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Shadow of a Doubt by slytheringinny
Chapter 2 : Chapter II - Freedom
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 11


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Freedom


"Merope!"

Merope scuttled out of the dingy hallway from which she was cleaning and shook back her long, lank, greasy black hair. She looked up expectantly at her father's discerning, cold eyes and gulped. What had she done now!? She had only been locked in her room for a week, only let out to do the cooking and cleaning for her pig of a father and brother. "Yes, Father?" she said in a quiet, cautious voice, careful not to make a wrong move.

Though every move Merope made, was a bad one. "We're leaving," he stated shortly, picking up his battered yew wand from the countertop.

Merope's eyes filled with black dots and she hurridly blinked them away in surprise.

"W-What? W-Where!" she gasped. She hardly ever left the house.

Marvolo looked down on her. "Not you, filth!" he snapped. He was moody, a quality that Merope didn't see very often in her father. Something wasn't right in Merope's eyes and things didn't look good for her outcome. "Morfin and I. We're leaving. I dunno when we'll be back but I expect this mound of dirt of a home to be spotless! And if I come home to catch you with that muggle boy...whether gawping at him, or snogging him ("Not that he would anyway," sniggered Morfin in the background) I wouldn't dare hesitate to use an Unforgivable on you girl," he spat. His eyes were bloodshot again from drinking too much firewhiskey and when an impatient knock sounded on the front door, Marvolo waddled off in a drunken manner to open it.

A ministry official stood bouncing on the balls of his heels out front, waiting for this eternal moment to end. "Are you ready to come silently with your son, Mr. Gaunt?" He peaked a head around Marvolo's thin stature into the house to look at Merope backed away into a corner before looking back up in Marvolo's eyes with a horrified look in his own.

Marvolo grunted, looking down at his shriveled hand at his prized possession, a carved silver ring with an onyx black stone placed delicately inside it.

Morfin muttered something in Parseltongue from behind, a determined look on his deformed face.

"Alright then," squeaked the official. He adjusted his suspenders and replaced his purple top hat on his head before flopping down the pavement in his flip-flops. Strange man, thought Merope, though equally glad that he was taking her despicable father and brother away from her. "Best be off. What is it that m-muggles say...y-you have the right to remain s-silent-"

Marvolo growled. "I have no use of what muggles say. Just get us there so we can get out as soon as possible!"

The official nodded quickly, replacing his fallen top hat back again and grabbed Marvolo's and Morfin's arms reluctantly, apparating back to who-knew-where. Merope watched them leave through the open door. A small smile formed on her face as she saw her brother and father leave. It was just her. Freedom was the new scent filling her nose and she could have nearly bounced with joy. She was on her own.

Merope felt overwhelmed. All this freedom sat in front of her like a very first birthday present just waiting to be unwrapped, calling her name. She didn't know when her father and brother would be back, but for now, Merope didn't give a damn. She was on her own! "I'm free..." The word tasted foriegn in her mouth but the more she said the word, the more natural it came for her to speak it. "Free to do whatever I want! Whatever I please!" giggled Merope. Joy filled her lungs. Merope pranced over to the window, watching the young muggle boy ride past again. She grinned, a horrendous evil (albeit brilliant!) plot swam in her head.

Though she could barely achieve magic being the blood that she was, she was excellent at potions. Murmuring to herself, she scouraged the house for ingrediants. "I'm brilliant," she muttered with a squeal. "I'll just take the potion book from Morfin's bedroom after taking the curse off of his door, and then make the strongest love potion I can find!" she snickered and pranced down the hallway. She felt a tad evil, but if this is what she needed to do to gain his love, that's what she would do.

"I am blood, one to one, see me thru, I am blood." Parseltongue was the key to shed the curse on Morfin's door. The door swung open and Merope pinched her nose shut. Morfin's room ranked strongly of dead things, rotting flesh, and horrid smelly things that she didn't even want to think about. Untouched on the termite infested wall was a shelf, dusty and smelling ancient. The books were barely touched and Merope snatched the biggest from it before racing out of the room as fast as her feet could carry her.

Ten minutes later, she found herself sitting at the rickety table, twirling her wand in one hand, flipping through the pages with the other, the broken photograph her father had knocked over infront of her. It was a picture of her mother she had saved from her fathers wrecking stage where he wrecked everything in sight. "Let's see..." she murmured to herself with a wicked grin. "Aha! The most powerful love potion yet!" she jabbed the page in excitment and her wand twirled to a stop as she tapped her chin and looked over the ingredients. How was she to get them? Horn of a Graphorn, Essense of Mue, Scarab Beatles...she had no idea where to get all of these from! She'd have to wait then...

A day went past, and Merope's father and brother had yet to be seen trudging up the dirt road, worn, dirty, hungry, complaining, and tired. Sighing, she leaned out the open window, her elbow placed on the sill, chin in her hand, hair in tangels down to her mid-back. She had wished she had known how long Morfin and Marvolo would be gone, but alas, she would not know. The more pressing matter on her mind was how to get those blasted ingredients! A rapid knock and a disgruntled hoot startled Merope out of her thoughts.

An angry looking owl was perched on the sill next to her, pounding away on the wooden frame. Owls weren't normally allowed in the Gaunt household; Merope's father was very paranoid about the owls holding tracking spells. But Father isn't here now...so I believe it's safe to just accept the letter...Merope grinned and tugged the parchment envelope away from the barn owl's grasp. It haughtily flew off and Merope peeled off the official looking black Ministry seal.

Miss Merope Gaunt,
As of 2:34 PM today, your father and brother (Marvolo Gaunt and Morfin Gaunt) have been taken to Azkaban for questioning. As of now, you are recieving what is left of the family vault in Gringotts Wizarding Bank, vault 302. The key is inclosed. Feel free to disperse the money as you see fit. There is no return date as of now for when your relatives will return home.
Ruddy McCider
Head of Magical Affairs


Merope folded the parchment up with another grin and reached into the envelope. The letter was not lying, there was a rusty vault key in the corner of the envelope and as Merope ran her fingers over it, a brilliant idea sparked into her mind.


Author's Notes: I'm very pleased from all the feedback on this. Hopefully you like this chapter as well as the one before it. And the idea will come into the next chapter! Thanks heaps in advanced! ~Ginni~


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