AN:Thanks so much for not killing me for taking so long to update! So here's my next chapter. Over the next year I will finish this story. Since I am going to be spending some time in another country next summer (and hopefully longer) and wont have internet access I promise to finish this story and finish it well before I leave. Enjoy.
Mia sat on the edge of her four poster bed in the corner of her dorm room. She peered down at her trunk, packed full of every possession she owned. Thanks to a handy expanding charm placed by McGonagall everything had fit easily. Now her trunk was packed, her bed was made, and all of her roommates had just left the room to head down to the carriages to leave for the Hogwarts express, Hermione calling behind for Mia to hurry up. But now that the moment was here for Mia to leave the castle, she had mixed feelings.
After spending the better part of the previous year locked inside the castle, feeling like the caged tiger she truly was, Mia would have thought she would feel ecstatic to leave, but now a feeling of anxious apprehension filled her. Hogwarts had become home to Mia. No where Mia had ever been in her memory filled her with the same sense of safety and belonging as she felt in the castle. And now at the thought of leaving the castle and going into the unknown, Mia was terrify. Especially when the unknown included moving in with her father, the father she had spent her whole life believing ether to be dead, or to be a criminal. Knowing his innocence didn't relieve any of Mia's stress. In fact it increased it. It left Mia with more questions than answers and forced her to form a relationship with this man she didn't know.
It was different than it had been with Remus. When she had first met him there was no expectations for a relationship to form, at least none known to Mia. There had only been a strange connection that she felt when she was around him. But with Sirius there was so much pre knowledge of who he was and who he was meant to be to her that gave Mia the heavy weight in the bottom of her stomach every time she thought of him. It was the same feeling one got every time they thought about a big exam they hadn't studied for or remembered a large essay they had yet to write.
Suddenly the door to the dorm room opened and in walked two house elves. They froze at the sight of her. It was two of the elves Mia hadn't gotten on first name basis with but who still knew who she was. The taller elf turned away choosing to ignore Mia and started to perform a bit of transporting magic on Hermione's chest. The second elf, a younger girl Mia recognized from the kitchen carefully walked over to Mia her eyes wide with fear. "The Miss is gonna be late to the train!"
Mia suddenly realized how long she had been sitting on her bed and took off in a flash. She yelled a thanks to the elf as she darted out of the tower. Mia sped through the castle using every short cut she knew. Eventually she came running down the main staircase into the entrance hall and came to a halt on the final landing standing before an anxious looking Gabe. "I was seriously beginning to think you had changed your mind."
Mia, panting and out of breath, tried to respond looking cool and relaxed, but Gabe just sighed and pulled her along and out the door of the castle. "No time!" As they left the front entrance Mia was actually relieved at the sight of a thestral pulled carriage waiting for them. She had been scared she would be stuck running the distance to the train. Mia got into the carriage as Gabe held the door open and with a sideways glance at the reptilian horse sat down and tried to catch her breath. "So what took you?"
Mia took a deep breath and sat back in her chair. "Well you know, I had to get my beauty sleep this morning."
Gabe held in a laugh knowing Mia and sleeping in usually didn't go in the same sentence. Mia waited till they were in sight of the train before she spoke again. "Gabe can I ask you something?"
"Always." He noticed her serious look and he sat up. "Whats up?"
Mia tried to look casual as she spoke. "Can you see them?"
Gabe screwed up his face as if trying to remember something. Finally he seemed to give up. "See what?"
Mia chuckled. "The thestrals." She gestured with her arm to the front of the carriage but Gabe just looked worried. "Don't worry, I don't think many in the school can."
Gabe looked incredulously at Mia. "What are you talking about?"
"The thestrals, pulling the carriage. Come on, you know everything! How have you never read about them!"
Gabe let out a dignified complaint. "Excuse me, I don't know half the things you do about Potions. I may be a Ravenclaw but I'm still human! Now what is a thestral?"
They were climbing out of the carriage as he spoke and Gabe started leading the way towards the train that was being loaded with the last of the trunks, but Mia stopped him by pulling his arm and swinging him around to face an invisible thestral. Gabe peered into the empty space and the animal leaned its face forward to sniff Mia's robes for food. She laughed at Gabe's shocked expression when her robes billowed slightly with the animals breath. Mia took Gabe's hand in hers and held it up, slowly moving it towards the thestral. The frightening beast raised its head into Gabe's hand and Gabe let out a gasp at the feeling of the creature. He slowly pet the invisible creature letting out sounds of shock. "What is it?"
