Chapter 22 : Recollection
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Dromeda Tonks always took flowers with her. Sometimes she took lilies, beautiful long stemmed white ones like she had carried at her wedding, or little blue forget-me-nots that made a secret promise. But usually she took roses; large red ones that clearly symbolized the love they had long shared.
The graveyard was usually fairly empty. It was part of a haunting little church in Somerset with an old vicar and a small congregation, so people rarely ventured out here. Before she had begun to come here regularly, she had only breezily passed it once, on her wedding day to Ted. Now, she came here all the time, for it was here that her heart and spirit lay.
Ted’s grave was over in a corner, and he rested next to his mother and father. Dromeda took it as a small blessing that Helen and Peter Tonks had not lived to see their only son brutally murdered while on the run, or their only grandchild cut down defending the beliefs she cherished.
On spotting Ted’s grave, she saw that many autumn leaves had been blown to cover it and she instantly began moving them away. “Oh Ted,” she tutted, laughing to herself, “you still can’t keep anything tidy! I bet you and Dora are up there having a good laugh at me, and I when I get there myself I’ll make sure you are both tidy again!”
Laying the roses on his grave, she sat down opposite him, gazing at the lettering on the stone that she had written. “Here lies Ted Tonks, much-loved son of Helen and Peter, adored father of Nymphadora and beloved husband of Andromeda. I am a thousand winds that blow, I am the diamond glints on snow, I am the sun on ripened grain, I am the gentle autumn rain.”
Running her fingers across his name, she imagined she was holding his hand once again, the hand that had been lying cold beneath his grave for almost twelve years. “I miss you, Ted,” Dromeda whispered, “everyday, I still wish you were here. We could have had so many years together if it were not for stupid blood statuses.”
The thought of the last time she saw him still made her weep. Pressured to sign up to the Muggleborn Registration Commission, Ted had furiously refused. In their final night together, they had sat in bed, Dromeda holding Ted’s hand, not wanting to let go. After all this time, they could not lose.
“I’m going to go in the morning,” Ted had said, tears on his cheeks, “I don’t want to put you or Dora in any danger.” Andromeda had furiously scoffed at this, reminding him they had both been tortured by Deatheaters for harbouring Harry Potter only weeks ago.
“I’m coming with you,” Andromeda had insisted, “I am not letting you run away on your own! I will not give up on us now after twenty-six years of marriage! We are in this together now!” Ted had laughed at her red faced insistence before kissing her and stroking her hair to soothe her.
He broke away, shaking his head, “Dromeda, your pureblood status protects you, and Dora is pregnant. We can’t leave her to fend for herself! Just let me do this, I promise you I will come back, and when have I ever broken a promise?” This had calmed her, and they had fallen asleep in each other’s arms.
It had been the first promise that Ted had ever broken. After he left, she had been gripped to Potterwatch, listening and hoping that no good news was good news. The weeks of no news had eventually lulled Dromeda into a false sense of security, and she soon began to believe that Ted was not going to get hurt. It would only ever happen to someone else.
She had been doing the washing up when she heard the sombre tones of River delivering the news that destroyed her life. “Let’s take a moment to report those deaths that the Wizarding Wireless Network and Daily Prophet don’t think important enough to mention. It is with great regret that we inform our listeners of the murders of Ted Tonks and Dirk Cresswell.”
Dromeda thought she would die. Ted was her everything, her life. They had forged an identity and a life together to keep the world at bay. Andy Black was now long dead; she was Dromeda Tonks, and her other half lay silent in the grave.
It took her weeks to regain her mind, until she heard her daughter’s silent pleas to talk to her, to listen to her. Nymphadora had been her support, her life blood, and the birth of little Teddy had reminded her that Ted would not want her to break down. There were people she loved that she still had to keep fighting for.
“You should see Teddy,” she smiled, ripping an autumn leaf in her hand. “First day at Hogwarts yesterday, I took him down to the platform and he was so happy, and he jumped on the platform so excitedly. Do you remember how Dora cried and wouldn’t let go of my leg?”
Through the breeze rippling through the trees she thought she could hear his warm, comforting laugh. “He’s a Gryffindor,” she whispered, the image of her grandson appearing in her mind, “can you imagine? Our grandson a Gryffindor? I’m sure he is going to love Hogwarts!”
