Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter.
Colours of Black
By Silver Sailor Ganymede
Darkness. Decay. Cobwebs and dust and scuttling, oversized cockroaches and woodlice, hidden almost completely on the dank walls, the floor, destroying the staircases slowly. Silver spiders on silver webs hung from chandeliers that had once sparkled – now tarnished.
Grey. The whole house was cloaked in grey, tarnished silver: dull, dull, dead: but there had been life there once. Life, light, colour. The house whispered of times gone by, times gone by when its walls had seen all things garish and bright and so fantastically alive. There had been colour in Grimmauld Place once, a long, long time ago. There had been many, many colours to the House of Black.
All gone now. Grey and tarnished and dull and dead. But the house remembered.
Pollux Black's face had flushed red and his eyes burned with anger as he stood in his father's study. He was then a tall, dark boy of thirteen, though looking a number of years older than he was, and his normally calm, smug countenance was filled with unconcealed hatred.
"I will not marry her," he snarled at his father. "I won't."
Arcturus Black had looked back at him calmly.
"Yes, you will."
"I won't," he snarled.
"I am afraid you have to marry Irma Crabbe. I have explained this to you. There has not been an alliance between our families in a long time; this needs to be rectified."
"I won't do it!"
"You are the eldest son. You are required to marry, and this is doubly important because your… brother appears to have made himself utterly useless to us."
Pollux's lip curled into a sneer and his hands clenched by his sides.
"Remember, my son, I have complete power over you. You will do as I say."
"I despise you," Pollux whispered, then turned on his heel and left.
Not even a month later, he was married. Less than a year later, a child had been born. Pollux Black had done his duty – but he would never speak a civil word to his father again.
Cedrella Black hated having to visit her aunts and uncles. Every time she was in the house, she withdrew from social functions, preferring to hide away in a disused room until someone forced her to present herself.
"This tendency toward melancholy is utterly unbecoming of someone of your station," her mother had curtly told her on a number of occasions. "You will never make a good wife to anyone if you don't learn how to socialise, darling."
Cedrella did not see where her mother cared so much. Callidora and Charis were both quite skilled enough at charming society, skilled enough to make up for what she lacked. Besides, Callidora had already been married off and anyone could see that Charis would be married to that awful Crouch boy within the year; they wouldn't even need their families to draw up a marriage contract if things kept progressing at this rate.
Two daughters out of three having made respectable marriages was quite enough, really, to please anyone – but not Lysandra Black, née Yaxley. No, Cedrella's mother was quite insistent that she married Apollonius Malfoy. It was of no consequence whatsoever that she and Malfoy plainly despised each other; he was handsome, rich, well-connected and the best match she could possibly hope for.
Except that he wasn't. Cedrella pulled out a tattered photo that she constantly carried around in her robes, a photo that she had charmed so that no one else could see what it was of. Septimus Weasley smiled back at her from the photo, brushing his flaming orange hair away from his face with one hand as he smiled (smiled at her. He had taken this photo for her), dark eyes glittering in the sunlight.
Septimus. Septimus Weasley. He was pureblood, yes, but a bloodtraitor and the seventh son of a poor family. Septimus, her Septimus… and they would never let her love him. That was why they could never see the photograph of the handsome young man with sparkling, black eyes and flaming, orange hair. Never.
Marius Black had always been unlike his family. His brother and sisters had all inherited their father's straight, inky black hair. His mother's hair was lighter, brown, but just as straight as his father's. Marius' hair was completely unlike theirs, softly waved and yellow-blond, his skin pale, his grey eyes softer and less threatening than his siblings'.
He had known he was the oddity right from the start.
His siblings all had vile tempers, making objects explode left, right and centre from the time they were two years old onwards. Marius had been the calm child, had never broken anything or harmed anyone. His parents had just assumed that he was more in control of his magic than anyone else in the family, that he would grow up to be more powerful than any of the others.
That all changed when he was eight years old and Pollux and his friends had thrown him down the stairs. It was their idea of a joke. They had thought he would bounce, that he would end up with nothing more than a couple of bruises and a huge dent in his pride. It would serve him right, they thought.
