The Sugar Quill
Author: Author By Night  Story: Ice in June  Chapter: Default
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

Disclaimer: I don't own anything but this fic; I'm just an overly-obsessed adult Harry Potter fan

Disclaimer: I don't own anything but this fic; I'm just an overly-obsessed adult Harry Potter fan. (And yes, nineteen counts as adult).

        I suppose that in every family, there's a huge rift. No matter how tight the family is, they will always be torn apart by one person, the one family member that decides which ones are worthy, and which ones are scum. The "scum" often ends up on the ground, repeatedly being hurt until they can't take anymore, thrown into nothingness, just because of the fact that they didn't do what was expected of them. And the "worthy" go on, laughing while the people they should love fall down deep into bottomless pits.
        But then, you never know when someone you love will, in fact, commit the dreaded sin of murder, the dreaded sin of taking a life. And it is shocking when you find out that the life taken was the one person from your past that you ever had even a hint of respect for. Even a Seer could not tell you exactly when and how such a thing would happen.
        My story begins the evening of June 20th. I was washing my clothes, when I heard a loud knock on my door. It was one of those times where somehow, all you have to do is move towards the door, and you realize that the knock was almost too firm and frantic to be a simple visitor coming to share good news, or to say hello.

        I opened the door anxiously, and I looked to see a man at my door. Though he was young, somehow he looked so old; his robes were shabby, and his hair had gray in it. Then I realized at once who it was-it was Remus Lupin. How could I have not known? I'd known him some time ago, when we both went to Hogwarts, and Nymphadora, my daughter, had shown me some new pictures over Christmas. I remembered she'd told me how much she'd admired him.
        "Remus?" I said. Why was he here?
        "Andromeda." Remus said, nodding in my direction. There was a look on his face that I could not really understand; it was almost as if he wasn't sure of his own feelings.
        Starting to get panicked, I asked "what's wrong?"
        "It's Nymphadora. There was an attack at the Ministry this evening, and she was attacked by a spell."
        "Oh. God." I gasped, my hand flying to my mouth. "Is she going to be okay?"
        "She'll make a full recovery, but for now she is at St. Mungo's." Remus replied.
        I nodded. "I'll go there at once." I would have notified Ted, but he was out of town for work. "Gosh, what happened? And why isn't Sirius with you?"
        I could have sworn I saw Remus flinch. "That will be explained there.. I think Tonks should tell you herself." He said. Those were not the words I'd wanted to hear, but I nodded, and followed.
        Soon, I found myself rushing through the crowd at St. Mungo's. I ran up to the desk, panting. Remus was behind me, trying to catch up.
        "Nymphadora Tonks." I told the lady. She nodded, and told me the direction.
        I repeated the direction to myself, rushing into her room. It seemed that I couldn't say anything else-as if knowledge of other words had been taken from my brain.
        "Nymphie?" I said, walking over to the bed of my daughter. My daughter opened her eyes; she seemed to be semi-conscious.
        "Mum?" She asked, looking at me closely. I nodded.
        "Good." She said, her voice faint and tired. I gave her a hug, trying not to cry. I'd realized this could happen, but why on her first year as an Auror? Why?
        "Mum, he's gone." Nymphadora said. "They tried to save him."
        "Who?" I asked.
        Nymphadora stared at me. "Remus didn't tell you?"
        "No, I wanted you to." Remus said. I noticed he seemed to be lingering, and he was concentrating very hard on the window.
        "Mum," Nymphadora said, sounding unnaturally sad for her, "It's Sirius. A-Aunt Bella killed him, they told me what happened when I woke up. He was cursed, and fell through an archway of some sort. He's gone."
        The word "dead" started to echo in my head; my second youngest cousin, whom I'd regarded as a brother, was gone. The only one who hadn't turned against me for marrying Ted; the only one who understood why I cared about Muggles. I'd just gotten him back again, even if I wasn't allowed to see him-we couldn't take any risks-and now he was, once again, gone from me and everyone else.
        "No." I whispered. "He can't be gone. Not now."
        My daughter sat up, struggling quite a bit, and gave me a hug. Remus watched us, obviously unsure of what to do. Finally, he spoke.
        "He spoke well of you, Andromeda." His voice seemed to be breaking. "He told me that you'd once told him you knew he was innocent, before anyone else did."
        It was true that I had known; in fact, I had tried to get him a trial, but naturally his parents had persuaded Crouch not to allow him one, saying they knew he was evil and that they knew he would kill them. The only one who'd kept her mouth shut was Bellatrix, and that was just so she wouldn't have to deny working for You-Know-Who.
        "Does the Ministry know?" I asked. I supposed they'd all throw a triumphant celebration if they knew; after all, who'd want a loyal, loving guy like Sirius to be given a trial, and not assumed a cold-blooded murderer? God forbid they wonder if there are any decent people left in this world.

