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Chapter 1: The Big Bang Theory
chapter image by livingautum at TDA
The Big Bang Theory
With fate, there is no choice. Fate is a power or agency that predetermines and orders the course of events. Events are ordered, inevitable, unchangeable. Fate is a network and involves every life.
Nashira (Ashir) Avery - Cursed
She didn’t know a lot about what was really happening that summer she was eleven. But then again, all of her life she had never been told anything that was of real importance. She was defined by a second glance. People would be watching and admiring her prestigious family when finally someone’s eyes would finally comprehend her and notice her presence. There voices would be filled with surprise, saying: ‘Oh, I didn’t realize you were there.’ She was a shadow that always existed. It didn’t bother her much, it had always been like that. She preferred being alone, actually. Especially during the summer when cousins and distant relatives would visit almost every week. It was hard fitting in with the others. She wasn’t as beautiful or as smart as her older sister or as charming and strong as her older brother. But of course, that can be explained.
It took Ashir years to figure out she wasn’t born under normal circumstances. The summer she was eight, she had begun to become aware of her appearance, especially because her sister, Capella, had started experimenting with makeup at that time too. Capella’s beauty was breathtaking. Her golden blonde hair flowed down her back; she had huge bright blue eyes; perfectly normal lips and noble, angular features. Ashir could stare at Capella for hours, memorizing her captivating aura and wishing she could be her. It was painfully obvious that they looked nothing alike, even more so when Ashir would seat herself next to Capella in front of the vanity mirror. Ashir’s pitch black hair was cropped short and fell right below her ears; she had no idea what color her eyes were, she usually went with green because that’s what they looked the closest to; her lips were too big for her face and her features had not become angular and sharp, like she wished them to be. Castor, her older brother, had inherited her father’s golden hair and blue eyes too. His aristocratic features, though, were starting to develop nicely.
Capella was seven years older than Ashir. With their mother dead, Capella acted more like a mother to Ashir, but their relationship was still sisterly. Ashir wanted to be just like Capella; she wanted her bravery, her kindness to others, and her ability to master any spell. Capella was the only one who paid any real attention to her, and Ashir loved her for that. Her brother Castor, was only seven months older than Ashir, and he would remind her daily of it. Naturally, they were very competitive with each other and fought often. Ashir just wanted her brother to accept her and see her as his equal. Sometimes, on rare occasions, he did and in times of need, Castor was always there for her.
Though they were different from each other, the three siblings got along extremely well and were close. They both were Ashir’s entire world. Ashir only had brief memories of her mother, who had died. She could still picture her dark hair and small smile as she stood over Ashir. Ashir would picture her every night so she would not forget. Her father, though, was extremely intimidating. His piercing blue eyes were permanently fixed in a cold glaze and his haughty features were tough. Ashir didn’t have much of a relationship with her father. He treated her with indifference and only wished to know her mental and physical development weekly. Capella and him fought often, but Ashir never knew what about. Ashir knew if she were older, she would probably fight with him too. Besides, if Capella thought something was wrong, it must be wrong. However, his poorly shown pride in having a son and his goal to make Castor a ‘true’ man, often led to his open disapproval for Castor’s often childish acts and Castor’s fear of disappointing him. In the end, Castor wanted to be him.
The air was getting hotter; their father had put them to work cleaning the house and making themselves presentable for Ms. Rosier and her son, Evan, who were coming to visit that weekend. The day of their arrival, Ashir had just asked her father to tie her bow when she finally found the courage to ask him the question that had been burning in her mind. When she did, her father ignored her completely. Seeing it was now an issue of importance, Ashir began shouting and repeating the question at his solid figure. At that moment, Capella had stormed into the room and demanded he tell the truth.
Ashir almost wished she never had. The truth made everything so excruciatingly clear and final. After he called Castor into the sitting room, he announced to them that Alya Lestrange-Avery was Capella and Castor’s mother. And their mother only. Her father had married Alya soon after finishing his schooling at Hogwarts. She had been the younger sister of Mr. Lestrange, who was Rabastan and Rudolphus’s father. Alya died in childbirth with Castor. Castor cried all night after he learned that.
The world seemed to stop and crumble, however, when Ashir was told her history. Everything she thought she knew and believed changed. The first shock came when she learned her mother wasn’t dead. Her mother was currently locked up in an mentally instable ward at St. Mungo’s and her name Kastra Selwyn. Her father and Kastra had been having an affair while Alya was pregnant. After careful study and advice, he decided it was best she get help when she started to show signs of obsession and instability toward Ashir when she was a baby. That’s all Ashir was told, that’s all she knew, and that’s all she ever wanted to know.
