Later that evening, three figures make their way from the town of Norton and towards the woods found at the edge of the town. The dark-haired woman, who once had shallow skin looked to be in peak health. Her dark eyes were rimmed red as if she had been weeping. Cradled in her arms was a baby boy close to a year old. The dark-haired babe greatly resembled his father, Roderic Filch, down to the tiny, slightly crooked nose. At her side, stood the slender, broad-shouldered man of Roderic, her husband and that the slightly hunched over the figure of her brother-in-law, Argus Filch.
The babe in her arms fusses sleepily as Eileen soothes him in her arms with a rocking motion until he settles back down. As they may their way through the muggle town, she recalls Cokeworth, and the tiny twin babes she'd cradled in her arms then. Everything had been so bright and so very full of hope back then despite living in a tiny flat with two newborns. And then, Tobias had received a promotion in the factory, and they had been able to afford a much larger flat on the edge of town. It had been cheap, and not necessarily the best of places, but it was a place to call home, and that was all that truly mattered to the couple.
However, everything changed on the day, when Tobias lost his job at the factory. The twins were far too young to be left alone and she couldn't take a job to help with their struggling finances. Not that she could really as she was a witch, and didn't know much about working in muggle factories. Tobias did the best that he could until he found a job at another factory, but it was a terrible soul-draining place. Every day the cheery nature in him slowly was sucked away and drained until less and less was to be found. Soon he began drinking and then the twins performed their first magic.
Oh, Eileen had been so very proud until she saw the horror-filled face of Tobias. And with dread, she saw the betrayal in his face at the realization that she had been lying to him all these years. But it was all true, she'd always been too much of a coward to confess to him that she was a witch. Maybe, if she had, everything would not have ended as it did, but she did not. And their marriage was never entirely the same again as Tobias could never bring himself to fully trust her again.
"Is this the place, love?" Roderic asked as he stared at the gravel path that led inside called, 7th Meadow Lane.
His older brother, Argus tactfully remained silent as he knew the full truth but didn't want to cause trouble between his brother and his wife. Argus nervously pulled at his collar as if trying to breathe. Though there was a slight sheen of sweat across his face as if screaming out his terrified nerves.
"Yes, hon," Eileen whispered with guilt, before leading the way in the shadow-filled forest in the setting sun. This place had once been filled with so many happy memories with her father, mother, and aunt. But they had all long ago become tarnished because of her actions. For the Prince's had one terrible fault above all, they could never say they were sorry even if they were wrong. And that included herself.
They had not gone very far when a soft sound could be heard. Roderic immediately reached for his wand as Argus clenched a stone in his hand to throw. A white ghostly figure appeared to reveal a handsome ghost, Sir Knight Prince. Sir Knight Prince stopped a short way from them and said, "Eileen, you know this, but that you cannot enter Prince grounds no more. You will hurt yourself and your companions should you try to force your way inside."
"I know," Eileen pleaded with the ghost, who had once been so fond of her in her childhood. "But please, I have to at least say goodbye to her."
"The funeral was already this morning, there is nothing to say goodbye to."
Eileen lets out a gasp, she hadn't known she had been holding. "I know, but please at least let me place flowers on her gravestone. Just this once." She had been too late as usual. A captive to her cowardly nature until the very end. And now, even if she apologized her words would fall onto deaf ears. Her mother was gone.
Sir Knight Prince is silent for what seems like a long time, before he says, "Very well, but stick close to me. The wards will attempt to harm you otherwise."
Eileen rushes forward as Roderic and Argus hurry after her. The woods were strangely silent as they flitted through the path. Not long after they emerged onto giant green lawns with a grandiose castle-like manor looming even from the distance. Argus lets out a gasp of shock as Roderic furrows his brows wondering exactly how his wife knew the Prince family.
A loud peac.o.c.k cry can be heard across the grounds echoing mournfully through the evening sky. The evening sky was in shades of violet and pinks as if not sure whether to be joyous or sad. The peac.o.c.k sounded rather sad as it's cry trailed off in the distance. They suddenly came to a stop as Sir Knight Prince stopped before the gravel path that led to the white granite front steps inside.
The grand front doors swung open as a rather tall, very slender man with a stern face emerged. His mostly silver-streaked hair glinted in the dim light. Reginald Prince's cold eyes came to finally settle on the face of Eileen Filch, who flinched at the icy visage of her father. There was no warmth or forgiveness to be found in his eyes towards her.
"What are you doing here, Eileen?" Reginald coldly inquired of the women, he had once called his daughter, but nevermore. The Prince's were many things, but forgiving was not one of them. "The funeral was this morning."
"I know," Eileen whispered. "But I still came even if it is late."
"It is much too late," Reginald said as he began to turn away.
"Please papa," Eileen desperately pleaded with her father one last time. "Please let me see mama."
Reginald froze as he burned with anger, loss, pain, and so much more. "How dare you! You have no right to call either of us that. No right at all!" Reginald hissed as he turned to face her.
Eileen flinched as though she had been slapped across the face, while Roderic looked on in confusion and moved to step forward to defend his wife. Argus grabbed his brother by the sleeve and shook his head at him. "Brother, this is not your place," Argus whispered. "Please trust me on this little brother, this is between the two of them."
"She is still your offspring, grandfather," a voice from behind Reginald flatly said.
They all turned to study the figure of Rowan coming down the stairs. "Let her at least just this once view grandmother's grave no matter how much she may not deserve to do so."
Eileen's eyes fill with hope and tears as she sees her daughter now older and grown. Almost a young woman in her right, but her daughter refused to meet her gaze. Closing her eyes to keep the tears at bay, she understood only too well. A coward she had been like scurrying away in the night like a thief. She should have returned for them once she gained a proper job in Diagon Alley, but she did not. She had so foolishly convinced herself that her children would be better off with her father and mother.
In the end, Eileen had turned a blind eye to her own selfish actions and had once more committed the same mistake as in her past only this time she had betrayed her children. She had excused herself with the plea that she would be happy and that Roderic would never accept the children of another wizard much less that of a muggle. But she had been so very wrong in judging Roderic in that way for he was a good man and a far better person than herself. And now, her daughter refused to look her in the eyes nor much acknowledge her as their mother.
Tragically, she was acutely aware that she more deserved such a thing, and nothing else could be argued otherwise. Perhaps, it would serve a penance of sorts to know that she had lost her two firstborn's by her own two hands. They had not been stolen away but rather abandoned by her own two hands. And only the worst of mothers could possibly do that.
Eileen's thoughts are interpreted by the frigid words of her father, Reginald, "My granddaughter has pleaded on your behalf, Mrs. Filch, consider yourself lucky."
Reginald takes a deep breath and shouts, "Tadbey!"
The male elf still in a black mourning suit appears with a soft pop. "Yes, Master?"
"Please escort, Mrs. Filch to-," Reginald's face breaks as his voice drops down to a whisper, "To my Sirsa's resting place."
"Yes, Master," Tadbey said, before coldly turning towards Mrs. Filch. "Mrs. Filch, please come right this way," Tadbey said as Eileen glanced once or twice at her daughter and father, but neither turned to look her in the eye. With her head bowed forward, she rocked her son to her chest as she followed the house elf to her mother's resting place in the Prince family cemetery.
If it was the last thing she did, she could at least ask her mother for forgiveness even if it was much too late to make a proper penance. And as for her children, she would find a way to make amends before it was much too late. But that was easier said than done for Reginald Prince had no intention of letting his once called daughter anywhere near his grandchildren.