The Sugar Quill
Author: Lady Narcissa (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Halloween  Chapter: Default
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.



Disclaimer: I thank Mistress Rowling from the bottom of my heart for creating a character I love enough to want to write and into whose brain I continue to crawl.

This story ©2004 by Lady Narcissa. As always, special thanks to my beta-woman, Corgi.

Nothing quite matches flying over the towns and villages on a crisp autumn night, stars shining bright overhead, nothing to disturb you, nothing to care about. No worries, just the wind whipping through your hair and your leather jacket zippered tight against the night's coolness. Even the sounds of your motorbike are muffled, hidden to human ears down below. The moon sits a careless sliver above the clouds, not full, no worries there. Nothing to take care of, no one to wolf-sit, not tonight.

Tonight is for me. Tonight is for flying.

After all the bullshit, all the nonsense, all the precautions. Sirius, do it this way, Sirius, don't do that. Be the secret-keeper; don't be the secret-keeper. Go into hiding. Stay careful. Stay out in the open. Go to Godric's Hollow. Don't go outside, don't visit your friends. You-Know-Who's out there.

Well, that's a big deal, isn't it. It's Halloween; everyone and their brother are out there. No advance intelligence says that Voldemort's any more of a problem tonight than any other night. It's Halloween, it's Halloween 1981, and things are good. Life is very good. And a little later I'll go check on my godson as I promised.

But for now it's me and my motorcycle and the moon and stars and night air, and the absolute unfettered freedom that comes with it. There's no war and there are no worries. No worries. No worries.

Down below lights are blinking, and Muggle children all over the world are dressed as witches and wizards for this night only. Down below people are sleeping, or they're star-gazing, or they're watching television or reading or snogging or eating a late dinner. None of them are looking up at the sky for a flying motorbike. And even if they saw it they wouldn't believe it. I have to retire it: those are Dumbledore's orders. Lose the bike, Sirius, or leave the Order. Never fly it again.

So I do it anyway: one last flight. One last taste of the wind through my hair, the chill on my skin, the view from up here. One last one. Because beneath all the trappings and any polite behaviour or accession to demands I might muster, I am a rebel to the core.


This bike can traverse all of England in a single night, it's that good. I tinkered with it for a couple of years, putting the spellwork into place. First to make it fly, then to make it soundless-on-demand, then to make it nearly invisible during flight. Oh, it can still be ridden in the Muggle style, although I'm not keen to spend the time it takes to travel that way on the ground. James let me keep it in his garage, first while we were still at school, our last year. Hidden away under a protective tarpaulin, his parents didn't know. His cousins didn't know. And certainly Lily didn't know until we told her.

I never did like trying to keep secrets from Lily. She's smart enough to figure out most anything and I know that between the two of us, James and I can't keep a straight face lying to her anyway. What's the point. I could have loved her; I could have loved any girl at Hogwarts. But James is the one who fell for Lily and I like that it turned out that way. They're well-suited. Lily keeps James in line, or so she thinks; he makes her about the happiest woman in the world, so long as he's not trying vainly to impress her, which he still does. Always has. Ever since we were fifth-years and he used to scribble her initials all over his parchments when he thought no one was looking. Sweet, that, in a very pathetic sort of way.

So yes, I could have loved Lily Evans, but that's not me. I don't love people, not that way. Ask anyone who knows me to give you five words that define me and they're likely to be the same five: Rash. Reckless. Brave. Loyal. Opinionated. Occasionally someone might throw in 'handsome' or 'selfish' or even 'bastard,' and I guess I would deserve them all. But for me, love is a game of chase. There's no satisfaction in actually achieving the goal--it's all in the getting there. There might be a rather fine snog at the end of the hunt, it's true, but I've yet to find the person that makes me want to give up the game. I'm so far from ready for that, even though from time to time I look at what Lily and James have and smile from somewhere deep inside. What I treasure most about them is my godson. I love Harry in a way I never thought possible: he's the one person in this world I'll do anything for.

