Welcome to my story 'A Shadow In The Past' formally known in the German version as 'That's Me'! Reading the reviews I got or my little one-shot I made one day encouraged me to rewrite and translate my very first story I have ever written. So if you have read it before, this might surprise you, because it is slightly different. I hope you will enjoy it, anyway! I am trying to follow the books up to a certain point, but it is definitely AU!
About the story: Katie Bell's daughter grows up without ever knowing about her mother or her own story. Katie had kept her memories, so that twelve years after her death, she is able to tell her daughter how she met and fell in love with her father, Oliver Wood.
Disclaimer: Everything, except maybe some of the additional characters that were born from my own crazy imagination, belongs to JKR!
The book hit the floor with a muffled thud. The young woman groaned, frustrated, and reached for it, brushing one of her sandy, brown locks out of her face. How could anybody possibly concentrate on anything with all this noise? Three little kids ran around the house, shrieking in their little girls' voices. Her aunt Marjorie and her kids had come to visit just like every year, because her parents were celebrating this year's Quidditch season's finals. This year it would be a special celebration; her father's team, Puddlemere United, had won the cup. This wasn't the first time this had happened since her father was involved with the team, but this was his first year coaching. The team manager thereafter had decided to offer her father a permanent contract, which he had accepted. She was happy for her father, but she also realized that she would be seeing even fewer of him now. With growing frustration she turned on her chair and watched her two brothers chase her cousins around the house.
Sometimes she was wondering if their mother had cheated on her father with a troll. Those two were supposed to be her brothers, but she did not see any similarities between them and herself. Then again, they were boys. And her older brother Vincent was technically only her half brother, since he did have a different father. David on the other hand, who was about four years younger than her, did not resemble her much. She shrugged and frowned instantly as she heard yet another cry of fear coming from her cousins.
"Could you possibly stop that?" she exclaimed angrily at her brothers.
"Why?" the younger, dark haired boy asked, smirking. "Don't those three get on your last nerve, too? So why are you telling me off for keeping them away from you?"
"Get a grip, Laurie-Bella, why do you care?" her older brother interfered and looked at her, revealing his shining white teeth as he flashed a false smile at her.
Oh how she hated him with every inch of her being! She didn't like the usage of the word 'Hate'; it seemed so strong and absolute, but there was nothing else to describe her feelings towards her older brother. Vincent had good looks, he was very handsome and every witch lusted after him, but that was all he had ever achieved. He was a troll in a supermodel's body: He was tall and had broad shoulders, his mother's dark hair and eyes. His face was the one of the men on the covers of Witch Weekly that showed off the newest fashion trends. They were only a year apart, and still seemed like two completely different people. She had inherited her father's lighter hair and his sarcastic personality, but she somehow managed to get blue eyes and a considerably small and delicate frame which none of her parents bore. Both her brothers towered over her and were at least one foot taller, like most people her age. Still, this December she was turning seventeen – she was coming off age!
This fall, she would step onto the Hogwarts Express for the last time to start her seventh and final year at Hogwarts. The weeks she spent at her parent's house over the summer were torture, just as always. Her father was away most of the time with his team and came home sparingly. Last summer, she had only seen him twice. This summer, she hadn't seen him at all. This would change tonight, however.
Often she felt like she didn't belong here, and if it weren't for the resembling with her father, she would think that she got switched accidentally in the hospital. Right now she just wanted to be somewhere else, with people who understood. Hogwarts was the only place were she felt at home and where she could be who she really was. She loved her friends and, just like her father, she played for Gryffindor's Quidditch team. She was the only one of the three kids that played and ended up in Gryffindor. Both her brothers were Ravenclaws, just like her mother. What had Vincent done to the Sorting Hat to make him a Ravenclaw? Threaten to burn him? She focused on her brother's still smiling face.
"The name's Laurielle," she spat, "and I would prefer if you would take this outside!"