There was no warm laugh, no murmur of agreement. Ted was gone, and that thought overcame her sharply, and tears welled in her eyes. “You don’t know how much I miss you,” she whispered, “every day I think of you and I can’t quite understand why it was you who was taken away, not me. And Dora, our beautiful girl. She’s left a parent-less child, and you’ve left me alone.”
The tears broke through and she buried her face in her hands. “Ted, I love you. I love you so much, can’t you just come back to me? Every day I think that you and Dora are just going to stroll back in through the front door and that everything is going to be all right. God Ted, just come back to me!”
Time had made her able to stand the pain of losing her whole family, but often when she came here, attempting to be close to the man she loved, she would often feel the agony of losing him all over again. It was like she was empty, like there was no hope in the world without him.
“You asked me once,” she sobbed, not able to look at the cold piece of stone that marked his grave, “whether I would regret choosing you, and I kissed you to distract you. I never told you that I never regretted it, not even for a moment, and it kills me that you never knew!”
Her face was wet, and her sleeves felt warm with tears, and it was at this moment that the pair of arms enveloped around her shoulders, and she was rocked soothingly. “It’s okay Andy, just cry it out, it’s okay.” It felt so nice to be held and comforted, and all Andromeda could do was to cry.
“I know I promised to wait by the gate,” said Cissy slowly, “but I couldn’t help but come in and have a look.” Andromeda offered her sister a little smile before they both turned back to Ted’s grave.
“He’s buried in a very beautiful place,” whispered Cissy, her arms still round her sister’s shoulders, “and you wrote some very beautiful words too.” Andromeda managed to conjure an embarrassed smile. For all the misery that had come Andromeda’s way there had been one small piece of happiness.
It had been a couple of months after the war ended, and Andromeda had been in Diagon Alley, picking out some clothes for Teddy. Andromeda had spotted a beautiful purple dress and had gone to pick it up, only to find another hand clutching the fabric.
Andromeda had followed the pale arm and found her looking into her sister’s eyes. The years had been very kind to Cissy; she was still icily beautiful, but the war had brought a compassion to her features that had previously been lacking. Cissy must have registered the shock in her eyes, as she spoke first.
“Andy,” she whispered, her eyes not moving from her sister’s face. Andromeda had not known what to say or do; here was her sister, a culprit in the atrocities the Dark Lord’s regime had brought, but who had been blessed with the survival of her whole family, while Andromeda had lost everything but done the right thing.
The years had stretched before them; every lie, every broken promise, every shared heartbreak. Andromeda had suddenly been reminded of the fact that she had only two living relatives left; her little grandson, and Cissy, her long estranged sister. And in that moment, Andromeda realized she forgave her sister everything.
Then the tears had come, thick and fast, and the two sisters had embraced, right there in the shop. “I’m sorry Andy, for everything that’s happened,” sobbed Cissy, as they clung to each other, not wanting to let go. “I’ve never hated you in the way Bella, or mama or papa did. Please forgive me!”
Andromeda had lost so much that she had found it so easy to forgive her sister, and they had begun to become involved with each other’s life. They tended to go out together once a week, and Cissy had come to the cemetery as they were then going on to town together.
Feeling calmed by her sister’s presence, she got to her feet, her arm round her sisters shoulder. “You ready to go?” said Cissy, pulling a tissue out of her pocket and handing it to Dromeda. Andromeda nodded, wiping her tears and gazing forlornly at the grave.
They moved away and towards the gate, and Andromeda felt her pain diminishing as she slid from the world of the dead, where Ted was, back to the world of the living. Breathing deeply, she smiled at Cissy and thought of Teddy, the family that was still with her.
Quickly gazing over her shoulder back towards Ted’s grave, she suddenly thought she could feel his presence here with her, and she knew she would never be alone. Ted would always love her, and she would always love him, and she knew that would always be.
She knew she would see him on the other side.
A/N: In this chapter I used two quotes: The words on Ted's grave come from the poem "Do not stand at my grave and weep" by Mary Elizabeth Frye, and the words of the people on Potterwatch are from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Chapter 22 by JKR!!
I admit, I have had this chapter written for a while, but I've not been able to put it up because that would mean I have to admit that its all over! I've loved writing this story and I hope you've enjoyed reading it; please read and review!
I can't quite bring myself to give up on Andromeda and Ted yet, so a one-shot may be in the works, and read my other story "Life Definitely Ain't Rosy" for a cameo of Teddy's grandma!
One final thing, I would like to thank all my lovely reviewers, especially MissMuggle and luciusobsessed that have been with me almost from the beginning. Thank you all again and please leave a lovely review!