Chapter 1 : Prologue: A Little Bit of This, a Little Bit of Phaff
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Disclaimer: I am not J.K. Rowling, I have never been J.K. Rowling and I will never be J.K. Rowling. The end.
September 1, 1971
Eleven-year-old Lily Evans pushed her trolley through King’s Cross station, her vibrant red hair swinging from side to side. Far behind her followed her anxious parents and sullen older sister, who were trying their best to keep Lily in sight as she swiftly maneuvered through the large crowd of people before them.
With her family still a decent way behind her, Lily eventually came to a halt at the barrier dividing Platforms 9 and 10. To most people this would seem to be a rather odd place to stop but Lily knew what she was doing. While waiting for the others to catch up, she took an envelope addressed to her from the back pocket of her jeans and pulled a letter out of it. It was written on heavy parchment and looked as though it had been read several times already. Lily carefully examined the letter, making sure to take in every detail, and had just finished reading it when her family finally arrived beside her.
“There you are!” Lily said somewhat crossly as she folded the letter up and placed it back in her pocket. “It only took you long enough.”
“Well we’re so terribly sorry that we don’t possess the power of superhuman speed like you do,” her sister Petunia snapped, but as usual when dealing with Petunia neither Lily nor her parents acknowledged the rude comment.
Mrs. Evans looked down at her younger daughter and placed a hand on her shoulder. “So, poppet, what do we do now?”
Lily tugged at the ends of her pin-straight hair, a nervous habit she had always had, and said, “The letter says that I have to walk through the barrier and that as long as I do it at a bit of a run there should be no problems. But,” Lily faltered, looking up at her parents, “But what if there is a problem? What if the barrier won’t let me through? What if it just seals up on me and then I can’t get onto the platform? Then I won’t be able to go to Hogwarts and I’ll never learn magic and I’ll be st–”
“Lily, darling, you’re working yourself up over nothing!” Mrs. Evans quickly interrupted, stroking her hand along Lily’s cheek and laughing quietly. “Everything will be fine, dear, there’s no need to worry.”
She took her hand away from Lily’s face, who nodded her head as if to tell herself she was ready. Looking up at her parents one last time, Lily asked, “You will go through right after I do, won’t you?”
“Of course, flower,” Mr. Evans responded reassuringly, and with that said Lily turned her trolley away from her family and took a deep breath. She set off towards the barrier, her pace quickening with every step, and when the barrier was only inches from the end of her trolley Lily broke into a run. She squeezed her eyes shut, anticipating the painful impact with the wall but it never came. Lily’s eyes flashed open in a second and she grinned widely, looking around her. She had done it! She had made it onto Platform 9¾!
Families were dotted all over the steamy platform with the sounds of owls hooting, cats meowing and students crying out to their friends filling the air. Feeling a hand on her shoulder again, Lily spun around to see her parents and even Petunia staring around in awe.
Mr. Evans let out a long whistle, the steam from the Hogwarts Express fogging up his glasses as his eyes raked the colossal train. “Would you look at the size of that train? I don’t know if I’ve ever seen one so large!”
“Well, it has to seat an entire school,” Mrs. Evans replied, joining her husband in inspecting the Hogwarts Express. “I wonder how many students attend the school… do you have any idea, Lily?”
However Lily, who had been bored with her parents’ conversation from the moment her father opened his mouth, was much more interested in exploring the interior of the train rather than admiring its size with her family. Ignoring her mother’s question, she said, “Mum, Dad, would you mind if I took a look around inside? You know, find a compartment and put my trunk away and all. I’ll come back in a little while to say good-bye.”
“That’s fine, take as long as you like, sweetheart. We’ll stay right here,” Mrs. Evans replied, and at once Lily took off towards the train, dragging her trunk with one hand, the other holding the cage containing her beautiful barn own McGuire.
Unnaturally strong for a girl her age, Lily had no trouble lifting her trunk onto the train and placing it onto the luggage rack of the first empty compartment she found. Setting McGuire next to her trunk, she poked a treat through the bars of his cage before hopping off the seat she was standing on. Not entirely sure what she should do now, Lily thought for a moment before deciding to go and see if her friend Severus had gotten onto the train yet. It seemed to be the only option she had considering she didn’t feel like having her parents bore her to death and she wasn’t in the mood to put up with Petunia’s rotten attitude either. Besides if she found Severus, who was also starting his first year, she could ask him to sit with her in her compartment and then they would both have company for the long train ride to Hogwarts.
