Chapter 10 : Fights and Feuds
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I approached the end of term with mixed feelings. The holidays meant that I’d have no more detentions to serve, no homework to do and a lay in every day. That was basically how everyday should be in my world.
But the other side of going home was the fact that I would be trapped in a house with pureblood supremacists for company. It was not my idea of fun. If I dared go against my parent’s views there would be harsh repercussions.
Going home used to be bearable. Regulus used to provide some pleasant company, but that was before they had gotten him to join their pureblood campaign. That first year, I had almost looked forward to going home. I couldn’t wait to tell all my stories about what had happened to someone who was eager to listen.
The summer holidays after Regulus’s first year at Hogwarts were different. He could do no wrong after being sorted into Slytherin and being under the influence of Slytherins all day, he changed.
That year, Bellatrix was in her seventh; she and Narcissa considered it a necessity for all members of the Black family to share the family tradition of muggle hating. From that point onwards, all Regulus could talk about was how wonderful Bella and Cissy were. He persistently asked me why was I friends with half-bloods and muggleborns, who were unworthy of a pureblood’s friendship.
I really should stop dwelling on the past. Regulus had well and truly gone over to their side now. The worst thing about it was that I couldn’t make him come back. I had hoped that he might be different, like me.
Anna seemed to be getting annoyed by me constantly drifting off into my own thoughts. Even I had picked up on the fact that I had been neglecting my sort of girlfriend recently. I felt guilty about it, so on the train ride back to London, I'd ditched the others to sit with her.
I still wasn’t entirely sure why I was dating her. There really wasn’t anything to say to her, and when we did talk we usually ended up discussing school. She wasn't much of a conversationalist.
“So, what are you up to at Christmas then?” Anna asked hopefully. I tried to smile, knowing full well the purpose of that question. She wanted to meet up with me during the holidays. I’d seen it before, the hopeful expression on her face, and her mentioning it casually. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to see her, it was just much easier keeping my home and school life separate.
“Visiting family and studying for the OWLs. I’ll be very busy,” I lied confidently. While I was dragged along to the Black family functions, I generally sat sulking in the corner. Occasionally, a relative would come over and have a go at me for letting the Black family down. As for studying, that activity was non-existent. I had managed to pass all the end of year tests so far by flicking through my notes a few minutes before the exam.
“Oh that’s a shame, I was hoping that perhaps we could have met up,” Anna replied, with a disappointed expression upon her face.
“Yes it is, but we’re only off for two weeks. It won’t be long,” I replied. I didn’t anticipate she would be so upset. The only thing we really did when we were together was snog.
“I know, but I’ll still miss you,” Anna muttered, looking downcast. Why did I have to get involved with a clinger? I know that they’re always too much work. And they never seemed to get the hint, that we are separate people. There was no need to be conjoined at the hip.
“Hey we can still owl at least, so it won’t be that bad.” At least there was another action we could do which used our mouths; Anna was considerably better at that. “Come here. I know what will cheer you up,” I replied, and when she came over, I kissed her. I didn’t want to hear any more about her missing me. I hated when people got too emotionally caught up with each other. It just led to heartbreak. I only had to deal with her clinginess for a little while longer.
The train journey got significantly more enjoyable after Anna and I stopped talking. Once we reached Kings Cross, I could see why she would miss me. It was a rather good snogging session. It would have been even better if James and Peter hadn’t planted dung bombs in the corridor outside of our compartment. It completely ruined the atmosphere.
I decided to be helpful for once, and carried Anna’s trunk onto the platform. I gave her a quick hug, before she set off in search of her parents. I was about to head off in search of my own, but I was accosted by James, Remus and Peter.
“Enjoy our little prank back there, Padfoot?” James asked gleefully.
“Thoroughly. I couldn’t have dreamt of a better way to have fun.”
“I’m glad that you thought so. It required a lot of planning,” Peter piped up.
“It was worth it. You pulled it off," I assured him. Then I turned to my supposed friend. "Oi, Moony! I thought you prefects were meant to stop stuff like this from happening?”
“Sorry mate, but I was patrolling the other end of the train at the same time. I would have stopped them, if I had known,” Remus replied.
