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Part I, July 1965: Two Letters, Two Very Different Starts [G]
by [professional life ruiner.] (
at February 26th, 2006 (04:08 am)
hearing: "shimmy shimmy quarter turn" hellogoodbye
Andromeda Black is not used to waiting. Blacks did not wait. They simply asked or took and received. It was a very simple equation.
The fact that she has to wait is not making her happy. Normally, she couldn’t be bothered to care when things didn’t occur exactly on schedule. She was a middle child and this had taught her an element of ease and patience. Well, not really patience, more apathy and a knowledge that when things were meant to happen they would, sometimes they just took longer than others.
This is not one of the times she wants to wait. This is not the time when she wants to sit and read the book her father had let her borrow from his library to distract her or listen to Cissa’s ramblings all about her new doll (that unsurprisingly matched the flaxen nine year old like a glass clone) and what pastel silk dress it should wear today. She doesn’t want to go bother Bellatrix, whom she is avoiding, because her elder sister whom she normally adored with her cold, snide ways and wicked humor, has taken up the habit over the past few days of mocking her and calling her things like ‘squib’ and telling her that she is going to be blasted off the tree.
The concept of her Aunt Walburga blasting off her of the tree and leaving nothing but a smoking hole where her name used to be sends shivers down her spine. She was not going to be the second Black to be booted out of the family for being a squib.
squib. Bella is just being mean, as usual. It is just harder to take than normal because it is directed at her rather than at Cissa.
It’s July 30th, 1965, a fact she knows rigidly because she’s been checking off the calendar everyday since July began counting down until the day approached when it would be exactly two years after Bellatrix received her letter. That day has come and gone, and every day that Aldinka, .the house-elf responsible for bringing breakfast and any post to her and her sisters on a pretty silver tray fails to bring the letter, part of Andromeda dies.
A tiny part of her begins to fear that something is wrong. That somehow she was deemed unacceptable, despite the fact that once in a temper tantrum when she was six she caused the head of the doll Cissa was hold to explode in her sister’s tiny hands, much to Bella’s twisted delight. Cissa, who had been clutching the formerly whole doll across the room, had immediately started to scream bloody murder.
It’s breakfast, and she is sitting at the round table in the tiny parlor that she, Bella, and Cissa share because it is out of the way and near their rooms. It’s one of those rare English summer days, where the sun is shining merrily in through the glass, giving the illusion that it is always like this and that the rain never falls.
She fidgets slightly in her chair, feeling the inevitable moment of the post weighing upon her and she both wants it to come and doesn’t want it to come. She bites her lip and tugs nervously on the edge of her navy blue dress, the skirt falling to just below her knees and meeting the tops of her socks.
Her skin feels like it is going to crawl off her body at any moment. She can feel the bottom of her long black braid brushing against her back and the ribbon, through her blouse, itching her, driving her mad and she tries to pay attention to anything outside of her own head.
Cissa is on her left, dressed identically to the porcelain doll in her hands in pastel blue. She is gently combing the doll’s flaxen hair (Narcissa only likes dolls that are nearly albino like her—she has shelves of them), oblivious to the world around her as she coos softly utter nonsense and mothers the inanimate object.
Bella is on her right, but further away than Cissa is, closer to being directly across from her and is paying Cissa no heed, rather staring at her with a sick smile on her face. Her dark hooded eyes flash almost sinisterly as she opens her mouth and says the cruel words, “It won’t come.”
Then she lets out a howl of hollow laughter and Andromeda thinks she’s going to be sick. She doesn’t have time to move though, to get up from her chair and rush off to the toilet and be done with it, when she hears the clattering that signals Aldinka is on her way.
She looks off in the direction of the noise and sees a flash of silver and then looks back at Bella, who says darkly, “Too late now.”
Bella’s right, she’s trapped, there’s nothing she can do but wait until breakfast is over and the post is done and by then she might have to wait until the 31st for her letter.
Aldinka comes into the room; the large silver tray half balanced on her head and the elf slides it on to serving table, apologizing as she always does for the noise. Bellatrix sneers and tells her to hurry up with the tea and post, and the elf, naturally, obeys.
Aldinka pours Bellatrix her tea first, as she always does, but whether this is a sign of respect or fear none of the girls know or care, and the elf gives Bella the majority of the post, save for one letter. That she holds in her long fingers as she moves towards Andromeda, saying as she pours her tea, “Aldinka has a letter for young Miss Andromeda,” and she holds the letter out for her to take.
Andromeda hastily accepts the letter, holding the thick parchment in her hands, staring at the green ink long enough to see her name clearly written on it.
Miss A. Black
She doesn’t even bother to read the rest of the address; she already knows what it says. She turns the letter over in her hands, seeing the infamous Hogwarts crest on the back before tearing it open, and reading the letter with a swelling heart.
She got in. Just like she always knew she would, it just took a bit longer than it was supposed to. The owl probably got lost in a storm or held up by the Ministry, she reconciles in her head. A smile breaks across her face.
She looks up from the letter to Bella and Cissa, both of whom are staring at her from their sections of the table.
