More Than You Can Understand
Disclaimer: Both Harry Potter and its characters created and owned by J.K. Rowling, and I do not claim any ownership over them or the world of Harry Potter. The story I tell here is my own invention, and it is not purported or believed to be part of J.K. Rowling's story canon. This story is for entertainment only: no profit will be gained from the creation of this story.
More Than You Can Understand
Summary: The day Sirius would remember as the moment he realized there was something very wrong with his family was a sad day indeed.
"Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand."
― W.B. Yeats, The Collected Poems
"Master Sirius!" cried Kreature as he watched his young master don his traveling cloak, "Please, Master Sirius, Mistress no want Master leave home."
"Relax, Kreature," Sirius commanded as he fixed his hat in the mirror before slipping his shoes on, "I'm just going to head on down to the park and you mustn't tell mother," he snapped the last bit at the house-elf.
Kreature frowned, but nodded his consent. While he wished to disobey, an order was an order. With a snap of his fingers, Kreature left Sirius standing at the front door.
With a quick look over his shoulder to make sure he was alone, Sirius pushed the door open and ran. Stepping out into the warm afternoon sun, he was finally able to breathe. Not that he didn't love his home, but…it was all just so stuffy that sometimes he just felt like there wasn't enough air to breath between the eight of them (counting the four house elves)
Yes, he breathed. Even the gasoline filled air of the city streets smelt fresher then the historic walls of his home. Though he would always love the country home in France the best. There he didn't have to sneak outside.
But…not like…there was anything wrong with his family's historic home.
Other then the fact that the walls always felt a little to close and the portraits would glare when he breathed to hard and the tapestries absorbed all the light until he was walking through shadow after shadow…
But it wasn't all that bad. Besides those portraits and tapestries were important.
Because your parents tell you they are
No, that's not why! That wasn't. They were important because…because…
You're their bloody puppet!
"Am not," he hissed softly, pushing the metal gate that led to the park open, "Not a bloody puppet?" So caught up in his thoughts (which had been occurring more and more recently until they were starting to worry him for he knew they could lead to nothing good) Sirius didn't notice his company until it was too late.
"Oh look who it is, everybody!" called one of the five boys who had been tailing Sirius for the past few minutes.
"If it ain't little Blackie-boy," cooed the twin of the other boy, his green eyes narrowed and his smile turned demonic.
"We haven't seen you in a while, Blackie," laughed another boy; in his hand he held a cricket bat like a sword.
"Look," Sirius said, holding his hands up in defeat. He forced a crooked smile on his face and prayed they couldn't smell his fear. "Show no weakness," his mother would say. "Can't you guys just leave me alone?"
"Can't you guys just leave me alone!" mimicked the obvious leader in a high pitched squeaky voice, he threw his head back and laughed like it was the funniest thing in the world and his followers did the same. About nine years old with neon orange hair and a face full of freckles, he stood out among the other brunettes. The boy had hated Sirius for as long as Sirius could remember. And the feeling was mutual.
"Come on, Derek…" said Sirius, but he was never able to finish his sentence before one of the twins quickly struck him in the stomach. The air left him and Sirius doubled over in pain. Before Sirius could find his breath, the other three had started in, kicking and punching until he lay gasping at Derek's feet.
Derek sneered down at him, "You just can't learn your lesson, Blackie," he cooed, "Stay away from here, freakie-boy. Ya got that?" and then spat a glob of spit that landed in Sirius's hair next to the leaves and dirt that had made themselves at home. Finally content, Derek left with his cronies. Only when Sirius was sure they weren't coming back did he pull himself up. He felt the swollen skin around his eye and his cut lip; his mother was going to kill him.
It wasn't fair! Sirius had never been able to pinpoint the exact moment Derek and his friends had started to beat him or why. All he knew was that they did and it had finally led to him being banished from the park. It truly wasn't fair!
But…he couldn't go home just yet. He had just managed to get to the park after weeks. Even hurt, he was determined to enjoy at least the swings. And he did. Soon other children joined him and for the next few hours he played, refusing to acknowledge the pain in his side.
