“I’m quite fine,” I assured Sirius, Haf and Lily, but they were all hovering over me...again.
“We know that you’re fine sweetie, it’s just, well...” Lily started but my brother cut her off.
“Anwen, you just had major surgery and your body is going to go through some rather wicked changes to get used to those posts they reinserted into your leg there. Please, humor us all and let us help you.” He sounded so sure of himself, but he would always be my little brother, the mold grower, to me.
“I know that I can’t do anything. I have two weeks with no standing up, really, since I don’t have a right leg there; and then another two weeks of limited mobility while my body is adapting when they put the new prosthetic on. I get it,” I chirped back. I know what my limitations are, I’m not stupid. I was sitting on my very comfortable chaise, perfectly charmed by my husband, under the pergola on the veranda. There was a slight breeze, and it was a beautiful day. I looked up at the grin on Sirius’ face, and I knew that I was going to dread the rest of this month. “Don’t even look at me that way, Sirius. I know that you’re reveling in the fact that you get to take care of me, but really, you don’t need to gloat about it.”
He knelt down next to me and raised his hand to stroke my cheek. “I won’t, my love. But I am very glad that you’ve decided to have this done, and that you’re not fighting me on helping you.”
“Yeah, well, you were right, this needed to be done,” I admitted. “But, it does not give you the right to think you can carry me everywhere and smother me. I can still do quite a bit for myself, and I’m allowed to use my magic.” He leaned down and kissed me.
“I will not smother you, I promise.” He stood up and sat in his own chair.
“Yeah, right.” I muttered under my breath. I was fairly certain that only Lily had heard me.
“So, what are you going to do to kill the time while you’re getting better?” she queried.
“Well,” I sighed. “I need to go over the enrollment figures for next year, and figure out who is going to teach where. We’ll probably be close to thirty students, maybe more if the requests keep coming in the way that they have been.”
“Anwen,” Haf started and I looked over and glared at my little brother. “Your school paperwork can wait. You really do need to relax some. Your body and your magic are being worked very hard by those posts there. You are mapping new neurological pathways, sis.”
“Fine, I’ll leave it for a while, but at some point I have to deal with it. I am the school administrator,” I sighed. I hated how much paperwork, fund raising and public relations work that particular title entailed. I wanted to teach, not meet with the press on a monthly basis.
“I know what you should be working on,” Lily said excitedly.
“What?” I asked her, almost afraid of her answer.
“You need to finally go through those photo albums. They’ve been sitting here for a year. I brought them over for the twins’ fourth birthday, last Tuesday was their fifth. Seriously, there are some really good photos in there,” Lily reminded me. I had completely forgotten about the box of albums.
“Okay, you’re right,” I admitted. “That would be the perfect way to spend the afternoon. Ma sent a fair number of my childhood pictures back with Haf, as well as some other family ones that she’d had copies made of. It’s kind of nice, I’ve got them up in our sitting room, and when Haf and I went through the box, Eira was there and we were all laughing,” I explained, but talking about it only underscored the reality that it wasn’t my sister I was sharing this with, it was simply a portrait, a flat representation of my sister. I knew that I’d moved on with my life, but I still mourned her. It was hard not to, especially since I saw her every time I went in or out of our bedroom. I stopped and took a deep breath, and I could see Sirius getting up, but my brother reached me first.
“I miss her too, every day. She was my first playmate and my best friend,” he explained as he sat in the void of my right leg on the chaise. “She looked up to you so much, she was proud to be Anwen Hodgson-Black’s little sister. It wasn’t your fault, Anwen; but know that I miss her too.”
I reached for my little brother and he wrapped me in his arms, this was something that we really did share, we both missed her and knew that there would always be something missing, and it would always be the spot that our little sister held in our hearts. He released me, and I wiped my face.
“Okay, well then, enough of the hysterical crying lady. Um, would you mind going and getting the box from the sitting room broom cupboard. If you press in next to the fireplace, on the left hand side,” I started trying to explain the latch to my brother, but Sirius was already on his feet.
“I got it, Winnie,” he said as he went back through the French doors to the ballroom. Haf moved back onto his own chair, and I closed my eyes and leaned my head back. I could feel the potions that they were giving me coursing through my system, and it was truly making me lightheaded. Sirius returned a short time later, and set the box down at my feet. Lily pulled her chair over to sit next to me, the box next to her.
“All right, these are the albums that James said would have the best pictures of his childhood, and were likely to contain Sirius in them. There is one of the two of them with Regulus that is surprising,” Lily was nearly giddy with excitement as she started opening the box and summoning the first book out.
