Disclaimer: I do not own. R&R please.
Age five was a most peculiar time in my young life. I was encountering rebellion in more ways than one, and it was coming in from everybody around it in every which way. Sirius deviated, Adrien flipped, my mother pressured my father for supporting a bastard… and I was still too young to see most of the importance in the actions of those around me. Given a choice, I would never, ever return to being five years old. I can see it so much more clearly now, see everything- and it makes it all so much worse.
It was a mere week after Sirius had turned five, and we had been scheduled for a routine playdate at his house. My parents dropped me off and left, as there would be no possibility of either of us having their first magical outburst. I was greeted by Orion and Walburga Black, as usual; I smiled a cutesy child's beam at them. Sirius and I proceeded upstairs, and kicked Regulus fully out of the East Wing; Sirius's brother, now almost four, annoyed the hell out of us. He admired Sirius like the rest of us revered Adrien, only that Adrien enjoyed the attention.
"So, Michael, what should we do- Muggles and Death Eaters?" I could remember Sirius asking me.
"Fine by me," I'd said, just to please him. I knew full well he would beat the crap out of me, and then be able to take on whichever role he wanted to. If I didn't comply, though, he'd beat the shit out of me and we'd play Muggles and Death Eaters anyway. So I took a swing at him, starting our typical fight as to which would choose roles. It caught him on the jaw, but he bounced back easily, laughing, and pounced on me. I did my worst to hit him, flailing blindly and rarely connecting with his side or head. Sirius did the sensible thing, and sat on my chest, digging his knees deep and pummeling my head and shoulders with both fists.
"Merlin!" I cried out. "Merlin, Sirius, that's enough, you choose!" He got off me and I sat up, spitting blood into his trash bin.
"Ok… I'll be the Muggles, Michael." Sirius shrugged nonchalantly, as if he hadn't just showed off his considerable pugilistic merits. I froze, convinced he'd boxed my ears so hard I was hearing things. I must have paused for ages, because he continued, "Erm, Michael, you're supposed to go all violent on me now- act like you know hexes, curses, you know the drill, even if you've never been able to be the Death Eater before." I kept staring blankly at him.
"Sirius," I began, "that's just unnatural. Nobody wants to be a Muggle, hell, mudbloods are bad enough."
"Adrien told me 'mudblood' was a bad word, and we shouldn't say it. He told me people who did were arrogant little inbred snakes."
"What does that mean?" I asked him, puzzled.
"No idea, but if you'd heard the way Adrien spoke, you'd get it, too," he said confidently.
"But they are mudbloods. They've got filthy, impure Muggle blood in them. They probably bleed poop." In my youth, I was known for having an understanding of Muggles vastly inferior to my imagination.
"Keep a secret, Mike?" I nodded yes. In a whisper, he confided, "In a park once- I talked to a real live Muggle! And it wasn't stupid, or clumsy, or anything. It was just… just like us."
I was horrified. "Sirius!" I hissed. "Are you crazy? They're nothing! Everyone says they're nothing!"
"Adrien doesn't agree. His family doesn't either. And James Potter says his family doesn't care one way or another what Muggles and Muggle-borns do with themselves." Sirius sat back, crossing his arms. On a childish impulse, I stuck my tongue out at him, and we fell back into another wrestling match.
Eventually, my parents picked me up from Sirius's house, and even then I knew that if I should ever repeat to his family any of Sirius's words to me, he would be in an obscene amount of trouble. I was thrilled with being trusted enough to talk to Sirius, and having a few minutes he wasn't beating the crap out of me. Because of this, the idea of breaking his confidence, of tattle-taling, never really occurred to me.
Christmas when I was young was a joyous occasion. In the Wizarding world, children find out very quickly that Santa Claus does not really exist, but the magical aura surrounding him is replaced by other customs. During the month of December, leading all the way to the New Year, pureblooded society is filled with important tea parties, balls, soirees, and magnificent Christmas Galas. Cracking open my memory's calendar for the age of five, I can remember distinctly many of these events. The season was, as per usual, opened with the Blacks' Advent Ball, on the evening of December 1st. This was traditional fare, as all seven Platinum Circle families would claim the best calendar dates for their social events. We children, under school age, would be herded up into the East Wing every year to play together and roast chestnuts. But the Blacks' Advent Ball was not the most important party of that season for my circle and I. The Potters held an annual Christmas Gala, beginning at six o'clock sharp on Christmas night and not ending until the wee hours of the morning. Here, anyone under thirteen was sent away into a certain wing of the Potters' mansion, to bond and engage in childlike activities. That year, I was behaving as I usually did, following Sirius around and fawning over Adrien, for whom it was the last year in the children's wing. Evan was there, as was Potter, and Lane Pelletier. Lucius Malfoy's stench was permeating the house, flanked as he was by Vincent Crabbe and Gregory Goyle, two of the dumbest men I have ever met. It had always astounded me how they even got in at the Potters'; neither of their families was well-regarded or powerful, and they seemed to function solely to bodyguard Malfoys. Sirius's cousins Narcissa, Bellatrix, and Andromeda were in attendance, arriving with the Lestrange boys, Rabastan and Rodolphus, and Frank Longbottom, a boy who would become a Gryffindor in my year, managed to get on the wrong side of Rodolphus in a hurry. But that small squabble, in which Longbottom was aided by the noble Thomas Bones, also of our year, was to take a backseat to a fit of rage Adrien went into with Lucius Malfoy. We had been playing a childish game, as we did every year. Adrien, who was by a strange twist the only child in school not at the gala, had naturally assumed the role of King Wizard in the game.
"Malfoy," he commanded, "fetch me some roasted chestnuts, would you?"
"What sort of wizard are you?" Malfoy sneered. "A true wizard king would just force a Mudblood to do it."
