Chapter 2 : The Beginning
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Chapter Two: The Beginning
September 1, 1968
Students bustling about, friends and rivals shouting back and forth, the ear-splitting screech of a train coming to a halt: the winding labyrinth of a locomotive known as the Hogwarts Express stood still in all its glory and vastness in the moonlit town of Hogsmeade.
Meanwhile, a lone, eleven-year-old redheaded Muggleborn girl weaved her way through the throngs of people, her anxious emerald eyes staring fixedly on the grand castle towering patiently on the misty mountain lake. Ms. Lillian Elizabeth Evans was ready to redirect herself back to the train that had taken her so far away from her Muggle family, and demand the conductor to take her back. However, a young giant man with a bushy beard and inviting eyes destroyed her underdeveloped plan. She couldn't help but gasp and stare.
“’Ello, love. I’m Hagrid, Gamekeeper o’ Hogwarts. Yeh best get a boat ‘fore they fill up, Ms…?”
“Lily Evans, sir. Thank you,” she squeaked quickly before stepping onto a random boat where a lone, handsome, and arrogant looking boy with shaggy black hair, bottomless grey eyes, and a dark aura sulking sat. “Do you mind-“
“Yeh four with the bird! Get on that boat o’er there ‘fore I leave yeh lot behind!” Hagrid shouted loudly, drowning out Lily’s voice. "Yeh won't be 'appy swimming to Hogwarts, now would yeh?!"
She opened her mouth again to make another attempt at conversing with the boy onboard the boat when a large bird swooped down and nearly landed on her head. Shrieking, Lily threw herself dramatically under one of the seats; she had a great phobia of birds. Because of her heavy panting and her closed eyes, she didn’t hear or see three pairs of feet rush aboard or that someone grabbed the black owl.
“Ruddy bird! Can’t even come out of its cage for a cracker without throwing me against the wall…useless thing, I tell you. And the damn thing doesn’t even send my letters to the right Muggle…” said an assertive female voice as the boat began magically setting off for the castle.
“Why’d you send letters to Muggles with Rumpelstilkskin?” a serene male voice asked.
As these voices continued their gabber, Lily opened her eyes to find a small girl with flamboyant, pixie short green hair and sparkling matching eyes trying to force the black owl into a cage held by a rather handsome boy with sandy brown hair, sickly pale skin, and sensitive chocolate eyes. Standing behind them in an awkward manner was another boy even smaller than the girl, watery eyed, and rat-faced.
“Why not? It’s hilarious how Muggles always think it’s some conspiracy-“
“Oi, moss head!” shouted the boy from the corner of the floating boat. The newcomers jumped; they hadn’t noticed him when they boarded the boat. “Will you lot sit down before your fat heads tip us over?" His snarl sliced the space between them. "And your stupid bird killed that girl down there."
“I’m not dead,” squeaked Lily as she scrambled to her feet. The green haired girl let out a sigh of relief and hugged Lily.
“Thank Merlin!” she shouted. “Murdering someone would put me in quite a tomato!”
Lily frowned. “Don’t you mean ‘pickle’?” she asked vigilantly.
“When in Rome…” the girl shrugged and responded in her soothing, dream-like voice. She twiddled a rather beautiful gold and scarlet colored amulet shaped like the mystic bird, the phoenix. “You seem to be the Muggle expert…who might you be?”
“Lily Evans,” she started, then with a quick afterthought, “The Muggleborn Muggle Expert.”
The girl looked at her, extremely intrigued. “How ‘bout that? Well, I’m Phoenix. Unidentifiable Random Facts Expert.”
The rat-faced boy raised his hand. “I don’t think that’s proper English, Phe. Unidentifiable should be replaced by-“
Ignoring the boy’s rant, Lily focused on the new girl. “Phoenix?” Quite an unorthodox name, Lily thought…and who in the right mind would let an eleven year old girl go about with green hair?!
Phoenix smirked as she seated herself across from Lily. “Like the bird.”