“Well, they’re like nine and their shirts are off and they’re...”
“What?” I looked at her puzzled.
“Scrawny.” She had the most apologetic look on her face, but I knew that it was true, as a general rule, boys were scrawny.
“Okay, ladies, if you’re going to pick on me, I’ll go find Patty and the children,” Sirius mock threatened.
“Really, that was all that it was going to take? Please, your hair is absolutely ugly and you’re getting a little pudgy, Mr. Black.” I jokingly teased back, but he just shook his head.
“You’re not getting rid of me that easily.” I snapped my fingers, like cartoon villains do when their stupid plots are foiled by the good guys. “Darn.” I whispered under my breath.
The first album was indeed of the guys when they were boys and would spend their summers together, wherever it was that the families had their summer homes. Lily had gotten some paper and a quill and was taking notes on which pictures I would like copies of. There was a beautiful one of my husband, sitting on the beach, looking at the ocean. I knew that I wanted it for our sitting room, and I might just want a small copy for my desk at work. It reminded me that all of the things that I saw in my husband were there from a young age; his gentleness, his desire to be different, his need to understand the greater world; all of it was evident in this picture. He was tossing shells and stones into the ocean, and his hair was waving in the wind. I thought that he looked stunning sitting there. He was staring at me,while I stared at his image, his gaze made me blush.
We flipped through the rest of the book, and there was a picture of James and Sirius, arm in arm, much like the one that I had seen on Sirius’ childhood bedroom wall the first time that we toured Grimmauld. This picture was different from that one, however. This was a wider shot, and in the background was Regulus, scowling, arms crossed. I pointed it out to Sirius, who simply shook his head in regret.
“You know, if I’d been even slightly aware of what he was feeling, I might have been able to avoid years of hardship for all of us,” my husband stated, and I caressed his hand.
“You were a child, you couldn’t be expected to understand. He made his own choices, and unfortunately, he paid the price for them,” I assured him.
“You know, I really don’t know about your brother,” Haf started, and Sirius got up and walked over closer to him, and I could hear him recounting the tale of his younger brother. Sirius didn’t gloss over anything, including the fact that he was behind the attack on me in Hogsmeade and that he was murdered by Voldemort. I watched as my brother tried to take it all in.
Lily and I closed the first album and laid it aside, and she got another one out. As soon as we opened it, I recognized it; it contained pictures of her wedding. We flipped through them, laughing at some of the ridiculously staged pictures it contained. There was the traditional one of James and Sirius, looking off in the distance. I swear I could hear the younger, photographic versions of themselves making snide remarks. There was an equally stupid picture of me helping Lily put on her veil, since her sister had refused to come to the wedding and be her Matron.
“Have you talked to Petunia lately?” I asked her.
“Nope, not in years; I don’t care to either. I really don’t need a fake sister, when I’ve got a much better version right here.” I leaned over and hugged her in thanks. We continued to flip through the book and reminisce, and there were a few pictures that I wanted, and then we got to the end of the book. There was the picture of Sirius and me dancing that I had taken back to Hogwarts with me, when I went for my sixth year. I had my head on his chest, and he was looking at me with such devotion. I was so scared to see it that summer, so afraid of what I was feeling.
“You know, he still looks at you that way,” Lily mused.
“I know. We look so young, Lily. I was fifteen, you were all eighteen, the war was...it seems like another lifetime.”
“I sometimes wonder how we did it, when we were that young. Maybe because we didn’t know that we were young and stupid yet. We weren’t afraid yet,” she suggested.
“I would think that it was more that we had no idea what we could lose.”
“Maybe you’re right,” she said pensively. I ran my fingers over the picture. “You definitely need a big copy of that one.”
“Yes, I most definitely do.”
We set aside that book as well, and she levitated the last book out of the box. It looked older than the other ones, but I was anxious to see what was in it. I flipped open the cover, and immediately realized that these pictures were much older than either of the other books.
“Darn it,” Lily muttered. “I thought that this was another one from James’ childhood, but I think that these might be pictures of his father instead.” She reached to take back the album, but I held onto it.
“I have nothing better to do, and I like to look at pictures. I only met Mr. Potter a couple of times, it would be nice to see more of him. He seemed nice,” I commented.
“I was always impressed with him. There was a firm but calm nature to him that I appreciated. James’ mother was just, sweet. I really was so sad when they passed,” she explained and I started flipping through the book. By looking at the clothes, it looked like it might be the late thirties or early forties. It was good to know that Wizarding fashions and robes mimicked Muggle ones. We’d flipped through a few pages, when I saw a familiar face peeking back at me.
