Chapter 1 : cream of innocence
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There are some things that are meant to be unbreakable. There are some things that cannot ever be fully destroyed, even as time passes and various things come to batter and chip away at it.
Sisterhood is one of those things.
For every bad moment, for every time that you cry and scream and curse, there is something that holds you back from severing the tie completely. Oh, one might attempt to - and one might believe that they had succeeded.
But they would be wrong. There are simply some things that can never be forgotten, and your sisters are one of them.
"Are you coming or not?"
Bella stood there, her hands on her hips, looking every bit the authoritative elder sister that she was.
Andy looked up at her, unperturbed by her sister's bossiness. She was quite used to it by now, and Bella did not frighten her.
"I suppose," she said, lightly jumping down from the sofa in the sitting room and standing to join her sister in the doorway.
She turned to the baby of the family. "Aren't you coming, Cissy?" she said to the four year old, who was sitting on the floor, watching her two older sisters with wide eyes.
"Yes," Cissy said, her plump legs unfolding from beneath her as she pushed herself up. She reached out one of her small hands towards the older two, silently asking for help.
"Come now, Cissy," Bella said sternly. "You're four. You can walk by yourself."
"Bella," Andy said simply, reaching out for her little sister's hand and taking it. "Take Cissy's hand."
Bella agreed without much fuss, holding the littlest’s hands. "Follow me, Cissy," she instructed.
"Okay, Bella," Cissy answered happily.
The three of them walked towards one of the back doors of the Black Manor. They ran into not a soul on their journey, the hallways quiet except for the occasional pops signifying that a house elf had moved about. They walked, hand in hand, like an unbreakable chain. Bella led the way with Andy bringing up the rear; they kept Cissy safe in between them.
They walked out into their backyard, which seemed to stretch endlessly on before finally meeting the border of a dark forest. They were secluded from everyone; the nearest house was not for at least an acre.
The grass was bright green and lush: of course it was, the gardener took very good care of the plants and lawns.
But Bella was taking them today to a place beyond where the gardener took constant care of, towards the edges of the property. "Come on," she said again, tugging at their entwined fingers.
"We're not to go into the forest," Andy pointed out.
"We're not going to," Bella huffed.
Cissy whimpered a little. "Bad things are in the forest. Mama said so."
"We're not going in the forest, don't worry," Bella affirmed. "Anyways," she said in that all-knowing tone that older sisters have, "nothing could hurt us there, anyways. We're Blacks."
Andy nodded. "Okay," she said, Cissy copying her with a nod of her own.
Bella now pointed to a tree that, while not being in the forest, sat on the edge of the forest and the clear grass, where the border of the two began to smudge and smear together. "Look," she said. "Let's climb that."
"But Cissy's too small," Andy objected.
"Am not!" came the cross reply, the little girl frowning and folding her arms over her chest.
"We'll just have to help her up then."
They approached the tree, circling it to find the best place to begin their ascent.
"Mama said we no climb trees," Cissy said with a little frown. "S'not like little ladies."
"Who cares what Mama says, anyways?" Bella said, her hand returning to her hip.
"It's a secret," Andy explained to her younger sister. "You mustn't tell Mama or else she'll get mad. But sometimes it's fun to do things like this, see? But you can't tell Mama. You musn't."
"Or else!" Bella added importantly. "Promise."
"I promise," Cissy said.
Bella went up first, wrapping her arms around a thick lower branch and pulling herself up. "Come on, Andy!" she called from below her as she scaled the tree.
"Hold on!" Andy called back up. "You've got to take Cissy."
"Fine," Bella said, dropping down to the first branch. "You push her up and I'll pull and then you come up."
Andy reached around her sister's stomach and lifted her into the air, as Cissy's fingers struggled to meet Bella's. "Got her!" Bella crowed as she managed to wrap her hands around Cissy's wrists, pulling the tiny child up. "Now it's your turn, Andy!"
"I'm coming!" With that, Andy jumped up, her hands just barely reaching the branch. She swung a bit, before finally managing to hook her legs around the branch and sit up.
Bella and Andy continued to climb the tree while they left Cissy sitting in a safe crook right across from the branch they had started on, warning her not to move too much. Bella went dashing ahead, trying to reach the top of the tree.
Andy stopped three quarters of the way up. "Careful!"
"I know!" Bella shouted back, still working on making her way up.
She continued up, climbing and climbing and climbing, as Andy watched the branches grow thinner. She didn't bother shouting up any more warnings; Bella wouldn't listen.
Finally, Bella's head disappeared. "I made it!" she cried, her head above the top of the leaves.
"Come down!" Andy called back up.
Bella reluctantly began to scamper down, before dropping down with a thud on the same branch as Andy, who clutched at the branch above her. "Let's go down now."
They headed down the tree, back to where they left Cissy, who had watched the whole thing with interest down below in her crook.
"Here's the fun part," Bella said. "There's no Cushioning Charm."
"What? No Cushioning Charm? What if we hurt ourselves?" Andy fretted. Cissy looked worried next to her.
"We'll be fine," Bella said, laying a hand on her arm. "Trust me. Besides," she said, as she sat down on the branch and prepared to drop, repeating what she said earlier, "we're Blacks."
With that, she launched herself off, her knees bent to land which she did with a light thud. "Come on, you can do it," she called upwards.
"Here, Cissy," Andy said, gathering her in her arms. "Go down to Bella, all right?" To Bella she called, "Catch!" She lowered her sister down to Bella, who caught her in her arms.
"Now it's your turn, Andy!" Bella said once more, and with that, Andy dropped off of the branch, trusting her sister implicitly as she closed her eyes.
"See?" Bella said. "You did it."
"I did it," Andy said with a grin, dusting herself off.
The three of them sat down in the grass, not wanting to head back inside just yet. Bella idly picked at the blades, pulling them up one by one.
"Let's make a daisy chain," Andy said, and they spent their afternoon pulling up the flowers that grew at the edge of the forest, admiring the cool touch of the creamy petals on their hands, tying their stems together.
They didn't worry about their mother, sitting inside, who would undoubtedly chastise them for dusty clothing and weeds on their heads. In that moment, it was just them three, in the grass, with stains of adventures and crowns of glory placed upon their hair.
In that moment, they could have gone anywhere.
A/N: This is sort of a companion piece to The Man Who Would Be King, only not really. My tribute to the Black sisters, after giving the Black brothers a try. We'll see how it goes!
This is going to be a short story collection of sorts... it'll jump around between all of the girls at different points in their lives. Each of the chapter is going to be named after a different colour, because I'm super artsy and all of that. Yeah.
Basically, this is me procrastinating a lot during NaNo, so here it is in all of its unedited glory!