Chapter 1 : I am Ginevra
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I am Ginevra.
My name is Ginevra. I am many, things. I am 27 years old, a witch, a graduate of Hogwarts with eight Owls and two ‘Outstanding’ NEWTS, a failed daughter, a failed auror, a failed Quidditch player, a failed journalist, a widow.
Pregnant at 18, unmarried, disowned by my family when I revealed the name of my baby’s disinterested, and now dead, father. Needless to say we did not marry. I did get married to a man I loved. A man who loved me and my little girl. Alec and I did not have any children, not for want of trying, I have to say. It just did not happen for us. My husband fought my former lover, they both died as a result. The fight was not over me; Alec was an Auror, just doing his job. I lost my brother Ron in the same fight. His funeral was the last time the family gathering had included me. Not that anyone spoke to me, so it was unsurprisingly, not a happy time! I reverted to my maiden name. Given the circumstances, it was a surprisingly easy decision; I secretly hoped that perhaps it might be the start of the reconciliation I wanted. None of them attended Alec’s funeral. There was a wreath, and although the card was unsigned, I recognised George’s handwriting on the brief message of condolence.
I have only one success to my name… as a mother. I will brook no argument from anyone when I say that I have the most beautiful daughter in the world. Her hair and her freckles could have been transplanted from my head. Her eyes and her smile, both beautiful, she got from her father. From him she also got the ability to charm your arse off. I despised her father until he unleashed his full charm on me. One week later I was in his bed. Frailty, thy name is woman, said Shakespeare, how right he was. Andy is nine years old. I look at her now and the tears in her eyes cut me to the heart.
“Mum, why do we have to move? I like it here and all my friends are here.”
“I know Andromeda, but I have to earn a living. You may find it hard to believe, I do myself, but I’m going to be a teacher at Hogwarts. You’ll have to start calling me Professor Mum.”
Incredible isn’t it? I am a Hogwarts Professor. God bless Minerva McGonagall for believing in me and convincing me that I can do it. I am going to teach DADA, it was one of my outstanding NEWTS. That and the life experience I’ve had, I will be glad to pass on. My first lesson will emphasise, ‘Constant Vigilance’. Dear old Mad-Eye, I miss him. He was scary, but in a good way. I am also going to coach the Gryffindor Quidditch team and the Hogwarts team that has been entered in the new European Magic Schools League. I once knew Hogwarts as my home-away-from-home. Now it was to be my real home. From tomorrow Andy and I will live in the castle.
Many on the Board of Governors opposed my appointment. I was too young and unqualified. Minerva fought her corner, backed by Professors Longbottom and Granger. They eventually agreed to take me on a five year contract, subject to a one year probationary period. I have not seen Neville for a long time. Professionally, Hermione uses her maiden name, in truth she is Mrs Harry Potter. Harry and I had drifted apart romantically speaking, after Hogwarts, but had remained very close as friends. We had fallen out, big time, when I told him I was going to quit Auror School. I was failing anyway. It was halfway through my third year when the stress of the training and trying to care for a toddler got too much for me. I was surprised how quickly I got over the bust-up with Harry.
Hermione and I remained as close as any sisters and she got Harry and me together again as friends. I was her bridesmaid when they married; she had done the same for me when I married Alec. Because I would be there, none of my family attended their wedding. That hurt the two of them deeply. A lot of people around me have been hurt. Why is that, do you think? Harry and Hermione were the only ones there for me when Andy was born.
There was always at least one of them in my room during the worst seventeen hours of my life, those hours when I was trying to shove a seven pound basketball through an opening that would struggle with a tennis ball. I don’t want to put anybody off, but all the old wives tales you may have heard about childbirth… they are true! It freaking hurts! But by all the Gods of Olympus it is so, so worth it. They both had tears in their eyes as they watched when the midwife put the result on my naked chest. I was afraid to touch it. I regularly broke my toys when I was a kid and I didn’t want to break this. It was far, far too precious.