James laughed, “Yeah right, Remus. You would have never denied us a chance to prank Sirius! Anyway, I didn’t just come over here to gloat.” He turned to look at me. “I wanted to let you know that Mum said that you can come over anytime you need to. She’s beside herself with worry about you having to go back there; she would happily let you move in, if it wasn’t for your pride.”
“Aw, Mrs Potter. What a woman! You can tell her I’ll think about it. She’ll at least see me at the ball, so it won’t be all that bad,” I replied cheerfully. I didn’t want to accept James’s help just yet. I hated having to rely on people, but I’d keep the offer in mind if the situation at home got any worse. Plus I was going to this famed ball they always held anyway.
That wasn’t the only reason I was glad. I told myself not to get my hopes up after seeing Thalia and George in the common room. I probably didn’t stand a chance against George, but then he wasn't going to be at the ball. At least I hoped not.
Right,” James said. “I’d best be off before Mum starts having a panic attack about me not seeing her straight away.”
“I better do the same. See you soon, Mummy’s boy. Remus, Peter,” I replied as a farewell and walked away briskly before James could formulate a comeback.
I found my parents, Walburga and Orion Black, talking in hushed tones to my aunt and uncle, Druella and Cygnus Black. They kept glancing nervously at anyone passing by, and stopped talking altogether when someone became too close to them.
Regulus and Narcissa were obviously not included in this conversation and were talking animatedly beside them. I decided that I could tolerate their company slightly more than the elders, so I shuffled over to join them.
“Sirius, was that a Hufflepuff I saw you consorting with earlier? You know your mother wouldn’t be pleased to hear about that,” Narcissa said with a cruel tone in her voice.
“Narcissa, what a pleasure it is to see you again! So what if it is a Hufflepuff?” I shot back, significantly pleased that I'd made the effort at an appropriate, if not entirely sarcastic pleasantry before digging into her. “I’ve heard what you and Montague got up to, and your mother wouldn’t be pleased to hear that either. Aren’t you meant to be engaged to that Malfoy guy?”
It was a common pureblood practise to betroth children at a young age to other pureblood children. We were apparently dying out, so they did all they could to preserve us. I was promised to marry Lucinda Nott, whom I had never spoken to in my entire life. The only thing I knew about her was that she was a couple of years younger than me.
We weren’t meant to have an enjoyable marriage. The sole purpose of the union was to preserve the pureblood line. Judging by the numerous rumours I had heard about her, Narcissa obviously didn’t seem too keen on her choice.
“Like they would believe anything that came out of your mouth! All you are to this family is a joke. I guess your supposed lack of intelligence is finally showing with you only socialise with blood traitors and mudbloods,” Narcissa spat out.
Why did my family have to be full of nutters? I wished that I was able to spend more time with the sane members of our family, like Andromeda, and her daughter Nymphadora and of course Uncle Alphard, but those were the relatives we rarely saw.
Andromeda was obliterated from the family tree, due to marrying a muggleborn. The only reason that I knew anything about her daughter was because I made an effort to stay in touch with her. We didn’t see Uncle Alphard, we did see him occasionally, but he had turned recently batty, which meant that he was rather unpredictable. Naturally, Mother and Father decided he wasn’t worthy enough to receive our company.
That left all the Death Eater wannbes to hang out with during the holidays. Of course there was no better way of spending my holidays than being with them.
“I’m glad that I’m a joke to this family then, if that’s who I get to hang out with,” I replied. I glanced over to Regulus, who had remained silent throughout this exchange. “Oi Reg, what do you think about all of this?” I asked.
“You know how I feel about your friends, Sirius. You could still return to the family’s traditions, and be with people who are worthy of your bloodline.” Regulus replied, not sounding, or looking as sure as he wanted to. He was always like that, worried about whether people would get offended. I worried that he would try to please people too much, and land himself in a dangerous situation.
“It’s nice to see you sticking by your brother,” I spat out. It wasn’t entirely his views that he was voicing, but that didn’t mean it hurt any less to hear him say that.
I had apparently raised my voice a little too loudly and attracted the attention of the adults.
“Sirius Orion Black! Was there any need for that outburst? You have already embarrassed this family enough. We do not need you doing it, in a public space! Your grandfather will be turning in his grave, to see how you’ve brought the Black family down so low,” Walburga Black shrieked out. She was such a charming woman, my mother.
