Author’s Note: They
say when you have writers block to just write anything, so I’ve ventured out of the Marauder’s universe to give
this a shot. I think I’ve been reading far too much Theater of the Absurd
lately though, because this story is chock full of dramatic silences- Pinter
would be proud. Hopefully it’s not too many. Thanks to lucyjekyll for clearing up my
A Glass of Water
“Don’t you ever sleep?”
Ginny Weasley padded blearily into the kitchen at Grimmauld Place and stopped in the middle of the room.
She reached up with one hand to scratch the back of her neck while her eyes
fell on the only other person awake in the large house.
Sirius Black looked at the bedraggled girl, in pajamas far
too big for her, and held out a glass of water.
“Oh, no. I can get my own water.” Ginny started to move
slowly towards the sink.
“It’s for you. I prefer the stronger stuff myself.”
She stopped moving again. “For me?”
Sirius shook his head slightly. “I’ve seen you come down
here every night this week for a glass of water.”
“I know.” She hesitated and then continued, “I’ve seen you
down here every night this week when I’ve come for a glass of water.”
Sirius gestured to the empty seat across from him and placed
the glass of water in front of the seat. Ginny crossed to the spot, sat down
and ran her finger lightly around the edge of the glass, ignoring Sirius’s
glances and staring intently at the cabinets behind him, occasionally tapping
her fingers against the side of the glass. The two sat in silence for several
minutes before a wretched squeal broke the silence.
Sirius jumped as Ginny burst into giggles.
“What was that?” His wand was halfway drawn. He froze and
looked at the girl, doubled over, laughing hysterically in front of him.
She wheezed and calmed down enough to mimic running her
finger over the rim of the glass. A fresh burst of giggles caught her and
Sirius began to chuckle too as he sat back down.
Ginny continued laughing until suddenly she burst into
tears. She sat and sobbed for a moment but quickly calmed herself down. Then
the two sat in silence.
“Sorry about that.”
Sirius waved his hand dismissively. Ginny took a sip of
water from the glass.
“You hate it here, don’t you?”
Sirius hesitated and finally shrugged. “You could say that,”
he replied and then snorted. Silence fell between them again and a few moments
later Ginny silently got up, placed her glass in the sink and walked out of the
The next few nights Ginny would walk into the kitchen to
find Sirius sitting at the table and a glass of water sitting across from him.
Each night she’d sit down and stare at the cabinets, eventually drink the
water, carefully place the glass into the sink and then exit silently from the
“There’s a hinge missing from that cabinet door.” Ginny
pointed to the cabinet directly behind Sirius. He swiveled in his seat and
looked at the cabinet in question.
Ginny looked at him. “Can’t you fix it?”
“Some things are never the same again, no matter what you do
to fix them. Why bother trying?” He turned back around to look at her.
Ginny paused, drank the last of her water, placed the glass
in the sink, and walked out of the kitchen. She hesitated for a moment at the
door, her back to Sirius, shook her head slightly and then continued out of the
The next night she didn’t come down.
The next night she entered the kitchen, crossed to her spot
across from Sirius and took a long sip of water.
“I woke up Hermione last night.”
Sirius looked at her but didn’t say anything.
“She wanted to come down and get me a glass of water. I
wouldn’t let her.”
Ginny smiled sadly and finished her glass of water before
responding. “I told her the cabinet was broken.” Then she got up, placed the
glass in the sink and left the kitchen.
The following night Ginny took her seat across from Sirius
and began tapping her fingers against the side of the glass.
“What do you know about Switching Spells?”
“Hmm?” Sirius looked rather surprised by the question.
“I’ve got four feet of parchment due on them in September
and I don’t really understand…” She shrugged and then grinned, causing her face
to come alive in a manner Sirius never saw during these nightly meetings. “I’d
rather not ask Hermione to explain them.”
Sirius chuckled. “Well, let’s see then…” He pulled out his
wand and paused for a second, his face screwed up in thought. With a quick movement
of his wand, the glass of water was gone and a cabinet hinge lay before her.
With another movement, the hinge was gone and the glass of water had returned. “The
theory isn’t as difficult as it seems.”
