Chapter 1 : i.
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This perferct CI is by the amazing Elenia @ TDA!
The house is creaking in its sleep. Not a soul is awake at this ungodly hour of 2 a.m., unless one counted Kreacher. Though, no one ever did.
Not a soul but I, Walburga Black, is awake.
Across the room, I Alphard is mumbling in his sleep. He often speaks in his sleep; he is a restless boy. Full of passion and feeling; filled with love and stubbornness. He is uncharacteristically loyal as well; I can’t remember a time when that boy had left me on my own. It’s as if he was the older one, not me. He can handle himself on his own and can navigate through life without having to hold someone’s hand.
I envy the boy at times.
Pulling back the curtains of my window, my blond hair falls into my big grey eyes as I take in the winter sky. This night of December 24, 1941 is as dead as the last day of earth itself; not a soul crosses the street, not a single person sings cheerful carols within the church.
And even little baby Cygnus knows why.
The war is coming to an end- we can all feel it. The question was, will it end in devastation, or triumph?
No one dares to answer that question.
And even though the Muggles started the war, needless to say it affected the wizards far more than the first time.
The light of the full moon pours through the glass of the window, illuminating the book I have resting quietly against the cushion of the window seat. Curling into the crook between the window and cushion, I open the book and read my restless mind to sleep.
Perhaps if I fall asleep, I won’t have to wake up to my nightmare of a life.
I wake that morning to a loud crack that is unmistakably Kreacher, popping in to rouse us. No doubt mother has already been howling at the house elf for not having us awake any sooner.
This is how it happens every Christmas morning. Kreacher allows us to sleep in, and then pops in after enduring mother’s wrath with a plate full Christmas treats for Alphard and I.
Though, we keep that last part a secret from Mother. No doubt she’d give Kreacher a good beating for it.
“Mistress Miss Walburga! Please do wake. Kreacher needs to be off now to care for Master Cygnus,” comes Kreacher’s low, scratchy voice as I sit up from my spot at the window seat. His uncharacteristically joyous words leave a rare smile on my face.
It was a something that didn’t happen often.
“Thank you, Kreacher. Happy Christmas,” I nod to the elf.
“And to you, Miss Walburga.”
And with a crack, he is gone, a plate of biscuits and two glasses of milk left in his place.
Looking up from where Kreacher had disappeared, I catch Alphard’s gaze. He gives me a small, sad smile before taking a glass of milk and some cookies.
“You’d best be getting dressed now, Walburga. Mother will have a cow if you’re not ready to leave soon. We’re off to a party this evening.” There is a pause. “Happy Christmas.”
“And to you, my brother.”
Sighing, I wish to never leave the attic again. I loathe the annual parties, especially at Malfoy Manor. I despise the people who walk those halls. Mother would be disappointed if she knew.
We aren’t good enough for Mother, you see. We aren’t pureblood enough. Our blood is thick with magic, but our minds pay little attention to that. Sure, we never dare to associate with Muggles, or anyone with tainted blood for that matter. Not a single one of them deserve to own a wand, to produce magic, with Muggle blood in their veins. But we don’t spit at them. We don’t burn everything they touched.
Alphard used to act much like Mother. As a young child, he would scowl at Muggles. He would spit at their shoes and laugh at their pain. Mother was proud; he was her pride and joy.
But as he aged, he realized how horrid his actions were. He no longer treated them with disrespect. Sure, he doesn’t never speaks to Muggles; that would bring shame to the name of Black. But he doesn’t treat them as if they are the ground he walks on- how we are expected to treat them.
And that frightens me.
If one were to visit a Muggle home, they would all be huddled around their pine tree decorated in ornaments, glowing. There would be children gathered around the tree, smiling as they anxiously shook the parcels that contained their presents. The mother would be smiling fondly down at her children, taking in the moment, before allowing them to tear at their wrappings until they retrieved their gift.
Here, it is simply a day to go to parties, where we will boast and brag about our purity.