The whistle of the train blew and Mia and Gabe ran off towards the train. They made their way down the hallway of the train looking for an empty compartment, though as Gabe told Mia, there were rarely any compartments left free this late after student's began boarding. The two students finally decided to join a compartment housing a few of Gabe's friends from the Ravenclaw Quidditch team. Mia had joined Gabe at tables in the library in the past where the same boys had been present so the students had grown used to each other's presence even if they had never truly made friends. Roger Davis on the other hand didn't seem to feel the same way about Mia and his friendship for as they sat down on one side of the bench he greeted Mia with a high five that left her hand stinging. "Black! How's it going? Man I've been meaning to congratulate you on your Potion marks, Flitwick said no one's ever gotten higher than a 102% before. That's bloody brilliant." Mia blushed deeply. She had in fact gotten a 104% on her potions exam but didn't realize anyone had found out about it.
"Bloody hell, maybe I should get you to tutor me next term. I think I barely got an acceptable on my OWL. My mom's gonna be livid when I tell her." Duncan Inglebee turned scarlet at his own words, in a Ravenclaw compartment admitting to your own short comings wasn't as big of a laughing matter as it would have been in the Gryffindor common room.
Jason Samuels, one of the other team beaters hit Duncan over the head with an old Daily Prophet at his words. "You dunce, Snape only lets people into his NEWT level classes if you get at least an Exceeds Expectations. There's no reason for Black to tutor you now."
Duncan looked truly crestfallen at this news and muttered under his breath as he pulled out a wizard's chess board to challenge Randolph Burrow. "Now my mum really will kill me."
The train ride back to reality was quite enjoyable for Mia. She only had to endure an hour or so of quidditch talk before she managed to turn the collective Ravenclaw's attention to academics instead. Mia managed to beat Roger at a round of Wizards chess using a trick Dumbledore had taught her. And then spent the better part of an hour showing the older boy how she had done it. Many of the collected Ravenclaws friends swung by the compartment from time to time. All of them were extremely pleasant or friendly with Mia and included her in on whatever conversation was transpiring. It would seem the news of her father's innocence had become old news long enough to make everyone forget their previous animosity towards her.
Shortly after lunch the seeker on the Ravenclaw team swung by the compartment to say hello to her teammates. Unfortunately for Mia, Cho had brought her friend Marietta along with her. Mia didn't know what it was about the curly haired girl that she couldn't stand. Cho greeted her casually along with the rest of the compartment but Marietta pretended she hadn't noticed Mia as she stood by the door talking to Gabe and flipping her red brown curls over her shoulder. At one point the train took a turn as it often did as it raced through the countryside, but apparently the turn was too much for Marietta who toppled over and fell into Gabe's lap, her hair hitting Mia in her face as she flung back her hair laughing over her accident.
Thankfully the two girls left shortly after this and Mia was once again free to eat her stack of pumpkin pasties in peace, no longer feeling the unexplainable burning of hatred for the girl she experienced when she was near. Eventually the day grew late, and the students donned their muggle clothes and the train finally rolled to a stop. Mia and Gabe slowly made their way off the train and waited for their luggage before joining the queue of students waiting to be ushered out of the barrier and into the muggle train station.
The wizard at the barrier only let a few students through the wall at a time so as to not draw too much attention. Mia had taken her time getting off the train in the hopes of stalling the reunion that was filling her stomach with its usual weight, so her and Gabe were closer to the end of the students entering Kings Cross. When Gabe and Mia made it into the large brightly lit room it was only a moment before Gabe saw his mum standing off to the side waiting for him. With Sirius nowhere in sight Gabe pulled Mia over to meet his Mum.
"Amelia, it is a pleasure to meet you at last. Gabe has told us so much about you!" Gabe's mother, a very beautiful dark skinned witch, was wearing a simple cotton dress that made her look effortlessly stunning. Mia liked her immediately and the older witch pulled Mia into a tight hug. Before Mia knew it, she and her father were being invited over to Gabe's house for dinner at their earliest convenience, and Mia was being thanked for her help in getting Gabe's potions scores up.
When Mia finally had a moment to look at Gabe she noticed the boy was beaming fondly at Mia and his mother. Mrs. Adewumi asked Mia where her father was so that she could properly invite him to dinner herself and it was that moment that she noticed the utter lack of his presence. Gabe nudged her in the shoulder. "Look, he's over there with Harry and... What is he saying to that muggle to get his face so purple?" Mia saw the undeniable form of her father standing on the other side of the platform talking to a very large man with a walrus mustache. Harry was standing by looking delighted, and Mia noticed a thin bitter looking woman and an extremely large boy hiding behind the large man looking frightened.
"That must be Harry's aunt and uncle. Apparently they aren't very nice to Harry." It was rather clear Sirius was saying something to make the muggle man upset and Mia suspected by the sharp smile on Sirius' face that he was threatening the man. It was only a moment before Sirius was saying his last words to the purple faced muggle and patting Harry on his back before turning and walking away, surveying the platform. His eyes fell on Mia after a sweep of a crowed and he broke out in a wide grin as he strolled over to where they stood.