However as she made her way out of the compartment, a boy that looked to be about her age with untidy black hair and round glasses crashed into her. Hitting the ground rather hard, Lily let out a gasp of surprise which quickly turned into a groan of pain as the boy fell also and landed right on top of her. He immediately rolled off, his glasses askew and his already messy hair sticking up in several more places.
“Oh blimey, I’m sorry!” The boy exclaimed, jumping up and sticking out his hand to help Lily off the ground. His hazel eyes gave her a concerned look and he said again, “I’m really sorry about that. Are you all right?”
“I’m fine, thank you,” Lily replied coldly, nursing her slightly bruised elbow. Looking at the boy, who still hadn’t fixed his glasses or his hair but was staring at Lily anxiously, she said, “Just watch where you’re going next time. I’m Lily, by the way; Lily Evans. I’m a first year.”
Extending his hand once more, this time to shake Lily’s rather than to hoist her off the ground, the boy gave her a crooked smile and said, “James Potter. I’m a first year as well. I’m also a notorious ladies’ man, Quidditch extraordinaire and – as you can see – exceptionally good-looking. But I mean, really I’m not a big deal.”
Not sure what to say to the unbelievably conceited James, Lily simply raised her eyebrows at him in disbelief which he returned with a cocky smirk. Just as the two let go of each other’s hands, a female voice that sounded quite angry called out from somewhere close by.
“James Potter! Where are you?” It said, and James, apparently recognizing the voice, looking towards the direction it was coming from.
“I’m over here!” James shouted back as he finally pushed his glasses back into place, and a girl who looked remarkably like him strode out of a compartment that was a few down from where Lily and he were standing. The first thing Lily noticed about the girl – other than the fact that she and James looked so alike it was a bit scary – was that her face seemed to have anger etched all over it. The second thing she noticed was that in her hand she was holding a cage which appeared to have a rainbow-colored owl inside it.
Observing the same things as Lily, James gulped, backing away as the girl slowly advanced on him with a look of nothing less than pure animosity in her eyes. Apparently already knowing that he was in a decent amount of trouble, James started to say, “Now look Ivy…” but the girl interrupted him almost immediately.
“What have you done to my owl?” She hissed at him, raising the cage so that it was eye-level with James. He opened his mouth several times to say something but nothing came out, and Lily was strongly reminded of a fish that had been taken out of water.
Eventually James found his voice and he said, “Well er… you see it’s actually quite funny! I… er… it was a harmless experiment…and it just…er…” James trailed off, realizing there was no hope in defending himself.
“A harmless experiment? A harmless experiment? My owl looks like a bloody hippie, you insolent, brainless, dimwitted prat!” The girl shouted angrily, shoving the owl cage forcefully into James’s chest. “You’re lucky I don’t know any curses yet, James Godric Potter, because if I did I’d have hit you with so many you’d be a vegetable right now. Touch one more thing of mine – harmless experiment or not! – and you’ll wish you were never born. Are we clear?”
“Crystal,” James responded shakily and the girl yanked the owl cage out of his arms. Taking a second to get her temper back in check, she then turned to Lily and shifted the cage so she could stick out her hand. Her attitude changed in an instant and she gave Lily a bright smile.
“Hello! I’m sorry you had to see that little dispute but sometimes James here can be…well anyway I’m Ivory Potter but call me Ivy. I’m a first year and so is James. What’s your name?”
“I’m Lily Evans,” Lily responded, taking Ivy’s hand and smiling back at her. “I’m a first year as well. Hey,” she paused, looking back and forth between James and Ivy several times, both of whom had the same oval-shaped face, hazel eyes and unruly black hair. “Are you –”
“Twins?” The two finished for her at the same time. “No,” Ivy continued, once again shifting the cage she was holding. “We’re only cousins. Our dads are twins though and we think that must be why we look so much alike. But I mean it’s obvious I’m much more intelligent and better looking than Scruffy over here.”
“Excuse me?” James said, raising an eyebrow at his cousin. “Scruffy? Who’re you calling ‘Scruffy’, Miss Perm Gone Wrong?”
Ivy self-consciously touched the tangled mess of black curls that was her hair but then rolled her eyes at James and said, “Miss Perm Gone Wrong? Really, James, is that the best you can think of? Sometimes I’m ashamed to call you my cousin.”
