Once Upon a Time

Chapter 2- A Chapter Taking Place at Black Manor
By Lydia Gleaves
Recap: He was about to question her as to why she wanted to see his mother, but she was already gliding across the sky. Faintly, he could make out her troubled-looking face. He shrugged slightly to himself and closed the door, returning to his essay on cauldron bottoms. Onwards, to the delectable story inside: Glad I’m away from that creep, Rachel thought. I wonder why he said this house was dangerous. I wonder why this Weasley woman is at my father’s parents’ house. I wonder why I did this in the first place. I wonder… her thoughts continued in this manner until she landed in front of the house. It wasn’t at all what she had expected. Firstly, she had been thinking there would be some security. She had just landed in front of the ex-mansion of one of the richest pure-blood families in the area, and she hadn’t been arrested or cursed yet. Secondly, it was… small. It was squeezed between two muggle homes, and neither of the neighbors seemed to take any notice as they climbed up the steps into their huge Victorian homes. She made her way up the granite stairs, expecting wizards to fly out from behind the pillars, wands pointed on her, ready to curse. Nobody did. She stopped at the huge door. There was a bright light coming through from the edges of the door. She raised her hand and gently knocked on the door. The ancient wooden door flew open. A shaggy black dog stood next to a plump, red-headed woman who could only be Mrs. Weasley. “If you don’t mind my asking, dear,” Mrs. Weasley asked slowly, “Who are you?” “I- I- I’m Rachel. Rachel Artemis Black,” Rachel replied quietly, holding up the invitation, “Am I too late for the party?” She smiled weakly as the black dog ran back down the hallway. “I guess he doesn’t like me much.”

“Don’t be silly, Rachel, of course he does!” She still looked shocked from hearing Rachel’s identity. “Now, why are you here?” “I guess the party excuse didn’t work,” Rachel replied, laughing a little more confidently. “Well, I was looking for… well, I had better start at the beginning.” “Come in, dearie, come in. We need to get you some soup before you can tell me your story!” “We?” “Well, yes,” Mrs. Weasley replied. “There’s me and my husband Arthur; our sons Bill, Charlie, Fred, George, and Ron; our daughter Ginny; and a few others in a- a group of friends.” “Oh,” she replied, feeling rather stupid. Of course a person couldn’t live here alone. “Thank you for giving me food.” “It’s no problem. Anybody who comes to Molly will be bloated by the time they leave,” said a red-headed, older man behind Mrs. Weasley. “This is my husband, Arthur,” Molly said, nodding towards the man. “Splendid to meet you, miss…?” Arthur asked. “Rachel Artemis Black,” Molly filled in for her. Something sparked in the back of Mr. Weasley’s mind, and he started to ask Rachel something, but Molly sent him an absolutely brilliant “you-ask-aboutanything-and-you-will-be-ve ry -sorry” look. He shut his mouth immediately. “Come on in, we’ll introduce you to everybody!” Molly said, breaking the tense silence. “That would be great, but there was actually only one person I was looking for. That would be you. I found a letter from you to my mother and I poked around until I found your address. When I got there was just one red-headed man there. He never said his name. He sent me here, which is confusing, but I’ll explain that in a moment. I was wondering if you knew of any relatives of mine besides my aunt Lisa. She… she died a few years back, and I’ve been looking for my family. The reason the man sending me here was confusing was that this was my father’s parents’ house. He never talked to them much. I was wondering for a while why a friend of my mother’s would be staying in the house of my… er… ‘rather unlikable’ grandparents.” “We know-“ Arthur began, but Molly cut him off. “I have no idea where any of your family are, but you can stay here with us for as long as you need. Okay? After all, there’s plenty of room in this old house. As for why we’re here, I promise you’ll find out shortly after dinner. But these lot are very hungry, so if you could hurry up the stairs and change, I’ll explain to the others your… situation. There’s an empty room on the third floor, seventh on the right.” “Thanks again, I hope I don’t disturb anything,” Rachel said. “Of course not, dear. Now go unpack your things and dinner will be ready by the time you come down. Do you remember your room?” “Got it. Go up the stairs, go to the third floor, then go to the seventh room on the right.” “Amazing memory you have,” Arthur said, speaking for the first time in ages.

“Thanks,” Rachel said, blushing, “I guess I get it from trying to remember everything about my parents. I wish I could find a trace of either of them… I’m sorry, I shouldn’t be complaining when I just got offered a place to stay. I’ll be going up now.” “Don’t you have any other bags?” Arthur questioned. “Er- no. This is it,” Rachel said, fearing that she would be looked down upon. “Well, that will change as soon as you get settled. We’ll make plans to get you some more clothes as soon as we get the school lists. Oh, I must keep in mind to tell Dumbledore to send an extra list for you, and…” Molly started saying. But Rachel never heard any of that lengthy monologue. She had already hurried up the stairs to her room, and had finished unpacking by the time Mrs. Weasley realized Rachel had left. Molly looked around, bewildered, and rushed off to the kitchen to finish the dinner they were about to have.

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