Almost nothing had changed in the Catterborough Woodhouse dining room: it was still grand, like every room in the mansion, with marble floors, its own massive fireplace and a long oaken table centered in the middle, while a wall-tall set of windows offered a view of the large garden beyond. The only real difference was that oncle Achille had refreshed the paintings.
Andie had certainly spared no expense to celebrate her return: Bellatrix was confronted with a table set for a four-course meal. The finest of meals. Aged Dragon Carpaccio, one of her favourites, had been served on her plate, ready to be eaten while Sebastian had poured the entire family glasses of expensive champagne.
Seating arrangements were as she would have expected. Andie was seated at the head of the table, as befitting for the head of the household. Nymphadora and her husband Ted were sat on either side. Herself and Cissy sat on the right of her, next to Ted, while Draco and Lucius sat opposite to them. Her father was sat at the opposite end of the table as sign of respect towards the old head of the household. That left two seats conspicuously empty: that of maman and oncle Achille. Though Bellatrix understood why, she felt it was unfortunately they were not at the table with them to share this family moment.
Cissy's old boyfriend, Lucius Malfoy had certainly grown up. From his expression, Bellatrix judged that he really didn't want to be here right now. Ever so often, he'd glare at Ted Tonks which, in turn, earned him a stern look from Andie, to a point where Bellatrix actually saw Lucius cringe a few times.
Ted Tonks. Now he was a cypher. Of all of those present, he was certainly the most... under dressed. It was as if the gardener had decided to join the manor family at the table. Still, Ted was a jovial, fair-haired and big-bellied man. From the glances Andie often gave her, it seemed that she loved him very much.
"Uncle Alphard not coming?" asked Nymphadora, to which Cygnus shook his head.
"Can't get a hold of him," said Cygnus. "He and Morag were spending some time away in the wilderness. I'm sure they'll come to meet Bellatrix as soon as they can."
"Well, as long as we're talking seating arrangements," laughed Draco after taking his first bite. "Should we be setting a chair for Granger? Guessing she'll be part of this gathering before long."
Next to him, Nymphadora let out a laugh. "What? Jealous?"
Draco blinked. "Certainly not!"
"I think you're jealous," Dora winked at Bellatrix. It was her cue to jump in.
Bellatrix narrowed her eyes and crossed her arms in a mocking fashion. "Serious talk. Are you my competition? Because if you are, I'm not holding back. And I fight dirty!"
A shudder went through Draco as he actually seemed horrified by the thought. "Just for your information, I find Granger to be completely repulsive!"
"Why?" Bellatrix raised an eyebrow. "What's wrong with her?"
"I'll write you list!" Draco retorted. "You're welcome to her, auntie!"
Lucius let out a sigh. "Yes, we do have to be grateful for small mercies, now don't we?"
Thankfully, Nymphadora was keeping Draco busy with some small talk. Apparently, the two cousins were surprisingly fond of each other despite their differences, with Draco starting to push back against Dora's teasing. Next to her Ted, smiled at her. "Well, Dromeda told me so much about you," spoke Ted with a mellow and pleasant voice. "After she's been waiting for your return for over thirty-three years, here you are. I'm happy for you both. I imagine it's all a bit strange, isn't it?"
Bellatrix nodded. "Doesn't feel that way, yet. I wonder if it still has to sink in."
"Well, you take your time," he said. "I've heard you two have had amazing adventures."
Well, Ted hadn't need to have said that twice. Bellatrix was off in a second, recounting her tale of their encounter with the murder-unicorn in the strange forest with animated gestures. Apparently, she told the story well because everyone, even those whom had heard the story before, was hanging from her lips.
Dinner progressed without so much as a hitch. The food was delicious, the company was fine, but after a long day, Bellatrix preferred to retreated to the privacy of her own room. Draco and Dora went out to the yard and even though Nymphadora invited her to smoke a spliff with them, one coughing fit was enough for one day and she politely declined.
After a long hug with Cissy and the promise to talk more soon, Bellatrix found herself back in the privacy of her own room. It was in that moment she felt just how tired she was.
By now, it was dark out and, with a flick of her wand, she magically drew the curtains and lit the fireplace before kicking off her boots plopping onto her bed among her army of plushie toys. Zipper, whom had been confined to Bellatrix' room was sat on the ceiling peering intently at a spider located in the corner of the room. Though the wasp was infinitely larger than the much smaller house spider, Zipper didn't trust it one bit and glared at it from a distance.
