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“Sirius Black, you come back here this instant!” Caitlyn Black shouted, storming out of their master bedroom. “Where do you think you’re going?”

I ignored my wife and stomped downstairs. I past the kitchen, where my four year old daughter ran out with a cup of milk, screaming, “Daddy!” with a big smile.

“Autumn! Shut up!” I shouted, spinning around.

“Sirius, that’s not the way you talk to your daughter!” Caitlyn screamed, stepped up to me, and slapped my cheek.

There was silence except for the burst of wailing from Autumn. My cheek stung like crazy, but I defiantly refused to touch and console it. Instead, I drew myself to my full height, stared at her intently for a few moments, then spun around and stalked out the door, ignoring the screamings from wife and daughter. I regretted reprimanding his daughter, however. She had not done anything, it was my wife that had again drove me crazy.

I met Caitlyn Naomi after Hogwarts at the Ministry of Magic. She and I were trying to apply for some job there, and we literally bumped to each other. She caught my eye immediately and I asked her if she had time for some coffee after her interviews. She did, so we went over to Geneva Galley and talked for awhile. She took over my heart in a matter of seconds, and she said yes when I asked her out to a date. It was a year later when I asked her if she wanted to marry me (in which she said yes) so we got married and had Autumn, our only child. Turns out she became futile after that, how that was possible we did not know.

She really is someone I love, but recently, we’ve been getting into a lot of fights. I don’t know where we went wrong. I wish I knew so I can fix it, but somehow the flaw is staying hidden at the moment and creating more chaos between us. And I think most of it is started by Caitlyn (although I’m guilty too for letting it get farther).

Caitlyn could be so dominant, if such a word could describe a person. She wanted to control everything in my life, wanted to control how often I worked, how much money I earned, and most of all, where I worked. She hated where I worked, but who said I loved the damn place myself? She said that I should have applied to work as a Auror at the Ministry of Magic, but a few problems became apparent. As most people should know, I depise the Ministry of Magic. An Auror would have been the greatest exception, but it seemed that the Ministry was also prejudiced along with being the biggest bastards in whole entire earth. They said that as “much as as they would be honoured for a Black to work at the Ministry, they did not approve of my school record.” Their exact words. How nice. And because I didn’t want to upset Caitlyn, I had to tell her a lie about why I wasn’t accepted, because she was already a month pregnant with Autumn.

Of course, they were prejudiced about more serious things as well. Their thing about werewolfs is what gets me the most. Of course, it’s not the whole Ministry, but most of it anyway. When Remus tried to apply for an Auror position, the interviewer just sent him right out, saying that they didn’t accept half-breeds. What a bundle of shit! Who were they to call my friend half-breed? When Remus told me with the most bitter voice, I swore I’d beat the living daylights out of that guy. Remus managed to calm me down enough to meet with James and Lily, and when I stopped making rude hand gestures to the thin air, we started to abuse the guy verbally, the most politest of names being beephole and shithead.

So Caitlyn could stop being so annoyed that I can’t work there. It’s just not the greatest place for me! But I have to admit that she’s right about my current job: Inkers Constitution. It should have been called the Stinkers Con-stink-tution. They call themselves the best wizard mortgage company? Best company my arse. This place doesn’t even look professional. I mean, the whole place looks like it rose from a dump! Take the waiting room for example. On every corner, there’s at least two inches of thick, musty, disgusting dust. The benches are covered with mold. The floor is bumpy because of the layers of wax that hasn’t been cleaned out. Half of our customers leave when step into the places, and then another half leaves when they can’t stand the smell and moist heat.

And what bothers everyone is that most of the wizarding families don’t need our company because mortgage isn’t exactly something everyone does. Except perhaps the Weasleys. I don’t think they’re on mortgage or anything, but if they are, then they certainly aren’t using our company. There’s more professional companies with cleaner waiting rooms (and bathrooms as well). And of course, this usually means that we don’t get paid very well. That’s what Caitlyn hates most about my job. I guess you could put it that we have a slight financial problem, and Caityln can’t work because of Autumn. Well, she can’t blame me for a society that hates me and refuses to hire me.

