ANDROMEDA TONKS HAS to be Aurelia's favourite aunt, she makes the best cookies in the world and she doesn't make Aurelia feel bad about her flat figure. And in Aurelia's opinion that makes her Auntie Andy far superior to her Auntie Cissy. Needless to say, Aurelia is relieved to see Auntie Andy there rather than her Auntie Cissy, don't get her wrong, Aurelia loves her Aunt Cissy but she can be a little stuck-up and also she doesn't even make her own cookies.
After saying goodbye to Neville, Aurelia goes bounding over to her aunt with a large grin on her face. She goes to greet her aunt when her cousin, Nymphadora Tonks, appears behind of Andromeda with a shit-eating grin on her face, Aurelia stops dead in her tracks and the smile is wiped off her face. Nymphadora had obviously seen her interacting with Neville Longbottom, a boy, which means only one thing: Aurelia is never going to hear the end of it.
"First off," Nymphadora says, her smile gleaming with mischief, "Asterope, you look fabulous with short hair, second —"
Nymphadora is about to start her endless taunting but Aurelia isn't about to let that happen even though she knows there's nothing to taunt because Neville is just a friend but it still gets on her nerves. Her cousin had teased her about Harry and Ron for the entirety of her first year until Ginny put an end to it by saying that Aurelia liked her better, which was true but Aurelia hadn't expected Ginny to know that. The youngest Weasley was more preceptive than anyone realised and also Aurelia reckons she can be a little obvious when it comes to crushes. But, Aurelia didn't have a crush on Neville, the blush and smile on her face must tell Nymphadora otherwise but Aurelia is just really happy that she made a new friend.
Aurelia turns in Neville's direction and yells "Oi, Plant Boy, I told you that you did a great job on my hair! My cousin thinks it looks great!"
( In hindsight, Aurelia should have know this would only make the teasing worse but really, it just goes to show that she doesn't know how to handle stressful or even stressful-ish situations. )
She's not sure how well he heard her but she knows that he did in fact hear her because he looks at her and blushes, he gives her a crooked grin and waves goodbye. Aurelia goes to wave goodbye to him but she's stopped by Pollux who had seemingly appeared out of nowhere, he grabs her arm and yanks it down. She gasps loudly in pain and he rolls his eyes, squeezing it for good measure and reviling in the pained expression the crosses her face.
"What are you doing?" He hisses at her, "Associating with the likes of him, do you know how displeased —"
"Pollux Rodolphus Black." Andromeda snaps warningly, "You let your sister to go right now, young man, you're hurting her!"
Pollux cringes at their aunt's harsh tone, he releases Aurelia arm but he continues to glare at his little sister "Your going to get on father's bad side —"
"Like I give a damn, Lux." Aurelia says, "And besides, I'm already on his bad side. 'Ello, do you not remember I bashed him in the face with a lit torch?!"
He goes to say some snarky retort but he pauses as he studies Aurelia's new hair, his annoyed expression turns to disgust "The bloody fuck, who let you think that style looked good on you? Jesus, Ass, change it."
Aurelia's hair surges from pink to a dark red "Don't call me that, you wanker! It's permanent, I can't change it for very long."
His grey eyes flash dangerously and she flinches because that's never a good sign, his nostrils flare and he snaps "You cut your hair that short, it looks terrible!"
Technically she didn't cut it herself but if she told Pollux he would go berserk and probably break her nose but on purpose this time. And not to mention what he'd do to poor Neville, she just rolls her eyes and ignores him.
"Her boyfriend did it!" Nymphadora says teasingly.
Aurelia sighs, she might as well start digging her grave now, and perhaps a grave for Neville Longbottom as well.
"Pollux." Andromeda says warningly, "Take a deep breath, count to ten. And you girls, I don't need you teasing each other for hours on end, I need to get home so I can finish these cookies I'm making."
And just like that, they all fall into line, not wanting to keep Andromeda from cooking her delicious cookies. Pollux begrudgingly begins counting to ten under his breath, still glaring at Aurelia as he reaches for Andromeda to get ready for Apparating. While he does this, Aurelia reaches out for Nymphadora; if there was one thing that he half-siblings had in common it was their deep loathing for Apparating.
