Where: Syl's house, Ottery St. Catchpole
When: Backdated to June 11, during the storm
Why: Why not?
This house was never meant to hold eleven people. I mean, it did on occasion (and more when Claude got married) but really...three bedrooms for eleven people? No wonder my brothers were forced to sleep on the couch whenever this happened. Not that anyone slept at all last night. It's a mess in here, that much is obvious.
I've been sitting in the front room listening to my Dad and Maman argue in quiet voices.
"Go back to Tours when this is done, Cari," he tells her earnestly, "your parents, your siblings...they're all there. You'll need them."
"'Ow can I look at them?" she replies tearfully in English, the accent that she's nearly perfected in over thirty years of living in the UK dissolving the way it does only when she's upset. She would be better off just reverting to French, but I know she's using the English for my dad, "Yves and Sandrine...they have their spouses, their children, 'ow can I...?"
Gah, this is too much for me. I've never been the most emotional type anyway, so I get up and move into the kitchen where I see Tessa...baking furiously?
"What are you doing?" I ask her, looking at the flour smudged over my least favourite sister-in-law's nose and cheeks.
"Making a cake for Michael," she snaps, "It is his birthday, you know. Maybe...maybe if I do this, he won't feel so scared, God knows he doesn't quite understand..."
Actually...I'd forgotten amongst all the paranoia and I feel awful as I think about it. That means Padma's birthday is tomorrow, too, and I never sent her anything, either. How Tessa continues makes me look up at her a bit in surprise. I guess I've never expected something like that out of her mouth, but...well, I've never liked her, and she's never liked me, but we both we both care about those kids like nothing else.
"Can I help?" I ask her.
She appraises me for a moment before wiping under her eye and nodding. "Sure, can you get a couple eggs?"
"Hermione Granger says they know where You-Know-Who is and they're meeting at the Ministry to go and fight and I'm going with them," I announce to my family, clutching my journal that holds her note.
Maman jumps up from her place on the couch. "Mais, Sylvie!"
"What do I have to lose?" I tell her, "I'm going to die anyway."
"If there really is a battle, don't you think there will be plenty of people rushing off as it is? Would they really need one eighteen year old girl on the front-lines rather than staying with her family?" Jerome breaks in.
"And if everyone said that, no one would go," I snap, "I'm an adult and you can't stop me. I've got to take this chance that I can save our lives. Your children's lives, Jerome. If I stay here, I'll die. If we go and fight, maybe...maybe there's a chance we can change things."
He simply looks solemnly at me for a moment before saying. "Right then. Well, you aren't going alone. I'm coming along with."
"Count me in, too," says Claude from the corner.
"And me," says Julia, grabbing on to Claude's arm.
"Well really, if my children are all going to be like that," my Dad says, a determined look on his face.
"And," Tessa begins before Maman breaks in.
"It is a noble sentiment, but you cannot all be going. 'Oo will be watching the children? And I am drawing my line at Annette, too. She is not of age."
Annette looks grumpy, but acquiesces, taking Rachel into her lap.
"I'll stay with the children, then," Tessa offers, "Cari's right, we just can't leave them here without either of their parents."
"And I will stay for Annette," Maman nods, "And the rest of you...soyez prudents."
And with one last round of tearful hugs, we separate for what may or may not be the last time, and Apparate towards our only chance at survival.