He was dressed to the nines in a rich looking, if not slightly out of date muggle suit and his hair was clean and neatly trimmed. Except for the still incredibly thin look to his face and the hollow sleep deprived eyes, Sirius looked like a whole new man. He embraced Mia a little less awkwardly this time and greeted Gabe with a familiar nod before sticking his hand out to his mother. "Sirius Black."
Gabe's mother griped his hand firmly and shook it. "Lucia Adewumi. It's a pleasure Mr. Black."
"Please, call me Sirius, I believe our kids are well enough acquainted that we will surely be seeing more of each other."
Lucia chuckled softly at some hidden joke. "Yes I'm sure we will. Well My husband Mezilion is currently at work, but he wished me to invite you and Mia over to our house for dinner, after you've gotten Mia settled in at home of course."
"Thank you, that sounds quite wonderful actually." The two adults said their goodbyes and before Mia knew it Sirius was pushing her trolley and cart out of the station. Mia gave Gabe a quick nod and he mouthed a 'good luck' before she ran after Sirius.
As they walked a few muggles gawked at Sirius and her, one woman pulling her small child out of the way in a flash of fear. Mia started to get a little concerned after the cabby that Sirius flagged down for them took one look at him and sped away. Sirius didn't seem to mind though as he seemed fascinated with flagging down another cabby and examining the cars that drove by. "Um.." She still didn't know how to address him. "Why are muggles running from us?"
Sirius looked at her confused for a moment and then nodded in understanding. "Oh yes. Well you see, when I escaped from Azkaban, the Minister of magic took it as his responsibility to notify the muggle authority of my presence given that I was a known muggle killer and all. So apparently my face has been all over the muggle news for months advertising me as a crazy killer." Sirius smiled wickedly. "Harry's uncle seems to be a big reader of the news. I think I got him scared to death at the thought of mistreating Harry. Lucky for me he didn't see the recent retraction the news has been printing at my wrongful imprisonment." Another cabby stopped for them and this one didn't seem to care to look at who it was picking up. Sirius helped the driver shove the extremely heavy trunk into the back of the cab before climbing into the backseat next to Mia.
When the driver pulled into traffic Sirius leaned forward in his seat to better look out the front window. "Oh how I miss driving. I used to have a motorbike you know, it was fantastic. I could fly that thing clear across London." The driver gave Sirius a weird look. "That's how well the thing ran my good man, it felt like you were flying." The cabby seemed to take this news well, but Sirius flashing Mia a relieved grimace sat back in his chair.
"So where are we going? Are we driving all the way to the house?"
Sirius shook his head. "Merlin no. It's quite a distance from here. We are just going a few streets over to the Cauldron to use the floo."
It wasn't long before the cabby had made his way over to the side street in the middle of London that held the dirty entrance to the Leaky Cauldron. Sirius wrestled Mia's trunk out of the back of the cab once again, cursing as he went at the weight of the thing. "You really weren't kidding about the number of books you have were you?" Mia just smiled embarrassed. Sirius sighed and cast a hovering charm the moment the cab had driven away. "You think McGonagall would have thought to add a weightless charm with the expanding charm she put on this thing."
Mia shrugged as she held the door open for the trunk and Sirius. "Professor McGonagall never likes to make things too easy."
Sirius let out a bark of laughter at this. "That sounds like McGonagall to me." They entered the dark pub and as people noticed them moving back towards the counter whispers broke out among the witches and wizards present. The bar man nodded to them as they approached the counter. "Just came by to use the floo."
Sirius held out a few coins to pay for the powder but the bar man shook his head. "The floo is down the hall and the powder is on the house. Many a people don't like the way the ministry did you wrong."
Sirius nodded his thanks and slapped the coins onto the counter all the same. "The ministry compensated me well for my troubles, but I thank you all the same." Sirius motioned for Mia to go before him as he walked her down the side corridor towards a small room with a large fire in the wall. The haunted man muttering under his breath as they went. "Every time I go out, people shaking my hand, calling me a hero. What rubbish." A small pot sat on a table by the fire holding a light powder, Sirius walked to this and held it out to Mia. "We are going to Meadow Lake. Have you ever traveled by floo before?"
