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Chapter 1: Just a Prank
Thump! Thwack! Thump!
“Wake up, Phoenix.”
Thwack! Thump! Thump!
“Seriously, get up.”
Thwack! Thwack! Thump!
“Phoenix, I’m not kidding around! Wake up!”
Maybe if you’d stop hitting me in the head with a pillow...
“Phoenix, just get up already!”
I sighed into my sheets. You just know it’s going to be a wonderful day when a Prefect decides to start beating you with a goose feather pillow this early in the day.
“What d’you want, Aggie?” I grumbled.
“More like what Bishop wants,” Aggie sighed, tapping her foot.
“Professor Bishop wants to see you in her office immediately. She said you’re in trouble.”
“Yeah, what’s new?” I rolled my eyes, shifting onto my side and tugging the bed-sheets over my shoulder. “When am I not in trouble?”
“Phoenix, I’m serious,” Aggie hissed, ripping the tangled covers off my body. Cruel. Absolutely cruel.
“What you did last night was...” She let her statement drop. She and I both knew it was a moot point. “Look, Professor Bishop sounded really mad this time.”
“What are you talking about?” I snorted. “Bishop’s mad all the time.”
“She was more upset than usual, then,” Aggie rephrased impatiently, crossing her arms.
I emitted a second snort. Professor Bishop was always the same amount of “upset” when it came to me - and for no good reason, I must say.
Okay, so I’ll admit that maybe I have something to do with it. Maybe I have lit her robes on fire before. And yes, I’ve exploded her desk a couple of times; but it was for the sake of experimenting! That’s what magic is all about, right? Trying new things, seeing what spells are useful for certain scenarios... That’s all just a part of being a student, no? So, it’s not like what I was doing was too wrong...
“Phoenix, come on. You could be in a lot of trouble this time.”
“Aggie,” I reasoned, “I snuck into the Headmaster’s room and drew a mustache on his face while he was sleeping. I really don’t think what I did last night was any worse.”
“It’s a lot worse! You could be kicked off the Quidditch Team for this one!”
This made me laugh. Sure, they would definitely kick the best Seeker they’ve had in fifteen years off the Quidditch Team. Right. That seemed accurate.
“Now, now, Agatha,” I chuckled. “Let’s not jump to conclusions. It’s only the first day back. I only played a harmless, little prank on the most hated House of the school. Nothing major.”
“They were just little first years!” she exclaimed.
“Vipertooth first years,” I pointed out.
“You turned their beds into portkeys.” Then she added, “Illegally!”
“You transported them outside the castle!”
“They could use a little sunlight, you know-”
“It was nighttime!”
I rolled my eyes. “Moonlight, then. Whatever. The point is nobody got hurt, okay?”
“You don’t know that,” Aggie snapped. “You went straight bed - laughing, might I add - as soon as those innocent-”
“Evil,” I corrected. “They’re evil.”
“You know very well they’re not evil, Phoenix. They’re first years. They’ve done nothing to you.”
“But they will.”
“Yeah, now they will because you’ve gone and made an enemy out of them!”
I rolled my eyes again, looking up at Agatha with a raised eyebrow. I knew she was a Prefect and couldn’t exactly promote discrimination against other Houses because of her position, but that didn’t mean she had to try to justify the maggotry some of them had or would provide for the school. Especially when it came to Viperteeth.
“Just because they’re first years, Agatha, doesn’t mean they’re angels.”
“Just because you’re biased, doesn’t mean you have the right to harm anyone you disagree with.”
“I never harmed anybody!” I shouted, suddenly overcome with anger. Harmed my ass. I made sure no one would get hurt. I always took precautionary steps when setting up boobytraps and pranking systems. I never did anything dangerous or out of bounds. I mean, not a lot... Not really...
“You still don’t know that yet!” she argued. “I bet one of them is in the Hospital Wing right now!”
“They were lying on beds!” I cried, throwing my hands up in the air. “What are mattresses going to do? Comfort you to death?!”
“One of them could have fallen off and broken a-” But Agatha was cut off.
“Will you both shut up?!” The voice belonged to one of our roommates, a girl by the name of Tess Angelina. “Phoenix, just go to the damn Headmistress’s office! You’re going to have to go one way or another, so you might as well go now.” Tess, then, snapped her vision to Aggie’s. “And Agatha, for the love of Merlin, stop sympathizing with Viperteeth! They’re gonna become evil, little miscreants and you know it. So, both of you, shut up and let me sleep!”
“Sorry,” Aggie said guiltily, bowing her head. “We didn’t mean to wake you.”
“Yeah, what she said,” I offered dismissively.
And that was that. The end of my fight with Agatha. Adios, potentially sharp and harmful words sitting atop my tongue, for it is time to swallow and save you for another time.