Only once the sun had fallen did he bow his head to hide his bruised face and walked back home. As karma would have it, the minute he stepped foot in the house, his mother was upon him. Screeching, she grabbed him by the collar and dragged him upstairs; unaware of the pain her eldest was in.
"Look at what you've done," she scolded and pushed him into the bathroom, "I have so much to do and you're filthy. Get in the tub. I'll wash your hair." She rushed out of the bathroom in search of a towel, hairbrush and clothes.
Sirius tugged off his ruined robes and stepped into the tub. Luckily the water hadn't cooled too much and he sank chin deep into the pool-sized tub to wait for his mother. He knew he was bound for a strong lecture and punishment. He just hoped he didn't have to wait too long.
A few seconds later, his mother returned and draped the towel and clothes over the rack in the corner before turning to tend to her son. Armed with a wooden comb and a bottle of shampoo, she froze when she caught of Sirius's face.
She sighed and dropped to her knees in front of the tub and started to wash her hair gently, each touch carefully aware of the possibility of bruises, "You went to the park didn't you."
Sirius said nothing. There was no way to deny it and besides it hadn't been a real question.
"I'll get a few potion and creams for the pain and bruises." She continued as she started to lather his hair, "I'm going to have to tell your father, you know?"
Sirius tensed, "Do you have to?" he asked. He would rather a punishment like not being allowed to use his personal elf, Poppy, then face his father's disappointment. His father always knew what to say to make him feel just horrid.
"You know I have to," she said and took a bucket and poured the water over her son's hair. "You shouldn't have gone."
Sirius didn't argue. He could only hoped his father wouldn't be too mad.
One hour later found Sirius in the front parlor again, but this time instead of Kreature, it was Regulus who stood by his side (though he was much too young to attend the party and would soon be sent off to bed with an early supper). He stood still and greeted his family members one-by-one as they wished him a Happy Birthday just like he had been taught. He was careful to remember the names of relatives his parents had told him were important and skip the use of names for those he had forgotten (his "family" was too large anyway). Finally, when everyone had arrived, his mother call for him to entertain the children. And so Sirius led the others to the second living room where the house elves had decorated for his party.
While other children may have gone crazy, playing and shouting once free of adult supervision, these children had been taught better. The party was slow moving and almost quiet. The loudest being the instrumental music that was coming from the charmed instruments in the far corner. The girls gossiped and the boys bragged; it was almost like an exact mirror of the party Sirius's parents were holding in the grand foyer. Finally unable to stand the lull of aristocratic chatter, Sirius suggested a wonderful idea.
"Let's go out," he called and everyone stopped to hear the Black heir, "There is a muggle park across the street." This was meeting by a murmur of 'ums' and Sirius plowed on, "Granted it isn't the most fascinating," He punctuated the statement with a prizewinning smile which earned a few giggles from the girls, "but a change of scenery would be pleasant, wouldn't you agree?"
The others didn't say anything outright for or against it at first, instead chatter floated through the group as the children considered the pros and cons.
Finally, Bellatrix stepped forward with Lucius at her side. Since both were the only ones in Hogwarts at the moment (and the only one with wands) they held a great deal of respect. Their answer would be word. Bellatrix cleared her throat as if to draw everyone's attention despite the fact that she already had it, "I agree. Some fresh air would be rather pleasant."
And that was how Sirius found himself in the park the second time that day.
At first, many of the children did not know what to do with themselves at the muggle park, but slowly they relaxed. Some settled under a tree or on benches and continued to chat. The younger ones went on the swing set and climbed the playground to take turns on the slide, mindful off their clothes at first. In fact, after at least 30 minutes in the park, everyone seemed to be enjoying himself or herself and Sirius couldn't help but feel a little smug. The park was always very fun, even if it was a muggle park.
And it would continue for another hour or two. At least until Lucius walked over and pointed out an approaching figure who appeared to be making his way quite pointedly towards Sirius. "Whose your friend, Sirius?" Lucius asked.
