Winter in The Burrow
December 31st, 1995
I held the cup under my lips, smelling the Firewhiskey immediately and setting it down on the wooden table. I looked over to the red haired boy on my left and he grinned, amusement along with adoration shining in his eyes. He wiggled his light eyebrows and I hid my laughter as his mother began to scold us.
“What have I told you about those- those jokes?” Molly Weasley shrieked, holding Bill Weasley’s head in her lap. I felt bad, really I did. Bill Weasley was not supposed to be the test subject. Ron was but as usual, Harry had warned him about the spiked treats.
George Weasley was to my right and he simply shrugged and held out a purple toffy to his mother. “This is the cure for the puking pas-”
Right on cue, Bill Weasley threw up into the bucket and Fred Weasley tried to choke back a laugh but it slipped. I bite the inside of my cheek, trying to contain myself. Spending so much time here made me forget that I wasn’t their daughter but damn, it felt good to be scolded, as if someone gave a damn about me.
“Molly, I’m so sorry-” I swallowed my laughter and held out the same purple toffy as George. “Please, we swear that this is the cure. All of this was my idea for Ron but it failed pretty miserably. I never intended for any harm.”
Molly Weasley relaxed at my apology and the actual sincerity of it, which was lacking from the twins’s apology. “Of course dear.” She summoned the toffy and fed it to her green son. Instantly, the color flooded his face again and he stopped gagging.
“See, mum? We were telling the truth but you never believe us!” Fred exclaimed, pointing to his eldest brother who was standing up from the couch across the way. “But because it’s Elena-” Fred began to mumble. I kicked him underneath the table softly and he turned his head and blew me a joking kiss.
George, his twin, gagged and stood from the table. “You both are disgusting. I feel like I ate a puking pastille.”
“Don’t be so sour, George.” I narrowed my eyes at him and wiggled my fingers. I took a sip from my mug and the warmth of the fire coated my throat.
“Swear to me, children, that there will be no more puking pastilles in this house for the rest of the holiday!” Molly begged, watching her son lie back down.
I held my hand to my heart and nodded. “I swear it, Molly. Again, I am so sorry to both you and Bill.”
“Eh, don’t worry about it, Elena.” Bill waved me off and winked. I smiled and the twins swore it too. Molly and Arthur Weasley, who sat on the couch, bandaged and bruised, waved us off and excited to finally join the others outside, we three leapt from our seats and ran outside with our brooms and mugs of firewhiskey.
The night was beautiful, a clear sky and breezy. It was cold, some snow had stuck to the ground.
Around the sky, two wizards and a witch were soaring on their brooms. George sat down next to the bushy haired witch who was lying on the back of the hill, half sitting and watching our friends fly. They were chasing each other quickly. There was an extra broom lying near Hermione and I know Harry had brought down my Firebolt for me to fly with them.
“Blimey Elena, get up here!” Ron yelled, dashing past his sister. I smiled up at them and crouched next to Fred.
He was looking at me, directly in my eyes and a small grin spread on his lips. My grin was goofy and probably so wide. We were inches apart, just as we had always been this summer and winter. This summer, the summer between fourth and fifth year, spent at the Burrow, had brought Fred and I closer in some ways. A good and loving place. After the year we shared in Hogwarts, we deserved good.
Last year was my fourth year at Hogwarts, school of witchcraft and wizardry. It was also the year we hosted the Triwizard Tournament. Harry Potter, my best friend, was chosen to be the second champion to represent Hogwarts with Cedric Diggory. Three life-endangering tasks for some stupid galleons and “eternal glory”. During the last task, Professor Mad-eye Moody took me and apparated into a graveyard where Harry was being held. I got there and was left by Moody in the graveyard at the same time Harry and Cedric were thrown there by the Triwizard cup, a portkey. From one moment to another, everything changed forever.
Because from one moment to another, Cedric Diggory was dead. Killed, actually. Killed by Wormtail. That stupid bastard rat. Everything changed.
Our blood was taken and then, we met the Dark Lord.
Lord Voldemort came to be once more and we dueled. I held off the death-eaters while Harry held off Voldemort. We almost died if it had not been for our parents and Cedric. Their spirits ambushed Voldemort and allowed us to get back to the portkey with Cedric’s body. We went back to Hogwarts and the silence was deafening. The only thing that was heard over the music was the screams combined of Amos Diggory, Cho Chang and I. I had blood on me and the memory of Cedric being murdered, most likely in the same way that my parents were, had been fresh in my mind.
Nobody believed Harry and I when we tried to say that Voldemort was back. Not a single person except Professor Dumbledore, Mcgonagall, Ron, Hermione and the twins, along with Ginny.
“You heard my dear old brother, Lena. Go on.” Fred smiled, his brown eyes were shining. Beautiful. I laughed softly and leaned into him. He smelled like sweets and cherries. I closed my eyes and let myself fall into him.
Fred held my face softly, as if I were to break under his touch and he kissed me. Lightly, just a brush of our lips but I pressed harder and we were kissing. I could feel a silly grin on his lips playing about. I broke the kiss with a laugh as I heard,
“Quit snogging and come fly with us. Leave my brother alone!” Ginny yelled, tossing a ball of rolled up snow at my head.
I threw my head back in a fit of laughter, feeling the same good feeling throughout my body. A simple kiss on the cheek to Fred, a glare to George and a wink to Hermione and suddenly I was in the air on my broom. Soaring and feeling the beautiful chill of the winter air.
I raced past Ron and shouted to Harry, “Try and keep up with us, Potter!” racing past him too with Ginny.
“You sound like Malfoy!” Shouted Hermione from the ground. I shuddered at the thought of him, my lip curling. Ginny nudged my shoulder and we nodded at each other in agreement as we left the boys in the dust.
