Chapter Three: Mycroft's Memory
A harsh wind caused her curly black locks to blow around her face causing her to stumble over a crack in the pavement as her vision was obscured. Angry tears streaked down her pale face as she hurried away from the place she was forced to call home. She didn't take much notice of her surroundings as she walked down Magnolia Crescent, she knew what she would see having walked down the road multiple times when she needed to get away from her relatives. Turning around the corner she strode along Wisteria Walk not stopping until a chill raced through her body. Having lived with the Dursley's she had always needed to rely on her instincts in order to know whether she was stepping on dangerous ground.
It was always best to be out of her uncle's sight when he returned home after a failed business deal. Pausing mid step she knelt down pretending to tie a shoelace of one of her ratty trainers, peeking under lowered lashes at her surroundings. To the left was the park she liked to stay in, the only unbroken swing creaking ominously in time with the wind however, she could feel the burning gaze come from the opposite direction causing her to turn her head in the opposite direction. A gasp left her lips as her emerald eyes met with a pair of golden eyes that shone brightly in the dark. A dark body very much resembling a big shaggy dog was hidden in the shadows of a bush on the opposite side of the road.
Before she could decide whether to run a black SUV rolled into her vision. Taking no notice of the rather expensive looking car Caesarea leaned around the vehicle searching wildly around for the pair of golden eyes. "What are you looking at?" A cold feminine voice drawled. Looking up Caesarea felt her cheeks heat as the woman looked down at her with a raised eyebrow. "N-nothing, I just thought I saw something." Caesarea muttered as she stood brushing down her rumpled jeans feeling self conscious. The woman standing before her was dressed impeccably in a rather expensive looking suit assemble which consisted of a grey knee length pencil skirt with a blazer to match and a White shirt underneath. "Sorry, I should be going." Caesarea stated starting to feel uneasy as the woman continued to look at her and type on her blackberry at the same time. Turning around decisively her black locks swinging in the wind she only got a few steps before the sound of a car door opening caught her attention.
"What is one so young doing out in this weather?" A male voice asked in a calm voice however Caesarea could still feel her body tense as she prepared to flee. "Do you live around here child?" The voice asked only it seemed to be slightly closer than before. Swallowing her fear Caesarea turned to face the owner of the voice. The first thing she noticed was a black umbrella clutched in one hand. A rather expensive looking grey three piece suit covered his body which was taller than your average medium height and he was slightly round around the middle however it wasn't very much noticeable. The only spot of colour on his person was a red hanker-chief in his top left blazer pocket. After taking in his clothes Caesarea took in his face. He had a rather rounded face however he still had rather defined cheek bones. A thin layer of dark ginger locks with a hint of grey coming through covered his head. A straight nose sat above a pair of rosy lips that were set in a defined frown. However it were his eyes that caught her attention, not their colour which were a silvery blue, but the sparks of emotions that made his eyes sparkle and the silver to become more defined. Hurriedly she took a step away from him as she read the emotions in his eyes. She had all ways been able to tell what emotions a person felt by looking into their eyes and the person's body language. This rather important looking man was angry, no furious and she wasn't sure she wanted to be around when he took out his anger especially if it was due to something she had done.
A throat clearing caused her to startle and her cheeks once again burned a bright red as she realised she had been staring. "Sorry sir, I did not mean to stare. I was just on my way home." Caesarea apologised unconsciously biting her lip and pulling at a strand of her hair as she lied. The man took in her posture and slowly stepped forward. However as the child took a quick step back he stopped and noticed the fear in her eyes. "It's all right child, I will not hurt you." He stated in a firm voice as he slowly lifted up his hand noticing how the girl flinched in response. Slowly so as not to scare the girl further he lifted up the hand that held his umbrella and held it out to his side to where his PA still stood watching the scene before her. With a nod the woman stepped forward and took the umbrella from the man. Holding up his hands, palms face outward in a sign of peace he slowly took a step forward again. "See child there is nothing to be frightened of, neither me nor anyone else that works for me would ever think of harming you." The man started in a low calm voice. A shiver raced through Caesarea's body as the wind picked up however she did not take another step back as the man steadily made his way closer towards her. After only a few short minutes but seemed like hours to the child the man was finally standing before her.