There was tension among her family after that. Ashir was still close with her brother and sister, but the knowledge from that night seemed to create an invisible wall between them, especially between her and Castor. Ashir knew he didn’t blame her, but she was a child that was never supposed to happen.
Her father’s continued distance worsened when he announced he was marrying Ms. Ksora Rosier and that Evan would become their new step-brother. Ashir liked Ksora, she was nice and treated them all fairly. Ksora’s sweet face could light up a room and Ashir knew she was genuine. It was the eyes. She couldn’t figure out, though, how she would ever willingly choose to marry someone like her father. Evan, however, was always the odd man out. He didn’t fit in with any of them; he was four years older than Ashir and Castor. Castor seemed prejudiced against him and Ashir was very thankful he always chose her over Evan. Capella hardly ever spoke to him. It didn’t matter much because Evan and Capella were usually gone to Hogwarts.
Three long years passed and summer finally came again. Ashir and Castor were extremely excited to finally be going to Hogwarts that September. Capella had shared so many great stories with Ashir, she felt like she had already been there. She just had to get through the summer, though. That tasked seemed almost impossible.
Almost every Friday, her father’s friends and their families would get together for dinner or drinks. It was usually at their house, because it was fairly large and located in the countryside. Ashir absolutely hated it. Every person her age was a boy and she didn’t fit in with any of the older girls, who obsessed over boys and Hogwarts’ gossip.
It was always the same people: Mr. and Mrs. Lestrange with their sons Rudolphus and Rabastan, who she still considered her cousins even though they weren’t really related; the widowed Mrs. Greengrass and her son Archer; Mr. and Mrs. Black and their sons Sirius and Regulus; and the other Mr. and Mrs. Black with their daughters Bellatrix and Narcissa. Ashir wasn’t sure what happened to Andromeda, but they treated her like a joke and some bitterness whenever her name was mentioned. She was one of the girls Ashir had actually liked. However, Ashir had caught Narcissa crying in an abandoned room after Andromeda had been mentioned during dinner. Others like the Malfoys, Crabbes, and Rookwoods would come occasionally. And of course, Capella, Evan, Castor, and her were always there.
The adults would always stay inside and discuss politics and the children. The older girls would usually roam in and out of rooms, while the boys would occasionally follow or parade alone, doing their own business. The younger boys, and Ashir, were permanently fixed outside among the large grounds. Ashir desperately wished to stay with Castor the entire time, but he would always leave her behind for his friends: Archer, Sirius, and Regulus. Ashir wanted and tried to be friends with them too, but they always ditched her and teased her because she was a girl. But she never gave up.
‘Castor!’ Ashir cried out longingly as she chased four boyish figures through the green yard. ‘Wait! Castor, please wait for me!’
The boy with long, shining blonde hair stopped and turned around reluctantly. ‘Nash, please just leave us alone for once. Besides, what we plan to do is too dangerous for a kid.’
The other boys snickered as Ashir finally caught up to them, breathing hard. Her nose flared with anger. ‘You are only seven months older than me!’ Her eyes turned incredulous as she pointed her tiny fingers at the smallest boy. ‘And what about Reg?’
Castor’s nose turned arrogantly upward. ‘He’s a boy.’
The moment the words escaped his lips, the four took off running again. ‘Castor!’ Ashir longingly dragged out her voice as she began chasing them again. She felt something solid squash against her toe before she felt her body fall quickly into the hard ground. Reflexively, she let out a scream of pain. Tears were starting to well in her eyes, but she willed them away. Castor would tease her for weeks if he saw her cry.
Ashir suddenly heard a bored sigh come from above her. Tilting her head, a pair of black shoes were visibly in front of her. Her eyes skimmed upward to put ownership to the shoes. Sirius was standing above her with a hand stretched out and with a very painful expression etched on his aristocratic features.
A slight blush crept on her cheeks as she took his hand and he helped her up. Ashir found herself level with his bright grey eyes. ‘Thanks.’ She mumbled both embarrassed and shocked.
Sirius crossed his arms defensively and cocked his head in attempt to move his dark hair from his eyes. ‘My parents are watching.’
Ashir turned her head reflexively to the house windows but stopped short when she saw Sirius take off running toward the woods. ‘Wait!’ Ashir called after him.
