Harry woke to quiet arguing going on a few feet from him.
"Go get some rest, Hagrid," a quiet feminine voice whispered.
"No," the deep, rumbling voice of Hagrid said stubbornly. "I promised the kids I'd be here when they woke up. I won't fail them."
"I'm here now, I can watch them," the feminine voice urged, "you've been up all night."
"And I'll stay up longer if need be."
"That won't be necessary," a rough voice growled, "Mr. Potter is already awake."
Harry slowly opened his eyes, staring at three fuzzy blobs in front of him. He blindly began pawing about for his glasses.
"Here you go, luv," the feminine voice said a moment before she deposited his glasses into his hands.
"Th-thank you," Harry said quietly as he put his glasses on, blinking as the blobs came into focus. Hagrid was on his right, smiling tiredly at the young man; on his left was the woman who had stunned his uncle the day before, her hair a bubble gum pink; and finally, standing in front of him, a heavily scarred man with half his nose missing scowled at him. One of his eyes was gone, replaced by an electric blue eye that whizzed about in its socket.
"Mornin' Harry," Hagrid greeted cheerily. "How'd ye sleep?"
"Good. Thank you," Harry said cautiously, looking to his sister, who was sound asleep beside him, coughing every now and then.
"She hasn't stirred none," Hagrid assured him. "Healers may wake her up in a mo' for morning potions."
"Then let her sleep," the scarred man said gruffly. "We can question her when she's better."
"Question?" Harry asked, already bristling defensively.
"Yes." The man limped forward, holding his hand out to him. "Alastor Moody, Master Auror for the Ministry of Magic."
Harry shook his hand. "Nice to meet you, sir."
"Likewise," he grunted, then jerked a thumb to the woman, "This is Nymphadora Tonks, my Auror in training."
Nymphadora scowled, her hair getting darker as her voice dropped dangerously. "Don't call me Nymphadora." She muttered, then smiled at Harry, hair already lightening back up to bubblegum. "Call me Tonks."
"Okay," Harry said hesitantly, before smiling slightly at the three sheepishly. "Um...not to be rude...but what's an Auror?"
"Dark wizard catcher," Hagrid supplied, "best of the best."
"He's right," Moody growled, "and today, we're playing social services. Came to photograph wounds and ask questions. Get to the bottom of what happened at Number 4 Privet Drive."
"We won't push you to speak about things you don't want to," Tonks added gently when she saw the anxiety in his eyes.
"Will they do something about it this time?" The question came from Lilith, her eyes were still closed, but from the way she spoke, it seemed she had been awake this entire time.
"We'll do what we can," Moody promised, going into his pocket and pulling his wand out.
Almost instantly Lilith was up, one hand coming up as green magic began to spark from her fingers. She scowled when it faded much too fast for her liking.
Moody grinned at her. "Relax lass, only pulling my wand to conjure a chair." He carefully waved it to conjure said chair, then stowed away his wand. Only when the wand was gone did Lilith relax. "I like your attitude, missy. Constant vigilance. It'll save your life one day." He carefully extended his prosthetic leg and detached it, massaging the stump as he grimaced. "Weather always fucks with me…" he grumbled.
"Mad-eye!" Tonks exclaimed as the two children tittered, albeit cautiously. "You can't use that kind of language in front of kids!"
"I use it in front of you, don't I?" Mad-eye snapped, his glass eye spinning wildly in his head.
"What happened to your eye?" Lilith asked curiously, the picture of childhood naivety.
"You tell me about yours and I'll tell you about mine," Moody said, smiling when the girl hesitated. "If you're done trying to steer the topic to mundane things, I'd like to get this questioning over with."
Harry and Lilith looked at each other anxiously, "Don't you have enough proof?" Harry asked quietly.