Sirius attempted to keep his face passive, but his cousin saw right through it to the fear. Sirius had always been a rather fragile child, in Lucius' mind, and as such he had yet to learn the art of control like his cousins had. When Lucius had walked into the Black entranceway, he had immediately spotted the bruise along Sirius' wrist that had yet to fade despite the Black's proficient supply of medical slaves and now he seemed to know who had done it.
"He isn't my friend," Sirius said after a moment, quietly. In the distance, the house elf named Dibby had magically cleaned three children of any mud spots on their clothes before allowing them to continue playing on the slide. For a moment, Sirius considered pretending Derek was not there and joining them.
" Bellatrix," Lucius called out.
Bellatrix looked over and caught the glint in her cousin's eyes: hatred.
Now it was no secret in the halls of the Purebloods across England that Bellatrix Black and Lucius Malfoy were scarily protective of their younger cousin Sirius Black—or at least it was no secret to the children of said Pureblood families. Lucius and Bellatrix's parents could not pinpoint why the oldest of their generation had taken such a shinning to the Black Heir nor did they find any particular fault in it. Family loyalty was one of the pillars of their society. And Orion Black, current head of the Black Household, found it rather perfect and so encouraged his eldest son to stay loyal to his elder cousins in turn.
In fact, the only one who did not seem to be very aware of his cousin's overprotectiveness was Sirius himself.
"What is it Lucius?" Bellatrix asked as she came over, immediately sighting the boy coming their way.
"It appears to be one of Sirius' friends," Lucius replied.
Sirius snapped, "He is not my friend," and then silently scolded himself. He did not wish to make his cousins' think him a child. He added under his breath, "As if I would be friends with the likes of him."
"Blackie!" shouted Derek when he entered the playground, gaining the attention of every child present. Immediately, whispered started up. Who would dare? Who could dare to insult Sirius in such a way?
Bellatrix frowned, "Excuse me. I feel you have forgotten who you speak to."
Derek ignored her. "Whatcha doing here? Didn't think our last go was enough for you?"
Sirius knew that he could not lose face in front of everyone gathered. If he did, they would never take him seriously as Black Heir every again and that would be the greatest disappointment he could ever give his father. So Sirius sneered, "I haven't the faintest idea what you're talking about, Derek? It is Derek, right? Forgive me, but I can't seem to recognize you without your cronies? Finally work up the courage to face me without your servants?"
Derek looked shocked and didn't have the training to hide it. Sirius had never dared speak to him like that before.
Sirius, on the other hand, was just trying to do everything in this power to act as he felt a Black Heir should and from the way his cousin Lucius was smiling, it looked like he was doing a good job.
"Ha!" Derek pretended to laugh. With a challenging finger, he pointed at Sirius, "As if I need them to take you on, Blackie!"
"I would be careful who you challenge, muggle," cried one of the children. Sirius turned and felt dread as he noticed everyone had formed a circle around the muggle boy and were waiting patiently for his response.
Sirius laughed and waved at the child who had spoken in a dismissive manner. He needed to diffuse this situation, "Relax, as if I would waste my time with this filth."
"What did you just call me!"
But Sirius was bent on ignoring him now. It was what his father would have done to those who were lesser. "I'm afraid I've lost interest in the park. And I believe dinner will be served soon." He instead spoke to the gathered crowd.
Slowly the circle broke up and the children, agreeing with Sirius that it was best to ignore the filth, began to head home (though a few secretly felt a bit put out that Sirius hadn't at least smacked the muggle).
Sirius took one last second to sneered down at the shocked, but defiant muggle and thought if Derek had been a mudblood, then he would obviously have been a Gryffindor.
"That's right, freak-boy, just turn away and run!" Derek snarled, obviously infuriated with the treatment he was receiving. Who did Blackie think he was? Ignoring him! Obviously, he didn't know who Derek was!
There was a moment of silence as all the purebloods stopped and turned to stare at the muggle in shock before a roar of outrage filled the park. To call a pureblood a freakwas…it was….It was muggles who were freaks! Magic-less animals pretending to be civilized, who cut themselves open when sick and worshipped a creature that did not exist. At the most prominent response had Sirius' sneer turn into a dark smile.
