Chapter 2 : Chapter One
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Top Five Reasons Why I Cannot
Wait to Go Back To HogwartsTOMORROW
5. My bloody family
4. No more of that crappy “Summer Love” romance on beaches or anywhere else in public.
3. No more skanky girls with too-revealing swimsuits, shirts, etc.
2. My bloody family
1. Post-seventh year my life will begin
“Ow! Ow! Dammit, Hannah- let go of my bloody scalp! You’re going to rip it clean off! Dirty git!”
“Rosie, Rosie, you promised you would watch me play Quidditch outside!”
“Well- I’m- sorry- Miss- Star- Player” I grunted, prying her hands away from my head. “But- I need my head back. Hah!” I was victorious- her powerful seven year-old hands were unable to withstand my stronger seventeen-year- old ones. “Can’t you hear the baby is crying?”
Hannah, her freckled face contorted with rage, screamed in frustration and threw herself on the floor, writhing as though she were being tortured.
“Drama queen,” I muttered as I sprinted up to the second floor, following the wails of the baby, praying to God- if there was one that liked me- to not wake up the other monster. I padded quickly up the carpeted stairs and down the rusty yellow hall to where the babies’ room sat. The sharp, piercing shrieks of my younger brother met my ears-even louder- as I swung open the door and sped to his crib, picking him up and placing him calmly on my hip.
“Shhh, Arnie, you’re going to wake up-”
There was a soft rustling in the crib across the way, leaving me no hope for humanity, myself, nor these children. The bundle began to cry as it made its way up to the top of the crib, poking her head out as though she were going to miss out on something extremely important.
“-Amelia.” I sighed. Typical. The two were out to get me, I was sure of it. It was as though they planned on making my life miserable.
I gently hushed Arnie and Amelia, gathering the latter in my arms onto the other hip. Her big brown eyes looked at me, still tear-filled, and she smiled.
I rolled my eyes.
“Don’t ‘Hi Rosie!’ me. It’s not going to work. Ugh,” I couldn’t help but smile. They were clever. Predictable, but clever. Like their star role model, moi.
They simultaneously began to suck their thumbs as I loaded them back downstairs into the late morning sunlight that filtered through the half open kitchen windows. Inside the main parlor, Hannah was still in her tantrum, her feet and arms flailing ridiculously.
In my arms, Arnie squirmed to get away from my clutches so I gratefully obliged, considering he was the heaviest of the two. The moment his feet touched the wood, he began to cry, trying to climb up my arm and keep his previous spot. But it was too late for him- I was beginning to feel my arm again and I wasn’t about to give that up.
Just then the doorbell rang and I looked at the time. It was a quarter after eleven. Finally. I could have cried in joy. My relief was here.
“Come on Arnie, somebody is at the door! Look who it is! Come see, come.”
Arnie came, tears still streaming down his face. His sister watched him in awe as we led the way back down the hallway to the main entrance where our front door was located. In the window was a tall, dark-haired figure and I single-handedly unlocked and opened the door.
The figure grinned, rolling his eyes and entering as I let him in.
“Gods, Rose, you’ve got your hands full- don’t you ever give yourself a break?”
“Gee, thanks Professor Obvious. Now get your lazy arse moving, Sirius, and help me with these little buggers.”
Sirius laughed his bark-like laugh and stopped little Arnie in his tracks. The child looked up with his brown eyes and saw Sirius standing there, looking almost heaven-sent what, with the sun behind him and the tall, sturdy stature.
‘Poor bloke, he must think Sirius is some sort of God come to save him from this hellhole and the bitch that runs the place- me.’
“Look, Arnie, it’s Sirius! You remember him! He’s come to play with us today!”
“Oh, indeed I have come to play.”
Sirius looked at me and gave me a coy wink. I snorted and gave him the finger behind my back. Sirius immaturely stuck his tongue out and picked Arnie up, following me into the parlor to where Hannah now sat, playing Gobstones.
“Hannah, you remember Sirius?”
Hannah looked up at me, giving me a dirty look. Then she saw Sirius, and a look I recognized in most, if not, all girls, came across her face.
“Hi Sirius! How are you? How has your summer been? I baked you cookies for later tonight when you sleep over. How is James? What about Remus and Peter? I’m sorry your parents are mean and you had to run away. I hate my house too-”
“Okay, thank you Hannah, enough of that!”
Sirius laughed and gave Hannah a hug.