She sighed, rolled her eyes and got out of her chair, making her way to the stairs to go upstairs into her room to read in silence. Her brothers were getting on her last nerve and as she checked her watch she realized that it was time for her to get ready anyway. Her mother had planned to take her to Diagon Alley for her books and new robes. Just as she stepped on the first step, she could hear the front door being opened.
"Hello? Did I make it in time?" she heard a deep voice say, which she recognized as her father's instantly, she could hardly believe her ears.
"Dad? DAD!" she shrieked happily and instantly forgot about her anger and frustration as she saw the tall, middle-aged man appearing in the doorway.
She crossed the hallway in a hurry, sprinting down into his waiting arms. He swirled her around, grinning happily. He held her away from him to take a good look at his daughter after he put her back down on the ground. His grin faded and was replaced with a sad smile that made her curious. He looked as if he realized what he was doing and cleared his throat, releasing her from his grip.
"Everything ok, Dad?" she asked, concerned and he nodded, smiling briefly.
"Of course, darling." He replied, "Perfect."
She grinned, relieved and happy to see her father. Little did she know that he had not told her the complete truth. His insides were squirming and his mind was screaming. His daughter had changed so much in those twelve months he hadn't seen her. She had grown from a girl into a woman and resembled her mother in almost every inch of her being. Only her hair was his, which was a much darker shade than her mother's blonde locks had been. For a second he had thought her mother's ghost was standing in front of him. He took her in his arms again, holding tight.
"I missed you, Laurie. And I promise you that I will come to visit more often this year," he mumbled in her hair and felt her delicate arms tighten around him as he started speaking once more: "Now, are you ready to leave? I heard they are promoting a new Nimbus and thought that you might fancy an update. You are my daughter, after all!"
She laughed and pulled away to look up at him. "Oh, right. Because Puddlemere's great star, Quidditch hero and coach of the year, can't have his daughter flying around on a seven months old broom." He laughed and she just shook her head.
Laurie pushed through the mass of people on the narrow street in front of the Quidditch store. Diagon Alley was unusually crowded today. Her father had been right; they were promoting a new Nimbus. It was the new Nimbus 4010. People in different colored robes were standing in front of the big lass window, pressing their aces to the glass and admiring the slender broomstick that was on display behind it. Laurie could hear their excited whispers, and suddenly they turned, pointing at her family. They had recognized them. Just great. Her father quickly steered her into the store, which was almost completely empty.
"Good Morning! How may I help you today" the sales manager approached them with a friendly smile on his face. He was short, round and wore a purple robe that almost touched the floor.
"Mr. Bebblin, always a pleasure to see you!" her father replied, "I am interested in the new Nimbus."
"For your son or daughter?" the man asked, looking at Laurie and her brothers.
"Oh. What position is she playing?" Mr. Bebblin asked as he turned and made his way to the back of the store.
"She is playing seeker for Gryffindor for six years now."
"Oh, splendid! How wonderful! Now, I think I got just the right broom for you; because, you see, there are actually two new Nimbi coming out today, but not many are interested in the second model. It's the first model designed especially for woman. But let me show you!"
Behind the little sales desk there was a wooden chest on the floor next to a couple of boxes. It was dark mahogany colored and bore the golden Nimbus symbol on the lid. Mr. Bebblin lifted it up on the table and carefully opened the lid, revealing a slender, shining broom. Its tail was light colored and streamlined, and every branch was clipped perfectly.
"Nimbus really created an extraordinary broom with this model. I would even consider it equal to the new Firebolt. The shaft is made from the finest Italian Mahogany and the tail is pure pine lopping from the Alps. This broom is slightly shorter, slender and faster to turn as the others." Her father nodded. "Perfect for the delicate touch of a woman," the clerk added, smiling at Laurie.
Half an hour later they entered Florishs and Blotts, and her father was carrying the long package with the broom in his arms. Laurie searched through her bag for the list of books while smiling contently.
"Do you need help finding everything?" her father asked, bending down to her eye level.
"Nah, I'll be okay. You can help Mum find all the books for Dave," she answered, smiling.
