Chapter 1 : Family
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His first memory was of the Ministry wizards coming to their home. His father’s smooth voice assuring, his mother’s haughty voice ordering, the Ministry wizard’s voices demanding. He sat in her arms, sucking his fingers, staring with big grey eyes at the man in front with the stiff back and the deep scars. Words washed by, but he was too focused with looking, seeing. Imperiused. Search. Gold. Generous. Good day. Ministry wizards leaving. A look between mother and father. Being clutched tightly in her arms, a kiss on the forehead, a whispered I love you.
His mother’s aunt visited them once, when he was very young. He remembered thinking she looked like a crow, all black veils and pointy elbows. He drew a picture of her in the corner, but his father took it from him before she could see it. He was made to sit in itchy clothes on the uncomfortable chair in the parlour while she talked with his mother and father. He tried to become invisible (sometimes he could, if he really wanted to) but soon she turned to him, spitting words at him like a Bowtruckle might throw rice when it was angry. Uphold the family honour. The only heir to the family. Make us proud. He smiled politely, because that was what he was taught to do, and he tried not to say any of the rude things that flitted through his mind. No pressure. Old hag. Fly off to your dusty old nest.
One night he woke up and heard noise. It was late, late at night, when five-year-olds should have been sound asleep, and so no one noticed him as he slipped out of his room and hid in the shadows. There were many people there, too many, for so late at night. His father stood at the end of the hall, looking down his nose at the man in the pale green robes, who looked worried and wrung his hands. His father looked distant, like he always did when he talked to people who weren’t proper wizards. Dobby scuttled along the corridor, carrying things. He was the only one who noticed the little boy standing in the shadow of the old marble statue, but he looked away, afraid and sad. The only normal thing in the situation. More green-robed wizards and witches came in and out of his parents’ room, not saying things, just looking at one another, gesturing. Above all were the noises coming from their bedroom. Scary noises, pain noises, noises that made him want to run and run and never come back. Screams and moans and begging and pleading. And then finally silence. Nothing. The people in the green robes were all in the room, except for the man standing with his father. His father’s face was blank, cold, nothing on it. None of the laughter or the teasing or the love that he knew his father to have. Nothing. And then came the sobs. A witch in green, with new red splotches, came out, went to his father. Words, far away, sorrowful, pitying. Stillborn. No more children. So sorry. His father nodded, once, twice. His face stayed blank, nothing, as he spoke, questioning, demanding, arguing. The sobbing kept going, wrenching his heart, hurting his head, filling his unblemished soul with a promise. I’ll protect her.
His mother was clingy now, always holding on to him. She never wanted to let him do things he wanted – needed –to do. The first time she saw him on a broom, she started to cry, and ran into the house. He reluctantly climbed off and followed her, to hug her and tell her he would stop if she really wanted him to. He went to his father afterwards, and got him to talk some sense into her. She felt badly afterwards, and went to Diagon Alley and bought him new toys and books and even an owl. He named her Carina, after his sister, the one they had had to bury. That made his mother cry again, and he felt bad, but didn’t change the name. It fit her. He liked to think the owl was his sister, come back to life. Eventually his father found out he thought that way, and put an end to it. His father told him that since he was now the only son and heir to their entire estate, and many other people’s estates too, through marriage and legal things, he would have to learn the proper way of doing things. This seemed to be mostly standing around at gatherings, being bored and talking to proper, boring people, but he did it anyways, because that was what was expected of him. His father drilled rule after rule into his brain while they walked through the gardens, straight backed. No playing now, for the heir to the fortune and name. Know the right people, and the right things about them. Never discuss the family with others. Family honour is more important than anything.
When he woke up on his eleventh birthday, there was an owl sitting on the end of the breakfast tray Dobby had brought up. His Hogwarts letter, as wonderful and exciting as he had imagined. Once he was dressed and breakfasted, he raced down to the front parlour, where his parents were, slowing to a walk before he entered the room. Holding up the family dignity was important after all. His parents were thrilled; his mother beamed and his father looked proud. Not that he wouldn’t get into Hogwarts, but it was nice to finally have proof. After the congratulations, though, his father’s face became serious. He began to talk, about how their family name was mixed with great things that were perceived as terrible by fake wizards, and how he must be very careful to prove that their family was still as powerful as ever. The easiest way to do that was to find the one person who could lead the next rebellion into greatness and final power over those half-wizards. His father’s words rang in his ears until September, reminding him of his duties, of the expectations upon him. Power. Harry Potter. Family honour.
He stood on the platform, his mother on one side, his father on the other. There were people he knew here and there: Vincent Crabbe had waved to him as he appeared on the platform, clutching his mother’s hand, and he had seen Gregory Goyle wandering around, looking lost. Carina was in her cage, head tucked under her wing and he clutched his new wand tightly under his robes. His mother was tearfully hugging him, for once her sense of propriety overwhelmed. Make lots of friends. You’ll be so popular, I know it. Be safe. His father had his hand on his shoulder, and barely said anything, too busy staring around coldly at those who came too near to them. Only once he was boarding the train did his father lean towards him to tell him one last thing. You are better than them. You will be great. Uphold the honour of the family.
He watched them, as the train pulled out of the station, until the mist enveloped them, and he was on his own. He was going to take charge of Hogwarts, like his father, and his father before him. He, like his forefathers, would uphold the family honour.
Thanks to TenthWeasleyWriter on the forums for betaing this! And thank you for reading! Let me know how I've done... I'm not sure if this worked or not.
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