Disclaimer: JK owns 'em all, 'cept for Clementine, and Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel own Scarborough Fair/Canticle, Anonymous own Clementine…the song…because no one knows who wrote it in the first place.
Summary: Harry meets a ghost, becomes musically inclined, puts the ghost to rest, has a talk with Lupin and Sirius, and realises something important. Takes place in Fifth Year, but I think it's a bit of AU, since I overlooked the fact that Cho exists. Established SB/RL, RW/HG, and one sided HP/BZ. muahaha.
"In a cavern in a canyon, excavating for a mine,
Dwelt a miner, forty-niner, and his daughter Clementine."
Harry sang lightly under his breath while he worked on his potions essay "Wolfsbane and its Properties". He had never been one for music, but thanks to a music box he found in the upstairs levels of Grimmauld place the damn song was stuck in his head. He found a little container under his bed and proceeded to open it. Ron stated that it was the most idiotic thing Harry had ever accomplished; including the time he let Percy coach him in a chess match against the red head. Harry was inclined to agree, as the music box played "Clementine" over and over again as loud as possible in an eerie screeching voice. Eventually, with the help of Lupin and Sirius, they got the sound to stop (Sirius ended up stomping on it repeatedly, much to Lupin and Harry's combined amusement), unfortunately, Harry ended up with the song repeatedly replaying itself in his poor psyche. Frankly, he would have preferred a better song, something by the Weird sisters, perhaps.
"Ruby lips above the water, blowing bubbles, soft and fine,
Alas, for me! I was no swimmer, so I lost my Clementine."
Harry scratched the end of his nose with his quill. His essay was coming along quite nicely, though it would have been even better if Hermione had lent him her notes, but he didn't really want the lecture on responsible note-taking. 'It was Snape's fault anyway' He thought, 'Who assigns homework over Christmas?' He scowled at the parchment and stood up; deciding that three hours of essay writing was enough for one's state of mind and walked over to the object that had been in the back of his mind all day.
The Noble and Most Ancient house of Black was large and empty, comprised of several floors and rooms that are far from being in use and filled with oddities, most of which were rather dangerous to go near. The room that Harry was now occupied was very large and very empty, a large chandelier on the high ceiling and, at the far end, a grand piano. Harry didn't have any music experience, the closest he had ever come to playing an instrument was Dudley's electric guitar after he got tired of it and tossed it into Harry's bedroom (which also served as Dudley's storage room for broken or unwanted belongings). Harry had managed to play 'twinkle, twinkle, little star' before Uncle Vernon found out and threw the instrument in the trash.
Harry stood in front of the large black piano and placed his fingers on the keys, noticing that the Black family crest had been wrought in gold on each key. Glancing behind him at the door, -which was partly open- assured himself that everyone was downstairs in the kitchens or in their rooms ('Because who in their right mind would wander about a place like this?' He thought darkly), sat down on the piano bench, and pressed his index finger lightly on the ivory key. A single note rang out, clear and true, still perfectly tuned, even with disuse. Harry swallowed suddenly -his mouth had gone quite dry- and hit another key just as gently as the first. The same quality of noise rang out, and Harry spread his hand over the board, wondering what it would be like to know how to play a song properly.
"I can show you." Said a soft voice to his left.
Harry felt as though he coughed up his heart, and looked beside him. A young girl –perhaps nine or ten year's old- was looking at him in amusement, which would have been very strange, except that he could see through her.
"Er…I didn't know this room was haunted" He breathed, wondering if he sounded as shocked as he felt. The ghost however, just smiled sadly.
"Nobody comes into this room much anymore, not since around the 1940's, when the Black's still held regalia's of this sort." The ghost-girl-whatever- looked at him through a curtain of dark ghost hair, which Harry figured must have been black when she was alive. She was quite pretty; her hair long and loose, with large black eyes and wearing what looked like a summer dress, with dragons printed on the material. Her smile was aloof and mysterious, and a little sad at the same time.
"What's your name?" He asked the girl, trying to get his heart back to beating at regular intervals.
She grinned this time, her features becoming surprisingly mischievous, "My name is Clementine."