“-undecided, unknown, un-“
“RAT BOY! SHUT UP!” shouted the boy at the front of the boat. The rat-faced boy shut up immediately and blushed crimson. Phoenix turned to the boy, her green eyes ablaze.
“This is Peter Pettigrew, not Rat Boy. He is the only human dictionary to walk the planet and one of the sweetest people you’ll ever meet but from the looks of it, you don’t meet too many nice people,” she snapped.
“Too right you are…” he mumbled as the boat came ashore with a soft thud on the banks.
Before Phoenix could snap at him again, he jumped off and scurried to the open doors leading to the festivities waiting within Hogwarts. Phoenix watched him go, her eyes glazed as they bore into the back of the boy’s head.
“Geez, Phe, why do you always have to pick fights?” asked the brown-eyed boy. “It’s going to be the end of you one day.”
Phoenix jumped off the boat and patted down her cloak. “Puh-lease, Remus, I’m unendable. Let’s go find Potter before one of those fourth year Hufflepuffs from the train find him first. I think they know it was him who threw the Dungbomb at Diggory’s head.” Skipping ahead with Peter, Phoenix left the brown-haired boy to help Lily out of the boat.
“She’s a handful, Phoenix is, but I’m pretty sure she’s got her heart in the right place,” he said lightly to Lily once she had both feet on the ground. “I’m Remus Lupin, by the way.” Lily nodded, her face paling with every step closer to her awaiting fate inside Hogwarts. “Lily? Are you-"
“REMY! I FOUND HIM! I FOUND SNOTTY SNOTTER!” shouted Phoenix from across the pathway. Many students turned to her, shooting disdainful glares at her obnoxious volume and appearance. Phoenix, of course, was immune to all scorn.
Rolling his eyes playfully, Remus led Lily to Phoenix, Peter, and a lanky boy with messy jet-black hair and mischievous hazel eyes shining behind a pair of round spectacles. For the first time that night, Lily could see Phoenix clearly in the light and she noticed how dangerously striking she was, even for such a young girl. Regardless of the strange hair, Phoenix had high cheekbones, smooth olive skin, long eyelashes that exaggerated her peculiar eyes, a petite figure, and the most contagious smile. Something about her look was just so...oddly perfect.
“Lily, this is-“
“James Potter at your service, madam!” the new boy exclaimed zealously, his eyes wide and looking Lily up and down. “You’re name must be Summer-“
“-because you’re HOT!"
Lily glared disdainfully at this James Potter character as the other three broke down into stifled fits of snorts and giggles. Before Lily could retort, James turned back to Phoenix.
“Ohmigosh, Phe, do I, like, look totally, like, amazing for the Sorting? Don’t lie ‘cause, like, I have to know if I, like, totally won’t, like, look reeeeeeally good!” James interrupted in a shrill, girly accent.
Phoenix smiled. “Mate, you look like a dementor just married your mum.”
“Then we’re ready! Let’s go!” he exclaimed, pulling her and the other two boys into Hogwarts’ Great Hall.
Lily, despite being completely horrified by everything that just happened to her in the past few moments, decided to scurry and follow closely behind them until they ended up at the back of the crowd of first years. A witch, possibly in her forties, stood on a high step before two great, oak doors. She raised her hand up swiftly, and within seconds, all of the first years were silenced.
“My name is Professor McGonagall and I shall lead you into the Sorting once I engrave the rules and the operation at Hogwarts into you newcomers,” she announced in a commanding, yet somewhat shaky voice. “There are four Houses-“
Professor Minerva McGonagall continued on about the Hogwarts establishment and what was expected of each student for a good twenty minutes. However, Lily- having already diligently studied Hogwarts, A History over the summer- zoned out; her mind and heart racing and a lump developing in the center of her air passages. The professor stepped down from her higher, authoritative stance to allow entrance through the giant oak doors leading to the Great Hall. Lily gulped and winced, but suddenly felt a soft, tiny hand squeeze her own.
