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Chapter 20 : The Unmasking of Leigh Finlayson
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The first thing I saw was Leigh breaking down in the middle of the floor sobbing like her heart was breaking.
Something was most definitely wrong.
It was late. 3am to be precise, but I couldn’t sleep. The information that Leigh had thrown at us was swirling round in my head faster and faster making it impossible for sleep to take over. Angrily turning over one last time I threw the duvet off of my body and swung my legs over the side of the bed.
I sighed running my fingers through my hair before resting my head in my hands, rubbing my eyes which were heavy and tired and yet still refusing to succumb to sleep. Prematurely stopping my self pity I looked around the dark and silent dorm. It was so quiet it was almost eerie, especially with the light of the almost full moon creeping through the gap in the heavy velvet curtains. Alice was sleeping peacefully having dropped off around 1am and Leigh couldn’t face sleeping alone in the dorm tonight so was spending the night with Remus in the boys dorm. I couldn’t say I blamed her.
She must feel so alone. Everything ripped away from her. The mysterious quality that I had noticed in Leigh Finlayson was outed. Her secret told.
I guess that first impressions are right sometimes. I had known that she was hiding something from day one.
But not this. Not something so out of her control. I thought that maybe she was after Sirius. That she secretly had gone to Beauxbatons and gotten kicked out for some reason or other. I didn’t think that it would be something so serious. I sighed and ran my fingers through my hair again. I couldn’t stay in this silent dorm, I thought, getting up. I grabbed my black school robe and threw it on over the top of my pyjamas. Shoving a pair of slippers on my feet I walked down through the common room and then exited through the portrait of the Fat Lady, ignoring her comments about being woken up at such a ridiculous hour of the night. I honestly didn’t care about her calls. I didn’t care that I could easily get caught, I just needed to get away from the silence.
I couldn’t believe what was happening.
The war was real, I thought as I walked through the deserted corridors.
I had never really thought of it before. I didn’t read the news paper articles, I didn’t listen to the stories of disappearances but then Leigh got that letter.
***earlier that night***
Leigh was on the floor sobbing, a crumpled letter was held in her vice-like grip. Remus pulled her into his arms begging her to tell him what was wrong. I didn’t know what to do, everything in the room seemed to be frozen, only Leigh and Remus moving within their little bubble. I knew that Leigh must have been making some kind of noise but I couldn’t hear it. Then all of a sudden the silence snapped and chaos ensued. Lily and Alice were up in Leighs face asking what was wrong, what had happened. As concerned as I was I couldn’t go forward to do the same.
I wasn’t sure if I wanted to know. This was obviously something big. Owls seemed to be bringing more and more bad news these days. Over the last month I had noticed at least three people run out of the great hall over breakfast in tears over something the owls had brought them. News of disappearances and deaths were becoming more common as the days progressed and it seemed that Leighs’ news was no different.
“They’re dead!” Leigh sobbed lashing out and pushing the girls away. Remus tried to hold her tighter in his arms which only resulted in her attempt to break free of his grip. “They’re dead, they’re dead. They can’t be dead.” Leigh lost her fight she stopped trying to push Remus away and buried her head deep within his shirt front. The letter now abandoned on the floor lost somewhere in Leighs fight. I walked towards it and picked it up to read.
It wasn’t an invasion of privacy, not really. I was just concerned. People were dead! And Leigh didn’t seem to be coping. She just kept repeating it over and over again. They were dead.
Dear Miss Finlayson,
We are sorry to inform you that your aunt and uncle, Mrs Amelia Finlayson and Mr John Finlayson, have been killed in a death eater attack upon their home earlier this evening. The Aurors squad team sadly did not make it in time to save your aunt and uncle or catch the death eaters in question. The bodies of Mr and Mrs Finlayson are in St Mungos mortuary awaiting identification. We request that you identify the bodies at your earliest convenience.