"Can you tell me your name? And why you are out here at this time of night as you didn't answer me the first time." the man stated softly so as not to scare Caesarea though she still tensed and looked up at him wearily. "My name is Caesarea sir. I'm just returning home from a friend's house." She said softly with a small smile that if it had been aimed at anyone other than the man before her they would have believed her lie. However, Mycroft Holmes was a man with many skills and talents and his very job ensured that he was able to tell a lie when it was told. Caesarea bit her lip as she saw in the man's eyes that he knew she was lying. Another shiver ran through her body as the wind picked up again and she flinched when the man suddenly pulled his blazer jacket off his shoulders and placed it over her own. "You are lying little one." The man stated causing her to flinch back a step before she pulled herself together remembering that she was no longer in her uncle's presence. "I-I'm sorry, I..." she muttered as she kept her eyes intently upon her ratty trainers.
"You do not need to apologise Caesarea and I know you're not heading home from your friends house as no adult would let a child your age on their own at this time of night and from the fact you have that trunk with you and by your body language I can see that you are not telling me the truth." "Ah yes my name is Mycroft Holmes and this is my PA Anthea." Mycroft said pointing to the woman still texting on her blackberry. The woman lifted her head and nodded before going back to her phone. "Now how about you come with me little one and we'll see if we can get something for those injuries you have. I promise not to hurt you." He said with a smile as he held out his hand.
Caesarea stared at his offered hand for a moment debating with herself whether going with the man was a good idea. However he had not yet harmed her and he had offered her a place out of the cold and to tend to her injuries she had got from her uncle. Slowly she placed her hand in his and followed behind him as he led her to the car taking the offered umbrella back from his PA.
Opening the back door he took her trunk and placed it one of the seats in the back of the car before motioning to her to get in. She did so taking the middle seat and she tensed slightly when Mr Holmes slid in behind her and sat in the seat beside her. Anthea the PA had sat in the front passenger seat leaving her alone with Mr Holmes who tapped the roof of the car with the end of his umbrella causing the driver to nod and pull away from the pavement.
Caesarea felt slightly better now that she was out of the cold however she still glanced at the man beside her when she thought he wasn't looking. He seemed to be focused on the going on in the world outside the car window making her tense shoulders relax until she found herself slowly burying herself in the man's jacket as her eyes slid closed and she fell into unconsciousness as she finally felt safe enough to fall asleep.
-Mycroft's P.O.V. -
A small smile titled his lips as the small child finally fell asleep. He had been watching from the corner of his eye as she had tried to keep her eyes open. However he could still see that she was not truly at peace in sleep as a frown turned down her lips on her pale face. Taking out his phone he sent a text to his PA who was sat in the front passenger seat so as to not scare or overwhelm the child with so many strangers nearby. He was sure he would have all the relevant information about the child within the hour. He could see that the young girl had been hurt by someone, a family member he had deduced from what he had seen of the child and his deductions have never steered him wrong since he started his job no matter what his younger brother thought on the matter.
He sat in silence so as not wake the sleeping child trying to deduce what would be the best course of action in relation to the child. She would not be going back to who ever had harmed her that he was certain of. He loathed child abusers especially since he was unable to protect his own brother from one many years ago.
-Caesarea's P.O.V. -
A yawn left her chapped lips as she slowly awoke from her pleasant dream. She tried to close her eyes and bury her head in her fluffy pillow to hide way from the bright light. However a confused frown came upon her lips as she remembered that she had no pillow unless you counted the pile of feathers that her owl had been nice enough to gift her. Fully awake she shot up in a sitting position causing a pained groan to leave her mouth as she agitated her injuries. Looking around she realized she was in a rather large study. A warm fire was lit in a fireplace that stood on the wall in front of her making the room pleasantly warm. In front of her sat a small coffee table made out of glass and mahogany that was stood upon a burgundy hearth rug.