Sebastian had been true to his word and had left the paper and a few books for her on her nightstand. With interest, she grabbed the paper first and unfolded it.
Bellatrix quickly came to the conclusion that The Daily Cauldron was still the same rag it had been in the sixties. She was immediately annoyed when she saw the front page and found a moving photograph or her and Hermione mid kiss, then breaking the kiss and turning around to stare at the camera with a surprised look on their faces. 'BELLATRIX BLACK, HERMIONE GRANGER MYSTERIOUS RETURN SHOCKER!', read the headline. In fact, a large portion today's edition was dedicated to her. 'The disappearance of Bellatrix Black: thirty-three year mystery about to be solved?' read the headline of another article. 'Hermione Granger returns; implications for the Justice For Hermione case?' was a third. Most of it was wild speculation at this point, though one sentence at the end of the article caught her eye. 'The Noble and Most Ancient House of Black has declined to comment on the developing situation, referring to an imminent press release instead'.
When she opened the paper, she was met with a big spread. One page was dedicated to her entirely: 'Who is Bellatrix Black?' read the headline, accompanied by some childhood and school photographs. Her biography painted the image of a brilliant student, eldest child of a prominent and wealthy ancient pure-blood family, a genius prodigy with a bright future ahead of her which had been cut short by her sudden disappearance. It was accompanied by a list of common theories about said disappearance. Her supposed murder by Lestrange was mentioned, as was her running away. It also amused her that 'abduction by aliens' was one of the top theories. Funny that Father and Andie had not mentioned that particular one.
'Who is Hermione Granger?' on the other page, however, was another story altogether. Calling it a smear job wouldn't even begin to describe it. Hermione was described as a Machiavellian social climber, who used her smarts, her looks and her body to further herself in life at the cost of others. Everything about her was being called into question: from her academic achievements to her role in the war. Even the pictures in the article where the most unflattering ones they could have possibly found. The more she read, the more furious Bellatrix became. Until she could do nothing else but crumple up the paper and hurl it straight into the roaring fireplace where it swiftly burned to cinders.
She lay on her back and stared at the bed's canopy for a while, trying to calm herself. How dare those pieces of piss journos smear her girlfriend like that?!
Perhaps reading about recent history would make her feel better. Once she had gotten through the first chapters of a book about the First and Second UK wizarding wars, she swiftly concluded that she might have severely underestimated that charlatan with a circus tent. After reading a profile on this 'Lord Voldemort', she started to see why shouldn't have dismissed him as a clown so easily. He was, in fact, a magically talented charismatic master-mind with a penchant for cruelty. He had founded a group called the 'Death Eaters'.
That made Bellatrix snort: what a stupid fucking name that was.
So these 'Death Eaters' were the war-mongers, it seemed. Eleven years of terror attacks, assassinations, street warfare… Not to mention all the events leading up to it. There'd been rumblings in 1968, but the social unrest really heated up towards 1970. Circus-tent Voldemort exploited that unrest expertly and the historian presented evidence that almost all great pure-blood houses supported him either openly or secretly. It only made her more proud of her own family for withdrawing support after her supposed murder. Eventually, the war ended with Voldemort's demise at the hands of a baby of all things and the Death Eaters collapsed. Most were given life-sentences in Azkaban.
"Dodged a killing curse there, ey Zipper?" Bellatrix muttered while leafing through the book. Meanwhile, hearing his name attracted his attention away from the spider. Zipper had stopped buzzing around and landed on the bed, curling up against her. Bellatrix reached down to scratch him underneath the thorax, causing him to twitch his wings a little in merriment. He rubbed his head against Bellatrix' side a little before she wrapped part of the blanket over him.
With her wasp friend nestled next to her, she continued reading.
The Second War was the one in which Hermione had fought. It was a lot shorter, it seemed, but it startled her with just the sheer consummate ease with which Voldemort circus-tent had taken over the Ministry and just how quickly it was business as usual. One prominent member of the neo-Death Eaters described was none other than Rodolphus Lestrange, the man who would be her husband. Lestrange had become Voldemort circus-tent's most loyal and dedicated servant, doing everything he asked of him. He tortured, killed and fought in his name as a complete psychotic madman. Bellatrix snorted; she'd known Rodolphus to be a weak-minded toady, but she never would expected him to fall this far.
