Author's Note: okay...another chappie...please review...btw, this is dedicated to evil_little_devil 'cause she/he is amazing. period.
Disclaimer: own nothing but Phe and some other stuff...
Chapter Five: A Typical Christmas
Three days after Phoenix and James were inducted onto the Gryffindor Quidditch team, the Hogwarts Express had arrived for the Christmas holidays. However, along with the good, came three times the bad.
One: Remus was in the Hospital Wing like every month, being treated for his ‘low immune system’ as Madame Pomfrey described it. No visitors in and no going home for Christmas.
Two, James, regardless that Lily went from simply disliking him to hating him with a burning passion, was continuing his ‘game’ with Snape (not to mention wrecking havoc with his ‘Marauders’ and Phoenix using rather clever magic at any given moment).
Three and worst than all: a dark wizard by the name of Lord Vold-something was rising in Great Britain, along with his philosophy that anyone without pure blood should be annihilated. His followers that had come to be known as ‘Death Eaters’, we running amok and terrorizing innocent Muggles and half-bloods.
“What a bloody moron…he thinks he’s going to last,” Sirius scoffed during the last breakfast before they all went their separate ways. “Purebloods are so thickheaded. With people like Dumbledore around, it’s stupid to even think up this crap.”
“How do you think things will be when you go home?” asked James. Sirius smiled smugly.
“I don’t plan on going home this year, mate. I think I’ll go visit my cousin Andromeda…did I ever mention I have one sane family member? Well, she’s not family now that she got blasted off the family tapestry for marrying a Muggleborn, having a child in wedlock, and dropping out of Hogwarts…”
“I can’t believe you didn’t tell me you’re not going home!” shouted James. “I could’ve gotten out of Hell to go with you! Stupid rabid turd!”
“Hey! That’s my phrase! Find your own!” barked Phoenix, the first comment she made since Peter had rushed over with the Daily Prophet and the news of the new overlord.
“Geez, Phe, take a pill…”
“I did, thank you very much. And my headache is still very much in my head.”
“That’s not all that’s in your head, Riddle,” sneered a snooty voice from behind. Rolling her eyes, Phoenix turned around and faced the ever so promiscuous blonde bomb, Montana Aurelio.
“Aurelio, we go through this almost every day in the dorms. I’m not a Riddle. I am a Somebody.”
“Somebody who hasn’t heard of make-up, manicures, pedicures, perms, waxing, tanning, highlights-“
“They all sound painful,” whispered Peter to Remus. “I hope Phe doesn’t do those things to show Montana up…”
“Phe’s not an idiot…most of the time…”
“Those all sound very tempting, Aurelio, but I prefer not to look like a compensating Oompa Loompa with orange skin, pointy eyebrows, and badly bruised eyes for the holidays. My dad might throw a fit. But maybe next time?”
Montana sent Phoenix a glare before blowing a kiss to Sirius and striding away with her posse. Sirius grimaced and began swatting the air around him to stop the air kiss from reaching him.
“That was a close call…I almost attracted cooties and Mad Cow disease at the same time…” he sighed. The whistle for the students leaving blew; the Hogwarts Express had arrived.
“Time flies when you’re insulting barbeques!” Phoenix sang, jumping to her feet.
“Barbies, Phe. The dolls are called Barbies,” James said soberly with a smile. “The barbeque is where you want to lay the Barbies and BURN THEM! MUAH HAHAHA!”
“Mate, lay off the firewhiskey and eggnog this Christmas, okay?” asked Sirius. James smirked.
“Where would the fun be in Christmas without that?”
“Maybe in quality time with your family,” snapped Lily; like Phoenix, she too had been mute that morning. James’ smile was wiped off his face.
“I can only do the possible, Evans. Take now, for instance,” he said edgily as everyone walked out of the warm castle. “Snivellus is waiting right up there and I can hit him with a Jelly Leg Hex from here-“
“Stuff it, Snotter,” warned Phoenix. But Lily had taken off, rushed to Snape, and boarded the train with him.
“Nice, James. Real nice,” Peter sighed.
“What?! What did I do?!”
