Disclaimer- I don't own Harry Potter… no really- I'm supposed to let you know that.
A happy family is but an earlier heaven.- George Bernard Shaw
The last thing I saw before I closed my eyes was my mother's face- tired, resigned and guilty all at the same time.
Have you ever heard what they say about people that have suffered too much. People that the world has put through crap time and time again. They say that eventually those people give up hope
That's a lie.
You never give up hope. You never stop praying. No matter how many times your prayers go unanswered. Because sometimes praying is all you can do.
The sound of the whiplash echoed in my mind. Funnily enough the last delirious thought I had before I passed out from the pain was- 'That sounds like the closing note …'
When I finally woke up- my prayers had, at long last, been answered… not that I knew that then.
Opening my eyes the first thing I noticed was I couldn't see anything. Everything in front of me was a washed out blur. I couldn't move either. A mild panic began to set in- it had never been this bad before. Had I received permanent brain damage this time? Then I smelled it- the disinfectant, medical smell that was ever present in hospitals. So I was in a hospital then. How did I get here? Who would bring me here? It couldn't have been my parent. They had never cared before, they wouldn't start now. Or maybe he had finally gone too far this time- and they had no choice. Maybe the neighbors finally woke up and called social services…Or maybe-
I would have gone on and on with my speculations if at that moment I hadn't been lifted into the air, by what felt like a giant's hands. Startled I did the only thing I could – I screamed.
Or at least, I tried to. It came out sounding more like a cross between a whimper, a sob and a gurgle.
"Would you look at that! My beautiful baby girl…" Came a soft soothing voice (too gentle to be my father's) and I calmed down a bit… That is until the words sunk in. I flailed around in my blanket (blanket-HOW had I not noticed that before?!) to look at this man who claimed I was his baby girl.
All I could make out was that he was tall (which really wasn't much of a conclusion since I was apparently a BABY) he had really pale skin and light hair.
The man, my self-proclaimed father looked up to someone who was behind me and said "She's perfect".
If I wasn't convinced of it so far- those words did it for me. I was dreaming. He had said those words with such warmth and sincerity that I was sure it couldn't have been real. There was so much love in his voice. It couldn't be for me. I had done nothing to deserve it.
"She is, isn't she?" came a light feminine voice from behind me. "Well? You won the bet- it's a girl. What are you going to name her?" She asked him. I tried to turn around to see her. This woman- my dream mother, but the best I could do was wriggle around in my blanket a bit.
My 'father' thankfully decided right then to take me to her. He moved me into her arm saying "Lyra".
I looked up to see a cascade of dark curly hair- and from some inborn instinct or fascination I reached up to play with it.
"You want to name her after a constellation? " She asked. Her tone was the oddest mix of surprise nostalgia and sadness.
"You don't like it?" he sounded uncertain.
"Oh, no! I love it… It's perfect. Lyra Addison… it's a beautiful name" She assured him.
She looked down at me then and I could vaguely make out the light grey of her eyes.
"Lyra"…There it was again. Love, so deep, so strong, I was surprised it wasn't visibly painted in the air between us.
How could I dream up love as pure as this… when I never knew it existed to begin with? That was my last thought as I drifted off to sleep in the warmth of my mother's arms.
Chapter 1: Impossible Reality
It's been two months since the 'dream' started. I don't know what to believe anymore. The wind on my face right now feels as real as it's ever felt. I can hear sounds and smell scents as clearly as I would if I were awake. The only conclusion I can draw is that I died, and as insane as it sounds- I've been reincarnated, with all the memories of my previous life.
My sight has been getting better- I can almost see mum and dad clearly now. They make a really beautiful couple. From the few conversations I've heard, I've managed to piece together what I could of their lives. He is Dr. David Addison, a renowned Oncologist and most loving father that ever was (of course I could be biased- and if I'm being honest I don't really have any other loving fathers in memory that I can compare him to). His job is pretty demanding, so sometimes he has to leave us to go to work at odd times of the day. What he lacks in free time, he more than makes up for in pure devotion. He spends hours on end by my cot, playing with me, singing to me or reading children's stories that he doesn't know I understand. The reason for that last one became clearer when I managed to make out my mother's name on the cover of one of the books- Allena Addison nee Noir a best-selling children's book author.
Mother is… strange, for the lack of a better word. You could be polite and call her eccentric. She spends most of her day taking care of me- which isn't really hard work at all, considering how little I fuss. And every spare minute she gets, she is decorating and re-decorating our home with whatever she happens to find fascinating at the moment. Last week it was sea shells, today it's apparently-
"Rocks! What do you think Lye does this look good here?"
I gave her the most deadpan glare my 2 month old face could manage.
