Oh my God. My deepest apologies for the two-week wait, but this one is extra long...and cue tears the last chapter. 0.0 I hope you like it. 3 Here:
Eleven years ago, if you had told the seven-year-old Elizabeth Cavenhaugh that she would one day be a witch, she would have tutted at you. If you had told her she'd find the love of her life at a place called Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, she would have shrugged you off. If you had told her that she would be pregnant at eighteen, she would have said you were crazy. If you had told her that she would be engaged during that same year, she would have found it inconceivable. Even now when it was happening, she found it all a little hard to believe.
A modest diamond stone glinting in the light on her finger; she picked up Sirius' letter and read it just once more. Then she read it again. Phrases like, "I love you," and, "I miss you," and, "I'm sorry for making you wait," re-occurred so often that she couldn't help but swoon. He wasn't angry! He wanted to stand by her! But the excerpt that made her heart skip beats the most read as such:
"...I think we should get married. I've had a ring in mind for months, but I didn't want to jump into anything too quickly. I wanted to wait a year. Considering the current situation, however, I thought that now would be the perfect opportunity. Now, don't be mad, but I couldn't exactly afford the ring I wanted to buy for you, so I really hope this one will be alright. I love you. Please forgive me for my hesitation. Please say yes..."
On Christmas Day, she replied with an exclamatory "YES!" the second her eyes had scanned the page over a few times to ascertain what she had just read. She felt giddy, and nothing could dampen her spirits. Even Oma Ulli seemed to gain a little color from the vigorous cheer her granddaughter anointed her with.
But unfortunately, the two lovers were unable to meet again. The circumstances of the war and of duty persistently pushed them away from each other, and it was impossible to break away from the chains that restrained them.
August 1, 1978,
Our child was born on July 14, 1978. She is beautiful; she has your eyes and your hair. But I still haven't decided what to call her. I can't think of anything right. Maybe you'll think of something when you see her. Yes, I am coming home. It is with great with regret, that I report that my grandmother has perished. Old age has finally claimed her, and, though I will dearly miss her (she was very supportive), I know she is out of the misery that sickness (as she had been refusing food, drink, and my potions in her last days) caused her. And I can't help but feel delight in the fact that I will be able to see you again. I will have to travel in a muggle fashion (for security, and to spare our daughter the constricting feeling of Apparation), so I won't arrive for another few days. Will you promise to meet me on August 7 at the cafe?
I will be waiting,
Sirius awoke early on the morning of August 7, 1978, complying with the what the weather-worn and crumpled letter from Bitty had said. He wasn't really sure what time she wanted to meet him, so he arrived when the little restaurant opened: 9:00 A.M. He ordered a coffee and waited, musing to himself and warming his hands on the mug as time passed and other customers came and went.
Five o'clock. There was still no sign of her. He began to grow fidgety. Why wasn't she here yet? How long did it take muggles to travel from Germany to Britain? What about their little girl?
Speaking of their daughter, he had come up with a few names. He liked Rose and Jennifer. Then again, he was open to let Bitty make the final decision. He wanted her to be happy, but where was she?
It was beginning to grow dark, and the air was growing thicker. Bitty's path was eerily silent as she walked down it, her baby in her arms. Even she was silent, a deep slumber making her features peaceful.
A twig snapped in the trees that lined the pavement. She nearly jumped out of her skin, and she barely restrained a shriek--for her napping daughter's sake--as she whirled around. But the dim lighting provided her with no information about the source of the disturbance.
She could feel a lump grow in her throat, and she had to force herself to breath before she could move on. Trying to ignore the trapped feeling the woods on the side of her path gave her, she pushed forward. She could see the street lights at the end of the path. From there, it was only a few miles to the cafe where she was meeting Sirius. She breathed again, willing her heart to return to its normal pace, despite the looming shadow of fear in her mind.
Why had she taken the path through the woods? Why hadn't she just gone around? It would have only been a mile more to avoid it.
Twenty feet until the open street.
Bitty winced. She knew that sound. No, she pleaded with a higher power. No. Not now, please. Oh God, no.
