A/N: This was written for Fire the Canon's Hogwarts Games 2012, women's tennis – semi-finals (write a one-shot on any member of the Black family). I also wrote this for owluvr's Character Diversity Boot Camp with the prompt 'magical' and for HedwigBlack's Minor Character Boot Camp with the prompt 'garbage'.
"Oh for crying out loud! Surely you can manage a simple summoning spell?" His father looked at him in irritation and Marius simpered. He looked at the piece of wood he was holding in his hand. His father's wand. The wand that wouldn't listen to him. The wand that wouldn't do what he wanted it to do: perform magic. A few sparks, that's all he had managed so far.
"I'm trying!" he protested.
"You're not trying hard enough! For Merlin's sake, even your little sister can perform that spell!"
Marius sighed. They had been through this so many times already. Father had them homeschooled and from a very young age, Pollux and Cassiopeia had shown signs of magic. Marius hadn't.
"Sometimes it takes some time for the magic to show," his mother had stated nervously. "It'll surface."
But so far, it hadn't. Dorea, his junior by two years, had shown signs as she was three years old. But not Marius. Oh no, never Marius.
He did try though. Whenever his father was at work, he tried looking up the words in the ancient leather bound books in the library. The words sounded weird falling from his lips and he couldn't even feel the slightest tingle when he spoke them.
As Marius grew older, his father grew more impatient with him. It had already been difficult to live up to his father's expectations, but then Pollux turned eleven and received his Hogwarts' letter. Two years after that, Cassiopeia got hers. And there was no doubt that in due time, Dorea would get hers as well. No one said it out loud but they all thought the same thing: Marius didn't deserve to go to Hogwarts.
The pressure on him to perform magic grew, even just a simple kinetic spell or a spell to make a flower change colour would do. Anything would be fine, really.
No matter how hard he tried, the most he could manage were sparks and he knew that would never suffice. He would never suffice.
"Try again." His father's voice was harsh.
Marius lifted his arm for the umpteenth time that day. He was feeling weary. Everyday was the same: he had to perform magic, and if he didn't succeed – which was always – there would be punishment. He couldn't even recount the times he'd gone to bed without having eaten anything at all that day. He'd encountered the end of his father's belt more times than he could remember.
A month before his eleventh birthday, his father snapped once again. Marius had taken a severe beating and as his father left the room, he shouted: "You'd better know magic for next month boy, or Merlin help me, I will throw you out!"
Marius stole his mother's wand when she wasn't looking, desperate to find something magical inside of him. Perhaps it would work better with a different wand. Perhaps he would be able to make a connection with another wand than his father's. He had heard enough talk of how a wand chose a wizard, how the combination would only really work if the wand was suited for the wizard – or the wizard for the wand – and maybe he and his father's wand weren't suited for one another. However, the results were the same with his mother's wand: zero to none.
"I'll never get it!" Marius yelled out in frustration as he threw the wand aside. "Why can't I just be normal?"
Pollux and Cassiopeia came home with stories of Hogwarts. His father didn't approve of frivolities as he called it, but when he wasn't around, they would tell Marius and Dorea all about different classrooms, teachers, Quidditch matches, hanging out with friends…
Marius desperately wanted to go to Hogwarts. If only he could get into Hogwarts, then the magic would come on its own account.
Pollux smirked. "You'll never get to Hogwarts."
"I'm a Black and Blacks go to Hogwarts," he said stubbornly.
"Not if they're a Squib."
"I'm not a Squib!"
Cassiopeia shuddered. "Yes you are."
"Yeah, let's see you perform some magic then," Cassiopeia sneered. "Go on, take my wand and summon that cushion."
Marius glared. "Cushions are difficult."
"Hmm, not really," Pollux commented and with a flick of his wand he made one of the cushions fall at their feet. "But you should have no problem with a piece of parchment then."
Marius tried to find a way out of it, but there wasn't. He was trapped. With more confidence than he felt, he said: "Give it to me."
Cassiopeia shoved her wand into his hand. The wood felt warm and a spark of hope lit his heart that maybe, just maybe, it would work with this wand. He took a stance and inhaled deeply. Come on, it has to work, he told himself. He flicked the wand in the way he'd seen Pollux do it (it had seemed so easy) and muttered the words his older brother had spoken. Apart from a few red sparks, nothing happened and he lowered the wand disappointedly.
"Gimme that," Cassiopeia snarled. "I don't want your dirty Squib hands touching my wand anymore."
"You're a piece of garbage," Pollux spat.
The day Marius turned eleven, he got up before sunrise. There had to be a letter. There had to be a letter. He kept hammering that thought into his mind, as if repeating it enough would make it happen. Sunrise brought no letter. Noon didn't either. And by the time it was dinner, it was clear to all that Marius would not be receiving a letter at all. The absence of the letter proved to them what they had already thought, and spoken: Marius was a Squib. He would never learn magic.
His father got up from his chair, ever so slowly. Marius simpered. His father was dangerous when he was shouting, but he was even more dangerous when he appeared calm, because then he would lash out unexpectedly.
"No son of mine will be a Squib," he said threateningly. "No son of mine shall besmirch the name of the House of Black."
Suddenly, he grabbed Marius by the collar and Marius felt the sickening, tugging feeling of Side-Along-Apparation in his stomach. He gasped for breath when they came to a halt, falling to his knees because his father had let go of him, and feeling the bile rise up in his throat.
"You are no longer a son of mine," his father said cold.
Marius sat panting on the grass and when he looked up, he noticed that he was alone. His father had left him in the marshes with absolutely nothing to take care of himself with. Realisation hit him: his father had left him out there to die.