Nymphadora was horrendous at Apparating, in Aurelia's opinion at least, whenever the got to their destination, she always felt like throwing up. Aurelia knew that Andromeda is much better at it but she always let Pollux go with her because he would actually throw up if he went with Nymphadora.
The Tonks' house, a little two story house that looked like a cottage you would find in the middle of forest filled with fairies, is like a second home to Aurelia, she looked forward to visiting as much as she looked forward to her yearly visits to her mum. Aurelia had been going to the Tonks for as long as she could remember and she can remember real far back. She much preferred it over Malfoy manor. Tonks' house is as warm and inviting as the people who lived there whereas Malfoy manor looked cold and intimidating and it was only the people in there that were kind, it left Aurelia feeling a little uneasy and although she missed not being able to spend more time with her other cousin and aunt, she still always crossed her fingers that it would be Auntie Andy to pick them up at a school year rather than Auntie Cissy.
Once they were all settled in, Pollux had went down to the Muggle library, for some reason he loved it there, while Aurelia and Nymphadora stayed behind to help with the chocolate chip cookies she was baking. Even Ted Tonks, Andromeda's husband was helping as he had come early from work, Aurelia's not sure what he does exactly but she's certain it had to do with Muggle Television.
Her Uncle Ted sits across the table from the two girls, helping them roll up the cookie dough, he was smoking from an ancient-looking pipe "So, Lia, how was your school year?" he questions her casually, from the corner of her eye, Aurelia sees Andromeda give Ted an alarmed look but Ted doesn't understand why. Not at first, she watches as the horror dawns on him as he stares at her ruined face, he looks desperate to change the subject.
But, Aurelia's not about to let that happen. They need to learn that it's okay to talk about it, they don't need to make it into anymore of a spectacle then it already is, she mocks her uncle's casual tone as she replies "It was okay, I guess. Snape was a dick as usual, Gryffindor can do no wrong, Harold got me into some dangerous shit again. Oh, I did get on the Hufflepuff Quidditch Team — I'm the new seeker!"
"Don't be so shy, Asterope, tell them about your new boyfriend." Nymphadora says teasingly, giving Aurelia a wide grin.
"Merlin, give me strength." Andromeda mutters to herself as she bends down to open the oven.
Aurelia glowers at Nymphadora, sticking her tongue out.
"Boyfriend?" Uncle Ted says with keen interest, giving Aurelia a curious look, "Come on, Lia, give us the details."
"He's not my boyfriend." Aurelia says flatly as she flips Nymphadora off and she ignores the offended gasp that her cousin gives her as she continues explaining the situation, "He's my new friend. I've decided that, as much as the love my trouble making trio of friends, that I need some space from them before I wind up dead. So I sat by myself and Neville Longbottom happened to stumble across my compartment and now we're friends."
"She let him cut her hair! Asterope, do you really expect us to sit here and believe you when you say you just became friends with him?" Nymphadora says, crossing her arms across her chest.
Uncle Ted studies her hair for a moment "So that's real, uh, not bad. You look like you could be another Joan Jett. Although you might want to fix your bangs —"
"That's how they've always looked."
"Oh." Ted says, retracting his hand and muttering "Yikes." under his breath.
"He's your boyfriend!" Nymphadora insists, "I would never let just anyone touch my hair!"
"That's because it already looks bad enough on its' own." Aurelia retorts.
"You take that —"
"GIRLS!" Andromeda yells, "Please, don't start this again, please. The last time you argued about boys my table ended up being stabbed — It's mahogany. Please, the bloody thing cost a fortunate."
Both Aurelia and Nymphadora fall silent, they continue working at making more cookie dough for Andromeda to bake. It's quiet for a good ten minutes and then Nymphadora throws a chocolate chip at Aurelia who looks up and glares at her again but she merely glares at the younger girl. Andromeda, who can hear the tension building just as well as she can hear the chocolate chip that just hit the floor, sighs tiredly to herself and Ted tries to hide his amused grin.
