The Sugar Quill
Author: FleaBittenGrey  Story: The Squib's Tale  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.

To the Squib Herself

The Squib’s Tale

Summary: After her testimony at Harry’s hearing, Arabella Figg returns to her home, where another member of the Order is waiting for her. Free time and teatime leads to Arabella sharing her life story, from family deaths, to her current position in the world of wizards.

 

 

* per aspera ad astra *

 

Earl gray? My favorite too, miss. We’ve got some time before you have to leave, it’s the least I could do… anything I wish to talk about? Why, not really, miss. My life? Well, that’s a sad, sorry tale if there ever was one. I suppose. Have a seat, there, and—no, not there! Yes, well. Where to begin?

I can’t possibly express how disappointed my family was when they learned I was a Squib. I can recall the moment vividly in my mind to this very day.

If a Wizarding child had not shown his first signs of magic upon reaching the age of eight, he was given a test, as my parents explained to me when it came to my turn. In the “old” days, children would be subjected to pain to see if their first sign would appear.

But my parents did not believe in that. Instead, I had to move a pile of pebbles across a room only using my pinky toe. The purpose being that, if the child was magical, they would get frustrated enough to use magic to move the pebbles. My brothers and sister did not need to take the test, as they had shown their first signs while still toddlers. I, however, spent three hours moving every single rock from one end of the living room to the other. Yes, it was rather frustrating. I’d bet my bottom knut you would think so too!

Reluctant to admit the inevitable, my family invented other tests, and I failed each one of them. Finally, they gave up and concluded the only possible explanation that made any sense: I was a Squib. And I would have to live with it for the rest of my life. No sign of a Hogwarts letter when I reached the age of eleven confirmed this horrible truth. No, I did not feel vengeful.

“Oh, Arabella,” my mother would sigh with the most regret she would ever allow me to hear, usually on the days my sister and brother would return to Hogwarts after breaks. I always thought I knew what she was thinking: “How could this have happened?” Meaning me. But I later came to realize that she was probably wishing I was normal, not for her own sake, or the family name’s sake, but because she wanted me to be able to enjoy what my siblings were getting to experience. What is wrong with you, girl?

Then, however, I would never answer; I couldn’t answer. I didn’t ask to be born non-magical. My family was not Pureblood, so my being a Squib was not considered a crime against my family honor. However, we were pretty close to being Pureblood, and it was enough to let each of my older relatives give me a slight disappointed cluck every time I visited.

          These looks were enough to make me boil with rage on the inside. How dare they? They were not the ones who had to listen to the wonderful tales my older siblings spun about life at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the school I should have been accepted to had I been born like everybody else, the school I would never see. You make one more comment about my sanity or wishes for vengeance and Squib or not, miss, you will not be seeing the light of day anytime soon!

          “It’s not fair!” I would complain to my mother, or, more often, my dolls. “Why me? Why can’t I be magical instead of Lucas?” Lucas was my brother, the closest one out of my three siblings to my age. We used to play together all the time, but when he went to Hogwarts, he didn’t have time for me anymore. After his first year, when I realized he no longer wanted to play pretend, he eventually became someone who I just got into rows with.

          My dolls wouldn’t answer, of course, and mother would try to calm my anger, but I could see there was more than a trace of sadness in her eyes. I knew she loved me, but I couldn’t help but think that she wished I were different, wished I was like her and was off at magic school with her other children. And it broke me inside.

          Since I couldn’t go to Hogwarts, and I couldn’t go to Muggle school, my mother would frequently try and teach me things that magic was not needed for-sort of a home schooling. We would have history of magic lessons, just like my sister and brothers did at school, and also potion making, because proper potions do not need magic itself, just a little magical ability in the potion-maker, the right combinations of ingredients, and enough time to stew. It would always be with my mother, never my father.

My father wasn’t at home much, as he worked as an Auror for the Department of Magical Law Enforcement in the Ministry of Magic. When he was home, he had nothing to say on the subject about which I ranted frequently except, “Well, Arabella, you were born different. And that is that.”

          I loved my father. It sounds cruel, but I think I loved him a little bit more than my mother. Perhaps that’s why she grew so sad when she saw my father and I talking, eating, or reading together. We didn’t have to speak; we just enjoyed each other’s company. Of course, with my mother you had to be talking about something, or it was awkward. I believe that, after my eldest brother died, she didn’t want to feel alone anymore.