"Pathetic, hm, Zipper?" said Bellatrix.
The drowsy wasp merely buzzed his wings a little.
"I'd never serve another. Not ever!" Bellatrix pursed her lips.
A knock on the door sounded and a familiar voice called out to her. "Cherie?" sounded from the other side of the door. "May I come in?"
"Oncle! Come in!" Bellatrix grinned and was about to jump off the bed when the door opened. In stepped her oncle Achille; though he eyed slightly older, he had kept much of his youthful appearance. There was a spring in his step and a smile on his face when he approached. He sat on the side of the bed and embraced her tightly.
"Ah, you don't know 'ow good it is to see you again, cherie," he greeted, still holding her. "I would 'ave come to see you sooner, but Andromeda asked me to keep your maman occupied for the time being. Pained me to know you were 'ere and I could not come to see you."
Truth be told, Bellatrix was almost afraid to ask. "How is maman?"
Achille released her, looking her in the eye while giving her a sad smile. "Not well," he said softly. "But seeing you again will do 'er a world of good, non?"
"I… I didn't mean for her to…"
"Sshh, I know, cherie, I know," he replied, and noticed Zipper for the first time. The giant wasp now seemed to be quite asleep, curled up against Bellatrix' leg. "Oh, and who is your little friend? Did you pick 'im up in the Fae Realm, hm?"
"Did Andie tell you?" Bellatrix asked.
"Did she not tell you?" Achille chuckled. "Your sisters and I were quite aware where you were all this time, cherie. Even if they did not share that particular bit of information with you. The Fae Mirrors? The Fae Realm? Oh, we knew all about it. Took us years to figure it all out, mind you. And we scoured the Earth for anything known about them."
"Oncle?" Bellatrix frowned. "I should have realized that the moment Andie said she had witnessed me disappearing at the Fae Mirror and never returning."
"Full disclosure, cherie," said Achille. "It was I who gave mademoiselle Granger all the research we had gathered on Fae Mirrors. Against Andromeda's express wishes, mind you. Mademoiselle Granger did most of the work, but I just gave 'er a push in the right direction. It doesn't make both your accomplishments any less groundbreaking, cherie. But we knew we were on the clock and couldn't risk it."
"But if you had that knowledge, why would Andromeda be against sharing it?" Bellatrix asked.
Achille thought a moment, as if he was about to say something, but then changed his mind to rephrase it. "Andromeda can be somewhat… paranoid. All we knew for certain was that mademoiselle Granger played a role in your disappearance and nothing else. We knew this because you mentioned 'er in the past. But what we didn't know was 'er motivation. So Andromeda 'ad 'er watched since the day she was born. Unfortunately, 'er motivation never became clearer other than 'er being someone kind of 'eart who wanted to 'elp a girl who was likely murdered in the past. Andromeda, as usual, wasn't convinced. In 'er view, there was a theory was that you were murdered, but that theory only existed because you disappeared. A disappearance Hermione caused."
"So Hermione's involvement became self-fulfilling," Bellatrix said. "In Andromeda's eyes, at least."
"She's convinced mademoiselle Granger 'ad an ulterior motive, but she doesn't know what it is. To say it 'as been driving 'er mad the past few months is an understatement," said Achille. "but I knew Fae Mirrors are notoriously unstable and while you and mademoiselle Granger were talking, it was only a matter of time before it would fail. If we ever wanted to see you again, I 'ad to take matters into my own 'and. Andromeda was furious…"
"I suspect she 'oped that if the Fae Mirrors closed, you would remain in your own time and everything would change," said Achille. "You would 'ave remained with your sisters, grew up with them, get to experience life with them. Andromeda thinks that would 'ave been better. I argued that there was no way of knowing if that life would be better than what you would be given. I argued that your connection to mademoiselle Granger was important to you. She would not 'ear of it."
"Hermione, she," Bellatrix muttered. "Told me things. Things that disturbed me."
Achille took her in another embrace, which Bellatrix allowed. He ruffled her curly hair for good measure. "I'm glad to know I've made the right decision. I'd rather 'ave the niece I knew long ago to be 'ere with us safe and sound than to take a risk with the vagaries of time and 'ope for the best. Andromeda… will take some convincing, though."