“It’s good to see you again Little Stuart,” he grinned, letting go of Hannah, who wilted at the sultry sounds of his voice. “Now, what is this tantrum all about?”
“I wanted to go play Quidditch with Rosie outside but she wouldn’t let me and she promised and-”
“Shove it, you little bugger. I would give my left kidney to go out and practice my chasing but I’ve you and Arnie and Amelia and Oswald to worry about!”
“Speaking of the charming young fellow, where is Oswald?”
As though on cue an enormous BANG erupted from the lower floor and a puff of acid green smoke came flooding from underneath the closed wooden door. There was the sound of heavy footsteps and the door swung wide open, allowing vast amounts of the noxious gas to come protruding out into the parlor. The smoke caused all of us to cough hysterically as my brother shouted-
“Close the door, close it!”
Sirius grabbed his wand from his jean pocket and pointed it at the door. Immediately the gas went away and the door slammed shut. The rest of us continued to choke on a substance that nobody wanted to know what exactly it was.
Standing there, tall and awkward, was my fifteen year old brother, Oswald. His dark brown hair was covered in purple and blue goop and his face and exposed skin was splotched with soot. I looked at him, putting down Amelia to go and play with Arnie- who was now being engaged in a game with blocks. Hannah clearly knew that somebody was about to get his ass kicked.*
“What the bloody hell is mentally wrong with you?” I hollered. Beside me Sirius muttered, “Oh blimey,” and he left me to deal with this by myself.
Oswald shuffled his feet sheepishly, turning red. Though he was taller than I was, in a gangly sort of way, he still kept his head down in embarrassment and shame.
“You must have pigmy puffs for brains because- I don’t ever know if I want to know what the hell you were doing down there and what the cellar looks like and what caused that explosion-”
“It’s just an experiment!” Oswald was finally mucking up the balls to tell me what had happened. “Professor Slughorn said that I was a really good potion maker before we left last year, and I’ve been working on this one, really difficult potion all holiday. I just need to finish the last of the preparations, that explosion was normal, don‘t worry. I promise I‘ll-”
“I don’t bloody care what you promise. As it is I’m stuck watching you lot while Dad works he arse off trying to support us all! You would think that you would show the slightest amount of support or help, but no, that’s too much for you- selfish little berk!”
“Well,” Oswald retorted, finally standing up straight, “You’re just freaking out at me because you’re an ass and can’t handle your own wand properly!”
Oh, he had hit a nerve. My face automatically became beat red and my eyes glazed over. The typical SFT-Stuart Family Temper. I made a lunge towards him and would have successfully throttled him if it weren’t for two strong arms that pulled me away, back towards the wall.
“Come on Rose, he’s not worth getting into trouble for. He didn’t do it purposely, calm yourself.”
Oddly enough it worked. Sirius gradually let me go as Oswald took his only chance to sprint back downstairs.
“Dammit, Sirius- Yeah, you better run you little bugger. I want that whole place cleaned up by the time that Dad gets home or your ass is mine!”
When the door slammed shut, there was a strange, uncommon peace within the house. In the corner of the parlor sat my other three ever-so-pleasant siblings, somehow playing contently with the blocks that stacked themselves into various figures.
“Hannah?” Sirius questioned, turning to face her. Hannah looked up eagerly. “Are you okay with these two for a few minutes? I think this Azkaban escapee needs a bit of a break.”
“Of course Sirius!” Hannah chirped. I rolled my eyes at her pathetic display. Even my seven-year-old sister fell for Sirius. Typical. I allowed Sirius to lead my outside into the humid, golden-skied morning front yard. We sat in our usual spots, crossing our legs and sitting directly opposite.
“So, Miss Stuart. This is your fifth visit this week,” Sirius mimicked a therapist, mock writing notes on his hand. “What seems to be the dilemma?”
“Well, Doctor, I absolutely loathe my family.”
“I see. And how does that make you feel?” I grinned.
“Pretty damn bad, let me tell you that.”
“I see. Now, have these homicidal bursts of anger happened for a while?”
I shrugged. Hey, this was actually working.
“Naw, I’ve just been stuck at home taking care of them all day. I’m like the mother now, and it downright sucks.”
“Interesting,” he murmured, looking at me thoughtfully.
I scoffed at him. “Are you serious?”
There was a silence that followed those words as Sirius looked at me with his dark eyes, so alight with humor and life. I didn’t realize what I had just said until I truly thought about it and I suddenly felt better. Laughing, I punched him in the gut and he pushed me back, causing me to fall over. I continued to lay on the grass, deeply inhaling the sent of fresh cut grass.