Crack. Crack. Crack. Crack.
Five of them? There was no way she could take on five Death Eaters with a baby in her arms.
Please, no. Spare us; spare my baby.
She was in a muggle area. No one would be able to help her. No one...except...
She dodged into the trees for cover and pulled out her raven pendant as a couple of hooded figures appeared on the walkway before her, blocking out the street lights. How had they even found her? Had her letter been intercepted? Damn Voldemort and his hate for muggle-borns!
She pressed her finger against the raven and whispered, "Severus, I need you," as the child stirred.
He was there in a second. Thankfully--if you could call it that--the voices of the Death Eaters overcame the crack of his Apparation.
"Bitty!" he gasped, eyes wide with wonder. He hadn't changed much. Save for a world-weary glint in his eye, he was utterly unaltered. "Where have you been? What's wro--?" He stopped, noticing what she held.
"Severus," she breathed in desperation. "Please take her. Take her to my brothers."
"What?" he asked in bewilderment.
She shoved her baby into his arms. "Go!" she urged him.
"I think I heard something over there!" announced a gruff voice some fifty feet away.
Realization hit Severus's face like an iron. He hadn't seen her in months, and now he was supposed to abandon her to torture and death within two seconds of their reunification? "No, I will not leave you here."
She gazed at him, and her eyes glittered in what little light remained in their bleak setting. "It's me or her, and I'll be damned if I'll let my daughter die!"
"I'll be damned if I let you die!" Severus protested.
"Severus, please," she cried, as Severus tugged her behind a tree, out of sight of the other Death Eaters.
"I can't leave you, Bitty."
"Please," she croaked. "You have to. And you have to tell Sirius and my brothers that I love them. Please."
The pleading in her eyes and the knowledge that she had birthed the child of his sworn enemy was too much for him to bear, and he sunk into a delusional stupor. Branches breaking under Death Eaters' feet roused him once more.
"Severus!" she begged.
"Okay," he agreed, finally, slouching back and seeking out a safe route away from his peers.
"Wait!" she said suddenly.
She placed her brooch in her baby's hand--its fingers encased the thing tightly. "I love you," she told her. "And you," she said looking into Severus's eyes. "Now, go!"
With no further instruction, he darted away in one direction, and she hurtled off in another.
He didn't look back until he was almost to Bitty's brothers' house. When he did, his eyes saw only green. There, in the sky, a great emerald skull with a serpent for a tongue hung.
His knees buckled from underneath him, and he nearly dropped the little girl. He began to weep, and images of Bitty flitted in front of his tear-teemed eyes. Her eyes, wide and fearful came to him first. Then he saw her smile. Soon, he was remembering images from their time together at Hogwarts. In his mind's eye, she danced in circles, a ring of daisies in her hair and her face all alight with glee. He cried harder.
Only then did he realize that the baby in his hands squirmed uncomfortably. His sobs ceased suddenly, and he gazed upon the little girl with a curious serenity.
The child certainly had a lot of Black in her. Already she had his dark hair. Even her eyes, his very own, stared at him with Black's insolence.
She made a disdainful noise, as if taking his lack of cooing as a personal insult.
"Hello," he said calmly, no baby tone involved.
The baby's toothless mouth turned into an instant grin, and her eyes sparkled with a different light. The Bitty in her shone through immediately, and Severus, though it was painful, couldn't help the twinge at the corners of his mouth through the despair he felt.
She made another noise, as if willing him to speak again.
"Don't push it," he snuffled. He regained his feet and made his way towards the Cavenhaugh household.
When he reached the doorstep, he knelt down and placed her on the stoop. He conjured a piece of parchment and a quill and wrote an anonymous letter briefly explaining the situation. He made to put the letter in her hand, but he faltered when he found the raven still clutched in her tiny fingers. Recalling the day on the train when he'd given it to Bitty, he smiled mournfully and conjured one last thing in remembrance of Elizabeth Cavenhaugh.
"Goodbye, child," he murmured before he rang the doorbell and Disapparated.
Christopher came to the door a minute later to find a baby, a letter, and a daisy.