Chapter 1 : His Name Is Snuffles
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It had been a chilly overcast day, the grey clouds overhead threatening of torrential rain while the raging wind brought about mini tornadoes around the neighbourhood; the sort of weather that made it insane for anyone to be outdoors.
So, with that in mind, it really was a question as to how I had found myself outside, away from the sacred sanctity of my terrace home.
An answer? It had just been one of those days. I had placed a kettle on the stove the moment I had awaken at 7:30 in the morning, threw a couple of biscuits onto a saucer and went outside – for a moment of uncomfortable agony – to throw out the trash.
That was when it happened. That was when a huge black dog came charging towards me, its yellow, menacing looking teeth bared. For a moment, my short, pitiful life flashed before my eyes. But rather than mauling the nose off of my face and ripping out my jugular vein, the black beast of a dog had sprinted hard up the concrete steps leading into my house, a trail of green light exploding just behind it on the porch.
I stared at my open blue door, stunned. There was another heartbeat before I ran straight into my house, almost tripping over the threshold, and stumbled into the kitchen, where my steaming cup of tea and biscuits laid, untouched.
I was relieved.
I turned around and searched for the dog, a large pan in hand. I wandered into my living room, seeing nothing abnormally black to it, I spun around and started up the creaky stairs. I tiptoed up them, willing my heart to beat slower as I popped my head into the tiny bathroom, then to my drawing room, then finally, my bedroom.
I snuck along the wall and pushed the already ajar door open further, peered through the side of the door and my brows furrowed, perplexed, as the dog stood on its rear legs, looking out of the window intently, its ears twitching and its tail drooped.
Almost slackening my grip on the pan, I shook my head vigorously and slowly approached the dog, walking around my unmade bed and stopped abruptly a metre behind it, whose attention still seemed to be on the happenings outside the window.
I didn’t know what to do. So, like in all awkward moments, I decided to clear my throat loudly. That did it. The dog flicked his head towards me and cocked it, as though it was capable of feeling confusion.
The pan was held above my head, in the case that it would bare its teeth and threaten to eat me. After another second of silence, the dog whined, lowering its head and looking up at me with large grey eyes, a sort of pleading in it. My knees buckled and my little heart exploded out of love.
It was one of those moments where a long ‘awww’ was enough to express your emotion. And I did just that.
“Awwwwww!” I gushed, running towards the dog, dropping the pan onto my bed as I did so. I rubbed his head gently, scratching behind his ears as he closed his eyes in pleasure. He gave me a small lick, the bud of his wet nose nuzzling into the palm of my hand.
It only took a second to make up my mind.
“I think I’ll keep you,” I grinned at the expression on the dog’s face. It was as though he was conveying some sort of pained disinclination. However, I disregarded it. He was a dog, after all.
I looked after him for over a month. Washed him weekly – something he seemed to have detested – shaved his long shaggy hair, – another thing he seemed to have detested - fed him gourmet meals twice a day, bought him a shiny red collar, took him on short walks down to the grocer, taught him to sit, shake hands, and roll over and finally, I had named him.
I had named him Snuffles.
The final stage that meant I had reached a wholehearted attachment.
So, it was really quite cruel when a tall man with unkempt black hair and black-framed glasses knocked on my door, demanding to see a 'serious'.
“I have no idea who you’re talking about!” I said angrily, his persistence irritating me. “Now, if you kindly would leave! Before I get my dog on you!” I added as Snuffles barked loudly from upstairs, as though reading my very mind. After heavy pads down the stairs, Snuffles bounded towards the door, his menacing figure added to the impact I was after.
Though, instead of growling at the man intimidatingly, Snuffles bound past me and jumped onto the man’s chest, yelping as he licked his face.
“Snuffles! Down!” I shouted, more for my sake than the man’s.
Snuffles yapped, his tail wagging vehemently.
“Come off it, Sirius,” the man muttered, pushing him away.
“His name is Snuffles, sir, and I would very much appreciate it if you leave now.” I motioned to pull Snuffles back inside but he immediately bound inside himself, his mouth formed into some sort of doggish grin.
“I’m sorry, what was your name?” the man asked me, a smile playing on his lips.
“Iva,” I replied, brows furrowed, “what’s yours?”