Mia nodded, the excitement she usually got from a floo trip creeping up inside of her, and took a pinch of the powder and walked up to the fire, glancing back at Sirius as she went. She threw the powder into the fire, stepped into the flames and spoke clearly; "Meadow Lake", and her father was whipped out from before her eyes in an instant. She spun and spun through flashes of light and a warmth of tickling flame. Even with the heavy weight that came with thinking of Sirius, Mia still giggled as a smile broke over her face. No matter the situation, she really did love to travel by floo. She felt herself slowing down, and stuck out her hand to stop herself from falling to the ground. Her catlike balance setting her right almost at once. Her eyes fell into focus of the room before her and she couldn't help the smile on her face from growing as Remus rose from a chair by the fire and setting down a book, pulled her into a hug. It was only a moment before the fire roared to life again and out stepped Sirius wrestling the large trunk out of the fireplace. He let the trunk fall over onto the floor with a loud bang and gave Mia a sideways look. "You are going to have to cut your book list for next year."
Lupin chuckled. "Or I can just perform a weightless charm on it before next term."
Mia shrugged. "I've memorized half those books already, I just keep them for reference really."
"You sound just like your mother." A heavy weight fell in the room for a moment and Sirius looked from Remus to Mia. "Well, at the risk of changing the subject, how about a tour?"
Mia nodded her consent and Sirius happily began to show her around the large house, Remus following close behind filling in the commentary whenever Sirius paused his own flood of information. The house had belonged to one of Sirius' uncles who had left it to him after he died. It had been in wizarding hands for many generations, which explained the impossible number of rooms and staircases in the house. It had the feel of a cozy cottage while at the same time having a floor plan more resembling that of a mansion. The large family room where Mia had floo'd to had a staircase leading up to the second floor, which was comprised of several rooms made into an ornate but cozy library. Wall to wall bookcases were surrounded with large chairs, oil lamps and oak tables. A door at the back of the family room led to a large entrance hall type foyer that held the front door of the house. This foyer had a door to the right that led to the kitchen and subsequently the cellar, dining room and back yard, and a staircase to the left led you upstairs to an entirely different second floor comprised of several studies, a bathroom and a bedroom. The next three floors held an assortment of living quarters, study rooms and the occasional lab or bathroom. A grin had been steadily growing on Mia's face as she saw the house and began to envision the life she could have here.
Remus had made use of the bedroom suite on the second floor and Sirius was using the master suite on the fourth floor. Sirius had saved the rooms on the third floor to show Mia last. There were a few rooms on this floor, but the third door on the left had the word Amelia painted on it in fading gold letters. Mia opened the door to a brightly lit room with brilliant blue paint on the ceiling and any bits of the walls that showed out from behind the many bookcases lining the walls. Three out of four walls were nearly all book case but a large bay window took up most of the fourth wall. This window was lined with the best looking window seat Mia had ever seen, piled high with pillows. There was a brilliant table desk on one side of the room for studying and a few comfy couches on the other side for lounging. There was a door to the left of the room as well as a door to the right. Mia noticed with some thrill that all the bookcases were empty, calling out for her books. The carpet was a rich bronze and the colors reminded Mia sharply of the Ravenclaw common room. Sirius spoke up from behind her. "Your mother though if you were sorted into Ravenclaw, the familiarity of this room would make you feel at home there. This is similar to what their common room looks like."
Mia smiled having first hand experience. "It does look almost the same. I should know, I broke into it once." Mia laughed at the proud look on Sirius' face and laughed as she walked to the large bay window. The view outside was magnificent. From here she had a view of the wood that bordered the house and blocked it from the view of the muggle town, as well as a view of the large lake to the east of the house and the beautiful meadows surrounding it. The grin on her face was beginning to feel permanent now.
Mia walked to the door on the left of the room and opened it to see a large and luxurious bathroom done up in white and silver colors. The tub was deep and wide enough for several people to sink into comfortably and the countertop was something to be envious of after three long years of sharing a mirror with Lavender.
Mia crossed to the door on the right and as she opened it her jaw dropped and the grin vanished to be replaced by awe. The room was large with a high ceiling. The walls of the room were a soft golden yellow while the plush carpet, and window hangings were a deep red. Even all of the wood of the furniture was scarlet. The bedding was the same golden yellow but trimmed in scarlet. The wall opposite to the bed held a large vanity holding a beautiful mirror with golden Lions carved into the frame. The wall opposite the door held another large window seat. This window showing a better view of the lake. Mia at a complete loss for words crossed to look into the large closet in the corner.
Sirius continued his narration. "I, knowing you would be a Gryffindor for sure, convinced your mother to do up this room in the house colors. The ceiling although was all her work." Mia looked for the first time at the high ceiling and gasped. At first sight she thought it was a brilliant blue but then she quickly realized she was really looking at the sky outside. A brilliant blue sky hazed with a few bright fluffy clouds and the room was lit with the light from the sun.
"The charm work took her the better part of her pregnancy to finnish. Mooney helped quite a bit too if I remember correctly."
