"You don't love someone because they're perfect, you love them in spite of the fact that they're not."-Jodi Picoult, My Sister's Keeper
Thoughts of the 'engagement' bounce around my head for hours after the ball, making sleep nearly impossible. I toss and turn, all the possibilities and opportunities for the future buzzing around my brain. Even the thought of it can make my stomach squirm, my face blush, and my heartbeat flutter. It's something I've wanted for a long time, yet I haven't been able to express it until now. To think, in a matter of months, I'll be his wife, the man I love more than anything, and we'll be together forever. We can grow old together, and have a family. Now, that's a scary thought. A family.
An unspoken agreement passed between the two of us that we wouldn't tell anyone about our promise. I honestly don't know how people would take it; him just turning of age, I being only sixteen. And, I suppose it is sort of private. No one needs to know, because, well, it's our business. I don't have any problem with that, and I keep my mouth shut.
On the last day of our sixth year, we all gather around our favorite tree by the Black Lake, as we always do. It seems to have become an tradition to spend our last day together in the most beautiful place on the whole grounds. The only thing different is, this year, we have a new member of our little 'family.' Lily Evans accompanies James down to the lake, and spends the day with us. I was quite excited when I heard this news, and was ecstatic to be able to spend a peaceful day with her and James. From what I heard, their date at the ball went extremely well, and James seems to be getting hopeful.
As we sit under the tree, Remus and I lounge hand in hand, my head on his shoulder. It's a gorgeous, sunny day on the grounds, a light breeze ruffling our hair every once in a while. The boys have stripped their school sweaters and now sport their white button-ups. The grass is soft cool under my hands, which I subconsciously grab, and pull tufts out of the ground. Remus looks down at me with a seductive smirk, then grabs my left hand and begins to nonchalantly play with it, running his fingers through mine, inspecting each one. He smiles vaguely, his mind somewhere else.
"What are you doing?" I whisper, chuckling.
"I'm dreaming about how perfect a ring is going to look on your finger," he whispers back, smiling embarrassedly. I can't respond, but smile sheepishly into my lap. Remus leans over and places a quick kiss on my cheek, and I giggle slightly.
At that moment, my attention is drawn from mine and Remus's little moment, and onto another member of our party. Remus looks at me curiously as my eyes land on Sirius; something is wrong. I notice he seems distracted, and upset. He keeps glancing up across the lake, to a spot on the opposite bank. I follow his eye line, and see exactly what I predicted. Scarlet; sitting under another tree, looking disconsolate and distracted. I shake my head and focus back on our group, not really caring about her troubles.
James and Lily sit a little away from the rest of us, father down by the water, their feet cooling in the shallows. Her pretty ginger hair flows down her back, and her eyes are light and alive, a way I never saw them when she was with Dean. James looks too happy for words, the most stupid and love-struck grin slapped across his cheeky face. Surprisingly, he doesn't even try to touch her. He sits, arms in his lap, making polite conversation, and occasionally cracking a joke or two.
"Seems to be going well, eh?" Sirius muses. I'm surprised when he speaks, because the last time I checked, he was gazing off at his 'little friend.'
"Immensely better than a year ago," Remus agrees, still subconsciously playing with my fingers.
"She wouldn't have even come down here a year ago!" I interject, chuckling. "She would've turned her nose at any mention of him."
"True," Sirius agrees, taking a sip of the butterbeer he brought down with him. "I think she may actually fancy him."
"Bullshit," Remus says, cocking an eyebrow. "Maybe now, yeah, but not a year ago. You saw the way she looked at him; total loathing and disgust. And Dora told us all about the ranting in the dorm."
"Yes, but that's a girl's way of showing that they like someone!" Sirius explains, rolling his eyes at Remus's ignorance. "It's weird, I know."
"Tonks never did that," Remus argues, looking at me curiously.
"Because she has some sense," Sirius says, chuckling. "She isn't mad like the rest of them."
"It's comforting to know that I'm not mad," I add, looking mischievously at Remus.
"Anyway," Sirius says, making a face at our fluffiness. "I think Jamesie might be getting lucky."
