The Sugar Quill
Author: Newbia The Elf  Story: The Annual Black Christmas Dinner  Chapter: Chapter One: The Train Station
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Chapter One: The Train Station

Chapter One: The Train Station

 

            The ground was icy and everyone shivered a little as they slid off the train. King’s Cross seemed full, as a hundred or more students cried and laughed and caught snowflakes on their tongues. They wished each other a happy Christmas, even if the wish was as futile for them as it was for Sirius Black.

 

            It was the sixth time that Sirius had departed Hogwarts to spend another horrid holiday with his family, and that did not make it any easier to leave all his friends behind. James and Peter assured him that they would send emergency sweets, as they always did, (Remus wasn’t there; the lucky boy had to stay at Hogwarts where it was safer to transform) and told increasingly ridiculous plans of how he would escape, as they always did, until their families came and whisked them off to winter camps in France or warm fires in London. Sirius was then alone.

 

            The alone part wasn’t really all that bad; it delayed the inevitable ride home. Andromeda had come to pick him up, but she and Narcissa were currently busy chatting with the old school chums and had gotten lost in the fun, as she always did. Bellatrix was there as well, keeping to the corners with two others. The trio was made up of a boy (his name was unknown, as Bellatrix didn’t talk about her friends much—not that Sirius wanted to talk) and a young man—Rudolph or Rolf or something like that—who had come to pick Kerr up. Sirius let his cousins continue on; it was best to let them enjoy the friendship he would be deprived of for the week to come.

 

            Bellatrix, of course, could not let that happen. The little group disbanded; she yelled at Andromeda to stop fondling Tonks and get a move on before the Portkey left without them. Andromeda extricated herself from the boy she had been saying good-bye to and whispered something into his ear. She fled back to Bellatrix’s side before he could react. Andromeda herself was keeping her head down so no one could see her face.

 

The Blacks walked out of the station in a still silence. Bellatrix was, in a complete reversal of roles, the “cheery” one, if she could ever be compared at all to her normally glowing sister. She held a two-way mirror in her hands and whispered to it almost reverentially, but the dark, glossy screen of her hair created a shield around the face of her companion and muffled their conspiracies. If her hair wasn’t so thick and her relatives paying attention, they might have noticed how her heavily painted eyes crinkled up in an honestly friendly, joyful expression, quite unlike her usually dour face.

Sirius would have announced that she looked psychotic and Andromeda would have been pleased with her progress in making her little sister a little less crazy and unsociable. But all four of the Blacks were caught up in their own personal demons or angels at the moment, and could not notice the silence except for their own frenzied thoughts about the events of the train station.

 

            Meliflua, the family spinster, was at the back alley to greet them with two Portkeys in the shape of beautiful white Muggle boots. She quickly stopped examining the buttons and heels and blushed.

 

            “We’re leaving at seven sharp, dears,” she said, almost whispering.

 

            “Thanks, Miss Meliflua,” Andromeda said, in a far louder voice. She smiled truly for the first time, examining the shoes. If there was one thing the Black sisters had in common, they could appreciate beauty. Of course, Narcissa and Bellatrix wouldn’t be caught dead admiring any Muggle creation less than the works of Michelangelo, but Andromeda was friends with muggle-borns and Arthur Weasley, and they has given her an obsession with Muggle culture, especially fashion and slang.

 

 

Meliflua was rarely talked about, as not refusing to marry had almost gotten her burned off the family tree. But everyone was invited to the Black Annual Pre-Christmas Dinner. It was an Event, and the entire family—everyone from Uncle Alphard to Half-Cousin Jyll—somehow managed to show up and fit into Grimmauld Place. The wine flowed like the gossip; the food came from the “best, most expensive and respected caterer” to exist since the last party; to put it simply, fun was had by all.

 

‘All’ not including people who despised the rest of the Blacks, naturally.

 

 

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