My eldest brother was Zachary. Zachary was also an Auror, and had just completed training in early May when he was sent out on a mission to spy on Grindelwald, a dark wizard that had gained power and support with alarming rapidity. He was murdered as soon as he Apparated within ten feet of Grindelwald’s camp of fellow dark-worshippers. He had just turned twenty.

My mother never did get completely over it, and neither did my only sister, Margot. She was only sixteen when it happened. She and Zachary were very close, Margot told me once. I remember because I walked into her room asking to borrow some newts’ eyes for a pretend spell I was making for mother to cheer her up, and found her crying on her bed. It was the first summer after Zachary was killed. She explained to my young mind that Zachary had been her best friend, and that she had never had a chance to say goodbye to him, as she and my other brother, Lucas, had been at school when it happened.

          My whole family was in a rough spot for a while. Money was tight, and the whole Wizarding economy was suffering. Mother and Father were fighting a lot. Grindelwald’s hold over every dark creature or wizard was becoming tighter still. But then things began to change for the better. Grindelwald’s main supporters were slowly being defeated. Father accepted a promotion and got to work from home. He was able to spend more time with my mother, Margot, Lucas and me. Margot was never the same, but was coping, and to take her mind off it she was aiming to be a Healer. Lucas had his sights set on being an Auror; I knew Father would never let him. And then, five years later, when I was fifteen, Albus Dumbledore vanquished Grindelwald. Dumbledore was a teacher at Hogwarts, and was rumored to be the most powerful wizard in the world. There were celebrations in the street for days on end, and soon everything resumed to somewhat normal. People began to put their lives back together again. The world became a safer place.

When I was twenty-five, I decided it was time for me to move out of my parents’ home, get a flat and start my new independent life. Mother and Father paid for everything for me, half-pitying, I suspect, and half-worried about how I would manage without magical people near me in case anything, Merlin-forbid, should happen. But, to make it easier on them and myself, I moved to a small Wizarding community, Hogsmeade, who accepted me as a Squib, and who made a place for me. I was never alone, and everyone was so kind, helping me with things that could be done easily with magic and trickily by hand. It was one of the best times of my life. I acquired a few cats to keep me company at night, as I was always fond of felines. I even had a few child-minding jobs. My most frequent job was caring for a young boy by the name of Mundungus Fletcher. Mr. and Mrs. Fletcher had quite a handful with that one, which was perhaps why they never had any other children. Understandably, they tried to go out often without their son. Mundungus was most certainly… interesting. Yes, Dung. You know him? Well, I’m not in the best position to say, but he’s not all that attractive.

I even met someone for myself…a male companion. Faddius Figg and I met at the Hog’s Head one night. He lived in Brazil and was visiting his relatives. I fell in love instantly, and we were married within a month. Faddius was tall, dark, and handsome; witty, brave, and loving… he was, in short, perfect. We had been on our honeymoon in Brazil only a few days when I woke up one morning and Faddius was gone. The locals and I searched for days, but to no avail. The theory was that a Lethifold had gotten him, and was too full to eat me with Faddius and the silver candlesticks also missing. I found out much later from an old friend that he was living in Mexico with a blonde model from Witch Weekly named Tiffany. It took some time, but I returned to my home in Hogsmeade and got over Faddius. I never fell in love again, nor changed my last name. Every time I hear the name Faddius, though: Oooh, it sets my blood boiling.

          As I reached the age of forty, You-Know-Who rose.

          When he came to power, he had managed to draw whatever was left of Grindelwald’s old supporters to him, and gained many new ones for himself. Voldemort’s reign was terrible. He loathed Muggleborns and Muggles, and was passionate and determined to see them purged from the world. There seemed to be no humanity whatsoever left in his body; maybe there was none from the start. The attacks he had commanded…the hate of his army of dark wizards, or “Death Eaters”…it was too much. No one was safe anymore. The Unforgivable Curses were being used as frequently as simple cleaning spells.

My sister was attacked while walking to the Apparition point in St. Mungo’s hospital. She lived, but what she got was worse than death. Margot was termed ‘incurably insane’, and remains, to this day, in the extreme care locked ward of the hospital she once worked at. I still visit her every third Tuesday of the month. She recognizes me as a “sick patient” of hers and nothing more.

