Author's note: This is my first story in an embarrassingly long time. It's actually a rewrite of a story I started years and years ago, so if the first two sentences seem familiar, congratulations because you have an incredible memory. There's just a couple of notes to kick us off: the first few chapters are scenes from early years but the vast majority of this story will be set in Sage's 6th year. Also, this is the first story in a three-part series. And finally, I'm going to try to update as much as possible but I am still getting back into the habit of writing so I'm not entirely certain how quickly I'll update. That being said, reviews would help tremendously.
And, of course, all recognizable characters/settings belong to JK Rowling. Sage belongs to me.
A fine mist settled over Hogsmeade, blurring the outlines of quaint cottages lining the street. Suddenly, a distinct crack sounded, and the outline of a man appeared suddenly at the first line of trees surrounding the neighborhood. The man, very tall and incredibly dashing, shivered in the cold. Turning the collar of his cloak up to cover his ears, he shoved his hands in his pocket and walked briskly down the path of the first cottage and entered, stopping briefly to wipe his feet on the welcome mat.
It was significantly brighter inside the house and he sighed in relief as the warmth from the roaring fire soaked through to his bones. He could hear the tinny sound of the radio and the clanging of pots as his wife cooked. He shrugged off the cloak, pausing to place it on the rack beside the door. His young wife poked her head into the sitting as he kicked off his shoes.
"Dinner should be ready in a moment, love," she smiled at him before disappearing through the doorway. He smiled and sniffed appreciatively; it smelled like beef stew, his favorite. He followed the smell into their kitchen, taking a moment to realize his daughter wasn't in the high chair like usual.
"And where's Sage?" He asked, walking up behind his wife and wrapping his arms around her waist as she cooked.
"The Potters have her, Euphemia insisted she stay for the night. James just adores her and Euphemia believes we need some time to ourselves, now that Sage is old enough."
"She is quite right," He murmured, burying his face into his wife's neck and planted a little kiss on her shoulder as she stirred the pot with a wave of her wand.
"Rowan! Not before dinner!" His wife scolded, setting her wand down and turning into his embrace. Despite her words, she leaned into him, standing on her tiptoes to plant a gentle kiss on his lips. Rowan went to deepen it, but she pulled back, giggling.
"Ah, Til!" He scolded as she pushed him away, laughing loudly now. She tsked and turned around once more to examine the stew.
"Go wash up, dinner is almost ready." He groaned, smiling nonetheless, and left the room. Just as he reached the side hallway, there was a knock at the door. "Get that, will you, love?" He grunted in response and headed to the front door.
Rowan opened the door to reveal two men in dark cloaks, hoods pulled low over their faces. Before he could get a word out or reach for his wand left thoughtlessly in his cloak pocket, the man to the left raised his wand. In a second, a green light exploded from the tip and hit Rowan straight in the chest. He fell to the ground bonelessly, eyes wide and unseeing.
The two men stepped over the lifeless body, one closing the door swiftly. Tilia rushed into the living room, stopping in her tracks as she eyed the men. Her eyes drifted downward to see her husband lying there and she let out a strangled gasp. The man who killed Rowan laughed cruelly at her fright.
"The Dark Lord sends his regards." He spoke, raising his wand. Before she managed a single syllable, a second green light shot out of the wand and she fell to the ground. The men turned on their heels swiftly and left the cottage, shutting the door on two young lives.
Euphemia Potter sighed as she bent down to grab her goddaughter. Sage began to fuss incessantly the night before, right after dinner. At first, Euphemia thought nothing of it, assuming the child's dinner wasn't sitting right. But not even a half-hour later, her fussing turned into constant crying for no apparent reason. Euphemia tried to engage her with toys, a warm bottle, and a few diaper changes but nothing would calm the little girl.
"What is it, my love? Why are you so upset?" Euphemia murmured to the toddler, but the girl just buried her face in her godmother's shoulder and took shuddering breaths. James, Euphemia's son, looked up curiously from his pile of blocks. Sage's behavior was most unusual; Euphemia couldn't think of a time when the girl was so inconsolable. Sage was a strangely quiet child, usually observing people with a small smile on her face.
James, on the other hand, was rambunctious from the start, always getting into trouble with Sage not far behind. The two made a darling pair of opposites; the mothers were overjoyed that their children got along so well. Euphemia met Tilia and Rowen when they moved to the village as newlyweds. Euphemia and Fleamont, her husband, were an older couple and had long since given up on the idea of children and welcomed the couple with open arms. Then James, their little miracle, came into the picture and Sage followed soon after. Rowen, after working tirelessly in the Auror department, received a promotion and the couple moved to a larger house in Hogsmeade. Though that didn't stop Euphemia and Tilia from having brunch a couple of times a week, discussing their plans for their children to be raised side-by-side over tea.
A crash brought Euphemia's attention back to her son as he squealed. James, believing the block tower had gotten far too big, sent it tumbling down with a push. Sage jumped and started wailing again, keeping her face buried in Euphemia's shoulder.
"Oh James, you frightened her!" The older woman chastised, patting Sage's back reassuringly. She looked at the clock on the wall, "Where's your father? He should have been back by now."
Euphemia's nerves were wearing thin. Maybe two toddlers would have been a cinch at one time, but she was far too old and far too tired now. It was nearly three in the afternoon, four and half hours since Tilia should have arrived for brunch and three since Fleamont left to check up on her. The knot of anxiety grew in Euphemia's stomach until it was almost unbearable; something was horribly wrong. She started swaying in time with the fall of her hand in effort to calm the child and herself.
The front door opened and Euphemia whirled around, the knot unclenching for a moment before she saw the grim expression on her husband's face. Before she could say a word, Albus Dumbledore followed Fleamont into the sitting room along with a gaunt faced Ministry official. Euphemia's breath caught in her throat as she looked from one face to the next.
"What is it?" She gasped when she could find her voice. Fleamont shook his head and led her to the couch, Sage still tucked in her arms, then scooped up his son and sat next to her. Dumbledore took a seat in the chair cattycorner and leaned with his elbows on his knees. The Ministry worker stayed standing by the front door.
"There has been," Dumbledore paused, searching for the right word, "a tragedy." He paused again, looking imploringly at the couple. "Maybe you should tell her, Fleamont."
"Someone, please, just get on with it," Euphemia pleaded, the knot rising from her stomach to her throat. Sage, feeling the tension in the room, squirmed and Euphemia placed her on her knee.
Fleamont heaved a great sigh and started. "When I got to the house, the door was wide open. Dumbledore was just arriving. We went inside, and—" For just a moment, Fleamont's words failed him. And then, with a shuddering breath, "Honey, Tilia and Rowen, they're dead."
"Murdered." Dumbledore corrected. Euphemia's insides went cold and she stared blankly at Dumbledore. She slowly turned to face her husband, who gave a sad nod.
"But, who?" She implored, turning back to Dumbledore.
"I have a vague idea but no facts of yet, and I'd rather share facts than hunches. I know this is a shock but we need to figure out what to do with Sage." He answered.
"Well she's staying with us, of course. We're her godparents!" Euphemia said at once.
The slightest flick of a smile fluttered across Dumbledore's face. "Of course," He said. Euphemia looked down at Sage, who looked up at her with uncertain eyes. She gave a small, watery smile and Sage looked towards James, who instantly reached for her.
"Well, I'm off to assist with the investigation. Please don't hesitate to contact me if you need anything," Dumbledore said, standing quickly. Fleamont thanked him as Euphemia watched her two children. Strangely, a sense of peace washed over her as she looked at their linked hands. She knew there were difficult times to come but at least Sage would have a loving family to look after her.