"Don't use that word with me, Malfoy," Adrien returned coldly. "It's a disgusting word, unfit for use even by your unclean mouth."
"Oh, that's right," Malfoy shot back. "Master Adrien is in love with a little Mudblood. They go about Hogwarts holding hands like cute little cherubs, so I've heard. You disgrace society- blood traitor!"
Adrien rose up from the soft grey recliner that had been his pseudo-throne. Drawing his wand and stalking over aggressively, he growled, "Take it back, you stupid git. Don't act all noble on me, Malfoy."
"Go to hell," Malfoy spat. Adrien, knocking aside Crabbe and Goyle as if they were feathers, grabbed Malfoy by the collar and slammed him against the wall, wand pointed at his neck.
Malfoy looked down at Adrien's left hand, entangled in his dress robes, and the right hand, holding the menacing wand. I realize that first years in this day and age can do little more than send sparks at each other, but my childhood was prior to this, when over half of the yearly admissions to Hogwarts were pureblooded, and most of the rest half-bloods. During my childhood, it was considered pathetic for a pureblooded family to send their child to school without some basic magical skills. Adrien was not, of course, capable of killing Malfoy with the Avada Kedavra. He was, however, capable of using a basic spell, such as the Wingardium Leviosa, to hurt him (Sirius's favorite method of dueling during his first year at Hogwarts was to levitate either a suit of armor or Peeves at your head).
"No blood traitor can pain a pureblood with magic," Malfoy drawled.
"I won't, then," Adrien snarled, hurling Malfoy to the ground. "I'll hurt you like the Muggles you hate so much," he said savagely, punctuating each word with a kick to Malfoy's side. He then violently picked Malfoy up and flung him bodily from the room, bellowing, "BLOODY BASTARD!" after him.
The rest of the room had gone quiet, and we all stepped slightly away from him. Nobody had ever seen Adrien Brady Pelletier that angry- hell, none of us had ever seen anyone other than a few adults that angry. After a long pause, he finally snapped, "What? Go back to your damn conversations," prompting all of the children in the room to return, eventually, to a forced normalcy.
It was several months after this incident when my ears were first darkened by the name of Lord Voldemort. At this point, fifteen years prior to his original downfall, Voldemort was not a name people lived in fear of. He had begun his ascent to power by this point, of course, but would not come into his own as the most powerful and feared dark wizard in Britain until my school days. It was a typical night; the house-elf had fed us dinner, a beautiful roast pork with mashed potatoes, and I had gone upstairs while my mother and father had their nightly after-dinner cocktail. Strangely enough, I heard voices that night- and not normal ones, either, but loud, angry, and shouting voices. I crept down the stairs and through the halls until I stood just outside of the door to the parlor, where my parents took their cocktails.
"I will not have that madman influencing my son!" my mother was yelling.
"He's not a madman, Irma! He's a bloody genius! Lord Voldemort has the best ideas for purebloods everywhere. I've known him since school, Irma- he's the smartest, most powerful wizard I've ever met, maybe greater than the Muggle-lover Dumbledore. Lord Voldemort will never falter- he will rise to power, eliminate his foes, and install a new world order complete with purebloods at the top, and mudbloods licking the very streets on which we walk!" my father's frantic voice was working hard to assuage my mother's fears of Voldemort.
"Fenton, I will not have it. You know full well I despise mudbloods and other such riffraff, but this Dark Lord has gone too far. I cannot consent to be ruled by one man- nor can I consent to one man having power over my son's worldview and future, when that man is a butcher."
"Irma, resistance is futile, and Lord Voldemort will reward his supporters… his dream is right, his ideals perfect, his cause strong, and the rewards will be great. I will aid Lord Voldemort to wipe mudbloods and blood traitors from the face of the earth, as will Michael if the task is unfinished by his manhood." At the sound of my name, I gave a start, knocking over a candle in the hallway.
"Did you… hear something?" my mother said.
"I'm not entirely sure… check the hallway, Irma, will you?" my father replied. I nearly froze from fear. Quickly, I scampered back to my room, and could distantly hear my mother assuring my father that there was nothing in the corridor. I was left to ponder this- my parents never fought, never raised their voices to each other, and never talked about mudbloods. Apparently, though, this Lord Voldemort was a different case, as I would later find out was all too common with him.
At the age of five I went through a tremendous period of mental upheaval. Prior to that, I had been raised with four tenets of belief. First, purebloods were far and away superior to half-bloods and Muggle-borns. Secondly, the pureblood world was all about status, and purity was the key to status. Thirdly, you were mentored by or looked up to another magical child of your own gender whose family was of equal or better status to yours, no matter who they may be, until you reached adulthood. Fourth, the highest-status child of your age and gender was the leader of your entourage, and he or she was always the one to lead the anti-Muggle charge. Adrien's beliefs had managed to challenge all of these tenets. He'd introduced all of us to equality, to the idea that Muggle lives were just as worthy as anyone else's. This was an idea that was moderately developed in his family, which shocked me- the notion of a Platinum Circle family speaking of half-blood acceptance was bizarre. Lucius Malfoy's treatment of Adrien upon learning his beliefs defied the third tenet- Lucius was looking like an ungrateful git, mouthing off at his mentor/peer, who had taught him flying and spells. And when Adrien's ideas had leaked to Sirius, and, as I would find out, to Potter, it was found out that our group's ringleaders were not Muggle-haters, but rather like the Muggle-loving fools my parents spoke about so spitefully. This was a serious departure from the status quo, and would foreshadow the coming war, but I did not know that at five. At five, I knew that, quite suddenly, things made no sense anymore.
Hope you enjoyed it. Reviews are highly, highly welcome (hint hint). And go Adrien, kick that blond Death-Eater-to-be.