The Squib’s Tale
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?
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.
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.
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?
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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,
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!!!