Title: Fading Into Grey
Do you think it’s easy to run from your family?
What if you had to turn your back on a brother you love and leave him behind to fend for himself in a house of horrors? It’s not easy when that brother is someone you’ve played pirates and vampires in the garden with, explored your ancient house with, bathed and napped together as children…a brother so close but yet so different.
What if all you wanted was to please your parents but they saw you as nothing but a defiant child. A mother is someone with an open heart who should accept you no matter what. What if all you want is for your mother to love you for who you are but when she looks at you all you can see is loathing and disgust reflecting in her grey eyes?
When Sirius Black is ten years old, everything in his life is black and white. He is a wizard. He is the heir to his most noble house. He is eager to please and willing to be everything his parents have ever dreamt for him.
Then, at Hogwarts with the ability to explore the world differently he starts to question what he has been taught his whole life and finds that even though he is a brilliant wizard and studies and most things come easy to him there is still so much he needs to learn about life outside of Grimmauld Place.
Follow along with me as Sirius Black’s world starts Fading Into Grey.
Disclaimer: Not mine, I like many of you, just love to play with them
The spitting rain had subsided long enough for the two boys to go outside. They had been granted this luxury with the condition and strict orders to go directly to the garden without talking to strangers only because their mother had wanted some time alone. They could see their house through the trees from where they played which meant their mother could see them. A thought that was not terribly consoling.
The older boy was standing on his swing, reaching his arms up to hang from the overhead bar while the younger boy sat in his own swing twisting from side to side. Both looked very much alike and had a look of aristocracy. They were well dressed, handsome boys, warm in their heavy, wool cloaks shielding them from the cool October wind. Said wind ruffled their dark hair and the leaves on the fruit trees surrounding the yard, and turned the ends of their noses pink. It was cool enough that no other children were out on this windy day, they had the garden to themselves, just the way they liked it.
The older boy swung back and forth from his arms then leapt forward and plummeted down to the gravel below him with a crunch. The younger boy laughed. The older walked up to his brother and twisted him in his swing until the chains lifted him up and threatened to tangle his head and hair in the links.
"Sirius, stop!" the younger boy giggled.
Sirius stopped and stepped back laughing to watch his brother spin back out of the coil. The younger boy was still giggling as he hopped off his swing, dizzy and stumbling. Sirius steadied him then ran to one of the trees, the best one for climbing. The younger boy followed, struggling to reach his brother already perched on a large branch, legs dangling over each side.
When the younger boy was seated in the tree, Sirius said with a sigh, "I’m bored."
"You’re always bored," his brother answered.
"Not next year. Next year this time I’ll be at Hogwarts," he said with a smug grin.
His brother’s face fell. Sirius grabbed a leaf, twirling it between his thumb and forefinger then started tearing it along the veins. He glanced up through his long fringe and saw his brother still pouting. He swatted at the younger boy’s shoulder.
"Come off it, Regulus, you know I’m leaving next year."
"You don’t have to sound off about it all the time," Regulus said.
Sirius let go of the leaf and watched what was left of it float down until the brisk wind took hold of it and whipped it across the grass.
Regulus looked behind him, face into the wind, his hair blowing back out of his face. He checked the sky. It was ablaze with autumn hues, the sun just starting to drift down into the skyline.
"Mother said to be home before dusk," he said.
Sirius glanced down the road at Number 12 Grimmauld Place. His mother was in her sitting room when they left. She had just opened a bottle of potion.
"Will father be home tonight?" Regulus asked, breaking Sirius of his thoughts.
"Late tonight," he answered, picking at bits of lose tree bark.
"We should go back."
Sirius nodded in agreement and leapt down from the tree. He started off in the direction of the house while Regulus gingerly climbed down and out. Regulus followed his brother, only stopping to try to grab a lone apple off a branch out of his reach.
"Sirius," he called.
Sirius looked back over his shoulder at his brother and noticed the fruit dangling above him. He walked to the tree and under the branch. He jumped up towards the apple but could not reach. He pulled Regulus over to stand directly under it and wrapped his arms around his brother’s waist and hoisted him up to retrieve the fruit. Victorious, the smaller boy smiled as he bit into the prize, dripping juice out of the corner of his mouth before his brother could even return him to the ground.
They walked shoulder to shoulder down the walk. Sirius picked up a stick and ran it along the picket fence creating a rickety clacking sound. Regulus offered the apple and Sirius bit off more than could fit in his mouth. He chewed around it and swallowed handing what was left of the fruit back to his brother.