"So, Asterope, wanna talk about your little boyfriend?" Nymphadora questions casually, giving her a smug smirk.
Aurelia clenches her fists and takes a deep breath and she cooly retorts "I don't know, Nymphadora, wanna talk about the heart eyes you give Remus?"
It's Nymphadora's turn to be angry, her hair turns a bright red and she hisses "You little shit!"
Uncle Ted looks stunned "Wait, heart eyes? Remus? Since when?"
"It's nothing!" Nymphadora says and that's probably true but the same could be said about Aurelia and Neville — it's nothing more than friendship. And besides, Nymphadora barely knows Remus. But, anyone is fair game when it comes to war.
Aurelia smiles innocently, knowing she had won this round and Nymphadora glares at her, hard, she's a sore loser.
"Remus?" Ted says looking to Andromeda who merely shrugs her shoulders, "Really?"
Nymphadora pouts, turning a light pink as she tries to distract herself with the cookie dough at hand.
"So," Ted says in an attempt to lighten the mood, "How did you enjoy Hogsmeade, Lia? You know my first trip I got hit with that dancing jinx or whatever it's called, yeah, Vega —" he falters, his attempt fails miserably at the mention of the infamous Vega Lestrange.
Vega Lestrange had been a menace back in school, neither Aurelia's mum or aunts had fond memories of her and even her brothers, Rodolphus and Rabastan Lestrange, are scared of her. Vega Lestrange happens to be Pollux's mother and even he's scared of her and Pollux is hardly ever scared. That's all Aurelia knew about the infamous Lestrange, the disappearing Death-Eater, she's only ever been mentioned in passing.
Ted clears his throat "I was hit by a Slytherin for laughs and Dromeda over here felt bad for me so she brought me to your mum and had her break the jinx."
Being the adoptive daughter of a Professor meant that Aurelia had been to Hogsmeade many times before her third year, her mum would take her there once and a while on the Hogsmeade days for the older students just to get some candy if she had been doing well that year.
"It was okay, I guess." Aurelia says, it wasn't any different than the previous year. Perhaps it was a little more fun because she got to go with her friends but it wasn't anything spectacular. She frowns as a wave of tiredness washes over her and she slouches in her seat, wanting nothing more than to go to sleep. It was as if this conversation, which had hardly began, was exhausting her.
"Where did you go first?" Ted asks but the question seems to go through one ear and out the other, she stares at the table with drooping eyelids and he frowns at his niece, "Are you alright, Lia?"
There's a pause and then Aurelia nods slowly and begins to aggressively rub at her eyes "Yeah, m'fine. Are . . . Are any of the cookies cool 'nough to eat?"
"They are, girls, knock yourselves out."
After devouring about five cookies, Aurelia passes out cold on the Tonks' couch, trapping Nymphadora under her long legs, the two cousins had been having a Scooby-Doo marathon, a normal activity for them. Nymphadora pokes her cheek multiple times but Aurelia remains dead to the world and Nymphadora has no choice but sit there and watch the rest of Scooby Doo and the Boo Brothers.
Hours later, ten minutes after the Library closes, Pollux returns to the Tonks household with a pile of books. He spots his sleeping sister and cousin on the couch and a wicked grin crosses his face, he creeps forward but Nymphadora pops an eye open and hisses "Don't you dare."
Pollux scowls but he abandons the idea of scaring the shit out of them when he spots the pile of Scooby-Doo VCR tapes "How insensitive would it be if we were to put on Scooby-Doo and the Reluctant Werewolf, Dora?"
Nymphadora bites on her lip to keep herself from giggling "You're such a wanker, Lux."
"Do it, you cowards." Aurelia mumbles sleepily, she doesn't even bother opening her eyes, she knows that both of them look mortified. The slamming of the door that signalled Pollux's return had woken her up, she had been preparing herself for when Pollux would jump on him like the complete wanker that he is; he loves scaring people.
