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1978 by funyuns
Chapter 1: PROLOGUE
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BEFORE READING: This story is inspired by real events/situations. It addresses very real problems such as racism, homophobia, transphobia, abuse, etc. Keep in mind that the magical world isn’t perfect– magic doesn’t cancel out prejudice. It’s not much different than the Muggle world when it comes to social constructs.
This story isn't meant to be "dark," but it is meant to be honest. If serious topics make you uncomfortable, I urge you not to read.
"It's not yours."
He slowly blew out a long breath he didn’t know he’d been holding in. As he sat on the steps with his elbows on his knees, he brought his hands to his face and rubbed the surface as if it would wake him from the dream he wished he was having.
“Are you sure?” he asked, grey eyes stationed on the ground beneath them, cars speeding and honking, watching tiny ants bustle and rush between the cracks.
They said nothing for a while. He continued to stare at the ground. His eyes followed one ant in particular, scuttling in the exact opposite direction the colony was and into the street. The ant was going to get run over– of that, Sirius was sure. And he couldn’t help but feel as though he were stuck in the same situation; uncaring and doomed to crack under the pressure of being trampled by uncaring passengers.
He cleared his throat awkwardly, hands clasped tightly together. “How far along are you?”
Silence consumed them once again.
Was he relieved or disappointed? He couldn’t tell. He was only nineteen– he was nowhere near ready to become a father; but still there was an anxious nagging in the back of his skull that Marlene McKinnon was lying, that it really was his kid.
But she wouldn’t do that, right? She wouldn’t lie about something as damning as this, would she? It was Marlene for Christ’s sake. She was conniving, yes, but to this extent? No way.
Marlene quietly observed Sirius as he clenched his eyes shut and shook his head ever so slightly. She tried to suppress the guilt flooding her body as a product of her blatant dishonesty– she never intended for things to go this far. But Tim couldn’t find out about the nights Marlene spent with Sirius. If he found out, surely he’d leave her.
Plus, Sirius Black as a father? Disastrous. He was reckless and irresponsible. He lived for the thrill of life, pushed the boundaries of his mortality, and committed himself to nothing. There was no way he’d be able to raise a child– at least not at that particular moment. Sirius wasn’t a good influence, and Marlene wanted only the best for her child. At least that’s what she told herself.
There was a part of her, though, that was convinced this was her way of saving him. She was, in her mind, sparing Sirius from a life of misery and regret. She wanted him to live a happy, carefree life as long as he possibly could.
“Look, I just thought you deserved to know,” Marlene said. She could feel an onslaught of tears form in her eyes and a pressure in her chest, so clearing her throat, she stood.
“I should probably go home to Tim, so… Take care, Sirius.”
He said nothing as she left him there, sitting on the pavement, staring into space.
It’s not yours.
It’s not yours.
It’s not yours.
But what if it was? What if Sirius Black was the father? The thought made him sick to his stomach.
God, he needed a cigarette.
Chapter 2: I
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Background: This story is an alternate universe in which Peter Pettigrew’s betrayal was found out before he had the chance to hurt anyone. Consequently, Lily and James Potter are alive, Sirius Black is not in prison, and the Order of the Phoenix is still in tact. However, members of the Order have been killed, leaving the Marauders, Lily Potter, Marlene McKinnon, Molly and Arthur Weasley, Gideon Prewett, Dorcas Meadowes, Hagrid, Caradoc Dearborn, Alastor Moody, Tonks, Minerva McGonagall, and Albus Dumbledore.
She left the Order of the Phoenix as soon as she realized she was pregnant. She wasn’t going to force her kid to grow up in the crossfire of a war. She settled down, got married to Timothy, bought a house, and had a beautiful baby girl. And for seventeen years, that’s the way it was.
But now that Marlene’s daughter, born Phoenix Maxime McKinnon (who decided she preferred her middle name as opposed to her first one because, “nobody wants to be named after a bird that sets itself on fire every time it decides to do something useful”) was now seventeen, Marlene decided it was time to get back in the game.
Phoenix– or Max, rather, was going to be an adult. Self sufficient. Capable of subsisting while Marlene was hunting down the Dark Lord and his disciples. The problem was, what if Death Eaters came for Max? She couldn’t protect herself– she didn’t have magic. She never had and she never would. If someone came after her, Marlene would never forgive herself.
Marlene bit her lip nervously. Fuck.
Her head shot up with a start, eyes landing on a peeved Alastor Moody.
“Pull your head out of your arse and pay attention.”
Marlene cleared throat. “Sorry.”
