Chapter 1 : Squibbed
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He had had an exceptional relationship with his father, Henry. His father would teach him all of the Muggle knowledge he needed and didn't question his inability to perform magic. He treated him like a normal human being.
Argus knew his mother hated everything to do with Muggles. He remembered one night vividly when his mother found him studying Mathematics with his father. The look on her face had said it all. The loathing and disappointment. She had killed his father right in front of him. Tears streaming down his eyes, Argus had run away from home.
Lost and afraid, he lived off scraps from bins for almost a week before Rebekah found him one morning, playing in a friend's garden. She brought him home and set a hot chocolate in front of him. He remembered, quite well, the anger his mother displayed when she grabbed him by the scruff of his neck and hit him as hard as she could, her long talons digging excessively into the already fragile skin on his face.
Scars shining, Argus kept quite clear of Agatha, scared of her wrath and her malice. He would skulk around the house when he was eleven, afraid of what his mother would say if he didn't receive his Hogwarts acceptance letter. The old hag would attempt to weasel the magic out of him; holding a knife against his quivering neck and covering his mouth so he couldn't breath. Both times his siblings would have to peel her thin and dangerous hands off him and send him out of the house while she calmed down.
When he received no Hogwarts letter and his younger siblings were able to perform magic without even thinking about it, he was sent to Muggle school. He went to the Puggley Primary School. It was a plain and very poor school which seemed to have room only for those who could afford very little.
On his first day of school, Argus could barely contain himself. He knew of magic, of the world to which he knew he belonged but it seemed that the universe was against him. He would never be accepted in their community. So he stood in the crowd, no friends and a very poor lunch, keeping to his business and keeping his grades to a high standard.
The teachers at school didn't seem to really care for him. He was just another shy child who liked to stay well away from others. Argus would have preferred to be talked to, to have people notice him. For something in him to have normality. It seemed, whichever world he tried to belong it, it ignored him. He felt empty, lost and hopeless. He considered simply ending his life some days. His mother wouldn't care. She had no eyes except for her other children.
Argus always believed the reason he never ended his life was that he thought a shining day might arrive. He realised, however that what he really wanted was for his younger siblings to have someone to lean on. Someone who wouldn't judge them. Someone who would make sure that the old horrid woman they called their mother wouldn't poison their minds with her evil thoughts and empty words. He prayed they wouldn't turn out like her. Despite their ability to perform magic incredibly, he really did care for them and they really cared for him. They were his only friends and he wouldn't leave them behind.
It look him a while to gain hope. He had left the dreaded Primary School and moved on to the equally as horrid and depressing Puggley Secondary School when he finally received a little hope.
He had been gazing at the old grimy window on the second floor during English class while absent-mindedly listening to the teacher speak who was reading a quote by someone called Ralph Waldo Emerson. “Life is a succession of lessons,” she quoted, “which must be lived to be understood.” It was in that moment that everything had suddenly made sense to him. He didn't understand why he was being treated the way he was, only that he thought he didn't deserve it. There must be a reason, he thought. And there was.
Soon after he heard this quote he began to understand the meaning of life. He wasn't there to help himself, he was there to help others. He began cleaning the yard at lunchtimes and began smiling at people in the playground. He even helped his vile mother with dinner and he realised that, in doing all these things, he wasn't being treated like vermin any longer.
When his sister, Rebekah and his first brother, Joseph began to attend Hogwarts it was only himself and Harold left. He looked after Harold, was kind to him and treated him as a friend. It filled him with such pride to teach his brother all about what he learnt in school and Harold was pleased to learn. He was interested and seemed to thrive in knowledge. “You'll be a Ravenclaw for sure.” Argus told him over and over again.
On one plain, boring day in English, Argus heard his name spoken by the teacher for the first time since he came to the school. He jumped in his seat and was briefly embarrassed when he noticed he was the only student left in the room.
“Argus?” the teacher asked brightly, smiling at him. What was her name? He wish he could remember. Nothing came to mind.
“Yes m'am,” he said on cue, gathering his books and hastily chucking them into his small, tattered rucksack.
“Can I please talk to you for a moment?”
Thinking he was in trouble, Argus skulked over to where his English teach stood, looking over him, a puzzled expression on her face.
