KEYNOTE: I realized 'Morweena' is a more common form of Morwenna. But it is Moor-When-na. 'When' as in 'When the sun rises'. A nick name you might see me use later on is Wenna, to be read as Whenna, not Wee-na. Morwenna sounds closer to the Disney's Moana, if that helps.
AN: To quote Mercy from the Patricia Briggs books, "Cheeses crusty, got all musty, got damp on the stone of a peach!" You reviewers are simply amazing. Thank you so much!
Chapter 2 - Unexpected
Andromeda Tonks would like to say this was her most cherished prayer, answered at the cost of her worst nightmare.
But she couldn't say that, she couldn't even think it. Because her worst nightmare involved everyone she loved be tortured and killed. Regardless, the expression on Ted's face, of betrayal and hurt, was a blow to the heart. A piece of her heart she had put behind glass like a relic, to be admired and looked at, but never used again.
It was being used now and it was… it was a gift, and it was a knife twisted so deep the sensation could no longer be called pain.
They were all waiting for her to answer Nymphadora's question.
Nymphadora is alive, Andromeda thought, for perhaps the hundredth time in the last hour? Hours? It didn't matter, she could get over the amazement of her daughter being real, and the more real she became in Andromeda's mind and heart, the more the fear grew over the possibility that she might be lost again.
She clung to Harry's hand a little harder, asking for and receiving comfort when he squeezed back.
His palm was damp and she realized he was afraid. Harry was afraid, and, focusing back on the present moment, she realized he was afraid of Ted. Afraid that she might leave him for her not-dead-after-all-husband. She wanted to reassure him but didn't know what to say.
There was nothing she could say that wouldn't break either man's heart, additionally, even if she could find the words in her scrambled thoughts, she did not want to say it in front of the kids, all six of them… Merlin help her.
Harry, seeming to be the first to realize she didn't know how to handle this situation and took charge. "Nymphadora-" he began.
"Don't call me Nymphadora," her daughter said forcefully, giving Harry a dirty look.
Harry didn't balk at her anger in the least, and Andromeda thought that he was about to play the dad card. He was very good at playing the dad card because he was like everyone's favorite uncle and dream mother rolled into one. He could be the professor, or the parent, at a turn of a hat, and, it didn't matter if the person he was talking to was much older or much younger.
He rephrased, "Nymphadora Black Tonks."
Andromeda couldn't help but smile at the look of outrage on her eldest daughter's face. Harry was one of the few people who truly liked the names she had chosen for her babies, it was one of the many things she loved about him.
He continued, "This is your biological son, Edward Remus Lupin, age eleven, and your three sisters, Morwenna Lilianne Potter, age nine, Ophelia Hermione Potter, age seven, and Persephone Luna Potter, age six. Children, this is your eldest sister Nymphadora."
There was a moment of stunned silence before and Nymphadora thought with her mouth open, "Why did you let Mum name them?"
"Hey," Morwenna called, squaring her shoulders and glaring up at the inclusion to her family, "I like our names. They're pretty."
Nymphadora continued as if she hadn't heard, "Did you say, son, my son? But-"
"That awkward moment when your mother is only nine years older than you," Teddy grumbled. He, unlike his little sisters, had realized the possibility of his parents -the people who had raised him, splitting. It seemed to disincline him toward being excited to meet his biological mother.
"Did you say Remus Lupin?" Ted asked, speaking for the first time since Harry's arrival.
"Yes," Teddy snapped, "that's what my father said."
Morwenna gave her brother an odd look, "What's going on?"
"Yes, Andromeda," Ted said, "do tell us, what is going on?" Between you and Harry Potter, was politely left off.
Andromeda opened her mouth and what came out was both an additional problem and a convenient distraction, Ted might be angry and hurt, but, at the core of him, he would always be a healer.
"Sirius needs to be looked over," she said.
Ted gave her a disgusted look, "You want me to heal a Death Eater? A Death Eater who was You Know Who's right hand?"
"You Know Who?" Ophelia piped up, "Do you mean Grandfather James? Why can't you say his name?"
Persephone's hair flashed to violet and she giggled, before whispering something in Parseltongue that Andromeda could not understand.
In response, Ophelia's hair shifted to indigo and she said something else in Parseltongue that Andromeda couldn't catch.
"He means Tom Riddle," Teddy said blessedly in English. He could understand parseltongue but couldn't speak it.
Morwenna grinned up at Ted, and asked sweetly, "Afraid to say Voldemort?"