Alastor grunted before turning back to the rest of the Order. “Some of you know, some of you don’t,” His glass eye gave a pointed look to Marlene, “but the bastards are starting to burn down the homes of anyone who has spoken out against Voldemort. It’s a threat that should not be taken lightly, which is why every single one of you idiots need to pack your shit and come stay with McKinnon.”
“What?” Marlene exclaimed.
“You have room, don’t you?”
“Then it’s settled.”
“But my daughter–”
“Will be fine. Done. The end.”
“Why not stay at our place?” James Potter interjected. “There’s plenty of room.”
“They don’t know McKinnon is affiliated with the Order. They don’t know she was in the first place. All they know is that we’ve been chasing after them.”
“But they know I’m affiliated with members of the Order,” Marlene said.
“Yes,” Moody said gruffly. “But they also know you have a squib for a daughter. They’ll assume you’d be too spineless to take that risk.”
Marlene glared at him.
“Miss Mckinnon, Alastor,” Dumbledore said, rising from his seat, “if I may.
“It is imperative that members of the Order go into hiding. We already have lost too many. The survival of the Order depends on this.” Albus looked at Marlene softly. “So please, Marlene, grant us this favor. It is a matter of life or death.”
Marlene sighed, running a hand through her hair. “Alright, fine. But if anything happens to my daughter, I’m holding you and Moody accountable.”
Her head hurt. She couldn’t tell if it was from the inclement weather or if it was just the after effect of spending the previous night in a crowded room filled to the brim with baked twenty-somethings, watching several sets of bands play on a small platform lit by Christmas lights strung between rows of insulation and wood.
Either way, she was in no condition to indulge in a thrilling day of education involving mathematics and basically every other pointless, piece-of-shit class she was required to take. She’d just have to skip– again.
It was days like this that made Maxime wish she had magic like her parents, Marlene McKinnon and Timothy Smith. She wished she could enjoy learning and actually take something from it. Instead, she was memorizing equations she’d never use and reading history books about things that had no effect on her personal life whatsoever.
Being a squib sucked.
Max groaned and rolled out of bed. She’d have to make her parents think she was heading off to school. In reality, though, she’d stop by her friend Michael’s flat and see what shenanigans the two of them could get into. Max knew she’d probably have to wake him up since he didn’t have work until two, but Michael’s abrasiveness in the morning really didn’t phase her– she was worse.
Max dressed herself sluggishly, pulling on an oversized flannel she probably should have washed a week ago and a pair of blue jeans. She lazily tugged on her boots without bothering to tie them. Max only ever put any effort into her appearance when she was at an outing with some of her older muggle friends. She didn’t want them to think she was a kid. She was seventeen– an adult in the magic world, but still a kid in the muggle world. Frustrating.
She trudged down the steps, expecting to see her mother, Marlene McKinnon, sitting at the kitchen table, reading the Daily Prophet with a cup of freshly brewed coffee steaming in her hand. Alas, what she found was an empty kitchen and cold coffee sitting on the table.
Muffled voices came from the other room. Since when did they have company?
Curious, Max approached the door separating her from the ruckus and slowly twisted the handle open. She was never really good at minding her own business.
Inside the dining room that was only ever used when relatives came over to visit, at least twelve individuals occupied the room, some hunched over, looking at parchment strewn over the table, some standing behind them. One pair of people, whom she immediately recognized as her mother and Lily Potter, were standing in the corner, seeming to be in a deep discussion about something that would probably go way over Max’s head.
“Mum?” Max called skeptically, shifting uncomfortably as all commotion ceased and eyes cast themselves on her.
Marlene’s head snapped in her daughter’s direction, eyes wide with surprise. As Marlene rushed to escort her out of the room, Max gave her a weird look and said, “Care to explain why there’s a million different people hanging round our house at seven in the morning?”
“You’re supposed to be at school.”
“Not for another half hour,” Max said, unimpressed by her mother’s attempt to detract her from the situation lingering just in the next room. “What’s going on?”
“We’re just having a couple people staying with us.”
“For how long?” Max asked, crossing her arms.
“I don’t know– as long as it takes,” Marlene sighed. “Now go to school. You’re already in enough trouble.”
“Who even are they?” Max pressed.
“Max,” Marlene snapped. “Now.”
Max rolled her eyes. “Whatever.” And with that, she made her exit.
Chapter 3: II
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It was strange to be at Marlene’s home. She and Sirius had hardly spoken in seventeen years, let alone made visits to each other’s houses. At best they graced each other with nods and awkward smiles when forced into certain social situations together, usually enforced by mutual friends– Lily and James Potter in particular.
It was truly saddening to see how far the deterioration of their friendship had gone. They had once been friends, and at a time, secret lovers. Now they could hardly look one another in the eye.