To each side of the table sat two black leather armchairs which matched the rather comfortable leather sofa she lay upon. The only other pieces of furniture on the room were multiple bookcases stocked full of a variety of books and folders as well as a sturdy looking desk also made out of mahogany that Mr Holmes sat behind on another black leather chair.
A frown marred his face as he flipped though several important looking documents however he looked up as she pulled the blanket that had been laid on her up to her chin and pulled her sock clad feet up so that she could prop her chin on her knees as she looked at him. However before he could speak a flap of wings came from behind and a grin came upon her face as she recognized the white bundle of feathers that flew through the open window to land upon her shoulder. "Hedwig!" Caesarea exclaimed stroking her owl's soft white feathers with a smile upon her lips as Hedwig gave her soft peck upon the cheek in greeting. The two greeted each other completely forgetting that someone else was in the room until Hedwig screeched and spread her wings hovering in front of her human protectively as another taller male walked closer with a slightly awed expression upon his face before he quickly hid his emotions under a blank mask.
"Hey, it's all right girl Mr Holmes won't hurt me." Caesarea stated in a calm voice stroking her owl upon her feathery head when she calmed and sat back upon her shoulder. "I'm sorry Mr Holmes; Hedwig doesn't really like strangers very much." She gave a sheepish little smile to the man who was now leaning on his desk with his arms crossed watching her with his sharp gaze causing her to shift uncomfortably upon the leather sofa. "You have an owl." he stated Caesarea bit her lip debating whether to answer the rhetorical question. Seeing an eyebrow raise as she stayed silent she nodded her head in answer. He watched her for another few minutes before reaching behind himself and picking up a rather thin folder. "My PA was able to find a few reports and the like from your school records up until you were approximately the age of eleven but after that there's nothing. There is also no official record of you having any legal guardians since your parents died when you were about a year old." he said with a frustrated sigh as he looked through the folder to make sure he hadn't missed anything.
Caesarea gulped nervously and looked at Hedwig who rubbed her head softly on her cheek in comfort. Taking a steadying breath Caesarea answered the unasked question though she stayed staring at the hand that wasn't stroking Hedwig. "Mr Holmes?" Caesarea called gaining Mycroft's attention. "The reason why there's nothing else to find is because my aunt and uncle didn't send me to any secondary school. I go to a private school that my parents had enrolled me into when I was a baby as they both went there when they were eleven." Caesarea answered before he could interrupt. Glancing at him she could see that he was frowning at her again in confusion.
"Yes but there should still be some sort of documentation stating what private school you attend. I'll need you to tell me what school you attend so that i can put it on file. Then I'll have a chat to whoever is in charge." Mycroft said with a frown on his face. Caesarea looked at Mycroft nervously she knew that Muggles weren't meant to know about the Wizarding World and that she could already be in trouble with the Ministry of Magic for blowing up aunt Marge but Mr Holmes had been kind enough to take her away from the Dursleys and to give her a place to stay in his house even though she was a freak, so the least she could do was to tell him the truth. Sighing Caesarea looked up from her hands to look at Mr Holmes who was patiently waiting for her to answer.
"I don't go to any normal school sir..." She began hesitantly however she was interrupted as Mr Holmes moved forward to kneel before her and placed one of his large hands on top of her much smaller ones that were much more scarred and calloused than even his after all the hard work she had to do for the Dursleys. "It is alright child; there is nothing wrong with needing to attend a special school. Now which school do you attend little one?" he asked politely still holding her hands comfortingly. "I'm not supposed to tell you sir. The school I go to isn't like that. It's for children who are special, gifted. We're different than normal people. The Dursleys don't like me because I'm a freak sir. I can do... because I can do m-magic S-Sir." Caesarea stuttered looking away from Mr Holmes and looked towards Hedwig and started to stroke her feathered head.
