ASTRID: I’m the type of girl to look you dead in the eye.
Creak. BOUNCE. Wiggle….
I’m ashamed to admit it took several more mysterious bounces at the foot of my bed before I truly woke up and felt I should investigate. Groggily I rolled over, rubbing the sleep from my eyes to find Fred and George Weasley tandem jumping on the corners of my bed.
My mother sleeps like a god damn Angel and birds fly in through the windows to tie ribbons in her hair and bask in her ethereal beauty. I sleep like a hungover Rockstar. Apparently, like so many of my less than classy traits, I have my father to thank for that.
I managed to sit up and tossed my pillow to the floor, black marks from the makeup I failed to remove last night smudged on the pillow case. My hair flowed over my right shoulder in messy waves. I shook it out and my fingers got caught in a mat from the pillow I slept under all night.
“What are you doing?” I rasped, shlumping back into my pillows.
“Well it’s noon” Fred said, adding a half spin to his jump.
“and we had rather a lot planned for today.” George continued.
“-before we lock up.”
Fuck. We were leaving tomorrow.
“My mum says we have to be good, there’s going to be a lot of us stuck together.”
“-with you around.” George finished with a wink.
I snickered. Truthfully, I was very nervous about being locked up all summer with so many people. My Veela magic is as freshly minted as it comes. I celebrated my 16th birthday just a few months ago and I was still getting used to this new and sultry magic. It doesn’t help that my mum and I have two very different ideas on how to use our magic (cough SHE DOESN’T) and I want to let the Veela stretch her legs whenever she wants. After just three days of summer break I received the talking to of a lifetime when Fred, concerned about his brother’s mental state, ratted me out to my mother.
“George is out on the porch waxing poetic about Astrid’s left earlobe.” I heard Fred announce to my mum. I smiled and kept brushing my hair as my mum and Fred hurried across the foyer and the screen door banged behind them.
“ASTRID BLACK!” She hollered.
“WHAT!” I yelled back defensively.
“GET DOWN HERE YOUNG LADY.”
I went to face her wrath with a straight back and squared shoulders and I still had no idea what I’d done.
“STAGE 2, NO, STAGE 3, TOXICITY.”
“From what?” I sassed.
“From you.” She sassed right back. “Sit your ass down.”
I sat. Fred slid into the seat across from me. George was sitting on the floor with his back against the cabinets. Legs spread out in front of him in a V. Body like jello.
“It’s all George’s fault really. Can’t get enough of that Veela potion.” Fred said, taking full pleasure in his brother’s predicament.
“Ayyyy” George said from the floor giving Fred the double finger gun.
“What were you doing using that much venom on him anyway?! Trying to knock him out?”
“No what I had in mind usually goes better with a conscious person.” I answered, winking at George.
He keeled over and my mother rounded on me. Flames burning in her palms and her eyes and her very soul. Hair blowing around her face.
“This isn’t funny!” She slammed her cauldron onto the grate and used her hand to light it. “You don’t even need to use venom on him Astrid, not that you ever need to use it. So, why in the name of Merlin, were you using your venom!”
“Dunno.” I answered. She glared at me over her cauldron and in her silence, I suffered.
“Because it feels good!” I shouted. She didn’t answer.
When the potion was finished she helped George drink it and he slowly came back around.
“Godric Gryffindor that was a trip.” He said dragging his body into a free chair.
“Told you.” Fred said.
“Go, you’re all grounded.” My mum said.
“You’re not our mother!” The twins argued.
“Your mother gave me rights. Go.”
“I didn’t even do anything.” Fred protested.
“Fred Weasley, you and I both know you have done something that warrants a night in your guest room.” She said, pinching the bridge of her nose.
Fred apparently could not argue with that and he and George traipsed up the stairs, my grumpy footsteps not far behind.
That night, Remus Lupin, the man who raised me, tapped on my door and played good cop to my mom’s bad cop. My real dad, who I had only just met a year or so before was already locked away in the safe house for the Order of the Phoenix. I was delighted to see Remus. I loved my dad very much but, we were still getting to know each other and the years my family spent apart were often painfully obvious. Remus, was in on our groove, he knew my mom’s rules, he knew me.
“It’s not ok to treat people like that Astrid, just because it feels good.” He said quietly.
My stomach twisted in shame but, I kept quiet.
“And we can’t have you doing this after the move.”
