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The D.D. by RandomRyter

Format: Novella
Chapters: 20
Word Count: 41,117
Status: COMPLETED

Rating: 15+
Warnings: Mild Language, Strong Violence

Genres: Drama, Mystery, Action/Adventure
Characters: Dumbledore, Lupin, Sirius, Lily, James, OC
Pairings: James/Lily, Remus/OC, Sirius/OC, Other Pairing

First Published: 01/25/2009
Last Chapter: 07/23/2010
Last Updated: 07/23/2010

Summary:






Secrets. Everyone has them, some just have better kept ones than others. Three friends in Hogwarts have kept a secret for a long time. But, in their sixth year when it comes to secrets, some things are becoming more difficult.
 
Like keeping them.


Chapter 1: The Letter
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Disclaimer: J.K. Rowling owns everything except for the DD and the things involved in the DD.



The Letter-James Potter



“Oh, Jamesie, wake uppppp!”



I sat up so fast I felt dizzy. The first thing I see is a large black mass looking down on me and I push it off my bed. After putting on my glasses, I see my two best friends on the floor, laughing hysterically.



“You—should—have—seen—your—face!” Sirius Black said between laughs. He shook his dark black hair out of his blue-grey eyes and stood.



“Arg, Padfoot!” I lay back down and covered my head. “That really sounded like her.”



“Prongs is right, that was a very good impression,” Remus Lupin had a thoughtful look on his scarred face, “Maybe a little too good.”



“Shut it, Moony.”



I yawned. “What time is it?”



“Oh, around nine-thirty,” replied Remus also standing up from his place on my room’s carpet.



“Why’d you wake me?”



“Your mum said breakfast is ready,” Sirius told him.



I jumped up, “Why didn’t you say so?”



They went down as I got dressed. Putting on my glasses I looked in the mirror. Hair messy as usual. Trying to flatten it down, I made my way to the Potter family kitchen where Sirius was already scooping eggs onto his plate.



“Morning, James,” Mum said from behind the counter.



“Morning, where’s Pinkie?” The house-elf usually made a very good breakfast.



“She’s cleaning up the books. Some looked as though they would fall apart,” she told me handing me a plate.



“Thanks.”



“So, what are you boys going to do today?” she asked us.



“Um,” Remus looked to Sirius and me.



“Quidditch,” Sirius and I said simultaneously.



She laughed, “Boys, you’ve been playing Quidditch every single day.”



“Well, they need to practice so Gryffindor can take the Cup,” My dad walked into the room and sat down. Even at his age his hair is still like that, there is no hope for me.



“Just in time, honey, here comes the mail,” as my mum said that, an owl came through the open window with a clump of letters. The owl dropped the pile and flew back out the other window. Mum went to grab the letters and I saw a large envelope in a coral color. It stood out from all the other letters because of its size and color.



“Hey, mum, what’s that?” I asked her.



She looked like she was remembering something. “It’s for your father.”



“Huh?” He looked up from the Daily Prophet and stared at the letter for a full minute. I lean over to get a closer look at the envelope.  I wonder what the two golden D’s stand for? It’s probably for auror work.



Sirius looked at me and mouthed, what is it?



I don’t know, I mouthed back.



“Well, whatever it may be, you better open it,” Mum had gone back to looking through the mail.



“Yes, yes I should,” He stood and went into his office.



Remus, Sirius and I looked to my mum for an explanation.



“It’s probably just—“Dad reentered the kitchen, cutting her off.



“It’s alright, they just want me to go back for old time’s sake,” He smiled. “They also said that I could bring James.”



“So it was them?” Mum asked him.



“Yes.”



Sirius looked up, “Who?”



“I wonder,” My father scratched his chin, not answering Sirius. He went out of the room again and came back with an owl and a paper that he had written on. He attached the paper to the owl and gave it directions to somewhere. The owl took flight and he turned back to us.



“Margaret, I believe it is time to tell the boys about the DD.”



“The what?” I asked.



“Why don’t we go into the sitting room,” Mum said taking off her apron.



I looked to Remus and Sirius, there faces full of confusion and curiosity. We hopped off the chairs and followed my dad into the room. Sirius and I sat down on chairs and Remus took a seat on the couch.



“Well,” Dad came in and shut the door behind him. “Here, you guys can read the letter.” He handed me a letter. It said:



Dear Mr. Harold G. Potter,



We wish to herby invite you to join us to watch the last duel of the summer. It will be all the winners of the many duels we have had this summer. You may bring your son, James H. Potter to the match so he can witness a most amazing spectacle. Regular rules applied, see below. It will be held on August 28th, 1977 and shall start at eleven thirty in the same place as you should remember. If for some reason you do not remember the location, you will have to contact us by the use of the owl we sent you. Please send back an answer or any questions you may have via owl.



Thank You,



Samuel A. Burns



                                                                              Samuel A. Burns, Owner of the D.D. 



Once stunned, unable to move, or incarcerated, the dueler can not move from the arena and must stay stunned, incarcerated or unable to move until all teammates get out or the duel is over. Allowed to duel the Muggle way and the Magical way to enhance the fight. No armor (except for mask) or protective shields to be worn, allowed to cast a shield spell, though. Must wear mask to cover face to keep the identity secret, for privacy purposes. 



 


“As soon as Sirius is done reading, we will answer your questions,” Mum told me.



I looked over to see that Remus had passed the letter on to Sirius. How fast can he bloody read?



After what seemed to take hours, Sirius finished reading and the letter was passed back to my dad.



“Any questions?” He asked.



“What does it mean?’



“What is the DD?”



“Why did you get the letter?”



“What’s the Muggle way of fighting?”



“How does it know my name?” My dad held up his hand, silencing us.



“First off, let me tell you a story,” He told us.



“When I was in my fifth year at Hogwarts, I came across a group talking about the DD. Now, I won’t go into detail, but I spent that entire year searching for this mysterious DD. I had thought it was a person at first, but I soon realized it was a group of people. ‘



‘Well, not a group exactly, but many different teams that fought each other. When I say fight, I mean duel, with spells, hexes, curses, pretty much anything except Unforgivables. The Muggle portion is if your wand is taken and you can’t get it back, you can still fight. Like punching and kicking, even biting. No one knows when this ‘club’ was created, or why, but I think it was made to help young people become better duelers and to make sure they are able to protect themselves. ‘



‘As soon as I had found out what the group really was, I wanted to join as soon as possible. I went up to one of the people I had heard talking and told them I knew. The boy that I told was mad at first because they aren’t supposes to let anyone find out, but he brought me to their ‘leader’ on a Hogsmeade weekend.’



‘The leader at the time was Samuel Burns’ father, George Burns. He and I spoke for an hour, the most suspense filled hour of my life, and he finally allowed me to join a team because they were down a player from injury. You see, all teams must have three players, no more, no less. My two teammates had just joined also, but were still very good. ‘



‘I had to practice every day for five months. They taught me new spells, fighting stances, how to throw a punch, everything. They both went toBeauxbâtons Academy of Magic, so I didn’t see them at Hogwarts. After practicing all this, we started the actual duels. The first season, there are the summer season, winter season, and spring season; we won four out of ten duels. That doesn’t sound like much, but it was a lot for beginners.”



He took a breath. My dad, part of a dueling group, talk about awesome! Remus and Sirius are looking shocked as well. I wonder why we haven’t heard about this group.



“Your father’s team got better, by the time they retired from the club, they had won 353 out of 389 games,” my mum said.



“Mrs. Potter, how do you know about the DD? I thought it was against code to tell people?” Sirius asked.



“It wasn’t against code to tell other members,” She said smiling.



Wait, what did she say?                                  



 “What?”



“I was part of a team also, the Hot Hippogriffs, actually.”



I cringed; I couldn’t picture my mum being hot.



“So girls play?” Sirius asked her.



“Yes, Sirius, girls can participate,” Mum told him, “They didn’t separate the females and males.”



“You’d be surprised,” Dad was shaking his head now, “The girls actually beat us males a few times.”



“Really?” Sirius asked.



“Yeah, gender didn’t matter,” Dad’s head was in his hands, “Actually, your mother’s group beat mine a number of times.”



I snorted. My dad, getting his ass whooped by a group of girls, HA!



“Oh,” Remus looked at my parents, “Did DD stand for something?”



Right, Duh. That’s important.



“Yeah,” Mum answered, “The Dueler Dungeon.



Sirius guffawed. “Nice.”



“Yeah, I must admit the name is sort of tacky,” my dad laughed, “That’s why most of us call it the DD.”



“Oh.”



A tapping sound could be heard from the kitchen. We all stood up and went in to see an owl at the window.



It’s holding another coral colored envelope in its beak. Must be Dad’s.



Dad went up and took the letter out of the bird’s beak. It flew right back out the window like it had come. I looked back to see my father opening the letter and scanning its contents. He smiled.



“I just got permission to bring two guests, plus James,” He said. “Remus, Sirius, would you like to come to the DD?”



“Heck yeah!” Sirius said, excited.



“If it wouldn’t be any trouble, sir,” Remus said.



