Disclaimer: I do not own anything related to Harry Potter

Downstairs she was in control. There she could proclaim who was fit to live in the Noble House of Black. There she could keep her family in line. Each name embroidered neatly into her domain upon a tapestry that had lived through the ages. Each name was a story, a precious prize to exhibit to your guests, to dangle before your enemies. Each name was hers.

When they lost their meaning, when their stories took one wrong twist, they were gone, snuffed out with a flick of her wand and a satisfactory, fiery blaze. And all was well. Her family was once more untarnished, her world free from delinquents and blood traitors. Or it was to the rest of the world.

She could live the lie, since she must. As long as there was no proof, as long as they no longer existed in the physical world, as long as they were nothing but memories.

But here he wasn't a memory. He was all over the walls. She couldn't find an inch of clear space with all the pictures and posters hung on the walls. Sultry smiles and blasted muggle contraptions leered down on her as though they knew how much she despised them. Each flash of gold and hint of red was like a stab wound to her heart.

He was gone, off her tapestry, out of her door, and out of her life. He'd thrown words like knives, each making clean purchase before she had the chance to fling one back. He'd stomped on her ideals, and thrown aside everything she'd spent so long teaching him. And it was all because that stupid hat had called out the wrong house.

That hat had brought her years of misery and disobedience. Of punishments that overlapped each other they were so expansive. It brought nights of hoarse throats, and a mind, dead from thinking of new ways to insult her own son. It had snatched her obedient pureblood up and spit out a rebellious blood traitor. One she could never be proud of.

And that misery could not end until he was gone, until nothing of him remained in her world. But no matter how hard she pulled, or what spells she cast, the room remained the same. For hours she blasted curses at the walls, each poster being subjected to her wrath. But nothing happened, everything stayed frozen, it didn't even have the decency to move like a proper picture.

After hours of rage she finally sat gasping on the floor. Her dark hair had begun to fall from its tightly wound bun. Her dress was crooked and wrinkled, small scorch marks peppering its surface. Her tired eyes stared up at the only proper picture on the stupid, muggle, walls. The four boys in it smiled out at her, laughing and grinning as boys often do. She could see him plainly; his arm stretched over the others, accepting them as he never had her.

So badly she wanted to rip the picture off the wall, or more specifically to rip the boy from the picture. If only she had kept him closer. Kept him more obedient and not been so lax. Why hadn't she destroyed his other friendships before they had become more? Before those boys replaced his family.

His mischievous grey eyes stared out at her, daring her to do something. And so she did. She had no more options. No more charms to cast. No more insults to throw. So she did what any mother would do when they lose what is most dear. When they are rejected by that which they brought into the world.

She cried.