[A/N] Before we begin, a few points I would like to make out. Firstly, though this fic is dark in nature, though becomes quite light-hearted in a few chapters time to try and resemble life as we know it - in other words, with ups and downs. Secondly, though this story has been written under my own steem and really, for my own love of writing, reviews, ideas and suggestions for improvements on my writing are always welcome. And thirdly, huge thanks to timeturner for the helps with this chapter - and all my long-term reviewers who have been supporting me this long while through writing bans and beyond!
So, dearest readers, now that that's been said, sit back and enjoy!
Chapter 1 – Unwanted Surprises
Expect the best, plan for the worst, and prepare to be surprised - Denis Waitley.
“Come on, Sasha, you have to go to school now,”
An embroidered quilt on a queen-sized bed almost submerged the slight figure of an eight-year old girl, dressed primly in a navy woollen pinafore, white shirt and thick black stockings. One small hand held a miniature porcelain doll with curly locks of golden-brown hair that cascaded around a face with such an astute aura about it that it looked almost life-like. The other held a rag doll, its scraggly brown hair falling into the black beads it had for eyes.
“Do I have to?”
“Yes, you do. All your friends will be there. Professor Moore told me he’s going to be giving you all a surprise today – but shush! Don’t tell, it’s meant to be a secret.” The taller figure raised her head up knowledgably at this statement, whilst the smaller one jumped up and down, hair flying everywhere.
“Yay! A surprise!”
Amelie Turner loved surprises, and, fortunately, had been on the receiving end of several to date; the most recent of which was the pony she had been bought for her eighth birthday. Being the single-child of a rich, pureblood family, she had not been exempt from the luxuries of life, even if she was unaware of just how privileged she was. Though surprises and riches were definitely on the girls’ most-loved list, it was not the most important thing in Amelie’s life by far. No, the special number one spot was reserved solely for the one person in her life who made it worth living: her daddy.
Amelie didn’t know her mother well. She lived with her mother, conversed with her, occasionally sat down and laughed with her over a cup of tea and scones, but that was it. In her life, Amelie had grown to see her mother as the silent figure whose presence was supposedly necessary, but at the same time slightly intimidating. She was the one who enforced the rules, set the boundaries and bickered about manners and propriety. With her mother, Amelie sometimes felt slightly suffocated and trapped, unsure about her position. She never really knew if her mother actually loved her or not.
Hence her father had become her refuge. With him, Amelie was comfortable and unrestricted. She knew she was his daughter, and she knew he loved her. Time would fly by when the two were together, and neither would care, for as long as they had each other, they were happy in the world.
Being brought up in such a way, Amelie never thought it odd that her parents didn’t seem so close. It didn’t cross her mind that she should care that her mother spent most of her days inside the grand mansion they called a home, gossiping away with her sister who had nothing better to do, instead of spending time with her own family.
What she was aware of, however, was the constant mutterings from her mother’s family about people who were “unworthy” and “befouled”. The girl, though young, had surmised for herself that she was being told that there were certain people who were below her in status, and that she should appreciate being who she was. Not quite comprehending this, she had one day asked her father about it, only to receive quite a surprising reply.
She had found out that muggle families sometimes had children who were witches and wizards, who were just as talented as clever as she was, but had simply been brought up without knowing it. Her father explained how some people didn’t accept these witches and wizards, and didn’t think of them as good enough to be part of the wizarding community, but they were wrong to think that way. Everyone should be given a chance to be what they can be, he had said. By the end of her father’s speech, she had to agree with him whole-heartedly, heart swelling with pride as she saw just how clever and caring the man in front of her was.
And he was her Daddy. Nothing would ever change that.
Amelie’s hand stopped moving abruptly as she heard raised voices from downstairs. Screeches and yells fought against each other in a verbal battle, and Amelie’s pale face began to look anxious. Her bottom lip started to quiver as the shouts continued. She knew those voices.
A crash resounded through the room as she threw her dolls down and ran, but she barely even registered it. She scuttled down the stairs as fast as her little legs would carry her, her breath ragged as the voices grew louder. The constricting feeling in her throat and the burning feeling at the back of her eyes told her that she did not want to bare witness on the scene below her, but her legs didn’t listen, and kept moving.
They came to an abrupt halt half-way down the stairs into the entrance hall. She stood on the threshold, staring at the unusual sight.
The atmosphere in the room was hostile. A group of around twenty people had gathered, watching the man and woman shout at each other, with haughty looks of disdain. Even the portraits seemed unimpressed. Amelie, however, only had eyes for her parents. They were volleying insults at each other, one more heartbreaking that the last, each cutting open a cold gash in her warm heart.
“Get out of my house!”
Silent tears trickled down the little girl’s face, leaving behind a trail of salty liquid on her smooth cheeks. A sob from her throat alerted the room to her presence.
Her father’s head snapped up eyes still livid, searching. As they rested upon the terrified gaze of her daughter, his features transformed. His expression changed from angry to frightened and worried.
“Oh, Amelie,” he said, coming to the foot of the stairs with his arms open wide.
Amelie stepped the first few stairs a bit hesitantly, but then broke into a run, enveloping her short arms around her father’s thick neck, burying her face into her father’s shoulders as she sobbed. She didn’t need to see his bags, feel his travelling cloak, or hear those terrible words that had just come out from his mother’s mouth.
“Daddy, why do you have to leave?”
A small group of children aged between seven and twelve were talking between themselves, not bothering to keep their voices down, pointing at the two in the middle of the floor.
“Look at him… he looks like a bloody tramp.”
“What does she think she’s doing, grovelling at his feet?”
“She’s so spoilt; I bet she can’t believe her precious daddy’s leaving her.”