What id he expect? He didn't need to change her diapers or anything! She was almost seventeen, not seven! Carefully she maneuvered through the crowd of students and parents next to the shelves and made her way to the seventh's year area. Just as she was about to pull a transfiguration book from one of the shelves, she felt a hand on her shoulder and she turned around. It was nothing unusual to meet friends while shopping for supplies, but her smile faded, as she didn't recognize the woman standing in front of her.
She had never seen her anywhere. The woman's long hair was from a chocolate brown color and had silver streaks, that didn't make her seem old, but wise and elegant. Her face bore visible signs of age, just like her father's, especially around the eyes, her forehead and the corners of her mouth. Her eyes were intense and deep like the see, sparkling green and clear to read like a book. Although they had never met before, Laurie could read great kindness and affection in them. They told a story of happiness; but there was also a hint of great sorrow and bitterness. She wore a dark blue robe that complemented her slim figure. Laurie guessed her to be around fifty years old, a little older than her parents. Somehow she seemed familiar, but Laurie could not remember ever meeting her. Suddenly, she got nervous and she realized the woman still had a firm grip on her arm. She looked at her quizzically.
"May I help you?" Laurie asked hesitantly.
She didn't answer. The woman must have mistaken her for someone else; maybe her daughter, niece, or something. She remained silent however, as if she was in another world. Suddenly, she seemed to snap out of her trance and looked at her, stuttering an answer: "I…what's your name? Who's your father?"
Laurie tried to back away. What did this mysterious woman want? Probably another fan of her father's! Now she wasn't even able to buy her books anymore without being bothered! This woman was probably a fanatic fan; a freak, that was lusting after him. She didn't seemed like that at first glance, yet Laurie couldn't think of any other explanation. She could have sworn that this woman was anything but one of her father's crazy fans.
"That is none of your business! What do you want from me?" And suddenly it dawned on her: She was probably another reporter!
"I have to talk to you. I have to tell you, you need to know, " the woman said.
Laurie grimaced and tried to pull herself from the woman's grasp again. She desperately searched the crowd for her father's form. She saw him at the far corner and met his eyes when he turned around. After seeing his daughter's panicking face, he hastily made his way over. The woman, however, didn't leave.
"I need to talk to you about your mother!" the woman mumbled hastily as Laurie turned away, "Your birthmother."
She froze. Her what? Laurie looked at the woman with curious eyes. Somehow she knew she wasn't joking. So it was the truth! She had always wondered…and now a complete stranger confessed it to her in a bookstore! She felt her father's hand on her shoulder.
"Laurielle? What is going on?" Her father asked, but his face got pale when he recognized the stranger, "Dear Merlin."
"That's right! I have a bone to pick with you! Or should I say a whole skeleton? Laurielle? Her name is Laura!" the woman almost screamed at her father and her cheeks were flushed with anger, her patient complexion was gone.
"Dad, what's going on? What is this woman talking about and who is she?" Laurie asked worriedly. What was going on?! The stranger looked at her father with a shocked expression on her face, as if she had just realized something.
"I cannot believe you! You swore it! You swore to me and everyone else before we left the island twelve years ago! I thought more of you." The woman was raging now, but suddenly her anger seemed to disappear and she looked at him with tears in her eyes: "I thought you were a better man, Oliver Wood. I really did, for Katie's sake. But I am disappointed. How could you do this to your own daughter?"
"Wait a second!" Laurie interrupted the stranger's speech, now getting angry herself, "My Dad is the best father you can imagine! I don't know who you are and how you get the idea you could speak to him like that, but let me assure you that-"
"A great father? Oh really? And Elaine is a great mother? I bet this was all her idea as well! I promised my sister before she died that I would watch over her. Katie knew that you two would not stick to the promise. You and your wife took away her identity by taking away the memory of her mother!"
Laurie had to hold on to the bookshelf next to her. This was all too much for her. What did this all mean? Her whole life had been a lie? If this woman's sister, this Katie, was her mother, she was Laurie's aunt. What was it that her parents had done to hear when she was little? Laurie didn't remember anything about her past before she had turned five, so had they really just erased the memories from her mind?