“Well, I guess that my little sister is now to be my little ickle firstie sister,” Bella states, approvingly. “Not that we ever doubted, but you must know to follow my lead; I’ll be a third year after all.”
Andromeda nods, knowing that Bella is, if nothing else, a good, strong leader. She knows her sister will keep her good to the family name. Keep her a good Black.
“Congratulations, Andromeda,” pipes in Cissa, not wanting to be left out of the conversation.
She smiles at her little sister. “Thank you, Cissy,” she says, and Cissa pouts slightly at the nickname.
Andromeda begins to rise from her chair. “I think I’m going to tell father,” she starts, but is cut of with a hand and a word from Bella.
“Why bother? You can tell them after breakfast. This is hardly news, Andromeda,” she says coolly, and Andromeda agrees, and sits down again, setting the letter beside her plate, and picking up her cup of tea.
She shouldn’t have rushed. It’s just that Blacks were never very good at waiting, but Andromeda was always better than most.
Theodore Tonks is an ordinary boy, if not a bit of a dreamer. He is the quiet sort, the type of boy who didn’t call unjust attention to himself, but always seems to have his head just a little bit off into the clouds. To tell the truth, he’s sure that if his head had been on the ground with his feet he wouldn’t like it very much at all.
He is good boy, the kind of boy who listens to his mother and even though he is often sent home from school with a note pinned to his coat by his teacher, it isn’t the sort of note that says he has discipline problems, more that he has problems paying attention and keeping his nose out of the books that aren’t exactly on the reading list. Whenever this happens, his mother always just unpins the note, shakes her head slightly and smiles at her only son, before returning to her work.
He is a bit small for his age, but that is normal, and his mother often tells him that he is spitting image of his father as a boy, something that brings tears to her eyes, which she turns and hides from him, even though he is old enough to know that she is crying.
He loves his sisters, all four of them, each different, each wonderful, and each of them molding him into the perfect man for some ‘wonderful girl’ as Emma, his oldest sister who is eighteen says, which causes him to make a face because he is eleven and girls who are not his sister are still somewhat disgusting.
Ted is what his father had called him, his father having been a good man, a strong man, and a man that Ted wanted to be like. Thinking of his father still sometimes makes him want to cry, the almost two year wound still feels too fresh to stop hurting. His father had been a writer of obituaries for the Times, who in a twisted bout of irony had died of a heart attack in the car park of his office when Ted had been only ten. That was the day when Ted decided that he was going to have to be a man.
It’s dripping ordinary day in mid July, a morning like a thousand other mornings that Ted has had before and he is sitting at the breakfast table, eating beans and toast and rereading the first issue of the Amazing Spider-Man for what must be the millionth time. He’s careful in turning the pages, making sure not to get any bean residue on them, and his tediousness causes him to accidentally spill some beans on his lap. His eyes widen and he sets the toast back down on his plate, and sees his youngest sister (who was still a year older than him), Mary Elizabeth look up from her own book and give him a smile and roll her eyes slightly.
“Oh Teddy,” she says, before returning to her own breakfast and leaving him to clean up his own mess.
He grabs his napkin and begins to hastily clean up his trousers, hoping that his mother won’t turn around from her position at the sink and catch him in the act.
Unfortunately for him, Jane chooses that moment to come bounding down the stairs and into the kitchen.
“Oi, Mum, have you seen my green jumper?” she asks, stepping to the kitchen, her blonde hair set in perfect curls. He looks at her, a guilty expression plastered across his face and her face breaks into a smile. “Teddy, what
you doing to your trousers?”
If possible, his eyes get even wider, and his face slightly blanches as his mouth falls open and he freezes. His mother turns around to both answer her second oldest and see what is going on with her son and lets out a merry laugh at the sight that greets her.
“Oh my Theodore, what I have I told you time and time again?” she says as she moves away from the sink, a wet cloth in her hands, fully prepared to do the mothering thing and take care of her son’s trousers herself, something she does as she begins to clean the smudge on them with him still wearing them, much to his dismay.
“Mum!” he moans, as Mary Elizabeth looks up from her book, a small smile on her face, laughter in her blue eyes hidden behind glasses and Jane still standing at the foot of the stairs lets out a howl of laughter.
He tries to make his mother stop what she’s doing because it’s just embarrassing, even though it’s only happening in the kitchen and in front of his sisters, he’s eleven and this is horrifying.
His mother stops and holds up the wet cloth from him to take, which he does. “Fine, clean your own trousers, young man, and when you’re done take the trash out to the curb,” she tells him, rising up from her knees.
Evelyn Tonks, his lovely mother, looks at Jane and says, “Your jumper is in the hamper with the rest of the clean clothes you have yet to put away Jane Anne Tonks.”
Jane sucks in her breath rapidly and gives her mother cheeky grin, before stepping over and kissing the woman on the cheek. “Right, thank you, Mum,” she says before heading out of the room to the next one where the hamper is.
Ted finishes to clean his trousers and eats his now ice-cold beans and toast. When he rises to finish the chore asked of him, Mary says, without looking up, “It could’ve been worse, you know, she could’ve made you take them off right here in the kitchen.”
