Author's Notes: Because blood is thicker than water, and maybe family shapes who we are – even the family that never wanted to know us.
And also, I wanted to have as many stories as Opalish. (Oh! Oh! What now, Teri? Bwahahahahaha!)
persistence of memory
She gazed up at the abandoned house. It was a shock, noting that the garden was untended to, the graveyard overgrown, and ivy crawling up the house's stone walls. How did things diminish so quickly? Was it only a year ago that she was living in this place? Was it only a year ago when there were noises and laughter and sunlight coming in through the impeccably clean windows?
A shiver slid down her spine as she stepped onto the walk. She was hit with a remarkable sense of déjà vu. Her shoes made soft click-click-clicks on footpath. She wove to avoid stepping on the dead flowers that drooped off of their stems, suffocated by the weeds that had strangled them. She was reminded of her mother, spending hours slaving away over her garden path and the rose bushes.
She stopped before the large, wooden door that towered over her. The red paint was chipping and the hinges rusted into place. She gently reached out and grasped the door handle. It was thick with dirt and rust and she had some trouble twisting it. At last, she threw herself onto the door and forced it open.
The sight that met her eyes nearly sent her reeling. Everything dusty and untouched. The whole room looked as though no one had lived in it for centuries. With shaking hands, she pushed the front door shut and gazed sadly around what used to be the living room. The couch was covered so thickly in dust that the vibrant red had become a dull grey; the coffee table was eaten through and had only thee legs. All of the arm chairs were hidden under mold and grime. Even the floor, once covered richly in a soft, thick carpet, threw up clouds of dust whenever she took a step.
She inhaled a deep breath and maneuvered her way through the room. She avoided touching the couch – had she really slept on it, not so long ago? – and kept her eyes locked on the doorframe that led to the stairwell.
Her footfalls were gentle as she made her ascent, but they echoed in the small hallway, ghostly reminders of thunderous feet dashing up the steps, lips laughing and eyes smiling as children dove into rooms and under desks to hide from their parents, or whoever was 'it'. She came to a halt at the top of the stairs and gazed down the darkened hall.
There were three doors on either side of the hall, and one at the very end. She could barely see it, without light, but knew it was her destination. She had known where she would go from the moment she'd pulled up in front of the stone house.
She approached slowly, dreading the space that was slowly diminishing between herself and the room. There were memories there, painful, happy memories that made her heart ache and her head hurt. But she knew she would enter anyway, knew that she would feel her eyes prickling and her nose tingle at the sight of the dusty, abandoned room.
Because you might need it back someday, her mother had said when she'd last shut the door. She wrapped shaking fingers around the door handle and thought that this was not, perhaps, what her mother had meant.
The door used to be a bright yellow, but had long since faded to brown. She nearly smiled at the poster that still clung to the chipping paint – it was a large one, with three smiling women on it. Beneath them were the words, The Weird Sisters. Above the poster was her name on a plaque, and she gently wiped the dust off of the letters.
It had been a long time.
Gently placing her hand over one of the Weird Sister's face, she gave a light push. The door swung open over the dirty carpet and allowed her to step inside.
Her old bedroom was painfully, fantastically, untouched and she had a feeling no one had stepped inside of it since she had left. How long had the yellow door remained shut, sealing her childhood behind it? The vibrantly green walls and blue carpet had no footprints, and all of her things were just as she had left them.
The bed was still made, the closet slightly ajar. The makeup from her 'Girly Phase' was still scattered on her vanity, although a lipstick that had been left open had been eaten by whatever rodents now called the house their own. Posters of bands and Quidditch players still lined the walls, and a book lay open on her bed – Two-Faced: A Look Into Metamorphosis. She gently shut it and picked it off of the quilt.
Its indent stayed, a small square of history that had not been touched. There was no dust, no dirt, no memory in the square of bed that the book had previously occupied. She debated putting it back, preserving that one hope of love and family and laughter.
In the end, though, she knew she would put it back on the bookshelf. It was a fruitless road that she was walking, one that led her back into her mind and her childhood and happy days that were long past. She placed the book on her desk and took a deep breath.
It was time to go.
She tucked her hair behind her ear as she strode back to the doorframe – she turned around and cast one, last, longing glance at the room where she had grown up.
With a gentle tug, the door swung towards her. A cloud of dust danced into the air as it locked into place. She coughed and took a hasty step back. The hallway was dark as ever, and a small shudder ran through her at her mother's face, if she were looking on her house now.
She took a deep breath and started the long journey back to her car, where Remus and Auror work and the future lay waiting. She paused once more in the ruined living room, taking in the scene and locking it in her heart. She stepped outside into the sunlight, blinking from the sudden glare of it, and determinedly began back down the walkway.
Remus wrapped his arm around her and ruffled her long, black hair. She had thought it fitting for the occasion – it was the only part of her mother that she carried with her. She'd gotten stuck with her father's nose and her grandmother's eyes, but she had always been proud of her mother's dark, glossy hair.
She shoved one hand into her pocket and wove the other around Remus' waist. With a shuddering breath, she pulled the ivory gates shut and locked them.