I laughed at the difference in their responses.



~~~~~~~~~~~***~~~~~~~~~~~~



“It really sucks that Wormtail can’t be here,” Remus said as we were getting dressed for the DD. “To bad he’s in America helping out his mum’s aunt.”



“Yeah,” I said pulling on my shirt, “Hey, I wonder how we get to this pace. Or where it is for that matter.”



“Hmm, I never thought about that,” Remus replied, “Good point.”



“Do you guys think there will be any girls?” Sirius asked.



“Well, Prongs’ dad said the girls were good at the duels too, so yeah, probably,” said Remus.



“No, I mean do you think there will be any girls?” he wiggled his eyebrows.



Remus snorted. “Possibly, Padfoot, possibly.”



When we finished getting ready (Sirius had to spend several minutes on his hair incase there were any girls there), we went down to see my dad. Mum decided not to go, so she is staying home with Pinky. Remus, Sirius, and I followed my dad into the back yard of our house in Godric’s Hollow.



“O.K., boys, grab my arms, we’re going to apparate,” Dad told us.



Remus and I grabbed his arms and Sirius put a hand on his shoulder. Then we were squeezed into the sudden darkness. A moment later we appeared in the Leaky Cauldron.



“Hello, Mr. Potter, what can I get for you today?” the barman asked.



“Nothing today, just going to the Alley,” my dad replied.



“You sure?”



“Positive.”



We walked out back and Dad tapped the bricks. Once the archway formed, we went through into Diagon Alley. People are all over as usual and the shops are covered in crowds. Dad took us through the crowds and all the way to the back end of the alley way.



“Is this it?” Sirius asked as we came to a halt.



The building in front of us looks like it has been deserted for years. The windows are boarded up and the walls have holes in them. I bet the inside looks like the Shack a little.



“Ever heard the saying ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’, Sirius?” Remus said.



“Exactly, Remus,” Dad smiled and took out his wand.



“Wait,” I said, “Won’t the people see us enter?”



“No, right now we are under an invisible cover,” Dad told us, “No one can see us except us.”



“Oh, that’s helpful,” Sirius commented.



“Very.”



Dad said a quick spell that only members must know and was about to go through the door when he turned suddenly and reached in his pockets. He pulled out four items that resembled masks. He handed three to me, all grey.



“I almost forgot, just incase something happens, put these on and don’t take them off unless I tell you too,” Dad told us.



I handed one to each Remus and Sirius and we followed my dad through the door. Man, were we in shock by what we saw.



The inside of the room was large. No, not large, humungous. The floors are made of white stone and the walls are black velvet. The walls are blank except for a thin white line running through the middle of the walls all the way around the room. There are three grey doors directly in front of us and one red door on each side wall.



But, the room wasn’t what caught the three boy’s attention; it was the hundreds of people in the room along with them.



“Who are all these people?” I asked.



“Oh, yes,” my dad said, “I almost forgot that most members just come to watch the duels take place. Not to actually participate.”



“Wow,” Remus whispered.



“Oh, Mr. Potter, I’m glad that you made it!” said a male voice.



The group turned around to find a man in his late thirty’s, tall and wearing a suit.



“Samuel Burns, it’s great to see you,” said Dad, shaking the man’s hand.



“Likewise,” Burns said, “Are you ready for some great duels?”



“Yeah, we can’t wait,” Dad replied.



“Oh, this must be your son and friends,” Burns held out a hand and I shook it. “Wonderful to finally meet you.”



“Nice to meet you too, sir,” I told him as he went on to shake Remus’ hand.



“Are you excited to witness your first match?” He asked us.



“Yes,” Sirius replied quickly.



Burns laughed, “That’s good, and I believe it will be a good match today. Although after the match, I was just wondering if you would be able to meet some of our duelers.” He was now looking at Dad.



“Is that the only reason you asked me to come?” Dad was laughing.



“No, I honestly wish for you to see a match, it’s just are reining champs are good and I believe they are worthy to be in a legend like Harold Potter’s presence.” Burns said.



“How good are they?” Dad asked joking.



Burn’s reply was serious, though. “Really good, they might be as good as you were, I hate to say it, but they might be even better.”



Dad’s eyebrows shot up. “Really, hmmm, now I’m excited to watch the match.”



“Oh, yes, it should be starting soon. I have you sitting with me in the ‘Pensieve’ seats and the boys in the ‘Werewolf’ box,” Burns told us.



Remus sure went pale there. I wonder if it would seem odd if I snorted at how ironic it is.



A bell chimed in the distance and people started rushing through the newly opened doors.



“Don’t worry,” Dad said as Sirius made to run, “It’s assigned seating.”



“O.k., boys, just follow Marcus here,” A boy about twenty suddenly appeared next to Burns, “He’s going to take you to your seats. When you’re in there, you can take off your masks.”



Wow, that hair is almost as red as Lily’s. Oh Lily.



We followed Marcus up and down stairs and through a door with a moon on it. Inside the room, there are three seats and food on the tables against the walls. The walls and floor were different shades of blue. The wall facing the arena was a type of glass, it’s see through with a rubbery texture.



Remus whistled and threw his mask onto a chair.



Looking out the glass, a perfect view of a circle about twenty feet going each way, floor of the circle is sand and a wood wall with rocks on one side stood up in a corner. A small pond full of water lay in the opposite corner and a tree was standing next to it. The arena looked just like a battlefield, well, one with every type of terrain.



“Prongs look up,” Sirius said from my left.



I didn’t know what to expect, but it wasn’t that. Above us is a huge stadium, seats everywhere, being filled by people of all shapes, sizes, and color. I could see a roped off area in a perfect view of the battle zone. That must be where Dad is sitting.



“Well, we might as well get comfortable,” Remus said, grabbing a water.



“Moony, do you see this? It’s like we’re right on the sand,” Sirius said, touching the ‘glass’.



“Yeah, but you can stand during the battle, which is in a few minutes, by the way.”


Chapter 2: Fighter's View
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Fighter’s View-Tilly Channing




Running, faster and faster, under the tree, over the wall. They were still chasing me. Gaining, now only a few yards behind me.




“Expelliarmus!”




My wand flew from my hand and clattered in the distance. I only had my own strength now. All teammates out, me against three other players. I stood no chance. Looking back, one raised their wand arm.


“Stupefy!”




I sat up straight, my shoulder-length blonde hair probably sticking up madly. Breathing heavily, I looked at the clock on my bedside table, 8:23. I sigh and lay back down. It was just a dream, Matilda, just a dream. Nothing to worry about.


“Nanagluffern,” came a mumbled nonsense from the bed beside me.




Looking over, I see a mop of brown hair with multicolored streaks in it from a spell gone wrong. Grizel Burby, known as Riz to anyone who doesn’t wish an extremely painful death upon them, is still sleeping. Her five foot, ten inch body half on the bed, half off. A most interesting sleeper she is.




I sit back and look up at the ceiling of our room at the Leaky Cauldron. A large crack is about to stretch it’s way to the fan in the middle of the room. The three canopies of the three different beds have piles of dust on them and I wouldn’t be surprised if they were home to a poisonous spider of some sort.




“Oh, are you awake?” I hear a voice from the third bed say. Turning over on my side I look into the emerald green eyes of Lillian Evans. Her red hair is coming out of the band she had put in it the night before and her mouth kept forming a yawn. “Morning, Tilly.”



“Morning, Lil’s,” I say to her.


“Is Riz up?” she asks me.


I snort, “You joking?”


“Well, I probably should have been,” she smiled a sleepy smile.


We both started to stand to wake up Riz.


“We need to be to the DD at what time?” Lily asked me.


“Um,” I racked my brain, “Ten, I believe.”


“And it’s eight forty now?”


“Yeah.”



“Well, better wake our teammate,” she smirked and grabbed her wand from the dresser.



I stepped back, from experience I know you don’t want to be within distance of a newly awaken Riz.


Lily flicked her wand, “Aguamenti.”




A jet of ice water flew from her wand and onto the sleeping Riz. I covered my ears, waiting for the explosion. And let me tell you, it came.




“WHO THE BLOODY HELL DECIDED TO POUR RUDDY ICE WATER ON MY RUDDY HEAD?!” Riz roared in her Scottish accent.  The streaks in her hair were no longer multicolored, but a fiery red.




The angry girl jumped out of her bed and looked around. Seeing the smirk on Lily’s face, she grabbed her wand and sent a tickling jinx her way. After Lily fell to the floor in mad laughter, the Scot turned on me.




“I didn’t do anything,” I said quickly. She smirked and her hair’s streaks went back to the color that usually meant she is calm, dark brown, her original color. Now, the fully brown-haired girl took the charm off Lily and sat on her bed.




“Sorry,” she started, “but you guys already know I failed anger-management, so why don’t you wake me up the normal way? You know, shaking my shoulder, yelling in my ear. Actually, forget the latter.”




Lily giggled and stood up from where she was.



“So, when are we leaving? I’m all fired and wired, ready for the big fight!” Riz smiled.


“Well, we need to be there at ten, so we should probably leave at nine-thirty,” Lily told her.



“’K, I’ll be in the shower if you need me,” Riz went into the bathroom and once Lily and I heard the water start running, we went into hysterical laughter.



“That was interesting,” I said, going to my trunk and pulling out random articles of clothing. Mmhm, what to wear, what to wear?



“Yeah,” Lily said, “We should probably change into our uniforms when we get there, don’t want to draw attention to ourselves by wearing jeans and T-shirts with the words, ‘The Phantom Phoenixes’, on them.”



“We’d sure be getting some strange looks, from wizards and muggles alike,” I replied.



Riz came out of the shower and I hopped in. The warm water felt good, and almost all thoughts of my nightmare wore away. Almost.




After I cleaned up and put on a long skirt with flowers on it and a pink T-shirt. When I went back into the main room, Lily went pass me into the bathroom for her shower. Riz already had her hair brushed and pulled back into a messy bun. She wore light cut-offs and a Holyhead Harpies T-shirt.



I brushed my hair and pulled it into a braid. Lily came out in yellow top and bell-bottom jeans, and put her hair in a simple ponytail.



“What time is it now?” Lily asked Riz.  Always has to be on schedule.



“Um,” Riz looked at the clock, “nine twenty- eight.”


“Ready then?” Lily asked us.




“Yep, we’d better go,” I said grabbing my bag. We each had a knitted bag that we bought in our fourth year, the year we found out about the DD. Mine is blue, Lily’s is green, and Riz’s is red. We keep our wands, books on spells that we’ve made up, and various potions in the bags, just in case. Also, all the stuff we need for the DD is kept in our bags.



Once out of the room, we went down to Diagon Alley. I tapped the bricks on the wall of the secret entrance and we entered. Crowded as usual.


 
We made our way to the very back end of the Alley. Once we got to the familiar deserted looking building, Riz took out her wand and said, “Triskaidekaphobia.”



I wonder why the password is always a ‘phobia’; I’ll need to ask Mr. Burns.



We went into the room and didn’t see anyone.



“Well, looks like we aren’t late for a change,” Riz said. “Better get moving before the crowds come.”



I went to the red door on the right side wall. I heard Riz and Lily following me and together we went through the door.



~~~~~~~~~~~~***~~~~~~~~~~~~




As usual the room behind the right door is full of girls getting ready for their first duel, or their last. Riz went ahead of Lily and I to the door in the far corner labeled, ‘Phantom Phoenixes’. As Lily and I followed her, the noise level in the room went down. When Riz brought out the key for the room, everything went silent.



We, Riz, Lily and I are the Phantom Phoenixes. We are thought to be the best duelers since The Seething Snargaluffs, a boy dueling group. Now, I’ve heard that is a major accomplishment for three sixteen year-old witches, not even in their sixth year at Hogwarts.



As Riz opened the door and we went through, I could hear the noise level being replaced by the girl’s shock of seeing us. I guess you could call us sort-of famous, at least in the eyes of duelers.


“Well, that never gets old,” Riz said as she jumped onto a couch.


“Sure,” I said and sat on a chair.



“Well, we’d better get ready, it’s almost time for the first battle to start,” Lily pulled jeans and a dark red shirt out of her bag.


“Oh dear,” Riz sighed. “Here we go.”



I stood and grabbed my own jeans and matching red shirt out of my bag. I pulled on the jeans and was about to put on the shirt when Lily stopped me.


“Here,” she handed me a black tank-top. “It will protect you from any hard punches.”


“What about the soft ones?” Riz asked, smirking.


Lily looked to her and jokingly glared, “You know what I mean.”



I put the T-shirt over the tank and grabbed another hair band. I pulled my hair into a bun so the mask could be put on easily.


“O.k., it should be starting in five minutes, let’s go,” I said looking at the clock on the wall.


“Yeah, we should probably g—“Lily was cut off by a knock on the door.


“Um... Come in.”



A man wearing a suit came through the door. His brown hair was neatly flattened to look professional. This ‘look’ didn’t fool the girls, though.


“Mr. Burns!” Riz yelled and went to hug him. Lily and I ran up too and we were in a group hug. 


“Hey, girls,” Samuel Burns said, “You ready for tonight?”


“Yeah!” we screamed.


He laughed, “Oh, you’ll never guess who I got to watch you duel tonight.”


We started guessing excitedly.


“Alberta Toothill?!” Lily, you should know you can’t raise the dead.


“Ludo Bagman?” I sighed at the mention of the dreamy beater.


“Dumbledore? Cause I see him all the time at school,” Riz smirked.


“Ha, ha, ha,” Burns said dryly, “No, actually, I got the last member of the Seething Snargaluffs to watch with his son and two friends.”