        "No." Remus said, his voice cold and bitter. "They have no idea, they didn't see a body, did they? And we weren't about to say anything. The only thing we told them was that Voldemort was back, and proved it by showing them the Death Eaters. Surprisingly, they actually seemed to believe us, although according to Dumbledore, Fudge almost had him arrested anyway. So we think the rest of the world will now know the truth, at least.."

        "And what good has that done us?" I spat. "My sisters are Death Eaters, I don't know if my parents are still rotting in Azkaban, or if they're dead, and the only other person I really love besides Ted and Nymphie is under some stupid Ministry of Magic building. And the Death Eater stuff is all the same- You Know Who could attack any time, just as he could've before, except now Fudge just knows, but I'm sure he'll just arrest more innocent people anyway."
        Both Nymphadora and Remus stared at me, shocked. I took a deep breath, and exhaled. I closed my eyes, hoping I'd wake up, hoping that this was some horrible nightmare, and that when I opened them, I would be ten again, and my family wouldn't be filled with Death Eaters, but loving people who cared about me, and that we'd all be together, happy.
        But when I opened them, none of that was happening. I was still in some ward at St. Mungo's, and my daughter and her friend were looking at me as if I was going to explode any minute. I suddenly felt a strange surge of hate for everything; I hated Cornelius Fudge, I hated Peter Pettigrew, I hated my parents, I hated my stupid sisters and my brother in laws, I hated my nephew, whom I'd never even met.. I even realized I hated being a witch.
        "It's only normal to feel that way." Remus said. I stared at him.
        "I have my ways of knowing how you feel," he replied, seeing my confused expression. "Plus, it's not as if I've never been in your place."
        "You didn't lose anyone." I snapped.
        "I lost James, Lily and Peter. And Sirius." Remus replied. "I don't even count Peter, but for a long time I'd thought I did. And before, I did still miss the Sirius I thought had changed-and now, I still feel like something's been taking out of my body. So I've been through this twice now."
        "Oh, yeah, you cared so much about Sirius, you just never dared to wonder if he could be innocent, and you never helped me try and get him a trial! Yeah, that's right!"
             Nymphadora gasped, "Mum!" but she didn't need to; I already felt a horrible pang of guilt for saying that. I never liked to insult people, but right now I had no self control.
             "Remus," I stammered, but Remus put his hand up.
             "It's okay." He said.  
             "Remus, I'm sorry." I said.

“Really,” Remus said, “You’re right, I’ve never lost a family member… but I know it must be hard on you.”
               Nymphadora was looking back and forth from him to me. Finally, she closed her eyes and laid back.
        I felt completely lousy; I turned back to Nymphadora. "I have to go now too, sweetie." I didn't want to leave, but I knew I would have to, and I had a feeling that tonight, we both should be alone. Sometimes being alone is terrible; but other times, it can be the best state to be in.
        Nymphadora nodded. "Are you writing to Dad?"
        "Yes, honey. I know he'll be here as soon as possible." Then I realized something. "Next week's your birthday."
        She would be twenty-one. Twenty one years ago, I had dreamed of my daughter growing up a wonderful life, going to Hogwarts, and probably working for the Ministry of Magic later. I had hoped that she'd be full of the innocence I never got to have, even if her relatives were all murderers, I'd hoped that she'd never have to face her parents going to Azkaban, never have to be disowned by her own family, just because she knew what true love meant.
        Yes, she'd gotten those things; and yet, over the past year, my baby girl had had to face the chance of being killed almost every day, and just a few hours before, had watched a 15 year old being faced with a possible death sentence, being cursed to the point of serious injury, and then reviving only to find out that one of her few relatives had just been killed.
        And she wasn't even a woman yet.
        Just then, a Healer came into the room. "Ma'am, I'm sorry but you have to leave."
        I wanted to say, "excuse me, my daughter's been through shit in the past twelve hours, if I want to be with her, I can." But I knew it'd do no good.
        So instead, I gave my precious Nymphie a hug. "Sweet dreams." I whispered.
        I apparated back to my house, ran upstairs, intending to write to Ted, and then fall onto the bed in tears. But what could would that do? Tears wouldn't make Harry, who'd just lost yet another parent figure, feel better. Tears wouldn't make Bella and Narcissa better people. Tears wouldn't make Nymphadora's wounds go away. And tears wouldn't bring back Sirius.
        Slowly, I opened my drawer, and took out a picture I kept in there. In it, Sirius and I are playing Tag together. Suddenly, Sirius tags me from behind-and when I turn around, he jumps into my arms, and we both laugh, our hair, a raven black, being shined by the sun, and our smiles making the photo even more pleasant.
        I smiled, and then felt the urge to cry once more. But I knew that I couldn't.
        Tears can't defeat evil; the only thing strong enough to conquer evil is love.
        "Sirius Black," I whispered, "I can't believe you died, but I love you, you little twit."



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