I apparated to Inkers Constitution when I reached an empty alley, arriving in front of that dangy building they called ‘professional.’ Damn it, it wasn’t even made out of something firm, like bricks, it was wood! And the wood stank like crazy, the mold sending a strange odor towards me. Gagging, I entered the buidling, straightening my tie and holding my briefcase firmly.

The waiting room was empty of people, but full of terrible smells. Acid bubbled up to my throat, but I breathed it down and continued to walk to my office. Every gross detail popped out, making the short walk unbearable. I could notice every single vomit-colored mold hanging on the wall like little microscopic organisms. Insects were going in and out through tunnels made through the walls by the one and only: termites. Cobwebs were stringing around and taking over the entire ceiling and in all the corners. One stuck out perfectly, revealing a spider about to suck its whatever-it-was into its wrapped victim.

This time I actually did throw up. I rushed to the nearest trash bin and hurled all of my guts. A picture of the spider slipped into my mind, which made me throw up even more. The bin was empty because it had been cleaned out the night before, so the vomit made a sick, mushy, plopping noise, which made me throw up more of my guts. I saw the vomit was a greenish shade, and I threw up so much that I wasn’t sure whether there were any guts left in me when I finished.

I wiped my mouth on my suit, not caring whether it’d be there forever. Who cares about a damn suit anyway? I reached my office door and opened the door, and an unexpected sight greeted me. “Mr. Kurtis?” I asked, closing the door behind me. “Why are you here this early today?”

It was my boss. Mr. Kurtis straightened his thick, old-man glasses and cleared his throat, looking very uncomfortable, as if he had peed in his pants. Maybe he had. “Er, Black,” Mr. Kurtis started, shifting in my chair.

That man better have not wet his pants, or that’s my chair he’s rubbing it all on! “Yes Mr. Kurtis?” I answered back politely, taking a seat across him, which was really meant for clients.

“’I have—er—unpleasant news,” Mr. Kurtis said, straigtening up.

I froze only slightly. Mr. Kurtis almost always had bad news. There was one time, for example, when Mr. Kurtis held an assembly to announce that we were getting another decrease in our paychecks. No, what made me slightly afraid was that he was here in person to tell me the bad news. He almost never did that. No wait, cross that, he never did that. “What is it?” I asked, folding my hands together. Ugh, how grownup-ish. But wait, I’m already a grown up. I guess I just don’t like being one.

“Well,” Mr. Kurtis started, taking his glasses off and wiping them on a handkercheif. He put the glasses back on his greasy nose and continued. I noticed every single drop of sweat he perspired. “Inkers Constitution has been faced with a problem. We are starting to go slowly out of business, and paychecks are decreasing because of more social workers and not enough money.”

“So are you saying that this business is going to close down?” I said, starting to get slightly panicked. If this shut down, I would be unemployed, something that wouldn’t be good considering our financial problems at home. “Oh Mr. Kurtis, please say that we’re not going to close! Do you know how much people need the money?”

Mr. Kurtis sighed. “Black, we are not going to shut down Inkers Constitution. You need not worry about that.”

I was confused. “Then why are you here?”

Mr. Kurtis closed his eyes, and then opened them. Something told me it was about me. “Instead, we are going to fire workers. And I’m afraid that you are one of them.”

“WHAT?” I roared, getting to my feet, a strange fury running through my veins. Mr. Kurtis seemed startled at my strong reaction, but I didn’t care. “Fire me? Why is it me? ALWAYS ME?!”

“Black, we did not choose you, we drew you from a lottery!” Mr. Kurtis said, trying to calm me down. “I know how much you like working here, but—“

“Like working here?” I laughed incredulously, curling my fists. “You pathetic fool, is that what you’ve always thought? That all your social workers actually liked working here? Fat chance! We all work here for the damn money, and because no other company would hire us.”