There was a stunned silence as Mycroft seemed to process what he had been told and Caesarea continued to stroke Hedwig as she refused to look at Mycroft no matter how hard he tried to gain her attention. After a few minutes of Caesarea shifting in her seat nervously Mycroft decided to break the silence. "You are not a freak child. I do have some knowledge about your secret society however I am afraid I only have a few solid facts of which to go by however I can assure you child you are no freak and anyone who tells you as such are lying through their teeth do you understand?" Mycroft stated through clenched teeth trying to keep his anger under control. To tell a young child that they were a freak, an abomination would all ways strike heavily to his heart and cause an icy rage to fill him. There had once been a time when he had been called such horrible names however he had learnt to hide his differences however his brother was another matter entirely and he could still remember a time many years ago when he was still just a young boy and as he gave comfort to his much younger brother as he cried on his lap after being bullied for being slightly different than others.
Caesarea looked at him nervously and hesitantly nodded her head but Mycroft could tell she didn't really believe him. However he knew it would take time so he smiled at her reassuringly before rising to his feet. "Now as there is no documentation in your file since you turned eleven we will have to fill it out now. Do not worry child I promise to keep your secret. However, there's a slight issue involving your guardianship." Mycroft stated as he again flipped through her file. "A problem sir?" Caesarea asked biting her lip between her teeth causing Mycroft to walk towards her again and remove her lip from her teeth ignoring the young girls flinch as he did so. "Do not do that child you'll hurt your lip." He stated before taking a seat beside her and holding out her file towards her until she took it from him.
"Take a look child, see here this is where the names of your official guardians should be however as you can see there is no such names meaning you do not have any legal guardians, can you tell me how you came to be in the so called care of your current guardians child?" Mycroft asked trying to keep his face expressionless as he took in the sight of the child and the so called care of her current guardians. "I was left on their doorstep by the headmaster and two other teachers from my school. They said I had to live with my last remaining living relatives due to my mother's sacrifice in order to protect me which created blood wards but they are only able to work if I'm living with a relative of my mothers." Caesarea stated remembering the many times she had begged the headmaster to allow her to live anywhere else but the Dursley's and all ways getting the same answer and twinkling blue eyes from the headmaster.
"So you live with some family members, your aunt and uncle i believe you mentioned, can you tell me there names?" Mycroft asked calmly although internally he was thinking of ways to make them pay for what they had done to the child. It was rather unnerving how much he wished to protect the child after knowing her for such a short time. The only other person he had ever felt such feelings towards was his little brother, not that Sherlock would believe such a thing considering he thought him to be his archenemy. "My aunt and uncle are called Petunia and Vernon Dursley sir, do I have to go back to them once you put them as my legal guardians?" Caesarea asked in nearly a whisper trying to hide her disappointment as she thought that he would return her to the Dursley's.
"What makes you think that I'll put your relatives down as your legal guardian's child after the way that they have treated you? From what I have observed from your words and actions I can deduce that your relatives have not cared greatly for you since you were placed on their doorstep and I have known a few people who have been subject to child abuse much the same as you have child." He stated causing Caesarea to turn her face away in shame. However she could not ignore Mr Holmes for long as he knelt in front of her and lightly took her face in his hand so that she would look at him. "It is not your fault child, your relatives are the ones who are at fault, and no one should ever lay a hand on a child they should be protected and cherished not abused as you have. Your relatives are the ones in the wrong do you understand child and I give you my promise that I will do everything within my power to make sure you do not return to them." Mycroft stated firmly his blue eyes sparking with an inner fire that only showed due to him having lost control of his emotions after giving his passionate speech to the child.