Sirius had been having a smoke on Marlene’s front step, needing a break from the overwhelming revelation he would have to stay there for who knows how long, when a young girl of seventeen stepped outside with a scowl on her face. Her curls were wild in the breeze of the cool London air. She huffed as a tendrel flew in her face as she shut the front door behind her. Noticing Sirius on the stoop, she stopped, adjusting the blue bag slung over her shoulder.
“At your service,” he said, nodding, extending his hand. They had met before, but she was young and he doubted she remembered.
Max cracked a wry smile, taking his hand. “Lily and James always talk about you.”
“I would hope so,” Sirius said. “We’ve known each other for ages.”
She tilted her head at him, eyeing him as a burning curiosity wrenched within her. “Is it true you turned the mattresses in Slytherin into portkeys that transported students into the Great Lake?”
Sirius bit back his smile, shrugging. “Can’t recall. It was a long time ago.”
Max raised her eyebrows with skepticism, sending him an amused smirk.
Sirius blinked. That smirk was familiar. He couldn’t put his finger on it, but it belonged to someone he knew, and it wasn’t Marlene, despite the fact that Max was indeed the spitting image of her mother.
“Right,” Max said–still adorning that smirk that had Sirius wracking his brain to uncover just who exactly it reminded him of–descending down the front steps. “See you ‘round, Sirius.”
Max didn’t bother knocking. The door was already unlocked and she was around enough to have earned the privilege of walking right in. Besides, she knew Omar wouldn’t mind.
What she was about to do next, however, he would absolutely, without a doubt, mind.
“Rise and shine, dumbarse.”
With one swift pull, the blinds were drawn back and a bright beam of light was cast onto Omar’s sleeping form. A groan was emitted into the air. Max smirked with triumph.
“Get up,” Max said, plopping down on the bed beside her friend of seven years. “I wanna practice.”
“You know,” Omar grunted, slowly rising to a sitting position, “one of the perks of dropping out of college is not waking up at the arse-crack of dawn. Why must you ruin it?”
“I want to practice,” Max repeated. “Battle of the Bands is in two weeks. We need to be ready.”
“We are ready.”
Max snorted. “Ha ha. Hilarious.”
Omar sighed. Yeah, he guessed that really was a bunch of bollocks. Calvin still hadn’t written the bass line and they weren’t even sure if Rashaad was a part of the band anymore. Perhaps they would have to perform as a three-piece when the time came.
“Shouldn’t you be at school?”
“Shouldn’t you?” Max replied, crossing her arms. “You are only seventeen after all. Little young to be a drop-out.”
“I told you,” Omar said, scowling, “college ain’t for me.”
“It ain’t for me either, but I still go.”
Omar snorted. “When you’re mum makes you.”
Max shrugged it off, waving a hand. “Details. Are we gonna practice or not?” Max said. “We have two weeks, O. Two weeks.”
“Yeah, yeah,” Omar said, rolling off his oh-so-comfortable bed. “I’m coming.”
The drum was her favorite instrument. She learned to play in the school band when she was twelve, determined to be the best drummer the band had ever seen after being told the drums were “boy instruments.” And indeed, she was their best drummer.
She picked up on things quickly, with a grace about her that no one else could seem to compete with. When she wanted to learn something, she was so focused it was lethal.
After mastering the drums, she moved onto guitar. Then piano. Then bass. Her mother was convinced her daughter was some kind of prodigy, but Max, being Max, refused other classical training. “I want to do it my way,” she had told her mother. So she left the school’s band and started her own.
Max was lead singer, despite her love for the drums. Most of the music written was written by her, and the poetry didn’t sound right coming from someone else’s mouth. It was too personal. After all, most of it was about her ever volatile relationship with her father, feeling like an outcast in her family, and most notably being a squib—though she was discreet about that particular subject as majority of her audience were muggles.
The band was called Asteria, after the Greek goddess of the stars. Omar was, at first opposed to the name, as it was “girly.” But Max pointed out he was being sexist. So they stuck with it.
“What do you want to start with?” Omar asked as he positioned himself behind his drum set. Max strapped on the guitar in the corner of her friend’s room.
“‘Comfortable,’” she named without missing a beat. “I need to practice the second riff.”
And just as Omar clanked his drumsticks together to count 1, 2, 3, 4, a pounding sound echoed from downstairs.
“I think someone’s at the door.”
Omar groaned, discarding the drumsticks. “Fuck’s sake.”
Max trailed behind Omar as he descended down the steps to answer the door, his feet pounding heavy thumps into the floorboards. Swinging the door open, they were met with a “Where is she?”