Playing With Fire

Chapter 16

Disclaimer: I own only Tilly and Marguerite.

Tilly stood outside of the house, struggling with herself.

She didn't want to be here, not really, but she knew she needed to be. It was practically unavoidable.

'Just think about it, Newt,' Charlie had said during his visit the other day while they had lounged about on the couch. 'She keeps asking me if I've heard from you.'

'How can I trust her anymore, Charlie?' Tilly had asked in return.

'It takes time, is all.'

Sometimes she honestly forgot how smart her best friend, sorry, her boyfriend could be. It was also him who recommended a girls' night with Tonks would make her feel better and it definitely had, full of giggling and gossiping and smores.

Taking another deep breath, Tilly raised her hand and knocked on the door. For a moment she contemplated Apparating away before it was too late but then the door swung open, revealing her teary-eyed grand-mere. The older woman sniffed, standing aside as she smiled slightly. "Come in, come in."

Tilly entered her childhood home and for the first time since she had moved out, she thought the house seemed smaller. Marguerite closed the door, following after her to the kitchen. "Would you like some tea?"

"Why didn't you tell me?" Tilly asked, taking a seat.

Marguerite skipped the tea, sitting down across from her. "You have to understand that I never meant for you to find out like this."

"Were you going to tell me at all?" When her grandmother didn't say anything she continued. "Did you ever tell dad?"

"Benjamin died thinking his father was a hero. It was the least I could do for him, having to grow up without a father."

"Why? Grandmother, this isn't something that you hide from your family, not a secret like this. Not when your son and granddaughter appear in the newspaper for every bad wizard caught or every Quidditch game."

Marguerite shook her head. "I never thought that he would stoop so low as to kill his own family, his own child."

"What happened?"

The older woman got up, waving her wand at the kettle to start the tea. She heaved a very heavy sigh. "I was young and stupid, Tilly. When I first met Tom Riddle, I knew I would fall for him. He was conniving and secretive, cunning, but he was also very charming, very brilliant. I avoided his charm for a good part of my year there but it was no use. We stayed together, moved in together. . . . And I was in denial. Minerva warned me but I wouldn't listen. I truly did love him but it wasn't enough. He knows nothing of the word . . . only of obsession, power and dominance. I discovered he was having meetings with his 'friends', meetings on how they could destroy all Muggles and Muggleborns but by then I was pregnant. I did the only thing I could do and I ran. . . .

"Minerva took care of me and your father and Albus hid me from Tom. . . . He didn't fault me . . . he told me I was not the first to fall for the snake that was Tom Riddle and I wouldn't be the last. . . ."

She turned, looking at Tilly. "Did you know he was a half-blood?"

Tilly stared back at her, stunned. "You-Know-Who is a half-blood? But why –"

"Albus says Tom has a skewed view on the relationship between his mother and Muggle Father. He believes that his father left him and his mother to starve and fend for themselves in all actuality, his mother forced a love potion on his father and that was how he was conceived."

"I would have never known. I always thought he was a Pure-blood."

"You and a lot of the world." The kettle whistled and Marguerite poured the both of them a cup of tea. She sat down at the table, her eyes sad. "I never meant for you to be hurt by my lies, Tilly. I just – it was selfish really. I wanted you to think that your grandfather was the hero your father believed him to be. I – I didn't want you to think less of me for loving such a person."

Slowly, Tilly reached across the table, taking her grandmother's hand in hers. "I can't think less of you for loving, grandmother and I know dad wouldn't have either. He adored you . . . I adore you."

Marguerite smiled softly. "I'm sorry I lied to you. If I could tell Benjamin the same, I would."

"I'm sure he'd forgive you."

"And you?"

Tilly withdrew her hand. "I will . . . but it's going to take some time."

"I understand. I appreciate you finally coming to talk to me. You're the only family I have left, Tilly. . . . I can't lose you."

"You won't." Tilly got up, moving around to the other side of the table to give her grandmother a kiss on her cheeks. "I have to get going but I'll come back over later."

Marguerite nodded, standing as well. "Where are you off to?"

Tilly cringed. "I have a meeting with the department and the Minister. They want to put me in place as the new Head of Department."

"What?" Marguerite clapped her hands excited. "Oh! That is wonderful, darling! I must write Molly, we'll invite all the Weasleys and Minerva and of course, young Harry and Hermione and we'll have a party for –"

The two woman turned, surprised to see a Barn owl resting on the windowsill. Tilly walked forward, opening the window and taking the letter. "It's from Albus," she said, closing the window.

Marguerite took the letter, opening it and scanning it quickly. "Hmm . . . thought so."

"What is it?" Tilly asked.

"Don't you worry. . . . What are you doing after your meeting?"

"I was going to go meet with Tonks and Charlie for dinner."

"You'll probably see them anyways."

"Why? What's going on?"

Marguerite held up the letter. "We have our own meeting to attend."

A/N: I hope you enjoyed this :D Just another little quick filler for you. Thanks for reading!

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