They arrived home ten minutes later, half the time it usually took. Andrea sat down on a stool at the kitchen counter and waited for her mother to explain herself.
“I’m sorry Lia. I was waiting to tell you until you were an adult. And I know I should have just told you sooner. But I never thought my past would find me. At least not like this.”
"But why hide who you are? I don’t get that,” Andrea said, confusion written on her face.
“Because I was scared. I didn’t want to bring you up in a war zone.” Taking a breath, Ginny started her tale. “When I found out I was pregnant, the War had been going on for over 3 years. And there was no end in sight. You’ve learned about it in school, right?”
“Well yes, a little. Next year is when we really work on it.”
“Tell me what you know so I don’t sound repetative. We could be here all day.”
“Well I know that the war started the month Harry Potter graduated from Hogwarts. Voldemort attacked the school in an attempt to take over, but failed mainly because of the Order of the Phoenix and something called the D.A.” A small smile crossed Ginny's face; she remembered being there, so proud to be protecting the school. She had been so naïve. The battle had raged all day, only ceasing when Voldemort was able to get off the grounds and disapperate. Andrea continued, noting the faraway smile. “It lasted a little over ten years but there were times of peace when each side was able to let their fighters heal. And that was the time when Voldemort recruited more followers. Death Eaters, he called them. ”
A shiver still went down Ginny’s spine at that name. “Do you know the key members in the Order and D.A.”, she asked, trying to speed things up.
“Umm… there was Harry Potter, of course, Ronald Weasley, Hermione Granger, and Draco Malfoy in the Order, and I know that the first three were the founders of the D.A., and that Harry led most of their their meetings. We talked a little about it in school in first year, but nothing really since.”
“Do they really have him in the history books as ‘Ronald’,” Ginny asked absently, thinking of her brother.
"Mum, what is this all about?” Andrea had only recited a boring history lesson. She couldn’t quite see any connections.
“Well, first of all, when I moved here, I changed my name. I really didn’t want to be found, especially after the way I left.”
“What did you change it from?”
The questions stopped. Andrea was shellshocked. Listening to the quiet, she heard footfalls on the stairs outside. “Mum, someone’s at the door,” she whispered worriedly.
Ginny left the room, running upstairs quietly, to retrieve her wand. Even though she hadn’t used it in years, it was better than nothing. She arrived back just in time to see Andrea behind the counter, wand in hand—and to hear three almost timid knocks.
As he got back on the highway, Draco pulled a slip of paper from his pocket. On it, was an address in a town about fifteen miles south of the bookstore. Twenty minutes later, he found himself outside a simple brown two-story house sitting on quiet a bit of land.
The walkway curved around from the left side of the driveway to the front of the house. Walking up several steps, Draco couldn’t help but grimace with each move. His scraping steps echoed off the stone. With all the noise, those inside no doubt already knew they had a visitor.
Disarming the glamour spell and taking a deep breath, he nervously knocked on the door three quick times.
Watching her mother run up the stairs, Andrea went to fetch her wand, which was with the rest of her school things in the basement, even though she knew she couldn’t use it, and took refuge behind the kitchen counter with a perfect view of the door. She watched her mother come down the stairs and, at the three quick knocks, reach for the doorknob.
The door opened, and Draco knew he must have been dreaming. She had barely changed in those sixteen years.
“Oh my god. Ginny.” Stunned, Ginny said, “Draco, what are you doing here?”
“Looking for you.”
“Isn’t it obvious? Living without you is impossible. Ron and I have been searching high and low for any sign of you since the end of the War. And I need to the truth, for sanity’s sake. Why did you leave all those years ago? The truth this time,” he said quickly, pulling out of his pocket, a folded piece of yellowing parchment that had seen better days.
Ginny recognized it, and gasped. She let go of the door, reaching for the paper. Draco noticed her wand clutched in her right hand, smiling inwardly at her wasted effort.
She didn’t need to see it to recognize the letter she left on the counter the night she left. Ginny could scarcely breath. It was time for the truth. The whole truth.
“Come in and take a seat. This seems like the perfect day for dredging up the past,” she whispered, meaning the last bit more for herself. Closing the door behind them, Ginny led Draco into the kitchen where Andrea was still crouched behind the counter.
“Lia, come on. It’s all right, I swear. Just don’t curse him into oblivion. It’s time for all the whole story, for the both of you.”
A teenage girl rose from behind the counter, slipping her wand into her sweatshirt pocket. Draco recognized her from the café.
“Does she know about me? About us,” Draco asked softly, wondering to himself why there had been no refernece to a family in the town's records.
“No, at least not in the way she should.” Collapsing in a chair next to him, Ginny broke down. “I’m so sorry. I never thought anyone would find me. But I never stopped loving you. I had to leave. Not only for you, for us, but for Lia.”
Andrea was usually good at handling pressure, but this was different. What is going on, she thought, this morning I was perfectly normal, or at least as close as I cared to be, but now, now, everything is changing on me.
“Whoa. Wait a second. Before you two lose yourself, in past memories, don’t I deserve some sort of explanation,” Andrea pleaded.
Ginny looked from Andrea’s now stone grey eyes, over to Draco’s. They were the same colour, but hers were flecked with gold. Then to her hands, clasped together on the table. She started her tale and didn’t stop until it was finished. Glancing at the clock she knew dinner was coming on and wondered how she could think so casually, when her world was turning upside-down. Because otherwise I’ll go insane, she thought to herself.
Draco was staring at Andrea with a new gleam in his eyes, surprise and excitement written all over his face.
“I… God… I’m… I’m a father,” he whispered. Andrea was sitting across the table looking like she had just opened Pandora’s box. Out of it came her mother’s past, her leaving everything she knew to raise her daughter in a world free of war. But the box was closed, just in time and found the goodness that was left. She found her father.
After a few minutes of sitting, and absorbing everything, Andrea met her mother’s gaze and they stood simultaneously and started rummaging through the kitchen.
Perplexed, Draco asked, “What in Merlin’s name are the two of you doing?”
“Dinner”, Andrea said, not looking up from her search. “Mum, get out and let me do this.”
Ginny left the kitchen, letting her daughter exercise her rein as ‘Queen of the Kitchen’.
Smiling she said, “Lia’s a splendid cook, we’re in for a treat tonight,” and motioned for Draco to follow her into the living room.
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