"Of course it does… and I'm going to put some here…and here… and here"
The thing is, if I'm being completely honest… that really does look good.
I had always loved children, and I had always known that thing I wanted most in the world was a child of my own. Despite the fact that my own family had disowned me while I was still young, I always knew there was nothing more important than family.
The fact that I hadn't been completely honest with David about my past was constantly eating away at my soul. I had almost told him once- The day our precious Lyra was born. The minute I held her in my arms for the first time, I knew she was special. I should have told him then, what I was. What our daughter could and most likely would be. But then he said her name. For a moment I thought he knew, and then the moment passed and I realized it was just a coincidence. No, not coincidence- it was fate. This was who she was meant to be.
As she grew older I realized she was even more special than I gave her credit for. She was sitting up on her own at 3 months. Her fist words ('mama' to my everlasting joy) came when she was 6 months old. She could understand everything we said to her long before that. By the time she was a year old, she was toddling around the house sometimes on both her feet and sometimes on all fours, speaking in full sentences, with only the slightest hint of a lisp. At two we found out, much to our surprise, she could already read. A 'prodigy' David called her with the proudest smile on his face.
My only concern was that my baby girl would never get to be a child. Everybody deserved a childhood filled with laughter that they could look back on with a smile on their faces. I know this because I never had it, neither did David. We wanted our child to have every bit of happiness that we missed out on and then some. So we would drag her kicking and screaming to the pool and splash around until she joined in reluctant, but smiling.
Today was a bright sunshiny day. Lyra had turned 3 just a week ago, and she had her first ever big Birthday party, with all the neighborhoods' families and David's friend's from the hospital. ( Her previous two, having been family-only events. And seeing as how neither David nor I had any family to speak of- it was just us three).
We were all out in the sun by the pool, enjoying David's rare day off from work. Lyra of course, was reading. And then it happened. The moment I had been dreading since the day I first held her. David walked over to Lyra with some iced-tea for her to drink, and he tripped over a broken tile on the floor and the tea went flying towards Lyra.
"NO!" she only had time to shout out that one word before my world collapsed on itself. Inches away from the fragile pages of her book the tea froze mid-air. Just like that. Her first bit of accidental magic.
Chapter 2: The Magic Word
It just… It just stopped. It …I … what just happened? I couldn't even form coherent words to ask. I looked up see my father in a similar state of shock and denial.
"Honey… Am I hallucinating, or did that really just happen?" He asked my mother without looking away from the pint of ice tea that was currently defying all laws of physics. At those words, as if the spell holding it there was broken (I would later look back and see the irony of this thought) the ice tea splashed down drenching both me and my poor innocent, blameless book (yes I was, and am a bibliophile, so sue me!).
"No dear, you're just fine… but there's something we need to talk about", she said. I looked up at those unexpected words to see her looking at me… somewhere between sad, fond and so solemn (I absently noted that this look didn't suit her at all- I'd much rather see that goofy smile she does so often and so well) , but not an ounce of the surprise or shock I would have expected. I mean, how would you react if you saw your daughter pull a Matilda like that?!
"Something we need to… you're not surprised?" He asked. His expression never having wavered from the disbelieving incredulousness it held. She just warily shook her head. "And I'm not asleep?"
"No David, you're very much awake, and … I've been expecting this for some time now"
It was my turn to look at her with all the skepticism my mini toddler features could muster. "You've been expecting the beverages to defy gravity for a while now then?" I asked. At those words some of the tenseness in the atmosphere loosened up and she cracked a smile.
"Well something like that…" She closed the distance between us and knelt down so she could look me in the eye, and then in the most serious voice I've ever heard her use she said to me, "You're a witch, Lyra".
And I had just started to accept this reality too.
My brain must have still been in a state of shock, I could make little sense of the explanation that followed, the more she said the less I understood. My mother explained to me how she was from a family of witches and wizards, how she had been abandoned by them when she was 11, and they knew for sure she had been born without magic. How she was left at an orphanage to fend for herself. How it hurt so much to even think about the family that had left her that she changed her name and refused to speak of them to anyone… even David.
My father listened to her explanation in silence. Several times it looked as though he would interrupt, but the expression on her face was sadder than either of us had ever seen it before. It must have told him, as surely as it told me that she was dead serious.
I considered for a moment the fact that she could be joking- because this was so beyond the realm of possibilities… and then I remembered it was 1983… the Harry Potter series was most definitely not out yet. So either my mother was a friend of J.K. Rowling, who inspired some of her brilliant ideas … or the less likely possibility- she was telling the truth.
Unfortunately, the (moving)picture of her family that she produced out of her locked cupboard in the attic, proved once and for all that yes, magic was very much real, and yes, I was very much screwed.