"Now, child, as for the matter of whose going to have Guardianship over you. Would you like to come and stay with me at my house? It would be no problem as I have plenty of empty rooms at my home, all I'll have to do is get Anthea to let the staff know that you'll be coming home with me and they'll have a room ready by the time we get home and it won't take long for Anthea, who is my personal assistant by the way if you didn't know all ready, to get all the paperwork filled out and signed by the right people. You could even take on my last name as my ward however you do not have to if you do not wish to. However, you should know that I do not have much of a family except for my parents and little brother who I'm afraid I don't see very often what with being busy with my job." Mycroft carried on before calming himself as he realised he had started to ramble to the child.
Caesarea looked at Mycroft nervously before turning to look at Hedwig who hooted reassuringly rubbing her feathered head against Caesarea's cheek causing her to giggle. There was silence in the room as she seemed to think over what Mycroft had suggested as she didn't really know the man, but he was the first adult she felt she could trust. She didn't even feel that way with her Professor's or Mr and Mrs Weasley but she trusted Mr Weasley more than she did Mrs Weasley just not as much as Mr Holmes. Caesarea looked at Mycroft again absentmindedly chewing on her bottom lip again as she slowly nodded her head. "I accept your offer Sir. I would like to come and live with you but I'd earn my keep. I'll ... I'll cook and clean and do all the chores..." Caesarea said frantically but Mycroft cut her off.
"There will be no need for that child. You will not be doing any chores while at my home the only thing I ask you to do is to keep your room tidy and to tidy up after yourself. I have staffs that do the rest of the cleaning, cooking etc. As my ward you will be treated as a member of my family while at my home if you wish it, you'll have a better life then you did when you were with your relative's child. And the first thing we will do when we get to our home is to heal you and get some proper food down you, and then it is up to you what you do afterwards though you are not to go to bed too late as you will need sleep to heal." Mycroft said as he got up, walking to his desk where he pressed the intercom where he asked Anthea to fill in the forms in order to gain guardianship of the child and then ordered her to bring them to his office for him to sign so that he could get all of the legal necessities out of the way.
After Mycroft had finished talking to Anthea he returned to sit next to Caesarea, talking to her to try to get her to feel more comfortable around him but also to get to know her and for her to get to know him so it wouldn't feel so awkward as she would from now on become his Ward, he also wanted to help her overcome and heal from what had happened to her but he couldn't do that unless she trusted him, and he could see that she didn't really trust him, not yet at least.
After Anthea had returned to the office after filing away all of the necessary documents that had been filled out to make her his ward, including Caesarea's file into a top secret file that only he and his PA had access to they got into Mycroft's SUV where he and Caesarea carried on their conversation but she had gotten quiet since Anthea had joined them as she didn't really seem to trust the closed off but hard working woman. Mycroft looked at Caesarea and saw that she was slowly drifting off to sleep with her head on his shoulder when she was nearly flung out of her seat as the car came to a sudden stop, she only stayed in her seat because of the arm he had wrapped around her to keep her still as she slept. "Driver, Anthea why have we suddenly stopped you nearly flung Caesarea out of her ..." but Mycroft's angry exclamation died in his throat as the door on Caesarea's side was roughly pulled open and a hand shot in to pull her roughly from the car. Recovering from his shock Mycroft quickly got out of the car.
"Let go of my child immediately!" Mycroft ordered as he took in the sight of the large built man who had hold of his frightened child. When the man only tightened his hold on the child he now considered his he walked forward with a dangerous glint in his eye as he griped hold of his umbrella tightly. Before the man who was known to be called the British government could even get close to his frightened little one a loud pop echoed around the area and before his eyes the man and his child vanished into thin air.
Standing in slight shock for only a moment caused to be a mistake as another man came up behind him and held him roughly so he could not react in defence. He only hoped his young ward would kept safe until he could find her again and bring her back home. However that would not be the case as another young woman who wore what looked to be an old fashioned dress cast one word 'Obliviate'. After a few minutes Mycroft blinked repeatedly and shook his head to clear his slightly muddled thought before looking around at the deserted area. No one was in sight except for his driver and PA who both looked slightly out of sorts however suddenly remembering he was on his way to his brother's apartment they got back into their car and started to drive towards London.