"Possibly, but it never hurts to have more." Tonks watched their faces carefully. "Like I said, we won't push anymore then we have to-"
"I'm hungry," Mad-eye suddenly announced, making Tonks and Hagrid look at him in surprise. "Left early today, didn't even get my flask full." He reattached his leg and stood. "You two hungry?" he asked the kids and, upon receiving identical nods, motioned to the door. "Well, come on, then. This place has a caf, and it's not too bad, if I do say so meself. Can you two walk?"
"We can," Lilith said, cutting off Harry before he could say anything.
"Then hop to, I want a proper English Breakfast before noon.
"Mad-eye-" Tonks started, only to be waved off by the gruff man.
"-they're tough, they can make it." He opened the door and looked at the twins. "Well, come along, then."
Lilith decided that Mad-Eye was going to be her favorite person. Rough, uncouth, a mouth like a sailor, and little to no decorum about him. He was the exact thing that the Dursleys turned their noses up at.
And Lilith loved it.
"Always loved the food here," Mad-Eye said to fill the silence as he cut into his eggs, checking it thoroughly before devouring it voraciously. "Tasted great when I'd get out of the Dark Magic Ward. Been there enough times during the war to know. They always make the eggs fluffy. Raspberry syrup is best with those." He grunted as he bit into his eggs, casting a look at Harry. "Gives them a good balance."
Harry paused, then politely asked for the syrup, which Mad-eye then passed with an approving nod.
"Now." Mad-Eye picked up his toast and began buttering it. "We need to get these questions out of the way, but I can do that without you speaking of it." He put the piece of toast in his mouth and pulled two small vials out of his cloak pocket.
"There is a way," he began, "to pull a copy of your memories out of your heads for viewing. The downside of this is that you have to think of the memories so that I can pull them out…so what do you say kids? Which method would you rather do?"
The two twins looked at each other, considering the choices laid out for them. Lilith smoothed her hands across her lap, then met Mad-Eye's gaze and slowly nodded. "We'll take the memory option."
Mad-Eye smiled grimly and slowly pulled his wand. "Then let's get to work. It'll be a bit uncomfortable, but bring those memories to the forefront of your mind, and hold them there. We'll do you first, lass."
Lilith kept a stoic mask as she remembered all the horrible things her aunt and uncle had done to them: the beatings, the starving, the broom closet. A single tear trailed down her cheek as she remembered her brother lying motionless on the floor, blood oozing from a deep cut on the back of his head from the edge of a well-timed frying pan.
Mad-Eye quickly made the copies and put them in the vials, nodding grimly. "It's always hard, remembering the bad, but don't let it drag you to a dark place. Learn from it, and move on." He leaned in to the two, "I know you two want revenge, and I'll do what I can to get that, but I know nothing will ever truly make up for the hurt you endured. Nothing but time."
The Auror stood with a grunt. "Soon as you're done eating, we'll get to the physical examinations. Take your time."
Lilith sat on one side of a divider screen, carefully taking off her clothes. On the other side of the screen, Tonks was talking to her animatedly.
"-but Mum is adamant that she's going to adopt you two. She was fairly good friends with James and Lily, you see, and wants to make sure you're taken care of properly."
"Then why didn't she just take us in when they died?" Lilith asked inquisitively, but it came across bitterly. There was a pause from Tonks, before she supplied a rapid-fire answer..
"Well, she tried to petition for it, but the court ruled you were safe where you were, and wouldn't specify exactly where that was. She sent letters and gifts for Christmas and your birthdays but never got a reply back...I guess we know why, now," she finished, voice slightly tinted with something - anger? Sadness? Jealousy?
Lilith felt a jolt of anger run through her. People had been trying to contact them? And Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon stopped us from ever finding out. "So your mum will be taking care of us?"
"Hopefully, they're in a bit of a deadlock with the courts because of the Malfoys trying to gain custody, but I wouldn't expect them to be awarded with it, anyway."
Lilith nodded, taking a moment to process the information. She squared her shoulders and took a deep breath. "I'm ready."
