Remus pulled me out of the Pensieve and when I saw him I sat down on a cold step. I tried keeping my eyes open, staring up at Remus. I had seen the memory before, but not from Remus’ point of view. It was always from Tom’s. It was also what I always wanted. He sat next to me and took something out of his coat pocket. I smiled as soon as I realized what he had in his hands.
“Chocolate,” we said together.
“I knew that isn’t what you wanted to see, but it was about time you needed to know. He cares for you, Victoria. Who’d ever thought it?”
“I did. I always did,” I sighed, taking a bite of the chocolate.
Remus left soon after the memory viewings. It was getting late and wanted to make sure that Dora was safe. No one was safe since Tom had regained strength a few years before. And everybody knew that. I let him run off; just seeing him was enough for me. I retreated to my room and saw half of the room was empty. I forgot that Harry was going to move out. I heard a knock at the door and saw Hermione and Ron with boxes. I helped them out and unpacked. I smiled at the thought of Tom actually confronting Remus to help me. Me of all people. It made me feel loved. It made me feel like I actually had a sane family, but that feeling quickly ran away screaming.
He hurried over to Victoria, who looked a little out of it.
“What is it, Ingrid?”
“I’m not going to be around Harry anymore. I mean, he’s made it obvious that he doesn’t want to be around me either. I don’t think I’ll ever tell him about me.”
“But you have to,” a voice that belonged to neither Ron nor me came out.
Ron turned around to see Hermione standing there. She had multiple books in her arms and a sad face on. My face turned to the floor. I felt even worse. I knew I couldn’t just say no, but by any means, Harry was not to know. No matter how many people wanted me to tell him. My eyes locked with Hermione’s.
“Harry has to know, Victoria. He needs to know that he has family alive. What would Sirius say? Or Remus, perhaps?”
“Sirius wanted me to tell him, too. But he understood why I didn’t. And Remus actually knew why I had to keep it a secret. And don’t ever try to guilt me with ‘what would Sirius say’.”
“I’m sorry, but Harry is going to find out the truth and if it isn’t from you, he’ll never forgive you.”
“You think I’m looking for forgiveness? No. I’m looking for closure. My whole life is about living in the shadow of the Boy Who Lived. I don’t need to do this speech, Hermione. It’s done. I’m never telling him. Go. It doesn’t do you two good hanging out with a girl who looks like a werewolf has beaten her. Go eat dinner.”
Neither of them went.
“Go!” I almost staggered, but held onto the bedpost. The two went downstairs and left me be. When I knew they were out of the Common Room, I went to the Great Hall. I know they could see me, but I needed to see my brother. When I entered, I saw Draco sitting with Pansy and Blaise. She sat beside Draco and Blaise, sighing as she hit the wooden bench.
“Good evening, Draco.”
“Hi, Tori. How’s the face?”
I hadn’t really noticed but my face was still bruised up. I guess I did feel it hurt me, but I always pushed it to the back of my head. I shrugged and ate his mashed potatoes.
“Hey! I was gonna eat those!”
“Well, now you’re not. Besides, you have a very disturbed and troubled sister. You should give her your mashed potatoes if you want her to regain her strength.”
“Well, my disturbed and troubled sister shouldn’t be down here. She should be in the hospital wing.”
“If I may interject here, and I will, Tori, you are always welcome to eat my mashed potatoes.”
“That’s just because you’ve had a crush on her since you were 13,” Draco hissed in his ear, while I was not able to hear them.
“Shut your lid,” Blaise hissed back.
“So, I am officially staying away from the Chosen One. I have made that an order to myself,” I sighed, digging my fork onto Blaise’s plate. I leaned on his shoulder and sighed again. “Thanks for the potatoes.”
“Anytime,” he grinned. “Are we going to be honored with your presence in class today or are you actually going to listen to your crazed brother and stay in the hospital wing?”
“When am I ever going to listen to my brother?” I turned to Draco. “Even though I love you with all of my heart, I will never obey my brother. I hope you know that.”
“I know. It’s just that I don’t want you to get hurt anymore than you already are.”