Mr. Kurtis looked like he wanted to say something, but I didn’t allow him. I picked up my briefcase and stomped towards the door, ignoring the pleas of Mr. Kurtis. I swung the door open, which made hard contact with the wall, making a huge whole. I ignored his appalled remarks as well and hurried out the door, past the waiting room, and exited the building, never looking back.

~*~


I was in trouble. Again. And it was the same reason: I was once again jobless. Unemployed. I could already hear Caitlyn’s screaming, and I couldn’t bare to hear them again early in the morning. I’ll just have to find a way to spend the day to avoid it.

I apparated to Remus’ because I knew it was his day off today. I landed in front of his flat and began to ring the doorbell. I could hear his muffled voice saying, “I’m coming, be patient!” The door swung open, and the ruffled look disappeared and revealed his surprise. “Erm, Sirius! Nice to see you. Uh…what are you doing here? Aren’t you supposed to be at work?”

“Yeah, well, I was about to get fired, but I quit first,” I said, rolling my eyes. I stepped in and Remus closed the door.

I haven’t visited in awhile, but it still looked as I remembered it. His flat being pretty small, there was a kitchen, a bedroom, and only a few pieces of furniture in the sitting room. The purple couch was at the corner, near that was an armchair, and next to it a small coffee table with a vase full of flowers…dead flowers. Then there was the small glass case with interesting items displayed. A coathanger stood alone with only one coat hanging from it. A bookcase was on the other side, stacked with books on everything you could possibly think of. James and I think it’s enchanted.

And that was about it. Nothing else. Pretty bare place to live in, but Remus refuses help from either of us. I took a seat on the sofa sighed. Remus sat on the armchiar and asked, “Are you going to tell me why you quit? Seems a little suspicious how you just quit.”

So I told him. I tell Remus everything, and there’d be no point trying to hide anything, he’d find out anyway. He and I were pretty close, although I was closer to James. I’m just saying that when James started being obsessed with Lily and then actually successfully going out with her, there seemed to be less time for us. Peter was always running off somewhere by himself for periods at a time, where he went he never told us. So Remus and I kept each other company ‘cause we really weren’t into the whole love and dating thing going on in at that time. We wren’t gay either, that was what some people liked to think, but heck no we weren’t gay, we just kept each other company when we became lonely and all our homework was finished and had run out of ideas for some new prank.

When I finished, Remus said, “Well, I don’t know what to say. Glad you quit that place, I was starting to detest that smell every time you came over James’. But you realize you’re in a bit of trouble now, right?”

“Know that,” I siad grudgingly, staring out the window. “But I can’t go home and tell Caitlyn now, she’ll be furious. I say you and I hang out today until night comes by, how ‘bout that?”

Remus didn’t agree at first. He thought I should go home now and tell her and spend the day looking for work, but I rejected the idea with horror. “Is this what you consider fun Remus?” I asked, eyeing him warily. “Do I know you?”

“Yeah you do,” he said, getting up. “Okay, you win. Where do you want to go?”

“Terrific!” I screamed, punching the air. I knew he’d agree. “Diagon Alley? Hogsmeade? Knockturn Alley?”

“Definitely not Knockturn Alley!” he said, picking his coat from the hook. “I say Hogsmeade sounds okay. Let’s go there.”

So we apparated to Hogsmeade Village, taking care to avoid crashing into anyone. We naturally entered Zonko’s first, making me wish that I was back at Hogwarts with Remus and James and even Peter, pulling pranks on Snivellus and Mrs. Norris. I would much rather prefer that than to what I was now. A jobless man who was going to be told off for being unemployed again. But I knew those times were gone, and I certainly could not bother Snivellus anymore. Last time I heard, he had taken a big step towards the Dark Arts, and I knew that bullying him was not an option anymore. He and I were enemies, but not children. We were adults now, something I’ve been trying to deny for a very long time. Being an adult has too many responsibilities.

The familiar air of joy and laughing filled the air as I stepped into the shop. Children were browsing the shelves, laughing and gasping at the products. I myself could recognize all the pranks we had bought here as Marauders. There was “Instant Truth Potion: forces the victim to say the truth…or what he claims is the truth.” We used that on Snape once. It forced him to say all these kinds of embarressing things that sounded as if he had taken an actual truth potion, thus making everyone believe that these were all true. Of course it wasn’t true, it was only a potion to make the victim say false truths.