Tonks stepped around the curtain and stopped cold as she saw the scars that covered the younger girl, from the deep gashes that had been left by her uncle's belt, to small cuts and scrapes from broken beer bottles and beatings.
"Merciful Morgana…" Tonks whispered. Lilith kept her head up, refusing to look away when Tonks gave her a look filled with pity before she began taking pictures of the scars.
"If this doesn't get those two thrown into Azkaban for life, then I don't know what will," Tonks said grimly as Lilith redressed. "Do you need anything, kiddo?"
Lilith shook her head mutely. "Is Harry done?
"I reckon Mad-Eye's about finished. I'm gonna go check."
Lilith sat down on her bed with a tired sigh, barely looking up when Harry walked in, looking just as drawn out and tired as she did. "How'd it go?"
"Mad-eye looked murderous when I explained the burns and cracked ribs from the frying pan," Harry said, sitting down next to her with a sigh. "How are you feeling?"
"Like my lungs are about to explode, " she muttered, barely stifling a cough.
"Lay down and try to get some more rest, then. You're definitely doing better than you were yesterday."
"I think it's the potions they gave me. Antibiotics have nothing on them."
Harry nodded solemnly and sat watching the door as his sister fell into an uneasy sleep. For a few hours he was content to simply observe as every now and then a nurse would come in to check on them. He watched like a hawk when they gave his sister potions and scanned her with their wands. His silent vigil ended when Tonks walked back into the room with Hagrid at her side, a brown bag held in her hands.
"Alright, kiddos. Mad-Eye's done for the most part. He wanted to say goodbye but got rushed off before he was able to. I've got to go as well, but here's a little something better than hospital food." She placed the bag on a small tray in front of Harry and opened it.
Harry's mouth watered as the smell of food filled the air.
"Didn't know if you two have ever been to McDonald's, so I just got the basics - burgers and chips, some soda too."
"Lilith, wake up," Harry said softly, shaking his sister slightly, making her sit up. Her eyes widened when she saw the bag and smelled the food.
"Dig in, kiddos," Tonks said cheerfully, turning to walk out of the room. "If you two ever need anything, just have Hagrid contact me or Mad-Eye. Get well soon!"
"Thank you, for everything," Harry said with a smile. Lilith nodded in agreement.
"Think nothing of it. Just part of the job," came the warm response as Tonks left the room.
"Good one, tha' girl is," Hagrid said as the twins began to pull food out of the bag. "Head's on right, clumsy o' course, but she makes up for it. Personally, think it's her parents that are responsible, but she's always had a good heart."
"She said her parents were trying to adopt us," Lilith said as she nibbled on a burger, her spinning mind clearly outweighing her hunger. "Do you know them?"
"Course I know them," Hagrid said jovially, "Ted and Andromeda Tonks are the kindest people I've ever met, 'sides from Dumbledore. If they're trying ta adopt ya then you'll be in good .
hands. Give me word on tha'."
The Next Day
The twins sat outside the head healer's office, where Professor McGonagall was interrogating the head healer and the people the twins were told would be their adoptive parents. Lilith absentmindedly played with the edge of her jumper, while Harry twiddled his thumbs and stared at the wall.
"You'll love them," Hagrid had reassured them once more before leaving that morning. "Ain't no finer witch or wizard in Britain!"
While the opinion of the large man had come to mean a lot to the two children, they still approached this situation with caution.
"If there's even a hint of something wrong, we run," Lilith whispered to Harry, who nodded.
"They won't be like Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia." Harry said quietly, "No one can be that bad…"
"Doesn't mean they'll be much better," she muttered, "and for all we know, they're only taking us in for whatever money the government gives them."
"But it's Tonks' parents… so wouldn't they be good?"
"We barely know Tonks. Besides, what difference does it make how nice a child is if the person who raised them is horrible? Look at us."
Harry just nodded again, his consideration of her words interrupted when the door opened and Professor McGonagall walked out, followed by the middle-aged couple.