Ted flinched and Nymphadora exclaimed, "Oi! What have you been teaching them?"
"We aren't afraid to say Voldemort," Ophelia said, "Because our Mapoppy killed him."
"Mapoppy is the greatest, bestest wizard ever," Persephone added, gaining confidence from her sisters.
"Where those two just talking in Parseltongue?" Ted asked.
"Mapoppy, Morwenna, Ohli, and Percy, are all Parselmouths," Teddy said impatiently, "Now are you going to look at my father's godfather or are you going to let him waste away on your couch?"
Before Ted could answer, Nymphadora asked, "You don't consider Remus Lupin to be your dad?"
Teddy shook his head, "You and my biological dad died in the war. You both left me with Grandmama. Remus made Harry Potter my godfather and he is my father, he was the one who was there. I never met you or Remus before. You are not that important to me."
Andromeda knew he was upset and had every right to be so, but, she couldn't help chiding, "Teddy, apologize, you know you don't mean that."
He turned to her and ripped the fake pair of glasses of his face, the lack of glasses, and, emerging freckles making him look less like Harry and more like himself, "You can't do this to us! You can't leave us too, Grandmama!"
Persephone shrank into Harry's grip, Ophelia looked to Morwenna who was glaring at Teddy, "Shut up, Teddy, 'Grandmama' isn't going anywhere."
Teddy pointed an accusing finger at Ted, "Morwenna, that's Grandpapa."
Another beat of silence and four pairs of angry emerald eyes, which simultaneously shifted to dark brown, focused on Ted Tonks.
Who did the intelligent thing and took a step back.
Harry cleared his throat, "I know this is a lot, but Andromeda's right, Sirius does need help, and, as the person he supposedly betrayed, by handing myself and my parents over to the Dark Lord, I can vouch for the fact that he was framed. He never saw a trial, and, is completely innocent," then he added, "you know, despite being a Black."
Andromeda couldn't help but smile a little at that.
"Fine," Ted said harshly, "fine, I'll have a look. He doesn't have a wand on him does he?"
"No," Harry said.
"What are you going to do about Peter?" Andromeda asked, as Ted knelt by the couch and began his diagnostic spells.
Harry's hand squeezed hers a bit harder, "I'll get him, but while we're all here we need to decide on a few things."
"Ya' think?" Nymphadora asked sourly.
Harry gave her a small grin, "You're an Auror in training, and I know I shouldn't ask this of you, but-"
"But what?" she asked.
"But I'm not thirteen anymore, and as I have been a professor for ten years, I am certainly not going to pretend to be a child -if that is even possible, nor is Teddy going to stand in for me."
"I could, Mapoppy, like I did at the Dursleys."
"No," Harry said firmly, "No, you will be Teddy Remus Lupin and you will attend your first year at Hogwarts. We have another two years before Morwenna comes of Hogwarts Letter age."
Nymphadora caught on to the problem, "But if there's no one to cover for you then-"
"Harry Potter is about to go missing and, I have absolutely no desire to explain Time Travel by Phoenix to the government."
"Eventually, you'll have to," Nymphadora said.
"Yes, well, for the time being, I have enough on my plate without Albus and the Ministry riding my butt."
"Butt-taaacks," Persephone drawled, causing both herself and Ophelia to break out into helpless giggles.
Morwenna rolled her eyes.
Nymphadora asked, over the childish outburst from her youngest half-sister, "So what you're asking for is for us to cover for you."
"I'm asking you to hide the fact that you know what happened to Harry Potter, which, if you all keep it cool, no one will believe you have any idea about it. I'm guessing it will become a popular topic, but no one has any reason to tie me to the Tonks family."
"Until Teddy shows up to school looking like you," Ted said. His gaze remained focused on his patient, as the tip of his wand treated bruises and cuts that, until he had magicked away the filth on him, Andromeda hadn't noticed.
Teddy combed his hands through his hair, which suddenly grew inches longer, just brushing his shoulders, his curls lightened from raven black to dark brown. He still had Harry's eyes, but without glasses, hair, and freckles, that resembled Andromeda more than Harry, Teddy now looked much more like his sisters.
As metamorphagi, they couldn't change their appearance at any given moment, but, they did have a comfortable natural that they wore most often and that they would all fall back on either in sleep or if they became distracted.
A few inches of hair would be something Teddy would have to focus on to retract.
"Convenient," Nymphadora said, a tad impressed, and a tad jealous. It had taken her until her last years at Hogwarts to control her abilities to that degree.
"I'm waking him up now," Ted told them, coldly, the professional, likely because he was feeling anything but.
