This is my new baby, so be nice! Also my first attempt at Marauders-Era stuff longer than a one-shot. I've already written loads, so updates should be pretty frequent, too. I think this is the fifth try on this, because it kept being rejected for being too diary-y. Grrrr. Enjoy! Then review :)
Two small children, neither older than seven or younger than five, run in circles around a swing set in a small park as I watch from my window. My hand brushes the glass window pane, and for a wonderful, terrible second, those two children aren't those two kids there in a play park. For a second, they're two entirely different people. Two different people in a different time. In a different park. With different lives and different names and different families. They look the same though. And in an instant, they're gone, and they're just two children in a play park. And I know what I have to do. Before I know it, my legs have carried me out of the kitchen, up the stairs and up the ladder through the trapdoor to the dusty attic of my house, on my hands and knees in the bleak grey space, crouching next to Christmas decorations and old baby clothes, abandoned long ago, because, like so many things, their owners grew out of them.
I fumble around the cardboard box in that attic, cursing under my breath when I don’t find what I’m looking for, feeling each and every item inside just in case, soft fabric of moth-eaten clothes and sharp glass shards of Christmas baubles, but nothing feels right, until eventually I find the thing I need, my hand closing on the leather and my face whitening. I swore I wouldn’t think about it again. I swore I wouldn’t do a lot of things again. I lied. To myself, to my friends. To everyone who, in the last ten years or so, has asked ‘Are you okay?’ On the surface I was okay, sure I was okay on the outside, I put on a pretty flawless portrayal of being okay, and the only person who could ever see through my facades was gone. Forever. I know doing this will open old wounds. But it’s better that they’re open than pretending they don't exist. My hands shake and my knuckles turn white as I open the thick, purple leather cover and look at the first page, bearing an inscription in my then favourite swirly font. This diary belongs to Cordelia. I turn through a few pages of calligraphy practice, then, finally, the first entry.
In years to come I’ll remember the first time I saw Sirius Black-
The name makes my throat constrict. I'm not ready for this. Why did I think I was ready for this? I should wait longer, I should wait until I'm old and on my deathbed, and then I'll do it. I'm almost out of the door when I see it out of the corner of my eye, a tiny little gold note shooting out of the book. I'm curious, and walk towards it, picking up the tiny piece of... what is it? It's gold in colour, but as soon as I touched it became less than air and floated in the air in front of me, becoming a gold ribbon
'If you're old, then you won't be able to remember.'
I grab the ribbon and stuff it in my pocket, rolling me eyes as I take the book downstairs to the living room, sitting down on the floor and opening the page again.
I can still to this day quote the rest of that sentence. It was on a train. Not on the Hogwarts Express. On a train from London Victoria to some countryside town in the middle of nowhere. We both got on at Victoria, but he got off after a few stops, at some station I can’t remember the name of. I stayed on until the woman with cold, clipped tones announced that the train was terminating here. I was going to visit my mother in the countryside. I lived with my father in London, near to the Ministry, where he worked in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. They divorced when I was seven, three years before that day. The day I met Sirius Black.
He was a ten year old boy with dark hair too long to be fashionable, slate-grey eyes and a jutting chin. He looked stubborn, defiant; his head at an angle which suggested superiority and confidence. His aristocratic cheekbones contrasted with his black hair hanging by the sides of his pale face. He was wearing Muggle clothes, a pair of black jeans and a black t-shirt and sat staring intrusively at everyone else in the carriage. Even then I couldn't help analysing him. To my ten year old self, he appeared as an aristocrat who didn't like to do as he was told, a rebel who considered himself as above the law (probably taught so by his parents). Little did I know how right I was.
I was... well, I was me. Blonde hair with a gentle curl at the ends, wide, innocent blue eyes the colour of a swimming pool. Not wild like the sea. Bright. Safe. Chemical. My skin was alabaster white from a summer spent indoors reading, and my hands drummed lightly on the plastic table in front of me as I scanned the other occupants of the carriage. The seat opposite me was empty. At least until Sirius Black sat down in front of me.
I had been looking out of the window, watching the world go by. I had seen the last edge of London disappear moments before, the border of my home, my comfort zone disappearing. My left hand had been beneath my chin, my right twirling a strand of hair hanging loose from my ponytail on my right cheek. As the city gave way to suburban trees and pavements, I sighed, feeling oddly exposed.
Like I said. I could quote it. My diary reads the same, aside from some rather atrocious spelling errors. I chuckle under my breath, smiling to myself as I stand up from the floor and go to sit in a huge armchair by the fire, tucking my feet up beneath me and continuing to read.