“What do you do at lunchtimes?” she asked him quite abruptly.
“I clean the playground m'am.”
“Why do you clean the playground?”
“Because it makes me feel happy.”
The teacher stared at him with that same puzzled look. She seemed to be examining him carefully.
“Well you're welcome to come join me in here if you wish.” she smiled at him warmly as she said it and from that day on Argus spent his lunches with the teacher he had no idea who's name was.
Argus enjoyed spending time with her. She was kind to him and gave him different life lessons. She knew quite a lot and seemed to relate to him more than any other person he knew. She told him he should really try to gain some friends but he told her he had his brother.
He soon realised, however, the year that his little brother went to Hogwarts that he was very lonely indeed and he succumbed to the very unhappy place he had gained a long time ago. He ignored the teacher's requests to eat lunch with her and instead slumped on the playground, in a corner, pretending a stick was a wand. His mother had begun hitting him again and one day he even came to school with a black eye. It was the very last day of his schooling. He was in Year Twelve. It was a bright sunny day and even Puggley was shining its warmth on him. He would finally be out of this hell hole. As he left his English room that day he heard a voice.
“Argus?” it whispered. He turned around and found his teacher giving him that puzzled look she had shown him years ago.
“Yes m'am,” he replied.
“What happened to your eye?”
It was in that moment that he told her everything, about being a Squib and how his mother hit him because he was worthless and how his only friends, his siblings were at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. She didn't seem surprised, in fact a smile was playing on her lips.
“I know,” she told him when he finished speaking.
“You know?!” he gasped, gobsmacked.
“I'm a Squib too,” she told him gently. He just sat there, stunned.
“Look, would you like to work there?”
“A – at Hogwarts?”
She nodded. Argus smiled gleefully.
“Well I wrote a letter to Professor Dumbledore about you and he said that his old caretaker, Mr Pringle has retired. He offered the position to you.” she smiled at Argus warmly and for once in his life, he felt magical.
“Thank you m'am,” he said.
“Just remember Argus that just because you're different, doesn't mean you are any less than anyone else. You're special in your own way.”
Argus smiled and got up to leave before he remembered one detail he desperately needed to know.
“What's your name m'am?” he asked her.
“Mrs Norris,” she said kindly. “Mrs Jeanine Norris.”
He went over to her and hugged her. “Thank you Mrs Norris.” he said.
Argus dilly-dallied on his way home that evening, skipping the cracks in the footpath and sneaking through funny alleyways. Many stray animals poked their heads out to peer at the foolish mess being produced around them. Argus didn't care. He had no need to go home to that horrid dragon lady he called a mother.
As he walked home, Argus had the acute sensation he was being followed. It was pitch dark, however and he couldn't see a thing. He wished he was able to use his wand to simply find his way back home but, of course, like Mrs Norris, he was a Squib. He attempted to kick a stone as he walked but instead jarred his toe on the edge of the pavement, letting out a raucous cry. He was still kind of angry at the world.
He knew the path home back-to-front so even without the aid of a wand, he could make his way and enter the house where nothing could follow him any longer. He ignored his mother, not wanting to give her any reason to hit him. He want upstairs without dinner. His stomach grumbled loudly but he ignored it. There was no reason to go down there and give her a reason to yell at him. He heard a rap on his window.
Through the darkness it took him a while to find what the source of the noise was. Soon he found what had made the noise. A small, stray kitten was pawing excessively on his window. Half of its ear was chopped off and it wasn't exactly beautiful but he opened the window anyway and it slipped inside. The kitten immediately hid its head in Argus' arm and he began patting it. He noticed it was in relatively good health for a kitten so he decided to keep it. But what to name it?
Argus pondered different names. The kitten was a girl he saw so all he had to think of was a girl's name. None of them seemed to do the sweet little kitten justice. He thought for a while and he stopped patting the small little fur ball. It looked up at him with a puzzled expression and that's when he had its name. Mrs Norris.