Harry handed Persephone over to Andromeda. She released her father reluctantly but once in her mother's arms held on as if her life depended on it.
Harry knelt beside Ted and Sirius while Ted stood and backed up from Harry, who seemed not to care about the other man's reactions.
It told her something was wrong because Harry cared about almost everyone's feelings.
Ted flicked his wand and Sirius bolted upright.
"Sirius, it's me. You're safe, Sirius, you're safe."
Sirius blinked at the light, at people in the room, at all the kids, and finally, back on Harry.
"James?" he croaked, "You're alive? But, how-"
Harry shook his head, "No, Sirius, I'm sorry. James is still dead, I'm Harry."
Sirius frowned, then pointed at Teddy, "No, that's Harry." Although he seemed rather unsure about his answer.
"I'm Teddy Lupin," Teddy said, and pointed at his father, "That's Harry Potter."
Sirius frowned, "But I thought, but, how? ...What?" He shook his shaggy hair like a dog, his gaunt face making the gesture not as cute as it should have been. "Remus has a son?" Which seemed to be what he settled on. "Where is Remus and who was the lucky lady?"
"They're dead," Teddy said thoughtlessly. "Harry Potter is my godfather, he raised me."
"I am not dead!" Nymphadora exclaimed.
Andromeda wasn't sure how much more of this she could take without something strong to drink. She held Persephone closer to her, smelling the scent of a more familiar home than they were currently in.
"Remus is dead?" Sirius asked.
"So are you," Morwenna said unhelpfully.
"What?" Andromeda's poor cousin asked.
"Enough," Harry said turning to Teddy and Morwenna, "Enough, you two, cool your heels-"
"What are you going to do?" Morwenna asked, "Send us to our rooms? We don't have any rooms. We're homeless."
While Ophelia was experienced enough to not believe everything her sister said, Persephone was still learning and began crying silently.
"Enough!" Harry scolded. "Enough, you're scaring your little sisters and the man who hasn't eaten a decent meal in thirteen years. Enough. You are both capable of behaving." He turned back to Sirius who looked worse. "Remus isn't dead, you're not dead. You broke out of prison thirteen years after being framed for mass murder and the betraying the Potters by Peter Pettigrew. I am Harry Potter. I managed to get myself and my family time traveled back sixteen years in the past. I'm not thirteen, I'm twenty-nine, turning thirty."
Ted made a disgusted sound and asked Andromeda, "You married a man six years younger than your own daughter?"
Sirius looked towards her and his face broke into a grin, "Andia?"
Andia, Andromeda thought. Only Bella, Regulus, and Sirius ever called her that. Mainly because if they ever called her simply Andi both their mothers would throw hexes at him.
"How's my favorite cousin?" Sirius asked.
Before Andromeda could answer, Narcissa spoke up from behind her, "I believe I am offended."
Everyone but Andromeda and the Potters froze at the sight of Narcissa Malfoy in their midst.
"Don't you ever knock?" Harry asked her.
"Not when people leave their doors open," she said haughtily.
"Aunt Cissa!" Morwenna cheered.
"Hello darling," Cissa said and patted her on the head before stepping through the maze of people. "Good to see you alive, cousin," she said, pausing before Sirius.
Sirius gaped up at her like a carp gasping for life in the middle of a desert.
Moving on she held out her hand first to Nymphadora, who shook the hand as if it might bite her. "It is good to meet you my dear niece, my sincere apologies for never meeting you before your untimely death."
For once Nymphadora didn't have a comeback.
When she got to Ted, he seemed to be in a state of shock. Determined, Narcissa held out her hand to the muggleborn, who shook it once before swiftly taking his wand hand back.
Narcissa's cold gaze held him in place as she spoke, "I regret missing your wedding, and for cutting off contact with my sister. I can't say I approve of you and your history, but I acknowledge that you are a competent healer -for which this world is always lacking, and I acknowledge that my sister loved you. That alone should have earned you my -my acknowledgment."
Andromeda huffed, "Very heartfelt, Cissa."
Cissa turned that icy gaze on her, "I tried."
Harry laughed, the sound of his laughter warming the room like nothing else could have. Andromeda was suddenly brought back to after the war, when her heart first reawoke to that very sound, in this very room.
"Ah Narcissa, what would we do without you?" he asked.
"Likely be homeless," she said sweetly, her words an echo of Morwenna's. It really wasn't so hard to see that they all spent too much time together. "I have rooms prepared at the Manor, and, if any your spawn burn it down, again, I'm indenturing them to me forever."
