Missing by Maidenjedi
Written for a lyric challenge. Not a songfic, just inspired. I'm probably playing
with the timeline....please ignore it. Thank you to my beta reader Zsenya for
the support and correction! You're fabulous. :-)
I'd gladly lose me to find you
I'd gladly give up all I had to find you
I'd suffer anything and be glad
- "Bargain" - The Who
Nymphadora was not at Fortescue's.
Nor was she at the Leaky Cauldron.
She wasn't at the Ministry.
No trace of her at Ollivander's.
The taste of panic, it seemed, was actually quite plain. It had no sour sting
or bitter bite. Andromeda wasn't really
surprised. None of the terrible emotions were ever felt right away; they were
usually drowned out by fear or anger.
Sometimes, they were simply masked by shock. Disbelief.
Nymphadora was not missing. She had not run away.
She was playing a game.
Yes, yes. Playing a game.
Andromeda checked Knockturn Alley twice, intending to scold her daughter if
she was wandering down there. The hag selling
"real vampire's teeth, mum" swore she hadn't seen any young witches
in the Alley, and under her breath she might have said something about eating
one if she did. Andromeda didn't ask, she just swished her wand and gave the
hag an itch in a most unfortunate place.
Nymphadora had always been precocious, but she was generally obedient in public.
Andromeda fretted because her daughter
was unlike other little girls, and this was no time to be different from anyone.
Not in the wizarding world, she thought, shuddering as she passed a wanted
sign offering three hundred Galleons for
"information leading to the arrest of known Death-Eater Bellatrix..."
Black, finished Andromeda silently.
Her daughter was a Black, but that wouldn't matter if Bellatrix got a hold
of her. Nymphadora was of mixed heritage. Ted Tonks was Muggle-born.
Mudblood, whispered the part of Andromeda that was never, ever allowed to speak.
She fought it down with the rising taste of bile in her throat.
She would have taken out a photograph of Nymphadora and start asking passers-by
for help, but her daughter was a special case. She was a Metamorphmagus, and
she could be anywhere. Anyone.
She peered into the faces of every child she encountered, trying not to arouse
any sort of suspicion or disturb people.
None of the children had that look Andromeda associated with her daughter, that
haughty, almost adult look of defiance.
Andromeda did not stop to consider that she would not recognize Nymphadora
if she saw her. She had an arrogance where her daughter was concerned. She'd
borne this baby girl, so of course she would know her.
Of course, she thought, looking into the eyes of a pretty little girl eating
from a box of Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans. The girl smiled at Andromeda,
and for a second it might have been the right little girl. Until she picked
a green bean out of the box and ate it with no hesitation. Nymphadora hated
the color green, green food, and especially green Bertie Bott's.
Night fell and Andromeda's panic began to take over. She was ill from the adrenaline
and couldn't keep walking much longer.
Denial was a weak ally.
She was tempted to look in Muggle London. But she had no place to store her
daughter's school things (the robes and the wand and half the books she would
need on her first day at Hogwarts, whispered the more pleasant voice in Andromeda's
mind), and she was so tired that she didn't trust herself with many spells.
She sat down heavily on one of the ornate iron chairs outside Fortescue's.
She must have walked past this place twenty times
since this morning. Florean Fortescue himself came over to her, inquiring gently
as to what was troubling her.
My daughter, she thought.
She found she could not say the words and simply burst into tears.
Fortescue was a kind man, and a wise one. He knew Andromeda, as so many in
Diagon Alley and elsewhere in the wizarding
world would. He was not one of *them* and was instead inclined to work against
the rising tide of evil. Andromeda laughed mirthlessly at these thoughts as
Fortescue ran to try and reach Ted via Floo Powder - she had an image of Fortescue
fending off Lord Voldemort with a scoop full of chocolate-covered cherry cordial
ice cream, aimed right at Voldemort's nose.
Ted would be there in mere moments, Fortescue was quick to tell her.
And it would all be a dream, she thought.
Extra, extra! Special edition of the Daily Prophet! Muggles attacked in broad
daylight! Several kidnappings reported at
the scene! Death Eaters suspected! Extra, extra!
Andromeda felt her toes curl, her stomach clench. She drew up her knees and
hugged her legs. When the eager newsboy came
closer, shouting his message like a Muggle tickertape gone haywire, she turned
her head, shutting her eyes and wishing
she could shut her ears, as well.
Bellatrix would have been there. Andromeda knew it, she could almost sense
it. Bellatrix would have been laughing, that
evil, mad cackle that she'd developed when they were still young. That laugh
she had directed at Ted when he'd fallen from
his broom during a Slytherin/Hufflepuff match and nearly broken his neck.
The laugh she used when Andromeda had been turned out of the house and her
name was burnt off the family tree.
Had Nymphadora heard that laugh today? Would it be the last laugh she ever
A hand on Andromeda's head scared her, jolted her in the other direction like
a live wire. She bit down on a scream and
tasted blood. She waited, not knowing it, for Bellatrix's laugh.
Andromeda, it's me. It's only me.
He knelt down beside her and when she opened her eyes, she felt a crazy laugh
well up and beg to be let out. Except for the
sharp look of panic that floated just around his eyes, Ted looked for all the
world like a man about to propose.
The laugh was not a laugh at all, though, and the fresh tears that dropped
Dora will turn up, we'll find her, don't worry luv.
Ted's hands pulling her close. Andromeda felt the weight lift a little. Ted
would help. Ted would share it with her.
She could breathe.
If Death Eaters had taken her daughter, Andromeda would fight. She would not
give in to demands or to her sister's petty
laughter. She would fight and she would win.
Ted took her hand and pulled her to her feet.
The next laugh Andromeda would hear would be Nymphadora's.
Mommy, look! I can make a face like a frog!