Remus and I didn’t buy anything, for we felt that our times of such joking were over. Sure we were still Marauder’s, but the air of pranks no longer lingered, although we dearly tried to cling to it. We just had to face the fact that we were no longer students, no longer attended school. We were no longer teenagers, we were adults, and I already married. We had responsibilities to handle, challenges to take on, and other such matters to attend to. I guess I realized from there that I could no longer deny it…I was grown up, had a wife and daughter. I had to face it: I was grown up—no longer a full Marauder—but an adult.

We of course greeted Ted Zonkos with earnest enthusiasm, for despite the fact that I was grown up, memories were stored in me, and I could never forget how good Ted was to us. He provided us with every Zonko merchandise we needed, sometimes on a discount. He showed us products that were yet to develop and asked our opinions (and always using them). He was one of the factors that made our experience of growing up a wonder and curious thing, made it something we would remember and always treasure in our hearts. And he did a very good job with it.

After a couple of minutes, we said our farewells, and we all knew for a strange reason that it would be the last time we ever saw each other. I knew, Remus knew, Ted knew. But we said goodbye as if we would come back another time, but I knew that I would never see Ted’s jolly face again. He waved sadly and we waved back, the smile still intact, and just like that Remus and I pushed open the shop door and exited, not looking back.

There was some silence between us as we brooded in our own thoughts before Remus said, “Where next Sirius?”

“Honeydukes?” I answered absentmindely, kicking the ground.

“Right,” he said, and we entered the sweetshop, where again a gush of sweet smells greeted us seductively.

There at our right were stacks and stacks of their sweet Honeydukes chocolate bars, some of them being filled with caramel, others with coconut, or melted milk choclate. Then there were the Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans, stacked in jars that reached up to the ceiling. Children were watching them go through a spiral of obstacles before being poured into a jar. To our left were hard candy, ranging from lollipops to toffees. Remus and I searched for some gold in our pockets, because even though were adults, we still had a sweettooth.

“Sirius, look at those Cockroach Clusters!” Remus exclaimed in delight as he picked up a jar full. “Don’t you remember us fooling James into eating five of these?”

I laughed. “Of course I do, how can I ever forget? James was mad at us for how long?”

“A week,” Remus said, putting it back fondly. “And remember Gewy Gumdrops? How we squished it into Blaise’s dinner? As soon as he dug in—“

“It exploded right in his face,” I finished, a picture of Blaise covered with colorful Gewy Gumdrops and chicken popping into my mind. I then sighed. “Those were those times, the best times.”

“Yeah,” Remus agreed, taking a box of them off the shelf. “I like these though.”

“So do I,” I answered, taking a box as well.

We finished buying our sweets and decided to visit the Shrieking Shack next. That Shack had so many memories for us, and so many secrets hidden within those walls. We went there every full moon in Animagus form to keep Remus company, although of course, we no longer did. But it was still fun to think about it, sneaking out at night, visiting Hogsmeade in secret.

After staying there in silence for a few more minutes, we turned around and went back to the loud noises of children and chatter of the adults. It was hard to explain; this heavy feeling followed us back, like haunting memories. But why? How could such memories haunt us when indeed, it was filled with our laughter from Hogwarts? However, we just put the feeling inside and entered The Three Broomsticks. It was full of people talking and drinking butterbeer, firewhiskey, or mead. Remus and I took a seat near the corner and ordered two butterbeers.

We sat there for a while, just sipping on our golden brown butterbeers until Remus sat up straight and looked at his watch. “Whoa, Sirius, it’s already seven thirty!” he exclaimed, putting his mug down. “Don’t you think you should head back?”

I really didn’t want to. I wanted to stall as much time as possible from getting him and listening to Caitlyn yell for hours at a time. “Please Remus, a little more? Just another hour or two. Please?”