CELINE: I’m such a fool for sacrifice.
The house was so quiet. The kind of quiet I only get when Astrid is at school. The kind of quiet you never get around the twins. I took a sip of the most perfect cup of tea and turned to the sports section of the Daily Prophet. Just as I was marveling at how they could possibly find a way to slander Harry in the quidditch scores Fred padded into the kitchen. I have learned this summer, that when Fred shows up alone, my daughter has done something I should yell at her for.
He opened the ice chest and pulled out orange juice, glugging straight from the carton. He was shirtless and his flannel pajama bottoms had a hole in the knee that hurt my heart. Merlin, did that kid have freckles. Astrid always said the most beautiful thing about George Weasley was his constellation of freckles. Looking at his twin, I kind of understood what she meant.
Fred smacked his lips and wiped them with the back of his hand.
“Your daughters doing something really weird.”
“How weird?” I asked casually.
I put my paper down and took the OJ from his hand as I passed him, tossing it in the bin. I opened up the door to Astrid’s room and found her sitting crossed legged on the floor, lighting matches and swallowing them whole. She was wearing a tank top and her tiniest shorts and she was sweating profusely. George was crossed legged in front of her, his knees touching hers, watching her with a look of awe.
It appeared Astrid would be capable of conjuring flames soon.
“Oh darling.” I said. “ Come with me.” I had to pull the matches from her hands and lead her down to the kitchen. I sat her right in front of the fire and she immediately reached for the flames.
“Stop! We’ll get you warmed up don’t worry.”
“Warmed up?” The twins asked. “I think she’s good.” George finished.
I set a kettle on the fire and took her temperature. The mercury hit 115F.
“You’ve got a ways to go.” I tutted.
“Mum I need this to stop.” She panted, slicking her sweaty hair straight back. “How does it stop.”
“It stops when your temperature hits 212.” The kettle whistled and I poured a mug of bubbling hot water. She gulped it straight down. “Go get some more clothes on and, grab an old blanket. We’ll get your fire started.” I kissed her forehead and she ran off.
“You two.” I said rounding on the twins. “We need to make her mad.”
The boys smiled wickedly and looked to each other incredulously. I could hear their gears turning.
“How mad?” Fred asked.
“Mad.” I answered.
“Permission to let loose?” George asked, eyes narrowed.
“As long as you accept she will probably light your ass up at some point.”
“Risk we’re willing to take.” Fred said. They high fived and ran from the room.
While Astrid was trying to raise her temp, the twins were there at every turn. If she sat in a chair, there was already a whoopee cushion in it. She sat down at the piano only to find it was out of tune, and found her guitar in the same state. When she tried to run herself a scorching hot bath, a dung bomb had been set loose.
The rest of the Weasley’s showed up around lunch time.
“We’re having a bit of a situation over here.” I alerted them.
Ron took one look at Astrid wrapped in blankets by the fire and shook his head. “You are a mess.”
“A hot mess.” She agreed.
I took her temperature again. 200F, we were in the home stretch. Ginny and Ron agreed to keep Astrid company while Molly, Arthur, and I went to the sunroom. We discussed the move we were all about to make.
“Harry is going to be so upset when he finds out he had to stay at the Dursley’s.” I said.
Molly agreed. “I don’t know why he can’t come.”
Fred and George entered the room and began taking Astrid’s painstakingly alphabetized books and moving them out of order.
“Because Dumbledore is an ass.” I said, even though I knew they didn’t agree.
“What are you doing!” Molly hissed at the boys.
“Celine’s orders-“ George started.
“We’re making Astrid very mad.” Fred finished.
Molly looked to me for confirmation and I nodded. “She needs a spark to light the flames she been working on all day.”
“Mummy.” Astrid came into the room, tears streaming down her face. The twins ducked down innocently.
She fell into my arms and sobbed into my chest. “I want this to stop.” She whimpered. Over her shoulder I saw George melting at the sight of her in tears.
“Focus!” I mouthed.
While her back was to them they moved a few more books around and sat in the corner, innocent as angels.
I have to admit, I didn’t think this would upset her as much. She embraced every part of her Veela magic in a way I never have, never could. Sirius said it’s because we have been raised by two very different Veela. I think it’s because she’s too much like her father. Maybe we were both a little right. Still, I didn’t think this would be the part to break her. Nothing breaks her.