He realizes that his sister is very right and is grateful that this time his mother hadn’t. He wouldn’t put it past her to do it should it happen again, however. He sets his dish near the sink for his mother, who is on a roll with all the cleaning and then scuttles off to take the trash bin to the curb.
It takes him a bit of effort to pull the heavy silver bin to the curb, but he manages to do it, and is quite impressed with his work. He steps back inside the garden gate and is in the process of latching it shut when the loud hooting of large owl who lands on gate in front of him, scares him half to death and he lets out a yelp of terror and fells flat on his bum.
The owl merely drops a letter in a parchment envelope on his chest and flies away.
Ted is frozen and just stares at the empty space where the owl was moments before, before hesitantly picking up the envelope on his chest and reading the address.
Mr T. Tonks
7 Cresthill Lane
Ted nearly dies of curiosity right there and it takes all he has not to open it at that very moment as he sits on the wet stone path. Luckily, he decides to exercise some control and gets up off the wet ground goes back inside, turning over the envelope in his hands, looking for a return address.
There is none, just a crest, for a place that he doesn’t recognize in the slightest.
When he is back inside the kitchen he finds that Mary is gone, and Jane and Emma are in her place.
“What have you got there, Teddy?” Emma asks, her tone kind and questioning. She’s always trying to mother him, even though he’s already got one mother and it’s the same as hers, but he half the time let’s her do it.
“A letter,” he answers, still examining it.
“Oh, a letter. Who’s it for?” Jane says, amusement in her voice.
Ted looks up, surprise still on his face. “Me,” he says.
“You?” both of his sisters say in an accidental unison. They look at each other, and Ted walks over to the table and sits down.
“Who’s it from?’ Emma asks, gently.
“No idea,” he replies.
“You haven’t opened it?”
“Are you going to?”
“Of course he’s going, Em, right, Teddy?” Jane interjects.
“Well, go ahead, what are you waiting for? Open it,” Jane prods.
Ted tears open the parchment and pulls out the letter inside. He unfolds it and his eyes widen to the size of saucers at what he reads.
Dr Mr Tonks,
We are pleased to inform you that you have a place at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Please find enclosed a list of all necessary books and equipment.
Term begins on 1 September. We await your owl by no later than 31 July.
He looks up from the letter, his mouth hanging open, his sisters are staring at him.
“Well?” Jane asks, breaking the silence.
He extends the letter to them. “I’m a wizard,” is all he can say.
Jane lets out a laugh. “Oh come off it, Teddy, not another daydream,” she says, but Emma, who is reading the letter, nudges her.
“No, Jane, he’s right, look,” Emma says, a smile on her face. “Oh, Teddy. I’m so happy for you.”
Ted is in shock; his brain has ceased to properly function. He’s glued to the chair and Emma has gotten up and left the room, presumable to get Mum, Mary and Catherine.
This must be what Peter Parker felt like,
Soon all four of his sisters and his mother are all in the kitchen chattering and buzzing around him, and he’s gone somewhat numb.
He’s a wizard.
There’s something terrifying and comforting about this newfound knowledge. Like he’s known it all along just never had a name for what it was called.
His mother comes over to him on the chair, and there are tears on her cheeks and she gives him a hug and a kiss. “My baby boy is special,” she says. “Your father would’ve been so proud.”
Those words bring stinging tears to his eyes, that are still there when there is a knock on the backdoor that Catherine goes and answers. There is a lanky, fairly scarred and weathered man on the other side of the door, who pulls off his hat and says that he is sure that by now Ted has received his letter and that he comes from Hogwarts.
“I’m Jacobian Kettleburn, and I’m a professor there, young man,” says the man, who’s wearing a long leather coat.
“Oh, please, come in, come in, would you like some tea?” Ted’s mother offers, ushering Kettleburn inside.
“Thank you, ma’am. Now, I understand you that you lot must have some questions and I’m here to answer them and help you get settled before classes get started,” Kettleburn says, moving towards the table and an empty chair.
Ted nods, the world slowly starting to speed back up to normal.
“Well, anything you want to ask me, go right ahead,” Kettleburn says with a slightly laugh, his deep voice rumbling.
Jane gives Ted a nudge and a wink.
Ted looks around the room, at his mother, his sisters, their smiling faces, each different and yet the same, and at this strange man from his new school and his new world and realizes that he has no idea where to start.
Because his biggest question is whether or not he’s going to actually fit into this new world and he’s not sure this professor can answer such a question.
So he picks a simpler one and decides to start there, figuring that maybe other answers will come that way.
He turns to Kettleburn, who is just being handed a cup of tea by Catherine at the request of his mother. “So, what exactly is Hogwarts?” he asks, which elicits another laugh.
He’s starting out at the beginning, the bottom, but just like Peter Parker, he’s pretty sure he can work his way to the top.
Posted by: [professional life ruiner.] (
March 7th, 2006 03:04 am (UTC)
Thank you. I glad you love it, Trace.
the current tale
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knowers of whispers
behind the memories
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about the author
Forever Minus One Day
A tale of two as one...
Some stories are worth telling. This is one of those stories.