“NO WAY!” Riz screamed, streaks turning bright pink.


“That’s awesome!” Lily said.


“Who is he?” I asked.


“You might just find out,” Burns smiled. “He’s thinking of talking to the group that is said to have been able to kick his butt.”


“Wow,” I commented, “No pressure huh.”



He laughed, “Just do your best, although I know that you will win the prize. Prepare your acceptance speech! Good Luck.”


He turned and went out the door.


Lily looked to me, “Mmhm, a son and two friends, I wonder how old they are.”


“Lily!” I scolded, “They might be a future competition!”


“Well, if they’re cute,” Lily mused.



“No, stop,” Riz shook Lily’s shoulders, “We must not let her sink into the world of boys!”


“I think it’s too late,” I sobbed, “Oh, Lily!”


Riz was on her knees crying now. “She was so young!”


“You guys,” Lily laughed, “Stop, I’m not dying!”


We kept sobbing.


“Fine, if you guys stop, I won’t ‘sink into the world of boys’,” she said standing.


Riz and I suddenly jumped off the floor, free of all tears and sorrow. “Okay!”



Although, she still hasn’t said yes to Potter. Maybe there is hope for her. Of course she’ll obviously give in some day.



“Holy mother of Merlin!” Lily said, “The match is starting!”



We looked at each other and put our masks on. They all matched, plain, black silk with a red outline. After they were put on, we dashed out of the room and to our box.



Up stairs, down stairs, through hallways, past doors.
 Past cleaners, around late people, oh don’t give us that look, lady, like you’ve never been late to something before.



Once we got to the ‘Phoenix’ box, we were slightly out of breath.



“Perfect timing,” Riz said as we sat in our seats. I grabbed water and took a sip, regaining my breath.



“WELCOME TO THE DUELER DUNGEON,” A voice boomed. “NOW, PLEASE WELCOME ‘THE INCREDIBLE IMPS’ ONTO THE SAND.”



The ‘Imps’ came onto the sand, looking somewhat nervous.  They have to be first timers; those boys look to only be fifteen.



The announcer continued, “THEY WILL BE DUELING AGAINST ‘THE DARK DEMENTORS’, A GROUP THAT WISHES TO CHALENGE OUR REINING CHAMPIONS.”



The next group to come out was wearing all black, with hoods. These will be more fun to fight; they look like they’re our age.



“Oh, so they want to challenge us, do they,” Riz stated. “Well, if they even make it that far, we’ll show them exactly what girls are made of.”



“Totally,” agreed Lily.



“They don’t even look that tough, let’s try to get them out in the first ten minutes,” Riz continued.



‘My wand flew from my hand and clattered in the distance. I only had my own strength now. All teammates out, me against three other players. I stood no chance. Looking back, one raised their wand arm.’



“Ahhhhhh,” I jumped, the nightmare coming back to me.


“What’s wrong?” Lily asked, concerned.


“Oh, um, nothing, just nerves,” I told her.


“Don’t worry; with your ability to block things, you’ll do fine,” Riz smiled at me, “Just like practice.”



I nodded, feeling a little better.


Chapter 3: Duel Time
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Duel Time- Remus Lupin



 



“WELCOME TO THE DUELER DUNGEON,” A voice boomed in the room. “NOW, PLEASE WELCOME ‘THE INCREDIBLE IMPS’ ONTO THE SAND.”




“Well,” Sirius started, “They don’t look like much.”




The ‘Imps’ had red pants and orange shirts on. They looked like tacky apples mixed with oranges. Their masks were a masculine red with orange outline.




“Eh,” I said, “Looks can be deceiving.”




The announcer continued, “THEY WILL BE DUELING AGAINST ‘THE DARK DEMENTORS’, A GROUP THAT WISHES TO CHALENGE OUR REINING CHAMPIONS.”




The ‘Dementors’ had all black robes on with hoods. You couldn’t see their faces because of the hoods. I’m sure they have masks on; their hoods could come down or something.




“ARE YOU READY TO DUEL!?” the voice was met with loud cheering and some screaming. “FIGHTERS, TAKE YOUR POSITIONS.”




The groups stood on either side of a blood red line that had just appeared in the middle of the arena.




“WANDS OUT, IN TEN,” the crowd started counting down. To my right, Sirius even joined in. He sure is excited.




“10…..9….8…7...6…5….4…..3….2” The crowd boomed. “ONE!”




As quick as lightening, the six different duelers ran. They either hid behind something, or went toward the other team, wand ready.




Expelliarmus!”




“Protego!”




One of the ‘Imps’ tried to disarm a ‘Dementor’, but the latter deflected to spell with a simple flick of his wand.




“Stupefy!”




Rictusempra!”




The spells and hexes were coming from every angle, no one was down yet, but the ‘Dementors’ seemed as though they are wining.




“Oh, one of those ‘Imps’ are going to get it,” James muttered, “That one is—“




“Oooh,” Sirius frowned as one of the ‘Imps’ was stunned. The poor boy was unconscious; the hex hit him so powerfully.




“I can’t wait to see this group challenge the reining champs. Now that’ll be interesting,” I commented, sitting up in my seat.




“Defiantly, oh, there went another one,” James said as the second to last ‘Imp’ was bound and stunned.




The last ‘Imp’ was now trying to stun a ‘Dementor’ from behind the tree. As the opposing player got closer to the tree, the ‘Imp’ started stepping back. He has obviously forgotten about the pond.




Right when the ‘Dementor’ started to run around the tree, the ‘Imp’ slipped and fell into the pond. The other two ‘Dementors’ looked as though they were laughing as their teammate stunned the ‘Imp’, ending the duel.




“That was bloody depressing,” Sirius said, snickering. “That little kid got himself out.”




I smiled, “I’m sure the matches will get better with time.”




“They had better,” James replied.




The different duels went on for about an hour and a half. The ‘Dementors’ played against the Fast Fireballs next, a group of girls in yellow. They ‘Dementors’ won every duel they participated in and seemed to get better every time. All the duels went in different directions; some took fifteen minutes, others thirty. 


The ‘Dementors’ never had to use the ‘Muggle Way’ of fighting, only simple stunners or shield charms. They were apparently famous for their blasting curse and repeatedly used them to make the tree and wall explode. After all duels, a group of people came onto the sand and fixed up the area.




“WELL THIS SURE HAS BEEN AN INTERESTING DAY OF DUELING, “the announcer’s voice boomed once again as the crew finished cleaning the arena. “IT SEEMS AS THOUGH OUR OWN DARK DEMENTORS HAVE EARNED THE RIGHT TO CHALENGE THE CHAMPS, ‘THE PHANTOM PHEONIXES’.”




The crowd screamed as the Phantom Phoenixes were mentioned.




“I wonder who they are,” James mused as the ‘Dementors’ came out to formally challenge the Phoenixes.




“Well, we’ll soon find out, won’t we,” I responded.




“No, it looks like there is going to be a forty-five minute break before the ending match,” Sirius, who had stood and sat by the see-through wall said, “So it’s fair to the ‘Dementors’.”




“Oh, well, we should probably find my dad,” James stood from his place in a chair.




“Yeah, lets—“I was cut off as the door was opened by Mr. Potter.




“Hello, boys, how are you liking the match?” he asked us.




“It’s neat,” I said.




“Wicked.”




“Awesomely awesome,” Sirius stood from his place on the floor.




“Well, the best part hasn’t even happened yet,” Mr. Potter smiled. “Just wait until the Phoenixes come out.”



“Yeah,” I said. “Thank you for inviting me, sir.”




“Oh, it’s nothing, Remus,” Mr. Potter walked over to our table and grabbed water. “You add to the fun.”




I thought I heard Sirius try to subtly cover a snort with a cough.



“So, Dad,” James started, “What are we supposed to do for this break?”




“Trust me, it’ll go by fast,” Mr. Potter chuckled. “I remember one of my duels; my friends and I spent the whole break sitting completely still just thinking about different strategies and spells.”




“Wow, so there’s a lot of pressure?” I asked, curious.




“Yeah, like those first boys that went up, the ‘Imps’ I believe, they must have been first timers. You can tell if the first thing they do is turn their backs on the opponent,” he said.




Sirius sighed.



“How much longer?” he moaned.




Mr. Potter smiled, “Still thirty minutes, why don’t you three get out of this box and look around. Remember to put on your face covers, though.”




We put our masks back on and went out the door.




“So,” Sirius started, “Where do you want to go?”




“Let’s just follow this stream of people,” James suggested.




We followed a mob of people toward a room almost as big as the entrance. Running the length of the walls were tables, selling food, tickets of some sort, and a betting booth. Walking over to the betting booth, we looked to see that most were going with the Phantom Phoenixes.




“Those Phoenixes must be pretty good,” James whispered.




A girl that had heard turned to James and said, “Are you kidding me? The Phoenixes are better than the Seething Snargaluffs!”




After the girl went away, Sirius and I looked to James. His mouth was dangling open, an expression of shock.



“That was interesting,” James said, closing his mouth.




“Yeah, that girl was—“Sirius got cut off by a voice.




“FINAL MATCH WILL BE STARTING IN FIVE MINUTES,” it boomed.




We looked at each other and ran toward the ‘Werewolf’ box. I still can’t believe the box is named that, talk about irony!



 
The hallways were less crowded, but I could hear people following them to their own seats. Once to the box, I took off my mask and sat, ready for the final duel. Sirius took his place in front of the clear wall and James sat in the chair next to mine.




“PLEASE JOIN ME IN WELCOMING THE DARK DEMENTORS ONTO THE SAND, ONCE AGAIN!” the announcer said.



“Here we go,” Sirius said, excitedly.



 



 



 



 


Chapter 4: The Final Duel
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The Final Duel-Riz Burby




“FINAL MATCH WILL BE STARTING IN FIVE MINUTES,” the announcer’s voice boomed.




“You ready?” I asked Tilly.




She looked up from her place on the couch. “Yeah, ready.”




I smiled at her. “You’ll do fine, trust me.”




“Okay, Phoenixes,” Lily said from behind me. “Time to head out.”




We stood as the voice from above yelled, “PLEASE JOIN ME IN WELCOMING THE DARK DEMENTORS ONTO THE SAND, ONCE AGAIN!”




I saw the guys in black cloaks head onto the sand. They don’t look frightening, come on, Riz, you’ve done this hundreds of times.




“AND NOW,” the voice said. “WHAT YOU’VE ALL BEEN WAITING FOR—.”




The people started cheering madly.




“THE PHANTOM PHEONIXES!”




“That’s our cue,” I said to my friends, “Let’s go.”




With our heads held high, we walked onto the sand. Standing across from the cloaked figures, they looked a lot less intimidating. If fact, they looked almost easy to defeat.




As we stood across from them, the cheering got louder, most were even stomping on the stands.




“Here we go, good luck girls,” I heard Tilly say from the side of her mouth. Lily and I nodded and stared into the eye holes of our opponent’s masks.




Well, at least Tilly has gotten her confidence back.




“ARE YOU READY TO DUEL!?” the voice was met, once again, with loud cheering and some screaming. “FIGHTERS, TAKE YOUR POSITIONS.”




“WANDS OUT, IN TEN,” the crowd started counting down the oh-so familiar count down.