He kept running, consequently making her frustration and determination increase. ‘Wait!’ She repeated angrily. When he didn’t answer again, she was deciding to give up. Her voice turned reluctant. ‘At least tell me why I can’t go!’
This time, Sirius slowed down and turned around with a haughty smirk forming on his lips. ‘Like Castor said, it’s too dangerous.’
‘I can handle danger.’ Ashir told him with pouting confidence. She crossed her arms indignantly.
‘Really?’ Sirius’s question dragged with sarcastic suspicion. Ashir nodded her head eagerly. His grey eyes began to conspire against her and his shining orbs suddenly lit up a few seconds later. ‘Could you handle jumping off Caedmon’s Cliff?’
Ashir gulped. Caedmon’s Cliff was the highest rocky ledge that surrounded their lake. The older boys had told stories about jumping off of it, each one ending with a more gruesome injury. Her eyes narrowed. ‘Is that really what you lot are doing?’
Sirius nodded. ‘Yep.’ His voice was innocent and sympathetic. ‘We completely understand why you don’t wish to come along.’
‘Who said I didn’t?’ Ashir’s voice rose louder and in vehemence as she defended herself against the hidden insult. Sirius’s face became startled at her sudden outburst and opened his mouth to speak. Ashir spoke again, however, before he could mutter any more condescending remarks. ‘I’ll do it. I’ll be the first one.’
‘Do I have your word?’ Sirius asked after a couple of moments, a wicked smile on his face.
‘Yes.’ Ashir sniffed. An idea suddenly popped into her. ‘Only if you and the others promise to always include me in your games from now on.’
Sirius scratched his chin and pursed his lips as he went over the terms of the agreement mentally. He sighed deeply, but the smile was still there. ‘Deal.’
‘Deal.’ Ashir repeated hotly as she began to move triumphantly beside him. ‘Lead the way.’
She could feel his smirk radiating from his face. Ashir was too absorbed in the task ahead of her to try to comprehend why Sirius seemed so pleased with himself. Caedmon’s Cliff… She could do it. Others had successfully jumped, right? Besides, this was probably the only chance she would have to permanently make her a part of Castor’s group.
‘Nervous?’ Sirius questioned moments later as she continued to walk in silence through the tangled woods beside him.
Ashir raised her chin. ‘Of course not.’ She told him, feigning a calm face. ‘You?’
‘Not at all.’ He shook his head with a grin on his face.
Before any warning, the two were standing in open air on a small patch of green. Ashir could smell the water from the lake. To her right, Castor, Regulus, and Archer were sitting in a small semi-circle, looking bored and obviously waiting for Sirius. When the group finally noticed their presence, the three boys’ faces turned from surprise to annoyance.
‘What are you doing here, Nash?’ Castor’s voice rose as he jumped off the ground and starting walking toward her.
Putting his head in his hands, Regulus groaned and muttered quietly, expecting no one to hear him. ‘She always ruins everything.’
Ashir opened her mouth to openly defend herself, but Sirius was quicker.
‘Ashir was just dying of curiosity to find out what we were doing today.’ His voice held sarcasm, but the tone and quality radiated authority and truthfulness. Or so Ashir thought. ‘So I went ahead and told her of our plan to jump off Caedmon’s Cliff today.’
There a short silence from the boys. ‘What?’ Archer shouted incredulous from the ground, but was quickly shushed by Regulus whose eyes began to dance. Castor’s gaze stayed steady as he crossed his arms and studied Sirius.
‘Right.’ Castor nodded. ‘So you see, Nash, why it was too dangerous for you to come with us today.’
‘Sorry, Nashira.’ The dark blonde haired Archer’s voice sympathized as he shrugged nonchalantly. ‘Maybe we should get going --’
Panicking, Ashir began to continue profusely. ‘But--’
‘But,’ Sirius cut her off and grabbed her shoulder in a way that was supposed to be affectionate. ‘She wants to jump. She wants to be the first.’
Ashir nodded in eager confirmation. Her heart began to soar in anticipation and excitement.
Castor’s eyes constricted before he finally grinned at everyone in the group. ‘Is that so? I never knew you would have the guts, Nash. Let’s go.’
Regulus and Archer stood up eagerly and began to follow Castor to the Cliffside opposite of Caedmon to watch her jump.
‘Wait.’ Ashir protested and turned to Sirius. ‘Remember our deal.’
‘What deal?’ Castor crossed him arms in expectation.
‘I promised she could hang out with us,’ Sirius told the boys; he noticeably winced. ‘If she jumped.’
