Chapter 3 : Mia's Dark Day
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Susan and Philip, Mia’s parents, refused to even think of the meaning of that day and Lulu found that decision simply revolting. Maybe it was their way of coping, but it just didn’t sound right. As it didn’t sound right the fact that they had gotten even more distant from Mia after what had happened. She was just a little girl, grieving too. Lulu knew Mia felt somewhat like they blamed her – there was nothing to blame, nothing could have stopped it. April 21st had been the day Mia had lost Susan and Philip as parents for good. And the day when she had lost Belle.
April 21st was Mia’s dark day. The day she would hide and keep herself from everybody; but also the day when she needed people the most.
So, Lulu decided to write to Mia’s friends – they were what she needed the most that day, even though she didn’t really know it.
At the breakfast table, Lily received a letter brought by a strange owl. It was not one of the owls from the post office, so it couldn’t be her parents. She opened the envelope and removed a piece of parchment with a strange handwriting
We haven’t met in person but you have probably heard of me. I am Mia’s nanny since she was born, Lulu.
I’m writing this letter because I need your help. As may have already noticed, Mia is nowhere to be seen today.
Lily looked around. In fact, Mia was nowhere to be seen. She hadn’t been in bed when she had left with Elizabeth to Breakfast but they assumed that, as it was Saturday, she had gone for an early walk. The blonde girl was a few feet away helping Peter with an essay that was to be delivered tomorrow, so Lily resumed reading, deciding to talk to Elizabeth later.
April 21st is a bad date for Mia, sort of like her dark day. Something terrible happened four years ago on this day, which makes it hard on her. I’m usually there for her, but I can’t this year. That is why I am writing. She needs people she loves around her, she needs her friends, even though she doesn’t think that way. So, please, find her and be there for her. That’s all I am asking for.
Lily stared at the envelope, unsure of what to do.
“Peter is hopeless,” Elizabeth uttered, taking a set by her friend’s side. “I explain him things over and over, he nods like he’s getting it but then when he is supposed to start writing he just stares at me and asks me to explain again!”
Lily nodded absently and passed her Lulu’s letter. “I think you should read this.”
Elizabeth accepted the letter. “What is this?”
“Just read,” Lily said as she looked around, hoping Mia would just show up and that whole ‘dark day’ thing was an exaggeration.
“Mia had never told us about this,” Elizabeth murmured after she finished reading the letter. “April 21st… I wonder what happened.”
“It’s up to Mia if she wants to tell us or not,” Lily stated, getting up. “I’ll go look for her in the astronomy tower. It is where I would go if I wanted to be alone.”
“I’ll go look in the common room. I’ll meet you in the astronomy tower later, okay?” Elizabeth said.
Lily nodded and proceeded to leave the Great Hall and climb up the main staircase. It took her less than ten minutes to realize that neither Mia not anybody else was not in the Astronomy tower. Disappointed, she returned to the entrance of the tower and there found Elizabeth waiting for her with James and Sirius.
“Anything?” Elizabeth asked anxiously.
“No. You told them?” Lily inquired in a slightly accusatory tone.
“Lulu said she needed her friends.” She pointed at the two boys. “They are her friends.”
“Let’s be honest, Evans,” James said. “The castle is a huge place – the more we are, the easier it will be to find her, especially if we split up. Remus stayed in the common room. He said he would warn us if she came there. One day of truce with us won’t kill you.”
Lily glared for a moment but quickly realized that was the right thing to do for her friend’s sake. “Okay, we’ll split. I’ll take the sixth floor, the seventh floor and the towers,” Lily declared.
“I can take the first three floors,” James helped.
“I’m going to look in the other floors and the library,” Elizabeth said.
“I guess that leaves the dungeons and the grounds for me,” Sirius concluded.
“We’ll meet in the common room in, let’s say, four hours?” Lily suggested, receiving several nods of agreement. “If neither of us finds her, we should warn the teachers.”
Sirius was wondering around the dungeons looking for Mia. He hoped she wasn’t there, for her own good. The dungeons were the Slytherin’s territory and he knew for a fact that some Slytherin were nasty – just look at his cousin Bellatrix.
“Aw, Cissy, isn’t this your cousin?” a male voice asked behind him.
He turned around in a sudden movement to see Lucius Malfoy and his cousin Narcissa standing behind him. Speaking of nasty Slytherins…
“What are you doing down here, Sirius?” Narcissa asked.
“Nothing wrong, if that is what you’re thinking,” he answered calmly – there was no need to get in trouble now. Mia might need him.
“That would be surprising,” Narcissa said with a laugh. “Pity you missed Christmas this year. Your parents invited Lucius too—”
“What a relief I wasn’t there, then,” Sirius interrupted her.
“You think you’re a smartass, don’t you, kid?” Malfoy asked venomously.
Narcissa coughed. “What I meant was that you should have seen your brother. He gave such a delightful speech about the motto of our family, you know, toujours pur… well, delightful for a ten-year-old, at least. Uncle Orion was so proud – he finds it so much easier to teach Regulus without you there. At least he is on the right way now, unlike you.”
“Hanging with the half-blood, Lupin and those blood-traitors Potter and the Davis girl,” Malfoy said, shaking his head. “Well, I guess all families have their rotten branches.”
Sirius clutched his fists.
“Aren’t you two supposed to be patrolling the third-floor corridor?” someone asked behind Lucius and Narcissa. Andromeda Black, Narcissa’s older sister, who happened to be the Head-Girl, appeared out of the darkness. “Move before I give you detention.”