“10…..9….8…7...6…5….4…..3….2” The crowd was screaming. “ONE!”




To my side, Tilly started going forward, Lily going back. I looked to each side out of the corners of my eyes.




CONFUNDO!” I heard a Dementor yell, wand pointed at Tilly.




She quickly flicked her wand, “Protego.”




She said it so softly, you could barely hear it. As she did this, I noticed a Dementor running around the tree.




Hmm, think you can get away, do you?




I ran around the other side, my wand out. Seeing the black outline, I shot a freezing charm at him.




Sensing me, he turned and put up a shield before the spell could reach him.




Damn it
.




Looking at him again, I gave my most terrifying glare, even if they couldn’t see into my mask. He ran around to the other side of the tree. What a coward.




I pointed my wand at the tree, “DIFFINDO!”




The top of the great tree was sliced right off, falling backward onto the unsuspecting Dementor.




“Ooff,” I heard his voice as the tree made impact.




Running around to the other side, I tripped over something, landing on a sharp rock, stabbing my arm. Standing up quickly, I pointed my wand under the tree and shot a stunning spell at my opponent.




Looking around, I saw that while I had been chasing this Dementor, Tilly had been fighting one of the others and he had apparently stunned her. At the other side of the arena, Lily was dueling the two others. I waved my wand at one and used a curse that we created, “Incarserousus.”




He kneeled over, encased in stone.




Hmmm, I didn’t think it was that big of a spell, oh well.




Lily looked over to me, giving a smile of gratitude. My eyes widened as the last Dementor hexed her so badly that she hit the side wall of the arena. Lily! You should know not to take your eyes off the opponent!




Impedimenta!” He swished his wand at me.




Protego,” I blocked the jinx and ran up to him.




Expelliarmus,” Not seeing this coming, my wand flew out of my hand. Oh jeez.




Even with the hood up, I could tell that he was giving me a smirk. Remembering our practices, I swung my arm back just as he raised his wand. Plowing my fist directly into his face, his dropped his own wand. Good job, Riz, lovely quick thinking.




Turning around, I grabbed my wand off the ground a few meters away. Turning my wand on him, I saw he was sporting a busted lip and bloody nose. Wow, and with one punch too. Must be from all those days of making potions, glad to know the stirring helps.




“STUPEFY”
I yelled, stunning the last of the Dementors.




As he fell to the ground, the crowd erupted into cheers. The medi-wizards came onto the field and I went with the two that picked up Lily and Tilly.




“Good show out there,” one said to me, “Very impressive.”




I could feel the streaks in my hair turning a very bright purple. “Thanks.”




He nodded and produced a table in mid air. I jumped up to sit on it and laid back. As they took us three back into our room, I felt a sharp pain in my arm.




“Oww,” I yelped.




“What’s wrong?” The wizard asked me.




“Arm, pain,” I mumbled, tears building up in my eyes.




“Oh, here,” He handed me a pain relieving potion and I drank it all in one gulp. Once he saw that it was gone, he took a look at my arm.




“Looks like you fell on one of the ‘cursed’ rocks,” he grumbled.




My eyes widened, “What do you mean, CURSED?!”




“Calm down,” he grabbed his wand and flicked it at my arm, bandages appearing. “It’s not anything bad; it just won’t heal for a few months.”




“Even with potion?”




“Even with potion,” he agreed.




I groaned. “Will it hurt when the potion wears off?”




“Erm,” He sounded nervous, “really, I’m not sure.”




I must have had a frightening look on my face because he continued quickly, “You’re the first to have tripped on one.”




“And how long have they been there?” I asked, slightly embarrassed.




“Only a couple years or so,” he responded. “I think your friends are awake, so you are free to go.”




I thanked him and hopped off the table as it vanished. Going to the area in the back of the room where Lily and Tilly were talking about the match. I sat down.




Tilly turned to me, “Lily and I were told about what happened while we were unconscious, that must have been a great punch.”




I smiled, “Yeah, you were doing some really good defending from what I saw, how’d you get knock out?”




“It was pretty stupid, really,” she frowned. “I guess I just wasn’t paying attention.”




“Yeah, and me with that one guy,” Lily shook her head. “I should be ashamed of myself.”




“No, you shouldn’t,” Tilly told her. “We all make idiotic errors.”




“Thanks a lot!” Lily hit the back of the couch.




“We won, didn’t we?” I tried to lighten the mood.




Lily nodded, and then gasped, “WE WON!!”




“Yeah, I did just say that, didn’t I—,” Lily cut me off by jumping up to a standing position.




“We’re going to get the Dueler’s Cup!” she sang.




I looked to Tilly and shrugged.




 “Might as well,” she mouthed.




She stood up and we joined arms, dancing and repeating, “We’re going to get the Dueler’s Cup,” over and over.




An announcement soon interrupted us, “MAY EVERYONE PLEASE ENTER THE GREAT ROOM IN FIFTEEN MINUTES!”




We looked at each other, our jeans torn, hair going everywhere. There was a mad rush as we changed into better pants and brushed through our hair, leaving it down. Trying to flatten our Phantom Phoenixes shirts, we tightened our masks and went out the door.




“We defiantly can’t be late for this!” Lily was saying over and over as we went to the Great Room.




Once we stopped outside of the Room, we looked at each other and smiled.




“Time to go,” Tilly whispered and we went into the Room.




Once we entered, the first thing I saw was people, the giant room was filled with all the people that were sting in the stands. When we walked through the door, they all started cheering.




I saw Mr. Burns motioning us to the front stage and I pushed the girls to him.




“And now,” he said as the crowd quieted down. “Here are the Phantom Phoenixes, the Champions of this summer’s Final Duel.”




He held out a large trophy with two people in white robes dueling on it to us. Lily and I tapped Tilly forward and she took the prize from Sam Burns, thanking him.




“Do you have anything to say?” He asked us, away from the microphone.




I looked to the other two girls and they nodded. I went up to the microphone.




“Speaking for myself and the Phantom Phoenixes, we would like to thank the D.D. for all it has taught us and the Dark Dementors for giving an effort to beat us, even if we kicked your ass.” The crowd laughed and Lily, Tilly, and I took bows and went off the stage.




“Why don’t you go back to your dressing room?” I heard Mr. Burns ask. “I’ll bring them up in a few minutes.”




We nodded, already excited to meet the last member of the Seething Snargaluffs.



 



 



 



 


Chapter 5: The Meeting
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The Meeting- Sirius Black




I stood, awed as the Phantom Phoenixes dueled. First, we found out they’re girls, then we watch those same girls kick ass.




“Well, that was interesting,” I heard James say beside me as they were led off the sand by medi-wizards.




“Yeah,” I said. “Didn’t see that one coming.”




Remus smirked, “Well, Mr. Potter did tell us that girls participated.”




“Moony!” I turned to face him. “Did you see that one throw that punch? That was amazing!”




He smiled, “Really impressed?”




“Defiantly,” I said, “I wish I could meet them.”




“Well, didn’t that Burns guy ask my dad to talk with them after the Duel?” James stood from his place on the floor. “Isn’t he their idol or something?”




“Oh, yeah,” I chugged the last of my water and stood up also.




The door opened and Mr. Potter came through, “So, you enjoy?”




I nodded eagerly. “There are some good Duelers here.”




Someone laughed behind James’ dad. “Good?”




Mr. Burns and Mr. Potter came into the room.




“Well, boys,” Mr. Burns was saying. “We’d better be getting a move on.”




“Why?” I asked.




He laughed again, “The award ceremony is on in a few minutes.”




“Ceremony?” James asked from my right.




“Yes, it’s where the winners will be presented with a trophy, very quick, trust me.”




“Yes,” Mr. Potter agreed. “Only about seven minutes.”




“Where is it held?” Remus asked Burns.




“Great Room,” he responded.




“This place can get bigger?” I blurted out.




He looked at me and smiled, “You have no idea.”




I raised an eyebrow and he went out of the room.




“Well, let’s go then,” Mr. Potter said and I went to the door. “Sirius, don’t forget your mask!”




“Right,” I grabbed my mask from the table and put it over my face.




Once we all had gotten our masks on, we followed Mr. Potter to the ‘Great Room’. Upon seeing two large golden doors, he pushed through. The room was bigger than the others combined, probably because it’s holding all the people that had been in the stands.




Pushing through the crowds, we only got to a good spot when the doors opened again and everyone started cheering.




“What is it?” I asked, trying to look over a beefy man blocking my view.




“The Phoenixes,” Mr. Potter whispered to me.




I saw the three girls get onto the stage. Wearing jeans and the Phantom Phoenixes shirt, they all are dressed the same, but everything else about them is different.




The first has red hair, almost resembling Lily Evan’s, and is average height. The second has dark brown hair and is taller than the red-head. The final has golden blonde hair and was also around average height.




“And now,” Mr. Burns said as the crowd quieted down on the cheering. “Here are the Phantom Phoenixes, the Champions of this summer’s Final Duel.”




He handed the blonde a trophy and said something to the girls, away from the microphone. The brunette looked to the other girls and they nodded. She went up to the microphone.




“Speaking for myself and the Phantom Phoenixes, we would like to thank the D.D. for all it has taught us and the Dark Dementors for giving an effort to beat us, even if we kicked your asses,” she said. I snorted and the rest of the crowd laughed. They took bows and went off the stage.




As soon as they were out the doors that everyone had come through, the doors on the opposite side opened into the outside world.




“That was it?” I asked.




“Told you it was quick,” Mr. Potter smiled. “But don’t go anywhere, just stay put.”




We nodded and waited as everyone tried to get out.




“Oww,” I mumbled as a man pushed past me.




As the last few left the room, Sam Burns came down from the stage.




“Sorry ‘bout the mess there,” he said.




“Its fine,” Mr. Potter told him, “No injuries.”




“Well then,” he motioned toward the door, “Right this way.”




We followed him up and down stairs, and what seemed like all around the building. 
We didn’t stop moving until we got to a door marked, ‘Phantom Phoenixes.’ Burns knocked three times and the blonde opened the door.




“Hello, Mr. Burns,” she said sweetly. “Come right in.”




“Thank you, Phoenix,” Burns replied and entered the Phoenixes’ domain.




We followed him in and saw red. Blood red, on the walls, and wooden floors. To the left there’s a counter against the wall, and to the right there were two couches and three chairs with a small table in the middle. On one of the chairs, the red-headed girl was reading a book and on a couch the brunette was upside down, feet dangling off the top of the couch.




The blonde cleared her throat, signaling the guests had arrived. The red-head looked up from her book and stood to greet us.  Too bad I can’t see her eyes, I wonder if James can tell if it’s Lily or not. I doubt it’s her.




Mr. Burns cleared his own throat. The girl with dark-brown hair’s feet twitched and flipped backward. She came to a standing position, the top of her arm bandaged and looking to be in slight pain.




“Sorry,” she grinned.




“Why don’t we have a seat?” Burns says, directing us to the couch.




As soon as we sat, James, Remus and I on one couch, the girls on the other, and Mr. Potter and Mr. Burns on chairs, the girls bombarded Mr. Potter with questions.




“What was it like being a Snargaluff?”




“What was or is your favorite hex?”




“Did joining the D.D. make your life better or worse?”




Mr. Potter looked overwhelmed. “One question at a time, ladies, please.”