He knew his mother wouldn't approve of a cat in the house so he quickly stowed away all the things he would need for the coming years at Hogwarts. He didn't even know whether Dumbledore still needed him but he would go anyway. He needed to go. He must go. He couldn't live with his mother any longer. He would be able to see his younger siblings more often and he would be as close to a magical education than he'd ever been. It took him until midnight to be fully packed and ready. He had found a small empty wastepaper basket to put Mrs Norris in for the time being. The Hogwarts Express would be at King's Cross station at five o'clock tomorrow evening. That's when he would finally be boarding it as it sent him all the way back to Hogwarts.
It was a long wait the next day to leave. Argus snuck silently down to the kitchen when his mother wasn't there and stole a few scraps for himself and Mrs Norris. “There you go my sweet,” he said as he shoved her a couple pieces of fish. She ate them up quickly and after letting her drink a tiny bit of water, they began their journey to King's Cross station.
Argus had a small amount of Muggle money he had earned throughout his years from doing the paper run and other pointless jobs. He would do anything to get away from home when his siblings were at Hogwarts. He boarded a train all the way into London when night began to fall. He got into King's Cross station at four fourty-five and waited patiently for the Hogwarts students to appear in between platforms nine and ten.
Soon a small amount of excitedly talking Hogwarts students emerged in twos and threes. They hugged each other in farewell as they left to join their families for the summer. He soon saw Rebekah, Joseph and Harold and went over to them to say farewell.
“Argus!” cried Rebekah, who was now in her sixth year of school.
“Hey Bek,” he beamed.
“Nice cat!” exclaimed Joseph, who was in his fifth year.
“Thanks, found her on the streets.”
“What are you doing here Argus?” asked first year Harold.
“I've got the new position of caretaker at Hogwarts!”
“But the term's ended,” Rebekah said.
“Yeah I know but I'm gonna see if Dumbledore will give me a job anyway. I'll get to see you more often as well if I do!”
Rebekah nodded solemnly. “Good luck Argus.” she gave him a firm hug and let him go. He knew that his sister and brothers understood his decision whole-heartedly. The three of them would be Apparating with Rebekah once they found a secluded spot. After they said their farewells and well wishes, Argus headed for the barrier to Platform Nine and Three Quarters. He braced himself but there was no impact. He found himself in front of a glowing scarlet steam engine and boarded on a carriage to his leisure. It was absolute bliss when, at seven o'clock at night, the train began to make its way to Hogsmeade station where Argus would finally ask Albus Dumbledore to join his staff.
When Argus exited the Hogwarts express it was a long trek to the castle. He whistled to himself as the small kitten beside him purred contently in her little wastepaper basket. He then turned a corner and what greeted his eyes was absolutely astounding.
A castle stood before him, a great glittering castle and everything seemed to fall in place. Everything. He felt like he was at home and as he reached for the castle steps he knew this was where he belonged.
When Filch arrived at Hogwarts, he met Peeves. Peeves attacked the small little kitten who was Mrs Norris and Filch was horrified. Mrs Norris had a great scar down her face just like Filch, though both's were not very noticeable. Ever since that day, Filch tried to get Peeves kicked out of the school.
Every single year after Argus Filch had been granted a job at Hogwarts he was grateful. He was a little teary when he saw the last of his siblings leave and since then, the students started to treat him differently. They treated him as though he were a piece of dung and they treated his poor cat even worse. He banned all types of different objects and potions in order to keep his cat safe and made sure students paid for meddling with her.
Every year Filch worried for Mrs Norris, if she would live and for how long it would last. But she just kept living and she was faithful to him. She was the light that kept him alive. He didn't look after her, she looked after him.
In 1992, Filch began to become worried. He nearly broke down in front of all the students when he saw Mrs Norris so limp and fragile … petrified. It was a relief, therefore, at the end of the school year when he got her back. She leapt up onto him and licked his face, purring gently all the while.
It was on a horrible night, after he owner had died that Mrs Norris curled into his deadened arms and fell into an everlasting sleep right there. Some students were glad to see Mr Filch and Mrs Norris gone but others felt a pang at the thought that the caretaker wouldn't be there any longer for the stories. Some even heard of the tragic tale of his childhood. The amount of old and new Hogwarts students and teachers at their funeral was so large that he had clearly left an imprint on each and every one of them. Good or bad, he and his cat would be a legend passed down to every person who walked through the doors of Hogwarts.
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