The man was fair-haired and big-bellied, with crinkles at the corners of his soft blue eyes to indicate that he smiled a lot. He had broad shoulders, giving the impression that he could have been a linebacker once upon a time. He was tall, but not imposing, and his gaze was gentle as he smiled down at the two children.
The woman at his side was fair-skinned with long raven black hair that fell around her in curls. She was shorter than her husband, but had an air of confidence that made her appear taller and stronger. She was petite, but not soft, and her garnet brown eyes held an unreadable emotion flickering through them as she stared at the children.
"Lilith, Harry," Professor McGonagall started, her voice unusually soft. "This is Andromeda and Ted Tonks. They'll be the ones who will take care of you from now on."
"Hi," Harry said hesitantly.
"How are you, Harry? Lilith?" Ted asked, giving them a warm smile. "As Professor McGonagall said, I'm Ted, well, Edward, but most know me as Ted so don't be scared to call me such." He gave an awkward chuckle that made Andromeda look at him strangely.
"Can you be any more awkward, Ted?" she asked, with a snort of amusement. She looked back at the twins. "I'm Andromeda, and it's a pleasure to meet you two."
"It's nice to meet you," Harry said, looking at Lilith.
"A pleasure," She echoed Andromeda's words hollowly.
Ted smiled, and clapped his hands together. "Well, shall we? We have a long day ahead of us, so let's get this show on the road."
The drive through London was quiet, with only Ted attempting to start a conversation with the siblings.
"Gorgeous view, isn't it?" Ted asked them as they crossed the London Bridge. "Always takes my breath away when I visit. I grew up in a small village about three hours to the north, see, so we only came to London twice a year…" he trailed off and looked in the rearview window at the two children looking out the window, faces apprehensive. Clearly his topics weren't breaking the ice. "So, what are your interests? Play any sports?"
"Ted," Andromeda chided gently, reading the room much easier than her talkative husband. "I don't think they want to talk right now."
Ted hesitated then nodded, and proceeded to stare ahead.
Andromeda looked back to the twins. "We're going to stop in Muggle London for a bit to get you two some new clothes. Those jumpers are well and good, but you'll need something better than those threadbare jeans and shirts."
Lilith looked offended, but wisely kept her mouth shut, while Harry leaned forward. "What are muggles?"
"Muggles? They're non-magical folk. People who can't use magic like you and me."
"It sounds like a slur," Lilith muttered.
"Sometimes, it can be considered such," Ted piped up, shooting a glance at Andromeda, "but it's usually not meant to offend. Of course, it took forever for my parents to be comfortable with being called it."
"Ted here is a muggleborn," Andromeda said upon seeing the twins' confusion, "born of two non-magical parents."
"But...how do you have magic?" Lilith asked, her brow furrowing. "From the way people talk, I assumed that you had to have magical parents to be magical."
"It's not how it works at all," he said with a friendly smile. "I don't think it's ever been truly proven how a muggleborn gains their magic. You can't steal magic, and you can't teach someone who isn't magical-"
"-many believe that Muggleborns are descendants from squibs," Andromeda supplied, picking up where her husband left off, "squibs being a non-magical born to magical parents. That theory has been disproven many times. Many just believe it's a gift from Magick herself-"
"-or himself," Ted chimed in, making Andromeda glare at him.
"Magick is not a man."
"We don't know that, Magick could just as easily be a man as it could be a woman."
Andromeda groaned. "We're not having this argument again."
"Because you know I could be right."
"Because I know you're annoying," Andromeda retorted as they pulled up to a strip mall. She looked back to the children, who were staring at the adults in amusement. "Come children, let's go find you two a new wardrobe."