Remus chuckled. "Yeah I helped. I got the phases of the moon and the star constellations to change properly. It should go from night to day in time with the real sun, but try as we might, we couldn't get it to reflect the weather like the great hall does. That magic was beyond us. And that really is saying something considering how brilliant your mother was with her charm and transfiguration work." Mia truly was at a loss for words, she had never seen anything more brilliant in her life.
Remus brought her trunk upstairs for her and then the two adults left Mia to unpack in peace. But in reality Mia simply spent the majority of her time before evening just laying on her back with her eyes closed, letting the soft muted light of the charmed sun shine onto her face as she imagined a mother who had made it just for her.
After a dinner of burnt roast, Mia made a mental note to start doing the cooking, and joined Remus and Sirius in the family room for a bit of writing. Remus quickly immersed himself into a thick book and Sirius simply fell onto one of the couches with the apparent mind to take an after dinner nap among company, but Mia took her message book to a desk and opened to a blank page and began writing Gabe. She started writing out her day as a letter knowing Gabe would get to read it eventually if he was currently busy, but before Mia had finished Gabe was already writing out responses to her that began to appear on the next page.
Mia! That sounds fantastic! I cannot wait to see the library room!
You haven't even heard the best part yet! And then Mia proceeded to tell Gabe about her rooms, and especially her sky.
That's so fantastic. It's like a gift from your mum, welcoming you home.
Mia didn't know how to respond to this. That was exactly what it had felt like to her only she felt like it would be claiming something not really hers if she spoke it allowed. But now seeing Gabe write it for her, made Mia feel like she could own it, and truly take the house and her rooms as a gift from her mother.
Mia changed the subject after that to asking about Gabe's family. She knew they were all very close and starting him on that subject usually got him going for a while. He told her a story about a case his brother was working on and Mia burst out laughing. Sirius sat bolt upright on the couch letting out a yelp of shock at being woken up, but Lupin, calm as ever simply peered over his book, a hint of sarcastic humor in his voice. "Writing something funny there are you?"
Mia realized how peculiar she looked, sitting in a corner writing quietly and laughing to herself. Anyone would think her a nutter. Sirius yawned widely and flopped back onto the couch. "So the girl finds herself overly amusing. Nothing wrong with that."
Mia rolled her eyes. "I wasn't laughing at myself, I was laughing at a story Gabe was just telling me about how his brother met a man who sang all of his thoughts. Apparently it got rather personal." Mia chuckled as she remembered the story.
Remus smiled slightly. "Oh so he's sent you an owl already has he?"
"I don't think I like that boy." Sirius growled from the couch.
"Gabe is a very pleasant young man. Highly responsible and very intelligent. I was quite fond of him in my classes."
Sirius continued to growl. "He's still a boy."
Mia felt completely lost in the conversation. "Well anyways, he didn't send me an owl. We are talking right now through this book." She held up the book for a moment and then scribbled a response back to Gabe explaining the conversation in the room. Remus set down his book and came up behind Mia to get a better look at the book in question.
"Where on earth did you get that?"
"Gabe made it." Mia scribbled in the book. Remus is examining our book, say hi!
Hi Professor Lupin!
The words appeared in Gabe's hand as he wrote it and Remus let out a slight cry of shock. "Thats fantastic! How does it work?"
Mia laughed and started scribbling again. Remus' comment had drawn Sirius' attention and he came over to watch Mia write as well. "It's pretty complicated, you will have to ask Gabe some time. I always forget after he explains it." Remus wants to know how you got the book to work, I told him to ask you when you come over. No no NO! Don't tell him now! Tell him sometime when I can walk away and ignore the conversation, you've already told me half a dozen times! Gabe had began to write out his spell work for Remus to read but Mia stopped him almost immediately.
Gabe's hand writing appeared again. Speaking of coming over, did you ask yet when I can?
Sirius read the words and grunted. Remus on the other hand more eloquently stated that Gabe was welcome when ever. Sirius reminded Remus exactly who's house it was, but after a pleading look from Mia, he also consented that 'the boy' was allowed whenever Sirius or Remus were home and awake and able to supervise. Mia thought this a strange condition but told Gabe none the less to come over when ever. They made plans for lunch the next day.
Sirius' mood darkened more and more as the sky outside did the same and by the time it had grown late he seemed a different person altogether. His eyes seemed more haunted and his responses grew shorter until he stopped speaking at all. Remus suggested they all head to bed but as Mia headed out of the family room following Remus, she spied Sirius pulling out a glass bottle of red liquid.
It was three in the morning by Mia's wall clock when she woke up suddenly in the pitch black of the night. It was a new moon so the starlight from her ceiling did little to brighten her room. She lay awake for a moment before she realized what it was that had awoken her. She heard a yell and a cry of pain coming from the floor above her. That was Sirius' voice for sure. Mia didn't know what to do. Should she ignore it? Another screamed yell had her decided. She swung out of bed and wrapped a robe around her dressing gown. And carefully padded out of her room. The yelling wasn't as loud out in the hallway. But as she took the stairs to the fourth floor she could hear the cries and the thrashing and the yells.
