Chapter 1 : Taking a Nap
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In recent summers they had less time for their little sister. Each would come home but not really settle into life with her as they did when she was younger. On many days they would each leave to see their friends or go about the village. Ariana desperately wanted to have adventures with them. It was with a heavy weight that she watched as Albus and Aberforth left the house and Ariana for the day. Mum was always there to keep her company but she was Mum not her cooler, older brothers.
Ariana sat by the window watching the point at which she last spied her brothers as they left the front garden. She had begged to go with them but Mum did not think it wise. “Too dangerous” and “Not looking well” had been part of the longwinded explanation her mum gave.
“Ariana, sweetheart, please come help Mum with the dishes,” came Mum’s voice from the kitchen. Ariana was too lost in thought to notice her mother’s voice at first. She did not realize the attempt to draw her attention until a damp hand came to rest on her shoulder. With a jump, Ariana looked around and saw her mum’s face peering down at her. Her eyebrows were contracted slightly as if she were concerned.
Of course she would be concerned with the boys being out for so long. Ariana felt concerned too. Every time they left her at home she felt a pit of anxiety form in her abdomen. It felt horrible to be left out because she misbehaved. It wasn’t always her fault either. Sometimes magic just happened to her like a burp after dinner. Ariana wished she could go to school like her brothers and learn what they learned.
The yearning to be free burned in Ariana in ways she could not express. Freedom from fear and hiding – it was a desire so deep she could not think about it or else it would spring out of her. When that desire bubbled up Ariana got in trouble. Her mum said it would hurt her to have, what she called outbursts. Ariana could hardly remember these happening. She would instead find herself in bed after days and unaware of how she got there or that time had passed at all. There were terrible incidents according to Mum. Clenching her fists tightly, Ariana began to feel that dangerous burning again.
“Come with me, dear. Tell Mum what’s the matter,” came her mother’s voice from a distance. Ariana could feel her touch but her voice was from afar and muffled. Aware that she was being pulled away from the window and into her mother’s arms, Ariana heard, “No one is out there to get you. It’s okay.” Her mum’s voice was consoling and felt like a tether but to what she did not know.
Ariana closed her eyes and she could see the garden outside and all its flowers. She wanted to be one of the flowers – bright and uninhibited. No one told a flower where or how to grow. Flowers did not have mums who constantly nagged them to pay attention or stay calm. The flowers all stayed together – none uprooted and left for school or out for the day. Yes, she would be a flower. The yearning started to burn in her stomach and chest.
“Let’s get a nice book to read, Ariana,” her mum said in a cooing voice. She seemed keen for Ariana to stop thinking about her flowers. Of course, there couldn’t be fun with Mum around.
“No! I want to be a flower! Albus and Abbie too! I want them to be home!” Ariana whined twisting her arm from her mum’s grip. Mum never understood these problems. Only secrecy and hiding mattered to her mum.
“Your brothers will be home soon, Ariana. You can’t make them get here faster by exhausting yourself with another tantrum!” Mum’s voice raised as if there were some danger lurking just out of sight. There wasn’t a danger – just the flowers.
Frustration filled Ariana and she lost her sense of time and action. The world around her blurred as fear and anger erupted throughout the young girl. Her head was spinning with emotions that she could not control or quite comprehend. She felt her mum’s grip slacked on her arm and heard a soft, “Ariana, no,” but did not remember anything else until she woke up next to her mum on the floor. Ariana always felt exhausted and depleted of emotion after her naps.
It was unusual for Mum to nap though. Ariana was used to waking up in odd places but it was always her mum who woke her up with a cup of tea. Pulling Mum close to her, Ariana cradled her mother’s head in her lap and decided to let her sleep. Ariana stroked Mum’s hair softly as she remembered waking up to the same comforting action many times herself.
The afternoon’s light was gone – it might have been evening. Shaking her shoulder gently, Ariana tried to rouse her mum from the nap she was taking. “Mum, let’s go read a book,” Ariana whispered in her mum’s ear. When she did not rise, Ariana decided sing her favorite lullaby.
“Close your eyes, go to sleep, rest your head and drift away
Today was long and full of trials but tomorrow there’ll be none”
The kitchen door opened a while later and Albus stepped in a bundle of books and paper. “Mum? Ariana? Are you up” he called before setting eyes on the pair on the floor. “Is Mum sick?” Albus asked walking to the two of them in a few strides.
Ariana looked up at her eldest brother. “She’s sleeping,” Ariana told him quietly.
Albus went tense as he looked down at Mum. “Come here, Ariana, let’s give her time to rest properly,” he said tenderly taking Ariana by the hand and away from where Mum was sleeping. “Let’s get you to bed,” he said gently. Albus even gave Ariana special pumpkin juice before bed that night promising that it would help her sleep.
The next morning she was woken by Alberforth. She could tell by the look on his face that something was wrong. “Abbie,” she started quietly, “Is Daisy ill?” The only time Ariana had seen Aberforth this upset was when one of his pet goats was attacked by a dog in the village.
The small smile that crossed Aberforth’s face did not hide the sadness in his eyes. “No, Ari, it’s not my goats,” he paused for a moment and held his sister’s hand. “I need to talk to you about Mum.”
“Is she up from her nap?” Ariana asked stretching. “She took a long nap last night.”
A noise that sounded like a sob made its way out of Aberforth’s mouth before he managed, “Mum is… is dead.”
Death was a concept Ariana had heard many times. Dad died in Azkaban and never came home. How could Mum die when she wasn’t in Azkaban? Did that mean she wouldn’t come home? When did she leave? Tears were streaming down Ariana’s face before she realized that she was crying. It was almost impossible to comprehend. Mum. Gone.
Pulling his sister into a tight hug, Aberforth tried to find words of comfort, “It was an accident, we all know that. I won’t let anything happen to you,” he promised his little sister.
Aberforth was good at fun and frivolity but Ariana doubted that he could brush her hair with the same tenderness their mum did or read to her during thunderstorms so that she did not have to endure the crashing noises alone in bed. Aberforth could not care for her while he was off at school learning and getting into trouble. There wasn’t anyone who could care for Ariana like her mum. Ariana was used to having Mum there to help her and visit with her and console her – all the time – no matter what. Two brothers did not equal a mother, not by anyone’s accounting.
Tears turned into sobs. Sobs into erratic breathing. Soon Aberforth shouted something Ariana could not hear. The door opened and Albus was there with another cup of pumpkin juice. “Drink this, Ariana.”
Taking the class in her shaking hands, Ariana had a sip of juice and felt her eyes get heavy with sleep. It’s a dream, she hoped. Mum will wake me up in a few hours.
This was written for two challenge fics! One was for LumosWeasley’s Coldplay Challenge. I was using the following lyrics as inspiration!
"And the tears come streaming down your face
When you lose something you can't replace" –Fix You by Coldplay
The other challenge was SapphireatDawn’s deathday challenge.
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