“WHAT ABOUT HANUKAH AND KWANZA?” Phoenix screamed in the middle of Kings Cross Station. Hogwarts students saying their last farewells and handing late presents to friends stared at her as she stood on her trunk, James and Sirius standing close by. Shaking her head, she stepped down and turned to the others.
“Really, no consideration at all…”
“Phe, you celebrate Christmas,” James said slowly.
“We shouldn’t forget others- oh bugger…I got to go,” she whispered as the same man Sirius saw in June caught Phoenix’s eyes and made swift gestures. “I’ll mail you all your presents…he be furious if he’s late…have a Happy Christmas!” She jogged to the man, her usually animated face and attitude shriveling into black-and-white.
“There’s something about that man…” Sirius mumbled. “I think that’s her dad but we were never introduced. Actually,” he paused, thinking back to June. “My mum knows him! They talked for a minute before Phe left-“
“I’d love to stick around and watch the creepy old man but my driver is here-” James trailed off and used the excuse to gather his trunk to avoid looking at Sirius. “Have a happy Christmas, mate, and enjoy the Muggle trick stuff. My gramps told me silly string is the best. And you best get outta here. I see Regulus walking towards your parents-”
“Thanks, James. Happy Christmas and enjoy your broomstick care pack!” he said hurriedly as he rushed out into the cold London night, looking for a rumbling Ford Angelina with an ecstatic looking woman and her Metamorphmagus daughter, Nymphadora Tonks. Once he caught sight of an infant with vivid purple hair, he chuckled.
“Oh, how Phoenix would love Andy and Tonks.”
“Oh, Lord! What is that putrid smell? Oh, that’s right; you’re home.”
“Nice to see you too, Looney Tunes.”
“You little fre-“
“Petunia, be nice to your sister,” warned Mr. Evans. He was a tall, slim man who cared only for his three girls- Mrs. Evans, Lily, and Petunia- and not for his career as an Oxford philosophy professor.
Petunia Evans, a student at the local vocational school, was an unnerving older sister whose deep jealousy of her baby sister’s unique abilities came out as abhor towards her biggest fan.
“Lily, why don’t you go upstairs and wash up? We’ll have dinner and then we’ll put up the Christmas tree,” her frail mother said. Mrs. Evans was a gentle, Sunday school teacher who always put things equal for everyone.
“The Christmas tree?” shrieked Petunia. “You said we weren’t going to put it up this year! You waited for the freak to come back? I can’t believe you-“
Hot tears swelling in her emerald eyes, Lily rushed upstairs and into her lavender room before collapsing on her plush bed and crying to the music of her dear friend, the King.
Such was the life of Lillian Elizabeth Evans.
“Will you pass the potatoes, William?”
“Here you are, Laura.”
“How’s school coming along, James?”
The lavish Potter Manor’s dining room was a deep blue with custom-made furniture and the finest china imported from China itself. The occasional ‘pass the such-and-such’ and the clattering of utensils were the only sounds ever made in this room, let alone the entire house.
Mr. and Mrs. Potter were the Head-Aurors and being so, they could usually be found out on the field, or at the Ministry, filling reports and tapping into the minds of the criminals they personally caught on the field.
While the two stern, no-nonsense parents were out doing their job that took up most of their own lives and James’, James was left alone to formulate plans for Hogwarts raids and hoaxes, develop original prankster equipment, and to hear the enchanting stories of his only parental figure: the Potters’ aging, Middle Eastern personal driver, Sharif.
“Well, best be off to the office…” Mr. Potter said, referring to the famous Potter pocket watch that was handed down father to son for the last six generations.
“Good night, James. Don’t stay up too late,” his mother cautioned before getting up from the table and calling the house-elves to clear the table.
The two kitchen house-elves made dishes disappear and reappear in their proper places in the dining cabinet and set the table with the holiday candles and vases, ignoring James’ presence. As they bustled about with their jobs, he stared off to the right where the undecorated Christmas tree stood by the grand piano thinking of how much he missed roaming the castle with the Marauders and Phoenix, and of course, Lily’s lectures and threats.
“Young Master Potter,” one of the elves squeaked. “Mr. Sharif is back from his drive.”
Jumping up, James rushed to the west wing where the gardener, elves, and Sharif lived. He was halfway there when he bumped into a tall, slim, dark man with a twisting mustache and kind brown eyes.