In the absence of my child’s father, Harry severed the umbilical and the midwife took my baby, my daughter, away to clean her up. Under supervision Hermione delivered the placenta. Ten minutes later, I held my baby in my arms, now clean and filling my nostrils with that wonderful new baby smell. I knew she would not always smell so nice. Her fathers’ eyes looked up at me and evil git though he undoubtedly was; I whispered a quiet ‘thank you’ to him. I remember Harry picking her up from her cot and cradling her in his arms. Hello Brat, he had said. Our eyes met and I could see him thinking that this child could have been his. He calls her Brat to this day. She calls them Aunty and Uncle.
We have been allocated the staff apartment between Hermione’s and that of Poppy Pomfrey. Poppy retired last year and has, if the rumours are true, been replaced by Healer Longbottom. No, not Neville. He once vanished a pimple from his own chin and it took Poppy a week to get his jaw working again. Healer Longbottom was in fact, dear old Luna, a k a Loony Lovegood. She still had her screwball ideas but had finished her healer training top of her class by a distance.
I am determined to make a success of this job. I’ve screwed up too many times in my life. I failed at Quidditch; I wasn’t quite good enough to make it as a pro. I became the Quidditch correspondent for the Daily Prophet. I got fired after six months because if I thought that a team or a player had a lousy game, that’s what I wrote. I told the truth and that upset players and owners alike. What sort of example am I going to set for Andromeda if I fail again? I am proud of her and I want her to be proud of me. Minerva has already told me that, in two years, on the day Andy starts at Hogwarts, I will be in charge of the Sorting ceremony and will place the Hat on my daughters head. If family traits hold true, she will either be a Gryffindor or a Slytherin.
Yes, you’ve worked it out; my daughters’ full name is Andromeda Hermione Harriet Malfoy. She will either be the first of my family in Slytherin or the first Malfoy in Gryffindor. You may find it strange but either way is alright with me. She’s a bright kid. She has been tutored in English, particularly writing, and maths, by Hermione. Harry has taught her to fly. What I would have done without that girl and her old man, I do not know.
If my family had stood by me, I would have registered her as a Weasley. I can’t to spend my life waiting for them to change their minds. I have to play the cards that life has dealt me. I was heartbroken when Mum told me to leave the Burrow, but I figured that when my baby was born Mum would crack the first time she held her. Not so. I wrote telling them of Andromeda’s birth and saying that I would bring her to the Burrow. I received a curt reply telling me not to bother. My baby and I were not welcome.
I wasn’t even allowed to visit my Dad in St. Mungo’s after he had his heart attack. Even so, I was relieved when he made a full recovery. I still love them, you see. All of them. The gits. None of them has ever seen their grandchild or niece. That’s their loss. Unfortunately it’s also Andy’s loss. Any feelers I’ve put out about a visit to the Burrow have been politely, but emphatically rebuffed.
So that’s where I am in my life. What about the future? Well, I want to reconcile with my family, if I can just figure out how. I might start with just one of them, George I think, instead of facing them all at once. I don’t know if it will work, but I owe it to Andy to try. I want Andy to succeed at whatever she wants to do. I will make sure that if she finds herself pregnant at 18, and after I’ve killed the boy responsible, she won’t be alone; I’ll be there for her. I hope she won’t but, I’ve hardly set a good example, have I?
I would like me and Andy to fall in love with the same man. I want someone to love me as a lover and Andy as a step-father. I need to fall in love again. I’d like to have another child. I miss being held in a man’s arms, to lay back in a green meadow with those arms around me and just watch the clouds go by. Or to snuggle up to a warm body in the firelight while a blizzard blows outside. Let’s be honest, I miss sex as well. I like… no, I enjoy sex and the sensations it brings. Occasionally I’ll resort to a bit of DIY but to be honest, while it’s satisfying in the moment, it’s not enough. Perhaps I’ll give girls a try. Just kidding!
I’ve just tucked Andy up for the night. Sleep well darling, I said to her, you know what tomorrow is. You’ll never guess what she said.
“Yes, I do,” she said, “it’s the first day of the rest of our lives. G’night Professor Mum, I love you.” Kids eh.
G‘night Andromeda. I love you too. The first day of the rest and, please God, the best, of our lives. I can’t wait. I'll tell you more next time.
Do me a favour, dear reader, wish me luck. Please