The questions went on and on, Mr. Potter even asking some himself. I looked over to James, who was staring at the red-headed girl. I nudged him and he looked to me, ‘Look away,’ I mouthed.




He rolled his eyes, but glanced to his father who is in a heated discussion about his first duel.




“I remember the thrill of hexing my opponent and watching them fall to the ground,” he sighed, “Coming here was probably the highlight of my fifth year at Hogwarts.”




“Eh hem,” Mr. Burns made a choking sound, “To much information.”




“Oh, um,” Mr. Potter frowned, “Girls, would you be so kind as to forget I said that?”




“Of course, sir,” Red answered.




“Wow, look at the time,” Mr. Burns stood up, looking at his wristwatch, “I’m sorry girls, but I do believe we need to leave.”




The three stood up, one wiped her hands together.




Mr. Potter stood up and shook each girl’s hand.




“Excuse me, but would you sign my spare?” The dark-haired girl held out another mask and a pen with unremovable ink.




Mr. Potter smiled, “Of, course.”




After he signed it, Remus, James and I stood and headed to the door with him.




Mr. Potter turned before heading out, “Oh, and girls? You were fantastic today.”




I thought I heard a sigh before I closed the door.


 


 


Chapter 6: Aboard the Express
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Aboard the Express- Lily Evans




“Come on,” I ran ahead of Tilly and Riz. “Hurry, before Potter gets here.”




I vaguely heard Riz snort behind me, “Calm yourself, he isn’t here.”




“Can’t take any chances now can we?” Tilly asked in a sweet voice.




Annoyed, I stepped up onto the Hogwarts Express and yanked my trunk up beside me. Taking a breath, I waited for my friends to get on the train with me.




“Where to?” Tilly asked.




Riz pointed. “Far front, defiantly.”




“No,” I grabbed her arm as she started to go forward. “I know you don’t enjoy being seen by people, but Potter knows that we always sit near the younger students.”




Riz sighed, for some reason she never liked to be noticed. The only reason Tilly and I became friends with her was because we share a dorm with her and got to know each other over the years. She didn’t even let us hang out with her until second year, and two years later, we found out about the DD.




“Where then?” Riz asked.




I thought for a minute, “The far back, try the second to last compartment.”




We grabbed our trunks and dragged them to the back of the train. Only one or two people were on the train at this time, so the last compartment was open.




“Well, what do you want to do for the wait?” Riz asked as she plunked down on the left side window seat. “Exploding Snap?”




“No thanks,” I told the other two and took out a book. They started a game and the next time I looked up, Tilly had no eyebrows.




Laughing, Riz said, “What can I say, you’re the one who decided to challenge the master.”




I snorted and went back to my book. A few minutes later, a sudden jolt had me falling off my seat and onto the floor.




“Whoa there,” Riz helped me back up.




I nodded my thanks and sat back down as the train started moving. The girls went back to playing Exploding Snap and I went back to reading.




After the first forty minutes or so, a noise came from outside the Compartment.




“Hey Prongs, I think I found her.”




I could feel my eyes widen as Tilly stood up and sat next to me, across from Riz. I stood on the seat and climbed on the rack with our trunks. Hiding behind Riz’ trunk, I listened as the door slid open.




“Why hello ladies—“ The voice of James Potter entered the compartment. It sounded as if he stopped. “Now where is my Lilykins?”




I bit my lip so that I wouldn’t tell him off for calling me that.




“Why hello, Potter,” I heard Tilly say in her ‘sweet’ voice.




“—would you kindly get out?” Riz got in fiercely. “We’ve no idea where LILY is, but we do no where she’s not. HERE.”




“Ooo,” I could practically hear Sirius Black smirking. “Feisty aren’t you?”




Riz growled. Yes, she growled.




“How come I’ve not seen you at Hogwarts before, are you new?” he asked.




“No,” Riz snarled. “I’ve been going there for five years. This will be my sixth.”




“What house?”




“Gryffindor,” she snarled. I heard the boys gasp and I looked through the bars to see Riz’s streaks getting darker red by the second.




“A metamorphmagus,” breathed Potter. “They’re supposed to be really rare.”




Riz sighed. “I’m not a metamorphmagus.”




“My cousin’s a metamorphmagus,” Black mumbled. “Your hair changes, how can you not be?”




“It’s complicated,” Riz stood. “Now OUT.”




She opened the door and pushed the two males out. I heard a clunk as the door was shut and locked. Waiting for a few moments for the two to get out of hearing range, I jumped off the rack and saw Riz reading some book on Astronomy.




I heard laughter and turned around.




“I can’t believe you hid on the rack to hide from Potter,” Tilly said between laughs.




I sighed. “Be quiet.”




Sitting back down, I took out my book and continued reading.




When the train reached Hogwarts, we got into one of the first carriages. Once we had reached Hogwarts and got out, Tilly started petting the air.




I frowned, “Come on Riz, we’re going to be late if we don’t get moving.”




I heard Riz snort behind me, “Since when have we cared about being late.”




I sent her a glare.




“Sorry, let me rephrase that,” Riz smirked. “Since when have we ever been early to the Welcome Feast?”




“Rizzy,” Tilly looked to us, “Just listen to Lily




“Don’t call me Rizzy,” Riz shuddered.




“Okay, don’t call me…” Tilly stopped.




“What?” Riz asked innocently. “Matilda?”




“Shut it,” Tilly hit Riz on the arm. “I swear those doctors gave my mum too much medication when I was born.”




“Oww.”




Riz rubbed at her upper arm where the bandages were from the rock. She winced and removed her hand, pulling her sleeve over the bandages to try and cover it.




“Don’t be a child, it can’t hurt that bad,” I said.




“You try having a magic rock pounded into your arm,” Riz glared.




“For the love of Gryffindor, you tripped and fell,” Tilly said exasperated. “Get over it!”




Tilly grabbed one of Riz’s arms and one of mine. She dragged us up to the castle and into the Entrance Hall.




“Hello, girls,” Professor McGonagall smiled one of her rare smiles. “Nice summer?”




“Wonderful, Professor,” Tilly responded as Riz scowled. “Yours?”




“Stressful, but good,” she sighed and went to meet the First Years.




Tilly and Riz on my right, we went into the Great Hall and sat at the far end of the Gryffindor Table, awaiting the other students and other Professors.




~~~~~~~~~~***~~~~~~~~~~




“I still don’t know why you don’t like it,” I started. “I think Matilda is a beautiful name.”




“Yeah,” Tilly scoffed. “Beautiful, whatever.”




“Bloody First Years,” Riz complained. “Why does it take them so long?”




“Calm yourself,” I smirked. “Your precious food will be here soon.”




“Good Godric,” Tilly shook her head, “You just ate on the train.”




“Stomach, empty, need, food,” Riz started chanting over and over.




Tilly hit her head with her hand, “Incoming.”




I gave her a quizzical glance, but then heard the voice.




“Why hello there,” the low drawl of Potter came from behind me. “Mind if we sit with you?”




“Yes, very much so if fact,” I saw Riz gripping the table, trying to not lash out on the unsuspecting boys.




“Oooh, you again,” I could practically hear the smirk on Black’s face; “I see you’re in Gryffindor, what a surprise. When did you get sorted?”




Riz was seething now, “I told you, Black, I’m not a new student.”




“Really?  Hmmm, interesting.”




“What’s interesting about that?” Riz growled.




“Well, if you had been at Hogwarts before, I would have remembered such a pretty face.”




I couldn’t help it, I laughed with Tilly and Riz.




“Well, Black,” Riz put out, “Just to let you know, considering you obviously can’t figure it out on your own, and I will never fall for your worthless flirting.”




Looking up, I saw the funniest look on Sirius Black’s face. It’s like he had never been rejected before. Behind him stood Potter, and the final ‘Marauder’, Remus Lupin.




“Wait a second,” I noticed one missing. “Where’s Pettigrew? What have you done to him?”




“He’s fine, Lily,” Remus said. “His mother moved him to America, so he’s going to go to Salem Academy for a while.”




“Oh,” Silently I was thankful for the creepy boy’s departure. “That’s too bad.”




“Well--,” Remus was cut off by the doors flying open to reveal Professor McGonagall with the First Years. The boys looked around for a seat, there was one next to Riz, but she grabbed a third year and moved them next to her. Finding three seats far away from where the girls sat.




As soon as they sat down at their end of the table, I sighed in relief and watched the professor put a hat on a stool.




“That was luck, that was,” Riz said as the Sorting hat finished its song. Once the First Years were sorted, (we clapped every time one got sorted into Gryffindor and Riz hissed when the word Slytherin came from the Hat) Dumbledore stood to give his speech.




“Welcome to a new year at Hogwarts!” The Headmaster started. “Before we start the Feast—“




“Oh, just get on with it,” Riz said as Dumbledore began to talk about the dark wizard, Voldemort. “I’m starved.”




“Let the Feast begin!”




Riz’s eyes widened happily as the food appeared on the plates. “Finally.”




As I was putting some roast potatoes on my plate, Riz had already started on her plate of meats.




“In all the years I’ve known you,” Tilly said to Riz. “I still don’t know how you can eat so much and stay so fit.”




“Well,” Riz said between bites of her lamb chop. “It all involves Quidditch—“




“Not another Quidditch lecture,” I interrupted before she could get to how amazing the 
sport is. “Honestly, with your obsession one would think you’re on the team.”




“You should be though,” Tilly said. “This is going to be your year to try out for the Team.”




“No way,” Riz started, “what with all the DD stuff, I wouldn’t make practice.”




“Don’t say it so loud,” I whispered. “You never know who is listening in.”




“Right, forgot,” She went back to her food.




After the food had disappeared, Dumbledore stood up once again. “Now that we are all fed, I have a few start of Term notices for you.”




“First off, the forest on the grounds is forbidden to all students, some of our older students could do to remember that as well.”




I thought I saw his eyes go in the direction of the Marauders.




“I have been asked to remind you all, once again, that there shall be no magic usage in the corridors between classes. And Quidditch trials will be held in the second week of Term, if you are interested, please contact our new flying Professor and referee, Madam Hooch.”




Once he finished the announcements and we sung the school song, the girls and I were the first out of the Great Hall.




“What’s the Password, Lily?” Riz asked me when we reached the Fat Lady.




“Umm,” I racked my brain for the password the Head Girl had given me. I’m a Prefect, so I met with her to get my patrol schedule. “Try ‘bubotuber’.”




The Fat Lady nodded and opened to reveal the Gryffindor Common room. Riz went straight toward the Sixth Year Girls Dorm. Following her, Tilly and I opened the door to the room we’d be sharing for the year.




“Ahh,” Riz mumbled as she plopped on her bed. “I missed the food here.”




I snorted, “I’m sure you did.”


 


 


Chapter 7: Discoveries
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Discoveries- Remus Lupin




“Ugh,” I rolled over in my comfortable bed, already missing the feeling of sleep.




“You up, Moony?” I thought I heard James ask from above me.




“What?” I slowly sat up and started to rub my head. “What time is it?”




“Almost six-forty.”




My eyes flew open and I quit rubbing my head. “Why are you up at this time?”




“Ironic, usually we’d be asking you that,” Sirius is up too? Oh they must be planning something.




“What are you planning?” I asked the two. Looking over at James’ bed, I saw a board with sketches of what looked like Snape and some other Slytherins.




“Just brainstorming for a small prank on the Slytherins,” Sirius smirked. “Almost fully harmless.”




“Almost?” I grinned.




“Yeah, almost,” Sirius waved his hand and motioned toward the board. “Prongs and I have been thinking for a very long time on this.”




“I bet you have,” Doing a mixture between snorting and yawning, I rolled to a side and got off the bed.




I made my way over to my trunk and flipped open the lid. As soon as I pulled out my correct clothes and got changed properly, I went over to where James and Sirius had been fixing up the mysterious prank ideas.




“Ready to go down and eat? I think breakfast is almost halfway over,” I tried to steal a glance at the sketches, but James put it away before I could see anything.




“Yeah, let’s go,” James said and stood from the bed.




We went out of the Common Room and down to the Great Hall. Sitting at our spot at the Gryffindor Table, James and Sirius started loading food onto their plates.




“Ugh,” I said as they started to scarf down their meals, “I thought all purebloods had to go to some class on manners or something.”




“Yeah, but we were six,” James grinned. “My excuse is forgetfulness.”




“You know you can always go to new classes, they have them every summer.”




“Yeah, kind of like the DD,” Sirius whispered.




I nodded. “Although, a club of that kind most likely has different stuff for different seasons.”




“Maybe,” James said after he swallowed a slice of toast.




“Slughorn won’t be too happy if you’re late, Potter,” Came a female voice from the aisle.




I flipped my head around just in time to see Lily Evans and her two friends reach the steps up to the door to exit the Great Hall.




James sighed behind me. “What’s wrong with me?”




“Oh, Prongs,” Sirius pated his back.




“Guys,” I stood up from the bench, “Lily’s right, we’re going to be late for Potions.”




“Joy,” James also stood up. “Come on, Padfoot.”




He pulled Sirius up and started pushing him between the Gryffindor bench and Ravenclaw bench. I thought I saw a young Ravenclaw girl sigh when he walked by her and her friends. Oh not another year like this.