"What happened to her? Andie always used to be such a soft-heart."
"She ran 'ouse Black for over fifteen years and 'ad to learn how to navigate 'igh society politics, as well as a government coup," said Achille. "Don't take it personally. She doesn't trust many people. It is, 'ow you say, a pitfall of 'er position. But I 'ave a more important question, non? 'Ave you been keeping up with your writing?"
That made Bellatrix chuckle. She reached over to her bag and pulled out one of her journals, along with a photo-album of pictures taken of flora and fauna in the Fae Realm. "Not much in the way of stories, though I do have some ideas I want to work out. I've mostly been keeping our travel journal and photo catalogue," she said and spent some time showing her oncle all manner of pictures and told a few stories of her adventures.
"Hm, two things, cherie?"
"First of all, I think you and mademoiselle Granger should be sending in applications for all your discoveries to the Linnaeus Qualification Board in Paris. You both deserve credit for your work."
Bellatrix nodded. "I'll discuss it with Hermione next time I speak with her."
"The other thing is," said Achille after getting up from the bed and slowly walking towards the door. "I'd say you've got more than enough material for a book, non?"
"A book," Bellatrix frowned, rubbing her chin. She... rather liked that idea.
"Good night, cherie," her oncle said. "Tomorrow, your maman will see you again. She is... fragile... remember that."
"Good night, oncle," said Bellatrix. Words about maman's mental state started to worry her more and more.
Bellatrix lay on her back for a moment, enjoying the softness of her bed. But sleep was not on her mind. Not yet.
She needed to speak with Hermione.
After fishing the mirror from her pack, she tapped the glass, hoping that Hermione would answer swiftly.
For minutes now, Bellatrix had found herself standing in front of a closed door. The door which led to her mother's parlour. With her oncle by her side, Bellatrix was reluctant to take the first step.
She'd been told her mother was 'fragile' and had, honestly, no idea what to expect. She turned her head to her oncle, who gave her an encouraging smile. "Cherie," he asked. "Are you ready?"
"No," Bellatrix replied honestly.
"Hm, I'll be 'ere for you. I will let you in and give you some privacy with your maman," said Achille. "I'll be right outside the door if you need me."
"Can't you stay?" she asked. For some reason, all her bravery had been sapped from her. For thirty-three years, she had been missing. And for thirty-three years, her mother had held out hope. For thirty-three years, she had mourned. The guilt she felt was starting to become unbearable.
Her oncle squeezed her shoulder for a moment. "She loves you, cherie. Remember that."
The curly-haired witch nodded and, together, they stepped through the door. Her mother's parlour wasn't so much a parlour as it was an series of connected rooms in the west wing which served as her mother's office, relaxation room and alchemy lab. Her mother was diligently writing in some sort of ledger behind a desk.
Circe... she looked... frail. Even frailer than her father. Her once thick dark brown hair had become stringy and streaked with large patches of silver. Though she was approaching seventy, she looked much older than she should. Lines in her face showed someone who was used to frowns rather than smiles. Her fingers were long and thin as she held a quill which she slid over the paper of the ledger.
"Dru?" asked Achille, the voice breaking the silence in such a way that it seemed invasive. "Look who I've brought with me."
Her mother looked up. "Ah," she smiled briefly before returning to her ledger.
That was not the reaction Bellatrix had been expecting. While contemplating this, Achille placed two hands on her shoulders. "Remember, I'll be right outside."
And then, Bellatrix was alone, unsure of what to do. Her mother had acknowledged her, but was now fully concentrated on her writing. The curly-haired witch looked around her and saw many framed moving pictures and paintings obviously made by Achille: all of them were of her and her sisters in better days. Together. Enjoying themselves as a family. Her mother wanted to immerse herself into these memories, that much was clear.
"Maman?" Bellatrix asked.
Bellatrix took a few steps closer. Close enough to try to look over her shoulder to see what she was doing. Before she could, however, her mother spoke up.
"So nice of you to come visit me again, chouchou," her mother spoke. In her memory, her mother's voice had always been powerful and commanding. When Druella Black spoke, people were compelled to listen. In fact, she had been the only one to keep her father's feet firmly on the ground. But now? Her voice was as frail as the rest of her body. It was as if she had lost any form of zest.