“Yes well in his defense, ‘Scruffy’ isn’t exactly the insult of the century,” said a voice from the compartment behind them and they all turned to see a boy their age with long dark hair and piercing grey eyes looking at them.
“And who exactly are you?” Ivy asked rudely, obviously not taking kindly to anyone who insulted her insults.
Walking forward and brushing his hair out of his eyes, the boy just as rudely said, “Sirius Black; first year. And who exactly are you?”
“Ivory Potter,” Ivy replied simply, and with a small smirk Sirius inclined his head towards her. Jabbing her thumb in Lily and James’s direction, Ivy then said, “That’s James Potter – I try to pretend we’re not related – and that’s Lily Evans. We’re all first years too.”
Sirius glanced at James and Lily in turn as they were introduced, nodding slightly each time as he had with Ivy, but when he looked back at her he immediately shifted his focus towards James again, and then to Ivy once more. Noticing the strange resemblance between the two just as Lily had, he asked, “Are you twins?”
“Cousins,” James replied shortly, thinking to himself that if he had a nickel for every time he had been asked that question he could probably buy the England Quidditch team. Then noticing the crumpled green and silver flag Sirius was holding in his hand, James made a face and said, “That’s not a Slytherin flag, is it?”
“What?” Sirius asked, confused at first but after looking down at his hand he said, “Oh… er, yeah. It is actually. My mum gave this to me. My entire family has been in Slytherin and my parents are hoping I will be too. They’re those kinds of purebloods who believe magic should be kept strictly in wizarding families and all that rubbish. I’m not like that though; I actually find my parents’ opinions to be nauseating most of the time.”
“So… you don’t want to be in Slytherin, right?” asked James, who was having a hard time comprehending why anyone in the world would want such a thing. “Because I don’t know if I’m going to be able to talk to you any longer if you do.”
“Gryffindor,” James said and Ivy nodded in agreement. Looking over at Lily, James asked, “What house do you want to be in, Evans?”
Lily shrugged, saying, “I don’t really know much about the houses other than their names.”
“Well Hufflepuff is where all the losers go,” Sirius informed her, sweeping his hair out of his eyes once more.
“Slytherin is for all the snobby, rude kids who come from families like Sirius’s… you know, the kind that think it’s wrong for Muggle-borns to be taught magic,” James chimed in, “and I take it you’re a Muggle-born if you don’t know a lot about the houses so you obviously won’t be in Slytherin. Ravenclaw is where all of the ridiculously smart people go so I guess it wouldn’t really be that bad…”
“But Gryffindor is the best,” Ivy finished for them, and the two boys nodded in agreement. Lily was just about to ask how you were sorted into each house when Ivy glanced down at her watch and exclaimed, “Blimey! It’s already 10:50! I better go say good-bye to my parents soon before they have a conniption. Are you going to come with me, James?”
James, however, had started up a conversation with Sirius about the house Quidditch teams and they were now talking intensely about which position they’d like to play. Ivy rolled her eyes and muttered something about having to share a compartment with an idiot.
Lily, who had never gotten the chance to go and find Severus due to her encounter with James, realized she would be travelling to Hogwarts alone. She looked over at Ivy and said, “You can sit in my compartment if you want. I’m all alone in there and this way you won’t have to be with James.”
“Really?” Ivy asked, and Lily nodded. “Brilliant!” Ivy exclaimed gratefully, immediately brightening up at the prospect of an entirely James-free train ride. She set the owl cage she was still holding onto the ground before returning to her original compartment to get her other belongings. Just as she returned with her trunk and jacket in hand, James’s and Sirius’s conversation came to an end.
“James I’m going to sit in Lily’s compartment for the ride,” Ivy said, setting her things next to the owl cage. “Is that alright?”
“Well who am I supposed to sit with?” James asked huffily, clearly not looking forward to spending the long journey alone. However the solution to his problem came almost instantly.
“If you need somewhere to sit, I’ve got plenty of room in my compartment, mate,” Sirius said, looking over at James and gesturing lazily to his open compartment door. James paused for a moment, causing Ivy to roll her eyes (it wasn’t exactly a life-changing decision, what was there to think about?).
“Sound good to me,” James said eventually and the two boys grinned at each other. James grabbed his belongings, which were resting against a compartment door a couple of steps away, and he heaved them into Sirius’s compartment.