Both Nymphadora and Pollux laugh after a moment of silence, there's a sleepy smile on Aurelias' face that tells them that she really doesn't care so he puts the movie and takes a seat on the floor in front of the two girls. By the time the movie actually starts both Nymphadora and Aurelia are fast asleep again.
SUMMER VACATION STARTS out smoothly, returning to the familiar walls of her bedroom which are painted like Van Gogh's Starry Night and even charmed to move like the wind, Aurelia has less nightmares. After spending a few days at the Tonks both Pollux and Aurelia had returned to Almerry Castle, their permanent residence.
Almerry Castle castle sits upon the highest hill on Almerry Island and as far as the locals know, it's been abandoned since Bellatrix Black was sent to Azkaban. They think that Delphi, Pollux, and Aurelia live in the small two-story house at the base of the hill. While they owned that house, they didn't live in it, unless they invited Travis and Lillian Calderwood over for dinner, then they did. For reasons, Aurelia nor Pollux can understand, no one outside of Auntie Andy and Uncle Ted can know that they actually use the castle.
Almerry Castle hadn't always belonged to Aurelia's family. Seven centuries ago when the Almerrys founded the island, it had belonged to them. They were the royals of the island but they were dethroned — Aurelia's not being dramatic! She swears, this is the actual word they used in the history books about Almerry Island — by the Blacks three centuries after finding the Island. All the Almerrys were killed in a very bloody duel with the Blacks.
No one minded their deaths, most of the people on the island at the time thought that the Blacks were heroes for what they had done. The Almerrys were terrible, brutal people that made the Black family look like saints. Almerry Castle used to be filled with tortured souls that were slaughtered by the Almerrys for fun, those souls have long been released from the Castle and now only two remain. The ghosts of the youngest Almerry Children, eight-year-old Anne-Marie and six-year-old Alexander. They were allowed to stay on the condition that they'd be good and to this day they remained much to Pollux, Ellie, and Aurelia's dismay.
Since Aurelia's family had taken over Almerry Island, the castle has been passed down from generation to generation. Her grandparents had used it as a summer vacation get away instead of a permanent residence. Her mums had told her many stories of her summer vacations at the castle, they were always wild stories but they actually made her smile and that is a hard thing to do locked up in Azkaban. Almerry Castle had been gifted to Bellatrix has a wedding present when she married Delphi since Delphi had been disowned from the Carrows and had nowhere to go and Aurelia's grandparents didn't want them living with them ( they old bitches didn't/don't support her two mums ) so Cygnus gave Bellatrix Almerry Castle. A nice way of kicking her out.
Ever since then, Almerry has been spruced up by Delphi and it has become not only a wonderful home to them but Ellie's family as well. Almerry Castle is large enough for seven different families, Ellie's family has taken up residence in the upper right wing. His parents hardly come down but Ellie does, he loves to annoy Aurelia. Take this morning for example: Aurelia wakes up to Ellie screaming:
"OH, MAMA MIA! MAMA MIA! MAMA MIA! LET ME GO!"
Aurelia drags herself out of bed, she's still in her clothes from yesterday, a Hufflepuff Quidditch sweater that has seen better days, a pair of slim-fitting black jeans with three small holes on the left leg, and a pair of yellow knitted socks from Molly Weasley. Her mum's told her to get rid of the jeans multiple times now but Aurelia always says "Fuck that, these pants make my legs look good." every time, then usually adds a dramatic comment to the end of that statement that makes Delphi roll her eyes.
Stretching out her sore limbs, Aurelia heads to the large bathroom that's adjacent to her even larger bedroom to shower and brush her teeth since she didn't get around to doing those things last night.
Aurelia's halfway through her shower when Anne-Marie's voice calls out "That shower looks a little cold there."
"I like cold showers, Anne-Marie." Aurelia replies cooly, "Now please let me shower in peace, please and thank you."
"I wish I could bathe . . . And I say bathe because showers didn't exist when I was alive." Anne-Marie sighs dramatically, Aurelia can hardly make out her hardly make out the child's ghostly form through the shower curtain.