“Atta girl!” I heard from Fred. I waved and kept moving through the air. Playing quidditch for Gryffindor really paid off.
It was a while before we came down again. Flying like that for so long, it felt good and freeing. If I had to pick a moment to relive, it would be this one.
In the Burrow, spending it with the Weasley’s, Hermione, Harry and Fred. Fred who loved me. Who held my hand during thunderstorms because he thought I was still afraid. Who shared his bed with me. It was the winter that made everything worth living.
“Harry, Elena!” Molly called from the doorway of the house. I was lying with my head in Fred’s lap, his fingers through my hair. I propped myself up on my elbows, looking in the direction of the house. “Padfoot and Lupin-”
I was on my feet and on the broom before she could finish the sentence. Within a few seconds, I threw myself off the broom and onto the ground, breaking into a sprint. Sure enough, my Uncle Padfoot and my godfather, Uncle Moony were standing near the doorway.
“Uncle Padfoot!” I exclaimed. Sirius Black, my Uncle, had his arms around me before I could breath. He smelled the same, felt the same, his clean hair brushing against my shoulder.
“Oh Uncle Sirius, I’ve missed you!” I squeezed him tight. A deep chuckle rumbled from his chest and he pushed me away by the shoulders, eyeing me carefully.
“I did tell you to stop growing this summer, didn’t I?” I nodded and everything felt right. “Then why are you at my chin?” I laughed.
“I can’t stunt my growth for you, Uncle Sirius. I like being tall.”
From the left, a voice says, “The taller you get, the more you look like your mother, Elena.” I turned from Sirius to face a man with scars, my godfather.
“Uncle Moony!” I hugged him tightly. He always reminded me of Lily Evans and my mother.
He was old books, tea, rolls of used parchment, leaves of different colors, old photographs and quiet nights. I was exactly like him, maybe not as brave but we were one in the same. He was my favorite family member, no offense to anyone else, of course.
Being around Remus Lupin reminded me of my mother and father without the constant ache of dulling numbness. For him, being around me was sort of being around my parents without his constant ache of dulling numbness. It was what we both needed.
“Elena, love!” Uncle Remus groaned. I was almost his height at fifteen. “How have you been?”
I parted from him and looked behind me casually, finding the twins, Ginny, Ron and Hermione were coming to us. Harry was already speaking with Sirius excitedly, telling him all about Cho Chang, which brought a small flash of hurt on Ginny’s face.
“Great,” I said, finding Fred and George showing off their inventions to Sirius. “Absolutely great, Uncle Lupin. How are things between you and Sirius?” I winked. A rosy blush hit Lupin’s cheeks.
“Perfectly fine as far as you should know, Elena.” He gushed, his warm brown eyes traveling to Sirius, chasing Ron with a toffy I recognized of Fred and George’s private stores.
“And with the Order? What’s changed?” I asked, lowering my voice to a whisper, having Ron’s shrieks cover our conversation. Uncle Lupin’s brows furrowed in a sign to try and gather what he should and shouldn’t tell me. “Don’t do that. Stop trying to censor what is going on. Don’t treat me like a child, not now.”
“Elena,-” He sighed, shaking his head. We’ve had this argument loads of times but once more couldn’t hurt, could it?
“No, Uncle Lupin. There was a time to treat me like a child and that time was more than once. I’ve never been treated like a child when I should’ve been. During my second year, facing Tom Riddle and the Basilisk with Harry, would’ve been one. Or maybe in third year, when I believed that a murderer was coming after Harry and I and then facing those dementors. Dementors, Lupin!” The look on his face made me want to stop but I couldn’t. Not anymore, not when they treated me as if I was a child. They hadn’t treated Harry this way.
“Or how about my fourth year? Remember that one? Watching Harry have to complete those tasks and then being taken into a cemetery. Watching Cedric Diggory be murdered, the same way my parents were murdered. Nobody seemed to remember I was child- that both Harry and I were children when Voldemort,” A flinch from Lupin. “Came back and tried to kill us. I stopped being a child the moment that I saw Cedric Diggory die and have his spirit ask us to bring his body back to Hogwarts. I stopped being a child when Voldemort came back and we fought him. I don’t know about Harry but I can’t just let you all talk about things that concern us! So please, Uncle Lupin, treat me like a member of the Order!” I pleaded, in a ragged voice.
The thought of Cedric Diggory made my stomach churn. The way I heard him say to kill Cedric. Cedric didn’t even have time to take a breath before he was thrown and dead. Dead. Dead. Dead.
I swallowed the hot vomit that had risen in my throat.
“Is that what you want? Both of you?” Sirius had come next to me, his arm slung around Harry’s shoulders. Harry always had his way of hiding his emotions with a blank expression perfectly, probably practice from his years with the Dursley’s. Although I saw it in his eyes, his mother’s eyes. A small thank you. I nodded once to him.
“Please.” I replied. Sirius nodded and Lupin pinched the bridge of his nose.
“Fine.” Lupin told me. I let out the breath of air I had been holding. “Come inside, Harry and Elena and we can let you know.”
Harry took my outstretched hand and leaned into me, asking, “Why did you do that?” We walked into the Burrow and we sat at the long dinner table where I was getting scolded hours ago.
“We have a right to know, Harry. We aren’t children anymore.” He agreed and the room was cleared except for us four.
A pause before Lupin came forward, opposed to how Sirius usually sits back with his arms crossed. A solemn look came across his face and I recognized it, it had been the same one he wore when he told me what truly happened leading up to my parents deaths.
Harry’s hand went to my knee and squeezed slightly, knowing that look too.
“Something’s wrong, isn’t it?” I asked, swallowing my nervousness.
Sirius sighed and leaned forward, grabbing Lupin’s hand tightly. “I’m afraid so.”