Soon, the tears stopped.
“Why don’t you grab something to read and ask Cookie to boil the bathwater?” I suggested.
“That’s a good idea.” She said pulling herself to her feet and scanning the bookshelves.
I am so happy I got to see the look of pure disbelief on her face before she burst into flames and rounded on the twins.
“YOU!” She growled. I have never, ever, seen Fred and George run so fast. They high tailed it out of the room and the BANG of the screen door let us know they ran outside. Astrid was hot on their heels, a giant fireball in her hand ready to fling their way when she realized what she was doing. Her flames extinguished and she looked at her palms in wonder.
The twins whooped and wolf whistled from the end of the drive and Astrid jumped and twirled in the air lighting her palms on fire again just because she could. George picked her up in a bear hug and swung her around.
“Astrid Black you have achieved the impossible what are you going to do next?” Fred mock interviewed her as she pulled away from George’s arms.
“I’m going to jump in the pool.” She said with her smile bright as the sun.
SIRIUS: Hours pass and she still counts the minutes that I am not there.
My family is coming today. For the first time, since James and Lily died, I would be living with my wife and daughter. The thought made me shake with glee. Not only would I be with Astrid and Celine but, Remus and, my cousin’s daughter, and Harry. Harry Potter, whose parents passed the torch onto Celine and I and made him my son, our son. I could sleep next to my wife at night. I could sleep with my wife again.
Order members were in and out all day. Thank Merlin because I would have self-combusted if I had to wait in this house for my family all day, alone, with Kreacher. The only words Dumbledore ever said to me were sit and stay. Wait like a good boy.
I don’t have anymore time to wait though.
Finally, finally, the locks on the front door spun. I jumped up from my chair and six Weasleys spilled in the door. Ron and the youngest who I haven’t met and two identical firecrackers and Arthur and Molly looking drained. Then a teenage girl in a pink jacket with the words “not your babe” scrawled across the back cried out “Dad!” before she flew into my arms.
Dad! That’s me.
“Dad! Check this out!” Flames licked her palms as she spread her arms out wide on either side of her, putting her magic on display. I thought about her mother as a sixteen year old Veela, full of shame and self-loathing, and my chest ached with pride at the confident daughter she raised.
“My turn” Celine said, eyes locked on mine as she glided towards me. Her arms slipped around my shoulders and just like that I was 21 again. Her body fit in my arms just like I remembered and I wanted to be kissing her fit to make up for the last 14 years. But there were a lot of people here and I guess I’d just have to wait.
The kids were looking around them with curiosity and distaste. I couldn’t blame them this place is a wreck. Molly looked like she didn’t want to put her handbag down. Celine let out a long low whistle.
“It’s wild being back here. I feel like I’m on the wrong end of a time-turner.”
“Let’s get into the kitchen before we wake the old hag up.” I said hooking my finger back towards the foyer. “My mother’s portrait is…loud.”
I didn’t want to break contact with Celine, not when I have waited so long. Every time she turned to look at me my heart raced. Every time her lips kissed her wine glass I wanted it to be me her lips touched. The kitchen was filled with laughter. There has never been this much laughter in this house. It was late when we all ascended the stairs. We eventually got the kids settled in rooms to their liking. At the foot of the staircase to the third floor Celine doubled back and opened Astrid’s door.
“Stay in your own bed or I’ll lock you in here tomorrow night.” She warned.
“Love you mum.” Was the only answer she got.
“and I love you, darling.”
She banged on the twin’s door and said “and that goes for you too, George!” Identical evil snickers reached our ears.
“Do I need to watch out for him?” I whispered, smiling down at her.
“No, Astrid can take care of herself.” She insisted, opening my bedroom door with a huff. “Remember what we talked about before she was born. You have a Veela daughter not a human one.”
“I remember.” I said watching her enter my room.
“I don’t think we’ve ever hooked up in here.” She teased, arms reaching for me.
I grabbed her hips and pulled them flush against mine. Her breath caught before I kissed her like I wanted to in the foyer. I wanted her naked, now. I wanted to touch every inch of this body I knew as well as my own. Her lips stung like before. Her pupils were pinned as she took me in her mouth. I licked her calf and the curve of her ass and relished the taste of her shoulder.
