It took exactly twenty two years, seven months and five days for Argus Filch to receive his summons to Hogwarts School and even as he stood rather bashfully in Hogsmeade Station for the first time, he was as giddy as a tiny eleven year old child.
The castle loomed magnificently in ahead of him with the bright summer afternoon sky as an unnecessary backdrop, if he said so himself. He closed his eyes and opened them again in quick succession then pinched the skin on the back of his hand. It felt like only yesterday that he had come across the notice in the Prophet about a caretaker being needed for the school. In a time where he thought his entire existence could not get any darker, it was a well-worn newspaper that proved to be his light. He had been at his job at the Leaky Cauldron for ten years, cleaning. Ever since his father decided he couldn’t care for someone like him any longer.
It was such a dirty little word and he hated it as much as people hated him. Placing his worn brown hat on his head, Filch took up his battered suitcase and trudged towards the school gate. He had refused any form of escort to the school. He was very capable of getting there by himself, thank you very much! He had a map after all and was good at finding things. Perhaps he would have done well in Hufflepuff.
As the massive black gates appeared closer with every step, his heart hammered away in his chest because for Filch, this was a dream come true. Nothing else mattered and it was just as well. His life had not been an easy one, especially after his eleventh birthday.
He saw his younger self sitting cross-legged on the floor, staring up at the grandfather clock in the hallway of his family home; on his wrist, sat a thin rubber band which he picked and pulled at continuously to keep himself awake. It was only until his father became fed up with his seemingly odd behaviour that he picked him up and towed a squealing Argus up to bed.
On the morning of his birthday, Argus rose with a triumphant smile and flew downstairs to anticipate the post but the only letter that came from Hogwarts was his older sister’s booklist for her fourth year.
“Maybe they made a mistake.”
Filch frowned at the hopeful tone of his pubescent voice floating through his ears and kicked out angrily at a stray stone in his path. He spent his entire birthday waiting and when the sun finally sank beneath the clouds, darkening the sky, he walked back to his house with his head bowed. It was there that he felt the wind change; his house was cold. His parents, he noticed, never looked him in the eye after that day. Their eyes were filled with nothingness as they looked past him at their own dreams that were carried away with the setting sun.
“You’re a Squib, Gus,”
“What’s a Squib?”
“It’s like a Muggle being born into a magical family, no sign of magic at all.”
Ethel, his sister, was the only one who pitied him enough to explain that without magic, you couldn’t get into Hogwarts and the gravity of it all was only felt a week later. He was the son, the heir. He was the disappointment and the disgrace, not to his parents or his sister but only to himself. He spent most of his life hiding from the world and trying to figure out what he did wrong. No one bothered to tell him that this, along with everything else in life, just happened.
The gate swung open in front of him and there stood a tall, thin man with long white hair. His blue eyes smiled behind his spectacles and his arms were spread open in welcome.
“You must be Mr. Filch,” the old man said knowingly, in his midnight blue robes.
Filch nodded, taking of his hat and running a hand through his short brown hair. “Yes sir, I am.”
“Wonderful,” he stuck out his hand, “I am Professor Dumbledore, Headmaster here at Hogwarts, and it is a pleasure to have you with us.”
“Why thank you, sir!” Filch gripped Dumbledore’s hand tightly and beamed.
Dumbledore rested a hand on Filch’s shoulder and steered up the path to the school. It didn’t matter that he was wearing his best and only coat, nor did it matter that this wizard, this great man who has his picture on a Chocolate Frog card had his withered but firm hand on Filch’s shoulder. What mattered was that he was here at Hogwarts. The only place he had really wanted to be since he was a boy. Now as he stood at the top step of the castle with teary eyes and a heavy heart, he finally felt whole.
Author's Note: I originally wrote this last month for Marina's (tell_me_what_the_truth_is/marinahill) birthday tribute over on TGS and decided to post it on here. It's my first 12+ story and I'd love to know what you guys think :)
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