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                I didn’t stay alright for long.  I kept it together long enough for Mrs. Potter and I to take a trip to Diagon Alley where we cleaned out my Gringotts vault and did some last minute Christmas shopping.  I even made a weak attempt at displaying my fake appetite at Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlor where I waited until she left to go to the toilet before I spooned half of it into the bin.  When she came back I announced that I was too full to eat anymore.  She took one look at my halfempty bowl and deemed that I had eaten enough.  She even tossed it for me.  I made light bantering conversation with her throughout our trip and on our way back to her house.  The moment we stepped foot into her house however it all changed.

Mounds of clothing, heirlooms, toys, furniture and other things were piled in the parlor.  My breath hitched as I took it all in.  These were my brother’s things.  His, Anita’s and Eva’s.  The entire content of their house was now residing in the Potter’s parlor.

“Oh Harold,” Mrs. Potter complained.  “Didn’t you think it would at least be polite to give Sophie some warning?  I’m sure this all must come at quite a bit of a shock, love.”

“We had discussed doing this last night, pet,” Mr. Potter commented from his armchair by the fire.  “I thought you’d tell her.”

“I thought we had decided that it was too soon,” she pointed out, eyeing me with suspicious worry.  “This might overwhelm her a bit.”

They continued to argue about whose fault this was, but I didn’t bother to listen.  I was too busy struggling to contain my emotions to care who was responsible.  It didn’t really matter afterall.  The damage was done no matter whose fault it was.

“Sophie?” Mr. Potter asked cautiously, looking at me with those familiar eyes.  So that’s where James got his eyes, I thought subconsciously.  “Sophie, I brought some things back that I think you need to see immediately.”

I nodded numbly, unsure how else to react.  I had to act like an adult and adults didn’t have emotional breakdowns over a few of their dead relatives’ possessions.

“I’m afraid when Albus said you got all their possessions he meant it.  Four weeks ago your brother Charlie’s beloved cat, Duchess, had a rather large litter of kitten.  Because they were left to you and we can’t exactly just put them in a shoebox and wait until later to deal with them.  You need to decide what to do with them.”

I nodded, “Uh yeah okay erm sure.  Where are they?” I tried to wrap my head around what he was saying, but the significance of some old house cats especially then didn’t make sense.

“I have them in a box in the kitchen,” he informed me, still unsure of how I would react.  “Would you like to see them?”

I nodded, not really paying attention to what he was asking.  He uncertainly rose to his feet, gingerly taking me by the arm and escorting me into the kitchen.  He turned on the overhead lights with a flick of his wand before pointing to a large cardboard box in the corner.  I hesitantly walked over, already hearing the meowing from across the room.

I took a peek inside the box and instantly my insides melting.  Duchess, Anita’s prize possession, was laying on her side with seven perfect tiny kittens all playing around her.  I stifled a sentimental gasp with my hand, joyful tears beginning to sting my eyes.

“I think that’s a ‘we’ll keep them’,” Mrs. Potter could barely contain a smile as she saw the diverse change in my mood.

I reached into the box, petting the purring Duchess while I nodded.  “Could we?”

Mrs. Potter nodded, “I don’t see why not.  The mother seems to like you.”

“Yeah, Duchess and I go way back,” I smiled at the memory as the white feline still purred for my attention.  “I bought her for Charlie and Anita as a wedding present.”

“Aw that’s so sweet,” Mrs. Potter cooed, making her way over to the box.  She leaned over it and immediately he face broke out into an adoring beam.  “They’re so adorable.”

I smiled up at her, feeling like I was looking at my own offspring let alone some kittens I inherited.  I reached in and scooped up an orange striped fur ball that purred the moment I touched it.  I picked it up by the nape of its neck. 

“I think it likes you,” Mrs. Potter commented as she petted Duchess.

I nodded dumbstruck in agreement, unsure how a box of cats could make me feel significantly better.  I didn’t ponder over it long, content to cuddle the purring feline to my chest.

“Well we should probably take the box upstairs,” Mr. Potter spoke up.  “I’m sure they’d be much more comfortable in Sophie’s room.”

“Oh yes, whatever you say, dear,” Mrs. Potter agreed, though she was too distracted with snuggling Duchess to her like some sort of infant to really understand what he was saying.

“What is it with women and animals?” Mr. Potter muttered under his breath as he bent over the cardboard box.  He gripped it from underneath and pulled it off the ground.  He began walking toward the side staircase up to the first floor when he began to stumble over his own feet.  With one loud “umph” he managed to knock the box out of his hands.

Mrs. Potter and I gasped in unison.  We rushed to the fallen box, cooing and mothering over the fallen kittens.  “Honestly, Harold,” Mrs. Potter gave her husband a disapproving look as she scooped up an armful of whining kittens.

I picked up as many of the kittens as I could, letting them cuddle into my chest.  “It’s alright, loves,” I soothed in my best maternal tone.

“It was an accident,” Mr. Potter defended himself.

Mrs. Potter let out an “humph” in disagreement before whisking me up the stairs as we struggled to hold onto the squirming and playful felines.  “Men,” I could have swore she mutter under her breath in disapproval as we trudged upstairs.

I managed to stifle my snickering, but the amused smile stuck stubbornly to my lips.  I didn’t comment on her slightly sexist mumbling, but she managed to keep up a conversation without my input. 
“Reckless, clumsy-“ she cut off, shaking her head in dubious disbelief.

Even after we made the long voyage to my room I still had managed to keep my laughter to myself.  She kicked my door open, hurrying to place the loud, struggling kitten onto my bed. I followed her, gently setting my armful of squirming kittens onto the bed as well.

“What a motley crew,” she joked, shaking her head at the adventurous kittens that were scouting across my bed.

I nodded happily, the feminine side of me giddy over the new baby animals.  I set at the side of my crowded bed, gazing affectionately at the playful new pets.

“Well, I leave you let them get adjusted while I make dinner then,” she smiled warmly at me, thankfully giving me my own space.  “You’re looking a little peaky, love.  Perhaps you might do well with a nice meal and a good long rest.”

I nodded, eager to have her leave.  I was finding myself constantly wanting to be alone and though she was kind and dear to me I still wanted nothing more than time to be by myself even if that included the large pack of cats.

“Good luck,” she gave me an encouraging smile before heading back out of my room and down the kitchen.  As she went down the stairs I could hear her almost stiffly yell, “Harold James Potter, what in Merlin’s name were you thinking?”

I chuckled to myself, slightly reminded of James and Lily as the married couple bickered downstairs.  I winced slightly at the thought of James and Lily, having forced myself to forget my life at Hogwarts and my life outside of the day and a half I had been at the Potter’s.  Reality was too miserable to bear and remembering my schoolmates brought it crashing down on me.

I curled into a ball, allowing the kittens to climb on me like some playground climber.  I didn’t complain or protest when their baby claws sunk accidentally in my flesh as they tried to keep their grip.  The physical pain was the last thing on my mind at that time.

My family’s dead, they’re really dead, I thought numbly, finally expressing what I had been denying for so long.  My brother, my mother, Anita, Eva.  They’re all dead. I shuddered slightly this, finally accepting the cold hard truth that I wasn’t just on holiday and that when I returned back to my house I would find my abusive father and his new replacement family instead of the warm, welcoming scene that had been around when my mother was still alive.  For no more Christmases would my brother dress up like Santa Claus for my niece’s delight.  For no more birthdays would I receive their well-intentioned yet horribly planned gifts.  When I graduated they wouldn’t be there.  When I got married they wouldn’t be there.  My mother wouldn’t be around to give me advice for when I had my first baby.  My future children would never know their grandparents on my side.

The reality of my life for lack of a better word sucked.  My father was no longer allowed in my life nor did I want him involved, my mother did suicide because my asshole father couldn’t keep it in his pants and my brother, sister in law and only niece were murdered by some cowardly pureblooded fanatics who didn’t have the guts not to wear masks when they assaulted people.  Sirius, the boy I had clung onto like he was the only thing saving me from drowning in my own self pity had brushed me off when we parted.  James, my practically adopted brother, couldn’t handle my reality and was no help when it came to empathy.  Mrs. Potter and Mr. Potter meant well, but they didn’t understand what was really going on in my life mostly because I wasn’t comfortable enough to tell them the truth.  My other friends couldn’t handle my reality either.  Remus had loving, supporting parents who accepted him as a werewolf, Lily had parents who accepted her as a witch, Ana’s biggest problem in life was her parents’ wish that she act like a “proper Indian lady” and Alice had always had Frank, her long-term boyfriend to literally shield her from everything.

This realization angered me even more than it frustrated me.  Where the hell was someone to shield me?  Who the hell was supposed to protect me from the guilt of my mother’s suicide?  Who the hell was supposed to be there to hold my hand and tell me it wasn’t my fault?  Why didn’t someone shelter me from my father’s rage?  Why didn’t someone keep me safe?  Why was I the abandoned one? Why didn’t someone take me in when I was on the run to hide away from the abuse?  Why didn’t anyone care enough to see through that fake smile I flaunted the first month of school?  Why didn’t someone know me enough to see something was wrong?  Was it my fault?  Did I not let anyone in?  Did I barricade my emotions away?  No.  Especially not after Sirius came into the picture.  He knew everything.  I never kept a single feeling away from him and when I needed him the most he abandoned me just like my mother.  How am I not supposed to feel like it’s me against the world when no one’s really on my side?

The flow of questions hurt my brain and wounded my heart.  The only emotion that could even begin to compete with the anger was the hurt.  Even the hatred for my father for making me suffer alone was nothing compared to the anger and the hurt.  The anger at my friends for being so obtuse and the hurt that when I thought I had made the right friends and I had people close to me it turned out I didn’t.

I felt something fuzzy rubbing across my face and I realized the little calico kitten was laying on my chest and looking for some attention.  I absent-mindedly wrapped my arms around her, petting down her back.  She let out a purr of satisfaction, cozying up next to me.  I kept petting her as I reached up with my spare hand and wipe the back of it across my cheeks.  There were only a few tears I managed to rub away and I couldn’t help but sigh.

The emotional exhaustion was beginning to set in and I couldn’t help but feel my eyes getting heavier.  “Just shut my eyes for a minute,” I incoherently muttered, unable to keep myself awake.

Green light streamed out across the dark room, a woman screaming in the background. Dark figures were scanning out across the room and there were more streams of green light.  “Stupefy,” a familiar hoarse voice yelled.

“Avada Kedavra!” a cold voice casted and all of a sudden a body hit the floor.  An almost spotlight shone on the dead body, revealing its familiar messy black hair and angled glasses.

“Stupid Potter,” another voice commented with a tone of sadistic glee.  “He always played the hero back at Hogwarts.  He got what was coming to him.”

The cold voice from before let out a sound of agreement before there was another flash of green light from across the room.  The same spotlight from before moved to show the next dead body, a fiery redheaded pale woman lying lifeless on the floor. “Stupid know-it-all Mudblood,” the sadistic voice from before remarked.

“AVADA KEDAVRA!” a new voice casted, booming at the top of his voice. Two new dead bodies fell instantly to the ground.  The same ominous light relocated, showing an ill looking, scrawny brunette boy and a exotic looking girl.

“Two in one, nice job,” the sadistic voice congratulated the new killer on the scene.  “And a werewolf and blood traitor too.  Honestly we should start keeping score.”

“Who does that leave?  The Black traitor and the silly Prewitt girl?” the new voice inquired, sounding earnest and eager.

“Yes,” the cold voice answered shortly, obviously not one for small talk or unnecessary conversation.

“There she is, cowering in the corner like the coward she is,” a new female voice sneered.  “Do we really have to use the Killing Curse though?  Perhaps I nice drawn out Cruciatus Curse might make it a little more entertaining.”

“No Bella, you heard what the Dark Lord said.  He wants them dead as soon as possible,” the newer male voice commented with a slight sound of annoyance.  “Just do it and be done with it.”

“Fine,” the female pouted.  The dark figure that must have been her raised its wand.  “Avada Kedavra,” she hissed and another body dropped dead.  The then dreaded spotlight shone on the newest corpse, showing the pale, short haired girl dead on the floor.

“That just leaves Black,” the sadistic voice observed.

A sound of sliding, thudding and thumping rang throughout the room as more dark figures came out of the shadows.  “We found him,” a proud new voice announced.  “Sneaky little bastard.”

“Where is she, cousin?” the female demanded, her false sweetness eroding away to pure sadistic bitterness.  “Where’s your wife?”

“I wouldn’t lead you to Sophie under threat of eternal damnation let alone death, LeStrange,” a familiar husky voice replied confidently.

“Avada Kedavra,” she casted with a shrillness to her voice and a green stream of light protruded from her wand.

“SIRIUS!” I woke up, screaming, a cold sweat sticking to my forehead as my heart pounded.  I jerked upright, wildly looking around the lit room.  Mrs. Potter and Mr. Potter were both there, watching me in horror as I began to violently rock back and forth as I tightly wrapped my arms around me.

“Sophie, sweetheart, you need to calm down,” Mrs. Potter reasoned over my sobs as I continued rocking myself.  “Love, you’re going to hurt yourself if you don’t stop.”

I didn’t care or even understand what she was telling me as I went back to the primal methods of calming myself by cradling myself back and forth.  The pain I felt before had multiplied, leaving me weak and dull witted.

“Harold, floo Dumbledore and see if we can get Sirius and James to come home a few days early,” Mrs. Potter instructed Mr. Potter, evidently feeling as if she wasn’t going to be able to reason with me.

I didn’t listen or care anymore about the exchange between them as I wailed and rocked like a battered child.

“Don’t bother, dad, we’re already here,” James’ gruff voice rang out in the background.  “Dumbledore had a feeling tonight would be a bit rough so he sent us early.”

“Thank Merlin,” Mrs. Potter commented as the side of my bed began to sag.  I was too busy swaying violently back and forth to notice who had sat on my bed.

“It’s okay, Sophie, it was just a bad dream,” a familiar soothing husky voice commented.  “You’re safe now.”

“Sirius?” I inquired meekly, shakily pulling myself out of my fetal position.  Sirius’ worried face looked back at him, his eyes etched in concern.

“I’m right here, love,” he assured me.

“Thank Merlin,” I gasped, practically throwing myself into his arms, wrapping myself around him and swearing never to let go.

A/N: Before anyone asks the answer is "no".  No, Sophie doesn't have any special powers in Divination.  She can't read the future, the dream is not a look into the future and I will be sticking as closely to the books as possible so Lily and James aren't going to die in my book because well, they were meant to die to save Harry.  As for the whole wife thing, if you all caught it, I'm not saying yay or nay as to if that's going to happen or not.  Rate and review, would you please?  Though I'm really thankful for the three or four people who faithfully review each chapter it's irritating to have over 100 reads a chapter and only get like five reviews.  Show me some love, would you?  I put my mental and emotional health on the line to write this for you so the least you can do is give me some words of encouragement, okay?  Okay good.  And feel free to give me suggestions.  Right now I'm working on naming all the kittens (four boys and three girls) and only one boy and two girls have been named so feel free to give me suggestions about that.  Thanks for reading!

Much Love, xAshley

(p.s. the cat in the chapter image is the calico from the story that will later be named Buckles.)

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