The moon peeked in through the curtains and cut across the bed. With a curl of her fingers the curtain pulled open letting every moon beam in. I looked down at our bodies tangled in the blankets and each other’s limbs and asked
“how does this feel the same as before?”
REMUS: Teenagers scare the living shit out of me.
I never fully appreciated how much Celine controlled her magic until I spent a summer holed up in Grimmauld Place with Astrid. Everywhere I turned I was surrounded by evidence of a teenaged Veela. On a rainy Saturday I noticed for the first time all the mirrors were turned around, even the massive one above the mantle. She drew the moon everywhere. Creating made her calmer so, she sang and played her guitar but, her voice was full of magic. She had a way of getting us all to do as she liked. I know she tries to be kind, to spare us but, she was still the pied piper and we were all following her lead. Of all the signs that she was playing us, none woke me like the owl feathers.
She tied them in her own hair first. A big black one from Sirius’ owl. Celine and Sirius were adorned with Black one’s too. The shiny feather blended so closely with Sirius’ hair it looked like it grew out of his skull. After a letter from Harry, Ginny received a snow white feather dipped in gold. I admired the way Tonks’ feather curled around her chin as Astrid tied a feather from a Great Horned Owl in my own hair.
I came home from a stint with the Werewolves to find her fingers tangled in Fred’s hair. A mass of Pigwidgeon’s tiny feathers knotted to form a mohawk. His brother sporting an identical look. When she finished Fred crowed like a rooster and disappeared to wherever those two go when they’re up to something. I always took the feather out when I left the safe house. Everyone who worked outside did, it was way too suspicious for all of us to be wearing the same odd adornment. Yet somehow, I always found myself removing another feather.
When Harry came, I watched her tie white feathers here and there, giving him the salt and pepper look of a much older man. She smiled and touched and gave playful tugs on his fringe and he made no protests.
She had us all wrapped around her little finger.
She played Sirius like a fiddle. No parenting experience, raging PTSD, and arrested development led to a flagrant inability to see through her manipulation. My position in this parenting triangle was murky so I deferred to “sure.” After Celine caught Astrid supervising the twins demo-ing her bedroom wall so they could all have tunnels to each other’s rooms she demanded to know who gave her permission to do construction work. Her answer?
“Well Remus said no…so I asked Sirius and he said yes.”
“FAMILY MEETING RIGHT NOW!” Celine had hollered.
We all marched to the kitchen.
“I know you are having the definition of Daddy issues right now Astrid but let me make one thing perfectly clear. Sirius doesn’t tell you what to do, Remus doesn’t tell you what to do, I tell you what to do.”
Astrid pouted but her defense was powerless against the Queen.
“If Astrid asks permission to do anything what are you going to tell her Remus?” She asked, rounding on me.
“Ask your mother.” I replied.
“Sirius? Same question.”
“Ask your mother.”
“That’s right. Ask. Your. Mother.” The victor said, as an owl feather came untucked from behind her ear.
GINNY: I saw a spider, I didn’t scream.
My favorite part about living at Grimmauld Place was Friday Night Dedications. Friday was the busiest night at headquarters. The most people stayed for dinner and our favorites always stayed for a nightcap. While half the order and all the kids were assembled in the parlour, Astrid and George would ask for song requests, which quickly evolved into dedications. George always started us off with a song dedicated to Astrid.
George and Astrid are so fucking stupid.
They’ve been in love their whole lives but rather than date and be happy they prefer to flirt and fight and indulge the ever wandering eyes they both have. Like them, I also know what it feels like to be in love with someone most your life. Unlike them, the way he looks at me is more like a little sister.
This Friday, I entered the parlour and Astrid and Celine were standing atop the coffee table dancing wildly to a hip-hop beat. Their movements mirrored each other as if they practiced.
“How do they do that?” Ron asked.
“Veela talk with their bodies.” Sirius said mysteriously. Ron’s cheeks pinked.
“It’s only dirty if you make it dirty, Ron.” I said, pushing him. He turned redder still.
George dedicates just as many break-up, fuck-you forever, songs to Astrid as he does love songs. Astrid sings loudest to the break-up songs and I swear to Helga Hufflepuff when she sings along my brother falls in love with her harder than before.
Tonks is here, with Remus and Kingsley, McGonagall stayed along with Mundungus. George picked up the fiddle Celine bought him for his birthday and started a reel. The crowd giggled and Astrid and Celine insisted it would be a riot. Sirius, with his pureblood professional dance training bowed to Celine and she curtsied and took his hand. We howled with laughter. At the end of their line Sirius held his hand out to McGonagall.