Mia opened the door without knocking and saw Sirius thrashing on his bed, clearly in the middle of a fierce nightmare. She whispered from the door. "Sirius?" He didn't seem to hear her past his own cries. "Sirius?" This time she was louder, but he only seemed to cry out more, as if the horrors of his dreams were calling out to him. Mia took a few steps closer to the man. "Sirius!" This time she spoke loudly but he still didn't register a voice outside of his nightmare. Mia stepped up to the bed and placed a hand on his arm, He pulled away as if burned but Mia replaced her hand forcefully. "Sirius, it's ok, you're safe! You're safe." This seemed to get through to him, he wasn't thrashing as hard, and the cries were quieter. She placed her other hand on his forehead, his face was slick with sweat. "It's ok, you're safe here."
Sirius suddenly jerked awake breathing heavy, his pajamas soaked with sweat. He sat up quickly and peered angrily at the girl standing next to his bed. Mia took a step back. "I'm sorry." She turned to leave the room but Sirius stopped her.
"No, wait. I'm sorry. I... I didn't mean to wake you."
Mia shrugged. "It's alright. No one means to have nightmares."
Sirius sighed. "It's just those damn dementors. As soon as the lights go out, it's as if they are right there." Mia strode over to the bedside table and lit the oil lamp. Sirius chuckled and Mia took this as a good sign. "Good idea. You take after your mother to be sure." He yawned and lightly taped Mia on the nose."You remind me of her so much, in how your eyes come alive when you saw your room, even the way you move and carry yourself." Sirius' eyes seemed to fog up as if he was looking far back into the past and remembering a better time. "Get back to sleep love, your friend is coming over tomorrow and you want to be well rested."
Mia smiled weakly and made to leave the room. The smell of alcohol was pungent on Sirius' breath but Mia didn't say a word about it.
"Have a good night."
Mia just nodded her response and shut the door behind her. She went back down the staircase to the door with the fading gold letters. She traced her name painted in the curly handwriting thinking to herself that her mother had once stood right here to paint it. Mia pushed past the door and into the sitting room. She had dragged her trunk into this room to unload her books, but had yet to begin to fill the shelves. She moved past her trunk and went to the large window seat and fell into the large cushions filling the seat.
Mia didn't know how she was supposed to feel anymore. She had never found a book in the library telling her how to form a relationship with her father like she had learned to brew a potion. Having a father was much more complex and difficult than she had always imagined it would be while growing up. She felt so awkward around her father, frozen almost with fear of not knowing how to act towards him. She had so many feelings towards him, anger mostly, that made her unable to act casually. Mia took a deep breath and shoved her head under a pillow and tried to let sleep claim her. It did not. She laid for a while starting out the window towards the dark forest outside. The moon was barely a sliver in the sky. She would need to start brewing the Wolfsbane potion for Remus soon. Before Snape had grown so angry over her father's innocence and stopped talking to Mia, he had tested a sample Mia had brought to him, and he had deemed it acceptable if she desired to continue brewing it for Remus. Mia felt it had gone unspoken that Snape was rather excited to never again have to bother himself with Remus.
Mia, wished there was more she could do for Remus, than just make the wolfsbane potion. She had an idea of how to help him. But what if her idea didn't work? What if the potion she was planning on trying to make for him was a failure? Mia shook the thought from her mind. Only time would tell.
She sighed deeply and stood up. She looked around the sitting room and at the empty bookcases and started unpacking her books. If she wasn't going to sleep at least she could be productive and finish her unpacking.
Mia awoke the next morning to the smell of burning. For several frightening moments she could not understand where she was or what was happening. She sat up with a start of panic, and at the sight of the neat blue and bronze room, her books filling some of the shelves around her, Mia remembered. She had fallen asleep in one of the blue couches the night before after she had emptied her trunk. It had been early in the morning when she had finally drifted off. Now she felt barely rested and had a crick in her neck.
Only her absolute curiosity of knowing where the burning smell was coming from made Mia rise from her couch. She tiptoed down the stairs still in her dressing gown and heard frustrated voices coming from the kitchen.
"No the fire is still too high. Seriously, when is the last time you touched a pan?"
"Leave me alone Mooney, that stew you made last night was barely any better."
"Yes, I'm not a very good cook, I know that. But at least I know how to cook. LOOK! It's on fire again!"
"Gahh!" There was a bit of banging and clattering and the sound of a plate or two cracking on the stone floor followed by a muttered 'reparo.'