Before she was Allena Addison, and even before she was Allena Noir she was Alhena Black. The squib daughter of Orion and Walburga Black. The elder sister of Sirius and Regulus Black.
Would you really be surprised if I told you I fainted?
"Family means no one gets left behind or forgotten." - David Ogden Stiers (Lilo and Stitch)
In a single day, everything I thought I knew about my wife, about my child, hell even about my world, had changed. Maybe changed was the wrong word- more like it had grown, to include a whole new dimension-Magic .
I had spent my whole life playing a balancing act with science and faith, and that one word had blown it all away. There were people out there that could make you sick or heal you with the wave of a stick. A wooden STICK. That was the most powerful weapon in world. And it was handed over to 11 year olds like it was candy.
I had spent the next few days talking to Allena (should I still call her that? Or should it be Alhena now) about this new world. She told me of their strange separate government, their currency, the Statuette of secrecy, their standards and methods of schooling. She did her best to answer my questions, but there was only so much she could tell me. She had been rejected cruelly and completely by this world, and she had lost all contact from everyone in it at the tender age of 11. She hadn't received any in-depth magical education, and the little she knowledge she had had rusted with time and disuse.
I could see how much it pained her to speak of her family. But I needed to know. I couldn't let my daughter go into a world that was so backwards and bigoted that they would reject their own flesh and blood for power. The more she spoke of it, the worse I felt. Purebloods, half-bloods, muggleborns, squibs, memory charms, Hogwarts… Dark Lords, magical wars fought over 'blood supremacy'. I had never felt so scared or so helpless before. If those people… those wizards… came to our home and decided to drag our daughter away- there would be literally nothing we could do about it. Hell, we might not even remember she existed the next morning.
The day after we had that conversation I went and bought a gun. That night was the first time we had a fight. Allena accused me of being paranoid and prejudiced. I accused her of being a liar that put my family in danger. The words left my mouth before I realized what I was saying. The shock and horror on her face at hearing me say that was enough to put me on my knees, begging for forgiveness.
"I didn't mean it"
"I know", She seemed so exhausted.
"I'll return the gun…"
"No, don't… you were right, we need to be able to defend ourselves if something happens", She said that, but I could see in her eyes that she didn't mean it. She was saying this so that I could rest easy, knowing I wasn't completely defenseless. She herself would be incapable of hurting someone no matter what their crime. She forgot too readily and forgave too easily. It was something I had always loved about her.
That was all the reminder I needed. I walked over to her and hugged her as tightly as I could. She leaned into my embrace with ease that came with years of love and marriage and rested her head on my shoulder. I breathed in the scent of her, like jasmines. She always smelled like jasmines.
"I love you", I had said those words before, but this was the first time I said them not just because I wanted to, but because I had to. I had to let her know that no matter what- that at least had not changed, it never would.
She of course understood exactly what I was trying so desperately to tell her even without the words. She leaned back slightly so she could look me in the face with that beautiful smile and said "I know".
It's been three years since then … And we've all gotten on with our lives. Allena and I agreed on one thing at least- we didn't want Lyra to garner too much attention. It could be dangerous for her, specially given how often her bursts of accidental magic came ever since she became aware of magic. She was already a child genius. If anyone looked too closely they would risk bringing the attention of the magic government on her. Lyra would have to be home schooled. She didn't seem to mind. In fact she seemed to prefer it this way. She didn't get along very well with children her own age. It was to be expected I suppose. After all if she were with children her physical age- they would ostracize her for being different. And if she were with peers of her mental age, they would ostracize her for being too young. She was different, and she accepted that with a grace that you wouldn't find in those twice or even thrice her age.
But even with home schooling- it was hard to keep her talent hidden from people, specially in a place as crowded as London. After all, it's not like we could hide her away from the world. Eventually after a close call involving a floating cake, a local bully and an exploding candle at a birthday party in the neighborhood we decided to move somewhere less … populated.
Once the transfer was completed I came home to the family with the good news.
"We're moving!", Said Lyra sounding as distressed as I'd ever heard her.
"Sweetheart, you'll love the new place… It's much less crowded, and we'll have a huge backyard" I tried to be as gentle about it as I could.
"But… but do they have library where we're going!"
Of course… that's what the reluctance was about. I resisted the urge to roll my eyes, and I could swear I heard Allena smother a snicker.
"Yes sweety… I'm sure they have an excellent library down in Surrey"
"Surrey?" She said in an oddly flat voice. Her face had gone completely pale.
"Yes Lyra dear, that's where we'll be moving to… Number 7 Privet Drive, Little Whinging, Surrey… Honey are you okay, you look a bit pale…"