Also available as: Epub
Stories from the Vault
Stories and Secrets
Stories and Secrets — a follow-on to The Hero, the Widow and the Orphan
I was born in Lindisfarne — but that’s a secret — the story I tell people is that I was born in Lossiemouth, which is where I lived with Mum and Da before they were killed. Now I live in London with Harry and Dora, but I can’t tell you exactly where we live, because that’s a secret too.
I don’t really remember much about Mum or Da — Mum had light hair like mine and she sang a lot. We could see the North Sea from our house and it was almost always cold — or at least that’s how I remember it. I remember the night I met Harry — Mum stuck me in the box room before the screaming started, begging me to be silent, no matter what happened. I don’t know how long I was in there, but, but things had been quiet a long time before it started to smell smoky. When the door opened, Harry’s wand was lit and he looked like he was tall enough to bump his head on the doorway, but the most striking thing was the colours that swirled around him — he was angry and frightened, but when he saw me, veins of gold shot through the colours on the edge, so I knew that he would take care of me. He picked me up and ran out of the now smoke-filled house. That night I was at my new home, although I didn’t know it yet. That’s when I met Dora.
Dora’s a witch, like my first Mum, only she changes how she looks from day to day, but I don’t care, because I can see her colours. Harry’s a wizard, of course, and his colours are sad and angry most of the time, although there’s some lighter colours when he’s with Dora, and always the little threads of gold when he’s with me. That’s how I knew that he was going to become my new Da, because Da always loved me, and he had those colours too. Dora’s colours are happy most of the time.
Harry lives in a big house. There’s lots and lots of rooms — some of which I can’t open yet, and others that I go exploring in when I’m not working on my lessons, which sometimes take me all morning, but there’s almost always things to do in the afternoon. Harry’s room is next to the stairwell, then there’s my room, and then Dora’s room. After I’d been at Harry’s house for a few months, I began to notice that some nights Dora’s bed was already made in the morning when I got up, and I know for a fact that she never makes her bed until after breakfast, because she told me so when she was showing me how to make my bed. After a while I noticed that on those mornings that Harry’s colours were much brighter, and he would have little gold threads in his colours when he was looking at Dora, which made me happy, because Da would look at Mum the same way.
Miss Abbot from Child Protective Services came to visit us at Harry’s house a while ago. She said she was writing a "home study" which is funny, but adults do funny things. She looked at my room, and spent a lot of time in my favourite corner of the library, asking me about my first Mum and Da and about what life was like living with Harry and Dora. Dora had been working with me on letters and colours, so I showed her that I could write my name, although all I could do was my first name, Clarissa, although I like it better when people call me Clare. I told her stories about shopping with Harry and Dora, and going to the Zoo, about flying at The Burrow and the times I’d spend with Granny Weasley.
Before she left, Miss Abbot asked me if I wanted a new Mum and Da. I got very upset when she asked that question. I want to stay with Harry and Dora — I don’t want a new Mum and Da! That night at dinner I asked Harry if he’d marry Dora so they could be my Mum and Da. They both laughed in that funny way adults laugh some times. Dora turned very very red.
The next morning I woke up early to use the loo. I wasn’t snooping much, but I did notice that the door to Harry’s room was open. There were grown-up clothes all over the floor, and Harry and Dora were snuggling together under the covers, asleep. This answers one of my questions — Dora must be rubbing her colours onto Harry, because she’s almost always happy, and now Harry’s happy too — or at least happier.
After I’d been at Harry’s house for a month or so, Dora and Harry decided that I needed to start pre-school, which meant that they’d read to me in the mornings, or I’d do schoolish things like finger-painting or playing with modelling clay or learning my letters and colours. This was fun at first, but the real fun began when I found an album of pictures. If I was really good in my lessons and helped clean up afterwards, Harry would tell me stories about the people in the pictures. At first he’d get all sad — the colours around him would drip with sadness, but then Dora would mention something or other and he’d start to tell a story.
And so I learned about the Marauders and how James and Lily fell in love and had Harry. I learned about Albus Dumbledore and Rubeus Hagrid and Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. I learned about Moony and Padfoot and Prongs and Wormtail, which was a good story until the morning that Dora told me the story about how Wormtail was really a rat in all senses of the word. Dora would tell me stories from the days she was a student at Hogwarts, and then of how she learned to be an Auror.
The bestest stories, however, were the stories that they’d tell me about how Dora fell in love with Moony and how Harry fell in love with Ginny. Ginny and Moony are in Heaven now, which is a good thing, but it’s sad too — because Harry and Dora miss them so much. I learned a lot of stories. I never get tired of hearing them.
My life is full of secrets too. When we go out in the afternoon, Harry and I wear glamours — Harry’s hides his scar — mine hides my face — I usually have dark hair and dark eyes. Dora doesn’t wear a glamour, but she changes before she goes out too — usually she tries to look like my Mum — not my first Mum, but more like a grown-up version of however I look that day. Other kids put on Wellies on a rainy day, we all hide our faces under magic. Some of the secrets are fun — I went shopping with Harry one day to Diagon Alley. Our last stop was a jewellery store where Harry picked up a small, small box. The next day at breakfast Dora was wearing a glittery ring and a very broad smile. Her colours were very happy too. That was when Harry told me that he’d asked Dora to marry him. I knew that was going to happen — it just had to. Then he asked what I thought about being his little girl forever and ever. It seems that Miss Abbot’s home study paper was really good, and whoever decides these things decided that Harry was going to be my new Da. As if anything else would work.
A week ago Harry and Dora and I put on very fine clothes and went to the Ministry of Magic building. They filled out some papers in front of a very scared looking clerk who asked them a bunch of really stupid questions and then they kissed each other. A bit disappointing if you ask me — I’ve seen them kiss each other dozens of times. Then they went into another room and signed some more papers and we talked to a really old, old man who pinched my cheek and told me I was such a lucky girl.
I smiled as I walked out of the Ministry of Magic building — because I know a secret that even Dora and Harry don’t know. Dora’s colours have changed — there’s a new pattern in her colours and I know what it means. I don’t know how long it’s going to take, but in a month or two, I’m going to have a brother or a sister. I’d like a brother, so I wouldn’t have to share a room, but I’ll take what I can get. I figure in a week or two I’ll tell Dora that she has a baby in her tummy. After all, half of the fun of knowing a secret is being able to turn it into a really good story.
Copyright 2006 - J Cornell - all rights reserved
Clarissa can see magic - she was almost five when she came to live with Harry and almost 7 when Harry and Dora married.
Child POV is difficult, largely because of time references - don't try to make the chronology work in this story.