Music was playing softly as a backing to the chatter that passed through the room. Our decorating skills had been admired by everyone, they seemed to love the dimmed lights and corners filled with hanging lanterns, especially on the balcony.
Guests were twirling on the “dance floor” that was really just a tiled floor in the Ball room, and the Ball room was really just a very long Hall type room.
Charla had been whisked off by Fred, (after I danced with her a few times,) who was determined to dance with every girl before the evening was up. Lily stuck close by my side for an hour or so. It was the first social event she had been to since the accident, and she was nervous about meeting new people, then she found the Scamander twins who, as she had before, she instantly clicked with. Besides, we had family looking out for her everywhere, she just needed to head for a red headed person if she was worried.
Dominique was dancing with some foreign bloke, I actually think he was the son of a Quidditch player, I’d seen him before somewhere and he was with a man, who I guessed was his father, that Uncle Ron really seemed to hate. No idea why though. The man had wife with him who wasn’t half bad looking for a person as old as my dad.
‘Hello,’ Sisi snuck up behind me silently, I felt her dress swirl against my ankles as she appeared and rested her head against my shoulder.
‘Hello yourself,’ I grinned down at her, ruffling the top of her head lightly so it wouldn’t mess up her hair (Yeah girls, don’t deny it you hate it when your hair is messed up.) ‘enjoying?’
She nodded brightly, ‘what about you?’
‘I’m not a party person,’ I shrugged. I looked Sisi up and down again; the dress she was wearing made her look a little less thin than I knew she was, it didn’t stop the feel that I was going to break up when I pulled her in for a spontaneous hug but I suppose it was ok because no one else noticed.
‘Looking for Fred?’ I teased, as her eyes wandered round the room, she blushed softly.
‘He doesn’t like me,’ she whispered, sighing slightly to herself.
‘I think he does, but if he doesn’t you’d be better off finding someone smarter than a troll, not dumber,’ I smiled.
‘He’s not dumb,’ she defended.
I raised my eyebrows, ‘he just lacks common sense...’
‘Yeah yeah,’ she laughed, then her forehead scrunched up in confusion, ‘you jealous that he’s got his hands all over your girlfriend at the moment.’
At that I growled and my eyes flickered over to Char and Fred... ok he didn’t have his hands all over her, actually they were barely touching but the fact that he was dancing with her... git!
‘Not jealous,’ I chimed.
‘Whatever,’ she paused again in her speech and then murmured, ‘Char’s lucky to have a best friend like you...’
‘Yeah, you’re always so nice to her and you treat her right and you care about her,’ she laughed, slightly bitterly in fact.
‘You have me too,’ I promised, ‘Char’s not my only best friend, you and Fred and Dom, you have no idea how lost I’d be without you lot.’
‘Really,’ she leant against me again and I wrapped my arms around her shoulders.
‘Hey Jam get your hands off my girl,’ Fred yelled across the room, causing several guest heads to turn, I looked down at Sisi knowingly and winked.
‘Let’s trade,’ I suggested, as he pulled Char over. ‘and, believe it or not she’s not your girl!’
I don’t think Fred was quite sober, too much champagne...
‘Have fun,’ I whispered to Sisi as she left my side and was swept up by Freddie who took her to dance. I welcomed the presence of Charlie instead.
‘Nice chat with Sisi?’ Char teased, pushing up on her toes to kiss my cheek, I wrapped an arm around her waist and pulled her closer to me, her head resting on my chest.
‘Someone’s a little jealous,’ I kissed the top of her head.
‘Am not,’ she cried stubbornly.
‘Are too-’ I insisted.
‘Hey Charla?’ Teddy appeared from the midst of the crowd, his hair its favourite shade of turquoise. ‘Is your father here this evening?’ he sounded serious, I wandered what was up with him.
‘No I don’t think so,’ she replied, something in her eyes had told me she wasn’t too happy about this arrangement. ‘Is there a problem.’ She looked him straight in the eye, as if some secret signal was passing between them.
‘What’s wrong,’ I asked suspiciously.
The double door at the other end of the ball room flew open with a bang. Heads whipped round to see what the commotion was about.
Standing there was a woman I hadn’t seen in a very long time, behind her was a group of aurors, wands raised.
‘Charla,’ I gripped her wrist.
‘Teddy,’ she squealed.
The aurors moved forward, jabbing wands at people, it seemed like they were looking for something.
‘Ted?’ I asked desperately.
‘James,’ he growled. Teddy was never angry with me, what the hell did I do?
A few shrieks set off and the entire crowd was thrown into chaos.
People were running, trying to avoid the aurors and the seething woman standing in the door way, some tripped and were grabbing onto clothes to get up again.
‘SHUT IT!’ My dad yelled at the crowd, everyone froze, he turned to the woman, ‘Katie, what’s going on?’
Katie began to yell, ‘You know what’s going on Potter, you bloody knew all along, didn’t you, were you helping him? You know I didn’t lose one child in this mess, I lost all of my children, I thought we were friends Potter?’ This made no sense, I had no clue what she was talking about, but the next thing she did caught me off guard more than her ramblings; she pulled out her wand and before anyone could stop her she sent a red stunner straight at my dad’s chest. He toppled backwards into the screaming crowd and chaos erupted again.
‘Daddy!’ I heard Lily scream.
I needed to find them!
The aurors were trying to calm everyone down whilst still searching for who or whatever they had come for, Katie was sending off jinxes everywhere, hitting people randomly. A muscular man appeared in the doorway and copied Katie’s movement.
