- FIVE MUGGLE PHOTOS
- There's a photo of a skinny girl, no more than 4 years old. Her hair is cut short, and Marlene smiles at the photo. She had such long and beautiful hair just a month before the picture, as her mother loved to remind her every time a picture from that year was shown. Little Marlene had various scrapes across her bare legs, and smudges of dirt caking the little yellow sundress. Even though the picture was stagnant, the child Marlene radiated life through her smile and bright green eyes. Life, and just a hint of overtly troublesome curiousity.
- There's a photo of a girl, buried in a large sweater. She's small and curled up as compact as can be in a plush oversized armchair. There's a book in her hand, a book that was large enough to look awkward in her tiny hands. This was almost the only time that Marlene was still or calm as a child, when she was engrossed in a book. It was the only time she was able to slow her mind down to a near halt.
- There's a photo of a bright blue sea, with waves cresting and crashing into rocks of the jetty. A red and white lighthouse dotted the back of the picture. The focus of the picture wasn't quite correct, and there was a small spot on the corner that was over developed. But Marlene kept it. It was the first photo she had taken with the camera her father gave her for her 9th birthday.
- There's a photo of her trunk. Or, it's a photo of her sitting on her trunk. The grey knee highs slouched down her skinny calves. The silver and blue tie was only slightly crooked, and right before the picture was taken, half of her hair that she had pinned back fell in front of her face. The picture had been her mother's idea. She wanted to see her precious Marlene all dressed up in her school gear, since they were the only place that had managed to force her little girl to wear a skirt for an extended period of time.
- There's a photo of Marlene all in black. She's standing next to two small headstones, a red rose in front of each one. In this photo, there's no trace of the frivolity of the former pictures. The only emotion that lays in the back of her green eyes is tense anger. Too much anger for a sixteen year old to have to hold on to. Anger at two senseless deaths. Anger at herself for putting her parents in this position, by being who she was
- FOUR HOGWARTS MOMENTOS
- There's a stuffed lion dressed up in Ravenclaw garb. The other third years had always joked with Marlene about how she seemed so much more a Lion than a Claw. She was brash, and didn't think before she spoke. She enjoyed running about and playing tiny little pranks that almost never hurt anyone. There was maybe that one time that the fifth year had to go to the hospital wing, but it ended up fine. Mostly. The joke used to irritate Marlene, even more than the nickname Marlie. In the younger years, she used to fly off the handle at the joke, but as she got older she kind of learned to embrace the idea. She wasn't quite sure she wanted to fit in with the girls in her year anyways.
- There's a banner, the material bright royal blue. In bronze paint, the words "Go Eagles!" were in a messy paint across the front. It was from Marlene's first ever quidditch match she attended. And it was from that moment that Marlene was hooked. Marlene had always enjoyed the outdoors, and part of her favorite memories growing up was football with her father. But the speed, the energy of it. The crowd screaming in a madness that made Mar love it even more. It was then that Marlene knew she HAD to be on the team. And she put the extra nervous energy she carried around with her into improving her flying skills. She didn't make it her second year. And only made the reserves her third year. But by her fourth, Marlene was a starting Chaser. And a damn good one, if she didn't say so herself.
- There's a glass butterbeer bottle. She had this delicious beverage for the first time her fourth year when she managed to make it to her first Hogsmeade trip. She didn't quite get along too well with the girls in her year and house, so she didn't see any point in going by herself. But after spending some time on the quidditch team, she made friends with people who convinced her that no, she wouldn't rather be in the castle reading. Or out on the pitch flying. And she saved the bottle, because dear lord that was a delicious beverage.
- There's a small origami bird. It still slightly flaps it's wings if you prod it well enough. It was something her a friend gave her while in detention in her fifth year. She didn't spend too much time in detention, as Mar attempted to be smart enough to not be caught. But this particular detention Marlene wore with pride. She had earned it after using some rather un-ladylike language towards one of her peers. The snot was going on about her pureblood and how it was miraculous that the mudbloods could manage to keep up. And even be sorted into the more academically desirable houses. Marlene, not exactly afraid of speaking her mind, turned to the brat and let the words flow. It landed her a detention, but she had never been so proud to saunter to an evening full of undesirable tasks.
- THREE FAMILY HEIRLOOMS
- There's an Iron key. This key is precious only in symbolism to Marlene. It used to unlock the front gate to her family's garden. It was passed on to her when her parents passed away, as a symbol of her ownership of the house when she came of age. Clearly there are legal documents, but her mother was a person who relied heavily on symbolism. Everything she did, she wanted to have a deeper meaning. Marlene spent quite a bit of time with her mother out in the garden as a child. The garden was her mother's pride and joy, though Marlene didn't quite feel the same dedication to it. She did enjoy the time it allowed her with her mother, and liked the feel of the sun on her skin and felt more alive outdoors than in.