~~~~~~~~~~~~***~~~~~~~~~~~~




“Okay, class,” Professor Slughorn was saying to our sixth year potions class. “For the most of this year, you shall have a partner to brew different long-term potions. Before you say anything, I have put you into pairs myself.”




Sirius groaned beside me.




“As soon as I read off all the pairs, you may flip to page four twenty-two and start on the Draught of Peace,” Slughorn went on.




“Mary Macdonald, Walden Macnair—‘



‘Augustus Rookwood, Emmeline Vance—‘



‘Marlene McKinnon, Severus Snape—‘



‘Alecto Carrow, James Potter—“




James groaned and went to sit with the creepy Slytherin female. She smiled at him wickedly.




“Matilda Channing, Amycus Carrow—‘



‘Julianne Greengrass, Sirius Black—‘




Hell no,” Sirius whispered as he made his way toward the Slytherin girl with short blonde hair.




“Lillian Evans, Antonin Dolohov—‘




‘And as there are more Gryffindors than Slytherins, Grizel Burby and Remus Lupin.”




Before I had the chance to stand, dark-brown haired Grizel Burby came over to the table I’d been seated at and flipped to page 422.




“Okay, Lupin,” She set her wand behind her ear. “I’ll get the powdered moonstone; can you boil the syrup of hellebore?”




“Um…” She didn’t even wait for me to start, much less finish, before stalking off in the direction of the cabinets.




I sighed and lit the fire below the cauldron. This ought to be an interesting year in Potions.




Once she’d come back, I had the hellebore boiling and was about to cut the Caggon Roots.




“Good, I see you know what you’re doing,” she looked into the book and raised an eyebrow. “Looks like one of us has to stir the powdered moonstone. Oh, wait, it needs to be mixed in with Southern Blue Dragon blood.”


I sighed and reached for the mud colored mixing bowl. When my hand found nothing, I noticed she’d grabbed it before I could. She raised an eyebrow in my direction and picked up the Dragon blood. Quick reflexes.




“You boiled the hellebore, I should mix this,” With that, she poured some blood into the bowl and scraped the powder in with it. Flicking her wand, the mixture started to stir itself. After waiting a few minutes like the book said, we poured it in the cauldron and saw it turn a light green color.




“Look here, class,” Professor Slughorn motioned toward our cauldron, “Mr. Lupin and Ms. Burby have gotten past stage one! Now this will need to sit for a day before you add the Yecken puss.”




“Great,” Grizel mumbled as Professor Slughorn walked away.




“So, um, Griz—“




“Don’t ever,” She pulled out her wand again and had it facing me before I could blink, “Call me that.”




“Um, I—err—what, um, should I call you than?” I stuttered, somewhat stunned and awed by her fast actions.




She smiled a sweet smile, “Riz is fine, Lupin.”




“Remus,” I said and sat down on my chair.




“Okay, Remus then,” Riz smiled, sat down also and we waited for the class to end.




After class, I had to hurry to catch up to walk with James and Sirius to Lunch.




“So, how’d Potions go for you guys?” I asked once I fell into step beside them.




Sirius scoffed, “Awful.”




“Are you kidding me? I got partnered with a Carrow!” James huffed. “This’ll be the worst year in potions ever. Moony, what did you do to get a Gryffindor partner?”




“Oh yeah, I still can’t believe her name is Grizel, bloody hell,” Sirius smirked. “Although it is kind of a turn on.”




“Reminds me of that one Muggle fairytale, I think it involves a candy house or something?” James commented.




I shrugged, “For your first question, I have no clue. Anyway, she doesn’t take fancy to anyone who calls her Grizel. She likes Riz.”




“My mistake,” Sirius looked solemn until a female Ravenclaw fifth year waved at him. He winked back at her and kept walking.




James snorted, “I always thought Ravenclaw was the House for people with brains. Guess not.”




“Hey! I resent that,” Sirius threw his hand in the air.




“Padfoot?” I asked, raising both my eyebrows toward him.




James sighed.



Sirius shook his head, “Never mind, let’s go to lunch. I’m hungry.”




Laughing, I followed my friends as we made our way, once again, into the Great Hall and seated ourselves at the Gryffindor Table to eat our meal.




~~~~~~~~~~~~***~~~~~~~~~~~~




At the end of the week, James, Sirius, and I were sitting under the biggest Willow tree on the grounds. My back against the trunk, I read a few lines from the newest book from the Library, Defending Yourself against Enemies. Sirius is currently lying on the grass, and James is doodling.




“So, what do you two want to do for the weekend?” James asked us. “I was thinking that tomorrow we could spend the day in the kitchens or hanging around or something.”




“Sounds like fun, I’m in,” Sirius said from the ground.




“Hmm,” I thought for a moment. “Might as well.”




We sat for a few more minutes just letting our minds wander. At least, that’s what I was doing.




“Hey, I’m going to head to the Common Room,” James stood up. “Coming?”




Sirius stood up as well, “Sure.”




“You know, I think I’ll go for a walk around the Lake, I’ll be in soon,” I told them and stood up.




“’K, Moony,” Sirius and James walked off to the castle.




Humming softly to myself, I went toward the edge of the Black Lake.




Pufft,” Looking out toward the middle of the Lake, I see the Giant Squid taking a breath of air. Hogwarts really is something. I still can’t believe Dumbledore let me, a werewolf, in to this school.




Turning back toward the forest, I hear a soft thumping noise. It’s probably just the Giant Squid again. Walking back the way I came, I still hear it, now it’s accompanied by a deep breathing. Prefect duties kicking in, I wander toward the source of the noise, a patch of trees in the Forbidden Forest.




Once I get close enough, the thumping and breathing stops. I hear a slight rustling, then nothing. What on earth? I push through the trees and glance around.




Looking around the open space in the middle of the patch of trees, I see nothing. I shake my head. Probably just thought you heard something. When I shake my head though, that causes me to look down. Now what are those? Footprints? Yes, I think they are.




“Now who would be out here?” I whispered aloud. “And what were they doing?”




I scanned the area once more and saw nothing. Now that is really weird. I guess there is nothing to worry about though. I turned back around and started to walk back up to the castle. On my way up, people don’t pay me any mind. They’re to busy hanging out underneath trees, reading or talking.




“Boom!”




Whipping out my wand, I look over in the direction of the Quidditch Pitch to see a group of Hufflepuffs playing Exploding Snap. Stop being so jumpy, Remus, everything is under control.




Shaking my head, I quicken my pace to the doors of Hogwarts. Jumping up the stairs, I pull open the door as a Third Year was coming out. As soon as she passed, I go inside and start walking the route to the Gryffindor Common Room. After passing portraits, students, and suits of armor, I finally make it to the Common Room.




“Password?” The Fat Lady asks me.




“Bubotuber,” I say and step back as the Portrait opens.




Before I can even get all the way inside, a body comes out of nowhere right at me.




“Moony!” Sirius grabbed my arm and started pulling me through the surprisingly not crowded Common Room and to the Dormitories. “James and I figured out the perfect way for the prank to work out well. Come on, check it out.”




As he dragged me up the stairs, I couldn’t help but notice Matilda Channing and Lily Evans sitting on the couches closest to the roaring fire. They were talking in low, hushed tones about, judging by their facial expressions, something interesting. Wait a minute; I wonder why Riz isn’t with them.



 



 



 



 



 



 



 


Chapter 8: Thoughts on Sanity
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Thoughts on Sanity-Riz Burby




“That’s it for today, class,” Professor Slughorn dismissed us, “Good job.”




The Slytherins and Gryffindors filed out of the room hurriedly.




“I can not believe I got partnered with Lupin,” I moaned to Tilly and Lily as we walked out of the Potions classroom.




“Hey”, Lily looked to me in shock, “be glad you aren’t partnered with Dolohov, now that boy is a creep.”




“Yeah, Riz, or even Amycus Carrow,” Tilly shuddered. “Do you have any idea how horribly he smells?”




“No, Tilly, I don’t go around smelling random Slytherins,” I rolled my eyes at her.




“Well,” Lily said, “Til, you and I have Divination, Riz I think you have a break?”




“Yep,” I grinned. “I still can’t believe you two took that class, it’s a load of rubbish.”




“I think it’s fascinating,” Tilly smiled.




“Or you fancy Professor Clubden?” I hinted.




Tilly sighed, “He is dreamy.”




“That’s what I thought.”




“Okay, Riz, see you at Charms!” Lily dragged Tilly off to the Divination classroom.




I sighed and walked in the opposite direction. As I walked through the halls, first and second years looked up at me with wide eyes, sometimes even backing away.




“Why do people always avoid me?” I asked myself quietly.




I wrinkled my nose and kept walking.




Where to go, where to go? Ah, I know.




I wandered out of the castle and down the hillside. Past the Quidditch Pitch and past Hagrid’s Hut, all the way to a secluded area of the forest. I pushed through the trees and into an open area.




“Perfect,” I threw off my robes and started to stretch. After getting in some of my favorite stretches, I started to punch and kick the air.




Whoosh
, I flipped around and punched a floating leaf. Reaching my arms up into the air, I ran to an edge of the open area. Turning back to face the direction I was in before, I started to run. I jumped up and spun in the air, throwing out my legs one at a time and giving a double kick.




I landed softly on the ground and breathed deeply, catching my breath. Plopping on the ground, I pulled my robes to me and laid my head against it. Closing my eyes, I relived the last battle of the summer season. Just think, winter is going to start soon, the Phantom Phoenixes will be back to kick ass!




I sighed and stood up with my robes. Tossing them over my shoulder, I walked slowly back to the castle for charms.




Outside the Charms classroom, Lily and Tilly waited for, me.




“So, what did you do?” Lily asked me.




“The usual,” I whispered. “Punching leaves, kicking the air, basically getting my anger out.”

They snorted and we were let into the classroom.