What followed was three hours of the twins dress-up-dolls for Andromeda, who made sure to get them the necessities before coming up with what she thought would be 'their style'. She absolutely refused to dress them similarly, and always made sure to get their input. Lilith loved the process and gladly tried on the many dresses and outfits that Andromeda pushed towards her, while attempting to remain neutral towards the whole process. Harry was more subdued in his enthusiasm, mostly trying to keep his clothes simple. Yet, he couldn't stop the enthusiasm when Andromeda would pull something out he thought was 'cool', which included a pair of sturdy black military boots that he spied from across the store.
"Is there anything you see that you want?" Andromeda asked them as they made their way towards the cash register. Lilith wore a very beautiful blue summer dress and Harry was in a black shirt and a brand new pair of jeans.
"No, ma'am," Lilith said, giving Harry a happy smile while keeping her face neutral to the adult.
"I'm good," Harry said quietly as they made their way forward. He stopped for a few moments as he spotted a leather jacket, peeking out from a rack of used clothes.
Andromeda followed his gaze and quickly walked towards it, pulling it off the rack and studying it then Harry.
"Hmmm…it may be too big for you...but I'm sure you'll grow into it," she said, putting it on the pile.
"T-thats ok!" Harry said quickly, "I… I don't need it-"
"-but do you want it?" Andromeda prodded gently.
"Well…" he eyed the jacket. It was old and faded, and had several zippers, like one would see on a biker. "I don't know…" he hesitated as Andromeda smiled.
"Then we'll buy it" Andromeda said, putting it atop the pile. "We can always donate it if you end up not liking it."
Harry smiled to himself as they checked out and made their way towards the car, where Ted was having a smoke. He quickly threw the cigarette down and stomped it out as soon as he saw them approach. "Andy! How was the shopping?" he asked with a nervous chuckle.
Andromeda gave him a kind smile, "It was great, darling! Oh, and if I see you smoking again…" she left the threat hanging as she walked to the car and began loading their purchases into the boot, with Lilith and Harry helping as much as they could.
Ted sighed and helped with the loading, then quietly got into the car alongside his wife and the twins.
"I swear that's the only cigarette I had," he tried.
"Mhmm, throw the pack out by tonight or you're sleeping on the couch."
Ted said nothing, only pulled his pack out and crumpled it up. He hardly gave it a look before throwing it out the window as he began driving.
Harry and Lilith began giggling quietly, making Ted smile. "I know. I'm whipped," he said to them.
"And you love every minute of it, "ANdromeda quipped as they began making their way out of the city.
Soon suburbs turned into farmland. Lilith and Harry stared, awe-stricken, at the golden fields of wheat and green plains where horses and cows roamed. Ted looked back at them and smiled, sharing a look with Andromeda. He turned down a dirt road, which lead them to a low stone wall with a broken gate that opened for them as soon as they were close. Once they passed the wall, the road changed to gravel, with green, slightly overgrown lawns. Lilith gasped as she saw a strange creature trotting across the ground. It was large, possessing the head and front legs of an eagle and the body of a horse, its large wings flapping as the car drove by.
"Wow…" Harry whispered as the creature cantered away towards four other creatures of similar build, all of them surrounding a squat, mean-faced man with crazy white hair, who was throwing what looked like ferrets towards the beasts.
"Hippogriffs," Andromeda said, making the twins look to her, "We have a small herd that we inherited. Very proud and beautiful creatures."
"Fun to ride, too. Just don't pull any of the feathers," Ted winced as if remembering something. "Very unpleasant."
"Who's that taking care of them?" Lilith asked.
"His name is Ronan, a half-dwarf. He's been here for longer than I can remember. Not the nicest of men, but he does love taking care of those Hippogriffs." Andromeda smiled as they finally came up to a house,. It craned elegantly upward, two stories with walls of black stone. On its left side a small addition made of mostly glass stood; thousands of plants could be seen inside, some moving ever so slightly behind tinted glass. The chimney on top of the house was happily puffing out multi-colored clouds of smoke.
"Welcome," Ted said as he pulled into their driveway, "to the Tonks Estate."
