Categories > Books > Harry Potter > The Potters and Dumbledore's Secret


by EmeraldStag 1 review

AU. Book 1 of the Stagverse series. Nym's birthday celebration causes a detour in their trip, and Ginny's first birthday gets some welcome visitors.

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Fantasy - Characters: Andromeda Tonks, Arthur Weasley, Fred, George, Ginny, Harry, James, Lily, Lupin, Molly Weasley, Mrs. Black, Narcissa, Percy, Ron, Sirius, Tonks - Warnings: [!] [?] - Published: 2006-08-10 - Updated: 2006-08-10 - 3150 words

Chapter Four - Birthdays

A few months later, it was May. The Marauders and their families were finishing up their stay in a small Muggle town in Morocco. The oldest child in their group had her birthday fast approaching.

The adults watched the sunset from the deck outside their rented cabin. Just inside, the children were sleeping; Nymphadora was passed out on the couch while Harry and Bonnie quietly slept in a bassinet by the doorway.

Lily moved her gaze from the sunset to the kids inside, making sure they were okay. "So, Ann, Sirius, where are we going for Nym's birthday? It's tomorrow and we're all packed to move to the next city whenever we want to go," Lily asked.

"I've got no idea, Lily," Sirius said calmly, lightly grazing Andromeda's arm with his hand. "We ordered her present awhile ago, but with all the places we've been to in the last six months, I don't think she'll care where we are."

"I guess we could move on to the next city in the morning," added Andromeda. "I think we were going to Greece next. Is that right?"

"Well, if we're going to Greece tomorrow, we'll have to get up early to catch a private Portkey to the square in Athens," Remus remarked, his gaze focusing on the group around the table.

As the group started to make solid plans to travel to Greece, a small grey owl flew down from the skies and landed in front of Sirius.

"That looks like mum's new owl," Sirius remarked, reaching for the note tied to the owl's leg. "Orion, right?" The owl nodded fervently at his look. "The little guy came by once or twice when you three were in hiding. The old Black family owl died last summer. Kreacher must have been overjoyed."

"As amusing as your mum's house-elf is, Padfoot," Remus interjected, his patience waning, "what does your lovely mother want? Seems a little light to be a present for Dora," he pointed out, fingering the note that was in Sirius's hands.

"Well..." Sirius started, after a few moments, "it looks like we'll have to put Greece on hold for a day. Mum wants us to come to Grimmauld Place tomorrow to celebrate Nym's seventh birthday. And ooh, she says there's a surprise waiting for us there." Sirius wiggled his eyebrows during the last part of the note.

The group stared silently at Sirius for a few minutes until James cleared his throat. "Well, I haven't seen your mum in a few years." His brow wrinkled in thought. "I think since Nym was born... Yes that's it; I remember having to clear her for the wards. Charming woman she is. Sirius didn't fall too far from the tree did he?" James cracked, winking at his friend.

"Yes, she might not be the easiest woman to be around, /James/," Andromeda warned the Marauder, "but she is Dora's grandmum and under that rough Black exterior, she has a soft spot for the few Muggle-lovers in the family. She's a breeze compared to my parents." A bitter look came briefly onto Andromeda's face as she mentioned her parents.

"Well, I guess it's decided then." Lily entered the conversation, standing up from her seat and clapping her hands together. "It's a good thing we were already packed to leave. We'll just have to get Nym up early and leave Harry and Bonnie sleeping in their bassinet. It'll be easier to travel with them like that. Then we head to the central floo hub in town and make for Grimmauld Place." With that the group of adults left the deck for their bedrooms, knowing an early day was ahead of them.

The sleepy group made their way to the floo station the next morning; the babies were still sleeping and the birthday girl, Nymphadora, was content to lightly doze on Sirius's shoulder during the trip. One by one, the group used the floo, throwing in powder and crying out, "Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place," and each disappeared into the green flames of the fireplace.

The group was greeted on their entrance to the Black family home by a grumpy looking house-elf and a stern older woman, with black hair pulled back in a knot. The room was covered in frilly pink and purple birthday decorations that looked quite out of place amid the upholstered furniture, and the dark green accents in the room.