The parties consist of the same things, every time: pureblood families, dressed in tight-laced dresses and fashionable robes; champagne, to demonstrate the riches of the ancient pureblood families; young men come of age since the last holiday season, flashing their expensive watches; engagement rings blinding those around them with the bright reflections off the giant diamonds; and, of course, the introductions of young women and eligible bachelors.
Every party, there is some older man who confronts me with his son. I have already been spoken for by my ghastly second cousin, Orion. It isn’t my choice, of course, but nevertheless, one never says no to mother. There are points in my life in which I wished that I had the choice of any of the young pureblood men, but no; the Black blood must be kept within a select few families. And the only young man of an appropriate age in those few families is my kinsman, Orion Black.
Orion Black is a ghastly man, to say the least. His cool demeanor and lack of a personality is quite revolting, really; he never seemed to speak, only when he was spoken to. He keeps his mouth shut and his nose out of others’ business, just as any good man should. He wouldn’t want to rub off as a nosy boy who was too immature to interact with superiors. Though there is something off about him; the way his eyes dart around the room anxiously, or how he stiffens at the mention of household business, as though he had a secret to hide. As if something horrible happened to him.
But, in the pureblood society, it is rare that anyone does care to find out.
Laced up in my tight lavender dress that I had been fitted for over the holidays by Anastasia, our maid, I stand on the front steps of the Malfoy Manor. My dirty blond hair is tied up in a fancy bun, ringlets hanging loosely, framing my heart shaped face. A deep, plum-coloured jewel hangs from a chain around my neck, resting in the hollow of my throat. White gloves cover my hands and forearms, rings holding the fingers in tight.
How purebloods dressed is much like the Muggles’ late Victorian. It is rather odd, that we were are so far behind the Muggles, but alas, here we stand in 1941, dressed as if we were visiting from London in 1873.
Flanked with Alphard to my left and Mother on my right (she had handed me Cygnus with a look of disgust) I watch with dread as father’s cool hand grips the metal knocker on the Manor door, and bangs it against the cool dark oak of the door twice.
With a groan, the large door swings open, revealing the eldest of the two Malfoy boys, Abraxas. He holds himself with an air of arrogance, just as every Malfoy does; they know quite well of their wealth and superiority among purebloods, as well as any wizard or witch who dared cross their paths.
Abraxas is a quiet young man. He keeps to himself often, but there is still that slight way about him that leaves me unnerved. Extremely handsome, the tall boy stands with his back straight, chin held high, and a pale blond, nearly white, head of hair that has been slicked back with an attractive ease.
A smile, one that causes me to cringe, curls his thin lips, though his pale blue eyes were still emotionless, as they train themselves on me. “Mr. and Mrs. Pollux Black, welcome.”
Light on his feet, he shifts out of the doorway so he holds the door open for the five of us, his manners not passing escaping Mother’s notice. She curtsies on her way through, shooting me a look.
As I walk past Abraxas, I give him a tight smile (And an eye roll; mother would be ashamed) before curtsying as best I can with a whining Cygnus on my hip. The child yanks at the loose ringlets that framed my face, crying out for food.
Walking out of earshot of Abraxas and down the narrow hall, which I know leads to the ballroom, I smack lightly at Cygnus’ chubby little fingers. “Now, now, Cyggy. Food will be in just a moment.”
Curtsying to the men, whom I do not recognize, then passing the servants who held the doors to the ballroom open, I find myself enveloped in hot breath, sweaty hands grabbing for mine, chapped lips brushing across my knuckles, and questions on my betrothed, all while clutching tightly to Cyggy, who whines as he sits on my waist.
It is just as I expected it to be. A day that had no gifts, no tinsel or tree, no smiles or family hugs. There is only Alphard and I, trapped within a world and life we have no interest in. All we want is a real family that cares, not prejudiced parents and relatives who don’t even know our names. Our lives are hell.
It is enough to make me want to hang myself.
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