I checked the clock on my bedside table as Aggie shuffled gloomily out the door. 6:16 AM. Joy. I was probably the only non-Prefect student that was awake - well, besides Tess, who was already beginning to fall asleep again.
I quickly pulled my uniform from one of my drawers, and ran into the bathroom, only to come out around ten minutes later, fully dressed and clean. If they had an award at this school for speediest washer and dresser, I’d win every single time.
I shuffled out of the Girls’ Dormitory, to the Common Room, out of the Common Room, onto the seventh floor, and down the vast, stone steps connecting to aforementioned seventh floor.
I found this castle, Dragon Heart, to be quite an obscurity, nothing inside the walls truly matching the likes of the usual perfection given off by other academic buildings. The picture frames where portraits and paintings sat happily within were mismatching and made up of different kinds of woods and metal. The window panes were shaped in a variety of odd forms, and the actual windows were fully transparent, giving off the illusion that there wasn’t any glass there at all.
But I knew better. After all, owls only flew right into them every single day of the year. You’re bound to see at least nine owls smack their bodies up against the glass within a week of your stay at Dragon Heart. Inevitable, it was.
The walls of the castle were all stone, mostly rocks stacked up on other rocks. Never smooth slavers of stone; always rough, rigid cobblestones cemented together. Except for the outside of the castle, of course. That was just worn, gray stone no one knew the name of. The floors and staircases were made of the same cold matter.
I walked through a broad hallway on the second floor, receiving good morning’s and oh, it’s you again’s from multiple large portraits of somewhat important people lined along the walls. At the end of the seemingly endless corridor stood a large, cherry wood door with a golden plaque hanging in the middle that read “Headmistress Mary Jane Bishop”.
Welcome to hell, Phoenix, I thought to myself as I placed my hand on the golden doorknob, again.
I turned the knob reluctantly and pushed, the door heavy and firm. It was always so difficult to open this door. I took it as some sort of feeble warning, like the door knew what awaited on the other side and wanted to spare me the terror. If only I was wise enough to take the warning and, for once in my life, run.
“Close the door,” Professor Bishop barked upon my entrance.
“Do you know why I’ve summoned you here?”
“Because you have a wildly inappropriate, lesbian crush on me?” I guessed.
“Miss Meadowes,” Bishop took off her square rimmed glasses somewhat aggressively, accusation gleaming in her small eyes. “Do you know what damage you caused last night?”
“Then let’s hope this meeting will not only be a punishment, but an enlightenment for you as well,” she said. She adjusted her position in her seat, her face far more menacing than necessary. Honestly, I’m not that bad.
“Miss Meadowes, you broke into a House other than your own, set up unauthorized portkeys, and transported brand new first year students outside castle walls. Do you understand how serious this is?”
“Do you understand how serious you are? Besides, how do you even know it was me and not some other-”
“Miss Meadowes,” Bishop sighed begrudgingly, “though I’m extremely reluctant to admit it, you and I both know you are the only one with an imagination big enough to come up with a prank as clever as this.”
“You do have a wildly inappropriate, lesbian crush on me, don’t you?” I smirked.
“Miss Meadowes, I hope you are aware of the severity of the situation.”
“Was anyone hurt?” I question, my voice lacking actual interest.
“Were any beds damaged?”
“Then, I don’t see what the problem is.” I shrugged, leaning back in my seat. “It was just a prank.”
“A prank that caused first year students to lose immense amounts of sleep and the little respect they might have had for the House of the Ridgeback Dragon,” Bishop countered harshly.
“Why do you care? You’re not the Head of Ridgeback.”
“Phoenix Meadowes, contrary to popular belief, I do happen to care about more than my House. I think much of this school as a whole, including Ridgeback,” Bishop informed stiffly. “It’s you I don’t care for.”
“Love you, too, sugar plum.”
“Moving onto more serious topics, are you aware that you broke the law by setting up portkeys without the permission of the American Ministry?”
I sighed. “Yes, Mary Jane, I am quite aware. But they don’t seem to care about what happened because they would have sent a letter if they did.”
“Oh, they sent a letter, Miss Meadowes.” My smirk faltered. “And let’s just say the Ministry was not best pleased by your scheming.”
“Unfortunately,” Bishop’s face fell slightly with disappointment, “the letter states you aren’t in any form of trouble with the Ministry. They may not have been pleased, but it turns out they have a sense of humor. They’re letting this little prank of yours slide.”
“Excellent.” I grinned with relief, pushing myself out of the chair. “I should be off, then.”
“No, you really shouldn’t.” Professor Bishop motioned me back to the chair with a pointed finger. “You may not be in trouble over there, but you’re certainly still in trouble over here. Therefore, I’ve decided you will serve a month’s detention.”
“A whole month?”