Harry stared, and felt himself smile, "You heard me singing…" Clementine giggled, a strange, unearthly sound,
"You have a very pretty voice; it reminds me of my brother's, though you're much too quiet, you need to sing out more or no one's going to hear you." She said matter-of-factly. Harry blushed slightly, and looked down at his fingers, poised over the piano.
"So, can I show you how to play?" Clementine asked eagerly, her young voice filled with hope. Harry looked at her, considering. She didn't seem very dangerous, and it would be nice to be able to play real music instead of blindly hitting notes. Harry smiled slightly and nodded. Clementine's face lit up with delight.
"Really? Brilliant! Okay, first, spread you fingers over the keys, touching them slightly….oh, don't forget to relax, this may feel strange." She said as she stood up on the bench, smoothing the crinkles of her dress and turning to Harry, with serious expression on her face. Harry opened his mouth to ask what she meant, when suddenly the ghost walked through him, and sat down, in Harry.
The first impression Harry felt was that his insides were freezing, turning to ice….he couldn't breath…he felt himself falling forward….losing consciousness. Then Harry was awake, and sitting at the same piano, staring at the keys thinking, I want to play something happy…and feeling sad because he couldn't… and then he was falling again, this time waking up playing scales…A B C D E F G…..over and over again, while a very young boy watched with wide pale eyes, saying, "Wish I could play like that, Clemmy,"…and Harry was answering, in a little girls voice, "But you can sing so well, I wish I could do that, Alphard…" and he fell again, this time playing a song…no, a ballad in the center of a crowd of people who were laughing and dancing, and he was thinking, I could do this forever...and suddenly he was back, in the old empty ballroom, for Harry realised that is what it was, and Clementine was sitting beside him, watching him closely, her face unreadable.
"Do you know how to play?" She asked, almost shyly.
Harry looked down at the piano, and, thinking of the song that had been murmuring in his mind all day; he began to play.
"Oh my darling, Oh my darling, Oh my Darling Clementine,
You are lost and gone forever…
Dreadful sorry Clementine…"
Harry played as if he'd been doing so his all his life, and singing the words of the old rhyme loud and clear, and sounding rather nice. Clementine laughed gaily beside him, and sang with him, making an eerie harmony of life and death rise out of their voices. Harry's calm tenor blended with the girl's soft flowing soprano, her voice a little off-key, the slight pitch of a child's tone that she would have grown out of, had she grown up. Harry coasted his fingers over the last few notes, their voices trailing off into a surprisingly deafening silence.
Harry closed his eyes and breathed deeply, his trembling hands were resting on his knees, tilting his face upwards, as if a non-existent wind was caressing his pale face.
"Do you know how to play" The spectre asked again quietly.
Harry nodded, his eyes still closed. "Yes, I-I can play…" he trailed off and looked at his hands in disbelief. "How did you…."
Harry looked at the girl.
Clementine smiled wistfully "The room you and your red-haired friend sleep in used to be mine when I was alive, The music box you found…Alphie made it for me…That wasn't his voice…his voice was beautiful…"She sighed. "It wasn't a very nice trick that Elladora played…making it sound all scary, but I kept it anyway. After I died I used it as sort of an alarm clock, I decided that if there were ever a time when a member of this family was decent enough to sing my song, I would give him a gift."
Harry stared, a funny lump in his throat, "But-But I'm not related to the Black Family…"
The ghost blinked at him in confusion, and then giggled quietly. "I didn't mean related by blood, silly, Elladora was my sister, but she wasn't my family. You are the family of the last true Blacks, the only living one that wasn't corrupted by foolish ideas and painful memories. Family has nothing to do with blood, you know, sometimes it controls what you look like, but that's about it. I look like my father." She stated very seriously. Harry nodded. "Your family is the person or people you love, or love you, unconditionally." She smiled then. It was eager and hopeful, and a little sad.
"Thank-you, but I still don't understand, I never learned how to play the piano…I …" Harry watched the girl in confusion.