“Don’t freak, Lily,” whispered Phoenix. With a wink, she walked Lily in and waited silently beside her as the Sorting began with an ‘Aurelio, Montana’ being sent into Gryffindor. “It’s just a hat. A talking hat."
Even Lily had to chuckle at this. "Just a talking hat?"
Phoenix's grin grew once she saw Lily ease up slightly. "You look like a Gryffindor for sure," she smiled encouragingly. Lily opened her mouth to reply when the Great Hall burst into fervent whispers. The two girls looked around, and leaned in to hear the mumbles from the older students.
Apparently, ‘Black, Sirius!’ had just been Sorted into Gryffindor.
The mysterious Sirius Black happened to be the same boy from the boat, Lily realized as he crossed the threshold of the Hall. With a quick glance around, she found people from three of the four tables with dropped jaws while the fourth table of students, clad in silver and green robes, either glaring or jeering at the boy.
On the other hand, Sirius Black was seemingly oblivious with a wicked, rebellious grin plastered on his face, and a bounce in each step towards the scarlet and gold adorned table. Lily could see that his grin, as conceited as it may have seemed, did not meet his eyes.
“Oi!” shouted Phoenix to the groups of people pointing at Sirius, her amulet swaying back and forth with her anger. Everyone stared at her. “Didn’t you lot have someone like Remus here teach you that pointing fingers was rude? Belt it!”
Remus, who had been silently standing next to her, shrunk back as people shot annoyed looks at Phoenix.
“Moving on!" Professor McGonagall cried out.
It wasn’t long before ‘Evans, Lillian!” was called before the school. Taking a deep breath and making a silent vow to stay composed, Lily fought down the rising heat in her cheeks and walked to the stool before the Great Hall to sit patiently underneath the ragged Sorting Hat.
“Lillian Evans, eh? Muggleborns best steer clear of any Slytherins; even those that you think are friends. Ah, you have a thirst of knowledge! But your loyalty and valiance deem you more than a Ravenclaw…and of course, with such a great destiny, Lillian Evans, nowhere else would help you grow to your full potential... better be…GRYFFINDOR!”
Smiling radiantly, Lily walked to the gold and scarlet table, quickly hugging Phoenix before sitting down next to a second year named Frank Longbottom and pretending to watch others be Sorted. It wasn’t long after when Remus Lupin, James Potter, and Peter Pettigrew were Sorted into Gryffindor and sat with her, all of them waiting anxiously for Phoenix to join them.
“Riddle, Phoenix!” shouted McGonagall finally. Lily and the others held their breath as Phoenix bounced up to the podium and waved to the old headmaster. Something stirred in Lily when she heard Phoenix’s actual name but she disregarded it.
“If you don’t mind, professor, I’d rather be called Phoenix Somebody. It’s got a mysterious vibe, don’t you think?” Phoenix said conversationally. She received a wink from the headmaster and an annoyed sigh from McGonagall, but it took at least five minutes before the Sorting Hat declared:
The Great Hall erupted with hearty applause with Lily and the boys whistling with joy. None of them noticed most of the older Slytherin students staring at Phoenix with petrified looks as she bounced to the seat James had saved her, or that Phoenix’s face had paled greatly and her smile diminished. No, it wasn’t that abnormal behavior that caught Lily’s attention. It was the oily haired boy with the hooked nose walking up to the podium that Lily gazed at intently.
“Snape, Severus!” a few prayers from Lily to whatever deity was listening and just a millisecond later, “SLYTHERIN!”
Lily could feel her heart sinking to the pit of her stomach but had no time to catch Severus Snape’s attention as the next person walked between them. Heartbroken and oddly enough, lonely, Lily had to muster much energy to listen to the old headmaster as he stood and conveyed immediate silence.
“Welcome, class of ’75. I am Headmaster Dumbledore. I know I can expect great things from you all!” Lily couldn’t help but notice Dumbledore looked directly at Phoenix as he spoke in his calm, soothing voice. “Without further ado, feast away!”