‘Hi.’ he said tentatively, though having already sat down there was no need to be tentative.
‘Hi.’ I answered, looking up, smiling slightly, but hardly taking in his appearance at all, I knew what he looked like after all, and went back to looking out of the window, this time thinking about my mum. I hadn’t spoken to her since the divorce. She didn’t even know I was coming. I kind of ran away.
I know what you’re thinking, ten year old girls run away all the time. Most of them go around the corner, or to a friend’s house down the road. I’ve done it before. I’ve even sat on the doorstep at ten o’clock at night once, just waiting to see if they would find me. But this time was different. I was going to do this to see my mother. I didn’t want her to know in advance because I didn’t want her to calculate the way she acted around me. I wanted her to be my mum again. I didn’t want her to live with Dad. I knew why they couldn’t. It was because of me.
See, I’m just going to give you a bit of a History of Magic 101 lesson now.
Wizards and witches. Yes, you know all about them, people who can do magic, carry wands, blah blah blah. Then there’s Muggles, the vast majority of people in the world, who can’t. My father is a wizard. My mother is a Muggle. My father didn’t see fit to disclose this information to my mother for a long time. The only way she found out was when I was coming up to my sixth birthday. When I started doing magic too. Nothing major, I accidentally dyed my aunt's hair green once, and was able to control my magic just like I controlled everything else about my life.
Mum left pretty soon after that. I'd like to say I’m sure that if Dad had told her from the off she might have been fine with it, despite her...condition. But he kept it a secret for ten years. He lied for ten years. And that she couldn’t forgive. You always hear children saying it’s their fault their parents divorced, and talk show hosts and counsellors assuring them that it’s definitely not. But for me, it is. It’s my fault.
‘Hello?’ Sirius was waving his hand in front of my face, a puzzled expression crossing his face.
‘Hi.’ I said again.
‘What’s your name?’ he asked.
‘Lia.’ I said. ‘Just call me Lia.’
‘What’s your full name?’ he asked, and I told him.
‘Cordelia. Cordelia Bella Rose Valentine-Knightley.’ I said, with a little smile, expecting to see him surprised at my name, but he merely smirked and said in a condescending manner,
‘Sirius Orion Phineas Cygnus Black’ He smiled at me then, showing perfect white teeth. I’m only ten, and still have a gap at the back of my mouth.
‘Is that really your name?’ I asked warily, my psychotherapist instincts intrigued by this stranger.
‘Nah, not really. I’m just Sirius Orion Black, at your service Ma’am.’ He clicked his heels together and I cracked a smile.
‘I wish I could say that wasn’t my real name.’ I sighed, looking out the window again.
‘Why?’ he asked, curious.
‘Cordelia Bella Rose Valentine-Knightley?’ I asked incredulously. ‘Who wants a name they can’t spell when they get to the end of infant school, let alone nursery?’
‘Sirius Orion Black?’ he asked, as if to prove a point. ‘That’s not exactly an easy name to spell, is it? It's absolutely ridiculous, that's what it is. And anyway...’ He paused for breath, looking into my eyes, his the colour of the sky in the middle of a rainstorm, the grey of a wolf’s pelt. After a while I looked away, and, seeing me completely absorbed in the rain that had now begun to fall, he sank into silence, tapping one finger on the plastic table.
‘Orion Sirius Black’ I whispered under my breath, steaming up the glass window.
‘Um, no, that’s Sirius Orion actually; it’s no mouthful, really, not like Cordelia Bella...’
He tailed off, seeing my face, as he realised what I was thinking of.
‘Yeah, he was my dad.’ I smiled weakly.
‘I hated the man anyway.’ His jaw was set, his mouth a hard line.
I had just opened my mouth to talk to him again, ask a less personal question, when, before I had even managed to get a syllable out, he was gone.
I close my eyes and rub my temples. This remembering is giving me a headache. I laugh at my own weakness. I used to be a warrior. I used to see more terrifying and scarring things than this every day. Now I'm broken. I can't handle reliving things that I survived without blinking when I was eleven years old. I'm weak.
I changed. I'm not the same person as I was ten years ago. I'm different. But not better.
I'm so similar to that person there, though. The little girl who signed her name with kisses. The one who knew everything that was wrong with the world but who put on a brave face. Who kept calm and kept going for as long as she could manage. Until one day, she broke.
Little bit of a cliffhanger there...Can't wait for chappie 2, I've got some coooool stuff lined up! Please review, it only takes a few seconds and they literally make my day! Thanks :) xx Also, I give up with the spacing. It's driving me insane, especially as I'm kinda OCD about things like that.