"Proper hygiene was barely a thing when you were alive. You probably bathed twice a year." Aurelia scoffs.
"I bathed once a month thank you very much! My family were no peasants! You're getting to be as rude as your sisters these days, Bellatrix!" Anne-Marie says hotly.
Aurelia sighs, it's not her fault, she reminds herself. Anne-Marie's always had trouble keeping up with the Black family, messing up the names so many times. Andromeda had told her that Anne-Marie would call her and Bellatrix 'Phoebe' all the time. Aurelia looks a lot like Phoebe Black, so does Andromeda and Bellatrix. Bellatrix happens to be the spitting image of Phoebe, except her eyes are a bright, ice blue instead of the dark grey that Phoebe had and of course Phoebe had shockingly blonde hair. Aurelia comes very close to being a spitting image and Anne-Marie sometimes calls her Phoebe but she mostly calls her 'Bellatrix'.
"Aww, didst I hurt thy feelings?" Aurelia asks mockingly, scrubbing conditioner into her scalp.
She gets no reply meaning that Anne-Marie has left, the ghost has probably gone to find Pollux or 'Regulus' \ 'Cygnus' as she often calls him.
Anne-Marie's voice sounds from downstairs "OI, REGGIE!"
"CALL ME, REGGIE, ONE MORE TIME!"
Aurelia jumps at the harshness of Pollux's voice and almost slips out of the tub but luckily she manages to balance herself. Today is going to be a long day, Aurelia thinks to herself as she starts rinse out her hair. And a long day it turns out to be indeed. The makings of a long day hit her in the face the moment she enters the kitchen where she finds a seething-with-rage Pollux and a panic-stricken Delphi.
"Oh, he knows, oh no, he knows!" Her mum mutters as she paces the kitchen, her Scottish accent is thick with concern, "If he even makes a joke about it or — or if they tell Aurelia, it'll all go up in smoke, oh no. It'll be somethin' terrible for her."
"Tell me what?" Aurelia asks, stepping into their sight, Delphi looks like a deer caught in the headlights and Pollux's hardened expression turns into one of complete indifference.
"Nothing." He says simply.
"Nooo." Delphi says placing her hands on Pollux's shoulderd and rubbing circles on them, her accent getting even thicker as she glances at Aurelia, "No, I'm goin' to have to tell her."
Pollux glares harshly at Aurelia, which sort of confuses her because she just woke up and there's no way she could have done anything to piss him off. It she had then it would be a new record.
Delphi gives Aurelia a nervous look she opens her mouth but she stay silent for a long moment before saying: "You might want to sit down for this, my darling girl."
This confuses Aurelia even further but she does what she's told nevertheless. She takes a seat at the kitchen island then Aurelia looks at Delphi expectantly and the older woman takes a deep breath.
"The Triwizard Tournament is coming to Hogwarts." She says.
"You're joking, right?" Aurelia asks meekly. She's got to be joking. They really can't be reviving that tournament after that long. And, Albus fucking Dumbledore can't be dumb enough to let it happen at Hogwarts, not while Harry Potter is attending — that's just a bloody recipe for disaster!
"I'm not, my darling . . . I'm sorry." Delphi says softly.
Aurelia glances at Pollux to gage his reaction but he looks just as, if not, even more surprised that she feels.
Aurelia's a huge history nerd so she's pretty much read everything there's to know about the the Triwizard Tournament. And everything about them practically terrified her, the tasks were nothing short of horrific . . . They could use werewolves, basilisks, or thunderbirds, they could use werewolves — they could use anything. It's horrifying, people have died trying to win it and they want to bring it back, what the fuck are they thinking? But, there's a bright side to this terrible idea —
"The Yule Ball!" Aurelia exclaims, pushing her fear of the tournament to the back of her mind, "If they're doing the tournament then that means they're doing the Yule Ball! They've got to, it's mandatory! Ooh, it'll be just like the parties Aunt Cissy and Uncle Lucy throw! I'll get to wear a fancy dress and dance!"