“Lily, is that Albus?” Lily leaned down to get a better look at the picture, and then sat upright again.
“I think that it is. I know his mother moved back there, well, after his father went to prison. His family was from Godric’s Hollow, and I know from his biography that he had lived there for a while as well. His mother, father and sister were all buried there,” she explained.
“Huh, I um, saw markers in that cemetery for my Da’s family as well. I assumed that they were for his parents, but when we were there, I couldn’t look real closely,” I explained.
“I thought that your father was Welsh?” Lily asked, and apparently our conversation had attracted the attention of my brother and husband, as they were both moving over closer to us.
“My father grew up in Wales, but he was born near Bath. He was sent to the country during the air raids,” I explained.
“You know sis, I haven’t ever really heard the whole story. Da doesn’t like to talk about it. He really wouldn’t talk about it after you brought your kids to stay there,” Haf said and I nodded at him.
“Da was born in 1938, and when the bombings started in earnest, they shipped the children away, sending them out to the country. Da and his brother, Quentin, were sent to the Welsh countryside. The family that they were living with received word in 1941 that their parents had been killed. Da was only two. They were both adopted by the Iver family, the ones that they were living with, and lived on a dairy farm, not far from our childhood home. My uncle kept the last name of Iver, but when Da turned eighteen, he went looking for his family. He chose to use the Hodgson last name from then on. I found the graves when we were in Godric’s Hollow on Christmas Eve, 1997. I never saw what the first names were, we were a little busy that night; but I assume that it was my grandparents.”
“Wow, it’s odd that they were in that little village, that had a Wizarding community too,” Lily said off-handedly and I nodded at her.
“Yeah, but look at some place like Ottery St. Catchpole. There are what, four or five Wizarding families there, and the rest of the town is Muggle. Probably the same thing,” I retorted.
“I guess,” she said. I turned the page, and I could feel my heart stop and my eyes grow wide.
“Anwen,” Sirius said, putting his hand on my back. “What happened? Are you okay?” I shook my head at him.
“Lily, do you know who any of these people are?” I asked, pointing to a picture to the top left of the page.
“Um,” she mumbled, looking at the picture. “I think that the boy standing there is James father, and he’s next to his mother. That’s it. Why?”
My fingers were running frantically over the photo, hoping that what I was seeing wasn’t real, but the picture didn’t or wouldn’t change. My left hand covered my mouth while my right continued to caress the picture. My breathing was increasing in speed and depth, and the world felt like it was spinning. “Haf,” I whispered and my brother got up and came over next to me.
“Anwen, are you okay?” he asked, his voice terse.
“Look.” There was a beat, and it felt as if time had stopped. Then I heard him gasp as well.
“O..o...oh my God,” my brother stammered.
“We’re both seeing this, right? It’s the same, isn’t it?” I asked him.
“I think so, I mean, it certainly looks like...oh my God.”
“One way to find out,” I said and Haf started to protest.
“Anwen you’re not supposed to do...” with that a framed picture from our bedroom mantle was in my hands. “...magic,” he finished, futile in his effort to stop me.
I compared the two pictures, and they were the same. The lady was in the same chair, in front of the same house, the same toddler sitting on her lap. The one in the frame was still, a Muggle picture; while the one in the album was moving, the little boy chatting away to the older one.
“Winnie, who is that?” Lily asked me, questioning how I would have a picture of James family.
“That little boy,” I said, pointing to the toddler on the woman’s lap. “That boy, is my father. He’s being held by his birth mother. It’s the only picture we have of my grandmother. Why is James in a picture with my father and grandmother?”
“Anwen, what...um, give me a minute,” she said as she lifted her wand and I watched her Patronus fly from it. My eyes dropped back down to the picture, the one with my father and grandmother sitting next to Mr. Potter and his mother. I couldn’t believe it, they were...we were. My head was spinning, and I was sure that it wasn’t just from the potions any more. Sirius lengthened the chaise with magic, and then slid himself behind me, his arms wrapping around my mid section and his head coming to rest on my shoulder. He knew not to say anything, he just wanted to hold me close and comfort me.
Why is James’ grandmother sitting next to my grandmother. It looks like they’re at some sort of a family function or outing, but why would our dad’s both be there? I don’t understand.
There was a rustle, and James was with us, presently. He was dressed in his formal work robes, even though court wasn’t in session today. I looked up at him, in shock.