~~~~~~~~~~~~***~~~~~~~~~~~~

The last class of the day on Friday for us was Transfiguration. We had entered the classroom and sat in our regular seats, in the middle, off to the right. When McGonagall came in, she started a lesson on animagi. Surprisingly enough, Potter and Black raised their hands to answer some of the questions.


“The animal the witch or wizard becomes cannot be chosen, but based on their personality or inner traits,” Sirius Black answered.




The look on McGonagall's  face was priceless.




“Five points to Gryffindor.”




In the back row, Potter high fived Black. He then answered the next question correctly.




“That was strange,” Lily said as we walked out of the classroom, “That was very strange.”




“Indeed,” I mumbled, thinking.




“Well, first weekend of the school year, what do you want to do?” Tilly asked us.




“I need to get to the common room and start my essay for Clubdon,” Lily thought aloud, “So do you.”




“Go ahead,” I waved them off, “I had some stuff I wanted to do anyway.”




“The usual?”




“Yep,” I grinned cheekily and pushed them toward the Common Room, “Now go!”




“Thanks Rizzy,” Tilly called over her shoulder as her and Lily walked away.




“Don’t call me THAT!” I yelled after her.




I heard her laugh as they turned the corner. Smirking, I walked out toward my special spot in the forest. Exiting the castle, I saw the Marauders under a willow tree talking and such. Wow, no major pranks yet, thank Merlin.




I scurried past them toward the forest, luckily unheard. Once again, I threw off my robes and started my pattern of stretching and kicking.




Around forty minutes in, just as I was about to do a roundhouse kick, I heard someone walking by. I held my breath and it sounded as if they went past. I continued my kick, but just as I got into the air, it looked as if someone was trying to get through the trees.




Slightly panicking, I grabbed my robes and jumped into the nearest tree. I just got out of view as the brown hair of Remus Lupin came into view.




He glanced around and whispered to himself, “Now who would be out here? And what are they doing?”




I almost stopped breathing when I saw that he noticed the footprints on the ground. Don’t be crazy, Riz, he won’t think anything of it.




A few minutes after he walked back out of the trees, I soundlessly jumped out of the tree I was in. Glancing around, I walked out of the trees and toward the lake.




“That sure was close,” I mumbled toward the Giant Squid. “He almost caught me.”




I sighed and walked back toward the castle, passing groups of people hanging with their friends under trees. I even passed a group of Hufflepuffs playing Exploding Snap.




Once inside the castle, I walked up toward the Gryffindor Common Room.




“Password?” The Fat Lady asked me.




“Erm,” Damn it, think brain! “Bubotuber?”




She swung open and I walked through. I saw Tilly and Lily sitting on the couches closest to the roaring fire. I walked over to them. I heard a noise to my left and whipped my head around to see the backside of a boy being dragged up the stairs.




“So,” I fell onto the couch, “What are you talking about?”




“Where have you been?” Lily furiously whispered at me.




“Oh, I went to the place and worked a little bit,” I sighed, “I was going to leave earlier but Lupin came through the trees.”




“Are you joking?”




“Nope,” I grinned, “Thanks to my amazing quick thinking, I climbed the nearest tree and waited for him to leave.”




“And he didn’t take notice of you?” Tilly laughed, “To think he calls himself a Marauder.”




“I know, right,” I smirked, “So after that I walked by the Lake, had a nice conversation with the Giant Squid, and came back here.”




“Interesting,” Lily nodded.




“Yep, extremely,” I agreed. “So, what were you two talking about? It looked serious.”




Tilly sighed, “Lily thinks Amos Diggory fancies me.”




“Well that’s obvious,” I raised an eyebrow, “He always tries to talk to you about every single topic there ever was. Not to mention we’ve all caught him staring on multiple occasions. Now if that’s not fancying you, I don’t know what is.”




“Exactly,” Lily said exasperatedly, “You need to ask him to the next Hogsmeade trip.”




“What?!” Tilly exclaimed, “I can’t do that.”




“Why not?”




“He’s supposed to ask me!”




I snorted, “Maybe in 1942. Now most guys like the girls to take the first step.”




“Really?” Tilly asked. “And what happened to ‘not sinking into the world of boys’?”




“Bah,” I waved my hand, “That was just for Lily.”




“Hey!” Lily looked to me.




“Just for Lily when it comes to Potter,” I continued quickly.




“Oh, right.”




“Anyway,” Tilly widened her eyes, “when is the next Hogsmeade day?”




“It’s going to be the first trip, so it will be the second of October,” Lily told us.




“When do you think I should ask him?”




“Tomorrow,” I said quickly.




“What?!”




“You heard me,” I put my feat on the table, “Tomorrow.”




“How?” Tilly asked, frightened.




“Just practice in front of the mirror,” Lily suggested.




“Yeah, that could work,” she shrugged. “What should I say?”




I sighed, “Just go up to him and ask, ‘‘‘Ello, Amos, want to go to Hogsmeade this trip?’ Very simple.”




Tilly started breathing shallowly. “I don’t think I can, maybe this is sign that I should wait until seventh year.”




“Pshaw,” Lily said, “You can do this.”




“Yeah,” I snorted, “Sure you can knock a guy out, yet you can’t ask him out?”




“A little quieter,” Lily whispered.




I rolled my eyes, “My point is, the only way to get over this is to ask him out!”




Tilly nodded slowly, “I guess you are right—“




“Of course I am!”




“—but, I’m still not sure.”




“What do you mean? We’ve been talking about this for twenty minutes,” I threw my arms in the air drawing the attention of other Gryffindors.




“No, it’s just,” She was barely audible; “I think I may fancy someone else.”




“What?!”




“Shhh,” She glanced around after Lily’s outburst. “Keep it down, will you.”




“What do you mean you fancy someone else?” I asked her.




“Well, I may have for a while now,” Tilly trailed off.




“Well?” Lily asked.




“Well what?”




“WHO?!” I practically screamed. Everyone in the Common Room stared at our group with curious looks.




“We’d better head up to the Dorms,” Lily stretched and tried to act casual. “I’m getting pretty tired.”



“Yeah, me too,” Tilly glared at me as we made our way up to the dormitory.



When we got up there, I jumped on my bed and sat cross-legged. Lily sat daintily on her own bed and Tilly paced the room.



“So?”



“What do you mean ‘so’?” Tilly snapped.



“Who do you think you fancy?” I continued.



“Oh, err,” She blushed. “Promise you won’t be angry with me.”



“Yes,” Lily and I said simultaneously.



“Because, you know, I think it’s only a temporary—“



“For the love of Helga Hufflepuff spit it out!” I roared to the ceiling.



“Sirius Black,” she squeaked.



My mouth fell open and I slid off the bed. Tilly groaned and put her head in her hands. I heard another bang against the floor and saw Lily on the ground in a dead faint.


Chapter 9: Suspicions
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Suspicions-James Potter



“You think what?” I questioned the sanity of my friend.



“Once Sirius gets back from his detention, I’ll tell you guys the full story,” Remus sighed. “It’s bloody complicated.”



Three weeks ago Sirius and I pulled the best prank so far on the Slytherins. That’s why he’s in detention at the moment. I only got two weeks because Sirius ‘spoke back to Professor McGonagall’. Old bat.



“Oh, come on, nothing is too complicated for my acquiescent brain!”



“Prongs, do you even know what that means?” Sirius entered the dorm room, rubbing his hands.



Remus snorted, “Do you?”



Sirius glared, “Filch made me polish the Trophy Room again.”



“The whole room? Not just the trophies?” I asked, appalled.



“Yeah,” He flopped back onto his bed, yawning. “Merlin I’m beat.”



“You’ll have to wait; Moony has something ‘bloody confusing’ to tell us.”



I looked to Remus who grinned, “Alright, so when I was walking around the Lake before, I—“



“Had an epiphany about a way to get around Filch’s detentions?” Sirius interrupted hopefully.



“No,” Remus said, “I was walking around the Lake, when I heard a noise in the bushes. I went to inspect the area—“



“Prefect duties taking over?” I whispered, “Or was that the Marauder in him?”



“—where I saw nothing but a few leaves.”



“So you are telling us this useless information because you wanted to—“



“BUT!” Remus continued, “I did see footprints in the dirt. And before you two dragged me up the stairs to discuss the ‘perfect prank’, I noticed Riz was not with Lily and Matilda.”



“So you are assuming she made the footprints?” That’s a bit of a stretch, don’t you think Moony?



“Well, it’s possible,” Remus trailed off at the end. “I mean, what do you think the person was doing?”



“I don’t know! Maybe they were dancing to the music of the merpeople!” Sirius rolled his eyes, “Let it go, mate.”



“Yeah, and if it’s bothering you so much, why didn’t you tell us earlier?” I asked him.



“Well,” Remus flushed, “I guess I forgot about it.”



“Then obviously it is not important.”



“I guess—“



“I agree with Padfoot, mate, you should let it go,” I frowned, “Though if we see something fishy like that again, we made need to investigate.”



Sirius snorted, “I’ll get right on that, Sherlock.”



Remus gave him a look of disbelief. “Do I want to know—“



“When I ran away, I spent some of the summer watching Muggle movies. Don’t give me that look, they are pretty creative.”



I bit back a laugh as Remus shook his head. Wow.



“Anyway, speaking of the holidays, what are you two doing for winter break?”



“I’ll be going home and spending it with my parents,” I shrugged, “You two could probably come over, my mum loves company, well, you know that. And Sirius, you’re already there since you moved in.”



“Yep, this’ll be a great holiday,” Sirius grinned.



“I was just going to stay here, but if it’s alright with your mother, James, I’d love to come over for the holidays,” Remus nodded.



“Hey, do you think the DD only happens during the summer?” Sirius asked.



Remus took out his wand and put a spell around the room. Right, don’t want anyone to listen in.



“Remember Mr. Potter said that there was one in every season except autumn,” Remus replied.



“Yeah, summer, spring, and winter,” I tilted my head, “I wonder if we can join. You know, become members.”



“It may be too late, though,” Remus told me, “Although your dad entered later also.”



“That would be awesome!” Sirius said, “We could be the male version of the Phantom Phoenixes.”



“You really respect them, don’t you,” Remus raised an eyebrow, “I think that might be the least sexist compliment I’ve heard you say about a girl, much less a group of girls.”



“Oi! I’m not sexist, right Prongs.”



“Erm, no, I guess not,” Remus raised his other eyebrow in my direction, “Although you don’t treat them the best.”



“Exactly,” Remus said before Sirius could comment.



“Do you guys think other Hogwarts students know about the DD?” I piped up.



“Probably,” responded Remus, “I mean, some would have to be part of it.”



“Why?”



“Well, because, there are many different teams, the ones we watched were only the ones that made it to the Final Duel. And I’m sure some parents were invited to bring their children, just like Mr. Potter.”