“Finally!” sighed James. Before Lily could even blink, he had piled his plate with every piece of food he could reach.
“For the love of Merlin’s left saggy buttocks, you’ll blow an artery if you eat all of that!” warned Phoenix as she devoured a chicken leg. Rolling his eyes, James turned to Lily, having noticed she had been quiet since Snape’s Sorting.
“C’mon, Summer, eat up!”
“My name is Lily, you twit!” she snapped.
“Oh, she’s fiery…just like her hair!”
Phoenix snorted at James’ remark as Lily’s face turned a deep shade of red but her comments were forgotten when Sirius Black had thrown a plate towards the Slytherin table and stormed out of the Great Hall. The professors at the head table stared, but all silentlly agreed to pretend the fleeting moment didn't occur. The food and plate on the gorund slowly disappeared, as if melted into the air.
“He seems pretty…unstable...” Remus commented delicately, putting down his roll. Phoenix smiled darkly as everyone put aside his dramatic exit out of their minds and returned to their own supper or chitchat.
“Everyone seems to be something, Remy. Not everyone is what they seem,” she said philosophically as she continued eating, her eyes watching a particular girl with dark hair and heavy lidded eyes sitting quietly and isolated from the rest of the Slytherins.
“Well said, Phe, well said,” Peter chimed.
After a warming meal and introductions to other noble Gryffindors, the Prefects stood up and began to lead their individual Houses up to their common rooms.
“Oh! How exciting is this?” jumped Phoenix as a Prefect handed her a piece of parchment with the password. “Tele-fon-e? Tel…e…fon? What the-“
A loud clatter, shouts, and red sparks coming from an empty corridor besides the Great Hall caught the group’s attention. The five of them came to a suddenly halt behind Phoenix.
“I think there’s a fight going on down there!” sang James gleefully, his fingers wrapping around his wand.
“Merlin, Snotter, you can’t be the center of every fight,“ But James was already headed down the corridor, tapping his heels together. Sighing, Phoenix pulled out her wand. “Might as well go save his bony ass…c’mon guys…”
“What? I’m not going to be a…a bystander!” hissed Lily, her feet cemented to the ground as Remus, and Peter reluctantly followed Phoenix. But the thought of being alone in such a immense castle once again discouraged Lily from leaving these wild kids…
“What’s a bystander?” asked James, having waited for his entourage to catch up to him. Lily jogged slowly, the last to reach him.
Peter raised his hand again, notifying them that he would now recite something out of a dictionary. “According to last year’s edition of the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a bystander is a person who is present during an event but not actually involved-“
“Oh, you’re in trouble now, Black!” they heard someone mock, cutting off Peter from going any further with his rant. “Getting into Gryffindor…we didn’t believe it was possible to become anymore of a blood traitor!” James pulled the others into an ill-lit, partially covered alcove behind the Slytherins and opened a gap in the moth-eaten cloth to see what was ensuing.
“Belt it, Malfoy!” Sirius shouted, spitting on the boy with pale blonde hair and piercing blue eyes and trying to wriggle free of another burly Slytherin’s grasp.
“I ought to hex you, I do!” bellowed the boy, Malfoy, as he looked down at the spit stain with disgust. He began to reach into his back pocket when-
“Beat you’d need a wand, eh?” Phoenix asked, stepping out of the alcove, twiddling a wand in her hand. Sirius and the other boys jumped at her sudden appearance and Lily was befuddled at how she could have gotten Malfoy’s wand so quickly and silently, let alone from behind the alcove. “Petrificus Totalus!”
“How’d you get his wand?” the oily haired boy with a hooked nose whispered in awe, standing apart from the other boys.
“How’d you get so ugly?”
“You little Severus?” asked Phoenix, looking at Lily confusedly as she too stepped out of the alcove. “Why are you helping him to diss me? And what the hell is a Severus?” Lily rolled her eyes and pointed at the blushing, oily haired boy standing unarmed in the corner.
