Where I would normally have a greeting, I must give a warning. If you are in any way squeamish or cannot read about BAD things happening to children, look for the little red button in the corner and press it. No one will blame you.
This story will mention and discuss extreme child abuse, rape, torture, human sacrifice, pedophilia, prostitution, and the effects this can have on children and teenagers. There are main characters who will perform horrendous acts and get away with it. I AM IN NO WAY PROMOTING OR CONDONING THE DEPRAVITIES THAT THIS STORY DEPICTS! All sexual activities will be "off-screen" or non-graphic; even if the admins allowed lemons, I am just NOT comfortable visualizing these actions to the degree I would need to write the scenes in any detail.
This story began developing in my head almost two years ago from an intellectual exercise over the following question: Harry was abused for ten years without any noticeable effect on his morality, so what would it take to actually break him? This train of thought had a snowball effect, and the tale of the Black Queen was born.
Disclaimer: Was Harry abused by his "family" for ten years and yet no one noticed or did anything about it? If so, I don't own the Harry Potter franchise; it belongs to J.K. Rowling, Scholastic Press, Warner Bros., and whoever else she sold the rights to.
Shortly after one in the morning, there was a man standing outside a building in the north side of Avryporth, Wales. This by itself was not unusual; while an older and somewhat decrepit part of Avryporth, there were still several clubs, bars, and hidden brothels operating in this area. This building in particular had a number of visitors at night, all of whom were very discreet. The man standing there had no idea of this.
No, what was strange was both the man and the reason he was standing outside that particular door. The man was named Sirius Orion Black, and he was a wizard. Until six months ago, he had also been an escaped and wanted convict, and for almost twelve years before that, he was an inmate of Azkaban, the most secure prison in Wizarding Britain and, supposedly, the whole Magical World. He was the only man to have ever escaped under his own power.
And he should never have been there to begin with.
He had been arrested while in pursuit of Peter Pettigrew, an unknown but Marked Death Eater. The rat had been the Secret Keeper for the Potters' cottage in Godric's Hollow, and on that fateful Halloween in 1981, he whispered the location into Voldemort's ear. It had only been a stroke of luck that James and Lily stubbornly refused to sit on the sidelines while the Order went to fight off the Death Eaters who had attacked Glastonbury as a distraction from their master's real target. After killing Charlus, James's recently widowed father, Voldemort turned his wand onto the children inside. What happened next, no one knew, but the couple and Sirius had returned to find a fallen protector, an empty cloak, and two scared but unharmed infants.
He had chased Pettigrew to a hiding place in Edinburgh, fully prepared to capture the traitorous sneak and throw him to the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, but Wormtail had been apparently learned a few tricks from his new best mate. What should have been a simple task became an outright duel in the middle of the street, and then… it was over, a crater and twelve dead Muggles all that was left.
Under normal circumstances, that would have been the end of it; the Aurors who came to investigate finding that the curse that caused the devastation had been dark magic and the lingering fear from Voldemort's reign of terror had turned the whole situation into an absolute circus. Bartemius Crouch, the head of the DMLE, had charged him with thirteen counts of murder, the – at most – manslaughter charge elevated 'due to his use of illegal magics', and the reactionary Wizengamot quickly judged him guilty. No one had listened to his pleas of innocence after the 'evidence' had been laid out, not even James, the man Sirius would call the closest thing he had to a true brother. 'You could have done the right thing and captured him,' James had said, 'but instead you lowered yourself to his level. And dark magic? The Sirius I knew would have never even considered wielding that.'
Between the depression practically oozing from Azkaban's walls and the condemnation of his friends and even Albus Dumbledore, the Leader of the Light, Sirius had managed to convince himself that maybe it was his fault, that maybe the lessons of his youth that he consciously rejected had stuck with him, after all. He was fully prepared to serve the rest of his thirteen consecutive life sentences in the hall of horrors until an annual inspection by Minister Cornelius Fudge brought him poorly-received news of the outside world. The Daily Prophet he had conned revealed that Pettigrew was, somehow, alive; even worse, he was spending his time as a pet rat at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the same school where his godchildren, Daniel and Jennifer Potter, were to be found for ten months out of the year. He had to protect them!
Hence, his escape and the subsequent manhunt.
In December of 1993, he approached Remus Lupin, who was teaching at Hogwarts that year, and agreed to turn himself over if Lupin would just listen to his story. Sirius certainly did not want to capture the rat in this manner, but he had no choice: careful surveillance had shown him that while Danny was attending, his precious little Jenny was not.
Pettigrew was subsequently captured and sentenced to spend the rest of his life in Sirius's old cell while Sirius was forced to spend the next six months in St. Mungo's to heal from the damage his twelve year imprisonment had caused. His first visitors was the three Potters, and while they had a great deal to discuss, his priority was the location and safety of Jenny.
"Where is my goddaughter?" Sirius all but growled at the Potters. "Where is she; why wasn't she at Hogwarts where she is supposed to be?"