Teddy had disappeared into the crowd, probably looking for my dad. I saw Lily hunched in a corner crying, grabbing Char’s arm I ran over to her and pushed her into the kitchen, telling her to stay put. I turned to Char who was sobbing at the sight of Katie and the man.
Her arm reached out to the woman, just as their eyes met, ‘Mum!’ She screamed. Now was really not a good time, I tried to pull her away but Katie had seen her.
This is not the time for a family catch-up Char! I almost lost grip of her as she struggled to free herself. The Katie flicked her wand again and Char only just dodged the beam of blue light.
‘James,’ she cried over the chaotic noises. ‘James!’
She was swept out of sight, I tore after her, pushing through the crowds. I couldn’t see her, I stopped dead to look which was a really bad idea because the crowds seemed to pull me away.
And then she was there, in my arms. I kissed her head and held her tight.
Turning away from her mother’s raging figure bursting through the crowds. ‘I think you need to tell me what’s going on...’
‘You think?’ she said, her voice cracking with a sob, yelling so she could be heard, she took me by the hand and dragged me out the door. Through the chaos of the crowds nobody even noticed we left.
She knew this house just as well as she knew my house... hell she knew it just as much as she knew her own, so she knew exactly where to find Lily’s dressing room, she dragged me in and bolted the door shut. With it, blocking out the noises that could be heard from the chaos ensuing downstairs.
‘James,’ she huffed as she sat down on the bed, brushing aside the dresses Lily had discarded, ‘I don’t even know where to start...’ she looked up at me, she somehow looked scared, and upset.
‘What’s been going on Char?’ I pleaded, ‘I mean, your mum turns up raving like a lunatic, that is not the Katie Bell I remember-’
‘She’s not Katie Bell anymore,’ Char said quietly.
‘I thought your parents divorced?’ I gave her a questioning look, ‘she remarried?’
‘Why didn’t you tell me...?’ I gasped.
‘I hate him, he’s an arsehole and a pig and I have no idea why she married him... his name is Mr Van Blair... he never even told me his first name...’ she looked on the verge of tears. ‘And then she had another kid, I have a half sister, her name is Laurel, and she’s just a child, she’s five, and then Rory wanted to go to Beauxbatons because she preferred being closer to mum,’ a tear spilt down her cheek, ‘and whenever she was home Mr Van Blair abused her...’
‘WHAT?’ I was shocked, who the hell abuses a kid, ‘your mum married a guy that abuses her daughter?’
‘Mum didn’t know,’ she whispered, ‘I didn’t even know until I saw it...’ the put her hands up to her face and began to sob openly, I sat beside her on the bed and scooped her up into my arms, ‘I saw him hit her, and then he took his wand and started saying some curse so I ran in front of her.’
Charlie’s hands fumbled with the hem of her dress and pulled it down at the back, not really caring that I she revealed her bra, she then pulled down the bra slightly at the back, and right the way across her skin was a thick, jagged scar, perfectly concealed if she hadn’t moved her bra out of the way.
Numb with shock I ran my thumb across the paler white line, slightly raised.
‘I have no idea what spell he used, but he seemed to realise if mum figured out what he’d done there would be trouble, so he fixed it. It still hurt like hell for weeks, and then I walked into Rory’s room and she was slicing her wrists.’ Her voice dropped to a whisper, cracking in several places, ‘I knew it was enough so I packed and we left, we didn’t tell anyone we were going until we were gone.’
‘So what’s that got to do with your dad and the ministry and whatever else your mum warbling on about...?’ I pressed.
‘Dad... was recently sued for stealing, I knew it was connected, somehow, with the Ministry as well as the Ministry in France...’ she breathed, ‘then I went home before the Ball this evening and there on the sofa was Laurel... at first I was confused, I mean, Mum would never let her visit because she seems to think that dad stole us from her, and then my dad came in... James,’ she looked up at me, ‘I didn’t know when they sued for stealing they meant my dad stole a Kid! He stole a child, he stole my half sister.’
This was way too bizarre even for words, ‘you mean your dad kidnapped her?’
‘He’s not a bad person,’ she cried, ‘I don’t even know what his motives were, he didn’t hurt her like Van Blair hurt Rory, he kept her well fed, he’s had her for months and I don’t even know where he was hiding her, she was perfectly healthy and everything!’
‘I don’t understand,’ I shook my head, ‘your step father hurt your sister and you! And then your dad kidnapped your half sister?’
She burst into tears again, ‘I don’t know why any of it even happened, I don’t understand, I thought not telling anyone would make it less real and then when I went home and saw dad with Laurel I didn’t know what to say, he kidnapped a child, she’s only five, she’s just little she needs her mum!’ she was breathing hard but she continued, ‘and then mum turned up here which means she knows my dad has her daughter and it means the ministry has won, she’s won the court case and that dad doesn’t have custody anymore...’
She curled up against me and was silent for a very long time before she whispered, ‘it means that I have to go and live with my mum and Mr Van Blair.’
Okay, well now you know the entire story behind Rory’s wrist cutting, her dad being sued, and the abusive stepfather. I’d always planned out the kidnapping, but not the abusive father bit, but for me, it fits perfectly, even if a little extreme! This also means that I’ve changed the rating to Mature and some of the warnings again, hope that isn’t too big a problem.
Anyways, Harry Potter belongs to JK Rowling and anything recognisable isn’t mine! Also for the first few chapters I got a lot of reviews but not so much anymore, it really helps if you could leave a review with some constructive criticism!