- There's a simple strand of pearls. Marlene is not the jewelry type, and definitely not the type to adorn pearls on a regular basis. Her father gave her mother these for their tenth wedding anniversary. Her mother loved them and wore them whenever she could. They were not a wealthy family, and such an item was something her mother cherished. And the way her father beamed when he saw Judith wearing them was enough to make Marlene want to cry just thinking about it.
- There's a child's Chelsea Football Club jersey. It has a small tear towards one of the sleeves that was repaired neatly by her mother. And a few scattered grass stains. While Marlene knows this wasn't a family heirloom, it was something that she holds close to her heart. Many days her father, her brother and her spent listening to the Chelsea games on the radio. For her 8th birthday, he was able to get tickets for the family to see the team play in Chelsea, and it was one of Marlene's favorite memories of her childhood.
- TWO LETTERS
- There's a letter from the Improper Use of Magic Office. Marlene received it the summer before her sixth year. After receiving her O in Charms, she was inspired to experiment with creating some of her own. It had always been her favorite subject, and the high marks made her a it bold. Most of her experiments were focused on the theory of self-created Charms. The idea of tweaking existing standards to fit more customized ideals. But one day she was focusing a little too hard on the theory, and accidentally performed the charm with a bit of unbridled wandless magic. Needless to say, she received a nice little warning letter from the office of Improper Use of Magic.
- There's a letter from Hogwarts. It wasn't anything special, or she wasn't expecting it to be. It was to announce her texts for her Sixth year, the first one of NEWTS studies. She almost didn't even bother reading through it for a while, or that was until she felt the weight of the badge clunk into her hands. Her eyes widened and she almost shrieked aloud with joy. Over the past five year, Quidditch had become her passion, her joy. And now she was the quidditch captain for the Ravenclaw team. It was a moment that she locked away in her mind for future patronus creation.
- ONE SELF INDULGENT MEMOIR
- There's a notebook.
- "Not too long ago, I realized that we were coming upon a time in our lives where we were in danger of losing quite a bit that should be near and dear to us as a community. War is upon us, and one of the greatest losses in the midst of battle is the memories and lives of those who may not live to tell the tale. As a child of the rebellion, I know my individual story does not matter. But I would like, not to sound overly morbid, that if I do not survive the upcoming fight for my right to exist in the magical world for my story to be a part of the collection of tales of those who fought. Of those who realized their individual lives were not greater than those of the whole.
- But any good story needs a foundation. An insight into the reason why the event you are about to delve into are taking place. As write these words now, I am still a student. I am safely hidden behind the wards of institution. I'm entering my seventh and final year of protection. The last year I can spend safely honing my skills to serve the fight better. The last year of frivolity, and the last year that I'll truly feel safe. Because Hogwarts is absolutely the safest place to be as of this moment.
- But my story begins like many witches. I lived in Bromley, in a quaint little house with a garden and mother and a father and brother. I was loved, and nurtured. My brother was older, and I thought the world of him. I lived for the moments that my dad and Charlie and I would run around the yard playing with the football. It was something he carried from the life he had before magic. And I cherished it because of that. It was this little snapshot into the life that was so foreign. I loved hearing my dad talk about it, or visiting my grandparents. Charlie hated it. He was constantly bored. But there was just so much to learn about their world.
- My mum tried, but I lived trying to keep up with the boys. I constantly was running around and getting my pretty little dresses dirty. The only time I kept still was when I was reading. Or helping Mum in the garden. But even then, it was a short lived peace. My mum used to tell me that my brain worked too quickly for my own good. But there was just so much to see, and learn. I wanted to soak it all in. I wanted to know everything there was to know.
- Hogwarts was an amazing place. A whole world of knowledge I have never even begun to imagine. I didn't want to leave my family, but the thirst and curiosity for this world pushed me. Charlie was there, but he was three years older. That's nearly an eternity when you're children.When it came down to sorting, there was a momentary pause, the hat saw potential for great bravery in my future. But also my insatiable need to know more. Without a hesitation, I didn't care where I went, as long as I was here in this environment. As long as I got to learn to be a witch. I don't regret my choice, but sometimes I wonder if my life at school would have been easier being a lion.
- The girls in my house, and specifically my year were interesting. It wasn't an overwhelmingly welcoming environment. The older Eagles were there for us if we had academic questions, or needed help adjusting to the idea of magic as an object of study. But they were much more about pushing you out of the nest and letting you learn how to fly on your own. And the girls in my house seemed to be perfect. Prim, proper, ladylike. Not exactly an archetype I find myself conforming to on a regular basis. So my first couple of years I simply buried myself in my interests. In my studies, in books, in learning to be an excellent flier. I was polite enough, though I definitely think I made myself stand out in a bad way when my temper would explode. I found that the politics of blood status was something that I found as a pet project of my own. I can only imagine how it appeared to them at the time. This girl, quiet and anti-social, until she blew up at you for being ignorant and a purist. I didn't lend myself to making friends in that way.