Sirius conjured up a quill and parchment and began jotting
down key factors, explaining them as he went.
“But make sure you’re careful with the pronunciations,” he
said suddenly, his voice full of mirth. “I remember when we were learning this back
at Hogwarts. Remus has a spot of trouble with it as well. He turned James’s
ears into cacti.” He suddenly looked thoughtful. “Suppose that wasn’t so much
mispronunciation though, I believe we were aiming to transfigure cacti… though
it was supposed to be the tulips on our desks that we changed. More likely poor
aim.” Sirius shook his head as he analyzed the mistake.
Ginny smiled. “Thanks, Sirius. I need to get some sleep,
though. May I take the parchment?”
Ginny took her empty glass of water, placed in it the sink,
picked up the parchment from the table and left the kitchen.
Over the next few weeks, Ginny and Sirius continued their
ritual. Most nights they sat in a companionable silence, few or no words
exchanged. Some nights Sirius would help Ginny with her summer homework, often
offering helpful hints and amusing stories about the way a particular theory
could be bent into a weapon of mass chaos. Occasionally Ginny would miss a
night, which would be explained the following night by “I woke Hermione” and
Sirius knew not to ask questions. Those nights were always silent. Each night
she’d finish her glass of water, place it in the sink and walk out of the
After finishing her glass of water on this particular night,
Ginny got up and poured herself a second. She sat down across from Sirius
“I dream about him. About Tom – Volde – ” She took a deep
Sirius didn’t respond.
Ginny stared intently at the cabinet with the broken hinge. “I
can’t stop. I try and I try and Hermione tells me… She says it’ll be fine, that
I’m fine, but I’m not.” She finished
sounding so pitiful that Sirius couldn’t not look at her. She lowered her head
and stared at her hands. “I’m a broken hinge.”
There was a long moment of silence before Sirius responded. “You’re
not the only one.”
She inhaled sharply. “I know.
I keep telling myself to get over it. Other people have gone through worse.
Just look at Harry. Look at… you.”
“Don’t compare yourself to me.”
“I’m not. I’m only saying I’ve no right to complain… others
have had it worse.”
“That’s not the way to look at it, Ginny. How can I say
Azkaban is worse? I’ve never been possessed by sheer evil. How can you say
possession is worse? You’ve never been to Azkaban. Neither is an experience
either of us ever should’ve had.”
“I know. But you… you seem to handle it much better than I
Sirius laughed. “Ginny Weasley, I’ve been sitting down here
at this same table every night you have. It would appear to me that you and I
are in the same boat.”
Ginny took a sip of her water and they sat in silence for a
“I’m scared he’ll do it again… because I don’t know how to
stop him if he tried. Sometimes I think… I think if he tries again I’ll just…”
She paused and looked to the broken cabinet. “If I just take myself out of the
equation I can’t hurt anyone. What if I hurt someone else? Everyone who was Petrified…
I did that to them. What if he tries something else?” She looked helplessly to
Sirius. “I was so stupid. So bloody stupid.”
She took another sip of water before looking back at the
cabinet. “Why can’t you just fix that
bloody cabinet?” She slammed the glass of water back down on the table, stood
up and stalked out of the kitchen.
Sirius quietly got up, placed the glass in the sink and then
sat back down at the table.
The following night Ginny walked into the kitchen and sat
down across from Sirius. She didn’t touch her water.
“I’ve been thinking… there’s not much I can do about this
other than… try. I keep thinking that if I try hard enough, all of this will
stop bothering me, but maybe it never will. But I have to keep trying and…
maybe someday that’ll work. Or it won’t. But I’m not giving up. Some broken
things can be fixed.”
She stood up and walked out of the kitchen.
The next night, the kitchen was empty.
When Ginny came down for breakfast that morning, her eyes
wandered over to the broken cabinet. Her eyes widened as she realized that it
had a new hinge on it. It was shaped a little different from the other ones,
but it seemed as though it would work as well as the rest. She glanced over to
Sirius. He winked at her and went back to his breakfast.
Later, as the kitchen was clearing, Ginny walked over to
Sirius and said quietly, “I thought you said it couldn’t be fixed.”
He shrugged. “I thought it was worth a try.”