Yes, another sucky title. But I have a new story people...a new story...that I hope makes up for the sucky title...
A Family Complete Again
Summary: Part of my Again series. Andromeda Tonks had lost a lot in her life; her first, blood, family, and then her husband and daughter. And now at the end of her own life, those who mattered the most, those who had left her unwillingly, were waiting.
It still hurt.
They told you it eased over time, that the pain didn't run so deep. They told you after a while, you'd be able to wake up in the morning and not fill with a sense of loss, or roll over just to make sure - make absolutely sure - that your husband wasn't there. They told you you'd stop bursting into tears on your daughter's birthdays, that you'd stop watching her son for the least little likeness of her. They told you the feeling of dread that overtook you every time the anniversary of their respective deaths neared would lessen eventually.
Andromeda Tonks lived with her pain, her loss, every single day of her life. Maybe, just maybe, if she hadn't lost her husband and her baby girl so close together, it wouldn't have been so bad. But she hadn't finished grieving for Ted, hadn't truly overcome that pain, before her daughter was taken too.
Sometimes, in those early days, it had hurt so badly she hardly breathed. When baby Teddy would cry - cry for his mummy, his daddy - she felt as though she was drowning.
When people stopped her in the street to offer their condolences, she wanted to scream that nothing they could say could make it all right, nothing they could say would bring either of them back.
When Teddy began to ask questions about his parents, or about why she, his grandma, wasn't married, she'd often drop whatever she was holding.
Teddy soon learned not to ask her questions. Instead, she knew he saved them and asked Harry.
And sometimes, on her darkest days, she still wished she was gone too, that she was with them, if something came after death, or, if nothing came after, that she'd at least not have to feel so damn lonely.
On those days - and sometimes she wondered if he could just sense it - her precious grandson would hug her, or distract her, or do something to cheer her up.
Sometimes, she thought that if it wasn't for Teddy Remus Lupin, she'd have died of a broken heart.
It was dragon pox that killed her in the end. Older, weaker, she hadn't been able to fight it as she may have done in her younger years. Maybe a part of her - that broken part that couldn't be fixed - didn't want to fight it.
It didn't surprise her that she was here. It didn't surprise her that the passage way behind the mirror - the one she'd told her cousin Sirius about, the one she'd heard had caved in - was bright and clean, because when she and Ted had met there, in secret, she'd been careful to keep it bright and clean, already dreaming that one day she'd do so with their house.
Andromeda turned slowly on the spot, smiling ever so slightly, as she remembered all those secret meetings, all their plans, all the times they'd nearly got caught. She remembered the time Sirius had seen her on her way to meet Ted, and had grinned at her.
It had been four years before she'd found out he'd known where she was going. He'd been several years younger than her, but even then he'd been smart. He'd asked questions, he'd seen them around, he'd even followed her once.
He'd told her later that she was pretty much the only one in the family he cared about, and he'd been looking out for her.
Some people feared death. Some welcomed it. Some faced it with indifference.
Andromeda embraced it.
It was the loud crash that made her smile, wider than she'd smiled in a while. The sound was so familiar, so undeniable.
"Sorry." Nymphadora Tonks Lupin muttered, replacing the candelabra she'd knocked over. Andromeda turned slowly, almost scared she was imagining her daughter's voice.
She wasn't. Nor was she imagining the man stood next to her.
Andromeda wasn't conscious of the tears cascading down her face as she flung herself as her husband and daughter. She had cried so little before their deaths, and so often after, and yet for the first time she wasn't aware of doing so.
No one spoke, not even Nymphadora, who'd always had the mild flaw of speaking when she really shouldn't.
"I missed you." Dora said finally, and a sob caught in Andromeda's throat.
"I missed you too." She murmured, finally drawing back. "I looked after Teddy. He's amazing, sweetie -"
"I know, mum. We've been watching." At Andromeda's confused look, father and daughter smiled. "We weren't ready to let go just yet. We choose to remain, to watch, you and Teddy."
"Remain? Ah...where? And - where else would you have gone? I don't understand..."
"We could have -"
"Dora." Ted interrupted. "She'll see soon enough. You know your not supposed to tell her."
"Right. OK. Are we ready?" Dora's smile faded slightly. "It's just...I want to make sure Teddy's all right, what with you dying, mum..."
"Don't rush her." Ted smiled, looking at his daughter as though she was still an impatient teenager, the one who'd once fallen down a flight of stairs because she was rushing.
"I'm ready." Andromeda said. "No use standing around here, is there? Let's go."
"Are you sure?" Ted asked, and another memory surfaced, one of a much younger Ted asking her the same question when she'd told him she'd run away from her family so they could be together.
"Absolutely." She said now, just as she had done then.
"Let's go." Dora said brightly. "This way."
It didn't matter what happened next. Andromeda was back with the only family she'd ever needed.