"I gave you my memories of learning to play, I want my knowledge to live on, somehow, I've been waiting quite awhile to go back to my rest…but I don't want to sleep until I've carried on my music." Clementine looked at him, her big dark eyes pleading, "Will you please? Carry it for me? And play for me? So I can rest?"
Harry smiled, and placed his hands back on the keys, and nodded "I will play for you." He whispered, his eyes suddenly feeling misty. He swallowed against the lump in his throat and turned to the ghost, "What do you want me to play?" He asked her.
Clementine stood up from her place on the bench and walked out to the middle of the ballroom. "It doesn't matter, whatever makes you smile." She answered vaguely as she twirled on the dance floor, making her translucent dress flutter about her. "Except…can you sing while you play? You sound so much like my brother… please?" She looked at him, waiting.
Harry nodded once and looked at the ivory teeth, waiting to be played. He thought back to the songs he's heard before, searching for one that made him smile. He thinks he remembers black hair and strong arms singing to him softly, and he smiles, pressing his fingers down onto the cold white notes, and begins to sing:
Are you going to Scarborough fair…
Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme,
Remember me to one who lives there.
She was once a true love of mine.
Harry played the song easily, his fingers instinctively hitting the rights chords, and he sang loudly and cheerfully, watching the ghost-child dance across the dance floor, her feet not really touching it, and her hair flying about her like a dark halo. It seemed to Harry that she was becoming whiter, more solid than the ghostly grey he usually sees. He watched in rapt fascination while he played and sang, as she became more and more solid…and light surrounded her small body, she stopped dancing and looked up… then at Harry and smiled –a true happy smile- her mouth forming two words –thank you- then the light intensified, and Harry was blinded, but he felt something brush his forehead, a soft pair of lips over his scar. Then the light was gone, and Harry was left alone in the ballroom, playing and singing into the shadows.
Harry wasn't sure how long he sat there playing, after he finished the first song, he moved onto another, and another, and soon his voice was hoarse and had to stop, relishing the feeling as the last few notes flowed from his hands, and his voice trailed off into silence.
He felt slight prickling at the back of his neck and turned around to see Sirius, Lupin, Mr. and Mrs. Weasley staring at him with their mouths agape.
Harry felt something bubbling up into throat, something wonderful, and something he hadn't done in a long time. He burst into peals of helpless laughter at their stunned faces, doubling over and gripping the piano bench to keep from falling off. Lupin was the first to recover, snapping his mouth shut and grinning slightly, shock still in his eyes. Sirius just kept staring at him, Mrs. Weasley had covered her mouth with her hands, and Mr. Weasley was blinking at him, as if he was trying to prove to himself that the scrawny boy in front of him was actually Harry. If anything, this made Harry laugh harder.
"Harry, why didn't you tell us you could play so well?" Mrs. Weasley asked, recovering her voice. Harry snickered at the adults, much to their consternation, and Sirius raised his eyebrows at him. "I just learned how today, a little ghost named Clementine showed me…by the way Sirius, did you have an Aunt by that name, by any chance?" He looked at his Godfather, still chuckling at the adults. Sirius gave him a worried look, as if he was questioning his Godson's sanity, and nodded. "She was my Uncle Alphard's sister, she died when she was ten…of some sickness I believe, though I heard a rumour she was poisoned. Her ghost taught you how to play the piano? He asked incredulously, his eyebrows climbing even higher.
"Yeah…she heard me singing earlier, said that she'd been waiting for the right person in the family to carry on the music before, you know, went to rest…she picked me." Harry told them matter-of-factly, shrugging his slim shoulders at them, as if it were no big deal. They stared at him.
"Er... anyway, my throat's kinda dry so, I'm gonna get something to drink….what are you all doing up hear anyway?" He stared at them unblinkingly, and the adults looked rather sheepish, except for Lupin, who laughed outright. "We heard music playing up here, and thought a ghoul had moved in, and then we couldn't find you, so we thought maybe you were in trouble, and followed the…er…your singing up here, very nice singing by the way, I recall your father sounding like a dying cat when sang…you must have got it from you mother's side of the family." Lupin said merrily, enjoying the slightly embarrassed looks on the other three's faces. Sirius glared at him and the Weasley's sighed. Harry however, was touched.