James closed his eyes in pain and Daniel, their son and the much-lauded Boy-Who-Lived, looked at his parents in confusion, so it was up to Lily to answer. "She hasn't lived with us since You-Know-Who attacked. She's with my sister, Petunia."
"WHAT?" Sirius was on his feet in an instant, magic pouring off of him in waves. "Why is she there? Why don't you take care of her?"
The answer they gave him was impossible: Jennifer was a squib, and it would be easier for everyone if she were raised in a non-magical environment where her deficiencies were inconsequential. Sirius could not accept that – he had seen Jenny use magic when she was a child – but he kept his knowledge to himself. The Potters had abandoned first him, and then their daughter; he would bring her back into the world she belonged in and care for her as his own. That was his duty as godfather if James and Lily couldn't or, apparently, wouldn't do so.
Once Sirius was discharged, he made his way to the Dursleys to speak with her, only for them to tell him they knew no Jennifer Potter, they knew no Potters at all, and would he kindly remove himself from their property. He was not an accomplished Legilimens like some, but he could search the mind of a mere Muggle without trouble; what he found disgusted him.
They had indeed taken Jenny in, but it was not out of kindness or even familial duty. They treated her like how many new Dark families treated house elves, expecting her to complete all the housework it was physically possible for her to perform – and even some that wasn't – and brutally beating her for not completing her 'chores', taking too long, or even when she had done everything perfectly. The memories were too old for him to tell with certainty what happened, but they had finally gone too far, permanently injuring her, and left her on a street corner of London. She was five years old at the time.
He spent the next several weeks searching all over London for her when not in the midst of cleaning the Black Family townhouse in Grimmauld Place, with no results. In a stroke of inspiration, however, he had asked Deputy Headmistress Minerva McGonagall to have the Hogwarts Quill write out a letter for her, which would lead him to her home.
He removed said letter from his pocket to double check the address.
Miss J. Potter
145 Delilah St.
He replaced the letter and walked up to the building; the only indication that he was in the right place was a faded Candyland painted on the door. Standing around never did anyone any good.
Immediately inside, Sirius glanced around a small foyer that he guessed was used to hold coats in the winter months. Walking farther into the building, he was suddenly intercepted by a young girl wearing the strangest clothes, billowing black pants and a skintight yellow shirt that outlined… what in Merlin's name?
"Can I help you, sir?"
Sirius cleared his throat and moved his eyes back up to her face. "Maybe. I'm looking for a girl and was told she was here. Her name–"
"I'm new here," the girl interrupted, looking abashed. "If you need to find someone, Mama Gin is the one you have to ask. She's at the bar tonight, can't miss her."
Mama Gin? he wondered. What a strange name. "Thank you for your help, miss." He walked away in the direction the girl had pointed to faster than he normally would. There is no reason for any six or seven year old girl to have nipple piercings.
He had shaken the disturbing image from his head by the time he entered the main room of the club; if he hadn't, the sight inside certainly would have. It was what would generally be expected from an adult club aimed at both genders: male and female servers wandering through the crowd with drinks and skimpy clothing, strippers dancing onstage – he blushed at the sight of one who was wearing little more than strings – and even some employees taking customer upstairs, presumably where they moonlighted as prostitutes.
The problem? All of the staff were between the ages of six and twelve.
The sinking feeling Sirius had been feeling since he saw the greeter had now hit rock bottom. He knew, after dealing with the Dursleys, that Jenny had not had a good life, but he had hoped that at least she would have found someplace safe for her to stay. A strip club doubling as a child brothel did not fulfill that wish.
Trying his best not to stop and stare at the depravity around him, or the perverts enjoying the 'show', he marched up to the bar in search of this 'Mama', who would be getting a piece of his mind and several curses from his wand, Statute of Secrecy be damned!
"I was told I needed to speak to Mama Gin," he snapped.
He decided then that he had apparently offended Fate at some point in his life, as he was not able to say a word once the 'Mama' came over to him. Not Gin, Jen.
She was taller and more developed than any of her coworkers, not a surprise considering that she was nearly fourteen. Her black hair was filled with curls and tangles and pulled into a ponytail that came to the middle of her back. She was, like the others, wearing a revealing outfit: a midriff-bearing red tee shirt with a scooped neckline and a tight black miniskirt. She wore no jewelry, and the only cosmetics she had used was some pink lipstick. Sirius, however, noticed none of this. His attention was drawn to her eyes, which he knew would be the same emerald green as her mother's if they weren't hidden behind a thick red blindfold.
"What is it?" At least her Aunt and Uncle had not also damaged her throat; her voice was rich with a musical cadence, the voice of someone meant to sing.
"Er," was all he could get out. Why, why, did his goddaughter have to live like this?
"Well?" she said, showing a hint of irritation. "If you don't have an order, I do have other customers."