“Don’t act like you Scots don’t love a good reel, Minnie.” He crowed.
Hermione and I exchanged looks of pure shock when McGonagall picked up the hem of her robes and showed us all how to dance a reel.
Before long we all figured it out. We clapped and stamped our feet and my heart leapt into my throat when I realized Harry and I were next in line. Our hands clasped together and I floated across that floor. It was so easy to forget about You-Know-Who when we were dancing and singing at the top of our lungs and sneaking sips of alcohol from the bottle Astrid hid under the bathroom sink.
I never felt closer to my mum and dad, and my brothers, and my friends than I did that summer, the summer we all had owl feathers in our hair, the summer we hid from Lord Voldemort and danced in defiance of him and all he stood for. My heart swelled and my head swam as I watched Sirius and Astrid ballroom dance around the parlour and Celine teach Harry basic steps and the importance of leading a lady.
“Your father had two left feet, too.” She teased, pinching his nose.
From where I was standing, it looked like Harry had the family he always wanted, and I hoped he felt the same.
George: I’ll try and kiss you if you let me.
I don’t know what everyone’s problem with Astrid is. Her Veela magic is fantastic.
If our experiments pan out, the Veela magic we’re adding to the love potion we invented will make us filthy rich. So sue me if I don’t find her antics irritating. Besides, who wants to be around boring people anyway?
Will she climb in bed with me or cut the twigs off my broomstick?
Either way I’ll keep coming back for more.
The first morning at headquarters I made it a point to formerly introduce myself to Sirius, just to cover my ass. He is Astrid’s father after all.
Bonus, it turns out he didn’t murder all those people.
“Morning sir, George Weasley, I’m the better looking twin, didn’t have a chance to properly introduce myself last night.”
“Usually when a bloke sucks up to an attractive girls father, he has a reason to.” He said.
The kitchen door swung open and Astrid and Celine entered. I bit back a smile and said “well, we did get married in my back garden when I was 9 so, there is some history there.”
“It was a beautiful ceremony.” Astrid gushed taking my hands. “Ron was the priest and Ginny was the flower girl, Fred walked me down the aisle.”
“And we somehow got that gnome to hold the grass rings.”
“Then our mums hollered something fierce right as we were about to kiss.” She said as I twirled her around. She was darling when she wanted to be.
“Is a marriage legal if you didn’t consummate it?” Fred asked as he entered the kitchen (bloody git, Sirius could be capable of murder after all.)
“Didn’t consummate it?” Astrid countered. She cannot stand when people have the facts wrong. “What do you call what Geroge and I did by the black lake last year then?”
“Bye.” I said. High tailing it out of there.
So that was Sirius Black’s first impression of me: Handsome, stand up guy, followed by visions of me deflowering his only daughter by a lake.
Now that was a memory.
We had gone to the Yule ball together and I don’t know if I’ve ever had that much fun. The six of us, Fred and Angelina, Lee and Alicia, Astrid and I, had a pre-yule ball party in our dormitory, danced our faces off all evening and Astrid and I rounded off the night by snogging heavily against the side of the castle. It wasn’t the first time we kissed but, it was the first time we kissed like that.
Not too long after, she asked to speak with me alone. Anticipating more kissing, I practically ran away from Fred.
“I want to have sex with you.” She said.
“Now?” I asked looking up and down the hallway. “Not exactly the place I’d pick but, if you’re into it…”
“Shut it.” She said, swatting me playfully. “I’m going to be sixteen soon. I need to do it before the Veela magic kicks in. I want it to be on my terms, not the Veela’s, and I want it to be with you.”
Fred had done it with Angelina and I was eager to catch up. I also couldn’t imagine doing it with anyone else.
“When and where baby?”
The next week we scoured the castle looking for a private and appropriate spot. Those moments were electric. I was drooling imagining her naked. My body responded immediately every time she was near which was extremely inconvenient and awkward. The fact that she would literally eye fuck me from across the common room didn’t exactly help either.
A few days after she propositioned me we found the perfect spot. A secluded and grassy area on the far side of the lake. When we deemed it perfect our bodies pulled together like magnets. Her lips were so full and soft and we laughed together as we wrestled in the grass for the top spot. Our kisses and hands were rough and I vaguely remember growling in her ear that it would be impossible to wait for tomorrow.