"You came to rescue me?" He asked shrewdly, the corner of his mouth turning up.
"Well, no one has seen you since breakfast, Harry, we were worried about you." Mrs Weasley said briskly "If your alright then, I left the twins in charge of dinner…what was I thinking!?!" And with that, Molly Weasley grabbed her husbands sleeve and hurried away, a panicked glint in her eye.
Lupin chuckled, and he and Sirius joined Harry at the piano, sitting on either side of him. The three of them sat quietly for a minute…the sort of silence that Harry associated with either a) getting a lecture, or b) someone died. He squirmed uncomfortably for a minute before piping up, "Am I in trouble?"
Sirius, who was almost over his shock, looked at him askance. "Of course not! It's not everyday you find out your Godson's a musical genius."
Harry blinked, "But, Clementine showed me how to play the piano…I couldn't play a thing when I woke up this morning…"
"I doubt that your ghost taught you how to sing like that, Harry" Lupin said gently. Harry felt his face turn a respectable shade of red and duck his head in embarrassment. Sirius smiled at him and ruffled his hair while Lupin chuckled.
"Besides, Sirius was actually looking for you before you started plating your music, weren't you Sirius?" Lupin was grinning in a way that reminded Harry violently of the Weasley twins, when they were about to do something that was not entirely legal. Sirius gave the werewolf a look of deepest contempt before looking at Harry and clearing his throat.
"Er…well, Harry…ah…your fifteen now…and, that is to say, you're much too young for…certain, things, and…ahem… why don't you show us what else you can play on the piano, eh?" Sirius finished, with a faint blush around the collar of his robes and stared at the air in front of him, determinedly not looking at Harry or Lupin. Harry stared at him blankly, while Lupin shook with barely suppressed laughter. "Umm…What?" asked Harry, and Sirius sighed, as if he were resigning himself to execution.
"I er…well, I thought you might like to talk, ah…I spoke to Molly and she agreed, with me, that is." Sirius stated, still looking at the apparently fascinating air in front of him.
"Er, Sirius? Mrs Weasley's already married… why would you propose to her?" Harry asked innocently. This was too much for Lupin, who fell off the bench in hysterics. Sirius made a noise like a kettle whistling, his face flaming. "I DID NO-er…Harry that's not what I meant…ah, Your not helping, Remus." He glared down at his friend who was leaning against the piano, gasping for breath. Lupin wiped at his eyes and looked up at him, trying to say something, but only managed to collapse back into laughter. Sirius scowled.
Harry was looking between the two men in utter confusion. He turned the piano keys and started playing softly, wondering if Hermione was right, and Sirius had lost his mind, but if he had, what happened to Lupin? Suddenly Sirius leaned forward and put his hands over Harry's, stilling them. "Harry….eh, we need to talk. You see, your growing up and…" Sirius closed his eyes, as if he were looking for some inner strength and wasn't finding it. Lupin decided to save his friend from his misery and spoke up. "Harry, Sirius wants to give you the sex talk, but because he's absolutely mortified he's having a bit of trouble formulating the words, I'll help. If there's anything you'd like to ask us about relationships, or sex –Sirius relax! - We'll be happy to answer. All right?" Lupin looked at him and smiled encouragingly. Harry stared.
And then laughed.
And then fell off the bench next to Lupin, gasping for breath. Sirius scowled at his Godson and friend, and smiled, begrudgingly. "So, do you have any questions, Harry?" Sirius asked him. Harry thought for a minute, his smile fading, "Yeah, um, what is sex?" He asked innocently, looking up curiously at his Godfather.
Sirius looked like he wanted to cry, and Lupin snickered. Harry smirked, "Just kidding! Hermione's parents gave her a book on human anatomy, she let me borrow it, er…the look in your face was priceless, Sirius." Harry smiled at him sweetly. Sirius sighed and ruffled his hair, informing him that he was worse than his father. "Well, you know if you want to ask me or Moony anything, we'll be happy to answer… sort of." Sirius smiled at Harry and Lupin nodded in agreement.
