For the Drabble Game Challenge (Dorea and Marius, bad reputation, requested by Maisie)
"Do you still love me?" Marius asks.
It seems silly to ask. After all, he's been through so much with his sister. That sort of love ought to be unconditional. There should be no doubt in his mind.
And yet the fear is still there. He is still a Squib, and Dorea is still a Black. She's sat through the same lectures that he has, been told the same things. Squibs are an abomination. Do not even look at them.
"Of course, Mari," she says, reaching up and ruffling her older brother's hair. "Why wouldn't I?"
He smiles at that. She knows the answer, but she is still kind enough to pretend that nothing is wrong with him, that nothing has changed. He loves her for it. It makes him feel like he's normal, even if he knows it's a lie.
"You'll get a bad reputation if you hang out with me," he chuckles.
Dorea rolls her eyes. "I don't care. You're still my brother. I'm not Cassiopeia; I won't just stop spending time with you because Mother and Father say I have to."
Her words provide him some comfort, but not much. Marius knows that it's only a matter of time before they are forced to be separated. All Squibs end up on the streets or dead. It's just the way it is, the way it always has been. Marius suspects their father is waiting for Dorea to begin Hogwarts to throw him out.
He reaches out, taking her hand and gripping it tightly, so afraid of letting go. "You'll always be my best friend. You know that, right, Dor?"
"And you're my favorite brother."
He snorts. "I'm your only brother."
Dorea shrugs, poking her tongue out at him. Marius wraps his arms around his little sister and presses a kiss to the top of her head.
He knows his days are numbered. Dorea's letter will arrive soon. Months later, she'll be gone, and Marius will be out the door.
But, for now, he can pretend otherwise. No one is around who might scold Dorea for playing with him.
"Come on," he says. "Let's play Wizard and Unicorn."
"I wanna be the unicorn!"
His sister loves him. They can still play their favorite childhood games. Marius smiles to himself as he chases the "unicorn" through the manor.
At least he can pretend things are normal, that they will not change. For a little while, anyway.