          The war continued; people died, and there was nothing anyone could do about it. My father, as a retired Auror with contacts, told me that everyone was doing everything they could, but it just wasn’t enough. He’d lost all hope, as did many other people. I tried to restore morale in my family, but how could I, when I myself was beginning to lose any faith I possessed. I’m sorry…this is very hard to talk about. No, I don’t think you could understand. Give me a minute, please.

          My father went on one last mission, although, technically retired a few years before, it was more of a favor than anything. It turned out to work in his favor. On it, he arrested the Death Eater responsible for attacking my sister and torturing her with numerous doses of the Cruciatus Curse. He had come home to celebrate. Lucas and my mother were already there, and I was running late. I arrived at my old house to find it in ruins. Smoldering ash and smoke was all that remained: that, and the green skull and snake suspended above my childhood home. The three members left in my family had been instantly killed. I was alone. Thank you, dear. That’s very kind of you.

          Albus Dumbledore came to me a week after the funeral. He told me about the Order of the Phoenix, which consisted of a diverse group of people who wanted to end Voldemort’s reign of terror. He named a few of the members, and I was impressed; many were important ministry members, Aurors, or powerful witches and wizards. You can imagine my shock when Dumbledore asked me to join. I made up my mind to join the Order on the spot.

Close to a decade went by, and it seemed as if nothing we did would stop Voldemort. I was assigned to keeping a low profile in Hogsmeade, and report to Dumbledore at Hogwarts when needed. I had become quite good at potions, one of the few magical things I could do, and frequently brewed healing potions, truth potions, and others needed for the Order of the Phoenix. Also, my cats, well trained to communicate with me, were helpful in spying on some of the…shall we say, less-savory inhabitants of Hogsmeade, who Dumbledore expected to be up to no good. No one suspected a thing.

Then, after eight years of my involvement with the Order, an amazing thing happened. Voldemort was destroyed. “You-know-who is dead!” were the cries over the WWN, the headlines of the Evening Prophet, the chants of the people in the streets. I remember hurrying off to the headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix to meet with everyone. It was there that I learned what truly happened. Lily and James Potter were dead, and little Harry was the one who had defeated Lord Voldemort. Of course it came as a shock! Harry was just a baby, and everyone had thought that Dumbledore would be the one to kill him.

Dumbledore, that same night, told me he had planned to leave Harry in the care of his relatives on Lily Potter’s side, who were Muggles. He also told me that he suspected Voldemort was not dead, but simply weakened to the extent of losing his body. Dumbledore needed someone to do a job for him, and he had a notion that I was the right one to accomplish it. Though I had my doubts, I agreed to help him. This was a job I could not pass up for the world.

          I, a simple Squib, was to be in charge of keeping an eye on the savior of the entire race of wizard kind. I was to live across the street from his aunt and uncle’s house, and just had to alert any signs of danger to Dumbldore, ensure that Harry Potter never wandered off far alone, and that, most importantly, he did not know who I was. I was to masquerade as a batty old woman with too many cats. This distressed me, of course, but I kept my word to Professor Dumbledore.

          So, for fourteen years now, I have lived in Little Whinging nearby Harry Potter; I have looked out for him, watched how his so-called “family” treats him, and, although he does not know it, I have come to both respect and care a great deal for him. My life here has been anything but exciting, but it is still satisfying to know that I am doing what little I can in the infinite struggle of good versus evil.

I will never forget how Lord Voldemort mercilessly ripped apart my family. I will never know if they were random killings, or if he had added Squibs to his stereotypical list of Muggles, Muggleborns, and half bloods. Perhaps my family members were made victims because of Zachary’s and my father’s careers as Aurors. I know that I could have helped more in that war, if I was only born a witch.

Well, miss, not the best story, but it’s my story. Have to be going, do you? Thanks? No thanks needed, miss. Thank you for keeping an old lady company. No, watch out for that—it’s all right, he’s fine, just a little scared. Goodbye, Miss Tonks.

 

 

~*~

So that’s it. What do you think? Not my first story ever, but my first on the Sugarquill. Please review and thank my wonderful, gracious, patient beta, Helen!!!

 

~Emily

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