"By the way, Harry, is there anyone you fancy? I caught Ron and Hermione snogging earlier, any lasses caught your eye yet?" Harry blinked his trauma over the mental image of his friends, and shrugged. "Not really, Sirius, I mean, I've noticed him but he's not really interested, I don't think." Harry shrugged again and noticed that it had become very quiet.
Lupin and Sirius were both staring at him in shock. Harry felt himself turn red and stared at his trainers, squeaking out a small "sorry" and closing his eyes.
Harry felt a pair of arms go around him and hug him tightly, and a pair of lips whispering, "Don't be. Don't be ashamed of who you are, Harry, never." Sirius hugged him tightly once more, and released him, his eyes very bright. Harry looked up his guardian warily, and hugged him back, holding on to him tightly.
"So Harry, who's the lucky fella'?" Lupin asked, cheerfully as ever. Harry looked at him from Sirius's embrace and asked timidly "You don't think I'm weird?"
Lupin chuckled, "Harry, I'd be a bit of a hypocrite if I thought you were weird."
Harry watched him blankly. "Eh?" He felt Sirius chuckle beside him. "You sound like a Canadian. Harry, me and Moony, well, we've been together for quite awhile now…" Sirius paused, as if he were waiting for a fit of homophobic screaming. Sadly, Harry just blinked, then blinked again, and then laughed weakly, shaking his head. "I owe Hermione four galleons."
"What?" Sirius and Lupin exclaimed, and Harry grinned sheepishly.
"Hermione figured you two were a couple, I figured you weren't yet but would get together by the end of term. Ron bet that Mrs Weasley would try hooking Lupin up with Charlie before next Christmas….Ron owes me three galleons…" He trailed off and watched the two adults, who were looking bemused. "Er….I wonder how Hermione figured it out," He said thoughtfully. "Although, she mentioned something about subtle chemistry; so maybe she got it from a book…ah…Sorry?" Harry added quickly. Sirius chuckled and Lupin looked mildly affronted, but amused all the same.
"So…how long were you together?" Harry asked. Sirius and Lupin shared and affectionate glance. "Since we were in Sixth year: after the whole Snape fiasco."
Harry nodded, and grinned at the couple. He picked at a thread on his jeans and looked down "Blaise Zabini." He muttered quietly, his face red.
"Zabini? Isn't he a Slytherin fifth year?" Lupin asked. Harry nodded, and looked like he wanted to hide.
"It really stinks…I had to fall for a Slytherin." He buried his head in his arms.
"It could be worse." Sirius said consolingly. "It's true," supplied Lupin; "He could be Snape."
Harry laughed and raised his head, smiling shyly. Sirius and Lupin smiled at him, and Harry felt his chest constrict. He looked at each adult seriously, and then hugged them both quickly and got up from the floor. "Mrs Weasley probably has dinner ready now, and my throat is killing me, you coming to eat?" He asked, blinking rapidly at the moisture in his eyes.
Sirius and Lupin grinned at him and said they'd catch up with him. Harry nodded and left the old ballroom, pausing outside the door way when he heard Lupin's voice.
"I told you he already knew."
"Yeah, he's going to be fine, isn't he?" Sirius commented, pride evident in his voice.
Lupin chuckled lightly, "Yes he will, thank Merlin."
Harry stuck his head into the door to watch them silently. Lupins stood up; reached out to Sirius and pulled him to his feet. Keeping his hands clasped in the other man's he reached up and brushed his lips against Sirius', who smiled softly.
"Let's go eat."
Harry quickly sped down the hall before he got caught spying, he reached the kitchen and ran in, just as Mrs. Weasley was telling everyone present about Harry's piano playing. Harry grinned at everyone, thinking happily, that Clementine was right, and everyone here was family.
Ok! I have no have no idea why I wrote this, it just sort of popped into my head while I was taking a study break. It's just a one shot, so don't expect any chapters….I'll try to update Anonymity before the New Year, but I'm in a rut right now, so we'll see. For those of you who don't' know what I'm talking about, go read my other fic…and then Review, right after you review this one….please, I'll love you for ever…(makes puppy eyes at the computer screen).