Mia cautiously pushed open the door to the kitchen and stepped inside. It was quite a few minutes before either man noticed the girl behind them, mostly because they were both so busy as to make sure nothing more caught fire. Remus seemed to be trying to take over, but Sirius seemed overly obsessed with proving he could make, whatever it was he was trying to make. Mia looked at the plate sitting on the counter and realized as she saw the shriveled and blackened burned bread sitting next to the freshly cut strawberries that he was trying to make pancakes.
"No no no! Don't flip it yet!"
"Mooney! LET ME DO IT!"
Remus turned in frustration as if set on leaving Sirius to his chaos and spotted Mia trying hard not to laugh by the door. "Mia. Good morning."
Sirius turned, a bit of crepe mix on his forehead. "Mia." He looked annoyed almost that she was there. "Your breakfast isn't ready yet."
Mia didn't know what to say to this, was she supposed to stay in her room till noon? "Um, that's ok. I'm not really hungry." Sirius' face fell and the crepe behind him began to smoke a little. Mia got a strange sense. Why was he sad by this, had he wanted to make her breakfast? She thought quickly. "Though I do have to admit I love pancakes."
Sirius' face broke out in a large grin and Mia knew she had guessed right. "I thought you might." He turned back to the pan. "Your mother loved- aw bloody hell." The pan was smoking wildly again and Sirius took his wand to it.
Mia, understanding the ability of magic to change certain properties of food such as taste grimaced a bit and made an excuse that she was going to take a shower. Sirius called after her, "It should be ready in about fifteen minutes!"
Mia heard Remus mutter under his breath. "Or forty five."
Mia took a quick shower and checked her note book to see if Gabe had written her yet that morning. He had. He had quite a lot actually. He seemed rather impatient for Mia to respond and tell him when he could come over.
After a breakfast of under ripe strawberries and incredibly bland, but surprisingly unburnt pancakes, Mia asked Sirius over the kitchen table when Gabe could come over. Sirius began muttering something about when Mia graduated Hogwarts but after a glare from Remus, Mia shook her head in confusion and wrote Gabe and told him to come when ever he felt like it. Mia hadn't even completely finished writing this when the fire flared in the other room and Mia heard her name being called quizzically from the family room, and grinning to herself she left the adults in the kitchen and darted into the family room.
Gabe was standing next to the fireplace, his face lit up at the sight of her. Mia didn't know why but she was slightly surprised at the sight of him. It had barely been half a day since they had parted ways at Kings Cross, but Gabe looked different in incredibly subtle ways such as the extreme lack of wizards robes and the addition of a nice fitting pair of muggle jeans and a tee shirt that was just tight enough for Mia to truly appreciate the advantages of Quidditch.
Mia ignored all this and instead folded her arms impatiently. "Sure took you long enough to get here."
Gabe gave her a sardonic look and, crossing the room, ruffled her hair lightly. "It's good to see you to Streak."
Mia swatted his hand away before he could mess up her hair. "Come on, let me introduce you." Mia led Gabe to the kitchen and pushed open the door to show Sirius and Remus both sitting at the table, intently reading separate parts of the prophet although Mia had been quite certain they had been having an avid discussion on the others cooking inability only moments before the fireplace had flared.
Mia, not really too avid on introducing her father to Gabe so as not to have to approach the issue of what to call him, just stepped to the side once in the room. Gabe not missing a beat stepped past Mia and walked up to the table sticking out his hand to shake first Remus' hand and then Sirius'. "Professor Lupin, Mr Black, thank you for letting me come into your home."
"Please Gabe, it's just Remus now. I'm no longer a professor after all."
Remus looked at Sirius at this almost expectantly, and Sirius, after giving Gabe what Mia suspected to be a bone crushing handshake that Gabe took quite well just glared at Remus. "I myself much prefer Mr. Black just fine."
"Ok, I'm gonna give Gabe a tour of the house!" Mia grabbed Gabe's hand and lead him from the room. Leading him first up to the library floor. After a moment on the stairs Mia realized she was still holding his hand and dropped it quickly.
"Well he seems friendly."
Mia shot Gabe a look. "As friendly as a rabid dog. I don't get why he acts like that."
"Oh, give him a break, he's just trying to protect you."
"Protect me from what? It's not like you're gonna hex me." Gabe just shrugged and continued up the stairs. "Still haven't figured out what to call him yet?" Mia glared at Gabe and opened the door at the top of the stairs into the large library room. At the sight of the books Gabe immediately lost his train of thought and focused with a singular mind on the books. "Apparently the wizard who my great uncle originally bought the house from was big on books. I haven't had much time to go through them, but there's a great selection of potions books I've been wanting to move to my rooms."
"This is amazing." Gabe's eyes were still glued to the shelves as he ran a finger over the spines he read.