I pressed my lips on his forehead and put my arms around him. “I love you so much.”
Draco finally put his arms around me and then kissed my cheek.
“I love you, too. Now, get to the hospital wing.”
“I actually should get going, but not to the hospital wing.” I stood and gave Blaise a kiss on the cheek before leaving. “Bye.”
I headed back to my room. I didn’t want to go to class. I knew all the work I had to get done but I could always do it when there isn’t a war going on. I had to go to Tom and I needed to go right then. It was time for me to see him again.
“Dumbledore, I need to see him again. I know how to get to him and I need to get there now,” I said, resting my hands on his desk.
“Fine. I know that this is difficult for you, Victoria.”
“Hell yeah, it’s difficult. I have to go to one of the most powerful dark wizards and get information out of him. I need this and you act like it’s just a run to the grocery. ‘It’s difficult for you, Victoria.’ I know it’s difficult!”
Silence hung between us. I needed to say it out loud before I became insane inside.
“Victoria,” he started.
“I have to go. I’ll see you then.”
I walked into the fireplace, took a handful of floo powder, and whispered Tom’s location. Green flames overwhelmed me and I saw nothing but black. Meaning: he was in my home. Malfoy Manor. I walked out of our huge black fireplace and sighed deeply.
Most people don’t like my home. It’s dark, decrepit (at least in my room), and black. I looked up to the large cathedral ceilings. The canary crystal chandeliers hung around all around the house. I forgot how old my house was and looked shocked when my footsteps were echoed throughout the empty hallways. Empty. There must’ve been a meeting commencing. Of course, Draco wasn’t told about it. Sometimes I had some queasy feeling that Draco had been informed, but just didn’t tell me. My stupid brother, trying to be brave. Please. I found my way to my dining room, which was their normal meeting place. The Death Eaters were normal guests in my home, no matter how much I hated them. As I was walking along my home, I didn’t hear any voices, which was what happened when Tom was in meetings. So as I entered the grand dining room, I saw Tom there with Auntie Bella, of course, and Pettigrew. Seeing him almost made me cringe.
“Victoria, my darling girl. Bellatrix, Wormtail, please leave us.”
Auntie Bella’s crazy mad eyes widened but didn’t act on the thoughts of her wanting me dead. She just looked angrily at me and then again at Tom. I could see the anger in her face; she wasn’t hiding it very well. Wormtail was already out of the room by the time I got into the room. He was always afraid of me. Maybe it was because I was so close to Tom and he knew my secret and felt guilty. I hoped that was what it was. So, Auntie Bella took the long way out and walked all the way down along my dining room table, which was like 50 feet long. Having her fingers lying on the table, she scraped her nail as she walked down. I tuned it all out and stared at Tom. He seemed a little happier to see him and, to be honest, I was a little happier to see him. He may have been a serial murderer, but I grew up knowing that he was my father, until Lucius came around and claimed me. Auntie Bella slammed the giant black doors as she left. As soon as I heard the clicking of her heels go the opposite direction, I instantly starting running toward Tom. He stood up, causing his black cloak to drape down the large oak chair he sat in. Opening his arms, I wrapped my own arms around him. I breathed him in. Feeling him embrace me was like a memory. A memory of long ago.
“Tom! Tom!” I said, my voice being higher than before. I was only nine. Actually, it was my birthday. Tom came every year, but he was still weak. And yet, he was stronger every time he came over to my house. I didn’t have any friends. I only had Draco. Draco and Tom, really.
“Victoria!” his raspy voice came out. He had his black cloak on, which covered his face, but I could see those red eyes. I looked up and gave him a wide smile. I had lost my baby canine tooth. I held my arms around him and he did the same. Tom’s face wrinkled into a smile.
When I pulled away, I looked up at him with a half smile.
“Don’t ever hug Draco that way.”