That was the break Sirius needed to overcome his shock. "I have a message for you, Miss Jennifer Potter."
Her left eyebrow rose, a delicate look on her heart-shaped face. Turning to the other bartender, it was clear why she warranted the manager's office. "Drew, get Paula to watch the bar. I want you keeping up with who's upstairs with whom."
"Aye, aye, Mama," the boy replied, complete with jaunty salute. He scurried off, presumably to find Paula, while Jen turned back to Sirius.
"This way, sir."
"It's just Sirius. Sirius Black." He knew she had no memories of him, but he couldn't stand the formality that she showed him. He was at the end of his rope as it was.
Jen guided him to a back room, showing an incredible familiarity with the building as she used neither a cane nor the walls to navigate. The room was presumably her office, containing a couple of chairs and a beaten up desk that was covered in paperwork and a single ledger that had clearly seen better days. In one corner was a file cabinet, and on top of that was a set of blankets. Where does she sleep?, Sirius wondered.
Seating herself behind the desk, she pointed to the other chair, which he gratefully took. "Now why would a wizard know my name, Mister Sirius Black?"
"You know about the magical world?" He would give just about anything to be done with the shocks tonight. At her nod, he continued, "Well, that certainly makes it easier. I know your name for two reasons. First, I was led here by a letter for you." He pulled it out and handed it over to her. "Second, I've known your name since before you were born. You see… I'm your godfather."
If he was expecting surprise from her, he was disappointed; she simply continued to look at him, or rather point her face in his direction. "Considering I'm meeting you only now, I would think you're pretty sucky at it."
"Well, I just got out of prison," he replied sheepishly. This was not how he wanted to inform her of his history, but he admitted to himself that he couldn't really plan for her reactions, considering her 'childhood'. That was probably a good thing, actually; he had never been much of a planner. He also was not going to lie to her. Though he had mostly ignored the Muggle quotes Lily used to hurl at them, in this case he agreed with the one that went 'honesty is the best policy'. If nothing else, it meant he wouldn't have to keep track of the sugar-coated story he would have otherwise told her.
"That's certainly a valid reason. What were you in for?"
Not what I expected, he thought listening to her obvious curiosity and, slight approval? "Murder and the use of dark magic. I was framed, though, and then released once the actual criminal was arrested."
She sighed. "Oh." Disappointment, really? Only Sirius Black, appropriately initialed SOB, would have a goddaughter who wanted a murderer as a godfather. "So why are you here? You wanted to scratch checking up on me off your to-do list?"
He winced, not so much at the words themselves, thought they hit him like physical blows, but instead at the uncaring tone she said them in. It was painfully obvious that she was used to relying on herself, something she must have done ever since she had been tossed out of the Dursleys' house.
"Not unless you don't want me to contact you again. I actually came to bring you home. My home," he clarified to her quirked eyebrow. "If you want to leave here and not have to work until you're older, that is."
"And what benefits would I gain if, hypothetically, I went with you? And what costs?" Oh, this girl was a Slytherin, through and through. James would hang himself if he ever found out. "Would I be expected to work in a family business, or perhaps provide entertainment for your friends?"
"NO!" The sound was louder in the enclosed space than he thought it would be, and he continued more quietly, "No, nothing like that. The Blacks are old money, and I'm the Head of the family, so you wouldn't need to work ever again if you didn't want to. And I will never ask you to… do that with anyone.
"The only real requirement I would have for you is to attend Hogwarts. Since you already know about our world, I assume you've at least heard of the school." He paused while she nodded. "You could have tutors over the summer to catch you up in any subjects you are behind your yearmates in—"
"That will not be necessary, Mister Black."
"Sirius. I was educated by a witch from the time I was six years old until she died last year; I have since continued learning various things on my own. If Hogwarts still runs from eleven to seventeen, I should run no risk of being behind."
"Oh." How often was Jen going to catch him off guard like this? "In that case, forget I mentioned tutoring. The family has one of the largest magical libraries in Europe, which would be available to you, if you want it." He ignored the fact that normally he would be forbidding her from entering it. Any incentive, any bribe, was worth getting her away from this place. "Besides Hogwarts, I don't have any actual conditions other than trying to get along with the other members of the family. Who I really should get in touch with," he murmured the last to himself. He risked a glance at her, but nothing she was thinking appeared on her face.
"There is one other thing. You don't have to, but if you decided to formally be adopted into the Blacks, I, well I certainly would not object."
Jen continued to 'look' at him for a moment before she relaxed into her chair and gave him a small grin. "We'll talk about that after we see how this whole thing goes, first."
One more disclaimer. To the best of my knowledge (a quick search on Google), there is no town by the name of Avryporth in Wales. I made it up by twisting around the names of a few different Welsh cities. If there actually IS such a place… Honestly, I'm pretty sure they wouldn't have a child brothel, but probably best not to ask.
Now I'm going to hide in a bunker.
Silently Watches out (for my safety this time).