"I'm still not buying it," Remus says, shaking his head. "Not after that many years of pure hatred."
"Miracles happen everyday," Sirius says, his voice suddenly dreamy and unfocused. I look up at him again to see he's gone back to staring at Scarlet, the fire in his eyes slowly flickering and dying as the depression hits him once again. He doesn't think we notice, but oh, we do. The only question is, what was he referencing about miracles?
The train ride home is somewhat uneventful and banal. Lily joins us again, flustered and excited to be able to spend more time with us peacefully. I'll still bet all the galleons in the world that it's not going to last long. It just seems illogical; you can't just suddenly like someone you've despised for five years!
When the Hogwarts Express pulls into King's Cross, my stomach starts twisting in knots. I know my family is out there, probably waiting to bring me home like some stray dog to shut up in its cage. I slowly and solemnly shut up my bag and grab the rest of my things. When I decide I can't procrastinate any longer, I sigh and follow the rest of the group out of the compartment and onto the platform, my fingers firmly locked with Dora's.
"You're probably not very excited for this summer, are you?" she asks as we push past a group of babbling second years.
"No," I admit, sighing. "Not at all, actually."
"Just think," she says, plastering an optimistic smile across her face. "It's the last one you'll ever have to spend at home!"
"I suppose so," I say, smiling slightly at the thought; it wasn't something I had ever realized before.
"And, well," she continues, biting her lip nervously. "I was thinking about arranging a get-together this summer for us and the boys."
"Like a party?"
"More like a vacation," she explains. "Or it could just be us two if you want," she adds seductively.
"Oi!" James calls, bringing us out of our little fantasy world. "Wormtail is leaving!"
I sigh, adjusting my grip on her hand and leading her over to bid farewell to Peter. Not soon after, James finds his mother, taking Sirius with him since Sirius permanently lives with the Potters now. It's such a shame, to me at least, that he's not able to bear his family for even a few more years.
With that, it's just me and Tonks left, wandering around the crowded platform, looking for any sign of either of our families.
"I think I see Aaron over there!" she suddenly exclaims, letting go of my hand and jumping so she can see properly over a few people's heads. "Yes! Right over there!"
She stops her jumping and grabs my hand again, dragging me off through the crowd of people, bowling a few over in the process. "Mum! Dad!"
She finally meets them after pushing past a group of portly witches, running up and flinging her arms around both her parents. I stand back, smiling slightly, watching her interact with her family. It's good to see her so happy and carefree, and makes my spirits raise the slightest bit, too.
"Mum, Dad," she says, jolting me back to the current situation. "This is Remus."
She stands back and extends a hand, presenting me to her family. I wasn't ready to be on display, surveyed by her family, so I just stand there and blush, saying an embarrassed 'Hello.'
"Nice to finally meet you, Remus," Ted Tonks says, stepping forward and giving me a warm handshake.
"Nice to meet you, too," I respond, some logical thoughts returning.
"Andromeda," her mother says, grabbing my hand for shake as well, a polite smile wiped across her face. "I've heard so much about you."
"Have you?" I ask, looking at Dora to see her blushing.
"Oh yes, all good," Andromeda assures me, finally letting go of my hand.
"I assume you're treating my daughter well," Ted adds.
"Dad-" Tonks starts, looking embarrassed.
"I need to make sure he's treating you well, dear," he says, winking slyly at her. She sighs, and digs her hand deeper into her jean pockets.
"Well," I say, glancing down at my watch. "I have to go find my family as well. Lovely meeting you all."
With that, I lean over, grab Dora's left hand and place a quick kiss on her cheek. As I do so, I distinctly grab her ring finger, hoping to remind her about the engagement. She smiles embarrassedly at the floor, looking up to meet my eyes one more time before muttering her goodbyes.
*Three weeks later*
James, being as wealthy as he is, decided to coordinate the get-together Tonks mentioned on the last day of school. Since he has the biggest house, and it would be a nice place to spend the summer, he invited Tonks, Peter, and I to come and holiday two weeks there, just as a way to see each other before school starts again.