“My name is James, James Potter. Would I be allowed inside?” Before I could open my mouth in response, he had already found himself in the entrance hall, looking around at the ceiling as though fascinated.
“Nothing moves in here,” he stated somewhat loudly, “it’s weird.”
Reluctantly, and with a small scoff, I closed the door behind me, following after James Potter, an eyebrow raised at Snuffles who seemed to be jumping up and down completely ecstatically.
“I think you should sit down,” James said to me when we entered the living room, as though this was his house.
I frowned at him, mouth open. Before a sound could even be uttered, Snuffles had pushed at my legs, causing them to buckle and allowing me to collapse down onto the sofa. He climbed up and sat beside me, panting slightly as his tongue lolled out of his mouth.
James Potter grinned at Snuffles for a moment before sitting down on an armchair, an air of complete comfort surrounding him. “Okay, Iva, am I saying that right? Iva?”
“I’m here to tell you that your dog – the one sitting right next to you – is not actually a dog.”
Snuffles barked, his tail wagging fervently.
I stared at James, goggled at him as though he had three heads.
“If he’s not a dog, then what on earth is he?” I asked disbelievingly. Of course Snuffles was a dog. I scratched him behind the ear automatically.
“This might sound slightly odd to you, but he’s actually a wizard,” James said, smiling pleasantly.
I gawked at him, my mouth gaping slightly. Snuffles barked again, his panting getting heavier and heavier. This was definitely some sort of joke. This James Potter character must have thought I was gullible. Gullible indeed.
“I’m sorry, but I think you have this completely wrong. He’s not-”
“This might sound even stranger,” he continued as though I had not interrupted him, “but right under your nose, us wizards are amidst a war. I think, Sirius here-” he gestured towards Snuffles, “- was under attack when he found refuge in your lovely home. He has written to me and told me that this house is now protected under the Fidelius charm and no one can harm you.”
“Written?” I almost shouted, not for a second believing this ridiculous concoction of a story. “Snuffles can’t write! He’s a dog!”
James smiled at me, kindly, his hazel eyes flickering towards Sirius. “I think you need to show her, mate.”
I shook my head forcefully, as though shaking this scene out of my mind.
“He is not a wizard!” I was on the verge of screaming at him; talking sense into him, “Wizards do not exist! Snuffles is a dog! He is a nice, well-behaved dog who knows how to roll, sit and-” I let out a high-pitched scream.
Before me, where Snuffles had been just seconds ago, a fully-grown man stood tall and broad, his hair cropped as though someone had given him a poor hair cut and his grey eyes blinking quickly as though there had been a blinding light flashed upon him.
“And shake hands?” he said with the tiniest hint of a growl as he recovered from his apparent transformation. He outstretched his hand.
I refused to bring my hands away from my mouth, the general look of shock written all across my face.
He grinned before muttering under his breath; “Finally,” stretching his arms and his back until a crack sounded, “I’m Sirius, by the way, Sirius Black,” he smirked, dimples appearing on his cheeks as he outstretched his arm once more.
“You’ve seen me naked!” I screeched, slapping away his grubby hand, “You’ve slept with me in my bed! You’ve- you- I - I’ve cleaned up your droppings!”
“That’s pretty low, mate.” I heard James mutter behind Sirius.
“YOU’RE A DOG!” I screamed, unable to comprehend this madness.
“I’m sorry to disappoint you, Iva,” Sirius muttered, lowering his head and looking up at me through his thick long lashes, an obvious attempt at a puppy dog look. Then he burst out into hysterics, doubled over and clutching his sides as James joined in the laughter.
I stared at the two with wide eyes as they continued roaring and panting, and roaring. Once or twice Sirius tried to say something in between breaths, but he failed.
“L- Look at her-r face, Padfoot!” James breathed, his round eyes brimming with tears of happiness.
The two spent another couple of minutes on the floor, pounding the carpet with their fists before the laughter slowly died out into mere grumbles.
“Okay,” Sirius exhaled deeply, wiping a tear away from his cheek, “okay, I need to explain this to you properly.”
I let out a scoff before sitting my self down fiercely and crossing my legs tightly, my nose upturned.
The couch sunk as Sirius sat next to me, his callus hand gripping onto my arm.
“Iva,” he said softly, seriously, “this is important for you to know. Come on, look at me.” He made a whimpering sound and I narrowed my eyes at him, my lips pursed.