But wait we did. She borrowed the map and the cloak from Harry and we made it down to the spot we chose sometime near midnight. The moon smiled like a chesire cat in the sky and she smiled up at it before turning to me and folding into my arms. She told me she wanted to kiss every one of my freckles before she died. I told her it would likely take that long. I entered her and my brain shut down from the sensation.
“Astrid you feel like heaven, you are heaven.” I groaned in her ear.
“You feel hard.” She moaned and I don’t know how I didn’t cum right then.
Shortly after that night of sin we were distracted by other people…again. Which is really fucking stupid of me because no one can hold a candle to Astrid. Truthfully though, I wasn’t interested in settling down just yet. Even with someone as funny and interesting and sexually uninhibited as she was.
After she nearly got me killed by her mass murderer father she tried to make up by kissing me and I pushed her away.
“Fred how about a kiss.” She said after I ignored her.
“Sure, I need to stay in practice.” He joked stretching like he was getting ready to practice Quidditch.
“Don’t say I didn’t warn you.” I shrugged. He dove in and I kept strumming my guitar. She kissed him deeply and skipped from the room.
“do her lips always burn like that?” Asked a man who had just been duped by a Veela.
“Yep, imagine how it feels on your…”
“Nope. No. Not going there.”
But her magic made it so he couldn’t help but go there. Fred was a mad man. He woke me up in the middle of the night to get me to answer the question he claimed he didn’t want to know the answer to just hours earlier.
“Like no other girl will ever be able to blow you like her.” I said, hitting him with my pillow.
He took really long showers.
After a few days he came around. He woke up, defeated and disgusted with himself.
“You are insane.” He said shaking his head.
“I am immune to her bullshit.” I corrected.
And I truly am. I adore her. I hate her. I dream about her. I worship her. I want to fucking fight her like every 3 hours.
But we also deeply understand each other and now, is not our time.
HARRY: Is there room for one more son?
“I have an announcement to make.” Celine said folding her newspaper and getting to her feet. It was Saturday morning and the breakfast table was full. Mr. & Mrs. Weasley, Tonks, Mundungus, Sirius, & Remus politely turned their attention her way but we were all a little more distracted.
“You guys spend all your time eavesdropping on order meetings and here I am, giving it away for free, and you don’t care.”
“That’s better.” She said with a small smile. “Lord Voldemort is very interested in recruiting the Veela. Which is why Astrid and I are in so much danger. Albus Dumbledore, despite almost two decades of me telling him no, is also very interested in recruiting the Veela. So, I will be leaving for a week or so.”
“Why?” I blurted out.
“I will answer questions at the end darling.” She kindly answered. “If I am successful, I will be binging someone back here with me.”
Astrid was shaking with glee but she didn’t say a word.
“Dumbledore would like me to attempt to bring my mother here so we can discuss recruiting the Veela with her.”
“YES!” Astrid said jumping clear out of her seat.
Sirius and Remus exchanged incredulous looks before bursting into laughter.
“Your mother and you? In the same house?” Remus repeated, wiping tears from his eyes.
Sirius was still laughing uncontrollably. Fist hammering the table. “Merlin’s beard you’re going to have an aneurysm!” He said coming up for air.
“When was the last time you saw your mum?” Tonks asked.
“When she was deported. I was 18.” Celine said drumming her fingers impatiently on the table. “If the boys are done laughing at my expense I will answer questions now.”
“Why does Lord Voldemort want to recruit the Veela?” I asked at once.
“Have you spent any time with Astrid this summer?” George snickered.
“The Veela would be an exceptional asset to Lord Voldemort in growing his numbers because they make people feel good and their venom makes you want to throw away your life for them. Also, they have essentially weaponized sex. We know that Lord Voldemort does not comprehend love and emotion but, we also know he is aware that humans are driven by love and connectedness. So, the Veela could handle that for him.”
“Why can’t he find them?” I asked.
“Because no one knows where Veela live. They are experts at hiding. They can slip between a shadow and a moonbeam and you would swear that shimmering blonde you just saw was a trick of the light.”
I thought of the Veela I saw in the clearing at the Quidditch World Cup last summer. Tall and bright and slightly ominous.