Although I'm reluctant to leave Libby alone in this dreaded house for more than day, she urged me to go and spend some time for myself. She's thirteen years old now, and can manage herself, or so she says. It pains me to look at her now, all grown up, finding her own identity. Wasn't she the little girl cantering around my room playing with my wand just yesterday?
On the morning of the visit, I get the newspaper, as per usual, and a letter. Since it was still early in the morning, this perplexed me. I take the note from the owl's beak, pay it for the paper, and tear it open.
How are you? I miss you terribly. Alisa and I are fine. She's five months pregnant now, with a little boy. I'm so excited to be a father, Remus. But, you never fully understand the feeling unless you experience it. You'll understand when you finally do.
I'm writing to let you know that I intend on visiting the family sometime next month. It's been over a year now, and I think I owe it to Mum and Dad (not to mention you and Olivia) to come back around for a visit, and to see what amends we can make.
That's all for now, brother. Stay strong, and guard Libby with all you've got.
Love, your brother,
I sigh, running my fingers through my hair as I finish reading. This visit isn't going to be a pleasant one, I already know it. If he thinks coming back is going to bring anything positive, he's a fool. I throw the letter on the top of all my junk in my open suitcase, then slide out of bed to get dressed.
Once I've finalized my packing, I prep myself to head downstairs. Kevin is in today, and he's brought his new girlfriend, a blonde bimbo named Georgina. I look at myself one last time in the mirror, taking in the dark gray cardigan and dark wash blue jeans, before grabbing my wand and dragging my trunk down the stairs, heading for the fireplace.
"Remus?" my mother calls from the kitchen. So close.
"Yes?" I answer, feet away from my destination.
"Are you leaving?"
"Yes, Mum," I answer, sighing in annoyance.
"Come say goodbye, then!"
I groan, punching the top of my suitcase in anger. I drag my feet from the living room and into the kitchen. Although there is a perfectly fine fireplace in the kitchen, I had chosen to use the one in the living room because I knew I wouldn't have to interact with anyone there. Well, looks like that plan was foiled.
"Goodbye, all," I say, peeking my head around the threshold.
"Where are you going?" Kevin asks from his spot at the table, leaned back in his chair, shooting dirty looks my way.
"To spend some time at my friend James's house," I explain, grinding my teeth to keep calm.
"Have a good time, Remus!" Libby squeals, running over to give me a tight hug around the neck.
"Thank you Libs," I say, smiling as she retreats back to her spot across from Georgina. I then catch Kevin's eye, and notice the pure hatred in it. He looks at me as if I'm the scum of the earth, disgusted by my presence. The thing is, he doesn't try to hide it. He just lets it come out, even if it means being a rude and inconsiderate prat. With that, I give him the dirtiest look I've got, and turn on my heel back to the living room. I hear my mother's shouts for me to come back and give her a proper goodbye, but I ignore them, too filled with hatred to care. I angrily grab a handful of floo powder, and throw it into the fire.
"James Potter's house!" I shout, my hands in fists, trying to control my anger so it won't throw me off course.
The first night of the two week-long party is great. I'd managed to get my hands on some of my parent's finest Firewhiskey, and we all retreat to my backyard around a bonfire. We have the whiskey, we have music, we have each other. As all of us are getting a little tipsy, we get up and start to dance to a new song by some Muggle rock band named after bugs or something. And, I have to admit, Muggles have a good taste in music because this is fantastic. I can feel the rhythm in my body, compelling me to dance. Or maybe it was just the alcohol. But, I did feel something that night. Something indescribable. It didn't matter about the war, or any troubles Sirius had with Scarlet, or that Remus's family was crumbling to pieces before his very eyes. All that mattered was that the five of us were together, and dancing to the same beat.
The morning after, however, is a little different. From what I can remember, we returned indoors at around four in the morning, exhausted and drunk, to collapse on the furniture in the living room. Remus and Tonks took refuge on the couch, I in the recliner, Peter on the floor, and Sirius on the coffee table. I'm the first one to wake the next morning, feeling the hangover hit me like a speeding train. I place my hand on my head, feeling the pounding and soreness all over. I sit up groggily, squinting in the light of the morning.