Up ahead Sirius spotted a Muggle boy who had to be near his own age. He was all alone and kicking a ball up against the fence. Muggles were a curious thing to Sirius. He had never had much contact with them apart from the view of the ones on the street from his bedroom window. He knew the children played odd games with sticks and balls and strange games similar to Quidditch that involved this type of ball and nets on the end of a pitch.
He knew he needn’t be afraid of Muggles, he of course was far superior, but he did know they were foul creatures that should not be trusted. Sirius eyed him curiously. The boy, unknowing of the two pairs of watchful eyes, lobbed the ball high enough that it flew into the air so he could knock it back against the fence with his forehead. Regulus snickered at the boy’s apparent stupidity.
"Oi," Sirius called up to him. The boy grabbed the ball and turned to look at him. Regulus too, gawked up at his brother.
"Mother said not to talk to anyone," Regulus hissed up at him.
Sirius ignored him and walked up closer near the boy. Regulus followed hesitantly, stopping just behind his brother.
"Reckon I can have a go?" Sirius asked the boy, nodding towards the ball in his hands.
The boy shrugged and unexpectedly tossed the ball to Sirius. Unthinking, Sirius caught it with both hands just in front of his chest. Behind him he heard Regulus’ sharp intake of breath. Sirius dropped the ball instantly and it bounced unceremoniously into the street. His parents had told him to stay away from mudbloods. He wondered if he might catch some horrible disease from the boy’s ball. His mother had warned him that Muggles were contagious. He had just wanted to give the ball a good kick. He looked curiously at the mudblood and wondered if he should run across the street home and quickly wash his hands.
He felt Regulus grab his sleeve and start to pull him in that direction.
"You need to wash your hands!" Regulus hissed.
Sirius nodded and as they crossed the street he kicked the ball back at the Muggle. The boy gave the brothers an odd look and yelled, "Freaks!"
The brothers opened the gate and trudged up the winding, brick path to the black front door, their heavy cloaks billowing behind them. The serpent shaped knocker hissed at them as they waved their hands in front of it, unlocking the wards that were put up by their father.
The inside hall was quiet. The boys were hanging their cloaks when the house elf startled them.
"Young masters will remove their muddy shoes or mistress will have their heads," the elf croaked.
"Yours will be next, Kreacher," Sirius answered, pointing to the row of mounted house elf heads on the wall but both boys obediently removed their shoes. They ran in stocking feet across the hall to the bath to clean up.
"Mistress is wanting to see you," Kreacher popped his head in the small room.
The boys looked at one another then back at the elf.
"What does she want with us?" Regulus asked innocently.
"Mistress is in a state," the elf answered under his breath, trudging back down the hall.
Sirius sighed as he began to climb the staircase to the third floor family wing, Regulus behind him. Both boys felt the impending doom awaiting them. Sirius didn’t know how much Regulus knew about their mother’s ‘state’ and what that meant. He was only eight years old after all. He glanced back at his brother whose expression must have mirrored his own. They reached their mother's master suite and Sirius knocked.
"Mother?" he called in just more than a whisper.
"Orion?" a voice came from inside.
"No Mother, it’s me, Sirius."
Within seconds the double doors rattled on their hinges as the sound of a breaking bottle crashed against the inside of the door. Both boys jumped. Looking down, Sirius noticed an amber liquid start to pool under the door and leak into the hall.
Sirius looked over at his brother. Regulus returned the look with wide, terrified eyes. Sirius cleared his throat and called a little louder.
Sirius reached for the door knob but Regulus grabbed his sleeve; when he looked over Regulus was shaking his head.
"We shouldn’t go in," he whispered.
"We have to. She wants to see us and she knows we’re out here," Sirius reasoned.
"I don’t want to," he continued to shake his head. "She scares me when she’s like this."
Sirius thought for a moment then told his brother to go run a bath and he’d tend to their mother. Regulus wasted no time sprinting as quietly as possible down the hall, the bath door closing with a quiet click.
Sirius reached up and ran his fingers quickly through his hair, smoothed down the front of his shirt, took a deep breath and turned the door handle. When he stepped inside he was greeted with furrowed brows and pursed lips. His mother was draped on her chaise in her bed robes, her black hair swept up in loose curls on top of her head, clutching a delicate glass in one hand.
His mother's suite was a large room with an attached sitting room. This is where his mother spent most of her evenings. The heavy, velvet curtains in both rooms were drawn and the only light was emitted from the iron sconces on the dark walls. His mother looked up at him through heavily lidded eyes.
"Where’s your father?" she asked in a slow, drawling voice.