“James, I’m going to go and say good-bye to our parents if you want to come,” Ivy said, starting to walk towards the nearest exit to the platform. “We’re leaving in about five minutes.”
“Yeah I’ll come with you,” James said, starting to follow Ivy but stopping abruptly to turn back towards Lily. “Miss Evans,” he said with what was supposed to be a charming smile on his face, “it was a pleasure.”
Trying not to giggle at the face James was making (which looked more like his mouth was seizing up than it did a charismatic grin), Lily managed to say, “Yes, lovely meeting you. And Sirius, you too. I’m going to go and say good-bye to my family as well so Ivy, I’ll see you back in the compartment in a few minutes.”
James continued following Ivy, as did Sirius who figured he’d go and see his parents and brother one last time, but Lily walked in the opposite direction. James watched her until she reached the exit nearest her, and just before she hopped onto the platform she gave him a quick wave. As her fiery red hair went swinging out of sight, James sighed.
“It’s official,” he said, talking to nobody in particular as he, Ivy and Sirius also jumped off the train. “I’ve found the girl of my dreams.”
“You’ve known her for ten minutes at the most, James, try and control your hormones,” Ivy said, rolling her eyes for what seemed like the millionth time at her cousin.
“I’m not kidding!” James said defensively as the made their way through the crowd and to their families. “That’s the girl I’m going to marry, just you wait!”
Sirius snorted. “Yeah, yeah, yeah,” he replied, shaking his head with amusement as he parted from the two cousins. “Whatever you say, Potter.”
Twenty minutes later the Hogwarts Express was on its way, speeding past large green fields full of grazing cows. Lily and Ivy were sitting in their compartment, their feet propped up on the seam opposite from them and their hands resting behind their heads.
“You know,” said Lily thoughtfully, staring at the rainbow-colored bird that was hooting softly above her, “I kind of like your owl like that… with all the different colors, I mean. It certainly makes him unique. What’s his name?”
“Phaff,” Ivy replied and Lily took her eyes off the owl to give its owner an odd look, thinking she must’ve misheard her.
“You name your owl Phaff?” Lily questioned, raising one eyebrow and Ivy nodded. “Oh. Er… well that’s quite the name. How did you come up with that?”
Ivy sat upright, scoffing slightly. “James; how else?” she said bitterly. “I wanted to name him Russell but before I knew it, James had started calling him Phaff and it just stuck. So now I have a hippie owl named Phaff, all thanks to James Bloody Potter.”
“You and James are pretty close, aren’t you?” Lily asked, also sitting up.
“I suppose you could say that,” Ivy replied thoughtfully. “We don’t really have much of a choice though, our families are practically inseparable so we spend a lot of time together.”
“Do you get along well?” Lily asked and Ivy snorted.
“I thought you would’ve figured that one out by now,” she said. “Did you not see our little encounter before? That’s pretty much what it’s like every day for us. He’s a laugh sometimes but he’s usually a right pain in the arse. And that Sirius Black… what kind of name is that anyway? I think his parents must’ve made it up because nobody in their right mind would name their son Sirius when there are perfectly normal names out there like Kevin or Matthew. Anyway he seems just like James, and let me tell you something: the last thing the world needs is another James Potter.”
Their compartment door then slid open and a girl with wavy blonde hair and chocolate brown eyes peeked in.
“Do you mind if I sit in here with you?” She asked shyly, opening the door a little more. “The boy I was sitting with just vomited all over our compartment…”
“No, we don’t mind at all,” Ivy said, standing up to help lift her trunk and owl up onto the luggage rack. Waving her hand in Lily’s direction, Ivy said, “That’s Lily Evans and I’m Ivy Potter.”
“Athena Harrison,” the girl said breathlessly, giving her trunk one last push, which slid neatly into place on the luggage rack. Ivy handed Athena’s owl up to her and she placed him right next to her trunk before giving Ivy a grateful smile and saying, “Thanks.”
“Sure thing,” Ivy said, sitting back down and stretching her legs out once more. “So Athena, are you a first year, too? Lily and I both are.”
Athena nodded her head as she tried to turn her body around so she could jump down from the seat she was standing on, but nodding and turning at the same time proved to be too difficult of a task for the tiny blonde and she toppled off the seat and onto the floor of the compartment.