“Do you know anything about these women?” I begged him and he looked down at the two photos, the one in the album as well as the framed on in my hand.
“That woman,” he said, pointing to the one on the left, “she’s my grandmother, Wilma Potter. The boy standing next to her, that’s my father. He was, oh, about ten I think when this picture was taken. The woman next to her is my great aunt.”
“What is her name?”
“Anwen, what’s going on?”
“Please, James,” I said tersely, “just tell me her name.”
“My great aunt’s first name was Violet. I don’t know what her married name was. She and my grandmother were both...”
“Parkers.” I whispered, and Haf looked astonished.
“How did you know that?” James asked, sinking down to the ground to sit next to Lily, looking up at me.
“They were both Parkers, Violet and Wilma. Violet’s last name when she got married became,” I needed to breathe, because as soon as I said it, it would be real, “Hodgson. James your great aunt is my grandmother.”
His eyes bore into me, searching me for a lie. I knew that he wouldn’t find one. I could feel the shock passing through us all. We are actually related, James and I are family. I wasn’t Muggle born, I was part of a very old Wizarding family. It felt like too much, my head was spinning and I was afraid that I was going to be ill. I lay back against the strength of Sirius behind me, and closed my eyes. His arms tightened around me and his lips moved to kiss my cheek, but I was still feeling lost, like someone had ripped the rug out from underneath me, but I hadn’t fallen to the floor yet, so I couldn’t get my bearings straight.
“H,h,how...” James stuttered and I shook my head at him. “How, after all of these years, did we not know this?”
“How could we have? My father hasn’t seen his birth mother since he was a little less than two years old. This is the only picture that we have of her,” I explained, holding up the frame. “We were told, he was told that she died. James, what happened to my grandmother?”
“Um, oh, God, I should have figured this out. Anwen, she was a visualist, like you.” My heart fell at his words.
“Was, James, is she...dead?”
“She died just after you were married. Lily and I had to travel to France for the funeral,” he explained.
“Why was she living in France?” I asked. Why, if she was alive, did she let my father believe that his mother was dead? What kind of a woman was she?
“She was hidden from Grindelwald. He knew of her talent, and he wanted it, her,” he muttered and I closed my eyes from the weight of it. Grindelwald wanted my grandmother, like Voldemort had wanted me. I shook my head.
We all sat there in stunned silence, not sure what to say or do next. This wasn’t something that you came across every day, and I wasn’t sure that I had it in me to deal with this correctly. Tears started to fall, and I wasn’t even sure what was causing them. I was hurt and elated and frustrated and confused and numb all at once.
“James, didn’t your father ever put it together, when we met, when he learned my last name?” I asked him.
“He might have, but Anwen, I thought you were Welsh, that your family was Welsh. When my Dad asked where you were from, I told him Cardiff, that your family ran a dairy farm there. He asked nothing else,” James explained.
“You had no reason to think otherwise, and I didn’t know that my magic was, different, until years later. Oh, God, James, we’re...” I stopped, having to figure out the relationship in my head. “We’re second cousins. We’re actually family.”
“We’ve been family for quite a while, Anwen. We just found out that we’re blood relations too. Not all that close, but hell, it would have been close enough to keep you off the Muggle–born registry,” he said quietly. “Someone must have known. There must have been people living near them that helped her go into hiding, as well as hiding her children.”
Something in James words made me pause. Living near by. The words echoed over and over again, and a hot fire was replacing everything else that was filling my soul. There was someone living near by, someone who has been known to manipulate situations. Someone who liked to keep secrets. Someone who was the Wizard that finally brought Grindelwald down. I flipped back in the book to the picture of all of the Wizards and Witches, shocked to now see my grandmother standing in the back, next to Albus Dumbledore. I hadn’t recognized her before, but I wasn’t looking for my supposedly Muggle grandmother in a picture of witches and wizards.
“James, who do you see standing next to my grandmother?” I asked him. “There,” I said pointing to the man. His face fell when he saw our former Headmaster and Mentor, just as mine had.
“He, it can’t be. He wouldn’t keep something like this, not from you...” James was rambling out loud.
“Really, you don’t think so? Think of all of the secrets that he kept, think of what he wanted to do to Harry. You don’t think that this would be right up his alley, manipulating something like this?” I sneered at James. I wasn’t angry at him, he had no way of knowing; but I had the distinct feeling that Albus Dumbledore might. “James, I need to speak with him,” I said through pursed lips. “Now!”
“I’ll go get his portrait...” James suggested, starting to get up.
