Aki- This story is written with much collaboration with Tenshi. Each chapter will focus on a different character or group of characters. Also, the chapters can be read in any order! All canon pairings will be observed.
Pictures on the Mantel
Andromeda was a strong woman. He had done her crying for Ted, months ago, when she had heard news of his death on that underground radio station that Nymphadora listened to and that Remus frequently broadcasted on. She had known almost twenty years ago the risk she took when she had ran off and eloped with Ted, when she became disinherited and lost all protection of her pureblood heritage and last name She was a blood traitor. She had been prepared for her own death because of it, and maybe even Ted's. She mourned, but she moved on.
But she wasn't prepared for this.
"I'm sorry," said the boy sitting across from her. She had only met him once before, but she had known who he was for years: Harry Potter.
She just nodded, not looking at him, fighting the tears in her eyes. Her daughter was never supposed to die before her. She couldn't stand it when her daughter became an Auror, never knowing if she would come back safe at home every night or not. She couldn't stand it when her daughter got so involved in this war. She had hoped after Dora had gotten pregnant and had her baby that maybe…
But she was wrong.
"They died heroes," the boy said in an attempted comforting tone
"I know," she said, glancing up at the boy, voice hoarse. They had both been too courageous for their own good. She was proud of her daughter, and the man her daughter had chosen to marry. She had been wary of him at first, vaguely recalling him from her school days. He had been several years younger than her. She tried not to be prejudice that Remus was a werewolf, like her parents had been prejudiced against Ted for being muggle-born. She had been more worried about the extra danger it would bring to her daughter more than anything else. But in the end, he was a good man.
"Mrs. Tonks…," the boy-who-lived said after leaving her several moments of silence. "I—," he choked off. Andromeda lifted her face, shocked, to see the famous boy himself in anguish. She saw, she understood and for a moment she was glad, she wasn't the only one who missed them.
"Thank you," she whispered just loudly enough for him to hear. "Thank you for telling me. I can tell it is hard for you."
"There's going to be a memorial service next Sunday for all the people who…" e trailed off. She didn't need any clarification, everyone who died in the battle at Hogwarts.
"Alright," she said, just to show that she acknowledged his words. He looked like he wanted to say something more, give some comforting words, but he had none. He left with a 'pop' a moment later.
Andromeda got up from her seat on the couch, feeling numb all over. She didn't know why, but she approached the mantel over the fire place where many mismatched frames held a variety of photographs that all held special importance in her heart.
The picture farthest to the left was one that her late husband never understood that she kept and displayed. It was her, as a young girl, with her two sisters on either side. Narcissa, the youngest, fair and already beautiful with long blond hair that quite contrasted with the other two girls. Bellatrix, the oldest, but not by much, dark-haired with heavy, deep eyes and a distinctive haughty attitude evident on her face despite still being so young. In between was her own young self, almost of no consequence between the immense aura of greatness that came from her surrounding sisters.
The next photograph was taken many years later, It showed her and Ted, surrounded by many old school friends, so many now dead, waving at the camera and laughing, reveling in the summer day in their last year at Hogwarts.
The third framed photograph was the largest and placed directly in the center of the mantel. It was of Ted, now looking significantly older, with the beginnings of a belly showing, sitting next to herself on the same worn couch they had in this very same living room. On her lap was a toddler version of Nymphadora, her hair a vivid shade of blue at the moment.
After a moment of staring, Andromeda tore her eyes from the picture, unable to stand it a moment longer. The next to photographs were fairly recently. One was of Dora proudly graduating from her Auror training. Her hair was purple and shikey, a small, triumphant smirk on her face.
The last picture was the newest, making even the most heartbreaking to look at. It had both her daughter and her new, and already lost, son-in-law, holding their young son between them.
The woman couldn't stand it anymore. She couldn't be brave, couldn't be strong, she couldn't be dignified…
All she could do was cry. Tears ran unabashedly down her face. Sobs escaped her as she collapsed to her knees on the worn hearth rug. She was trembling, shoulders shaking violently, should could hardly breath through her pain. There was no one to hear her cry.
Not a sister who would used to whisper words of comfort in the dark after a nightmare.
Not a husband to hold her, knowing his touch meant more to her than words.
Not a daughter trying to tease and joke her out of her sad reverie.
Her family was gone. She was all alone. Disowned, widowed, childless…
She had nothing left. Nothing too live for. It hurt. I hurt so God damn much.
After a tortuously long time, her sobs and tears subsided and she was left breathing heavily, trying, and failing, to regain herself.
Silence. It didn't sound right. Her house was never silent. Not with Ted grumbling about something or the other. Or Dora tripping over something when she came to visit. Or with the new baby wailing.
Andromeda shot up instantly. The baby! She had completely forgotten as she was consumed by her own grief.
She swiftly ran up the stairs, bursting through the door that had become the baby's room. She sighed in relief. He was fine, still asleep despite all the noise she was making, in his crib, his hair an unnatural shade of orange.
She reached down and stroked his cheek lightly with her fingertips. A lump caught in her throat. Tears prickled in her eyes again, but this time not for herself. They were for the baby, the baby who would never know his parents. The baby that gave her a reason to live, to keep going, because he, at least, needed her, not realizing that she too needed him.
This baby who sported both her husband's and son-in-law's names. This baby had the crazy hairstyles of her daughter. This child was a piece of all of them reminding her that they weren't completely gone…
And that she was never alone.