‘Only if she jumped?’ Castor asked, needing confirmation. Archer and Regulus seemed to stifle laughter. Ashir ignored them and was only focused on Castor. She was staring at him happily with her amber eyes bright.
Sirius repeated his words in a strange voice. ‘Only if she jumped.’
The boys continued to walk to other Cliffside as Ashir turned and began stumbling toward the top of Caedmon’s Cliff, untimely nervousness bubbling up in her stomach. She could go through with it. She would go through with it. ‘See you on the other side!’ Ashir heard one of the boys call.
She approached the top of the cliff and her body suddenly froze. Still, muddy water taunted her from below. Dizziness flooded her head as she studied just how far she would fall…
‘Not getting scared are you?’ Castor shouted mockingly. Ashir turned her head and saw all four boys standing on the ledge over from her, a few feet down. She was alone and isolated.
Giving away her fear, her voice noticeably shook. ‘No.’
‘Then jump!’ Castor prompted.
Ashir turned her body forward, unable to move any closer to the ledge. Her dark, black hair was blowing harshly around her face from the cold wind.
‘She’s not going to jump.’ She heard Regulus say with such conviction, Ashir knew it was true. The boys were oblivious to the fact that the wind was carrying their voices to her.
‘Sirius, this is brilliant.’ Archer laughed. ‘Like we would ever jump.’
‘I know.’ Sirius replied. ‘I knew she wouldn’t jump.’
Something inside Ashir snapped. This was a joke? Anger began to boil under her skin and her nostrils flared. Determination carried her legs forward.
‘What’s she doing?’ Sirius laughter stopped abruptly as he spotted her moving toward the side, mentally preparing herself for the jump.
From the corner of her eye, she could see Castor move forward eagerly. His voice was breathless and excited. ‘She’s going to jump!’
‘No…’ Sirius began to argue, but his voice changed to panic. ‘She’s going to jump! Reg, hurry and get the parents before she does anything!’
Castor threw out his hands, not once taking his eyes off Ashir. ‘No! Go get all the older guys! They won’t want to miss this!’
Regulus stopped and stumbled, confused about who to listen to. His eyes darted from Ashir, to Sirius, to Castor at an impossible speed.
‘Bloody hell, Reg!’ Sirius shouted vehemently at his brother. ‘She’s going to get hurt!’
Still frozen in place, Sirius glanced back up at Ashir before growling and running back toward the house himself. As Sirius passed him, Regulus seemed to snap back to reality and within seconds he was headed the same direction.
Ashir approached the edge and looked down the still surface below. Rocks jutted out at some places but there was an area darker than the rest, which meant it was deeper. She would just have to aim for that. Ashir didn’t know how long she stared at her target but when the boys words popped back into her head, nothing was going to stop her from proving them wrong. Taking a deep breath, Ashir bent her legs, gaining momentum.
‘Castor, you have to stop her!’ Arched yelled loudly as he approached Castor’s unmoving figure.
She never knew what Castor’s reaction was because seconds later she was flying headfirst toward the dark surface below. Cold air pierced her skin and a swooping sensation was spreading from her stomach to the rest of her body. Her eyes squinted as she approached water…
But the she was floating. The sudden jolt whipped her neck painfully. Adrenaline still pumped harshly in her veins as she stared at the lake water just two feet below her. This wasn’t supposed to happen…
A force pulled at her around her stomach and she began to zoom upward.
Her father’s voice calling her name was the worst sound she had ever heard in her life. Ashir stopped midair and met his stone cold, angry blue eyes, his wand pointing straight at her. Sirius was a couple of feet behind him, doubled over and panting. The two Mr. Blacks were standing there also with a look of outrage on their faces. Moments later, Regulus appeared out of the woods with Lucius, Evan, and Rudolphus. Well, he had obviously listened to Castor.
Canoper Avery flicked his wand and Ashir was suddenly thrown on the ground in front of him. She gulped loudly and looked up at his tense figure with nervous, amber eyes.
‘Get inside.’ He commanded sharply. ‘Now!’
Stumbling, Ashir stood up as quickly as she could and began running through the woods back toward her house, not once looking at any other person there. She was running, running, out of breath, how could Castor do this to her, running….
With a loud, painful gasp, seventeen year old Ashir Avery snapped her eyes opened and forcefully sat up swiftly. Her breathing became heavy and she rubbed her forehead in exasperation, wondering why she had dreamed about the memory she had not thought about in almost six years.