Our sincere condolences
The Ministry of Magic
I felt the letter being tugged lightly out of my grip long after I had read it. I had been staring at the piece of paper blankly trying to make sense if it. The aurors didn’t arrive in time. Not to save them, but not even to catch the culprits? What was wrong with the auror department at the ministry? I knew that they were busy, but people were murdered and they didn’t even make it in time to help?
There was a part of me that already knew that Leighs family had been beyond help. One curse and there’s no return. They couldn’t have been saved. But I couldn’t help but wonder- why Leigh’s family? What had they ever done to anybody? It wasn’t until I felt someone’s hand wipe away the tears from my face that I realised I was crying. I felt someone wrap their arms around me and could smell the comforting scent of home.
It was James. I looked up at him in fear. If this was happening to people we knew it meant that the war was real. Our parents were out there, mine and James’. What if they were next?
I wasn’t sobbing; I wasn’t making any noise at all. But the tears just kept flowing down my face. Poor Leigh, it wasn’t fair.
I didn’t know how long everyone stood there. I just knew that James didn’t leave my side. He didn’t go to Lily, who was seeking comfort with Alice, he just stood there with me, like he was afraid if he left I would disappear. When I had stopped clinging to him and had gotten over my tears James took a hold of my hand, it was like when we had been coming home from the hospital after my attack. He couldn’t let go.
It was strange, the attack on me didn’t make the war seem real. It was this, the grief, the loss. The pain on Leighs face. That was what made the war real.
***back to present***
I was sitting on a rock looking out at the black lake, mulling everything over. Leighs story was truly tragic, we found when she was calm enough to tell us. It turns out Leigh was nothing like what we thought she was.
It turned out that when she was little, Leigh was brought up in the same social circles as Sirius. The same pureblood lifestyle and ideas were pushed upon her. Her parents wanted her to believe that she was better than muggles and muggleborns. Even that she was better than half bloods or families like James and mine since we were blood traitors. In short her parents were pureblood elitists of the worst verity. However despite being brought up in this environment Leigh never took to her parents ideas, she was never vocal about the fact that she didn’t think she was better than everyone else, but she didn’t believe it. As far as Leigh was concerned she was just a little girl and all blood was red, no one had dirt running through their veins so how could they have dirty blood?
Leigh told us that she never saw much of her parents, they were always too busy with their work. Leigh was looked after by her house elf who treated her more like a duty than a child. She must be clean at all times and was only able to play ‘clean’ games. Leigh had very little contact with any other children her age therefore she didn’t know that her feelings were unusual in her society.
When Leigh turned eight she started being obliged to go to elitist balls with her parents. At these she realised that her feelings that she was no better than anyone else were not shared by the other children. They rejected her company and Leigh spent her time at these balls miserable and alone.
When Leigh was nine she went to a ball at Malfoy Manor, at this ball the children were even crueler to her, they found a way to cheat the wards that had been set up around the house and, unknown to the adults, pushed Leigh out into muggle land. Informing Leigh that if she didn’t think that she was better than the muggles then maybe she should live like them. Leigh didn’t know what she should do, she was alone, completely alone and out of her comfort zone.
It was still light out with it being summer so Leigh decided to go for a walk, her parents would find her later. They always managed to find her. It was what grown ups did. So Leigh walked, she wasn’t sure how far she walked, a mile or so she claimed to us. But she eventually came across this place. It was quite big and there was grass all around it. There were metal structures with chains hanging from them and children sitting on bits of plastic hanging from the chains. Children where climbing up a ladder only to slide down a bit of metal. Leigh wasn’t sure what all of this was. But there were children everywhere, only one or two grown ups in sight.
Leigh told us that she later found out that it was a muggle play park, but as a child she didn’t understand, she had never seen such toys before. Leigh stood there on the sideline in her fancy clothes, afraid to try to join in. Children had never liked her; her own peer group had been proof of that. But then something strange had happened, a little girl probably around the same age as Leigh had come over and asked her if she wanted to come play. Leigh was so surprised that she let the girl lead her by the hand to the play park and before she knew it Leigh was running around with the other children, laughing and screaming as children do, she had the best time she had had for as long as she could remember. She didn’t notice her parents watching her from the park entrance, she was completely unaware that her parents were glaring at her, subconsciously labelling her, their child, a blood traitor.