Marius hadn't bounced. His left ankle, his left arm and his family were all broken to pieces that day; the day they found out that he was a squib.
He had always been the oddity, always the one who didn't quite fit in. That was why, upon arriving at the prestigious, muggle boarding school his parents had shipped him off to so they didn't ever have to gaze upon his face again, Marius Black told his friends that he was an only child, an orphan, and that his parents had both had beautiful, soft, yellow hair like he did.
Whenever Bellatrix came to stay, the halls of Grimmauld Place filled up with acidic, green light. The girl had figured out the killing curse and the age of twelve and would practice it on any living creature she could find.
The spiders spun their webs elsewhere, in high corners they thought she'd never reach. The woodlice scuttled into damp, dank holes in the skirting boards, joining the mice and rats and other denizens of Grimmauld Place who sought safety from she who brought death in her wake.
Only the moths were stupid enough to come to the light. Come, come to the pretty green light, to the smirking girl with bright grey eyes who laughed and laughed, oh how she laughed, as the floor of the room became carpeted with moths – and how she screamed when she stood on those moths and got gore all over her pretty green shoes.
Sirius' room was always red, as soon as he figured out that he could charm the walls and the sheets to go any colour he wanted. At first his mother shrieked in protest before changing everything back to the more appropriate shades of green and grey – but eventually she gave up.
Regulus changed the things in his room to blue at one point. He had always liked blue far better than green. Pale blue walls and dark blue furniture, the ceiling charmed to match the colour of the sky in the middle of summer, shining and light and beautiful and almost as pale as his eyes. His mother found out and changed the room back at once; Regulus never tried to defy her again.
Narcissa always insisted on wearing indigo robes to balls. Her sisters would wear grey and black and green and other such colours, colours of which they knew their entire family would automatically approve, but Narcissa liked indigo. It suited her complexion, she insisted, matched her eyes perfectly. She would only go to the ball if her robes were indigo.
It was because of those indigo robes that Lucius Malfoy first noticed her, really noticed her, as she was draped along a chaise longue with a glass of stolen champagne dangling loosely in one hand. She was relaxed, entirely at home in these social gatherings but with a strong enough will to make herself noticed. She was not insane like Bellatrix; not retiring and dull like Andromeda. Lucius Malfoy had been told for a long time that one of the Black sisters would make a good wife for him, and it was those indigo robes of Narcissa's that made up his mind for him.
Andromeda had tried to reconcile with her family after she had caused a scandal by running off with a mudblood. It was something that brought unheard of shame to the family, something that made the elders wish that it had only been a repeat of Cedrella's (her name, when mentioned, drew disgusted looks from those who had only heard her name and never met her) actions decades before. A bloodtraitor was at least a wizard, albeit not a respectable one, but a mudblood was as good as a muggle.
Yet Andromeda had been brave enough (foolish enough) to turn up on the doorstep to see her mother and father and aunts and uncles with a baby, a baby whose veins were tainted with muggle blood, clutched in her arms.
"It's a muggle," Druella Black had said shortly.
"Of course it is," Walburga echoed. "I hardly see why she sees fit to present that to us."
Then the baby's hair changed from black to violet and a silence descended on them all.
"A metamorphmagus can't have muggle blood."
"Evidently it can."
"She can and she does."
"Get out of my house. Out!"
Andromeda left, the baby still writhing in her arms and laughing gleefully, completely unaware of what she had just done.
That was the last time that colour had graced the halls of Grimmauld Place. The House of Black itself fell into disrepair as its heirs disappeared one by one. Its descendants left in the wizarding world no longer bore its name. Those descendants in the muggle world had no idea of where they had come from; their laughter would never liven its halls.
The halls fell silent and the insects multiplied. The dust fell, coating silver cobwebs and silver chandeliers alike. Eventually all that was left was a faded portrait of Walburga Black, screaming into nothing and fading, fading, fading more with every passing day.
There had been many colours to the House of Black, but all of these had faded forever. Grey and tarnished and dull and dead – and slowly even the house began to forget that life had once occurred within its walls.