Chapter 1 : Look Out For Yourself.
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I had just arrived back home at Number Twelve Grimmauld Place after walking around the park for a few hours. Sirius had accompanied me for a while as Padfoot, but had returned home early. Although it wasn’t that cold, I had my woollen scarf wrapped tightly around my neck and the bottom of my jaw.
“Whoa, whoa, slow down there Hermione.” I muffled with a big grin evident even from behind the scarf. “Why so excited for anyway?"
Hermione giggled. “You’ll see.”
She pulled me towards the kitchen where it was too dark to see.
"Come on Hermione, you know I don't like -"
“SURPRISE!” shouted many familiar faces of whom I loved while stringers and mini fireworks flared to life from several wands.
A huge, purple banner above the crowd read:
“Surprises..." I trailed, "Ha-ha, thanks guys.” I mumbled blushingly, pulling my scarf down as Fred and George lifted me on to their shoulders. I gripped on to the tops of their heads tightly, for fear that they would actually drop me.
I shook people’s hands as they walked towards the table behind me. Food. A big plate of roast chicken, a variety of finger foods, a bowl of mashed potatoes and gravy, loaves of bread and a cauldron of stew. All prepared generously by Mrs. Weasley. Right in the middle of the table was a brightly coloured cake, with a picture of me.
Fred and George let me down and joined the others. George leaving with a quiet “Happy Birthday” and a soft, swift kiss on the cheek.
A lot of the members of the Order were there. Lupin, Mad-eye Moody, Tonks, Kingsley. Even Mudungus.
I watched the others as they were all grabbing plates and food.
Something was missing on my sweet sixteenth. Certain people whom I’ve held on to dearly for only a handful of years. My parents. Oh how I missed them.
I stood there, not really concentrating on my surroundings until a hand draped over my shoulder.
“Not hungry, eh, Soph?”
I turned around and met Sirius’ long, gaunt face. He was looking out at the busy people in front of us.
“Just waiting for the crowd to disperse.” I smiled thinly. “What about you, Sirius?”
Sirius just looked down at me. His eyes were grey and sad but they were also warm and filled with love. He’d been confined in his childhood home for almost three months. I don’t blame him.
“Follow me.” He finally said.
“Bu-” I began as he spun around and started towards the drawing room.
“Just come.” He said without looking back.
With not so much of a glance back at the table, I turned away and followed Sirius.
By the time I reached the drawing room, Sirius was no where to be seen.
“Sirius?” I whispered, becoming slightly afraid. “Siriu-”
“BOO!” shouted Sirius coming out from behind the wall.
I bit down on a scream and instead, sneered playfully.
“I know you too well Sirius.”
“Ha-ha, I remember when I can scare you by just doing this.” He lifted me up by the hips and twirled me around.
I squealed with laughter. “Ha-ha Sirius, I’m not that little girl anymore.” I grinned, all thoughts of the missing piece to this party ebbing away.
“I know Sofie, I know. You’re bloody sixteen already.”
I smiled. “So, what were you going to show me?”
“Oh yeah, close your eyes Soph”.
“C’mon. Don’t be a brat.”
“Me? A Brat? Don’t think so Sirius.” And suddenly, the room went black.
“Don’t worry, I’m still here.”
“I casted a blinding spell on you.” And even with a blinding spell, I could sense the cheeky smile on his face.
“You weren’t going to close your eyes. Now, follow my voice.”
“Come on! This way.”
I walked towards his voice until I felt something hard blocking my way.
“You can stop now.”
“I sorta figured, you know.”
Sirius chuckled softly and I felt life come back into my eyes. My mouth fell open to what was there in front of me.
“Happy Birthday Soph.” Sirius said softly.
It was a giant picture of my parents and me in the middle. It was bordered by a golden, beautifully patterned frame. My parents had been killed by a death eater by the name of Lucius Malfoy under Voldemort’s order. This had been ten years ago, when I was just at a mere age of six. Maybe that’s my excuse for being scared easily. If not for Sirius, I wouldn’t have been alive.
I looked into my parents’ faces. Memories of when I was just a young kid flooded back. Memories of when I was still with my parents.
Tears formed around my eyes and slid down my cheek.
“Soph…” Sirius walked towards me and hugged me tightly, filled with affection.
“I’ll be okay.” I mumbled softly.
“What are you talking about? This is an awesome present.” I attempted to force a happy voice out, but I choked.
I rested my head against his chest as I cried silently. He patted me fondly on the head.
After a while, Sirius released me and the tears had stopped coming.
Without a word, we silently walked back to the kitchen where the festivities continued. Only Mad-Eye Moody seemed to realise us walking back in.
By the time the festivities had ended, Harry and the Weasley children had gathered in Hermione and my room while the adults had some hot chocolate downstairs.
I sat cross legged on my bed, opening a present from Ron.
“Oh, thanks Ron.” I said, slightly confused to what it is. It was a strange silver object, which looked oddly like a bottle cap.
“Dad says its worth quite a lot in the muggle world.”