“He’s Severus! Severus Snape! He’s my friend! Don’t hurt him!” Turning to the boy, Lily said, “Sev, you were supposed to meet me at King’s Cross! I haven’t seen you since Petunia shouted at you! What are you doing here? Are you-“
“Lillikins, this reunion is all nice, but we’re in the middle of the beginning of a duel...“
Lily gasped and turned her back on Severus Snape to yell at Phoenix, giving him the chance to scamper down to the dungeons where the Slytherin common room awaited, hidden from foreign eyes. “Dueling is against the rules! We could be…expelled!”
“No we won’t, Summer, relax,” James said. “Phe, am I your second?”
“My name is not Summer!”
“Meh, I suppose you could be my second-“
“Hey!” shouted Sirius, still captured by the burly Slytherin. Malfoy was still frozen on the ground as the rest of the Gryffindors came out from behind the alcove. “Shut up with the bloody commentary and help me out with this bumbling oaf!”
“A little respect would go a long way,” James chastised as he put a Body Bind spell on Malfoy’s unidentified accomplice. “But I’m bored now so I think we’ll be going-“
Phoenix grabbed James. “Hey! You made us come out here to be Lysanders-“
“Bystanders!” squeaked Peter.
“-and you want to leave? We hexed a Slytherin Prefect and a troll and you just want to leave?"
“Yeah, pretty much.”
Shrugging, Phoenix dropped Malfoy’s wand carelessly. “Good enough for me. Let’s-ARGH!”
Malfoy sprang to life and put Phoenix in a Body Bind, causing her to crash to the floor. He stood over her, staring ominously into her eyes, his wand pointing towards the others to make sure they didn’t try anything funny.
“Never again will scum like you touch my wand again!” he bellowed. “When I’m through with you, little girl, you will be running to your mummy and daddy and-“
Phoenix somehow broke from the spell and punched Malfoy square in the nose, sending him off her.
“Phoenix!” shrieked Lily. Ignoring her outburst, Phoenix bent down close to his bloody face and tried whispering quietly,
“If I go running to my father and tell him that you attacked me, I don’t think he’s going to favor you much when it comes time for you to…grow up, so to speak. Are you catching my drift?” The little color in Lucius’ face drained and he quickly crawled away, leaving his frozen partner in crime.
“I cannot believe this…” gasped Lily. “We’re so getting expelled once he goes to a professor and-“
“Red, breathe,” said Sirius impatiently. “He’s a Slytherin. He won’t go to anyone. You are so lucky to have people like us to help you out…”
“Us?” asked James curiously. “You didn’t do squat!”
Sirius shuffled his feet and looked down. “You of all people should know how saving another wizard’s life results, Potter. You’re parents are Head Aurors.”
“Please, re-enlighten me-“
“Snotter, belt it,” said Phoenix, sensing how uncomfortable Sirius was. “Little Siri here doesn’t want to talk to you because he likes me better! C’mon, Siri, let’s go-“
“Hey! I was the one who hexed the troll holding him! He’s my new best friend!”
“I was the one who took on the one who was taking on Siri! He’s my best friend!”
“But I hit the troll! He’s mine!”
“I hit Malfoy! Twice! He’s mine!”
“What about us?” Remus joined in playfully. “Lily, Peter, and I were bystanders! He’s ours too!”
“Please, you can keep him…” muttered Lily. Sirius’ lips curved into a mischievous smirk.
“I’m sure we can share,” he joked suggestively. Lily and Phoenix pretended to make gagging sounds.
“Ew! I’m gonna get cooties! Snotter, you can keep your rabid turd!” cried Phoenix as she grabbed Lily and ran ahead. Sirius and the other boys laughed. As they walked with their new friends, Sirius and Phoenix unknowingly and simultaneously whispered:
“This is the beginning of a b-e-a-u-tiful friendship, eh?”
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