“I can get it here faster,” I said, and before any of them could object, the portrait had materialized and was sitting in the open chair that Sirius had vacated a while before. The old man looked shocked to see his surroundings, and gave everyone a polite smile, even once he saw the anger that was evident. When the portrait’s eyes met mine, his face fell.
“Anwen, what’s wrong?”
“You haven’t spoken to me in two years, and you ask me what’s wrong? Honestly, you didn’t think that I hadn’t noticed that you were dozing every time I went to the Headmistress’s office at Hogwarts, or went into James’ office at the Ministry? That is the best that you can do, ‘what’s wrong’?” I roared at him. I had so much pent up frustration at the man, and I could feel the dam burst and the floodgates open.
“Well, I knew that you wouldn’t take well to Ethan having Fawkes, I figured that I would give you time to adjust...” he suggested, but I was shaking my head at him.
“Don’t even get me started on that. I know that you knew before you died. A heads up there would have been nice, but why would you tell me anything, I’m just the boy’s mother,” I snapped. “But this has nothing to do with my eldest son. This has to do with a very old secret. Tell me, did you ever know Violet Hodgson?”
It was strange to see the life drain out of the face of a portrait, but that is exactly what happened. The life drained from Albus’ face, he was ashen and old in the space of a second, and I knew that he did indeed know something, or God forbid, something more.
“Tell me, everything. You owe me that much,” I spoke with thick words, dripping with venom for my former teacher. He sighed, folded his hands and began talking. His demeanor spoke of a grandfather telling a nighttime story before bed; but I knew that there was no way this would be a fairy tale for me.
“Your grandmother was an uncommonly talented witch. She was a projecting visualist, like yourself, who excelled at Charms work. She could make herself invisible and could manipulate things from across the room. She had married for love, a Muggle farmer from the outskirts of town. Your great-grandparents were none too happy, but they couldn’t deny their daughter her own life.”
“When Gellert met her, he was so taken with her. She was enchantingly beautiful and exceedingly talented. She nurtured him, taught him how to manipulate magic beyond what was normally taught to students in school. When he realized just what she was capable of, he became obsessed with her. He wanted her ability to see from far away. He recognized the advantage that it would give one side in an battle,” he said, and it almost sounded as if there was regret in his voice. I shook my head at him, knowing that he felt the same way at one point about me.
“Violet began to fear for her children, and rightly so. There were few things that were of any concern to your grandmother, she didn’t need things to make her happy; but she did love her husband and her children. Your grandfather was killed in a machine accident with some farm equipment, but no one ever really believed that it was accidental that he had died, there just wasn’t any proof. Gellert Grindelwald made veiled threats against her, promising more destruction if she didn’t join him. Your grandmother stood tall against him, until he went after her children.”
“How were you friends with him?” Lily blurted out, but honestly, we were all thinking it.
“I didn’t know any of this until much later, I didn’t know that he’d become obsessed with her, I didn’t know that he was capable of murder. I...I was young and I hid my eyes from things, thinking that if I didn’t know that they were real, then they wouldn’t be.”
“So he went after my Da or my Uncle Quentin?” Haf asked.
“No, he went after your Aunt Rose,” Dumbledore said and I started to shake my head. “You never knew about her, that’s why you don’t recognize the name. She was...she died before your grandmother went into hiding. It appeared that the house had been bombed while she was inside alone. Your grandmother and the boys were in the yard playing. The truth is that he blew the house up. I didn’t know about it until much, much later.” My hand went to cover my mouth again and I could feel fresh tears falling.
“To keep your grandmother and the boys safe, they were shipped out, the boys with the Muggle children who were being sent to the country. It gave them the perfect cover, they were far away and we doubted that anyone from this world would go looking for them. Your grandmother went to France. Her death was faked before she left.”
“She knew that they were Squibs?” I asked.
“Yes, with her visualization skills...” I nodded in understanding.
“Your grandmother went to live in the south of France, near Toulon, where she lived the rest of her life, doing very little magic. She died about 15 years ago.” He ended his tale and he just sat there looking at me. I could tell by the look in his eyes that he was still holding something back.
“Tell me the rest of it, now,” I ordered him.
“Anwen, there is nothing...” I cut him off.
“You’re lying to me, I can see it in your eyes. Tell me now what you’re keeping from me. Why were you involved in all of this anyway?” He refused to answer, instead just sitting there, looking at me. The answer dawned on me. “You’re related to us too, aren’t you. That’s why you were helping her. You felt responsible, like you had brought this down on your own family. Tell me everything!”