Honestly, though, that wasn't exactly the reaction Bellatrix had been expecting. She stood there motionless for a moment, but when it became clear that her mother had gone back to her writing, she felt compelled to continue. "Maman?" asked Bellatrix. "What are you doing?"
"Chouchou," she smiled. "I've told you many times before, non? Working on my redemption."
"Redemption?" asked Bellatrix. "What do you mean?"
Again, her mother had her back turned to her. "The Bellatrix Foundation. Don't you remember? I've named it after you. In your 'onour. And, well, it keeps my mind occupied."
"What does this... Bellatrix Foundation do?" Bellatrix asked.
"It 'elps those faced with an arranged marriage with legal aid and interventions with their family," said maman, with no small measure of pride in her voice. "So that young wizards and witches don't have to go through what... what your papa and I forced you to go through... It's not exactly popular with many of the great 'ouses or even some 'alf-blood families. And it gives poor Minette no small measure of political 'eadaches. But it 'onours your memory and that is what matters."
Minette. Her pet name for Andie.
"Maman?" Bellatrix asked. "Why won't you look at me?"
Druella Black dipped her quill into the inkwell with a trembling hand to leave it there. "I... " she stammered. "I can't... it 'urts too much. Chouchou, I..."
Her mother swallowed hard, the occasional sob coming too. " I know you're not real," she said. "You're just a figment of my mind. A welcome figment, don't get me wrong, but I know you're not really 'ere with me."
"Maman..." Bellatrix tried.
"Bellatrix. My little Trixie. My chouchou. I know she's out there, somewhere. Cygnus thinks 'er… you dead, but 'e is wrong. A mother knows these things, you see? I know she's out there, somewhere. I know she's probably angry with us, but... I will never give up 'ope. I know that, one day, I will see 'er again. Until then I will continue this work. In 'er name. In 'er 'onour."
Bellatrix felt a tear roll over her cheek. "I'm proud of you, maman."
"That's kind of you to say," said her mother. "Even if you're just in my 'ead."
Bellatrix took a few deep breaths and, like her uncle had done for her earlier, she carefully placed her hands on her mother's shoulders. Immediately, her mother stiffed. She fell dead silent for a moment and before long a slight tremble went through her. Slowly, ever so slowly, she turned around.
Tear-filled eyes met hers. "C-chouchou?" she asked. Nay, pleaded. She didn't want her eyes to be deceiving her. Bellatrix gently guided her hand to lay it on her cheek.
A gasp. A look of disbelief.
Bellatrix nodded. "It's me, maman," she said. "And I'm not angry with you. Never."
"You're real..." her mother whispered before shooting forward and taking her into an embrace so fierce it startled Bellatrix. "You're real, you're real, you're real!"
Her mother was a mess of uncontrollable sobs. Bellatrix returned the fierce hug and couldn't keep her own eyes dry.
"Maman..." Bellatrix whispered while her mother's body shook from the emotions. For a moment, she worried her frail mother's heart would give out.
"Ma fille," her mother sobbed. "Ma précieuse enfant... La puissance du soleil t'as ramenée à moi!"
"Maman, je suis vraiment désolée," Bellatrix spoke through her own tears. "Je vous aime tellement. Je n'ai jamais voulu vous blesser ainsi."
"Où étais-tu?" asked her mother while burying a hand in a full head of messy black curls, just like she used to do when she was a little girl. It made her smile.
"C'est une histoire compliquée, maman," returned Bellatrix. "Il y avait cette fille. Je suis tombée amoureuse d'elle. Elle s'appelle Hermione. C'est grâce à elle que je suis ici maintenant."
"Rappelle-moi de la remercier. Pour la couvrir d'éloges et de richesses au-delà de son imagination," her mother spoke softly. "Pour lui faire savoir à quel point la famille Black est reconnaissante."
"Je ne pense pas qu'elle voudra des richesses. Mais elle me veut. Et je la veux," Bellatrix chuckled. "Je me demande si papa va l'approuver."
A glint came to her mother's eyes. "S'il ne le fait pas, je le ferai. Tout pour te rendre heureuse."
"J'ai hâte de la revoir," said Bellatrix.