- But come my third year I was the reserve player for the quidditch team, and I allowed myself to open up to those on the team. I made a friend or two through the team, though this was also the year I started to become close with Fabian. Or Fab as he hates me to call him. It started with being partners in classes, because we got on well. And then we became friends, bonding over sports. I tried so hard to show him what it was that I liked about football, and then gave up and we would talk about Quidditch instead. Or dueling. Or anything really. He was much more social than I was, so I occasionally felt bad that he'd drag me to hang with his friends. But I got there. I got to the point where I considered most of them my friends.
- My third and fourth year were probably the best I had in Hogwarts. I have so many good memories that I can't even begin to describe them all. And then I made a choice my fifth year that had horrid consequences. I stood up for myself, more than just snapping at the snobby girls who felt that being born into a stream of inbred magical families made them better than me. I started actively voicing my opinion, through a ridiculous underground publication that I started with a few other muggleborn students. We did it anonymously and most of what we published was really harmless. But no one is anonymous, and little my 16 year old self know, it put me on the map, marked me as a known sympathizer to the blood traitors. I should have known, because I got the idea from a girl who lived down my street over the summer. She had spent all year studying abroad in the States. And there was so much strife and anger over there. Even though she wasn't a citizen there, she talked and talked about all the protests and exciting things she had done. I was hooked. And it's why they killed my parents.
- Sure it built up from more than that. I attended a protest the summer before my fifth year. I snuck in of course, because who is really going to let a fifteen year old at that sort of thing. And I voiced my opinions loud and proud. I had never felt more alive about anything. But I paid the price dearly. I came home from a weekend on the coast with some friends, and that sickening mark flew above my house. I can remember every second as if I was living it this moment. The nausea, the tears, the denial. I walked in and the house was more calm that I had ever felt it. My mother.. my father. They were both dead. Their bodies were contorted into poses of fear and confusion. And Charlie, they decided a different fate for him. But what they did was worse. They broke his mind. They broke his soul. And now he is going to live the rest of his life in St. Mungos because of me. Because I spoke out. I only buried two family members, but it might as well have been three.
- I moved in with my aunt and uncle for that summer, and it was the darkest time of my life. They tried so hard to be there for me, but I was broken. I felt guilty and ashamed of myself. No matter how many times my Aunt tried to tell me it wasn't my fault, I wouldn't listen. I couldn't possibly see how it wasn't. I just ran from everything. I ran for hours at a time, because I wondered if I could just run away from it all. And I buried myself in the study of Dark Charms. Tweaking jinxes, creating hexes. I didn't acknowledge it, but I knew what I wanted to do with them. Revenge became a constant underlying thought in my mind.
- But when I got my Hogwarts letter, I knew I couldn't run. If this was their way of trying to force me into silence, I would just have to fight harder. I couldn't let others go through that same thing. So I focused on school in a whole different light. I went back with a purpose. Charms, DADA, Potions, Transfiguration. I was learning to fight. I was learning to win.
- Quidditch was the thing that kept me young. I grew up too much that summer, and I think the only thing that kept me from completely hardening inside was the position of captain. I was too tough the first month or so. The idea of leadership was an uncomfortable fit at first, but an intervention (or two) from loving friends helped turn me from drill sergeant to leader. From soldier to student again. I loved the sport, and I still do and it helped me turn back into the child of 17 I was. But I never lost focus.
- But it wasn't until the next summer that I really became whole again. While quidditch was a wonderful distraction, I didn't ever really forget about my parents, because how could I? The want I had aching inside of me was nothing more than for them to not have died in vain. Aunt Sarah could see it, better than I could. She knew I wanted to be absolved for my part in my parents murder. And it was then that she really helped save me. She helped fuel my purpose more than I could have imagined, and she helped me become prouder of my family than I ever thought possible. She showed me the letters.
- And in that moment, I realized I knew so little about my mother. I also discovered that she and I were more alike than I thought possible. I spent the whole day reading my mothers neat script, and reveling in how she vaguely alluded to her activities. Each letter became less nondescript, and I could tell that she was scared. Scared for Charlie, and for me. And for my father. Judith McKinnon was fighting. She didn't say what she did, but when Marlene got to the last letter that was sent it all became very clear. Judith McKinnon knew she was going to die. It's why she sent Marlene away that weekend. She had sent Charlie to Aunt Sarah's, because she was afraid he'd try and fight. And she tried to talk my father into leaving, but he wouldn't go.
- Aunt Sarah explained that Charlie figured it out. After a day of helping around the farm with mundane tasks, he asked her what was happening. And she couldn't lie. I could tell her heart was breaking, because she felt as responsible for Charlie's condition as I had about the whole thing. I was a basket of emotions, racing from pride, to pain in an instant. My mother, the demure and kind woman she was, did not ever give off the air of a political fighter. But she fought for my father. And she fought for my brother. She fought for me.
- And now, graduation looms over my head. Knowing what I know, there is no choice about what will happen after I leave school. I know it's only a matter of time before I have to be a soldier for real. No playing at rebellion any more. But I have time. I will take this time and hold it dear. Because this is war, and this may be the last year I have left."
a guest Feb 9th, 2013 20 Never
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