"The house was a gift from my uncle." Andromeda said conversationally to the twins as they carefully stepped out of the car. "He came into possession of it when my father Cygnus Black passed. It's been in the Black family for generations."
"The Black Family?" Harry questioned.
"They were an old pureblood family," Ted said as he unloaded their bags and put them on the porch. "The last of the most noble and ancient houses. Only four surviving members, if I remember correctly."
"And only one who still carries the surname 'Black'," Andromeda finished as Ted walked back to the car, giving his wife a kiss.
"I have to get to the office. Should be home before dinner," Ted said to the kids, "I'll see you all tonight."
"Have a good evening, darling." Andromeda said, "I love you."
"I love you too, honey," Ted said with a smile and a blown kiss as he got into the car and began driving away.
Andromeda watched him drive away, before turning to the children and clasping her hands together. "Well then," she said, "ready to see your new home?"
Lilith and Harry looked at each other, then carefully intertwined hands and nodded.
Andromeda smiled and walked towards the house, the twins trailing behind her. She pulled her wand and waved it at the bags, making them lift into the air as she unlocked the door and opened it. Harry and Lilith stepped in, looking around the house in surprise as they realized the inside was even larger than it was on the outside. The front door opened into a long hallway with forest green walls. Several doorways branched off from the hallway, two leading into different parlors while another opened into a very nice dining room. Still another lead to a set of polished stairs.
"This place is amazing," Harry declared as he stepped into one of the parlors, staring at the portraits on the walls that were moving and looking around. One of them looked down at Harry and waved cheerily, making Harry wave back. Lilith was looking in the other parlor, marveling at the shelves full of books that covered two full walls.
Andromeda stepped into the parlor Lilith was in, looking about wistfully. "This is my favorite room in the house," the older woman said softly, carefully pulling a book out of its spot on the shelf and opening it. "All the knowledge and stories in this room...it's the last link I have to my family."
"The Blacks?" she asked.
Andromeda nodded sadly. "My father was furious when I married Ted. I was supposed to wed Rabastan Lestrange - a dark, nasty wizard who I had loathed through most of school - but I loved Ted, so I eloped with him. As soon as he found out, I was cut off from the family. Only Uncle Alphard was sympathetic with me. He gave us this house as a wedding gift and when he passed, he gave me half of his wealth." She smiled softly as she closed the book. "He was a good man. Crazy, and a little too close to the goblins for most peoples' taste, but a good man, nonetheless." She put the book up and looked at Lilith, with a refreshed and charmingly smile. "Come now, let's show you two to your rooms."
Andromeda once again led them as they went up the stairs, both children looking around as they spotted several other portraits and rooms. "There's seven rooms in all up here," Andromeda said conversationally, "One is mine and Ted's room, another is our daughter Nymphadora's room, and Ted's study and my potions lab are also up here."
She stopped in front of a Mahogany door. "This room is yours." She opened the door, revealing a fairly large room with two beds, side by side. One wall was covered in shelves and books, while the other had two desks and matching chairs. Against the wall that mirrored the bed were several trinkets and toys, both muggle and magical.
"We didn't know what you two were interested in," Andromeda fretted as Lilith and Harry walked in, looking everything over but not daring to touch anything, "so we got just a little bit of everything." She waved her wand again and sent the bags of clothes into the room. Quickly the bags emptied and the clothes were folded and placed into twin wardrobes that stood on the side of the beds.
Harry carefully picked up a broomstick, staring at it in confusion, barely holding it as it vibrated slightly against his fingertips.
"Ted's old Cleansweep Seven," she said with a fond smile, "one of the better models to come out of that line. Pulls just a little to the left when you fly, though."
"We can actually fly brooms?" Harry asked in surprise.
"Of course," Andromeda said, "and there are a few games that you can play on them, as well. Ask Ted to tell you about Quidditch, when you both get a chance." She looked at Lilith, who was staring at a small stuffed bear in her hands. "I'll give you both some time to get settled. Lunch will be served in an hour, and after that, we'll head to Diagon Alley." She turned and began walking out the room, stopping when Lilith spoke.
