After leaving work early, getting the results of our foetal werewolf test, and arguing with Dad, Remus went upstairs to get some work done before dinner. Ella and Harriet were picking blackberries at the far edge of the garden near the woods. Remus worries about Ella being back there alone- I think he has flashbacks about his attack, and worries about who, or what may be lurking in the forest.
I take a shower, check in on Remus (who wasn’t keen on me leaving,) and returned to the kitchen to see Harriet busily stirring a pot on the stove while Ella sits at the table, her little purple-tainted fingers pinching the crust of a pie.
“Oy, Mummy, I’m helping!”
“Helping?” I ask, leaning down to kiss her berry-stained face. “It looks like you’re making a mess, mucky pup.”
“Hi, Tonks, sorry for the mess. I was trying to have dinner ready by the time you and Remus got home,” Harriet says, recovering the simmering pot.
I wave her off. “No, it’s quite all right- I have a toddler, I understand.” I plop down in the chair next to Ella. “You don’t have to do any of this, you know,” I say, gesturing around the kitchen, “but I appreciate it.”
“Oh I like helping,” she replies, and I am reminded of myself, when I first met Remus. I went out of my way to be nice and helpful in effort to impress him. “My mum taught me how to cook the Muggle way.”
I pull a face. “As you can see, I’m no good at householdy spells. I reckon it’s a good thing that Remus is.”
“Done!” Ella says, clapping her hands.
“Good,” I reply, looking at the mangled pie crust. “Go wash your hands and face ‘til the purple comes off, Smelly Ellie,” I say, watching as Harriet removes the pie from the table and places it in the oven.
Ella hops down from her chair, wrinkles her nose, and puts her hands on her hips. “I not a Smelly Ellie,” she says, stomping off toward the loo. “You are!”
I sigh and shake my head, letting it rest in my hands. I’m glad that damn foetal werewolf test is over. It’s been a long couple of days with that test looming, Hilary inviting herself back into our lives, and my bloody dad hitting Remus. I just want this week to end.
“Is everything OK, Tonks?” Harriet asks hesitantly, arching her eyebrow and looking over at me. “I mean, it’s OK if you tell me to mind my own business, but you seem really tired lately, and Remus, with his- black eye- is everything all right?”
I sigh. It’s no use keeping it a secret. Harriet is an adult, she lives here, and she deserves to know what’s going on, lest my father try to pull the wool over her eyes, or something.
“Yes, and no,” I begin, looking over my shoulder, hearing Ella sing her ‘A,B,C song’ while she washes her hands. “I’m happy to say that Remus and I are expecting a baby after the new year, but unfortunately, my father and Remus had a misunderstanding, and-pow!” I pound my fist into my palm and watch as her eyes widen in surprise.
“Merlin’s beard!” she gasps, clapping her hand over her mouth. “Your dad really hit Remus?”
“Yep. Awful, isn’t it? I’ve told my dad he isn’t allowed to see Ella until he apologises. So would you mind keeping an eye on Ella sometimes?”
“Not at all, it’s the least I can do with everything you and Remus have done to help me. Oh, and congratulations about your baby- Ella doesn’t know?” she asks, and I can’t quite garner whether her congratulatory remark is honest, or not.
“No, she doesn’t, and neither do most of my co-workers at the Ministry; for now it’s just better that they don’t. Remus and I told my family last week, the Weasleys know, as well as Harry, and his wife, Ginny.”
She shakes her head. “Wow, I never would have known, did you- did you get, like, sick and stuff? I did, a lot.”
I push myself up from the dining room chair and fetch myself a glass of water. “Oh, a little, I guess, not too badly though. I feel good most of the time. I went for my first foetal werewolf test last week, and got the results today.”
I see a look of fear on her face through the bottom of the glass while I take a long drink. “I hate those tests,” she says forcefully, her brow furrowed.
I nod. “Me too, especially because they’ll always be inconclusive. Lycanthropy isn’t genetic, but the Ministry has their heads so far up their arses over the matter, that they won’t listen to reason.”
“Did it hurt?” she asks, looking down at my stomach.
“Just a wee bit. I’ve been through it before, and I’ll go through it twice more before this child is born.”
She busies herself, checking on the pie, and the pot on the stove before she asks her next question, trying to be nonchalant.
“Would you have kept Ella, if she were a werewolf, I mean?”
What a question! “Of course I would have! I love her, and I love my husband. It’s never mattered to me that Remus had Lycanthropy- well I mean it matters because I hate to see him go through a transformation every month and endure the pain, but the fact that he changes and is labeled a dark creature doesn’t matter to me at all. I knew who he was before I met him, and fell in love with him just the same. I don’t think Remus would give up Ella just because she might be a Metamorphmagus, or that part of her family tree is as crooked as they come. Your children are a part of you, and no matter what you’ll always love them.”
I instantly regret what I’ve said when I look at her face and see the shocked expression. I didn’t intend to get quite so passionate, but then again, I can’t understand giving away a beautiful, healthy baby either. “I’m sorry.”
Harriet shakes her head. “No need to apologise, you’re right. Real parents, good parents, like you and Remus would never do anything like that, but I did, and Darcy will be better off without me.”
I choose my words carefully. “I don’t know about that. Who better to understand her daughter than a mother who has the same condition- and no, I’m not saying Darcy has Lycanthropy, but if she does, a family with a werewolf can’t adopt her, and would never really know what she’s going through.”
She stops stirring the pot on the stovetop.