“Starting tonight.” Bishop nodded. “And-”
“There’s an ‘and’?!” I cried, completely horrified.
“And,” The smile on her face was merciless, cruel. To hell with Bishop. She probably kicks puppies in her free time, “since you’re going to be sent to Azkaban after you graduate, I feel you should get to know some of your future inmates.”
“What the-? Who said I was going to be sent to Az-”
“That being said, I want you to write an essay on three of the most famous criminals in wizarding history, filling up three feet of parchment. Oh, and your handwriting mustn’t be too large - that’s cheating.”
“Wait, what if my handwriting is naturally-”
“You will try taking some advanced classes this year as well,” Bishop, unfortunately, continued. “All of us here at Dragon Heart are tired of you slacking off. You’re a fifth year now. It’s time you take some responsibility.”
It took me a moment to recollect myself, as my death-sentence had my breath coming out in short, frantic puffs, my eyes monstrously wide, and my voice, well, practically lost. Detention, essay, participation in classes full of know-it-alls and dweebs. Pinch me, I’m having a goddamn nightmare.
“Anything else you’d like?” I challenged, once regaining my voice. I was fuming. “Would you like me to run off to the store and buy you some groceries? Some imported coffee, maybe? Or the latest Nimbus broom? I heard it’s a nice one. And how ‘bout while I’m at it, I’ll get you a giant boat to take you to the bottom of the ocean and sail you around the world within fifteen minutes tops? Or maybe you’d like a-”
“That’s enough, Meadowes,” Bishop snapped. “You’re dismissed. You can leave now. There’s no need to stay behind and get yourself into more trouble than you already are.”
“This is a joke,” I said, with a bitter, humorless laugh, before flouncing out of my chair and storming out of the office.
Just my luck. Another ingenious prank gone to waste, the mastermind behind it condemned to a month of detention and an assload of work. Does no one on the planet appreciate good and honest pranking anymore? It’s like I’ve died and gone to hell!
My brain barely even registered that there was a swarm of teachers just outside of the office as I sped on my way, so, appropriately enough, I stormed right through the crowd, grunting scornfully as they tried to reprimand me for being so rude. Fortunately, a couple of them stood aside and made a pathway for me, a trail I gratefully took.
“Phoenix?” my uncle said, being one of the professors within the clump, squinting down at me as I shoved past. “What in the name of-”
“Not now, Ray,” I snapped.
“I beg your pardon?”
“I said not now!”
“Is that any way to address a professor? I’d watch yourself if I were you, Phoenix.”
I reluctantly pivoted around to greet his glare with mine. “What d’you want?”
“Phoenix,” Uncle Ray said, tone stiff, “as your legal guardian, I would like to know what punishments have you received for your actions.”
“While I appreciate your concern for your dear niece’s well-being, I must say she is not in the mood to discuss the matter. But if leave your name, number, and a message, I will be sure to tell her, and she will get back to you as soon as she can.”
When life makes things difficult for you, make other people’s lives difficult for them. That’s my motto.
“Phoenix, cooperate. I don’t have time for your nonsense. I have a board meeting in five minutes, so get on with it, will you?” Ray instructed tiredly.
I sighed, and relented. Looks like he wasn’t in a joking mood. Frankly, neither was I, but I was trying.
“Phoenix, you can’t write this essay," Ray said after I listed all the treacherous tasks I had to complete before ultimate glory and salvation. His eyes were wide with alarm - crazed, even.
“What? Why not?” I asked, furrowing my brows. “I mean, hey, I’m not complaining, but...”
“You- you just can’t, okay? Trust me on this.” His eyes were urgent and his hands were now placed on my shoulders, shaking me just the slightest.
“Ray?” I said confusedly.
“Just don’t. I’ll talk to Professor Bishop about changing the assignment. Don’t worry,” Ray told me, the reassurance in his voice consoling himself more than me.
“Um...” I muttered, eyeing my dear uncle with concern.
“Look, I have to go now,” he told me, taking a quick glance towards the teachers who had begun to file into Professor Bishop’s office. “Don’t do anything rash before I talk to her about switching the topic of your report. She might not let me change it if you do.”
I began, “But why-”
“I’ll talk to you later,” Ray nodded at me, starting to follow his fellow Professors. “And whatever you do, don’t start that essay.”
“But why can’t I- aaaaand you’re ignoring me. Great.”
What the hell has gotten into him?
A/N: Thank you for taking the time to read this! Sorry, it might be a tad confusing, as the setting is not at Hogwarts or anywhere in Europe really. But do give it a chance, please! It gets better once you get past the strange, vast barrier of OC's!
This is my first fanfiction, so I hope you like it so far! Please review... Or not.. You know, whatever works for you... And remember, I don't own anything you recognize, otherwise I wouldn't be here.