Chapter 1 : Living.
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“God, you’re an imbecile.”
“Do you want me to hex you?”
“Boys! Stop arguing or I’ll – Lily put that fork down, right now!”
“Roxanne, get you’re stupid bloody hair out of my soup before I shave it off!”
“You touch my hair Fred, and I’ll cut your-“
“Roxanne, don't even finish that sentence!”
“Ew, do you two have to do that at the table?”
“I’m going to spew.”
“Okay, that's enough.”
“Every year, I don’t know why I still come...”
“Well you do live here, so you’ve kinda got no choice.”
“Don’t you know English?”
“You can’t talk-“
“I obviously can-“
“Oh, I obviously can-”
“Do you always have to put that ridiculous posh accent on when you're mocking me?”
“I hate my life.”
“Whoa, that’s a bit ...”
“I was going to say-“
“Doesn’t matter now, does it? Someone always beats you to it... God I hate my family.”
“That’s a bit-“
“Here we go.”
That was the cycle of full family Christmas dinner at the Burrow. Fred likes to call it ‘Fun Night’. Grandma Weasley likes to call it ‘Hell on earth’, but maybe she's just having an off... elderly life. I don’t think Granddad Weasley’s capable of proper speech right now, post eating one of Uncle George’s ‘sweets’. He really ought to know better. I mean, he did raise the man.
Meanwhile, twelve-year-old Lily was attempting to play darts with the forks, effectively aggravating the people closest to her, whose cutlery she had stolen or lodged in their hair and/or flesh.
“I need to eat, Lily!” A scandalised Hugo was exclaiming, but he could have been roaring for all the good he did. Lily ignored him and drew back her arm, tongue out in her concentration and her eyes squinting at her target; James’s head.
Many arguments could be easily heard along the large table, the loudest (and most immature) being between Uncle Ron and Percy.
“I can’t believe you framed that report,” Ron was saying, sniggering at his elder brother.
“I finished it in record time; of course I had to frame it!” Percy angrily blustered, his horn-rimmed glasses askew.
Ron snorted. “Whatever.” Real mature, Uncle Ron.
See, the weird thing is, every other half hour or so everything goes silent. It’s really odd. Everyone stops shouting and arguing, and it’s just nice and serence. Until someone decides it’s too quiet. This time it was -
“LOUIS! I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU JUST DID THAT, YOU LITTLE RAT! MUUUUUUUUM, LOOK WHAT HE DID!”
“Okay, that was totally not my fault.”
“For Merlin’s sake, everyone shut up and someone pass me the butter or I’ll-“
Hugo's non-existent threat fell on deaf ears. In 0.7 seconds, chaos had reinstated. Again.
“That’s it! I’m leaving. Goodbye. Bye! Anyone?” I rolled my eyes, stood up and left the crowded kitchen.
“Stupid, loud family, there’s way too many of them. Why did they have to be my family?” I muttered to myself, letting my feet fall wherever they liked. I wasn’t really paying attention.
I finally looked up, and that door was in front of my face once more. This kept happening to me. The same locked door that I always ended up in front of whenever I decided to take a random walk around my house.
I reached my hand out, allowing my fingers to graze the brass knob, and tighten around it. I looked at my hand for a few minutes, unmoving. And then I tried my luck, and turned.
The door swung creakily open, much to my surprise. Musky air clogged my lungs. This door obviously hadn’t been opened in a while. Why was it unlocked then?
It was almost completely empty and rather clean, despite the light coating of dust on the floor and window-ledge. The window was big, quite a disproportionate size for the small room. A lot of soft golden light was soaking the scrubbed ivory floor and white washed walls, casting two shadows; mine, and a stone, basin-like object.
Curiosity dragged me forward. A horrible feeling of foreboding crawled around in my stomach as I slowly approached it. I ignored it. A tentative hand reached out, and lightly touched the cold stone, tracing the runes engraved on the rim.
There was a strange substance inside the basin. I looked down at my slightly obscured reflection. I could clearly see the bright green eyes, and I’d have to admit that who I saw looked a little freaked out.
Gripped by sudden abandon of common sense, I touched the silvery substance with my finger tip.
I was falling, falling, falling... And then I landed. I wasn’t hurt. Strange. And then I remembered what had just happened and looked around in fear, the air around me opaque. The noise reached my ears first; it was deafening. I blinked my eyes in irritation.