My father, Aunt Druella and Uncle Cygnus, shrank back from Mother as soon as she began shouting. Though they supported her view on how I’d dragged the family name into the gutter, they were considerably less vocal on the matter, and left their criticism of me to letters or side comments.
“It’s so nice to see you again, Mother. Oh, how I’ve missed you every day this past term,” I replied bitterly.
“I do not need any of this cheek. I brought you up to be a boy of manners, not a rude one. I’m so sorry Druella and Cygnus, but we must be off. I cannot leave Sirius here any longer, as his behaviour is so erratic, and I dread to think what he may do,” Mother said.
At least we were going home, so I could hopefully escape to the sanctuary of my room. Then again, when we were there Mother could rant for as long as she wished without an unwanted audience.
I didn’t know why I kept referring to twelve Grimmauld Place as home. It wasn’t; it was more of a place of continual dread, where I was chained during the holidays. Chained was probably the correct term, as I was rarely allowed out, and if I was, it wasn't before I had faced some intense questioning: where I was going, were the people I was meeting of worthy blood status.
“Come, Walburga. The apparation point is just around the corner,” Father interjected.
“Don’t hurry me along, Orion. I will come when I am ready and no sooner,” Mother replied curtly.
It was one of their typical arguments. They were always disagreeing about menial things, but that didn't stop any small situation from exploding into a bitter feud. I couldn’t bear to listen to another one, so I picked up my case, and marched off to the apparation point.
The first few days of the holidays were largely non-eventful. I mainly stayed in my room, only emerging for meals. Even those brief appearances caused arguments or lectures, whether it was about how I needed to change my friends, or why I was failure to the family. Or the old favourite, how I had brought shame on the family for being sorted into Gryffindor.
I knew I would mostly be safe in my room. The rest of my family detested the décor. That was part of the reason why I had covered my walls in Gryffindor banners, and muggle pictures. It showed how separate from the rest of the family I was, and that I didn’t go along with their warped ideology.
I barely spoke. Mother and Father stayed well away from me, probably in fear of being tainted by my blood traitor status. The only time they acknowledged me was when I got lectured by them.
Our house elf, Kreacher, fitted in perfectly with them. He was absolutely besotted with Mother, and nearly as devoted to Father and Regulus. Given how he showered those three with unrequited love, he detested me, and did anything to make my life even more unpleasant.
Several times, I noticed that Regulus behaved oddly. He would often appear in my doorway, almost as if he wanted to say something to me. But then when he realised that I knew he was there, he seemed to get too scared and scarper off.
I wasn’t too bothered about being left alone; it was much more preferable than being forced to endure their company.
Unfortunately tonight I would not be allowed to do that.
My cousin, Bellatrix, had recently got married to Rodolphus Lestrange. Our family was invited to have a celebration dinner at their new mansion. There was nothing that I wanted to do less than celebrate the marriage of suspected Death Eaters.
I didn’t even know why my parents insisted on dragging me along. Bellatrix despised me and none of my other relatives exactly enjoyed having me around. I was to be their source of amusement after their small talk became too dull.
“Come along, Sirius. We must not be late, think of how it would reflect upon us. They already have a low enough opinion of this side of the family, thanks to you,” my father said while entering my room.
This was a strange occurrence. Firstly, my father rarely referred to me by my name. He usually used pronouns, such as ‘he’ or ‘him’ and spoke about me as if I wasn't in the same room with him. The second thing was that he was actually standing in my room; I had grown so accustomed to my solitary confinement that someone else in my living space was almost a shock.
“If I reflect so badly upon you, just cast me out of the house. At least then you wouldn’t have any cause to worry,” I muttered under my breath. Unfortunately, Father had impeccable hearing and managed to pick up on my comment.
“Don’t be impertinent. It’s such a horrid trait to possess. Now come along. The family want to see you.” Father strode out of my room, banging the door shut on his exit.
The family actually wanted to see me? Oh, I felt so honoured.
I wished that I could have a family like James’. Edmund and Charlotte Potter were two of the kindest people on the earth and never stopped being generous to anyone. James didn’t realise how lucky he was to have them. Most people didn’t realise how good they have things until their position has been dramatically changed.
I trooped out of my bedroom. If the family wanted to see me for once, I might as well grace them with my presence. I was curious to see what this sudden flurry of interest was about.
