It’s not that I don’t want to see her, it’s just that- I don’t know if I can see her.
She doesn’t know I lost our baby, and I don’t know if I can bear to listen to her reject hers. Remus saw her yesterday for the first time since we returned from Africa, for the first time since the Wizarding world has undergone yet another major change. Remus says she hasn’t changed her mind about giving the baby away, but was a little more talkative about her family. I’m set on getting Harriet help after the Ministry deems her a ‘normal’ Werewolf. I think they’re terrified about the potential of her child being born a Werewolf. It’s rubbish, the whole thing is rubbish. Lycanthropy is not a communicable disease, and I don’t believe for one bloody moment that Harriet’s baby will be born with fans and fur. It’s ridiculous. I think Fenrir is one quarter short of a full moon.
So, I decided today is the day to visit Harriet.
I have searched for someone to mind Ella for the afternoon, but no luck. Mum and Dad are having lunch with some old Muggle friends, Harry and Ginny are busy, Molly is busy, and there’s really no one else. I left her with the twins once, but the results weren’t good. I never saw those boys cry before, but I’ll be damned if Ella didn’t make them cry for their mother that day. I digress. Going back to work has been, well, hectic at best, but I enjoy being back (well except for the Ministry bureaucracy blather.)
So, Miss Ella Joanna Lupin came to work with me this afternoon.
Oy. Luckily Dawlish and Robards are occupied with stacks of paperwork concerning everything that’s going on right now with Harry, the breakout at Azkaban, and the attack at Phoenix House last weekend, and thankfully Harry’s and my cubicle is in the back, so only Kingsley knew she was there.
I hope the guard downstairs watching the detention facility is dozing off right about now.
I dig in my desk for a small box, pocketing it quickly before I press my fingers to my lips and whisper. “Ellie, come here,” I beckon, calling her away from the stack of artwork she’s been attending to.
“Let’s go for a walk, hmm?”
“Are we going to see Daddy?” she asks, brushing the loose hairs that have escaped her pigtails, away from her face.
“Maybe. We’re going to see a friend of Mummy’s first” I answer, flicking my wand over her head, trying to charm her hair back into place.
“Can I take my pictures?” she asks, ducking away from my wand.
I step back and wince as I look at her hair. Blimey, maybe spending time with Harry during my pregnancy rubbed off on her. Cripes. Her hair is a right mess. She’s wearing dungarees, her Weird Sister’s T-shirt, and wellies. She’s definitely my daughter today, and I love her.
“Yes, you may take your pictures, let’s go, and we’ll ride the lift.”
She grabs a handful of parchment from her pile on the floor, and takes my hand as we leave the department. People quit looking oddly at me months, maybe years ago. They don’t even notice as Ella and I walk out and down the corridor to the lifts. The Interdepartmental Memos flutter above her head, and she watches them as we step inside and ride down to the sublevels. Occasionally people getting on, or off, the lift stop and look down at her, but she pays them no mind, only watching the fluttering paper, and listening to the chime when we arrive at each floor.
Past the lobby, we’re the only ones riding the lift and I take the opportunity to talk to her. I didn’t realise until this moment how nervous I am, and that I need to talk to keep myself calm, not Ella.
“El, we’re going to visit a friend of mine and Daddy’s.”
“What’s her name?” she interrupts.
“Like Uncle Harry, only not.”
“Mm hmm. She’s going to have a baby, but doesn’t feel very good, so we’re going to cheer her up.”
“Oh. Well, can I give her a picture?”
I smile, feeling a swell of happiness. Ella is so considerate and kind. “Yes, I think she’d like that,” I say, digging out my Auror’s badge as the doors open to the detention ward.
Ella scowls as she looks around the small atrium, looking around the dull concrete blocks. “They need pictures on the walls,” she says, following me to the desk.
“Oy, I’m here to see Harriet Gordon,” I say, flashing my badge to the chump with his feet up on the desk, reading The Daily Prophet.
“I know, do you ever visit anyone else?” he asks, lazily opening the door to the holding cells.
I shake my head, pinkening my hair a little more before leading Ella through the ominous-looking door steel door, leading to the containment compartments. “It’s all right, El,” I reply, wiggling her hand in mine.
We walk nearly to the end of the row before I cast a spell on the second to last door, smiling as it swings open.
“Tonks-” Harriet’s face is brighter than I’ve seen it in some time, but she pales when she sees Ella, stomping in my wake.
“It’s OK. Wotcher!” I offer, dropping Ella’s hand and taking a hesitant step forward.
“Make it stick!” Ella howls, holding her parchment against the wall with one hand and slapping it with the other. I shake my head and cast a Permanent Sticking Charm on Ella’s picture- Ha! The Blacks are awesome at Permanent Sticking charms, just ask Sirius’ Mum; the Ministry will never get that picture off the wall.
Harriet retreats backward. “Is that-” she begins to question, pointing at Ella attempting to flatten another picture against the stone wall.
“My daughter, or Remus’ and my daughter, more appropriately, although she seems to be more mine today,” I reply, adhering another sketch to the wall. “Ella, c’mere.”
“It’s OK, Harriet,” I urge her, kneeling down and opening my hands to Ella. “Ella, this is a friend of Mummy’s and Daddy’s.”
“Your name is Harriet- I have an Uncle Harry- I drew you a picture.” She leafs through her papers and presents Harriet with a picture of a sunflower. “There you go.”