"Thank you…" Lilith said softly, looking up at the woman with wide eyes. "Thank you for this."
"Think nothing of it, sweetheart." Andromeda said with a smile and a passive wave. "Feel free to explore the house. Just steer clear from my potions lab and be wary of the greenhouse. The venomous tentacula have been especially grabby lately." And with that ominous warning, Andromeda walked downstairs, leaving the twins alone in their room. They listened as her footsteps receded, fading further and further until they could no longer hear them.
"What do you think?" Harry asked softly after a few moments of silence.
"I don't know yet…" Lilith said quietly, hugging the bear to her chest, and staring at the floor. "They seem too good to be true…"
"I think they're just genuinely nice people…" Harry said gently.
"And if they're not?" Her gaze snapped up to his.
"Then...then we run."
Lilith nodded slightly, looking to the book shelves, "I wonder what books they put in here…"
Two hours later.
Andromeda smiled as she watched the Potter twins bicker. Lunch had come and gone, and the two spent their time talking about books and theories on what Diagon Alley was like. It warmed her heart to see them so happy, though she knew they were still holding themselves back. She couldn't blame them, she supposed, as she behaved similarly when she met Ted.
"-do you think there'll be dragons?" Harry wondered, absentmindedly drinking the glass of juice in front of him, wondering at its peculiar taste.
"Absolutely not. Dragons are too large. They wouldn't be able to fit if it's in London. Maybe more hippogriffs?"
"Maybe some Dwarves!"
"Is there a book shop?" Lilith asked, looking to Andromeda, who took a sip of her tea before answering.
"Flourish and Blotts is the best one there," she said, voice dancing melodically over the stranger words. "There are also several smaller secondhand book stores a little ways off the beaten path. If we have time, I will try and take you there." She checked the clock on the wall and primly stood up. "Come along, children, it's quite time to go."
The twins quickly jumped up, following Andromeda as she stepped out into the front yard.
"Take my hand." She said, reaching for the twin closest to her. "Hold on tight and don't let go. Probably best to close your eyes, as well."
"What are you doing?" Lilith asked suspiciously as she recoiled slightly, already assuring herself she wouldn't close her eyes around these people yet.
"It's called apparition. It's a bit like teleporting, only more...uncomfortable. Hate to do it so soon after lunch, but it is the fastest way." She wiggled her outstretched fingers at Lilith. "Do you trust me?"
Lilith hesitated, and looked at her brother, who looked just as apprehensive, but nodded strongly as he took Andromeda's left hand. With a sigh Lilith grabbed Andromeda's hand with her right.
"Alright, on the count of three! One...two...three!"
Lilith couldn't help but shut her eyes tightly as she felt something akin to being squeezed through a very tight tube. The sensation ended just as quick as it started, and soon she was staggering slightly against Andromeda, who had her arms around both of them.
"You both did amazing!" She praised as Harry took a deep breath to calm himself, slightly green in the face. "Nymphadora threw up the first time she apparated with me."
"She did?" Lilith asked, fighting off the queasy feeling in her stomach.
"She did, the poor dear," Andromeda sighed. "Well children, right in front of you is the entrance."
Lilith looked up and narrowed her eyes in suspicion, seeing only a couple of rusty trash cans and a solid brick wall. Was the woman trying to play a joke on them? She cast her eyes around them, mapping out a plan of escape.
"There's a trick to it," Harry piped up as he cast a cautious glance at the woman, "isn't there?"
"That there is!" Andromeda said with a smile, raising her wand. "Three up, two across, tap three times." Her wand moved as she spoke, tapping three times on a certain brick. To the amazement of the twins, the bricks began to move, falling away until all that stood was an archway.
"Welcome," she proclaimed to the awe-struck children, "to Diagon Alley."