Bellatrix and Rodolphus had so many protective enchantments in place; we were unable to floo directly into their house. Instead, we were forced to apparate to a marshy area, where the fog hung low on the ground. The sky was a bewitching black which did nothing to help my already impaired vision.
As we walked up a gravel path, I pondered about how badly this evening would go. It couldn’t be as bad as the last family reunion which resulted in Bellatrix and me drawing our wands at one another.
When we got closer, the house rose up out of the darkness; it appeared to be a tall gothic style mansion, with its many towers and high windows.
The whole place had an eerie feel about it, which fitted the new couple perfectly. They had always given off dark vibes.
At the end of the windy path, we clambered up the steps to the front door, and Father rang the bell. A single candle illuminated the exterior of the house, showing the dark grey slate colour scheme. Again, it fitted with the eerie atmosphere.
“Uncle Orion, Aunt Walburga, what a pleasure it is to see you,” Bellatrix Lestrange greeted them. “And Regulus, of course,” she added. “Come in, come in.” She said to them, while ignoring me completely.
The interior of the house continued the gothic theme. Chandeliers hung high above us, the wallpaper was deep ebony, and portraits of our ancestors hung on the walls. They appeared to be glaring at me.
“You’re just in time for dinner. The special guest that I told you about is running a little late. I am so sorry about that,” Bellatrix said, being uncharacteristically hospitable. Perhaps her marriage had mellowed her.
“Excellent, and no need to apologise,” my mother simpered back. “I understand how busy he must be. It’s a big enough honour for him to even come here.” I began to wonder who this guest may be if it meant my mother resorted to acting like a teenager again.
We were led into the dining room where Aunt Druella, Uncle Cygnus, Narcissa and Rodolphus Lestrange were already seated. Little name cards indicated were we were to sit. I was pleased to find that I was next to Regulus. He was the only person here, who was sort of nice towards me.
“It’s so wonderful that you are all here," Rodolphus said. "It is difficult these days to find people of worthy blood. There seem to be so many people who need to be pruned from pureblood family trees.” He eyed me on the last part. They seemed to think that their subtle hinting would change my ways, but if anything, it encouraged me that I was doing the right thing by distancing myself from them whenever I could.
“I agree,” Father added. “I was talking to Avery last week, and he informed me that the owner of Flourish and Blotts is, in fact, a half-blood. Since I heard that, I ended all my business with them. I don’t want my personal items to be tainted by unclean hands.” They’d already started on the half-blood and muggleborn bashing then? Usually they didn’t begin until the starter had been served.
Aunt Druella sat forward in her chair. “The horror! Cygnus, you must make sure that you do the same. We need to set an example for the wizarding community. If we do not act now, no one will know who to follow.”
I realised that there was no need to pay any more attention to their conversation. From this part forward, nothing intelligent would be discussed. Instead, I day dreamed about my fantasy quidditch team. It was a good dream too, because after I replaced their old beater with me, we'd managed to take the team all the way to the finals. The dinner with its many courses passed in a blur, and before I realised it, their house elf, Totsy, ran into the dining room with a great sense of urgency.
“Master and Mistress Lestrange! He has arrived. Shall I bring him in here?”
“Of course,” Bellatrix replied excitedly. “I’ve been looking forward to this for weeks. You’ll enjoy him a lot Sirius. And hopefully he’ll straighten out your problem.” Bellatrix’s enthusiasm turned nasty as she glared at me.
A sense of dread began building up inside of me. If this person was supposedly able to sort out my ‘problem’, he seemed worthy of my fear. When she referred to my problem, she generally meant me disagreeing with her views.
The whole room remained silent in anticipation. The only noise we heard was the thud of heavy footsteps which grew louder and louder, informing us of the mystery person’s arrival. When I heard the doorknob turning, my fear almost had me shaking. I tried to calm myself so that no one would see how affected I was. When I saw who the footsteps belonged to, I realised that the fear was most definitely worthy.
Possibly the most evil and hated man had walked into the room. The infamous Lord Voldemort. I now understood what Bellatrix meant. This man induced so much fear in me that I was bound to go along with anything he said. So much for me being a brave Gryffindor. When faced in a situation like this, all it did was make me want to flee.