"Izzy, listen…", her father started, but her aunt cut him off.
"It's Isabelle for you, Wood. And now you listen! If you care for your daughter's trust and love the slightest bit, you owe her an explanation. You will bring her to my house this Saturday and I will tell her everything. She is turning seventeen and she has a right to know. I can already see the questions in her eyes and the hurt you caused her. You can spend the next few days trying to explain your actions…if you even have any. She will get all the answers she needs from me."
Her father just nodded his head, speechless.
On Saturday, the whole family made their way to London, where Isabelle was living. Laurie hadn't been able to get much information from her parents; not that she had wanted any, either. She couldn't believe either of her parents. They had tried to tell her that they had just wanted to protect her. It had been during the year You-Know-Who was defeated by Harry Potter, so there were so many secrets and legends her head still hurt trying to understand even the smallest amount of it. What hurt the most was the realization that all her memory was just gone, lost forever, while even Vincent admitted that he remembered her mother.
She had died in the final battle against the Death Eaters, and Laurie's parents had decided that it would have been the easiest thing to erase Laurie's memory, so that the pain over losing her mother would fade away. Elaine had told her that they made that decision one night after she had cried herself to sleep again for the twentieth night in a row. They had given her a strong potion and changed her name as well as her history. Laura Bell became Laurielle Wood.
As they arrived in front of the small-detached house in London's South End, Laurie wondered if she could keep down her lunch. Her whole body trembled as she mounted the few steps to the front door and rang the bell. Her parents had told her that the woman was her aunt Isabelle Bell, the older sister of her mother: Katherine Bell. They did not have a picture and did not want to tell her anything, so she nervously waited for the day she went to visit her aunt.
Isabelle opened the door and smiled at her, leading her into the house. It was cozy, and she instantly spotted a few pictures that were sitting on the mantelpiece in the living room. One of them was of three obviously related girls. Two were blonde and one brown haired, which seemed to be the oldest of the three. If the dark haired was her aunt, then which one of the two blondes was her mother?
"Are you looking at the pictures?" Her aunt asked her with a warm smile, "Wait, I got a better picture of your Mum."
Isabelle turned and stood on her toes to reach something that was standing on top of a tall wardrobe in the hallway. She finally carried a small wooden box into the living room and set it down on the coffee table around which everyone had taken a seat. She said down a tray with cookies and cups of steaming tea next to it. The little box was made of dark, polished wood and decorated with silver runes that looked unfamiliar to Laurie. A thick layer of dust covered the lid that Isabelle brushed away with her sleeve before slowly opening it.
A couple of small things lay inside, such as a small book, a few papers and glass phials with a white, swirling mixture inside. Her aunt pulled a single photograph from the box and handed it to her. It showed one of the blonde girls from the other picture, only that she seemed much older in this one. She seemed to be around Laurie's age and was holding a little child. The girl had long, blonde hair and a warm smile. How could Laurie forget about someone like this? She tried so hard, but she couldn't remember anything. There was so much love in the girl's expression as she gazed at the baby Laurie in her arms. Oh how she longed to have known her mother! Tears formed in her yes and she brushed them away quickly.
"Tell me about her, please" she begged her aunt.
"Yes. Katie was my sister; my sweet, little, innocent sister…" she trailed of and brushed away a few tears herself, before she reached into the box and pulled out a little basin.
"What is this?" Laurie asked and looked at her parents' shocked expressions.
"This, Laura, is your mother's. She kept all her thoughts and memories for you, because she knew that one that you would find out." It still seemed a little strange for her to be called Laura, but she got used to the sound of her real name.
"And what am I going to do with it?" As if to answer her question, her aunt pulled a stag of envelopes from the little box and handed them to her. Laurie pulled the top one from the stag and looked at it, surprised.
"It…it has today's date written on it" she stuttered.
"Your mother was gifted with the ability to see things before they happened. She knew about everything; and, she knew that you would be reading this letter today. There is another letter that was addressed to all of us."