"If you wanted them that badly," Andromeda teased, "I'm sure Luci won't mind if we move in permanently."
"Okay," Nymphadora said, "time out, there is so much wrong with what's happened tonight but did you just say 'burn it down, again,' as in on a previous occasion Harry Potter's kids burned down Malfoy Manor? And did my mother just call Lucius Malfoy, Luci, with affection?"
"The future holds many wonders and horrors," Harry said brightly.
"And we need to get your four present 'horrors' to bed and Andromeda needs to deal with this- this affair," Narcissa said waving to the room.
This seemed to break Ted's false calm, "I am not an affair, I'm her husband."
Narcissa smiled at him condescendingly, "Oh, please, you really believe any woman is going to choose you if they have that-" she jabbed a thumb in Harry's direction, "-waiting for them in bed?"
Andromeda took a protective step in front of Narcissa before Ted could do something foolish.
Sirius tried to stand, but Ted shoved him back down with a hand on the man's shoulder. It didn't take much effort for Sirius to fall back onto the couch, "No, you stay here, you're my patient and until I give you the all clear you aren't going anywhere."
"But I think the rest of us should go," Harry said, walking across the room and taking Persephone back from Andromeda.
"Harry-" she began.
"Narcissa's right, this is yours to sort through, we aren't helping by being here. The kids and I will stay with the Malfoys until-" Harry's voice hitched. "Until you've made your choices."
"Harry," Andromeda tried again but he held up a hand.
"Andromeda, I love you, no matter what you say or do, I will always love you, but as much as I hate to see you hurting; you have to make a choice. You can have us both in your life. Nymphadora, Teddy, and our girls require your presence in both households, but you cannot keep us both. It is fair to no one." He kissed her cheek and gathered the little ones with him out the door.
He didn't run, but his easy gait was absent.
Morwenna and Ophelia didn't look back, having faith in their parents' choices and wanting the familiarity of the Malfoy Manor around them.
Teddy, however, hesitated. Looking towards his grandmother, his grandfather, and his biological mother.
Harry was the only father he had ever known, but no matter how Andromeda chose, it would hurt him in some way. It might lock doors that had been suddenly thrown open which previously had been condemned.
Narcissa put a hand on his shoulder, "Come, Teddy, whatever happens, no one will love you less."
Teddy grabbed her hand, the door shutting behind them.
Andromeda was suddenly alone, in the house she had grieved in. Grieved for the three people now staring at her, waiting, waiting for her to declare who she was, and who her heart beat for.
She felt as if she were being sawed in two.
"Harry," Narcissa said after they had finally gotten the children to bed. Neither Lucius nor Draco knew they were in the guest wing of the house. "It will be alright, she will choose you."
"You can't know that," he said, pressing his back into the wall as if it were the only thing keeping him on his feet.
"I do know that."
"No, you don't."
"We aren't married, Narcissa! She is still his wife."
"That's your fault, she told me she offered-"
"Andromeda didn't want to marry me. She said she would say yes if I asked but that she didn't want to. She is Andromeda Tonks."
"She loves you," Narcissa soothed.
"She loves him too," he said tangling his hand in his hair. More quietly, he repeated, "she loves him too."
"But she loves you more," Narcissa stressed.
Harry looked into her eyes, arctic blue to emerald green, and said, "But she is still wearing his ring."
He jerked away from her, stumbling his way down the hall toward the room he shared with Andromeda when they visited here.
He couldn't look at Narcissa a moment longer, not when he spotted the tinge of pity in her gaze. When he got to the room he fell back against the bed, not bothering to undress. Harry didn't cry or sleep, he sat awake, dreading more and more each hour that crept by. Hating each second he remained alone, waiting.
Around midnight his door creaked open, and he sat up, his hopes falling when it wasn't Andromeda, but Persephone dragging Ophelia behind her. Harry helped them onto the bed, and not ten minutes later, Morwenna and Teddy joined them.
When everyone was settled, two children on either side of him, Harry felt better, even if Andromeda did break his heart, he wouldn't be alone. His life would go on just as it always had, chaotic and unexpected.
AN: I am a little sorry about leaving you with yet another cliffhanger but this section needed to be broken up. Compared to this chapter -which included five of Andromeda's descendants and the adults all on the cusp of mental breakdowns, the confrontation between Andromeda and Ted will be a walk in the park to write. Okay, maybe a hike but not the clusterfrack above.
Please, pretty please will chocolate sauce and roasted cookies on top, please review?