“Rodolphus and Bellatrix, how gracious it was of you to invite me to your home, and how delightful it will be to meet your family as well. I’m sure they’re as eager about the cause as you two are,” Voldemort said. Yeah look at me, I thought, still quaking in my shoes. I was the most enthusiastic person out of everyone when it came to muggle killings.
“It should be us thanking you for coming here. You cannot understand how much this means to me. You’re such a key person to this cause, and to have you at our home is a great honour. It feels as if my dreams have been fulfilled,” Bellatrix said at an insane speed. “I was rather hoping that you may persuade young Sirius here, to change his views, as they’re very odd.”
She seemed to be as besotted with Voldemort, as Kreacher was with Mother. This must be her attempt at straightening me out. This also explained what the adults were talking about at the station. No wonder they didn’t want to be overheard.
“I am most pleased to do whatever I can to get young people to join the cause. I understand we all have stains in our family which must be cleaned.” Voldemort’s eyes bore into mine. It shocked me to see that they were a burning red colour. I had never seen any eyes that shade before, and it added even more to his scary persona.
But something about his words sunk into my brain deeper than the fear and I couldn't stop myself from speaking out “I don't need to be clean," I snapped.
My outburst was so unexpected, even the great lord looked somewhat surprised by it. Regulus, however, looked absolutely petrified, and he began gripping onto the table, as if to release his fear. When they kept staring at me and nothing happened, I figured all the talk was just to scare me. I decided to go ahead and tell him exactly how I felt about everything. "I do not, and will not ever believe in your views, or join this 'cause'. I don't like being bent to other people's ideas."
“A rebellious child. Well boy, unruliness will not be tolerated. You need to experience what will happen to those who do not comply with the rules,” Voldemort said coldly. Without warning, he raised his wand. “Crucio!”
A fire erupted within my body. It felt as if my skull was caving in on itself and the pain would never stop. No part of my body escaped from the fire and torment I was feeling. I could only pray that it would stop before I lost my sanity. It was so intense; I wouldn’t want to wish it on any other person, not even Voldemort.
Finally, the torture lessened. I heard his voice faintly as I was drifting back from the pain. “That is what will happen to those that are punished. If you do not say that you will change, you will experience it again.”
I looked wildly around the room to see if there was any sign of help from my family. Bellatrix looked ecstatic by the turn of events. Her eyes were riveted to what was happening before her. Mother and Father were emotionless towards the torment that ‘their son’ had endured. Aunt Druella and Uncle Cygnus’s expressions were similar.
Only Regulus showed some silent compassion towards me. I could see tears glistening in his eyes. I knew he couldn’t do anything. I didn’t want him to do anything. He would have to endure the pain I had if he defended me. I couldn’t do anything to prevent this. I couldn’t stop Voldemort. I was just a child.
But, I didn’t want to die. I was fighter, not a fleer. I would stick by my principles and not be forced to convert to his ‘cause’.
“Like I said,” I said shakily. “I do not care for being told what to do. I like to believe in something that is worthy of belief, rather than destruction of others.” I announced the last part proudly, glad to see that my Gryffindor side had returned.
“I hate to destroy young talent, especially one as promising as yourself. But since you have made up your mind, I must respond accordingly,” he replied coolly.
I had anticipated this may happen; that he would fight back and not just let me go.
He aimed his wand at me, but I was already one step ahead.
“Expelliarmus!” I yelled out, and began running towards the door. I was so fast that his wand didn’t even reach me before I had made it out of the room.
I kept on running and running. I was being led by self-preservation. I ran down the many corridors, past the portrait of my Grandfather Pollux, until I had made to the front door and into the open air.
There was only one place I knew I could go to, and only one way of getting there. I focused my mind on becoming my canine self, and as soon as I felt the gravel beneath my paws, I set off to Godric’s Hollow and the Potters who lived there.
Authors Note: These chapters just keep on getting longer and longer! I loved writing the Black family, they’re so much fun, so it’s kind of annoying Sirius had to go and run away! What did you think of them though? Were they dark enough, and did you like Sirius and Voldemort’s standoff?
If updates do take a while, it’s because I have 3 other WIPs, and I have to be fair to all the stories ;) It would be lovely if you checked those stories out as well.
Thank you to everyone who has reviewed this story so far, it means so much to me. If you want to make my day, you can leave a review here as well :D
This has now been updated thanks to my wonderful beta pixileanin :)
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