"I noticed a section on defensive magic behind you next to that lamp." Gabe turned automatically and went straight to the shelves as if drawn by a magnet. True to his desire to become an auror, Gabe's thirst for defensive magic was unquenchable. After a time in the library, Mia showed Gabe around the rest of the large house. They had taken a few books with them from the library, Mia with the intent to read every potion book in the room over the summer had grabbed quite a stack.
Finally Mia showed Gabe her own rooms. He had found the charm work on the ceiling fascinating and made a note to ask Remus about it. Eventually the two students found seats in the blue and bronze (much to Gabe's comfort) room and started reading from the books they had discovered. Mia had curled up in a large arm chair with a book on theoretical potions brewing and Gabe was stretched out on a nearby couch reading a book about advanced hexes. Every now and then one would find an interesting passage and read it allowed to the other, but for the most part the two teens sank into a peaceful and relaxed silence.
Gabe was in the middle of reading out about a jinx to make the victim's stomach acid literally turn into butterflies when Mia noticed Sirius casually walk past the open door. This wouldn't usually catch Mia's attention except for the fact that her room was the only one being used on the floor, and there was nothing at the end of the hall in which Sirius had just walked past to. Mia chose to ignore this strange occurrence and commented back to Gabe about the jinx when Sirius walked past again, casually and swiftly, casting the smallest of glances into the room. Gabe had noticed it this time as well, and the students falling back into the previous silence of reading, set their books in their laps and watched the door intently this time. It was almost a minute before he walked by this time. His pace was still casual, but as he glanced into the room there was no getting around the obvious fact that Mia and Gabe were watching him.
Sirius seemed to stop with casual surprise. "Oh, hey guys." His eyes darted from Gabe on the couch to Mia in her chair a few feet away as if expecting to see something else.
Mia smiled weakly from her chair. "Hi."
Sirius shifted from foot to foot. "So, for lunch I was thinking about making a roast."
"No!" Mia realized she had said it a little harshly as Gabe and Sirius both looked at her with shock. "I mean, um. I was thinking Gabe and I could walk to the village market and get the fixings for sandwiches for everyone." Sirius glared at her and Mia smiled widely if not falsely to cover her shame.
"My cooking is not that bad."
"No, not at all."
"The pancakes weren't even burnt."
"No, the ones you gave me were perfect." Mia smiled widely again to cover her sarcastic tone.
Sirius just shook his head with a small grin. "I will get the muggle money out for you."
And with that he left. Gabe looked at Mia. "Was it really that bad?"
Mia frowned as if thinking hard. "It was sort of like your potions work first year." Gabe let off a shiver of horror at the memory.
Mia and Gabe made their way down to the family room a short time later in search of the muggle money so they could go to the market. They entered the room and Sirius, sitting on the couch tossed a money purse at Mia, who with a lack of coordination promptly ducked and Gabe, with lightning fast reflexes caught it with ease. Sirius seemed to consider Gabe with more appreciation after this move. "Quidditch?"
"Yes Sir, I play chaser for Ravenclaw."
Sirius seemed to think this not very impressive. "Ravenclaw, well that's not saying very much is it?"
Gabe was about to retort when Mia cut him off. "Ok well we are off to get food for lunch."
"Make sure you get some roast beef from the deli, and a nice cheese or something." Remus seemed to be just as avid as Mia to change the subject.
"Yes and I will also get lettuces and tomatoes and maybe some onion."
Remus seemed to not care as much for this and Sirius also grimaced, but Mia wouldn't let it drop. "You two need to eat more vegetables."
Lupin just shrugged. "My wolfish habits make me more inclined for meat than vegetables."
Sirius looked indignant at Mia's words. "I just don't like green food. Besides, I'm the parent, shouldn't I be telling you to eat your vegetables?"
"Oh right, I forgot I was the teenager. Maybe I will just get some ice cream then."
"Ooo. Get something with peanut butter." Sirius' eyes came alive with the idea and Mia nodded sarcastically.
"Alright, we are off."
Remus called after them, "Stay safe."
"And stay out of trouble." Sirius seemed to be eyeing Gabe with doubt.
Mia waved a goodbye as she rushed out the door dragging Gabe along. "Finally." She spoke letting out a deep breath as she closed the door behind them and stepped into the afternoon air.
Gabe chuckled. "He wasn't that bad."
"Maybe from where you were standing." Mia thought for a moment as she lead the way down the lane towards the village Sirius had shown her as he was giving the tour of the outdoors. "To me... It felt like the time you met Fleet Foot in the woods. Like an Alpha standoff."
Gabe just chuckled. "Well I promise not to get in a fight for dominance with your dad." Mia laughed with Gabe while she silently prayed he was right.
AN: So what do you think? Review!