“Bloody hell!” Ivy exclaimed as Athena landed sprawled on the ground in front of her. Ivy and Lily both started to rise out of their seats but Athena waved her hand at them to stay sitting. Athena sat up slowly and touched a tender spot on her forehead with a quiet groan.
“Are you all right?” Lily asked with a very concerned expression on her face. She had slid off her seat and onto the floor next to Athena and was looking right at the bump that was forming near Athena’s left temple. “It looks like you hit your head pretty hard. Do you want some ice or anything?”
“No it’s ok,” Athena said, propping herself up against the seat behind her. “I’m always falling or knocking something – or someone – over. I’m kind of used to it by now.”
Athena pressed her fingers to the spot on her forehead again, this time much more lightly but it still hurt quite a bit. However she hadn’t read through all of her mother’s old Healer-in-training books multiple times for no good reason, and knew just the spell to heal it with.
“Hey Lily, do you think you could grab my wand out of my trunk for me?” Athena asked and the redhead immediately sprang up. She hopped up onto the seat Athena had just been standing on, undid the latch on the trunk and pulled out a very beautiful wand. Careful not to meet the same fate as her bruised companion, Lily stepped back onto the compartment floor and handed Athena her wand.
Athena pointed the tip of her wand at the swollen lump on her head and muttered something that neither Ivy nor Lily could catch. But it seemed to have done the trick because the lump started reducing almost instantly and a few seconds later it wasn’t visible at all.
“Wow,” Ivy said, shocked at how easily Athena had done magic without even having a proper lesson yet. “You’re good.”
“My mum is a Healer and she’s been teaching me a lot of medicinal charms and spells ever since I was little,” Athena said sheepishly, though letting out a little grin anyway.
“Yeah but I mean you just di–” Ivy started to say but a loud scream from just outside their compartment cut her off.
“OWLY! OWLY GET BACK HERE RIGHT NOW YOU INSUBORDINATE ANIMAL!” A girl’s voice shouted and just as Ivy got up to see who was making all the noise, a beautiful black owl came soaring into the three girls’ compartment, followed immediately by a girl with long brown curls and sparkling blue eyes. But the girl tripped over Athena’s legs, which were stretched right across the compartment floor and she landed face-first onto the carpet, taking both Lily and Ivy down with her.
“Why do I feel like this is happening an awful lot to me today?” Lily grumbled, trying her best to untangle herself from the knot of girls but her hair seemed to be caught in something and she was unable to move any more without excruciating pain searing through her scalp.
“Merlin, I’m so sorry!” The brown-haired girl exclaimed as she wriggled her way out of the heap of girls. She freed Lily’s hair from whatever it was attached to and then helped up Lily, Ivy and Athena from the ground, apologizing incessantly the entire time.
“It’s fine, don’t worry about it,” Athena said kindly as she sat back down and pulled her shirt straight. “I’m Athena, by the way,” she added, “That’s Lily with the red hair and that’s Ivy.”
“I’m Kennedy,” the girl replied, just as an owl hooted softly from above and all four girls looked up to see the black owl that Kennedy had chased in, perched on the luggage rack.
“Owly!” Kennedy exclaimed with both relief and exasperation. The owl fluttered down to Kennedy and rested itself on her shoulder. “Sorry about all of this… Owly gets kind of crazy when we’re around a lot of people and he got loose when we were on the platform. I’ve been chasing him down since we got on the train so I haven’t actually had the chance to find a seat… could I sit with you guys?”
“Sure, make yourself comfortable,” Ivy replied. “So your owl’s name is Owly?” Kennedy nodded her head as she dragged her belongings into the compartment and then took a seat next to Lily. “Well at least I’m not the only one with a strangely-named owl.”
“Why, what’s your owl’s name?” Athena asked curiously, looking sideways at Ivy.
Athena giggled, saying, “Owly and Phaff. That’s er… quite the pair.”
“I was thinking about naming him Peanut Butter,” Kennedy said, standing up to get something out of her trunk. “But I decided I like Owly better.”
The other three girls gave Kennedy a questioning look, which she caught just as she pulled a pair of pink, fluffy earmuffs from her jacket pocket.
“What?” Kennedy asked, taking her seat next to Lily once more. “I like peanut butter.”
“You’re just… very random,” Lily said simply, cracking a smile.
“So I’ve been told,” Kennedy replied, snapping the earmuffs over her ears. The girls gave her one last strange look and Kennedy said, “What? My ears get cold!”