“Eh? Oh, umm, cool.” I muttered, glancing at Hermione who had looked down at her feet. Even I knew better.
“Open my present Soph.” said Ginny, pointing at the big square box at the foot of the bed. Fred chucked the box softly at me.
“Careful,” snapped Ginny, “There’s something… fragile in there.”
As I opened the lid of the box, there came a little squeak from inside.
“A Pygmy Puff!” I squealed as I lifted it from its box. “Thanks Gin.”
I placed it back in the box and put it down next to the bottle cap, the stack of books which Hermione had gotten me and a bewitched Fitchburg Finches – the local Quidditch team from Fitchburg – poster.
Fred and George had smiled broadly as they passed me their present. I watched them carefully in case they had plotted something ‘amusing’ in their present. With no hint of prank in their faces, I pulled apart the wrapping and laughed as I saw what it was.
“A WonderWitch Love Potion and a daydreaming quill, eh?
“Thought you’d like it” winked Fred.
“How thoughtful” I muttered sarcastically. Then winked back to show them I was kidding.
“You kids should be getting to bed," said Mrs. Weasley, appearing suddenly at the door, “We ought to leave early tomorrow.”
The others groaned while me and Hermione got ready for bed.
“See you tomorrow morning.”
I woke up during the middle of the night for a little toilet break.
“Soph?” a hoarse whisper as soon as I walked out of the bathroom door.
Before I could even scream, my assailant covered my mouth with his rough hand and 'shhed' into my ear. I opened my mouth to bite him but he whispered again: “Soph, its me.”
“Shiriush?” I muffled against his hand. I could feel him nod. With that little jerk of his head, I bit into his hand anyway.
He yelped like a dog and quickly released my mouth. He rubbed the spot where I bit him and looked at me with shock as I smiled sheepishly. So that was new to me?
“Let's go take a walk.” He pulled on my hand gently with his other hand and continued to suck on his wound.
It was part of our nightly ritual; tip toeing down the creaky stairs, taking little strolls around the block. The only time where Sirius could get out and enjoy a little bit of freedom from the house Dumbledore caged him in. From Azkaban to Number Twelve Grimmauld Place. From dementors to the only company of his 'oh so beloved house elf' and his 'lovely, dear old mother'. It wasn't a wonder why everyone felt sorry for him.
I was reluctant at first, for fear of him getting caught, but who could say no to that rough, threatening face? No, not I. Not when he pouted desperately to get out of the house.
He opened the door as quietly as he could and pushed me through.
“Sirius, how come you never got married or had kids?” I asked him so many insensitive questions that he'd never answer to anyone else.
He looked at me briefly before looking back out to the front, “Well, I was locked up for a while.” He chuckled grimly.
“Hm... that's true.” Thoughts of Sirius being locked up sometimes escaped my mind.
Sometimes we spent the night doing nothing but walking, under the limited stars.
“What's your patronus?” I asked him. Other nights, it was of me interrogating him, sometimes with force, other times with little effort.
“My patronus?” he mused on it for a little bit, “A dove.”
I laughed. “A dove Sirius? Are you serious?”
He looked at me seriously and I paused. Did I cross the line?
“What?” I questioned, giving him a little apologetical face.
He grinned quickly and patted me on the head to show he wasn't upset, “Your mother said that once.”
“Do you want to talk about it?” Sirius was hopeful. He'd always wanted to talk about my parents but I would never let him. I was considered a bottle who sealed the cap on as tightly as I could and only ever opening it to let in another little feeling.
I shook my head quickly and he let out a small sigh. He placed his hand around my shoulder and side-hugged me tightly.
The next morning, by the time we had reached platform nine and three quarters, we still had ten minutes to go before the warning whistle rang. Sirius had tagged along as the black bear-like dog he loves to be, to say good bye to Harry and I.
He clasped Harry’s hand. “Don’t do what I wouldn’t do.” He told Harry.
“Ha, I won’t Sirius.” Harry said as he held Sirius’ shoulder.
Sirius turned around to me as I smiled back at him. He took a few steps towards me and hugged me tightly, rubbing my back.
“Look after yourself Soph.” He whispered, pulling me back a bit so he was holding me by the elbow.
“No, you look after yourself, Sirius.”
He looked into my eyes seriously then ruffled my hair and chuckled.
“I’ll miss you Sirius.” I said sadly, holding onto his back. I didn't like leaving Sirius. Not when I know how much he loathes being in the house he abandoned and disowned in return so many years ago.
He placed his hand on my head then winked.
“If you hear anything weird, anything at all, make sure you tell me straight away.”
“What kind of weird? I hear a lot of weird things Sirius. In case you’ve forgotten what it feels like to be at Hogwarts.” I smiled smugly and he smiled back.
The whistle had rung and Mrs. Weasley shooed everyone on to the train.
“Bye Sirius.” I pouted at him, showing him I was unwilling to leave. I didn't move. He hugged me again and pushed me away.
“Look after yourself!” he repeated, shouting after me.
I gave him the thumbs up and climbed aboard behind Fred and George.