“However, Veela show themselves quite often when they come out to play.” She said bitterly. “His recruiting efforts have been disastrous.”
“So Dumbledore thinks your mother might be the key?” Hermione asked. “Because you can find them?”
“I only know I can find my mother because she will show herself to me but, if my mother agrees to help us she can recruit the other Veela, wherever they hide.”
“Do you think this will work?” I asked, excited.
“Not at all.”
The days leading up to Celine’s departure for Bulgaria she was tense and snappy. One evening, Astrid and the twins came down the stairs laughing and playfully arguing.
“Stop you guys it’s not that similar!” Astrid said chuckling.
“and you know it.” The twins answered.
“What’s similar?” Celine asked pleasantly.
“Lilith.” Fred said.
“What?” Celine asked. Fred, George, and Astrid didn’t notice her nails cutting into the wood of the table. Sirius was washing dishes and didn’t observe the change in his wife.
“Lilith? Ever hear of her?”
“These knuckleheads think Lilith is very similar to –“
“You think I don’t know about Lilith!” Celine hissed. She no longer sounded like the angel faced surrogate mother I have come to know. Her warm and inviting eyes were now dark and dead like a raptors. She pushed herself to her feet so fast we all jumped. “You think I don’t know Lilith! I was raised by Lilith!” Fred, George, and Astrid ran around the far side of the table and Celine stalked around to meet them. The three turned and ran for the door and Celine lunged for Astrid. Sirius at that moment lunged for Celine and caught her around the middle. The twins and Astrid ran up the stairs and did not look back. Celine struggled in Sirius’ arms for another minute. Sirius just held on tight to her.
She eventually calmed but, her eyes were still locked on the door. Sirius’ arms were tight around her waist. He pulled her hair to the side and pressed his lips to the base of her neck. A spell was broken and she pushed away from him. I watched as she opened the cupboard beneath the sink and searched for something way in the back. She emerged with a pack of cigarettes that were stuck to the bottom of the sink with a sticking charm. She lit one and leaned against the counter, exhaling the smoke into the room.
“I don’t want to go.” She said.
“When was the last time you smoked?” Sirius laughed.
“When I started training to be an Unspeakable like 13 years ago.”
“MUM” Astrid called. Celine quickly stubbed out her cigarette and waved her hand through the air trying to clear the smoke. She tossed all the evidence in the bin.
“I’M COMING DOWN DON’T KILL ME.” She called.
Astrid came back in the room and Celine showered her with hugs and kisses and I’m sorrys. Astrid sat down next to me and traced the deep scratch marks her mother put in the table with her finger.
She did go. She pulled Astrid and I close in the foyer and hugged us tight. I found myself not wanting to let her go. It felt so good, tucked up under her arm. She pushed my hair back and kissed my forehead. “I love you my darlings.” She said with a sniff. “I’m going to miss you both.”
“I love you too, mum.” Astrid said getting her own kiss on the forehead.
“I love you, too” I echoed. the word ‘mum’ dying before I could get it out.
She released us and reached for Sirius. I turned away from their embrace, trying to fight the blush. As she gathered her things and left Grimmauld place I wished I had called her Mum.
She returned a week later in the middle of the night. I blearily entered the kitchen and had to blink twice. She was sitting at the table with a cup of tea and her newspaper as if she hadn’t been gone at all.
“Mum!” I said and this time the word came out before I could stop it. I reached for a hug and she breathed in response
“Did she come back with you?”
“Yes.” She nodded. “She is sleeping upstairs.”
We were soon joined by the rest of the house including a very bubbly, very excited Astrid.
“You’re like an over excited Chihuahua!” Ron snapped as she sprang from her seat again to fidget around the room.
“Sit down.” Celine said, crumpling the Daily Prophet as she closed it. Astrid sat. “Let me make one thing clear. Edahna is not to be emulated.”
Astrid didn’t talk back for once. Just quietly hung on every word.
“You’re going to love her. She is wild and free and will encourage all your passing impulses. She isn’t human, she is a Veela. She loves us, in her own way, but she won’t stay, she doesn’t stay, she’s never stayed.”
“Enjoy her why she’s here.” Sirius said. “She is a blast.”
“And don’t cry when she leaves.” Remus said shortly.
“Remus Lupin as I live and breathe.” An unfamiliar voice joined in.