“I had forgotten how perceptive you can be,” he mused; and I knew that his comment was supposed to diffuse my anger with his kindness. It hadn’t worked. I stared at him, waiting for his answer.
“She was my third cousin, my father was her great, great, great uncle. I had brought Gellert into our family, I had introduced them, I needed to help save her and her children,” he said sadly, but I couldn’t feel any pity for him, not right now. “I knew that you were going to find out one day, after I saw your ring. I just never was sure how long it would be.” My ring, what about my ring?
“Wait, what do you mean my ring? My engagement ring? We bought it at a second hand store. The woman told us that it was part of a lot that her husband had gotten for them. Sirius’ pocket watch was part of it too,” I said, hearing the pitch in my voice get softer and softer as the reality dawned on me. Where did she say that the estate was?
“Anwen, the items were bought from the sale we held when your family fled. The ring and the watch belonged to your great-grandparents, the Parkers. They were both dead by this time as well.” I couldn’t take much more, Sirius had inadvertently bought me back my own family heirlooms, and Dumbledore knew from the time that we were engaged when we were young. I felt sick, that was twenty years ago, he’s known for all that time.
“I don’t believe you!” I roared at him, and it felt like Sirius was holding me down now, which I was quite certain he was. “You have known about this for all of this time. That’s why it was you that came to see me when I was eleven. You wanted to test me, even then. Tell me!”
“Yes, it’s true,” he answered quietly.
“You, you manipulated all of this. You...oh God, was anything that you told me the truth? I trusted you, completely, and this is what I get for it. You pushed and prodded and made me work beyond what the normal limits could be, all so that you could make me your little plaything? Why, why didn’t you ever tell me the truth?”
“I couldn’t Anwen. I needed you where you were.” The tears stopped, and I felt disgusted. I had been used for all of these years.
“I don’t believe you, I can’t even begin to think about what must run through that warped, addled brain of yours. I have spent half of my life trying to understand what I was, why I had all this power and these really rare skills, and here, you had the answers all along. Did you enjoy watching me flounder and suffer? Did you get some perverse pleasure in my anguish?” I stopped talking, I couldn’t say any more, I was afraid that I was going to be sick over the whole thing.
“Albus, why didn’t you say anything to me?” James asked, and it was a good question.
“Because it was obvious by the end of her first year that all of you had grown close, that you trusted each other. You would have told her,” he answered. James didn’t like the reply. He quickly rose to his feet and moved so that he was face to face with the man in the frame.
“You really are the manipulator that Anwen has always said you were. I didn’t want to believe you, I didn’t want you to be working all of the angles of the game. I wanted you to be the good guy, doing what was right. How foolish I was. That doesn’t explain why you never told her or me, later. Once she was part of my family, once she was with Sirius and part of our lives, why didn’t you let us know?”
“Because, she needed to be in place,” he said quietly.
“In place, in place for what?” James bellowed at him.
“The final battle, James. He needed me to be where I was for the final battle. What was your plan? Hmm? Shield Harry, or was I the final weapon. If Harry failed, you were sure that I would lose control and blow everything to bits? I was the expendable one, wasn’t I?”
He said nothing, but that action spoke volumes.
“You disgust me. I could have met her, I could have known her. Hell, my father could have seen his mother again, but you took all of that away from us, didn’t you? I can’t believe that I ever, ever looked up to you!” I screamed, and my heart was racing within my chest. “Please, don’t ever attempt to make contact with me again. The world may think that you’re a great man, but I know that all you are is a spoiled child who wants to make sure that they win at their game. I have a secret to tell you, no one likes to play with someone who cheats.” I looked away, and turned myself so that I was sitting sideways in Sirius’ lap now, and I buried my face in his chest. My husband comforted me and soothed me, and I listened to James.
“I’m removing you from my office, Albus,” he spoke calmly and with resolve, but his voice was forced and I could hear the pain reverberate through him. “Your counsel is no longer needed. You wanted to use my son as a weapon. You never gave Anwen the chance to be reunited with her family, and you denied her a lineage that was rightly hers; but most of all, you lied to us both. Goodbye.” I lifted my head in time to see James flourishing his wand and the portrait disappearing. He came over and knelt before me, taking one of my tear soaked hands in his.
“I always knew that there was something very special about you, Winnie. Turns out, that it was just that we were family. Welcome to the Potters,” he said, wrapping one arm around me and then using the other to reach over and grab my brother’s hand. Boy, do I have one interesting call to make to my father.