Chapter 20 : Morning at Grimmauld Place
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The following morning Francesca, Ginny and Hermione were sitting in the shared bedroom they had been allocated in 12 Grimmauld Place. They had just got dressed and were pottering around until they were called downstairs.
“So this is actually your family home, Ces!” Ginny teased her best friend.
“I know, it’s so weird.”
“Do you think your mum knew about it?” Hermione asked her curiously.
“Nah. Mum was just as surprised as I was. I wonder why the headquarters is here though.” Francesca replied, thoughtfully.
“If they tell us anything.” Ginny rolled her eyes. “It’s all very hush hush.”
“It has to be I suppose. Dumbledore doesn’t want to risk the Ministry or Death Eaters finding anything out.” Hermione reasoned.
“It’s not like we’re going to go shouting it about though is it” Francesca replied, sighing. “I’m starving, let’s go and see if there’s any breakfast.”
“Breakfast?” Terese asked the girls when they appeared in the kitchen.
“I’m starving!” Francesca exclaimed. “It’s your parental duty to make sure that doesn’t happen, mother!” Ginny and Hermione laughed.
“You, Madam, are just like your father!” Terese told her.
“You say that as if it’s a bad thing, Tess!” Sirius said, appearing in the doorway. “And you’re the only person I know who’s been able to burn a boiled egg!” he grinned. “Remember, Moony?” He asked Remus, who was reading the Daily Prophet at the table, with a grim expression.
“Don’t bring me into this one, Padfoot.” He said, winking at Francesca.
“Excuse me! I can cook now. Molly taught me when these two were small!” Terese defended herself. Francesca watched her parents and her uncle banter while Terese and Molly prepared a fried breakfast.
“How are you, Molly?” Terese asked; knowing that her friend was suffering after a major argument with her middle son, who had walked out and remained loyal to Fudge and the Ministry. Molly shrugged.
“Oh, you know.” She replied. “Best to keep busy I think. We should probably make a start on cleaning out the bedrooms properly today.” She said to the room in general. “We were woken up by something scratching in the wardrobe.” Terese gave her shoulders a quick squeeze.
“There’s an annoying picture in mine.” Ron grumbled.
“That has to stay.” Sirius told him. “Sorry. It’s Phineas Nigellus. His other portrait is in Dumbledore’s office so we need him to communicate.”
“Who’s Finn Nigel?” Francesca asked, with a snigger. Terese rolled her eyes.
“Your Great-great-great Grandfather. He was a Slytherin, and Hogwarts least popular Headmaster.” Ginny pulled a face at Francesca and laughed.
“He’s something similar to you lot, as well I think” Sirius told her, grinning.
“So we’re cousins, sort of!” Francesca exclaimed. “I suppose I’ll have to put up with you then, Gin.”
“Damn.” Ginny pulled another face.
“Eat up, now. There’s work to be done!” Molly ordered.
Later on, Francesca was wondering down the upstairs corridor, as they had just finished one of the rooms. She walked up to the top landing and saw two doors. One said “Do Not Enter Without the Express Permission of Regulus Arcturus Black”, the other simply said “Sirius”.
“Cesca?” She heard her mother call her.
“Up here” she called back. She was immediately joined by her parents.
Sirius opened the door to his bedroom and they went in. They took in the muggle pictures of girls in bikinis (“I put them up before we got together, Babe!” Sirius told Terese when she commented on them), photos, and Gryffindor banners. Francesca looked at a photo on the wall.
“Wow, Dad, you look so young!” she exclaimed, seeing that it was of her father and his friends whilst they were at Hogwarts. Sirius and Terese looked more closely at it.
“James looks just like Harry does now!” Sirius observed.
“He really does.” Terese said wistfully. Sirius put his arm around her shoulder and squeezed it gently.
“I like the banners!” Francesca grinned at her father. “I want one of those!”
“Your room is crowded enough as it is!” Terese pointed out, ruffling her daughter’s hair. “Come on. Let’s go back downstairs!” She suggested, seeing a cloud cross Sirius’ face as he looked at the photo. They went out to the landing, and Francesca paused again to read the notice on the other door.
“Your Uncle’s room” Sirius explained, again pushing over the door. Where Sirius’ room had made his Gryffindor pride obvious, Regulus’ did the same for Slytherin.
“Slytherin again.” Francesca murmured. Terese looked at Sirius again, knowing what effect this must be having on him.
“I was the first Black to go into Gryffindor.” He explained.
“Sweetheart, have you not realised what my family were like?” He pointed to a collage of newspaper cuttings by the bed. Francesca and Terese looked more closely at them.
“They’re all about Voldemort.” Francesca whispered, shocked.
“I’m sure my parents thought Reg was a proper little hero when he joined up.” Sirius told her, grimly. “I wouldn’t know. I left when I was sixteen and went to James’.” She stared at him, open mouthed, as Terese laid a gentle hand on her shoulder. “I suppose my family’s pure blood mania was partly why people thought I could’ve…” he began, until seeing Terese’s stricken expression. “Anyway. All the people that matter know differently.”
“Dad… I… I didn’t know…”
“It’s not something I would’ve wanted you to know. All this “Toujours Pur” stuff, it’s bullshit. I would never have wanted you to know a family that thought that
being a pureblood Black was so important that it was ok to beat their son because he made friends with a werewolf and feel in love with a blood traitor…” Francesca gasped.
“Sirius…” Terese said, not wanting Francesca anymore upset. Francesca, however said nothing. Instead she walked over to her father and put her arms around him, resting her head against his chest. He held her close, grateful that he now had a chance to be a father to the daughter he had missed growing up, and grateful that his family history didn’t turn her against him. Francesca was amazed that her father had the strength to be back in this horrible place. Terese looked at them with tears in her eyes. Bridges built were getting much stronger with every passing day.
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