The two glared at her before leaving her alone with Sirius. Andromeda sighed and looked at her younger cousin sympathetically. “You shouldn’t listen to them, Sirius. You’re free to hang out with whoever you want.”
“I know,” he murmured. “Is it true what they said about Regulus?”
Andromeda nodded sadly and they started to walk together. “Auntie Walburga has been making sure Bella drops by your place a lot. She’s the one feeding these ideas to your brother, even more than Uncle Orion does.”
“I hate Bella,” he stated.
“Sometimes I do too,” Andromeda confessed. “Sometimes I wish I was as brave as you are,” she stated. “Just tell them to their faces to shove all these ideas up their arses but I just do that behind their backs – guess that’s why I made Slytherin, because I can be cunning… Can you keep a secret for me Sirius?”
He nodded. She was probably the only family member he was willing to keep a secret for.
“Do you know Ted Tonks? The head boy?” she asked.
“Hufflepuff’s keeper?” Sirius asked, receiving a nod in return.
She looked around for a moment and used her wand to cast a silencing charm around him. “We’ve been together for the last two years,” she said. “Ted asked me to marry him after we graduate and I said I would. I guess that will be my way to tell our family to go to hell. I reckon they will disown me before my honeymoon is over. So, what do you think?”
Sirius smiled up at her. “I think I was right to have you as my favourite cousin,” he stated. “Send me a post card from the honeymoon, will you?”
Andromeda grinned. “You were always my favourite cousin too,” she told him. “What were you doing here in the dungeons, anyway?”
He suddenly remembered he was supposed to be looking for Mia. “I was looking for friend. Mia Davis.”
“Hum, the brunette girl who usually sits next to you in the Great Hall?” she asked.
“Yeah, that’s her,” he said. “Have you seen her?”
“Yeah, she was sitting by the lake earlier,” Andromeda told him. “She didn’t seem too happy…”
“Have I mentioned you are my favourite cousin?” he said, thanking Merlin for having run into Andromeda.
“Yep. Just a minute ago,” she said. “Go on after her. I’ll see you later.”
He nodded and ran outside to find Mia, hoping whatever that ‘dark-day’ was about was fixable.
Andromeda had told him the truth. Mia was sitting by the lake. Her eyes were directed to the water, but he could tell she wasn’t looking at it. Her mind was elsewhere.
After a quick detour to the owlery in order to send a note to the other saying he had found Mia, Sirius walked slowly in Mia’s direction. She didn’t notice him until he sat by her side.
“Go away,” she whispered. “I’m not in the mood to talk.”
“According to what your nanny wrote in her letter to Lily, I’m not supposed to,” he told her. “She mentioned something about a ‘dark day’.”
“Lulu should mind her own business,” Mia said bitterly.
“I, for once, think it is a really nice thing for her to do,” Sirius stated. “I wish my parents would worry about me the way she worries about you. According to what my cousin just said, they want me as far away as possible so they can corrupt my brother.”
“I’m sorry,” she murmured. They stood silent for several minutes. Until Mia let out a sigh when she saw he wasn’t leaving. “I used to have a sister, you know?” she confessed.
He turned his face to her in surprise. “You used to?”
“Used to,” she confirmed. “Her name was Isabelle, Belle for short. She died exactly four years ago, on her birthday.”
Despite the shock of the revelation, Sirius kept a straight face and simply nodded. “So that is what the ‘dark-day’ is about.”
“Don’t call it ‘dark-day’. Today was my sister’s birthday, it’s not dark. It’s just the day that I use to grieve. Belle was my best friend – she was less than one year younger than me. My parents were never around, so Lulu and Belle were all I had after gran died. She was turning seven in the day she died and my parents were away, so it was just the three of us. Belle and I were playing out in the garden and Lulu was watching us. Then, everything happened so fast: one moment she was laughing and the other she was out cold on the ground. I thought she was kidding or something but then Lulu and I saw she wasn’t reacting at all. She was dead even before she reached St. Mungos. It was an aneurism; there was nothing we or the healers could do. They said she was lucky she had reached that age.”
“Mia—” Sirius started.
“I was miserable for months,” Mia interrupted him. “My best friend, my sister, had dropped dead out in front of me. My parents barely reacted – they never mention her. I think they blame me, somehow. They were closer to Belle than they were to me. Sometimes I wonder if they wish I was the one dead. Lulu made me snap out of it eventually but when her birthday comes, I just can’t… not think of her. This year wasn’t as bad – maybe it is because I’m not in the place where that actually happened or maybe I’m just forgetting…”
“You’re not forgetting, you’re just healing,” Sirius told her “If I was your sister, seeing how close you were, I’d want you to heal. I wouldn’t want you to spend an entire day mourning.”
Mia looked at him, her bright brown eyes were filled with tears. “Thanks for listening,” she said.
“And you were the one who wanted me to leave,” Sirius told her.
“I was wrong,” she admitted. “And about your brother… don’t give up trying to protect him. The people you love can leave you so suddenly you wouldn’t believe.”
“I’ll take that into account,” he promised. “And just so you know, next year, in April 21st, I’ll catch you before you can disappear on us.”
She smiled in return. “Thank you.”
A/N:Just got the chapter back from my beta and thought you might want to read it. No feedback do far... Really, leave a review, tell me what you think. It is not that difficult. I'm not abandoning this fic, by the way.
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