A/N: Just a few changes as this has now been beta-ed by my fabulous beta over a SIYE-- SpenserHemingway! Chapter 5 is coming soon, I promise.
August 1, 1968--Diagon Alley
Bellatrix Black, a rising seventh-year Slytherin at Hogwarts, pushed open the door to Madam Malkin's Robes for All Occasions. Her younger sisters Andromeda and Narcissa followed her into the shop.
"Why do we have to come here again?" Narcissa demanded in a haughty tone.
"I'm in need of new robes for Hogwarts of course. We must never show wear on our robes. Decorum must be maintained at all times from members of the Ancient and Noble Houses," the tall, thin witch instructed in her harsh voice.
"Your idea of decorum is not the same as the rest of us, Bella. Surely you are aware of that," Andromeda stated with narrowed eyes.
"Andi, please, don't bore us with your lack of Wizarding pride again. Now can we get some help around here?" Bella said churlishly, tossing her long thick hair over her shoulder.
As a shop clerk bustled over to help Bellatrix and Narcissa, Andromeda wandered around the small shop, not wanting to spend any more time in her sisters' presence than she had to. Andi felt it was bad enough that they looked almost enough alike to be considered twins. She glanced up when the bell over the door sounded. A vibrant redheaded young woman came into the shop. Andi knew they were relatives of sorts, but she had never gotten up the courage to talk to her Gryffindor cousin, Molly Prewett. Molly was beaming as she traveled from rack to rack.
When Molly spotted Andi, she, being in such a good mood, fairly sang "Good day to you Cousin Andromeda. How are you on this fine and glorious day?"
"I'm well, cousin. What makes you so cheerful today?" Andi, ever curious, was fairly content with her life as she was currently dating Ted Tonks, a Hufflepuff, especially since no one in her family knew about him. However, Andi was not bubbling over with joy the way the woman in front of her was.
"I… I've eloped! Arthur, you remember him; Gryffindor, my year, red hair? Actually, I think he is related to us as well somehow. Maybe his mother?" Shaking her head, Molly plowed on, seemingly unaware that she was sharing her news with a relative she had never spoken to before. "Anyhow, I am now Mrs. Molly Weasley." She squealed quietly, showing off her wedding rings to Andi.
"Andromeda, really, the company you keep!" Bellatrix insinuated herself between Andi and Molly, rolling her eyes at her sister.
"Yes, well, we can't all be you, can we?" Andromeda said very succinctly. "Actually, I am in need of some new robes. Molly, congratulations. I hope you are very happy."
Andromeda reluctantly joined her sisters by the dressing rooms. Narcissa was inside trying on some dress robes. Bellatrix was tapping her foot very impatiently waiting for her younger sisters. The shop clerk quickly measured Andromeda, asking quietly, "Slytherin?" before adding the Slytherin patch and details to her robes. Andi noticed Molly still puttering around the shop, looking at all the racks.
The bell above the door sounded again, this time announcing the arrival of a very old, haggard-looking witch. Andromeda stopped to completely take in this unusual looking woman. Her robes were frayed at all seams with its jet-black color faded into a milky grey. The hood of the robes covered her long grey hair. Andi noticed that the woman was so tiny that it appeared that she had several Shrinking Spells placed on her over the years. Her skin was pale, but blemished. Its paper-thin quality resembled an old worn bag barely able to contain its contents. Her piercing grey eyes that were searching the room with a sense of purpose twinkled in the light reminding Andi of her Transfiguration professor Albus Dumbledore. Andromeda thought she was possibly the oldest and frailest person she had ever seen. Her thoughts were interrupted by her older sister.
"They let just anyone in here, don't they?" Bella sneered in an icy, haughty tone.
The old woman ambled slowly towards Molly Andromeda noted. Maybe Molly knows her.
When the elderly crone had drawn close to Molly, she reached her right hand toward the former Gryffindor and grasped Molly's left forearm. Molly looked surprised at the grip of the older lady. The ancient witch's eyes began to cloud over until a glaze consumed them. Her voice, showing the strength of authority carried across the room.
"A daughter shall be born unto you. She shall have the power to restore all that is lost…" At this, the woman's voice broke. She continued in a whisper to Molly that neither Bellatrix nor Andromeda could hear as Narcissa came storming out of the dressing room.
"Well, none of these work. How am I supposed to catch the attention of Lucius in these inferior, horrible robes?" Narcissa fumed. "We simply must go somewhere else." She and Bella made their way to the door, leaving the shop.
Andromeda glanced back over to where Molly was now straining to support the older witch as it looked like the woman had collapsed. Andi hurried over to Molly.
"Here, let me help you," Andi told Molly. She reached over to grab one side of the lady.
"I think…I think she is dead," Molly whispered, her face pale and drawn--a complete contrast to the beaming look that had been present moments before. Andi and Molly together lowered the witch to the ground. Neither witch knew what to do now. They just contemplated each other with identical scared, confused looks.
"What should we do now?" Andi whispered to the older girl.
"Shouldn't she go to St. Mungo's?" Molly mumbled back.
"So how do we get her there?" asked Andi.
Molly's face brightened as she remembered the emergency stretcher that every shop in Diagon Alley was equipped with.
"Accio stretcher!" Molly called, pulling out her wand. Andi helped Molly put the woman onto it. She watched as Molly activated the Portkey attached to the apparatus that would whisk the older witch straight to St. Mungo's emergency floor.
After a moment of silence, Andi spoke up. "Congratulations again, Molly." Saying this, she smiled, and then grimaced as she went on to add, "I better go find my sisters. I'm hoping to have some influence on Cissy, but I'm afraid she is more like Bella in temperament and attitude than I am in looks."
"Good luck with that, then. It appears that I have another stop to make before I can go home to start dinner," Molly stated as both young women moved towards the door.
"Hopefully I will see you around. Again congratulations." At Andi's final words, the two separated to go their own way. Andi went in search of her sisters.
Molly, however, Apparated to Hogsmeade. She went to the Three Broomsticks and asked Rosmerta if she could use her Floo for a call. Rosmerta gave permission, which led Molly to Floo-call her former headmaster.
"Professor? Are you there? Oh, please, say you are," Molly pleaded.
"Molly Prewett! Are you okay? You don't look yourself," Albus Dumbledore responded. Molly was too confused to correct the Professor.
"Professor, may I come visit? I have a story to tell. I think you can help me figure out exactly what happened."
"Certainly. Come right on through."
Molly stood up, thanked Rosmerta and walked into the fire calling Dumbledore's office. Once there, the Professor offered Molly a lemon drop. After politely refusing, Molly related everything that had happened in Madame Malkin's shop. When she told Dumbledore what the woman had looked like, Molly thought she saw a look of recognition in his eyes. Dumbledore startled when she repeated the woman's words to her: A daughter shall be born to you. She shall have the power to restore all that is lost to the one who holds her heart. She shall be the key to the end.