"Pads," I call, throwing a nearby pillow at him. "Wake up."
"Wha-?" he mumbles, sitting up with a piece of paper stuck to his face. The bags under his eyes are unbelievable as he sits up, realizing where he slept. "Why am I up here?"
"Dunno, mate," I admit, rising shakily to my feet to grab the Morning Prophet. It lays on the counter, where Lowen must've left it earlier this morning. Not really paying attention to the headline, I stagger back over, noticing the rest of them are awake, too.
"Morning, love birds," I mutter cheekily as I throw the paper at Sirius. "Read it, mate. Enlighten me on the news of the world."
"Because I'm too sore to," I admit, covering my eyes and sitting back down again. I hear Tonks yawn as Sirius opens the paper. "Some party last night, eh?"
"Some party," Tonks agrees. I sneak a peak from behind my hand to see her walking slowly, almost like an elderly person, to the kitchen. "I'm too old to be partying like this."
"So old," Peter adds sarcastically, having not moved from his spot on the floor. She suddenly returns, bearing a glass of water, giving him a dirty look. At that moment, I look past her retreating figure and notice Sirius. I immediately know something is wrong by his face. His jaw is dropped, eyes popping as he looks down speechlessly at the newspaper.
"Pads?" I question, looking over curiously at him. This draws everyone's attention. "What's going on?"
With that, he lets the newspaper fall onto the coffee table, allowing us all to get a look at the headline.
WIZARD FAMILY FOUND MURDERED IN LONDON
"So?" Remus questions, still looking curiously at Sirius. "This happens every day."
"Read on," he chokes out, his face still horrified.
After being notified that the Dark Mark had been spotted above an apartment, a team of Aurors was sent out at around 9:00 this morning; they arrived on the scene of a brutal murder. Thought to be the work of 'Death Eaters,' they found a family of four dead in the house. Alan White, along with his wife and two children were found dead on the scene. Alan is a known supporter of the resistance, and this is most likely the cause of his death. Among the dead were his wife Margaret White, son Rupert White, and daughter Scarlet White.
We all sit in total silence, not knowing what to make of this. I'm the first to even move, turning my head to get a better look at Sirius. This is the first time in my entire life that I've seen Sirius Black cry. Big, fat tears well up in his eyes as he stares down at the article hopelessly.
"Sirius," I start. He doesn't respond. "Sirius, mate-"
"I don't know what to do," he stammers out, gasping in a massive breath.
"It's going to be okay-" Remus adds, standing up and placing a hand on Tonks's shoulder.
"No," Sirius responds. "No, it's not going to be okay."
"We know this is hard," Tonks chokes out, tears welling in her eyes as well. "But you can get through-"
"You don't understand," he cuts her off, standing and turning away from the rest of us. The air is heavy, cold, void of all the jolliness from only a few moments ago.
"What don't we understand?" I ask, standing to join him. I tentatively lay a hand on his shoulder, and he throws it off, sniffling.
"You don't understand," he mutters, pacing away, running his hands through his curly hair; he looks mad. "You don't-"
"Well, then, help us understand!" I blurt out, frustrated. He stops in his tracks, all the anger and hurt rising inside him like a wave. Suddenly, he bursts out screaming:
"SHE WAS PREGNANT! IT WAS MINE! MY CHILD IS DEAD!"
Thought I'd leave y'all with a cliffhanger! And my gosh, this chapter is loooong!
I don't have much to say, since this chapter makes me sad. D: Please leave a review, that would be LOVELYYYYY. :D
Also, if you haven't already, pleaseee go check out my Sherlock Holmes one-shot! ;)
Love you all to death! I'm off to watch the People's Choice Awards! My husband will be there! *faints*
Ps. *several hours later* It just ended. HOLY CRAP ROBERT WON! :D I believe I actually, legitimately had a heart attack. And died. I love him so much. ^.^
And congrats Emma Watson! Reppin' the Potterheads! :D