I led Tom to our dining room that was decorated special just for my birthday. Little pieces of confetti and balloons were at the top of the ceiling. And the dining room table was shortened to only three places. One for Draco, Tom, and I. Narcissa and Lucius were gone for the whole day, but Narcissa had kissed me goodbye and left me my gifts. But I didn’t care about any of that. All I cared about was that Tom actually was at my “party”. I sat down at the chair next to Draco. We didn’t put on any silly party hats; we never had anything like that at our get-togethers. Well, what funeral attire to normal people was what the Malfoys wore to their birthdays.
“Hello, Draco,” Tom said, quietly.
Draco just nodded. He wasn’t always comfortable around Tom, being who he was. The thing was that Draco knew how much he meant to me. He was like my father and Draco accepted it. I smiled at Draco to give me more of a warm feeling in our asylum of a house. I received a small smile from him and turned to Tom.
“Victoria, I think I have something great for you this year.”
“Really? What is it?”
“You must be patient, my dear.”
I bit my lower lip and turned it into a smile. I walked out of the room for the minute and got my gift for Draco out of our room. I looked at the uneven evergreen wrapping paper and listened to the sound of its crinkling in my ears. I sighed quickly and ran back downstairs to Tom and Draco. Draco was never really happy when I left him with Tom for a long time. When I walked downstairs, I heard the silence that had enwrapped my two favorite people. Geez, there’s something wrong with me.
“Draco!” I said in a singsongy voice. I showed the present I got him and handed it to him. “I have your present!”
Draco took it from me and suddenly opened it. It was a new telescope made of brass. It was expensive enough for him not to ask questions. However we achieved the present was always a secret, so I knew no questions were going to be asked. A wide smile appeared on my brother’s face and so did Tom’s. Well, Tom had a little smile instead. I gave a smile back. He handed me a silver box. Taking it in my hands, I took the lid off slowly and unwrapped the tissue paper. It was a pair of Converse. How my brother—who was eight or nine at the time—got ahold of a pair of Converse shoes, I’ll never know. I gave him a huge hug and gave him a kiss on his forehead.
“Here, Draco,” Tom said.
He opened the small blob of tissue paper. I think Auntie Bella was helping him from Azkaban because only a crazy person could wrap a small thing like it was the size of an ostrich egg. Draco’s eyes were full of shock and admiration. Reaching his hand down, Draco pulled out a bunch of chocolate frogs. Draco was practically ecstatic.
“Thank you. Father won’t ever let us eat these.”
“Then Father,” I leaned, “won’t know about it.”
“And for you, Victoria.”
He handed me another colorful blob. I opened it and saw leather bound books. That’s right. One of the ones I use that day. I think that I had filled two books up to today. I was emotionless. I just stared down at the books and then at Tom. I opened my mouth but didn’t say anything. But I got my voice back.
“Thank you,” I whispered. “I love them. I’ll write in them everyday.”
“I’m going to see if Dobby can clean this up.”
“No!” He stopped. “I’ll do it later.”
“Victoria, you have a house elf, use it,” Tom interrupted.
“Dobby isn’t an it. He’s a he and I like cleaning with him. Just go up to our room, Draco.”
He did as he was told, the great boy. It was time for Tom to go and I knew it. He never had to say anything; I just got good at telling when he wasn’t telling me something. Then he’d leave. We started to walk down the corridor, hands interlocked. I looked up at him and gave him a small smile.
“I’ve missed you, Tom.”
“I have missed you, too, Victoria.”
“Why do you not like Draco?”
“I do like your brother.”
“But you and I know that he isn’t my brother.”
“Victoria, I know that you and Draco aren’t related by blood, but don’t think that you and him aren’t connected by a bond. You two have to bare Lucius and that’s something that can’t be bonded by, unless you’re his child.”
“When are you going to come back?”
“I don’t know, Victoria. But I will tell you this. We will see each other soon and it will not be here.”
My face brightened here because I never had seen Tom outside of my house. I knew that he was supposed to be dead and we had to keep his secret. And to tell you guys the truth, I liked that we had to keep it a secret. It meant that we had something to share with each other.
“You have to keep your promise, remember?”
“I won’t. Ever.”
“I have some questions for you, Tom.”
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