We lay there, peaceful and laughing until it became quieter. Sirius was the first to break the silence.
“Now, what be this talk ‘bout you losing your wand?”
“Ugh,” I grunted, sitting back up, “My dad took away my wand until school starts. Which is tomorrow, thank God.”
“And that would be… why?”
“It’s actually a funny story. One day Hanna was really irritating me and I couldn’t take it any longer. So I silenced her- literally.” I mock pointed my hand. “Then when the twins were getting bored, I wanted them to have fun.. So I levitated them up and down. They were having such a good time and I didn’t want to be my normal bitchy self. Then Arnie got bored with that so I transfigured a toy into a little mouse for him to play with. When my father came home, Arnie was playing with mouse droppings, Amelia was on top of the ice box, and Hannah was trying to scream as loud as she could.”
I took a breath and glanced at Sirius. He was laughing with his Sirius Is Laughing face, and he had some tears at the corners of his eyes. I smiled.
“And Oswald?” Sirius dared.
Sirius continued his silent laughing until he finally took a deep breath, wiping his eyes. He whistled, clearly impressed.
“And I thought my family was screwed up.”
“Well, you know us Stuarts. We put the ‘fun’ back in ‘dysfunctional‘.”
Dysfunctional was an understatement. My family was downright insane. And it was a very clear thing.
My family (NOTE: I don’t enjoy including myself in that category i.e. Me and my family..) had always been a tad bit on the unique side. Eccentric, we’ll call it. Regardless, we always managed to gain several “I-Cannot-Believe-That-Just-Happened-How-Repulsive” stares in Muggle restaurants and various other public places. My parents were proud wizards and we were so dreadfully loud that talking of the Wizarding World was a common favorite pastime. Keeping our powers on the hush-hush was difficult for a woman such as my mother.
My mother. Lola Stuart. As crazy and remarkable as her name. For somebody so beautiful and mysterious, it was incredible that she had raised three children and was desperate for more. Why, I will never understand, but she went for one more beautiful blessing- not aware that one of those little blessings would lead to her death.
Somehow, while she was pregnant with the twins, one child went completely undetected. The Healers were positive that she was so baby-heavy because the baby inside was large and healthy. When the labor eventually came, however, my mother’s body was not ready to bear two children. After Arnie was born, my mother emotionally and physically shut down and it was a miracle that Amelia was even able to come out at all.
For three days my darling mother, so strong and selfless, lively and brilliant, struggled to keep her life. On the day of my fifteen birthday, she passed away. Her passing was sudden and quiet, and I had been the only one to see her go. Lola Stuart had flitted in and out of our lives and since then my family had never been the same. My father and brother blamed God. Hannah didn’t know who to blame. The twins were too young to understand. As for myself, I blamed me. And the Healers. We should have seen it coming and yet we didn’t, and that’s what caused her to die.
Since we lost my mother, my father has struggled to support five children. I never truly learned about becoming as beautiful as my mother, nor have I really truly cared. People tell me that I look just like she did, but I blocked that part of my life out. It’s not true- it’s just something people like to tell you when you’ve lost a loved one in hopes that it would make you feel better. Well it didn’t.
To this day I look at myself and think of what my mother looked like. She was slim and curvy whereas I was slim and not so curvy. Quidditch had taken that out of me. My mother’s hair was bouncy and luscious. My hair was wavy and always kept out of my face for lack of any sense of style. Her eyes were phenomenal shades and flecks of green. Mine were just green.
In fact, I was just Rosabelle Stuart. An inappropriately named girl who was always just there, never of any significance or importance.
The weird thing was not that people didn’t seem to care all that much. It was simply the fact that I didn’t seem to care at all.
And that was that.
One of the most feared times of the entire day. Though Sirius thought it was hilarious, I found it rather distressing.
At around half past four, the entire process began. The twins started to fuss and Hannah complained of “sever stomach cramps”. Sighing, I rolled my eyes and grabbed Sirius by the scruff of his tee-shirt, dragging him into the kitchen with me. If I had to do this again, I wasn’t going to go it alone. Not if Sirius found it so easy.
“It’s dinner hour Mr. Black. Congratulations, you have the pleasure of cooking with me. Do you accept your challenge?”
Sirius grinned, standing up straight and saluting me.
