Child of Grace

Disclaimer: All of this is based upon the lovely J.K. Rowling's work. I own nothing except for a few non-canon characters to be introduced later. All of the paraphrased or direct quotes are from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, text copyright 1997 by J.K. Rowling.

Everything is in the British-English spellings and feel free to Brit-pick.

AN: So this is my terrible, horrible, no good, very bad story that I'm leaving up so I can go back and shake my head at just how much my writing has changed in the last decade. (The answer is a lot.)

Read at your own risk.

Prologue: A Holly Night

Thunder resounded in the distance as light flashed across the sky. Torrents of rain poured to the muddy ground, and the sounds of it echoed through the neighbourhood. There was another crackle of lightning. A dog barked nearby, but it did so more from terror than anything else. Darkness shrouded everything, the street lamps barely giving any light.

Had anyone been looking outside, they wouldn't have been able to see anything save the rain.

A young girl of no more than six knelt in front of a window, outside looking in. Her long, black hair hung about her like a sopping blanket, and the water dripped onto her bony shoulders. Her skin was white, almost translucent, veins clearly visible. It prickled in the damp cold as she shivered and pulled her frayed dress around herself, but it did little to block out the cold from her thin body.

Inside the house, light glowed from numerous lamps, casting friendly shadows on the walls and floor. A large, square table sat in the middle of a neat and tidy dining room. It was stacked with countless plates, all of them steaming and warm. A family was sitting down to a delicious looking supper.

The father was a portly man with a beet-red face and no noticeable neck. The mother was slender but healthy looking. She had twice the normal amount of neck and was horse-faced with enormous teeth. The son, though quite young, was rotund and seemed to be well on his way to taking up an entire side of the table.

Green eyes watched as the mother carried a large plate of roast to the table, which was almost completely filled with the other dishes. Steaming potatoes and carrots were placed on either side and were soon joined by a few other things. Chapped lips were licked at the sight of the meal, and the girl's breath steamed the clear glass of the window as she moved closer. A small, dirty hand cautiously wiped the surface clean so that she could get a better look, even as her mouth moved in a whispered prayer.

Within the house, the mother smacked a naughty hand away from the feast. Her son scowled at her and rubbed his now tender fingers. The father roared with laughter at the antics of the pair and took a sip of the wine in his glass. He beamed proudly at his son, while the mother eyed her child, but the tips of her mouth turned up with a hint of approval. Her hand touched his podgy cheek as the other rubbed his hurt fingers. She leaned down and kissed him lovingly, just as he tried to move away with a scowl etched on his heavy features.

Outside, hungry eyes watched the entire scene, and the girl lifted a slender hand to gently touch her own cheek. Her fingers rubbed the swollen skin, carefully avoiding the purpling flesh near her puffy eye. A small sigh escaped her, and she licked her lips as her teeth began to chatter.

The rain picked up its tempo, and the sound of it hitting the sodden ground grew louder. The shadows increased as it became even hazier, the street lamps not even visible anymore. A distinctive chill saturated the air, even as a slight warmth radiated from the house. The tiny girl cuddled closer to the windowsill in an attempt to steal some of the heat, but it didn't seem to be working.

The family began to pass around dishes, piling their plates with food. There was a clatter of silverware as they started to dine, and their voices resounded in the air. The father mentioned selling a large order of drills, while the mother nodded, seemingly entranced by the conversation. The son growled angrily when he finally realised his mother wasn't listening to him drone on about his stupid teacher and his awful cousin, so he kicked her from underneath the table.

A faint smell of the delicious meal wafted through the cracks of the window, and the girl's mouth began to water. She watched as each of the plates were quickly cleaned and then refilled, noticeably flinching as the father took third helpings of everything. She was forced to look away, eyes gleaming with pain when the son started on his fifth serving.

Soon, there wasn't any food left on the table, not even miniscule crumbs. There was a temporary lull in the conversation as the mother stood and went through a door toward the kitchen.

The girl finally glanced back with a loud rumble from her stomach.

Suddenly, the father's gaze flicked to the window.

She shrank back and hid in the ever deepening shadows. Her little frame trembled with fright, even as she tried to still her rapidly beating heart. Her fingers nervously twisted at her dress, eyes widened with terror.

After a few nerve-racking minutes, voices again filled the air as the father laughed loudly. The girl huddled for several more heartbeats before again peeking inside once more.

They were eating dessert, a large and bubbling pie.

She had to bite back her pathetic groan as she watched the entire thing systematically disappear. It was gone rather quickly, and the family went in the direction of the parlour. They didn't even bother to clear the table, clearly expecting someone else to do it for them.

The girl simply put her head against the glass in a gesture of defeat, attempting to gain enough resolve to rise and enter the house. Belatedly, she noted that the rain had finally stopped and that the air had a crisp, damp smell to it. She glanced up to see that the sky had cleared enough for a few stars to shine through, but it was still rather cool outside, making her shiver.

She again attempted to force herself to rise, but instead, she only inched quietly to the side of the window where she wouldn't be visible from inside. She rested her head on the freezing bricks, which still managed to be warmer than the glass, using her hair as a pillow. She looked up at the twinkling stars and momentarily wished she could share in their happiness. She quickly noted Sirius, the Dog Star, remembering that it was supposed to be the brightest one of all.

As always, a sense of profound calm filled her body. It was a common sensation when she stargazed, especially when viewing that particular one. It was her very favourite, but she was not really certain why.

For some reason, it brought to mind a dark-haired man with the most beautiful blue eyes she had ever seen, like silver mixed with sapphires. He always smiled impishly with a mischievous cast to his face, sometimes raking a hand through his long hair to purposely muss it. Oftentimes in her memories, it felt as though the man were holding her tightly, beaming down as he twirled her about and giving a barking laugh as she giggled. Though for the life of her, she couldn't clearly remember who the man was. Or if she'd ever really known him at all.

Regardless, a small smile touched her lips as she thought of him, and she began to hum a nameless tune.

Instantly, she pictured flashes of a lovely woman with emeralds for eyes and vivid red hair. In the girl's mind, the woman murmured loving words and hummed the same song as she smoothed back a child's hair. The woman beamed, and the girl could almost feel lips rubbed across her forehead.

A full moon peaked through the clouds, bathing the entire house in a silvery light, distracting her completely. The images shifted to a man with brown hair and very gentle hands. He waved a toy, a stuffed wolf, in front of her. His mouth twitched with laughter as she quickly exchanged it for a black dog. And he kneeled on a wooden floor, trying to prevent her from chucking a toy rat into the nearby fire.

At a nearby house, a car pulled into the drive. She glanced over to see a mother and her son get out. The boy's square glasses reflected the streetlight, and another man appeared in her mind.

His warm hazel eyes were hidden behind round-rimmed glasses, and she tugged on his messy hair that stuck up in the back. Like the first man, he held her in his arms, cradled to his chest, and murmured enchantingly in her little ear.

The girl sighed and hugged herself at the thought. She could hear his wonderful voice in her head as he whispered to her.

"Once upon a time, in a far away land, there lived a young and beautiful girl named Holly…"

AN: I am not sure when Sirius is visible, if it even is in the Northern Hemisphere at all.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy it.

Chapter One: Magically Delivered

Ever Hopeful,


Updated and Edited: