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A Black Story

Chapter one : from orphan to witch

"What on earth are you two doing here, in the middle of the night?!" Madam Malkany yelled after she turned on the lights. However, she couldn't do more than make a hissing noise, so she wouldn't wake anyone up.

"W-We're sorry madam, we were just hungry and we didn't get the time to eat and-" 11-year-old Fletcher was cut of by a pointing finger and a nasty look from the old woman. "That's what you get when you skip dinner! It's your own fault. Tomorrow, you two can do the dishes and no buts!" She added when she saw Fletcher's mouth open in protest. He closed it again and continued to stare at his bare feet on the cold kitchen floor.

Madam Malkany looked some sort of satisfied and then said "Come on, get to bed and make sure I don't here of you anymore!" Stomping footsteps ran hastily up the wooden stairs and stopped in front of one of the doors.

"Thanks for letting me do the talking, again." He turned to her with his arms crossed and and accusing eyes. "That's what you're best at. Besides, without me we wouldn't have this." Gabrielle grinned as she pulled four of the leftover cookies from her pocket. Fletcher's eyes became wide at the sight of them and grinned as well.

"You never let me down, Gab." He said while he received two cookies and stuffed one into his mouth. They were chocolate and had a bit of a musty taste from laying there for so long, but they were still good.

She reached towards the door's handle and rolled her eyes "See ya later, Fletch." He saluted her and took off, towards the boys rooms. With careful footsteps she managed to reach her bed without waking up any of the five other girls. While quietly munching on one of the cookies, she stared at the ceiling.It was covered with fake stars which shined in the dark, they were pink and green and yellow and blue and they always helped little Gabrielle Black to fall asleep.

xxx

"Wake up! It's seven o'clock, rise and shine girls!" Trudy, one of the other people who worked in the orphanage, opened the curtains and revealed an amount of light unhealthy for sleepy eyes. The next fifteen minutes were filled with the sound of groaning girls and running showers. Another five minutes later, they were all sat at a large table suited for twelve people.

Gabrielle and Fletcher, who sat next to each other, quietly ate their food while preparing themselves to do the gigantic amount of dishes for the second time this week.

"Alright," Trudy said when they were all finished. "Rosanna and Max, it's your turn to do the dishes-" "No, Gabrielle and Fletcher are assigned for dishes today, Trudy." Madam Malkany cut her of and nudged them to start clearing the table.

"Oh, alright then. Why don't you all get dressed and maybe we can go to the park later on!" Trudy smiled as the children cheered. She was a middle aged woman, with kind eyes and overweight but an even fatter heart. Madam Malkany however, was old and grey. She was a slender woman with a stern posture and a habit of frightening children.

While Fletcher and Gabrielle were both clearing one side of the table, the other muttered things such as "What did you guys do now?" and got thankful looks from Rosanna and Max, whom they had saved from kitchen-duty.

Later, when Gabrielle was washing and Fletcher was drying, the doorbell rang. This may not seem so special, but it was in the orphanage. Whenever the doorbell unexpectedly rang, it could be an opportunity for adoption.

Surprised screams came from upstairs and were followed by dozens of hasty footsteps. Everybody gathered in front of the door. Gabrielle and Fletcher wanted to go there too, but Madam Malkany told them to stay where they are and finish their work. With disappointed faces they watched how Madam Malkany strode towards the door and how the other children nearly knocked each other over while straightening their hair and clothes.When the door opened, it revealed a stern looking woman. Her grey hair was combed backwards into a bun, she wore a green robe and square glasses. Even Madam Malkany felt intimidated by her appearance. After a few seconds of mere silence Madam Malkany composed herself with a "Good morning, madam, what can I help you with?" and something that was supposed to be a smile.

"Good morning. I am looking for Gabrielle Black, I was informed that she lives in this residence?" Everybody started whispering and Fletcher's mouth hang open, Gabrielle even dropped a plate. It scattered across the floor and her cheeks became scarlet as she quickly bent down to pick up the pieces of porcelain. The woman took that as a sign that she was who she was looking for and stepped inside towards the girl, leaving a startled Madam Malkany.

"Hello, my name is Minerva McGonagall. I assume you are Gabrielle?" Minerva McGonagall said as she looked down on a slightly frightened Gabrielle Black. She came to her feet and nodded after quickly throwing the pieces of porcelain in the trash bin. Minerva McGonagall smiled and turned towards Madam Malkany.

"Excuse me, but is there anywhere she and I can talk in private? I have quite a few things to explain." Madam Malkany looked confused but nodded. "Up the stairs, first door on your right, madam." She instructed her towards the girls' room and McGonagall nodded. With a quick pace she went up the stairs, nudging Gabrielle to follow. It took a poke from Fletcher to get her into motion and she quickly ran up the stairs after the mysterious woman.

They sat down on two beds opposite from each other and Gabrielle couldn't help but stare at the woman, who started her explanation.

"Look Miss Black, I am here to inform you that you are accepted to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Normally we would send you a letter by owl, but being and orphan amongst Muggles.. Well, let's just say that it's better for someone to explain it in person." Gabrielle heard a lot of words which she didn't understand. Hogwarts? Muggles? Letters by owl? What is this, some kind of joke? She thought, but kept her mouth shut.Minerva McGonagall continued. "I am well aware that it sounds rather strange, but you are, in fact, a witch. So am I, Miss Black, no need to worry. We aren't like the way the Muggles show us. Ow, yes, Muggles are people without magical abilities." She added when Gabrielle looked even more confused."You can call me Professor McGonagall. I teach Transfiguration at Hogwarts, but that's not for now. Students without money are able to buy their stuff for Hogwarts with our student loan. It is, of course, obvious that you will have to pay that back one day, once you are graduated and, hopefully, have a job. Do you believe me yet, Miss Black?"

Professor McGonagall saw the girl's expression of disbelief and the corners of her mouth went upwards. "Alright then, I already figured a demonstration might be necessary." She pulled out something - Gabrielle assumed it to be a wand - from her pocket and cleared her throat. "Accio pen." With a sweep of her wand a pen flew through the air and landed on the floor in between them. Gabrielle's mouth hung slightly open, but she wasn't convinced that she could ever be able to do such a thing.

"Tell me, Gabrielle, have you ever done anything unexplainable? When you were angry or scared?" Gabrielle thought about it. There was this one time when she had fallen into a lake. She couldn't swim at the time, but just floated to the surface and lay there like a piece of wood until Trudy had come for the rescue. Did that truly have to do something with magic? Did she do that? Professor McGonagall saw the realization on Gabrielle's face and continued.

"Now, you have to go to Diagon Alley, London, you'll find everything you need out there. The only thing you have to do is to pack your things and come to King's Cross station on september first, that's when school starts. You can go back here - if you want to - during Christmas and Easter break and during the mandatory break in July and August. Here is everything you need to know." She handed a her a thick envelope and a small bag with a heavy content. By the sound of it, Gabrielle concluded it were coins.

"I hope you won't have a hard time adapting to our lifestyle, Miss Black. And I know this is going to be difficult for you as it is now but there is something else I need to talk to you about." Professor McGonagall's facial expression became uneasy when she came to the hardest subject. "It is about your family. The Black family is one of the few old Pureblood families left. Pureblood meaning that they have as good as no Muggle relatives in their family, only wizards, so they think of themselves as 'Pureblooded'. Well, your father, Sirius Black, left you here before he was brought to Azkaban, a highly-guarded prison for witches and wizards."

She lost her words and the room became quiet. After a while Gabrielle asked "What did he do?" Professor McGonagall once again continued. "He blew up a street, murdering twelve Muggles and a wizard in the process. Once they caught him, he kept on claiming that he hadn't done anything, that his friend had betrayed him. Dark times, I tell you. I'm sure you'll have plenty of time to figure out what that means for yourself." Gabrielle nodded, not sure what to say in the painful silence that followed.

Professor McGonagall stared at the girl for a while. She had long, black hair and gray-blue eyes and looked like the female version of Sirius at that age, something that wouldn't be good for her sake.

After hearing some strange noises downstairs, she stood up and walked to the door. "I'll discuss everything with the owner of this place as well, so you can go buy your equipment in Diagon Alley." She said as she met Gabrielle's gaze. She was still trying to comprehend all the information she just got and it would take a while too.

For the first time Minerva's expression softened as she said "You'll be alright. Everybody manages to adapt in the wizard world, just give it a little time." Gabrielle gave her a half-smile and she left, leaving her alone to process things.

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