A bird in a cage.
A flightless bird, trapped behind the bars of a steel, cold cage.
Mind in the clouds, never down, never here, never now.
Birds of a feather should flock together. It's a lesson that echoes hauntingly across the young, frightened bird's every night.
Survival of the fittest, only the pure would survive. The pure knew all the answers, they were far superior in every sense of the word. All of the others would never understand they were inferior and so they needed to be taught. They would never understand. They were weak. They were uncouth. They were unworthy to wield a wand. They dared to have questions, dared to have thoughts. They did not understand, therefore, they did not belong.
They dared to fight back and her curious mind refused to follow the headings of her parents. Afterall, if they could both fly, what difference did it make that she came from pure birds whilst they did not. They were all gifted, why did it make sense to hate them so ardently? They had enough to worry about in the jungles of the world, why not fly together?
The young bird had an epiphany and wanted to share it with her family. Perhaps once she explained it to them, they would understand and they didn't have to fight each other like they did in the past.
Imagine, the heights they'd reach and sights they'd see if they could just see they had nothing to fear. All they had to was leap together. Then they could really fly.
How naive she had been. How foolish she was to think there would be any changing of their minds. If only she knew what was to come of her ideas, her thoughts, her dreams...Perhaps she wouldn't have shared them before she even knew how to wield a wand.
At first they laughed at her, thought her childish ambitions were nothing to worry over. But the questions and the readings, and the exploring never stopped. They were poisoning their little bird with lies and nothing but deceit. It was almost laughable, for as hard as they tried to get her to see reason, the more she pushed back.
It would all come to a boiling point, in the most unexpected of ways. Centuries upon centuries of hard work, dedication, and knowledge would not be going down the drain. Their family's reputation would not be sullied all because their little bird had strayed too far away from the nest.
The young bird never stood a chance.
As the old midwives tale may have it, once a human touches a baby bird, that baby bird would then be abandoned, rejected by her very own parents.
Daphne had never put much weight into that silly little saying as she knew it was just a tale to keep away from the birds in their gardens and yet...
Her parents were not known to be kind, caring souls. Power and pureness were all that mattered. If Daphne would not conform of her own freewill, then they would make her.
They would use her as an example to their other children. If you rebel against the cause, if you dare to have a thought elsewhere, you'd pay for it.
Survival was only granted to the most divine. The most deserving. They would make her see that they were only trying to protect her, to guide her, and keep her safe.
Birds of a feather flock together.
As it were, her wings were clipped too soon. Far, far too soon.
Everything whole, everything beautiful, everything magical - none of it mattered anymore anymore, how could it?
Her spirits had been broken, her love of life depleting by the minute. The colorful lens over her eyes and heart had been broken, revealing life's cruel reality to a girl who had already been through too much.
Suddenly thrust into a hard, cold cage - one worthy of Azkaban itself, for months on months end, the only thing Daphne could do was bend to her parents demands. She would train and study to keep her mind occupied. She would say exactly what her parents wanted to hear, to not disappoint them any further. She would, above all, protect herself from the shadows lurking in the dark, waiting for the opportune moment to snatch her in its icy grips once more.
She was determined. She would never let anyone hurt her ever again.
Her parents, as expected, were delighted in the change in their daughter - never mind what it had cost. Daphne would no longer go about spewing that mudblood and muggle propaganda or debating her brother about why the mudbloods deserved just as much respect as did the pureblood. Her questions were now only geared towards becoming stronger, more powerful than the rest, making her family proud.
All was finally, as it should be.
Daphne became the perfect little pureblood princess, one in which they would have no problem eventually marrying off once she became of age. She was beautiful, talented, and smart to boot. But most importantly, she was pure and had finally come to see reason.
Daphne did her best to forget, to focus on the bigger picture. Of all her achievements, her acting was something she treasured above all because through all the pain and suffering, Daphne knew something they did not.
Deep down, despite it all, she knew there was more out there for her to learn, to discover. She was terrified and emotionally scarred but she was also so much more than the little bird whose wings were clipped.
She was determined that one day, in this bleak, cold, dark world a rainbow would emerge, acting as a bridge to her long forgotten happiness. She would smile and laugh without fear of consequence. She could study whatever she wanted to study, be whoever she wanted to be. She could say whatever she wanted, be free to think and use her voice.
Daphne tried to remind herself there was more to life out there, waiting for her but with each day it all seemed like less and less of a reality. The puffy white swirls of the skies were streaked in angry shades of grey and strikes of black.
As time moved on and whispers of a war she knew she would be forced into drew nearer and nearer, she could feel herself slipping away. With each new day, her hope for freedom and choice were being taken away from her and despite knowing she was strong and powerful,
she was only one person. What could she ever hope to accomplish? The light was unlikely to embrace her given her family's reputation and she didn't want to involve her friends in fear of their lives.
She was quickly beginning to realize she was losing the battle within herself and that scared her more than anything. Moreso, when the inevitable rise of the dark lord came and the children of the original Death Eaters would be given the opportunity to take the dark mark, she knew that she would refuse and would likely die at the wands of her own parents as a result.
Her hope was dwindling, the cage was getting smaller and smaller. The sky was further away than ever before, and there was no way out, nowhere to run to or anyone to turn to.
Just when she was beginning to believe that all was lost she bumped into a boy - no a man. A man whose bright green eyes burned with the blazing fury of the sun and the gentle caresses of the moon. A man whose name was worth more than the weight of gold and whose tales and adventures had set all of the wizarding world ablaze time and time again.
A man who from his own experience, would always remind her that her wings, whilst maybe scarred, could never be broken.
Together, they would fly.