Sirius cleared his throat again.
"He is on business in Switzerland, Mother. Remember?"
She sat silent for a moment staring off at nothing in particular, apparent disgust written on her face. Sirius hated it when his father was away for his work. He hated being the man of the house and his mother did not think he was a good substitute anyway.
"Where is your brother?"
"He’s drawing a bath. He was chilled from the outside and I thought a bath would warm him."
Mrs. Black nodded and her face softened with the hint of a smile.
"Come sit with me, darling."
Sirius crossed the room and sat next to his mother. She reached up and gently stroked his hair.
"You’re a beautiful child, Sirius," she said lovingly. She sighed then added, "We have so many plans for you. You’re going to be one of the great Blacks. You are the heir, you know."
Sirius smiled awkwardly up at his mother. She had a glazed look that he knew all too well. She started humming, continuing her ministrations. Sirius loved when his mother played with his hair. She didn’t do it often but it was cherished when she did. After a moment of this she lifted her empty glass.
"Fill my glass, dear."
Sirius stood and crossed the room to where his mother kept her potion. He opened the cupboard but it was empty. He looked about the room for another bottle, quickly eyeing the broken bottle on the floor at the bedroom doors.
"Mother, there is no more."
His mother’s face fell and her annoyance was instantly visible. She turned angry eyes on him, "What do you mean there is no more? That’s impossible. Now fetch me more potion."
Sirius looks around the room again. He walked from end to end and around again. In a small, hesitant voice he said.
"Mother, I’m sorry, I cannot find anymore."
Mrs. Black shot up out of her seat. "Stop saying that, you little liar!" She shoved him away and moved towards the cupboard, swinging the hinged door open violently. "Where is it?" She pulled out her wand, "Accio!" She wandered around the room looking in odd spots for a bottle. Sirius stood silently and watched her. "Accio! Where is it?" Her search ineffective, she turned on him, "Where did you hide it, you little liar!"
Sirius stepped back.
"Orion!" she yelled. Rummaging through pillows and books and whatever else littered the room. She yelled out the doorway and down the hall, "Orion!"
She turned her angry glare to Sirius, "Go tell your father to come up here and make me my potion!"
"Mother," Sirius started quietly, "Father isn’t home. He’s in Switzerland, remember?" Sirius backed up against the wall, "Remember, Mother?"
It happened in a matter of a second; she hurled across the room towards him and the back of her hand cracked across Sirius’s cheekbone snapping his head sideways.
"Don’t you lie to me! You’re always lying to me!"
She brandished her wand and pointed it at his nose, his eyes popping wide in surprise, her eyes glaring down at him. Sirius squeaked in terror. His mother had hexed him many times before and the memories were never pleasant. He had once spent an entire week silenced by one of her "Silencio" hexes when she felt he was lying to her, until his father had come home and removed the spell. It took Sirius the better part of the day to get his voice working properly again.
Her hand came down once again, this time her palm meeting against his other cheek with a smack.
"Get out of my sight!" she roared. Sirius ducked around her and hastily left the room closing the door and leaving Mrs. Black shouting for her husband behind it.
He rushed down the hall, tripping once on the plush rug, getting as much space between him and his mother. When he reached the bath door he took a deep breath before entering.
He found his brother immersed in the soapy water of the claw foot tub. Regulus looked up as Sirius entered the room. Sirius saw him glance up and notice the growing bruise on his cheek. They exchanged silent glances.
Regulus knew what must have happened, it had happened so many times before. He gave his brother an apologetic look, no mention of the obvious, and went back to cleansing himself. Sirius began washing himself up in the marble sink, tenderly cupping his cheek with the cold rag.
"You need to wash your hair," he reminded his brother.
"I did last night," Regulus whined.
Sirius gave him a look through the mirror and Regulus let out an exasperated sigh, sat up and reached for the pitcher next to the tub. He filled it and handed it to his brother who had sat down next to the tub on the floor. Sirius slowly tipped the water over his brother’s head. He waited while his brother lathered up, then rinsed it for him. He got up to leave the room.
"Where are you going?" Regulus sputtered behind dripping hair and half closed eyes.
With no answer, Sirius left the room.
Dinner that night consisted of cold porridge. Nights when his father was not home and his mother was in one of her states, the boys would dine in the basement kitchen instead of the lavish upstairs dining room. When he asked Kreacher to fix him something he knew it would be less than appealing. He was not mistaken. Kreacher took orders from Sirius but he could tell the elf didn’t like to. Sirius couldn’t wait until this house elf was dead and mounted like the rest of them. Where was aunt Elladora when you needed her?