Except change his nappies.

(I suppose I'd even do that if pressed.)


Cut your hair, Sirius. Dress like a proper wizard. Mind your mother. Mind your father. You got sorted into what house? You don't belong here. You're no son of ours, burn you right off the family tree, we will. Young master does not deserve his mother's attention. Young master is an abomination. No, Aunt, I'm not inviting Cousin Sirius to my wedding; I'd be the laughing stock of all London if he were there! Mother, Sirius is picking on me again, he won't let me use his wand. Get out of our house, you sorry excuse for a son. You want to leave? Go. Don't ever come back. This is no longer your home.

You're no son of ours.

Thank God for small favours.

Thank God for James and his family, and for Remus and his family, and for Peter and his family.

Thank God for Dumbledore; thank God for Hogwarts.

Thank God for Uncle Alphard and his gift.

You can't choose the family you're born into, but thank God you can choose the family you surround yourself with once that original family has disowned you. I'm not so bloody awful: I'm cheeky and arrogant, certainly, but are those fatal flaws? The wind doesn't think so and the stars don't care. You get named after a star and that comes with big expectations. You get named after the brightest star in the night sky and the expectations only grow and grow. There was no pleasing them. The whole lot of them are crazy, anyway.

Thank God I didn't turn out that way.


It's past midnight, I head to Godric's Hollow. I've been going over the plan in my head for days now: Check in on Harry, check in on James and Lily. Lose the motorbike. Find yourself a nice place to go into hiding; make sure you have a trustworthy secret-keeper. Dumbledore offered and so did Remus. Remus has enough on his plate, though; James can do it now that I'm not secret-keeper to him any more.

We talked it over, the whole issue of who'd be best as James and Lily's secret-keeper. Seemed to everyone that I'm the obvious choice, aren't I. James's best friend. I'm not afraid of the ramifications; there is no bloody way in hell I'll ever give up James and Lily's whereabouts. But this nagging at the back of my mind--it's all tied in with Dumbledore and my motorbike and his talk about things connecting too readily to other things, and I know the same applies to people. One person leads to another one too easily and though I would die before I give up the location of my best friend and his wife and my godson, still, it gnaws at me like some sort of rodent. Rodent. Wormtail. Peter. Peter would make the perfect secret-keeper. He's not loud enough or strong enough or even competent enough to attract Voldemort's attention. No one in their right mind would ever suspect that James and Lily made Peter their secret-keeper if we don't tell anyone. Let them think it's me. One level of indirection is better than none: elementary strategy.

So Peter it is and we've all agreed to tell no one; this frees up James nicely to be my secret-keeper. We're to do that in two days, on my birthday. It's his gift to me. Or so he says, and we can do it without Dumbledore knowing. One more spell unraveled by the team of Potter and Black, and damn, we're good. Very good.

I remember when I first met James, after our first-year sorting at Hogwarts. Small skinny runt of a boy he was; our dormitory was a study in contrasts. I knew there was no way in hell I would follow in the family footsteps and end up wearing green and silver. And as surely as they'd been glad to see me go when the house-elf put me and my trunk on the Hogwarts Express--neither parent interested enough to see me off, not the one they were glad to get rid of--the Sorting Hat broke my family's tradition in an instant.

I was glad, though. Even at that age I didn't want to be anything like them. When Regulus followed he could happily become a Slytherin; he'd fit right in. Make Mum and Dad so proud.

But not me. Not their big disappointment. They could barely wait until I was gone, and I knew that school might actually become an escape for me. Especially if my great-great-grandfather's portrait left me alone. Fortunately, Phineas stayed mostly in Dumbledore's office, though I got to know that place readily enough. Funny how my life has stayed bound in so many ways to Dumbledore's. I'm sure it tickles my parents pink... or rather, green. That's their colour.

Green, green and silver. Slytherin colours all the way. There's even, I notice with some amusement, a silver cloud not too far below me reflecting green into the night sky. How bloody poetic.

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