He grinned cheekily before continuing on his explanation. “I am a wizard, and we are in a wizarding war, like James has told you-”
“Prove it,” I interjected stubbornly, “prove you’re a wizard and I might listen to you.”
His brows furrowed as he turned back around at James. “Haven’t I just shown you?” he asked uncertainly, “How many dogs do you know can turn back into a person?”
I ignored him with a shake of my head, “You only proved to me that you’re not a dog.” I shuddered as I thought of the many moments I had spent talking to him as though he were, changing in front of him, ignoring the way he’d stare at my chest or my knickers. I thought that was normal dog behaviour.
A beam slapped across his face once again, he pulled out a wooden stick and brandished it at the cupboard in the corner. In an instant, it had exploded in a wonderful rendition of blue flames and I cried out loud. My most prized collectibe box set videotapes had been stored in there, carefully alphabetised and dusted daily.
Suddenly, the blue flames disappeared, my cupboard in tact. I hurriedly ran to it, opening the doors and almost cried out of immense relief as I cradled the tapes in my arms. I placed them delicately back into the cupboard, patting them fondly before I turned my attention back towards my former Snuffles and James, awe visible in my round eyes.
“Do you believe me now?” Sirius asked with cheek. Obviously. “Well, back to it. We’re currently in the middle of a war. A dark wizard named Voldemort wants to destroy you Muggles and it’s the Order’s job to prevent that from happening. Now, it’s very important for you to know this-”
“Snuffles?” I whispered, a frown forming on my face.
“Merlin, she’s in denial.” James murmured, rolling his eyes. He got to his feet and approached me, “Iva, this is very important.” His eyes stared directly into mine. “Now sit down,” he said again, directing me by the shoulders gently.
I sat down, unsure of where to look. I didn’t want to look at Snuffles, or, should I say, Sirius, because it was too uncanny. I didn’t want to look at James because his eyes scared me and I didn’t want to look at my cupboard because I thought it might just explode into flames again. So then I decided. I stared at the ceiling, ignoring the incredulous looks James and Snuffles were giving me.
“Anyway,” Sirius – Snuffles – Sirius coughed, “it’s important that you know this place is now a safe house for the Order because apparently there’s some sort of magic binding me here, meaning I now live here. Since that’s the case, you should be expecting a couple of funny looking folk – most likely wizards – to be coming in and out of the fireplace and the front door occasionally, but don’t mind them they’ll be looking for me, not you. The same with owls, actually, they’ll be coming by quite frequently,” he beamed. “Any questions?”
I looked at him in pain. “Snuffles!” I stifled a sob, automatically reaching out to scratch his ear before stopping abruptly. I was reduced to tears. Salty, miserable tears and an overwhelming agony in the pit of my stomach.
Wailing, I lunged forward to hug Snuffles, retracting in contempt when I felt, not the soft, silky fur of Snuffles but the hard, rough skin and metal buttons of Sirius and his jacket.
Snuffles had always been there for me the past month, allowing me to cuddle and snuggle with him whenever I had bawled my eyes out to an American rom-com, shaggy fur providing comfort and warmth. He had been the only… thing to which I had felt a connection with. I wailed again, a succession of guttural sobs sounding.
James coughed behind me and I felt Sirius get off of the couch, only to find him crouching on the floor by me, his hand rubbing my arm softly. I peered at him through the curtain of my hair; his blurry face was kind, a small smile playing at his lips.
“I’ll always be Snuffles to you, if that’ll make you feel any better.”
I yowled, almost tackling him with a forceful hug, imagining the black soft hairs he had previously been covered with.
Snuffles! My insides seemed to be exclaiming, Snuffles! My pet dog, Snuffles!
Little did I know, Snuffles had actually meant the death of me.
A/N: Hello to all readers!
This is another new project that I'm working on. Ever since I've come back to this site, my imagination has just gone haywire.
Hopefully you all like it! :D Please tell me what you think of it so far (especially of Iva, I'm still trying to develop her but I have no idea what traits to give her. Right now I'm thinking of a reclusive, anti social kind of girl who has no life or friends - based on myself.. Just kidding! I think I have friends..).
There'll be more to the plot line in the next chapter though, this chapter was only like a prologue :D