Chapter 1 : Sirius
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And I can see thestrals.
I was sixteen when I saw that muggle die.
My mother had commanded my presence at Grimmauld Place for the Christmas holidays. I did not know why. The only thing we had left in common was our mutual hate for each other.
It was Christmas eve, and the entire noble and most ancient House of Black had gathered at my aunt’s house to celebrate the happy occasion. It was strange to me, how a family so full of hatred had room for love for each other.
And it must be love, because I could think of no other reason why each person tolerated the other.
I had wandered away from the ballroom, into the bowels of the great house when I’d heard muffled sobs. Curious, I’d approached a door, slightly ajar, down the darkened corridor and peaked cautiously inside.
The bubbles of champagne threatened to travel back up my throat at the sight that greeted me.
A small, dark figure hunched in the middle of the floor, her hair a matted sheet across her back. I couldn’t see her face, and I was glad of it.
Two other figures stood behind her. One was my cousin Bellatrix, the other, his long blond hair shining in the jarringly merry firelight, Lucius Malfoy.
“Crucio,” Malfoy murmured, with an almost casual flick of his wand.
The muggle didn’t have the strength to scream anymore. She convulsed once, twice, thrice, before slumping again.
I watched as she took her dying breaths. I watched as my cousin’s face lit with a fierce joy. I watched as Malfoy’s lips twitched in distaste.
And I left.
I was gone from Grimmauld Place by the next morning, Christmas day, vowing never to return.
Mrs Potter opened the door, and with one look at the dark hollows under my eyes, ushered me inside to the kitchen.
I sunk down at my customary seat at the dining table, my knapsack dropping with a dull thud.
Mr Potter poured a steaming mug of tea, and I murmured my thanks, avoiding eye contact with the three Potters that stared with concern.
“So you’ve done it, then,” Prongs’ voice broke the gathering silence.
“Left for good.”
I nodded again. It wasn’t a question. I wasn’t going back. Ever.
But then the reality of the situation fell on me like a ton of rocks, my shoulders slumping in defeat. I had come here, to the Potters, without thinking.
This was safe. This was home.
But it wasn’t. “Could I –?” I began, but my voice became stuck in my throat.
I tried again. “Could I stay here? Just for a few days, until I –”
“Nonsense!” Mrs Potter cut in.
“You’re staying with us from now on, son,” Mr Potter said firmly.
I finally looked up at the three faces around me, and something in my chest cracked back into place, easing the pain a little.
I am Sirius Black.
And I am not alone.
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