A cry of helplessness and fear left my mouth without permission. My vision had cleared, and bright lights were streaking everywhere, barely missing me. I felt them whiz past my ears, and ducked instinctively. A green one slid into my stomach, but nothing happened. I turned around, horrified, and watched a wizard behind me fall to the floor. Dead.
Quickly I figured I couldn’t be harmed or seen or heard, as countless curses flew through me, injuring or killing another instead. Then something clicked...
This was Hogwarts. My school. I didn’t understand. Bangs... screams ... incoherent shouts of fear and anger... Then silence. Utter silence.
My own father, incomprehensibly young, was standing in the the middle of a clearing made by hundreds of people who circled him, watching the ongoings in mixed elation and fright.
I felt terror, looking at the pale, horrific ... creature facing in front of my dad, merciless red eyes narrowed into slits. I felt helpless, all reasoning and reality left me. I didn’t have a clue what was happening.
The words they were speaking did not make any sense. The ones that did were Lily and Snape, both I recognized easily, and then the others were lost in my ears. Then, abrupt and shocking, two spells collided, green and red, and the inhuman fell. Dead.
There was cheering, louder than the shouts of battle and cries of woe; it threw me. I just stood there, slack-jawed and wide eyed, until the scene before me clouded, and then cleared just as fast.
So many bodies. All laid out on the cold floor of Hogwarts, all surrounded by people. Weeping sons, sisters, wives, husbands. I inhaled sharply when I noticed my family.
Grandma Weasley and Granddad, Uncle Percy, Ron and Bill, Aunt Hermione, and my mother. There were others, I think I recognized Neville and Luna. But all I could see was the body surrounded by my own family.
Fred. My Uncle. My dead Uncle. Uncle George’s twin.
“Come on, time to go.” A soft, sad voice said, tugging on my elbow. I smooth sensation that reminded me of flying brought me back to my own time, in the forbidden room.
Dad wasn’t looking at me. He was staring at the basin, his expression torn, like he wanted to be back in there, in history.
“Dad?” I asked, my voice quivering.
“I’m sorry, Albus,” he whispered, looking from the basin to me. I was aghast at the expression on his face. “I didn’t want you to find out this way... I didn’t really want you to find out at all, at least not right now... I wish – I wish I could’ve saved them.” Words were spilling out of his mouth, words that he seemed to have contained inside for a long time.
“I kept the Pensieve in here, I don’t know why. It’s not even mine. But he said I could have it, so it’s not really stealing.”
Dad was pacing now, mumbling to himself. I looked between this Pensieve and him, still in shock. He stopped and looked at me, as if just realising I was there.
“I’m sorry, Albus,” he repeated. “Remember this. Remember it. Remember your family, be grateful for them,” he said, and then he left. Left me alone in the room.
It was a rather halting thing, returning to the kitchen half an hour later and finding it empty and silent. The whole house was silent. I opened the door to the living room, and found them all in there. None of them were talking. All the adults were holding hands.
Dad was looking straight at me. “I’m going to explain, Al. Sit down.”
Grandma gasped, looking at her son-in-law in surprise. “Harry, surely you aren’t-”
“Yes, I am, Mrs Weasley,” Dad said quietly, looking at her, then around everyone else.
Hermione and Ron nodded at him. My Mum squeezed his hand.
He did explain. Everything. Hallows and Horcruxes. The men that were my namesakes, the great people that were my cousins' namesakes. Why everyone in the Wizarding World stares at my father, aunt and uncle - why they ask for autographs. Why Teddy does not have parents. Why love is conquering.
Halfway through I wasn’t sure if I wanted to leave the room and forget everything. But I couldn’t. His words rang in my head.
And so I will. I doubt anyone could forget that. None of the adults seemed to. Uncle George was crying, as was his mother. I could tell they were remembering Fred.
Teddy was doing nothing. He didn’t react at all; he seemed to completely shut down. Victoire slid her hand into his, and he looked down at her in surprise.
“We could use a little more love in the world,” my mother whispered, receiving two teary, reminiscent smiles from Aunt Fleur and Grandma Weasley. I didn’t understand that.
I half expected Uncle Percy to stand up and make some pompous speech, but he didn’t. I waited for some sort of explosion to sound, but Fred and Roxanne didn’t seem to be up to anything. I waited for anything that was normal and ordinary.
Dad looked at me. “Remember, Albus.”
I would remember. It was a terrible reason though, to be brought to sense. It had taken a painful toll for Dad to remember what living was for.
For family. For love.