“Permission to accept, Miss.”
“Permission granted.” I smiled.
“Permission to speak, Miss.”
“What adventure are we going to embark on today, Miss?”
“Beef stew, with fresh bread and pumpkin juice. Be prepared to eat at 0 600 hours. Aye?”
And so it all began. I started by preparing the vegetables, carrots, peas, onions, and potatoes. Sirius cut the meat into decent sized portions and put them into the sizzling cooking pot that sat on top of the stove.. When he was finished, I added in the vegetables and took my usual place in front of the pot. Sirius backed away so as to not get hit in the head with the wooden spoon I was stirring spices and broth into. All the while Sirius carefully watched me, leaning on the counter and smiling. When I had completely slaving over our evening meat, I turned to look at him. As I caught his gaze, I questioned,
“What the hell is that look?”
“Huh?” Sirius came out of his strange trance. “What?”
“That look you were just giving me, what was it?”
I eyed him suspiciously. He shook his head in response.
“It was nothing, really. I just… You’re going to make a really good mother one day, Rose.”
I stared at him, waiting for him to say the punch line of said joke. Needless to say, he wasn’t really joking around.
“Come on Black, you must be daft. Me, married with children?” I laughed. Sirius cracked a reluctant smile too.
“Yeah, you’re right. I’m just not thinking… Haha.”
Just then the large grandfather clock that had been passed down from generation to generation in my family, gonged loudly. It was five o’clock. My father would be home in an hour. I automatically began rushing around, cleaning things up wherever I could, and Sirius continued to watch, rolling his eyes.
In one swift movement he waved his wand and everything was cleaned. I ceased running around like mad, and looked at him, glaring.
“You could have used your wand all along, you git!”
Sirius laughed, dodging my fists.
“Yeah, but it was funnier to see you go bonkers!”
“Hello Sirius, lad! It’s good to see you again,” my father gratefully shook his hand and sat down at the head of the table, smiling a smile that I hadn’t seen in a while. Sirius smiled politely and nodded.
“Likewise, Mr. Stuart.”
He clapped Sirius on the shoulder and then turned his direction to the rest of us. I stood up automatically and went to get the prepared food. I picked up the heavy pot and placed it on the counter, taking the fresh bread from the oven and placing it beside the stew. I then proceeded to serve everyone, giving my father the most, and serving myself last. When I finally sat back down, everyone’s plates filled, everyone began to clatter their silverware, eating ravenously.
I slowly picked at my food as my father began to ask questions about everyone’s day. When he indicated to Oswald I shot him a deadly look and he merely answered,
“Just getting ready for school tomorrow, Pop.”
“Ah, that’s right. Tomorrow is September first, I forgot that I’ll be losing my housekeeper. Eh, Rosie?”
I nodded, playing with my meat, suddenly not very hungry. That’s all I was, his housekeeper.
“Well, I suppose I will have to take you lot to the station tomorrow- Sirius my boy, you’re staying the night, aren’t you?”
Sirius was taken aback at this. He looked at him, then to me, and I shrugged.
“Well, sir, I don’t have my stuff. But I was hoping that Rose would be able to come back to the Potters with me, actually.”
My heart jumped.
“Really? Why didn’t you tell me you arse.”
“Language, please, miss.” My father scolded. Then he thought for a moment. We all looked at him, Hannah waiting to complain, Oswald waiting to argue, and myself waiting for a treat for once. I studied him deeply and saw that he looked so much older than what I remembered. His dark hair was gradually becoming more and more retreating and his brown eyes were not full of much light. His skin was slightly wrinkled and he frowned as he thought.
“Well, actually, Sirius, I’m not sure if that’s the greatest of ideas. She’s got much work to do back home… and I need to take Oswald tomorrow as well so-”
“Please, sir, the Potters have already agreed to having both Oswald and Rose. They would love to, really. And I know Rose is already packed and she’s cleaned upstairs.” I had? But underneath the table I saw him flick his wand and knew that I had indeed. “Plus, you wouldn’t have to trouble yourself taking them to the train tomorrow. Mr. Potter has a car prepared and everything.”
My father looked at me from across the table and I sat up straighter. He eyed me, then looked at Sirius and smiled.
“Of course, Sirius. As long as she’s with you, I’m not concerned for her whatsoever. You three may leave after Rose cleans up the supper and the children.”
Hannah opened her mouth to complain and I kicked her from under the table.
Finally, I was permitted freedom!