And so, Bellatrix and her doting mother retreated to one of the sitting rooms where Bellatrix once again told her improbable tale of time-travel and exploration over tea and biscuits brought in by Sebastian. In French this time. Like both her sisters, Bellatrix was bilingual and spoke both English and French fluently. In contrast, her mother often had more trouble with English, especially whenever she was in an emotional state. Still, the story translated just fine. Her mother listened with baited breath when Bellatrix enthusiastically and animatedly told her all about licornes noire, guêpes géante, royaume étranger, îles flottantes and la piscine magique dans les bois.
Bellatrix had just finished her tale when her oncle stepped into the room, eyes lighting up when he saw his niece and his sister talking happily. "Bon apres-midi, you two," he greeted, taking a look at his sister. "Dru, you look positively radiant. You look twenty years younger."
"Je me sens vingt ans plus jeune," chuckled Druella as her uncle sat down. "Part of me still refuses to believe it."
"Believe it, maman," chuckled Bellatrix. "I'm not planning any more jaunts through time soon."
"Can you ever forgive us, sweet enfant?" asked Druella, taking her hand and squeezing it with renewed strength.
"Forgive?" Bellatrix raised an eyebrow. "For what?"
"For putting you through a year of pain after promising you to Rodolphus Lestrange," said Druella. "Knowing what kind of thug he would eventually become."
Bellatrix shrugged. "It's all in the past, maman. Literally. As for Rodolphus, well, he always did manage to find a way to spin gold into straw, now didn't he?"
"Hah!" laughed oncle Achille before clapping her on the shoulder.
Bellatrix bit her lip for a moment. "Maman, there is... something you should know. Hermione, she... she isn't a pure-blood. She isn't a half-blood either."
Bellatrix carefully studied her mother's expression: though she had not been as much as a pure-blood fanatic as her father's side of the family had been, she had certainly had her pride and had gone along with it in the past. Her mother merely smiled. "If she has brought you back to us, none of that matters. Besides, we have Ted in our family and 'e is a good man, non? Minette is a good judge of character. She will have the final say as 'ead of the 'ouse."
"That's what worries me," Bellatrix pursed her lips. "She doesn't seem to like Hermione very much."
"Hm, Andromeda 'as been jumping at shadows ever since the war," said Achille. "Navigating a Death Eater controlled Ministry has taken a toll on her. She'll come around, Cherie. Just give it some time."
In that moment, her mother wrapped her arms around her waist and pulled her into an embrace. "Ribs, maman! Ribs! Mes côtes! Trop serré, maman!"
Bellatrix looked up to see her uncle smirking. "Maman is never going to let me out of sight again, is she?"
Achille merely chuckled while her mother still held on to her. "I do think you will 'ave to deal with a smother for quite some time, cherie."
The door opened and, looking over her mother's shoulder, could see that her father had entered the room. He turned to Achille and gave him a nod, which her oncle returned. That in itself was a small miracle. Back in the sixties, her father and oncle could barely stand to be in the same room together and yet here there were. Either they had resolved their differences or had talked it out enough to at least be cordial to each other.
Her loss had actually improved her family in many ways. Bellatrix didn't know what to think of that.
"Cygnus!" her mother admonished. "You knew this and 'aven't told me!"
"Apologies," said Cygnus while sitting down at the sofa next to Bellatrix and her mother. "But… you haven't been well lately and we wanted to avoid a shock."
"And this wasn't shocking?!" her mother narrowed her eyes, that power to her voice returning. "Achi, you knew this too, non?"
Her uncle nodded.
"I should be angry with you both," replied Druella. "But I am simply too 'appy to 'ave my chouchou back."
"This is nice, non," said Achille. "The entire family back together again."
Something was different about her oncle and her father. Back in the sixties, they'd always be at each other's throats. Every exchange was as passive-aggressive as it could be. Neither of them ever budged an inch, but now? That hate seemed to have passed and there was an unspoken air of respect between them. Shared misery could bring together, she supposed.
But now, it was her father who was trembling, taking his daughter's hand. "For years… for decades… I thought you were dead, Bella. For years I've blamed myself," said her father.
"I'm sorry," said Bellatrix. "I… I don't regret any things I've done. Meeting Hermione, exploring the Fae Realm. But I am sorry that I hurt you all in the process."
"Perhaps," said Achille. "It all worked out for the best, non?"
"Perhaps," said Cygnus. The two men shared one more nod before he left the room where Bellatrix and her parents could spend some time to be a family again. A moment which had been thirty-three years in the making.