Remus turned and smiled to who was most certainly Celine’s mother. She was very tall, taller than Remus, and looked very much like Celine. Since she entered the room, the world seemed a little bit sunnier.
She hugged Remus and held him at arm’s length. “All grown up too.” She flirted.
“He’s not the only one.” Sirius said appearing at Remus’ side and flexing his arms over his head. Edahna giggled as Sirius twirled her around before hugging her as well.
“Can I get some whiskey in this please?” Celine whispered to her house elf, Cookie, who had just arrived to greet Edahna as well. The twins snickered.
“You must be Astrid!’ Edahna stopped flirting with Remus and Sirius and cupped Astrid’s hands in her own. She kissed each of her fingers and simply beamed at her granddaughter.
“You have our eyes.” She said, stroking Astrid’s cheeks. “But not our nose.” She said running her long index finger down the very straight bridge of Astrid’s nose.
“The Black Nose. As Walburga constantly reminded us. So, when things get bleak, Astrid, you can take comfort in the fact that you and Bellatrix Lestrange have the same nose.” The twins and Ron snorted with laughter and Mr. Weasley tipped some more whiskey into Celine’s tea cup.
“I did not inherit the Black Nose.” Sirius said tapping a finger to his Roman snoz. “One of my many failings in life. Regulus grew the correct nose though, bastard.”
“Tonks you have the Black nose as well!” Celine cheered. Tonks immediately screwed up her face and made a very large, ugly nose appear on it.
“That’s what my mother’s nose looked like.” Sirius confirmed. Even Mrs. Weasley gave a chuckle at that one.
“Mother let go of Astrid and sit down.” Celine gestured to the table and the group gathered there. Immediately, the entire focus of the room shifted from nose hereditary to Edahna Bell.
And Edahna was looking at me.
But not in the way people usually look at me. Shocked expression, eyes searching for the scar on my forehead before flitting away, the incomprehensible stuttering of my first name. She was looking at me like I was a long lost friend.
“It’s like James is here.”
Her voice cut across the nonsense being talked at her as if she had yelled but it was barely more than a whisper.
Sirius squeezed my shoulder and looked proudly down at me. “It is, isn’t it?”
Her eyes bore into me and she said “you’re sweeter than James though. James was er…..cocky.”
I had the distinct feeling she chose this word on purpose.
“When did you hear about what happened, mother?” Celine asked foregoing the tea and pouring the whiskey straight over ice.
“Voldemort was not such a problem in Bulgaria. It took longer. Maybe two weeks later I was at an Inn and the owner had a letter for me from Darius. It had the newspaper article in it. So I followed the papers after that.”
“Who’s Darius?” I asked.
“My crap bag father.” Celine answered taking a big sip of her drink. “Who apparently took the time to drop you a note but couldn’t be bothered to check on me while I was in the hospital.”
Edahna shrugged her shoulders dismissively.
Sensing the tension Mrs. Weasley asked “do you have any other children Edahna?”
“A few!” She said cheerfully. “I have had three girls and one boy. It is very rare to have a son but, Celine is my only human. None of my sisters have a human daughter” Edahna smiled adoringly at Celine and reached for her hands across the table. Celine allowed her hands to be held but didn’t soften at all.
I had the distinct impression Celine and Edahna were communicating even though they were silent. Edahna patted Celine’s hand and swept from the room, ignoring the protests of the men. Cookie began cleaning up after Edahna.
“You don’t have to wait on her Cookie.” Celine said sadly.
“I don’t mind Celine Black.” Cookie said patting Celine’s leg. “Us Being’s need to stick together.”
Spending a week with Edahna showed us all just how valuable an army of Veela would be. She had to help she just had to. How could she not! How could she sit there and remember my dad and my mom and not want to fight the force that killed them. How could she love Celine and Sirius and Remus and Astrid and not want to fight with them, for them? Remus doubted because Celine did. When I questioned him about it he said “You know the saying ‘make love not war?’ Well Veela like to make love AND war.”
Celine was the only one who knew how this would end. After several days and several meetings with Dumbledore, Edahna disappeared in the middle of the night. The minute Dumbledore entered the house Celine flung venomous ‘I told you so’s’ at him. Dumbledore silently accepted her onslaught of hurt and pain. When she finished he thanked her for doing this, for trying, and she walked out of the house.
I learned that night that you can grieve the loss of your parents even if they’re not dead.