"Welcome home, Sirius. I'm glad you got my note and brought the /family/," Walburga greeted the group. Her smile slowly became a slight sneer at the presence of the Potters and Remus Lupin.

"/Mum/, be nice," Sirius scolded his mother. "Let's not fight on Nym's birthday, after all. Once today is over, you can go back to whining about how I've disrespected our name one way or the other in peace. You still love me, anyway," he finished, giving his mother a peck on the cheek.

Walburga rolled her eyes at her son's brashness. "Yes, well, I knew from the start you'd be the one keeping my hands full. If it wasn't for my initiative, I might not have any grandchildren giving me the hope of keeping the Black name thriving well into the future--not to mention, your girls seem to have inherited the Black beauty, which I must say, seems to have skipped your generation, Sirius."

"We may not agree on many things, Mrs. Black, but Sirius's looks is one of them," James chuckled. "I think the girls will be glad that they've taken after their mum more than him. Although, Sirius is so vain that I doubt he's noticed."

Lily took that moment to slap her husband's arm. "Shush, James. The children will wake up soon. We should eat breakfast." She handed James the bassinet carrying Harry and Bonnie and began to lightly shove him towards the kitchen of Grimmauld Place.

The group didn't move quickly enough and little Nymphadora awoke before they had reached the kitchen. Her blinking eyes quickly took in the room and hallway covered with birthday decorations. Sirius gave her a kiss on the cheek. "Happy Birthday, Nymmy."

The young girl's face lit up with excitement as she hugged her dad and noticed her grandmum right behind them. "Grandmum, what are you doing here in Morococoa?" the girl asked.

"No, sweetie, we left /Morocco/, while you were sleeping. We're spending your birthday here at your grandmum's place," Andromeda corrected her daughter, lightly brushing her daughter's lavender hair away from the girl's face.

"And since you are the birthday girl, Nymphadora," Walburga said, ignoring the look her granddaughter shot her on hearing her full name, "why don't you lead us to the kitchen to see the surprise I have for your family?"

Nymphadora needed no more prompting. She quickly got down from Sirius's arms and scurried down the hallway, into the kitchen. The rest of the group slowly followed her, chuckling at Nymphadora's enthusiasm. A loud shriek from the girl brought all except Walburga Black rushing into the kitchen. They were greeted with an unexpected sight.

"AUNT CISSY!" young Nymphadora shrieked, as she ran up to her aunt, jumping into her arms. "I haven't seen you in... a LONG TIME." Nymphadora stretched out her arms to indicate how long it had been.

Narcissa kissed the little girl's cheek and said with a soft smile, "You've certainly grown since I last saw you."

"Now this is a pleasant surprise," Sirius said, taking in the scene of his daughter in his cousin's arms. "I'm surprised Malfoy let you out. I'm glad you're here though, with family." He didn't notice the looks coming from Narcissa and Walburga, but Lily did.

Lily's inquisitive gaze became compassionate as she hugged her best friend and asked, "You've been here for awhile, haven't you, Cissy?"

Noticing the questioning looks that appeared on the wizards' faces, Narcissa stalled. "Let's enjoy Nymmy's birthday first. I'll explain everything tonight." Though they were unsatisfied with her answers, the adults were content to enjoy Nymphadora's birthday. They could wait until later to hear Cissy's story.

And the little girl enjoyed her birthday. Nymphadora received from her grandmum, a lovely bracelet with the name 'Black' engraved on it. Walburga had worn it when she was growing up. Sirius and Andromeda got their daughter a green baby iguana. She was quick to name the iguana Bubbles, much to Sirius's dismay. Remus gave Nymphadora an ornately carved, cherry music box and the Potters gave her a toy Quaffle.

The group spent the rest of the day playing games of tag and musical chairs. At one point there was even a game of pin-the-tail-on-the-house-elf, which dismayed the poor servant and disgusted many of the witches in the house. Once the night wound down, the exhausted children were put to bed in Sirius's old room. The adults then congregated around the kitchen table, listening to Narcissa's tale.

"HE DID WHAT?" Sirius raged, his fist slamming the tabletop. "That slimy Death Eater. I should go over there right now and show him a thing or two!"

