In a family of nine there's bound to be a traitor. "And I still want to run... To hide... To cry... And to, ultimately, forget this day, this prison, and this abominable little cell. And even, as I...
Emptiness feeds the hunger
Little Sister, little sister
No more lies, little sister
Overlooked little girl
Endless silence only broken by the occasional scream...
These are the only ways to describe Azkaban prison, these and no others. I have been in this place for so long. I only live minute by minute. I know not the hour nor the day nor the year. I know not of the family I betrayed. I know not of the world and the teachings I turned my back upon.
I only know how I had fallen.
Lucius Malfoy had made manipulation an art. I am still unsure if it was his words that lead me to darkness or the Fates' working as I shook, freezing in that night blackened alley. But most of all, I believe it was my own willingness to save my family, no matter the consequences, no matter how the world would perceive me, and no matter how many deaths it caused.
To a starved soul, it was a very enticing proposition. Lucius painted with his words, claiming that my family would be famous, raised above all others as I have always known we should be. The Dark Lord would surely treat his followers well when he triumphed in the end. Harry Potter would fall, weak as he was, and I could make my family see his weakness once he was defeated. And then, as the entire world was brought under the reign of Slytherin's Heir, we would rise above.
Funny, how foolish I was, now that I sit here in this cold, damp cell and think about how inanely ignorant I was. And oh, how I was... I threw away my existence, my family, my love for the only woman that ever cared for my destitute life and my pigheaded stubbornness. Funny, how I cannot forget. Funny, how these walls never cease to remind me, how the past is relived day after day in my mind, how guilt eats away at my insides faster than hunger ever could.
Three months after my induction, Charlie was killed the first battle I ever raised a wand in. I swore to myself later I had not seen him and that I had not killed him, not that it really mattered. I had to face his corpse anyhow as a lesson on how lucky I was and I felt I had killed him despite my declarations. Nothing would stop my guilt and nothing besides myself murdering one of my own would stop Bellatrix from boasting about how my brother had begged to die.
I walked on and played my part as Devil's advocate, killing and screaming as my dreams were being sucked from me in the same way that the earth takes in spilt blood. I could not turn back. I could not be saved. I could not forget. I could not even grieve.
I remembered the mother whose heart I had broken and the father who I had cut so deeply. My brothers would plague me. I remembered the one who I had always looked up to, the twins who had caused me nothing but pain, the youngest who was in as deep as he could go - fighting with Potter - and finally the one who had been killed by a member of the cult in which I lived.
Mostly though, I remembered my sister, my beautiful Ginevra, the one who I had always adored. She could feel so much, as her emotions had always driven her spirit. Love for her family came high for her, much higher than I could imagine. I wondered if that was what caused her to join the Light. Was it her infatuation for Harry Potter or her love for where she came from? I learned later it was most likely a combination of both.
It tore at me that she could care so much for Potter when she despised her own brother with so much hatred, so completely and without remorse. It was very much like a knife to the heart, a blade to match the one I had so carefully stabbed into my father's back.
So I am alone, as much as alone can be, within my tiny tomb that houses what is left of me. I am perfectly sane. After all, Azkaban is no longer the home of Dementors. During the war, they were turned to Dark side and since the defeat of my strong master, the Ministry has learned from its mistakes. I have no doubt that Harry Potter had some intervention as well. Not that I am ungrateful.
But there moments when I wished I no longer had a soul. For without soul, there is no conscience. Without a conscience there is no guilt, only cold, empty blankness and no memories to haunt you. I think the act of a Dementor's Kiss is a very humane operation I wish the world still used.
But after all, what say does a convicted criminal have in the way of society.
I am scared I suppose. I also suppose I have a right to be, but even as I look upon what is left of my brother, I admonish myself for being afraid. This is merely the shell of the brother I once loved. It is like this place and that disgusting mark on his arm has sucked all the life out of him. He's changed. He can't hurt me anymore.
Funny, how only know I have realized.
He hasn't noticed that his cell door has opened and closed. He hasn't noticed us standing here. I assume that is all for the better, gives me a chance to gather my wits about me. I need a moment to gather the words I need, a moment to squash down the anger that has flooded in my soul for far too long.
But the silence is deafening.
The truth is that if Harry wasn't holding on to me, I'd be running down that hall and out that door and off this godforsaken island. But Harry knows how much I need to be here, to do what I came to do. He knows how much the memory of my brothers' has tormented me. He knows that's why I can't sleep at night because of that sickening image against Percy's pale skin and the horror etched upon Charlie's dead face.
Harry, my wonderful, darling husband, is the only one that knows that I am still haunted. And I want this child within me, the third child Harry and I created and the fifth of the family we two have made, to have a mother that is no longer haunted. I know how my children keep their thoughts at bay. I know how much they want me to talk about the war. They're curious. I was too when I was young, dying to know all about the First War and all about the Boy Who Lived.
Harry has truly buried the dead. I try to but in the end, I can only long to.
Percy is looking at me now. His eyes are sunken within his face. He is very malnourished, thin, and gaunt. He is filthy as well, filthy from years of lying in his own waste. It sickens me how strong the mighty have fallen.
I am surprised my voice is holding. I have never been more nervous and scared in all my life except those few 'special' moments when I was in battle, when Harry was lying on his deathbed and when we all believed that Jamie wouldn't make it.
