us so much and my whole family is so happy about it. I’d never be able to let go of that.”
“Which would mean that I’d have to marry him eventually,” I said, my eyebrows knitting together with that troubling thought. I couldn’t fit being a Death Eater’s wife in my perception of myself, though the picture in my head was crystal clear. I was horrified at what it showed me.
Rabastan and I with our arms around each other smiling plastically as three perfect raven-haired children stood stiffly in front of us, dressed in their best clothing and exhibiting the impeccable manners that had been hammered into their skulls since birth. I studied my own face in this image and saw my eyes, usually warm and swirling with flecks of gold, had hardened and turned cold with half-circle bruises underneath. I saw that the way Rabastan and I held each other just a little too formally for us to be truly comfortable.
I swallowed hard and the look in Andromeda’s eyes told me she knew exactly what I was seeing in my mind’s-eye. My head fell into my free hand, unable to stand that look for long.
“What am I going to do?” My agony was muffled into my palm and I looked back up at her pleadingly. I wanted her to tell me what to do and how to do it. I wanted her to order me to stop acting like a child and make the decision I would inevitably have to make. She didn’t though.
“Only you can know that, sweet.” She told me, maternally. “You know who you are. You know what you want. You just have to decide if it’s worth it.” Her eyes softened more than I would have thought was possible as she looked back down at her daughter. “For me, it was.”
It probably wasn’t the smartest thing to do, but I stayed for dinner. Teddy returned from whatever errand she’d sent him on and little Dora woke up again, demanding her mother’s attention. I didn’t have the courage to leave yet.
Perhaps I thought staying and seeing her life in action would push me in the right direction. But the passionate love she and Teddy still seemed to feel very deeply for each other just began to depress me.
I knew I would never feel that way with Rabastan, no matter how well we got along and how attractive he was. It wasn’t possible after the last week; the incident with Sirius had brought the fact that my boyfriend was a Death Eater into the forefront of my mind. If it had been an issue in the relationship before it was now a thorn that had pierced the very heart. It seemed to sharpen and fill out as the week went by and Rabastan remained absorbed in his mission. Without him there to flatter and tease me it was easy to hold onto the horrified feeling I’d felt that night. Not for my boyfriend but for his enemy. It was easy, without his tantalizing kisses to distract me, to remember how deeply I loathed everything he held to be right and true. How could I ever grow to love someone who was so completely opposite from who I hoped to be? Who I already was?
I watched Andromeda feed her baby (who had changed her hair again, this time to a curious magenta, though she kept my curly texture) as her husband gazed on in admiration, while still managing to keep up a steady conversation about nothing important with me. Occasionally, he’d lean over and plant a tender kiss on her head or nose or lips and I felt a hollow pang in my chest.
The only person I would ever be able to feel that way about was Sirius, I was certain of it. But, no matter what his cousin said, I just couldn’t trust that he’d feel the same way. No matter how passionately he kissed me when no one was around, his track record wasn’t exactly the best. How would I ever be sure that he wouldn’t abandon me again? It was so easy for him to just pick up and leave the first time, who’s to say he wouldn’t do it again? I didn’t think I could handle that.
Death Eaters? Sure. Disappointed parents? Perhaps. But I couldn’t have my heart broken twice.
I sighed when darkness began to creep outside.
“You have to go, don’t you?” Andromeda said sadly.
“Yes,” I said, unable to keep the melancholy from my own voice. It had been so long since I’d seen her, I wasn’t ready to say goodbye yet. But if I stayed much longer my mother would begin to wonder, if she wasn’t already. The last thing I wanted was to make my family suspicious of my whereabouts.
“I’ll walk you to the door,” she told my as I stood. She handed her daughter to her husband and led me out of the room. We reached her front door too soon and panic fluttered in my chest. Was this is then? Was this my goodbye to her?
“Can I come see you again?” I asked tentatively. “I mean, I don’t want to put you in any danger but-“
“Of course you can. And you will,” she cut across me with the confidence I’d always admired.
“I don’t know,” I bit my lip reluctant to make such a promise. I had been lucky to get away from my mother’s grasp this time, it would be like lightening striking the same place twice if I could manage it again.
“I do. You’ll be back. In the meantime, take care of yourself. And, I know you’re mad that he left you like that, but try not to torture that thick headed cousin of mine for too long, yeah?”
I hesitated, “I don’t understand what that means.”
“Yes, you do,” she winked and pulled me in for a hug and a peck on the cheek. Then she said cheerfully, “Bye, sweets. See you soon!”
And that was it. She closed the door behind me as I walked down the stairs in a daze- more confused than before in some ways.
I remained like that all of the way home. That is, until I walked through my front door and found my mother, father and brothers all standing in the foyer looking irate.
Oh, this could not be good.
*** (I know it's short but it is very important and at least it's something right? Senior year has officially started and I thought, before things get too crazy, I should get as many updates as I can. Inspiration struck for some reason and this is what I got. hopefully more to come soon in this one and other stories of mine so keep an eye out! I'm already writing the next chapter in my head, no joke. Until then, I hope you enjoyed this one!
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