Andromeda reached over and rubbed Sirius's back, trying to soothe his rage. "Calm down, Sirius, or you'll wake the kids. Lucius has the Ministry in his pocket with the money he flaunts around. We don't want to muddy our progress by trying to tear him down. No matter how much I'd like to curse him right now." Her intense gaze was concentrated on her sister, sitting across from her.

"Listen," Narcissa said reaching over and placing her hand on top of Sirius and Andromeda's joined hands, "it was a vicious moment, and I was scared for my life, but I've spent the last five years as just a tool to Lucius. He spent more time consorting with his victims than with me, once he'd done enough to sire an heir. I'm thankful for his ignorance over the years, as I've been able to stay alive through you. The important thing is that the marriage was dissolved by Lucius, Walburga made sure of it. I am proudly a Black again, something I wish I'd stayed as." Her eyes conveyed a strange emotion as she looked at Sirius.

"Well, I think I can speak for all of us, Cissy," Lily said, rubbing Narcissa's arm, "when I say that we want you to join us on our trip. You've been restrained far too long by that Malfoy; it's time for you to be with family." A large smile grew on Lily's face, and Narcissa's face lit up at the offer. "And we're going to Greece tomorrow. Doesn't that sound lovely?"

So Narcissa officially joined the unusual traveling family. The next morning, they bid goodbye to Walburga Black and the Most Ancient and Noble House of Black and went on their way to Greece.


It was a warm, sunny day in early August in the town of Ottery St. Catchpole. Just south of town, beyond the hills and trees, stood a slightly lopsided house surrounded by a large area of land with several hedges and a lake by its side. It was the home of Arthur and Molly Weasley, better known to visitors as the Burrow. On this day, there was to be a birthday party for the youngest Weasley child. And everyone in the Burrow was surprised when a group of six adult wizards and three children Apparated into the garden and walked to the front door.

Before James Potter could knock on the door, Nymphadora jumped to the front of the group and burst inside. "BILL! CHARLIE! WE'RE HERE!" she shouted, leaving behind her family at the doorway, bemused looks on their faces.

They made their way through the kitchen following the path Nymphadora had taken and were besieged by Weasleys upon their entrance to the den.

"Oh, my! James! Lily!" Molly greeted the visitors with hugs. "What a surprise to see all of you make it to Ginevra's party."

"I hope you don't mind," James said as he shook Arthur's hand, and took in the atmosphere of the room. "We were back in the country and decided it'd been far too long since we've seen you bunch."

"Not at all, James," Arthur assured his friend. "It's a time to celebrate with friends and family. Just look how much your kids are enjoying themselves." He pointed to the middle of the room where Harry was chasing around Arthur's twin boys, Fred and George.

Sirius wove his way to the corner of the room, where Nymphadora and the two oldest Weasley boys, Bill and Charlie, were huddled over a piece of parchment atop the center of the table they were sitting at.

"Just what are you rascals up to?" Sirius asked, ruffling his daughter's now-red hair while grinning at the two boys.

"Well, Mr. Black, it's my Hogwarts letter," Bill said proudly. "It's so exciting; Mum took me to Diagon Alley last week so I could get my books and wand."

"Oh, wow! You got your wand already? Can I see it?" Nymphadora asked excitedly.

"Sorry, Nym," Charlie spoke up. "Mum put it away once they got home from Diagon Alley. I think she's afraid Bill will leave it lying around, and Fred or George will nab it."

"With good reason it seems," Sirius said, looking towards the Weasley twins. They were making faces at their older brother, Percy, who was trying valiantly to ignore them. "They seem to get into enough trouble without a wand at their disposal."

"Aw, but they're just little," pouted Bill. "How am I supposed to be ready for Hogwarts if I can't handle my own wand?"

Sirius smirked at the unintended double entendre. "Don't worry about it Bill. Everyone starts on the same level at Hogwarts, even the ghosts."

"Ghosts live at Hogwarts? Wow!" Nymphadora exclaimed, excitement lighting her face. "I can't wait to go to Hogwarts. It sounds so cool!"

"If you think that's cool, we have a ghoul in our attic," said Charlie.