Percy is straining to see over my shoulder. He can only see me because of the moon shining through the tiny barred window above him. He can't see Harry only his hands on my shoulders. I can feel Harry tensing behind me and I cast a glance back at my husband. His face is rigid and emotionless and his eyes are like hard slabs of emerald. His mask is up.
The baby kicked me. I wonder if he can feel how much I do not want to be here, feel the tension that is threatening to suffocate me.
The contempt and hatred in Percy's voice is so strong I swear I can feel it permeating throughout the air. I involuntarily take a step back into Harry's torso as Percy stands. He is weaving and shaking with the effort but his teeth are bared. He is weak but I realize his hatred is fueling him. I am trembling now. I can't stop it. I know only Harry can. But he is trying to keep us both safe.
I watch as Percy's guard moves over to my stumbling brother and cannot help but gasp as a kick is aimed at his thin side. Percy's is lying on the ground and makes to get up but the guard's large foot is holding his face to the filthy stone floor.
"You better behave, you little maggot."
With one rough nudge, Percy is released but he doesn't move. I feel so torn and so confused, helpless and afraid. The baby is kicking me harder now and I cannot shake the feeling that he can sense the emotions coming from us all. Can he feel my fear? Can he feel his father's carefully concealed revulsion? Can he feel his uncle's hate? Is he as frightened by it as I am?
Percy's moving and there's blood on his face. It is running in tiny rivets down his strong jaw, down his neck to soak into the disgusting rags he wears. I don't know what I am more revolted by Percy's hatred, the guard's use of force or my own inability to even speak something, anything useful.
The words I have wanted to speak for so long now are choking me.
And I still want to run.
And to, ultimately, forget this day, this prison, and this abominable little cell. And even, as I hate to say it, forget my own brother. So much for Gryffindor courage...
Percy is coughing, gagging and I have to smother the mother within me and the sister that so desperately still cares. He makes to rise and I wonder where his pride is now. He is swaying on his knees; his eyes are clenched shut, hand against his head. His sleeve has fallen to his elbow and I can just see the scarred outline of the mark, His mark. Suddenly, the fear within me is falling and, all at once, I want to scream at him again, relinquish the pain I have kept inside for so long.
"Why, Percy? Why did you do it?"
"To save us."
His words feel like a strike to the face and what little advance I had made toward him, I now recoil. Harry's reassuring arms come around my shoulders and he's trembling against me. He is angry, but he knows it is my place to affront my brother. He knows how much I have to do what I came to do, how much I need to bury my demons.
"Do you know how much what you did hurt us? Do you know how much everyone hates you now?"
"I have always loved my family."
Another blow is taken. His words are very well aimed on my broken heart. Hatred is bubbling within me, but I force it down. I refuse to be like him.
"Liar. That is all you are, Percival - a twisted-tongued liar. If you had loved us, you wouldn't have left. If you had loved us, you would have never hurt our father and mother like you did."
"I came back, Ginny. I came back. I tried to tell them. I tried to -"
"Tried to what, Percy? By the time, you crawled back home Charlie was dead, his body buried." I force all memory of Charlie back into my own subconscious; it was still too fresh after all these years. "Penelope came to my house, dripping blood, nearly naked, screaming for safety. I can only guess what happened to her because she never told. Her last word was her daughter's name, your daughter's name."
I can see the shock on his face, even the odd loving look in his sunken eyes. It sickens me. Everything about him sickens me. I finally feel as if my brother and this broken person in front of me are separate.
"I-I have a daughter...?"
"Her name is Cassarah. She's just turned three. Her birthday is November 22nd. Her first word was 'snitch'. She's a copied image of her mother. She's very bright, a Ravenclaw without a doubt. She won't be like her disgusting father. She'll know the difference between right and wrong. And the father that is always there for her, and loves her, and comforts her has always been Harry Potter!"
"Shut up, Ginny!"
"No, I will not shut up, Percival Ignatius Weasley! You sired a daughter whether you want it to be true or not. And you deserve to suffer day after day if only for what you cost Penelope!"
"I never wanted to hurt Penny!"
"But you did. You were a coward, Percy. You should have died than have done that to her. You should have died! Instead of them, it should have been you!"
That was the reason, I realized, why I hated him so much.
And suddenly, I felt relieved, like an entire weight has been torn my shoulders. My baby finally grew still as well. After all these years, this was how I've felt. I've hated him just as much as he hates my husband, hated him so much I have wished for his own death. In the end, Charlie should have lived. Penny should have never been violated, never should have went through the fatal birthing of her child. My brother should have never betrayed us.
But even as I want this, I know that it did happen. The past cannot be changed, only remembered and not repeated. I can now put it behind me.
With Harry's help, with the love of my family, I can triumph.
White tombstones around a willow tree...
Wild auburn curls flowing in the wind...
Two red roses held in a small chubby hand...
"Mummy, where are we going?"
"To visit two very special people."
"The first is a brave soldier who fought with your daddy and me. He fought for the good of all things. He fought so that we could be free. And the other was a beautiful woman who loved her daughter more than anything in the world. She died after being wounded for many months from a horrible man."
"Oh...Mummy, what are their names?"
"Charlie and Penelope."
"Did they know me?"
"Charlie died before you were born, angel."
"Did Penelope know me?"
"Yes, angel, Penny knew you and...she loved you. She told me once that she loved you even before you ever existed."
"I wish I could have met her, met them both."
"Me too, Cassie, I wish that everyday... and probably will keep on wishing that for the rest of my life."