Darkness fell and the children one by one had drifted from the park. The little girl, Anna, who had introduced Leigh to the freedom of the play park gave her a hug telling her that she had to go home now because her Mum would be wondering where she was but she hoped that Leigh would be back at the play park soon.
Before she knew it Leigh was the only child left in the park and it was pitch black, she sat on the swing, wondering when her parents were going to find her because she was getting cold now, and her dress had smears on it. She hoped that they wouldn’t be too mad at her, she knew that she wasn’t supposed to get her clothes dirty.
Her parents stormed into the park, now sure that there was no body around, nobody to bare witness to what they were about to do. This was the point of her story where Leigh got choked up. The part where Lily lifted her hand to her mouth, and I buried my head into James jumper. Her parents stormed up to Leigh and pulled her roughly off of the swing she had been sitting on.
As for the rest, Leigh didn’t tell us, we didn’t want to know. Who would? It was abuse in the sickest form. They left Leigh for dead in the park that night, abandoned and disowned and passed out on the round about.
When Leigh woke up she was in a muggle hospital in intensive care. Her parents were unable to be contacted along with the rest of her pureblood family. But sitting next to her was her Aunt Amelia, her fathers sister who had been disowned for marrying a half blood wizard.
Her Aunt and uncle nursed her back to full health and she stayed with them and her uncles muggle born father, the man who she called grandfather who taught her magic for the first six years of her education.
I sat on a large stone staring out onto the black lake. I couldn’t believe all that Leigh had gone through. I pulled my knees up close to me and buried my head in them, wrapping my arms around me legs, as though trying to pull myself together literally. Who knew that some purebloods could be so cruel? I felt ashamed to be tarred with the same brush as them. Sure the Potters had money, but we were not elitist. We believed in equality for everyone!
Leigh, it turned out, was not always called Leigh Finlayson. She was once Annalise Rosier.
Sirius was shocked when he heard that.
“Sweet Circe!” He murmured. “You were little Leesy Rosier? Your parents told everyone you died. Killed by muggles. I can’t believe…” Sirius had just trailed off.
Leigh wasn’t surprised that her parents had tried to blame her disappearance on murder via muggle. They thought that she was dead, and that was the way Leigh liked it. She didn’t want them to finish off the job.
Rosier, the idea that such vile sadistic people could be Leigh’s parents was just alien to me. Leigh was such a nice person. Even being brought up in pureblood mania she believed in equality for all. I just didn’t understand how evil could breed good.
But that night brought me something, I realised raising my head from my lap and looking up at the moon in its almost full form. This war was real. It was real and it was happening right now, people I knew were being affected by it. People were being killed. Teenage drama was no longer important.
A/N Okay! So what did you think of this chapter? I struggled with it a little bit, I wasn’t sure where to go with Leigh’s story, I had several routes written and then deleted. But I’m glad I finally got Leigh’s background in! Her parents were always going to be Death Eaters from when she was first introduced! (Cliché I know) But anyway, excuses as promised as I told you last chapter I have a lot going on in my life right now. Since the last chapter I have; sat all of my exams, demitted from high school (equivalent of graduating) went to my Dads university graduation. Been to several 18th birthday parties. I had my Formal (prom) on Friday (17th June 2011) which I have had to buy dresses and all sorts of other things for. And several other things such as putting up with a demanding boyfriend who is a bit of an attention whore these days! I also spent a week in Portugal with my amazing girlfriends from school! It was a last hurrah as such. We got very little sleep and all had far too much to drink. So really I have been super busy! I will update again as soon as it is written! There will be at least one other chapter this summer, hopefully more! Please review guys, the reviews are what make me want to write more! I love you all for sticking with me! And if you’re bored my MTA page is pretty empty… not that I’m hinting at all…. HINT. I love you guys! – Kirsty xxxxx
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