“Mr. James! Off in a rush to see me?” Sharif chuckled in his thick, Persian accent.
“Rif, we gotta blow something up before I blow up!”
“You’re parents are gone again, I assume?”
“No need to assume, mate.”
Chuckling, Sharif led the way outside where fresh, untouched snow was waiting to be tromped upon. A devilish smile crept across James’ lips and his hazel eyes glowed with mischief.
“My Christmas gift to you, Mr. James,” said Sharif pleasantly as he made mini Dungbombs and Muggle sparklers appear with a wave of his thick wand.
Such was the life of James William Potter.
“My name is Tonks!”
“Tonks, Nymphadora, Dora, whoever you are! It’s bedtime!” sighed a tired, twenty-one year old Andromeda as she held a wriggling six-year-old Metamorphmagus and tried putting her in her proper bed.
“But I want to make cookies for Santa with Sirius!” Tonks moaned tearfully. Sirius chuckled and ruffled her purple hair.
“Wait until Christmas Eve, Tonks,” he said. Sighing, Tonks stopped resisting and lay down peacefully.
“Fiiiiine,” she yawned. Not even five minutes later, she was asleep. Andromeda sighed as she and Sirius stepped out of the small den-turned-bedroom and into the chaotic cottage.
“She’s a handful,” muttered Andromeda as they sat down in the kitchen. “But worth it all.”
“I can see that,” chuckled Sirius. “So, where’s Ted?”
Sighing, Andromeda looked towards the small window where a small photo stood. “He’s probably getting out of class and heading to work…”
Sirius nodded, fully understanding their morbid situation. However, it wasn't always like this. Andromeda was born into one of the most prominent pureblood families; The Blacks. And never was there a moment in her life that she agreed with her family's traditions of 'purifying' the Wizarding Race. Hence, the reason Sirius respected her more than anyone in his family.
When Andromeda was his age- about thirteen-, she was threatened, hexed, and abused by her family until she would give into going to 12 Grimmauld Place for the annual Black Christmas party. Not even ten minutes after arriving, Andromeda ventured out of hidden house; she became dejected with her Aunt Walburga's instructions of how to inhumanly kill a 'Mudblood'. During her walk about the street, she had walked into a Muggleborn Hogwarts alumni who lived by the local park. Never was there another boy who could sweep Andromeda off her feet like Ted Tonks.
A little over two years later, Andromeda and Ted's intimate relationship was strengthened by the birth of their Metamorphmagus daughter, Nymphadora Tonks. The day she was born, Walburga, seven-year-old Sirius Black's mum, blasted Andromeda off the family tapestry and had her disowned from the entire family. It was Andromeda finest hour.
However, when Andromeda had just entered her last year at Hogwarts in the demeaning House of Slytherin, Ted received a letter from an unidentified member of Andromeda’s former family. Within its gruesome pages were detailed threats of how the Blacks would kill Nymphadora if Andromeda did not disappear. Without an argument, Andromeda let Ted led her and Nymphadora into the Muggle World and into the home of his great-grandmother.
Now, twenty six year old Ted and twenty one year old Andromeda struggled greatly; he was unemployed due to his lack of Muggle work knowledge and she was a mother without a complete education. Not to mention the fact that the two were still unmarried.
“It’s not as bad as living with the family,” Sirius said darkly. Andromeda smiled.
“You have a strong heart, Sirius. I know you’ll find a way to pull out soon. What hurts you makes you stronger.”
Such was the life of Sirius and Andromeda Black.
“Mr. Lupin, please stop scratching those wounds! You’re going to scar yourself!” sighed Madame Pomfrey irritably. Remus rolled his tired, puffy eyes and turned to lie on his side while the maternal nurse rubbed ointments on his raw back.
“Like I’m not already scarred for life,” he mumbled to himself when Madame Pomfrey left him to another restless night.
As he lay on side, he took out a small photo album from underneath his pillow and began flipping through several pages before stopping. He had always been interested in photography and thankfully, he had a family and friends who had accepted him for what others might deem ‘dorky’ or ‘girly’.
In the top left corner, there was a picture of his elderly, Muggle foster parents. Nowhere on Earth could a person find such an understanding, patient couple. It wasn’t an understatement: try naming one Muggle person who’d still love and provide a home for not only a wizard, but a werewolf?