Her aunt reached over and handed her yet another letter, which was already open. As Laurie's finger touched the silky paper, and if felt light and fragile in her hands. Her hand trembled as her eyes followed the elegant, neat handwriting in silver ink across the page.
To my beloved sister and daughter,
My heart aches as I am writing these lines. Laura is laying in her little bed in the corner of our tent and is sleeping through everything that's going on. She doesn't know. You all don't know, and I am bound to keep my secret. As you are reading these lines, you already know what happened. I am sorry. They are preparing to leave and we are traveling to the fort in a desperate try to survive. There are so many who will not return. I am so scared, but not for me; it's you I'm worried about. All the noises outside are frightening me, but I have to finish this letter, because I can't just vanish without telling you. I am so sorry and it's breaking my heart to know I will never see you again. I know that I will miss you and I hope you will make it out safe and without harm. It is hard for me to leave you behind Laura, but I know your Dad loves you and Elaine is going to be a good mother to you. She promised to raise you like her own child. You are only four years old; you shouldn't have to live through something like this. I want you to know, however, that I will always be there for you and I am watching over you; wherever you are. I left you all my memories; keep them safe, as they are a part of my soul and the key to your own life. There are some good and bad, some might even be shocking, and make sure to have a broom with you if you wish to live through them. I want you to know as much about your own past as you possibly can, so I am sending a letter with every memory to help and guide you through. I can hear the sirens, so it is time for us to go. Take care and make sure you are safe; you are my world, and you are my life.
Your sister and Mum
Laurie lifted her gaze up from the letter and wordlessly handed it to her father, even though it was not addressed to him. She figured that he might want to read it, too. They must have loved each other at some point, right? She watched the reactions on her father's face and got her answer even without asking. His hands were trembling and she could see his eyes getting glossy, something she had never seen before. He put down the paper and looked at her aunt.
"Why did you keep all this from us if you knew about everything?" he asked with hurt in his voice. She just looked at him and there was a dangerous glow in her eyes as she glared at him.
"I had to hold on to it until she would enter her seventh year. It was my part of the promise. Of course, I didn't know that you wouldn't keep yours! I had to hide, because it still wasn't save for me outside. I lost my whole family that day and I had to keep all the secrets and knowledge hidden and safe. You gave caused her so much hurt with not telling her" she exclaimed angrily.
"And you think," Elaine interrupted for the first time, "that it is going to hurt less now to tell her?"
"I trusted you, and you disappointed me. Your only hope to make it up to me, and your daughter, is to tell her the truth. You owe her; she has a right to know, and you don't have the right to stop her from finding out."
Elaine tried to speak again, but her father lifted his hand to silence her. He looked like he had aged a few years and there was hurt and sorrow in his voice as he spoke: "We won't stop her. I know that it was wrong. Back then, however, we didn't see another option. It is her decision if she wants to relive the past, or not."
"I want to!" Laurie stated firmly and reached for the first envelope again.
Nobody said a word or tried to stop her from doing so. Her aunt watched her intently, her brother seemed in complete and utter shock. Her mother's lips were only a thin line and her father seemed to be almost as nervous as she was.
"Would you come with me?" she asked him suddenly and he nodded slowly.
"You have to hold on to her like a portkey once she pours the memory into the basin." Her aunt explained to her father as Laurie unfolded the letter. It bore a blue wax seal with a horse on it. The letter was written in the same elegant writing she recognized as her mother's.
My Dear Laura,
Today I am taking you to the very beginning of your story, to the very place you are right now…
Laura poured the white content from the vial into the little basin and, after taking a deep breath, lowered her face into it. She could feel her father's hand on her shoulder as they were both pulled into the liquid. A second later, they were sitting on the very same sofa in the very same room, only that there was a young, blonde girl sitting across from them that looked and awful lot like the little girl from the picture in on the mantelpiece.
"Dear Merlin" Laurie whispered as she recognized her mother and she clutched her father's hand, that was just as cold as her own.
It was a little over dramatic, I know. But I just loooove drama, and the next few chapters are rather light hearted (compared to this), so please leave me some feedback! Thanks!