Harriet swallows and leans forward to take the proffered item. “T-thank you. It’s nice to meet you.”
“You’re going to have a baby,” Ella declares, pointing at Harriet’s stomach. “I was a baby once. Do you live here?”
I interrupt. “Ella, take your colours and go make a nice picture for Daddy, OK?”
She nods, lays on her tummy, spreading her things over the floor, and begins colouring furiously.
I gesture for Harriet to take a seat on her cot as I sit next to her. “She’s beautiful- and normal,” Harriet says.
“Of course she’s normal. Lycanthropy isn’t a communicable disease. You have to be bitten directly.”
Harriet looks down at her belly and then looks back to Ella. “She looks like you.”
“Ya think?” I ask, fishing in my pocket for the small box. “I think she looks like Remus, but she obviously has my keen fashion sense.”
I gave Harriet the little box before casting an enlargement charm over it. “Just some snacks,” I declare, indicating to the package, “and something from Remus and I.”
“Oh?” she asked interestedly.
“Yeah, we noticed you were allowed to keep wearing your charm bracelet, and we thought we’d give you a charm- so you’d be able to contact us at any time. It’s kind of like a Protean Charm; it’s connected to Remus’ watch. If someone here at the Ministry is hassling you, if you need anything, or if you go into labour, you can reach us instantly.”
“I don’t know what to say, thank you. No one, aside from my parents, ever cared about me like you and Mr. Lupin have.” Tears welled up in her eyes and she wiped them away on the back of her hand looking down at Ella on the floor.
“It’s our pleasure. We only wish we could do more. Remus tells me that you still want to give the baby away,” I say, patting her hand with my own.
“I just want it to go away, I want this baby to go away. I wish I was never pregnant, I wish I could have gone to Knockturn Alley and dealt with this-”
“Stop!” I hiss, covering my face with my hands, unable to hear her another blasphemous word. I peak through my fingers, seeing both Ella and Harriet looking at me as though I had Blast-Ended Skrewts coming out of my ears. “Keep colouring Ellie, it’s OK,” I offer nervously. I feel horrible for snapping, but I just can’t bear to listen to anyone wish away a baby.
Ella goes back to her colouring, but Harriet continues to look at me fearfully. “I’m sorry,” I whisper, taking her hand again. “I- well, you wouldn’t know this, but well, I- recently lost a baby.”
Her cheeks redden in embarrassment as she toes the floor with her shoe. “A miscarriage? I’m sorry.”
I try to smile, but feel the tears threaten at the corner of my eyes. “It’s OK, you had no idea- it’s just that the emotion is still so raw. Remus and I have had our ups and downs, but everything paled in comparison to this. I couldn’t believe I would never know my baby, who he or she would have grown up to be, and that somehow I was just expected to move on as if I hadn’t experienced such a horrible loss.”
It takes me a moment to realise that my situation parallels hers at the core of everything. She too will ‘lose’ a baby and possibly never know who the child will become. When I begin to apologise I notice her simply staring at Ella again.
“Does your daughter know about Mr. Lupin?”
I nod. “Of course. She already recognises the image of the full moon on our calendar and knows it means Remus is going away. She misses him, but it’s only one night a month, and lots of parents are away from their children more nights than that. Remus is a wonderful parent, and I’ve never thought Lycanthropy has hindered that at all.”
She eventually tore her eyes away from Ella and appeared to be thinking out her words carefully before speaking. “All the same, I can’t do this, I’m sorry, but I just can’t keep this baby.”
“OK. I’ll try and set something up then. I’ll contact Susan Bones from Phoenix House Orphanage, and invite the Healer back as well. Remus and I will do everything we can to make sure your baby receives a good home, all right?”
“Is everything else all right?” I ask, not really wanting to get into a discussion about the Azkaban breakout, the Ministry issues, and the fact that Phoenix House has burned to the ground.
She sighs. “Yeah, I’ll survive.”
I smile. “Yes, you will. Everything will be fine.”
Ella and I said goodbye to Harriet, told her to enjoy her snacks, use the charm bracelet if she needed anything, and finally ride the lift back upstairs.
Instead of getting off at level two, for Magical Law Enforcement, we ride to level four- the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures.
Ella dutifully trudges along next to me down the corridor, looking curiously at the goings on. We stop outside Remus door, and I quickly take one of her spare sheets of parchment paper, and fold it into a paper airplane. We sneak a peak around the door frame as I toss the paper in Remus’ direction, and snicker as it bounces off his forehead before falling onto his desk. His head snaps up and a smile spreads across his face when he sees us.
“If it isn’t my two favourite girls- what are you doing here?” he asks, rising from his chair as Ella runs toward him.
“I made you a picture!” Ella declares fumbling to find her latest masterpiece. “Here it is!” she calls, showing Remus her self portrait.
“That is beautiful,” he responds. “May I keep it?”
Ella nods slowly and yawns.
“We missed you,” I reply, watching him scoop up Ella and both of them extend a hand toward me.
“Is everything all right?” he asks hesitantly, his eyes flashing to mine.
I nod and melt into his embrace, draping my arms around him and Ella in the process, completing the circuit. “Yes,” I say, sighing happy as I feel him press a kiss to Ellie’s forehead, and then mine. “We missed you, love you, and just wanted to see you.”
“That’s the best thing I’ve heard all day.”