“Aw, the liddle baby is gonna cwyyyy,”
They all snickered, laughing as they watched.
The eight year old girl pitifully tugged on her father’s robes confused about the situation. Why was her father standing here, with all of his belongings? Why was he wearing his travelling cloak? Why wasn’t she going with him? Looking up into his eyes with her teary ones, she could see the pain in them as he bent down to hug her. She sobbed into her father’s shoulder, not caring about the looks she was being given by her haughty relatives, or the snide comments that were being sent her way by her cousins.
“Shh…darling, I won’t ever leave you. I’ll always be with you here.” He said, tapping her heart. “Don’t you ever forget that, princess.”
Her father hugged her again, fighting back tears as he felt in his heart that this would be the last time he could. It tore him to pieces as he felt her tiny body shaking with grief against his. How cruel could they be, doing this to her beloved daughter…
“Not that this isn’t at all heartbreaking,” came a cold, callous voice, with sarcasm dripping from every syllable. “But I do believe that some people have a train to catch…”
Turning around, a beautiful woman came to sight, with her long, flowing brown hair tied up elegantly at the top of her head. Her lips were blood-red, and her eyes seemed to pierce the man’s heart. Damn her and her family to play with his heard and his daughter’s – her daughter’s so cruelly and carelessly. Behind her stood a large man, with his hand on the woman’s shoulder, looking down at her approvingly as she dealt with the situation. Recently, her father hadn’t looked on him too kindly. Long gone were the days when he would sit down and have a friendly chat with him about the business and finance in the wizarding world.
A dirty look was all he had to spare for the woman he had once loved. He couldn’t care for someone who wouldn’t love him for who he was and what he stood for; if that meant he had to leave the house then so be it. In fact, he would have been gone sooner if it wasn’t for the sake of his precious little princess. Screw the courts: how dare they play around with people’s lives so easily?
Well, the answer to that was simple. Anything was possible with an exchange of gold, and the Avery’s weren’t exactly lacking in that field.
“Now, my little Princess; be a good girl for Daddy while he’s gone. I know how you love to make trouble…”
Even between her tears, the young girl managed to giggle a bit as she saw her father’s moustache quiver as he held back a laugh.
“See, that’s my girl. Don’t let anyone take that smile away from you, Millie. Be who you want to be. Make wise choices – not easy ones. You’re a clever little witch; I’ll always love you.”
“I love you too Daddy,” whispered the child as her father kissed her on the cheek one last time. Getting up, he turned and headed out towards the door. The woman came to stand behind her daughter, looking haughtily at the back of her ex-husband, the ‘excuse for a pureblood’. Without a backwards glance, he closed the door.
One again, tears threatened to spill out of the girls’ eyes as she saw her mother looking down at the door with disdain. “Don’t you worry, darling. We’re much better off without that filthy blood-traitor.”
She began to howl, calling for her daddy.
“Don’t you ever say that word again, Amelie! Do you understand me?! You are no longer a Turner!” her mother screamed in fluent French.
The little girls’ bottom lip quivered as she saw the cold-heartedness in her mother’s eyes. She nodded in fear, and headed up to her bedroom, pushing past several shocked adults. Some were muttering at the fact the child of such a young age was showing ‘such insolence’, and others thinking that they wouldn’t have expected much more, with her being from a blood traitor. Some shook their heads, feeling ashamed that Avery blood had sunk so low.
Little Amelie slammed her door shut and locked it with a spell. On the floor, she saw the remains of her favourite doll, Lissie: shattered and broken into a thousand tiny pieces. Nothing was left anymore.
After taking one look at her room, she threw herself down on her king-size bed and cried and cried, clutching on to Sasha as if her life depended on it. She thought about her evil aunties and her sly cousins who would always hurt her and then put the blame on her so that she would be punished, who would taunt her and tease her and call her a cry-baby. But more than everything, she thought about her dad, where he was, what he was doing, and what she would do without him. She wanted him; needed him. He was her Daddy, her rock - and now he was gone.
The room around the little girl slowly grew dark; a strong wind was blowing outside, causing the tree branches to tap against the window ceaselessly, and could be heard as it found its way into the draughty house. The young girl thought of her father fighting his way past the gale-force wind, wrapping his cloak around him to shelter him from the brutal weather. He had no Millie to help him.
Amelie’s thoughts were wrapped around the last words and sentiments her father had left her with, not believing that they were the last that she would hear and feel from him. He wouldn’t be there to see her into Hogwarts, he wouldn’t be there to see her pass her OWLs or her NEWTs, he wouldn’t be there to see her get married…
Wiping her tears, she sat up in her bed. She may have only been a small girl with a frail frame, but she was determined to make her father proud. She wasn’t going to stay up in her room and cry: she was going to be a clever little witch. She wasn’t going to let her cousins bully her, or give them any excuses. She’ll pretend to be the perfect daughter for her mother. No more temper tantrums, no obvious defiance against the house rules and traditions. From now on, she’d have to work secretly, without being detected.
Her grief evaporated as her brain began to go into overdrive, trying to think about how she was going to get out of this house alive when she was old enough. Her eyes were screwed up tightly as she tried to sort out her thoughts. To herself, she thought she was swimming through a river at high tide, picking up the pieces of thought she needed and collecting them together in a big jumble before diving back to sort through them.
“It is time for dinner, Miss” squeaked the house-elf, Hinky.
She nodded in acknowledgement. Lifting herself up from her bed, she tied a ribbon around her head, and smoothed down her taffeta dress and petticoat, before rubbing her eyes. Once in her bathroom, she washed her face, and headed downstairs with a smile on her face. She ignored the shocked faces of her relatives as she gave her mother a kiss on the cheek as she sat down.
“Good evening, mother.”
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