"Yea, c'mon Nym, we'll show it to you," agreed Bill. The three children rose up from their seats, and ran up the stairs giggling.

Sirius turned his attention back to the rest of the room and moved to sit next to Remus, who was watching James try to beat Percy in chess. Andromeda, Narcissa, and Lily joined Molly on the couch. Bonnie and Ginny sitting on their respective mothers' laps.

"I envy you, Molly," Narcissa said, a look of longing on her face. "Being surrounded by all these children, it must be fulfilling." She leaned her head on Andromeda's shoulder, content to watch the little girls play.

Molly sighed, looking from her daughter playing with Bonnie, to her youngest son running around the room with Harry. "It is, but they grow up so fast. Soon enough, Ginny will be running around this house and I won't have a moment's peace."

"They all grow up eventually, some slower than others," Lily replied, looking over at her husband and his friends.

"I didn't realize how much they look like sisters," Andromeda pointed out, brushing a lock of her daughter's dark auburn hair from the girl's face.

"They do, don't they?" Molly softly mused. "They'll have to stick together with all these boys running around." She looked towards the kitchen. "Supper should be ready. Tell the boys while I go finish."

"Not by yourself, you don't, Molly," Lily said, putting her left hand on Molly's arm, while signaling to James with her right. "We'll help you get supper on the table. James will make sure the boys are there shortly." The witches rose from their seats and headed towards the kitchen, side-stepping a mess of blocks that had just been used by Harry and Ron.

James had just finished losing handily to young Percy when he caught his wife's signal. He nodded in her direction and moved over to where the men were currently congregating. As he reached the group, James noticed the serious looks on Remus's and Sirius's faces as they listened to what Arthur was quietly saying.

"Everything alright, boys?" James asked, pulling out a chair and joining them at the table.

"Arthur was just telling us what happened to the Longbottoms, James." Remus replied, his eyes not moving from the table.

"Frank and Alice? They were in Andromeda's year, weren't they?" James asked. "Weren't they in hiding like we were?"

"Yes, them," Arthur answered, "and yes they were. However, once word got around that You-Know-Who was defeated..." Arthur paused for a second to make sure James was okay with the mention of Halloween night. "Frank and Alice went to see Albus and got him to remove the Fidelius. Everything was fine until last month. Some Death Eaters broke into their home and tortured them for information on where their Master was."

Remus picked up where Arthur left off. "Aurors arrived shortly after and were able to capture the Death Eaters responsible. They didn't make it in time. Frank and Alice were tortured with the Cruciatus to the brink of insanity. Luckily, their son, Neville, was found unharmed in his bedroom."

"Who was responsible?" asked James.

"My cousin," Sirius responded bitterly. "And the Lestranges."

"And Barty Crouch," added Arthur. At the looks of confusion he was getting, he continued, "At Igor Karkaroff's trial last week, he named Crouch, Jr. as the mastermind behind the attack. He was arrested shortly after. Bartemius isn't having an easy time around the Ministry these days; rumors are he's going to be demoted to some low-level office."

"Couldn't happen to a better man," Sirius muttered. "If he ended up being the Minister of Magic, I think I would've lived life comfortably as a Muggle."

"A Muggle, Padfoot?" James asked incredulously. "You can't get dressed without using your wand. I doubt Andromeda would go along with it, and just how would you explain a metamorphmagus daughter to Muggles?"

"And Neville? Where will he be going?" Remus asked Arthur, trying to steer the conversation back.

"With his grandmother. Augusta won't let him out of her sight since she took over for his care. He's all she has now, with Frank in St. Mungo's with Alice," answered Arthur, letting out a sigh and standing up from the table. "Enough of this dreary talk, boys. Let's head to the kitchen and have supper before Molly and the girls let us have it."

The men joined the rest of the family for supper, where they sang little Ginny her birthday song and laughed as the children messily ate their pieces of cake. Even with Lord Voldemort having been gone for nearly a year, there were still threats in the world and the attack on the Longbottoms proved that. It took a little while, but slowly the wizards were able to put aside their dark thoughts and took the opportunity to enjoy the night, remembering the good things in life should be cherished.
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