"You in a fancy dress? With that horrendous hairdo? What a travesty!" Pollux says dryly.
Aurelia glares at him and Ellie, who had been across the kitchen looking for a new record to play, speaks up with: "She'll look a right side better than you, you greasy-haired Snape wannabe."
Pollux flips him off "Why don't do go back to your daddy, Eleanor."
"Real classy, Lux, they boy with two adoptive mums making fun of me for being a wee bit feminine." Ellie says dryly.
"Boys," Delphi says then answers Aurelia's question, "Yes, they're doing the Yule Ball, they sent out a letter requiring dress robes for the occasion so we'll be going dress shopping sometime this summer!"
Aurelia pumps her fist in the air "Yes!"
"Wonderful, I bet I'll look great in a little black dress." Elliot says sarcastically.
"You know I meant dress robes for you." Delphi groans but then adds in a light tone: "Unless, you want to wear a dress?"
"I'll pass but only because that means I'd have to shave my legs."
"Lazy wanker." Pollux says and this time Ellie flips him off.
Delphi rolls her eyes while Aurelia snickers.
Ellie claps his hands together "Well, now that's settled, wanna go play a game of Quidditch!"
Aurelia nods "Of fucking course, I'm always down for a game of Quidditch — wanna play, Lux?"
Pollux shakes his head, giving Ellie a dirty look "No. I'm going to talk with Phoebe Black."
By this he's referring to her portrait as Phoebe Black is long dead. Phoebe's portrait has been here for a long time, it was supposed to be at Grimmauld Place along with the other deceased Black family member portraits but she had insisted on being placed here. They tried to place her in Grimmauld Place but she had pitched up such a fit and wouldn't stop until some finally placed her in Almerry and there she's remained for the last century, she's on the third floor and she has beautiful view of Almerry's sunflower fields.
Pollux talks to Phoebe a lot, they get a long quite well. Aurelia gets along with her but she knows that Phoebe often gets bored of her badgering about how life was really like back then, if it was the way history books described, so Aurelia tries not to bother her as much.
Ellie sighs dejectedly "Never mind, it's no fun if you don't play. Whatever, I'm gonna go see George, if they ask, can you tell them I'm at the Burrow."
Delphi nods "Sure thing, bud, see you later."
"Bye, Ellie!" Aurelia says, feeling sad that she's got no one to hang out with now.
"You can come to you know, Lia. I'm sure that Ginny would —"
"Nope, I promised Plant Boy that I would write to him!" Aurelia says quickly, her heart racing in her chest as she jumps up out of her seat and runs out of the kitchen.
Once, she's in the safety of her room, Aurelia slams the door behind her and she begins to cry. She can't ever face Ginny again, not when Ginny knows who she really is, not after what her father and uncle did to her. She feels horrible, guilt and physical pain weighs down heavy on her chest as she struggles to breathe. She can't handle facing Ginny, hearing what Ginny has to say about her now — she hasn't stuck around the younger girl long enough to know how Ginny feels about this situation. Quite frankly, Aurelia never wants to find out. She's perfectly fine with keeping how their friendship once was fresh in her mind then resolving the tension between them and finding out that Ginny thinks she's a monster.
Aurelia takes a deep breath and strides across her large room over to her desk, despite the fact she's crying, Aurelia starts writing a letter to Neville. After all, she had promised and it's nearly a week into their summer vacation and she had still yet to write a letter to him, he must think she's forgotten him or something.
Don't worry, Plant Boy, I haven't forgotten you . . .
━━ AUTHOR'S NOTE:
Aurelia is certainly going to be in for a surprise when she finds out that Vega Lestrange isn't Rodolphus Lestrange's sister but rather her mother's sister that happens to be identical to her!! The reason that Aurelia doesn't know that Vega wasn't born a Lestrange but rather married into the Lestrange is because NONE of the Black sisters like to acknowledge Vega which the reason for that will be explained later on in YELLOW which is the first book of this series!!! Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed the chapter, please let me know what you thought of it!