The other four pictures were of his ignorant, Gryffindor friends. The first was of a tied up Lily glaring at James as he pranced around in her clothes and make-up. Remus chuckled every time he saw this picture or even thought of it; it was so obvious Lily and James would end up together one day. The next one was of Peter’s birthday with everyone in the picture, laughing hysterically while wiping the frosting off their faces that had come from the exploding cake.
On the next page was three more pictures, all of them taken unbeknownst by the people in them. The top one was of Nadia Dolohov, a mousy haired girl sitting by a fountain in the courtyard. Remus smiled faintly; he didn’t know Nadia at all but when he passed her by on that breezy April afternoon, the way the wind blew her golden-brown curls into her innocent brown eyes had captured him.
Last, but certainly not least, was Phoenix and Sirius sitting in the willow tree by to the Black Lake on a unseasonably hot autumn evening. Since the picture was taken with a wizarding camera, anyone could see that the two best friends were jumping off the tree branch hovering above the lake and into the clear water. Like with Lily and James’ picture, Remus chuckled. It was more amusing to watch Phoenix and Sirius’ not-very-well-hidden attraction to each other than Lily and James’ love-hate relationship because of the bigger contrast of character between the two.
Just as Remus’ dream of a candid, real life shared with his Gryffindor friends began, the waning moonlight filled the room just as brightly as the sun would fill the second year boys’ dormitory. Remus’ brown eyes bore into the white moon, pain and hatred flashing with every blink.
“Bloody moon,” he cursed. “I’d have Phoenix remove you if you weren’t so damn important to human survival.”
Such was the life of Remus John Lupin.
“-and did you hear about the new laws? I mean, really, now any Azkaban prisoner get some rights! It’s absurd-“
“Oh, yes! I quite agree with you there, son-“
Peter sat up straighter in one of the parlor’s leather chairs as the two biggest lawyers in the Wizarding world rambled on about laws, vetoes, and bills: his very own father and brother. It was three hours to the second since Peter had turned to page 985, his father and brother entered, and since he last turned the page.
Peter was always the small one in his family, not just physically. The Pettigrews were a long line of witches and wizards who had made great donations to organizations and contributions to science, medicine, law, and education.
Yet here he was, the runt of his family who could recite to you any word’s root, any charms theory, and any chemical result but couldn’t lift a feather with his wand. If it hadn’t been for Remus, Phoenix, and Lily’s patience and highly developed skills, Peter wouldn’t have made it passed first year exams.
He looked up from the page he had been staring at for the past three hours to see his father and brother staring at him with both questioning and annoyed looks.
“We just asked you if you agreed with my decision to put red ornaments versus green ornaments on the Christmas tree,” his father said in his booming voice.
No, it looks like a mutated apple tree, Peter thought. “Yes, it looks like it’s in the holiday spirit.” He was always the follower.
Such was the life of Peter David Pettigrew.
“I’m coming, I’m coming! Keep your hair on…”
“Don’t start an attitude with me. I am not afraid to-“
“-use the Cruciatus on my unworthy ass. Yeah, I know. I’ve only heard you and Nagini remind me-“
“-every other hour. Yeah, I know.”
“No offense, but you can’t mock or threaten me that well. Sorry, dad.”
“Enough! You will come with me on my travels because I cannot risk your oaf of a grandfather finding out about you and the other Horcruxes. The old man is thinking of starting an Order…and he thinks you are my Secret Keeper!”
“Wow, not having one of your ‘honors’ hurts. Really, I feel like you just slashed open my heart without prior knowledge of cardiac surgery-”
“You will learn how to be a true Death Eater, Phoenix. I did not put that tattoo on you for nothing-“
“Really? I thought it was so I never wear short-sleeves and reveal too much skin in front of boys-“
“-and you better be prepared for everything in five years-“
“-where’s the evil overload father who threatens their kid for not graduating from Hogwarts-“
“-and the War-“
“-I totally, like, can’t wait-“
“-Nagini will squeeze me to death like the ruddy snake did to my mum. Yeah, I know. Can we go now? You know how excited I get when it comes to going with you on your rated R raids.”
Such was the life of Phoenix Ariana Riddle.