"Teach him a lesson, Black," called Rudolph Lestrange and Sirius was hit by a spark of pure inspiration. He had read about this only once but surly…
Turning to Lucius, he silently asked for his wand. Curious, Lucius obliged. Part of Lucius wanted to march up and hex the boy into oblivion but he knew that Sirius needed to fight this battle himself. Bellatrix had never looked so entirely put out and enraged at the same time. But both couldn't deny their pride. Sirius was growing up.
Sirius grasped the wand with the same dark smile and brought it in a swooping arc so that the tip lay between the muggle's eyes.
"What shall I do to him?" asked Sirius to the amusement of the crowd. Regulus looked earnest, Narcissus was smiling up at him through long lashes, the Lestrange brothers wore identical smiles of manic glee, Lucius and Bellatrix looked like proud parents (and certainly, Father would be thrilled if he could see how Sirius had every child there hanging onto his every word), and Derek starred up at him, confused, but finally with a hint of fear in his eyes.
"Teach him his place, cousin," repeated Bellatrix.
The curse left his lips with ease as if he had said it hundreds of times before. A jet of light eliminated Derek like a halo or an aura and time seemed to freeze for just a moment. And in that moment, Sirius saw Derek's face drawn in fear and felt a small stab of guilt (perhaps he had taken it too far? It was just childhood bullying right? But…Derek had attempted to insult him in front of everyone…But was this justice?) before Derek hit the floor in a mass of withering limps and screams that were drowned out by the thunderous chortles and chuckles that fell from the lips of all those present. Lucius went as far as to thump him in the back in an inflectional manner.
Careful not to keep the spell on for to long (he did not wish to destroy the muggle's sanity) he lowered his wand only after a few seconds. Leaving Derek panting and gasping and sobbing for air as the pureblood heirs' laughter died to an occasional giggle.
Sirius felt a thrill of power course through his veins and consume him. Look at him, a mere seven year old and with a flick of his wrist he could have his enemies fall to their knees and beg for mercy. An arrogant smirk pulled at the corner of his lips and he sneered down at the redhead, "Muggle Scum," Sirius spat to the joy of the others.
That was how their parents found them not four minutes later, laughing and Lucius's wand still clutched tightly in Sirius's hand.
"What is going on here?" asked Sirius's father as he surveyed the muggle boy sobbing at his son's feet.
"Sirius here was just teaching this thing a lesson, sir," said Alecto to the agreement of the others.
"Well, well, Orion," said Mrs. Malfoy. If Sirius was to guess, she seemed to be pleased.
Orion nodded, "And what spell did you use, Sirius?" he asked though he already knew. Orion had felt his son's magic the minute Sirius had said the spell and he'd been surprised, going as far as to stop midsentence when speaking with Dolohov. The magic potential had been fascinating.
Sirius looked up at his father unsure if he was mad or not, "The Cruciatus Curse, Father."
Orion's stone face broke and he smiled at his eldest, an expression rather rare in Sirius' childhood, "Well done, my boy," he said fondly, "Well done indeed."
Immediately, all the other parents were nodding their heads in agreement.
Sirius smiled at the praise, unused to all of it. That was until he saw the face of his favorite and eldest cousin, Andromeda, who was now finally old enough to attend the adult parties and his smile falter. For she was not smiling like the others but instead wore a face of extreme pity and it was all directed at him.
This scene was once part of a story I was writing back in middle school called Seven Secrets, a sirius-centric story about Sirius admitting seven secrets to his friends that will change his and their friendship forever. This was his third secret: the day he tortured a muggle.
I loved this scene though I did not love the story (I do like the concept of the story so maybe, one day in the far future I'll go back to it) and I wanted to post it again. But I couldn't post it as was and so instead edited and added to this story to better fit some of the head canons I've been developing for another story I'm rewriting it (I doubt any of you remember it, but it used to be called "Prisoner of Azkaban" and was about Sirius' recovery after spending three years in Azkaban without using his Animangus form to protect his mind.)
PS: Please inform me if there are any spelling or grammar mistakes. I tried my best to catch everything.