But instead of complaining he sat down at the long, wooden kitchen table alone and literally inhaled the cold cereal. It was not something to enjoy, merely sustenance.
Afterwards he wandered aimlessly throughout the house. There were certain rooms he was afraid to enter, especially after dark. The House of Black held many dark and dangerous items. Growing up in a home full of dark wizards, it was just something you had to live with, but that didn’t mean you ever got used to it. Hearing an eerie rattling coming from behind the study doors he quickened his steps down the hall.
Sirius ended up in the library. He walked back and forth past the walls of books. He ran his thumb over the thick tomes. He found Great Wizards of the Twentieth Century, and Weird Wizarding Dilemmas and Their Solutions, and even a Quidditch book, The Noble Sport of Warlocks, but instead decided on Powers You Never Knew You Had and What to Do With Them Now You’ve Wised Up. He stole a cushion from one of the sofas and plopped down on it in front of the fire, book in hand.
Sometime after, he heard Regulus enter the room.
"What are you reading?" his brother asked as he sat down on the floor opposite him, smelling of soap and wearing his dressing gown and robe.
Sirius ignored him.
Regulus poked Sirius’s forehead with the tip of his finger.
"What are you reading?" Regulus repeated.
Irritated, Sirius looked up at his brother. "Go away."
Regulus sniffed but stayed put. After a moment he yawned loudly.
"Whatever it is, could you read it to me?"
"Go. Away." Sirius persisted.
"Where am I supposed to go?" Regulus asked incredulously.
"I don’t care," Sirius answered not looking up from his book. "You’ve followed me around all day. Now leave me alone."
Regulus stood but did not leave the room. Instead he settled for plopping down into the sofa.
Sirius enjoyed the quiet for a few minutes until Regulus moaned.
"I’m hungry. When will father get home?"
Sirius looked over at his brother, angry retort at the ready when they heard the door to the library click open. Orion Black entered the room looking tired from his journey.
"Father, you’re home!" Regulus beamed. Hopping up from the sofa and rushing Mr. Black with excitement only an eight year old can muster. He stopped abruptly in front of his father. "Did you bring us anything?"
Mr. Black smiled a tired smile down at his youngest son and rested his hand on top of the boy’s head. "I brought you sweets. The best chocolate Switzerland had to offer."
"Can I have some now? Please? I’m hungry!"
"You’ll have to wait until tomorrow as it’s too late in the evening for sweets. Didn’t you have dinner? Has your mother retired for the evening?" This last question was directed at his oldest son.
Sirius approached his father but kept his distance, hoping the dimly lit room would hide the results of he and his mother’s confrontation just an hour earlier. "Hello father. Mother is upstairs."
"I hope you boys behaved yourselves." With another glance over at Sirius his father’s gaze crossed his swelling cheek. Mr. Black’s face fell. He walked towards his oldest son and placed his hand gently on his cheek. "What is this?"
Sirius couldn’t look up into his father’s eyes and instead focused on the waistcoat in front of him.
"Sirius," his father asked, "what did you do?"
Sirius looked up into his father’s face, incredulously, but stopped himself from answering. It would fall on deaf ears.
"What did you do?" His father’s voice was growing angry.
Sirius shook his head, "I didn’t do anything!"
"You must have done something to anger her!" His father huffed and walked towards the fireplace. He slammed a hand down onto the mantle with a smack. "Every time I leave I come back to this!"
"Father," Regulus but in, "Sirius was trying to help *mother find her potion. I heard them down the hall. He didn’t mean to upset her."
Mr. Black turned around slowly and addressed his youngest son with a direct order.
"Go to bed."
Regulus looked down at his toes and retreated out the library door, "Yes, sir."
Once Regulus had left the room Mr. Black rubbed his hands over his tired face. He walked over to one of the two leather bound chairs in front of a large window and sat. He reached over and from a small silver case on the table he removed a cigarette. Lighting it with the tip of his wand, he inhaled deeply then sighed. He crossed his legs and sunk deeper into the chair, eyes drifting up and down his oldest son still standing in the middle of the room. He inhaled once more and upon releasing the smoke motioned for Sirius to sit in the chair opposite him.
Sirius sat in the big winged back chair, his feet dangling, not yet long enough to reach the floor, waiting for whatever reason his father could come up with for his mother’s assault. This was nothing new. His father always made excuses for her. He waited for the speech to begin, already knowing the outcome.
Sirius would apologize in the morning and all would be right in the House of Black…at least for now.
Current Mood: nervous