“No,” Remus said firmly, getting up. “I’m being more than serious, you need to talk to her. Nothing’s gonna change if you just run away from her and hide from your troubles.”

“I hate it when you sound so smart and sure,” I mumbled getting up relucantly. “Ah well, see you soon Remus, and say hi to James for me.”

“Yeah, I will,” Remus said smiling and watched me apparate home.

~*~


I knew as soon as I saw the place that something was wrong. I guess that’s the special gift of mine. I could always tell when something was not quite right. The place looked normal, just as I left it, but I knew something was wrong inside, and the thought made my heart thump wildly. Why so wildly, I did not know. All I knew was that as soon as I stepped into that house, it would change my life around.

Gulping and taking in a deep breath, I walked up to the front door and knocked. “Honey, are you there? Hun?” I called, but no answer. I swallowed. “Autumn? Caitlyn?”

It was too much. I slammed open the door and rushed inside. I had only to stare. The living room was in disarray, all our posessions broken, glass everywhere, photos ripped. And then near the kitchen were scattered boxes of cereal, the refridgerator open wide with its content pouring out, pots and pan shrewn acrooss the tile floor. I stepped in closer and stared on the wild mess before me. “Caitlyn, where are you?” I called, tears already brimming. “Caitlyn? Autumn?”

They couldn’t be in the house, if indeed the Death Eater had come and murdered them. Then there would be the Dark Mark. Or perhaps they had taken their bodies— “What the hell am I damn thinking?” I screamed to myself. “They’re not dead! They’re still here in this house, playing a darn joke that ain’t funny.”

But I knew it was far from a joke. Something was really wrong, and it terrified me to think that they had done something to my precious wife and daughter.

I climbed upstairs and slowly entered our destroyed bedroom. This was when the tears fell. I don’t know why, but I knew that my life was crashing down beside me, and that I was losing all the things I held dear in my heart, as dear and precious as life itself. This bedroom was like a haven, a place where almost all our memories haunted. It was where we laughed and giggled, shared secrets and did our sacred rituals. And that the bedroom was destroyed was like a sign that my life and memories were soon to be destroyed in the same process.

Then I noticed it. The paper. The parchment on top of the counter. It was so misfit that I knew it didn’t belong there, that someone must have put it there after the destruction. I ran to and quickly unrolled the parchment.

Dear Sirius,

I have caused you another heartbreak in my life again. I know we had our moments, our sacred moments at night, our laughter, our love. But I’m afraid that our fights has finally conquered our love. It was just too much for me.

I’m taking Autumn with me. Find another girl and live another life. Forget about me. I, for one, won’t be able to find another man ever again as dear as you, but you have charms everyone falls for.

I apologize for this short letter, and that I will never see you again. But keep in mind that I love you, have always loved you, and hope I shall continue to love you from where I am.

Caitlyn Naomi Black.


~*~


I never spoke about it again. Never spoke about her. Because now I’m not sure whether she ever wrote that letter. The handwriting looked different, but maybe it was because she was crying. It didn’t sound like her, but it could have been her rush to run away from me.

Or it could have been a kidnapping. Why they would take her, I do not know.

All I know is that she is now gone from my life, never to return, and she expects me to go with life. I don’t think she understands how sacred our love was. Was I the only one to feel it? Maybe I was, I’ll never know. She’s gone now, gone forever, and gone with more than my daughter. She has gone with my heart, my life, and my ability to love.

I can’t love anyone anymore. She has taken that ability with her, as with everything else. I can’t love another woman. I never thought I could love until I met Caitlyn. Then I felt, as we had Autumn, that love was an amazing feeling, and it was such a unique experience to feel love. I thought she would continue to make up for whatever love I lost during my childhood. And now those thoughts are dashed. She has proved me wrong by stating she couldn’t love me anymore, and that it wasn’t powerful enough for her to stay.

And that the only possibilty was her to run away from her troubles, to leave me alone in this world without a single ounce of love in my blood.

A/N: A new story! A new one-shot. It was hard to write, so please, please review!

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