“Do you think any Slytherins are in the DD?” Sirius spat. I’m assuming he means Death Eaters?



Remus frowned, “I’m almost sure of it. In fact, I am sure. There is no way that side of the Wizarding World could go without noticing. There must be some teams and viewers that were or are Slytherins.”



“Damn,” I groaned, “I hope the Phoenixes aren’t like that, that would be bad.”



“Why?”



“Because, that would mean Voldy would have good duelers on his side,” I smirked and lay back on my bed. “I’m going to sleep.”



“Night Prongs.”



“‘Night.”



~~~~~~~~~~~~***~~~~~~~~~~~~




“Ah, the sweet smell of Friday,” I sang as I sat at the Gryffindor table at breakfast. “Or maybe that’s just you, Evans.”



“You disgust me, Potter,” The girl said and moved to the other end of the table with her friends.



I sighed as she walked away. Oh, Lily. My beautiful flower. Red hair like a new rose, green eyes like an emerald clean out of the earth. Ah Lily.



“That was beautiful, Prongs,” Sirius smirked from across the table. “You’re a real poet.”



“What?” Damn it, was I talking aloud?



“Oh, were you supposed to be thinking that?”



“You never heard anything.”



“Who never heard anything?” Remus asked as he sat down next to me.



“Nothing, never mind,” I dared Sirius to repeat what he just heard.



“Come on you two, we have Potions and then History of Magic,” Sirius groaned as Remus said this.



When we entered the Potion’s classroom, I sat at my table where Alecto Carrow was waiting.



“Well look what the hippogriff dragged in,” She smirked evilly.



“Well look what the harpy dug up,” I mimicked her snotty tone.



“So how’s your conquest for the Mud—excuse me, Muggle-born, going?” She asked with that same sick smirk on her gaunt face.



“Welcome, class,” Professor Slughorn entered before I could say something to the witch. “Today is the last day you will have before break to complete your potions. This is because, if you notice, the pot needs to stay still for five weeks. Get to work!”



I stood to get the ingredients as Carrow started to stir the pot. It said to stir fifty-two and a half times clockwise, yet she started to stir counter-clockwise.



“Trust me, I was told it will turn out better if I turn it this way,” She scratched her pointed nose.



“By who?” I asked her.



She winked. “Special source.”



Did she honestly just wink at me? Oh dear Salazar.



I let her continue stirring and poured the crushed lacewing flies in to the mixture as well as some Tognate syrup.



At the end of class, I waited and walked out with Remus and Sirius. Remus, the lucky wolf, how did he get Riz as a partner? Honestly, she’s a Gryffindor, good at potions, and not painful to look at like Carrow.



“So, how’d it go?” I asked my friends about their lesson.



“Horrible, once again Greengrass was an outright Pureblood bitch,” Sirius grumbled.



I shrugged, “It pretty much was the same for me as well.”



“It went fine with me, Riz and I finished early so we spoke about Astronomy,” Remus smiled.



“Bloody hell!” Sirius jumped, “I left my History of Magic book in the dorms.”



“When did you start to care?” Remus asked, but Sirius was already running down the hall.



“Strange boy,” I muttered.



Remus and I took our usual seats in the back of the classroom. Saving a seat for Sirius between us, I took out some parchment and a quill, ready to pretend to take notes. Professor Binns floated into the room, shortly followed by Riz Burby and Sirius. Riz sat between Lily and Matilda and Sirius between Remus and I.



“What took you so long?” I whisper-asked him.



Instead of answering, he took out a piece of parchment and scribbled something down.



On my way back I ran into Burby.



And?



Well, one minute I was running down the stairs when I see her ahead of me going down also.



So?



So I waited a few paces to ask her where she was going and when I did she stumbled and dropped her books.



Remus took the parchment from Sirius. He read it and pulled out his quill.



Please tell me you helped her.



Don’t get your knickers in a twist, I did. But I couldn’t help but notice the bandages on her arm.



What?!



She had these brown bandages covering part of her arm, only visible without that part of her robe. What do you think happened?



Slytherins, I bet. Is she Muggle-born?



Half-blood and I doubt it was the Slytherins, Prongs.



Why? Maybe her magical parent did something.



Both of her parents are magical, a pureblood and a half-blood.



Shouldn’t that be a three-quarter blood then?



I’m going to pretend you did not just write that.



How do you know this? Moony, are you becoming Prongs?



NO! We just talk about these sorts of things. Actually, because of this project I believe we have become good friends.



So you could set me up then?



Arg, Padfoot!



Back to the topic, where could she have gotten that from?



It probably happened over the summer, no huge issue.



How would it have happened over the summer?



I don’t know! Judging by what Padfoot told us, she probably is a tad bit klutzy. She most-likely just tripped and fell or something like that.



Moony, why are you so smart?



Remus set the parchment back on Sirius’ desk without a reply. As class only has five more minutes left, I take the parchment and put it into my book bag. We can discuss this later.



 



 



 



 



 


Chapter 10: Black Winter
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Black Winter-Tilly Channing




“I still cannot believe you fainted,” Riz laughed as we left our last class before the Winter Holidays. “That was hilarious.”




“I still can’t believe you actually fancy Sirius Black,” Lily frowned at me, “I mean, honestly, have you seen what he’s done to all those other girls?”




I sighed. After I had told my friends about my possible fancying of Sirius (after Riz revived Lily), they went into a full blown rant about his ‘legacy’ and all that. To be honest, I still don’t know why I find him likable. I mean, I know what he’s done to all those other girls, and for Merlin’s sake, he practically has his own fan club, but whenever he’s around its like something clicks off in my brain and I space out. Ugh, why is life so complicated?


“Do you think you can change him, or something?” Riz brought me out of the war in my head.


“Huh?” I shook my head and pushed open the doors.




“Do you think, that maybe,” Riz continued as she and Lily stepped outside of the castle and into the cold outdoors. “Just maybe you might be able to succeed in what girls at Hogwarts have been trying to do for years? As in, change his ways?”




“I don’t know,” I followed my friends to the Quidditch Pitch where we wanted to finish our Charms essay. “I guess not—“




“Because you won’t be able to,” Riz continued, her hair coloring turning a light blue from the cold. “To be honest, I don’t think it’s possible.”


“Now Riz—,” I cut Lily off.


“What’s that supposed to mean? You don’t think I would be able to?” I raised my voice a little.





Riz sighed, “It’s not that I don’t think you would be able to, I just don’t believe anyone can.”





“Do you think you could?” I challenged. Wait where did that come from?





Riz looked slightly shocked, “Wait a tick, what does that have to do with anything?”





“That’s it!” I sat down on a bleacher, “That’s your problem!”





Where is this anger coming from?





“What problem? I don’t have a—“





“You think that I wouldn’t be good enough if he were to date me,” I pointed a finger at her, “But I’m sure you would be.”





“Tilly?!” Lily cried out, “What has gotten into you?”





“Grizel Burby, you just want Sirius Black all to yourself,” I whispered.





Riz pulled out her wand with a speed I forgot she had and in the next second I was hanging by my ankle in the air. I reached up to hold my skirt and glared. Why did you leave your wand in your bag?





“Riz! Let her down,” Lily stood, shocked at our actions.





“Listen here, Matilda,” Riz said to me in a deadly whisper, “Never call me by that name again, and do not accuse me of ANYTHING until you have some real proof. Alright?”





I guess I deserve this, what has gotten into me? What was that all about, anyway?





I nodded my head and Riz let me down slowly.





“You two,” Lily shook her head, “One of these days your fights will get you into a lot of trouble.”





“I’m sorry, Riz,” I raised a hand, “I have no clue what that was about, friends?”





Riz glared, “Just never use my name and that creature’s in the same sentence again.”




I laughed, even though she just insulted the very guy I was defending moments ago. “Alright.”





We shook hands and she grinned. “Well, now that that’s over, let’s get to Charms.”





I groaned, “I still don’t understand how you like that class.”





“And we may never,” Lily’s eyes still had a little shock in them from our fight, but she smiled. “And I may never understand how you two go through so many fights, yet are still friends.”





“Yeah, well, let’s just call it practice for the—,” Riz was interrupted by an owl flying by and dropping a familiar coral-colored letter in her lap. “Huh, that’s odd.”





“What?” I asked.





“I was just about to say ‘DD’ when a letter from them plopped on my lap,” Riz shrugged, “Oh well. Let’s see what they want our services for.”





She opened the letter and I saw her eyes skim through it. She smirked, “I was waiting for this.”




She handed me the letter.




Dear Ms. Grizel Burby,




We wish to herby invite you to participate in the Winter Tournament. It will be five days full of dueling any group, new or old, that wishes to enter. As we have you already in the Phantom Phoenixes, this letter is inviting Matilda Channing and Lily Evans also. You must duel together as the Phantom Phoenixes because you have certified yourselves as a legal group in the Dueler Dungeon. Tournament Rules applied see below. This will be in the same place you should remember. This will start on December 27th, 1977 at eleven-thirty am and will go to December 31st, 1977 at eight fifteen pm when a festivity will be held for the participants and spectators aged 16 and above. This gathering will be formal, dress robes and dresses. If for some reason you do not remember the location, you will have to contact us by the use of the owl we sent you. Please send back an answer or any questions you may have via owl.




Thank You,


Samuel A. Burns


                                    Samuel A. Burns, Owner of the D.D.
    


Once stunned, unable to move, or incarcerated, the dueler cannot move from the arena and must stay stunned, incarcerated, or unable to move until all teammates get out, or the duel is over. Allowed to duel the Muggle way and the Magical way to enhance the fight. No armor can be worn or a face protection (except for mask). No protective shields to be worn, allowed to cast a shield spell, though. Must wear mask and cover face to keep the identity secret, for privacy purposes. Allowed to harm opponents to near death (actually killing would be counted as murder and is punishable by Ministry Law) though not by Magic. The Muggle way is preferred to knock out others, and if the supplies are available, you may use a rock (as an example) to do so. The Tournament’s outcome will be posted the next day, also showing which groups will be dueling that day.





“Are you kidding me? This will be the perfect way for us to get out all this pent up anger!”





Lily snorted, “I’m glad you think of it that way.”





“Well, how do you think of it?” Riz raised an eyebrow in Lily’s direction.





“Well,” Lily started, “Personally, I can’t wait to kick some sorry ass—.”





“What was that, my Flower?”





I let out a shriek and jumped on top of the letter to shield it from the Marauders’ eyes.





“Ugh, what do you want?” Riz shoved the coral envelope further into her sack.





“You,” Sirius winked.





Riz glared and my heart may’ve skipped a beat. “Black, you are a pig.”





Sirius pulled back, as if stung. “Well then what does that make you? A—“


“An amazingly intelligent and beautiful creature,” Riz smirked.





Sirius looked as if he were about to say something, but Lily cut him off.


“NO POTTER! FOR THE LAST TIME I WILL NOT GO WITH YOU TO HOGSMEADE!”


“Does that mean—“





“NO, THAT DOES NOT MEAN THAT IF YOU ASK AGAIN I WILL SAY YES!”





“Erm, maybe we should leave,” Lupin suggested behind his two friends.





“NOT UNTIL THIS—THIS—“





“Run out of adjectives to describe me, Lilykins?” Potter smirked.





“ARG! Come on, we’re leaving,” Before Riz and I could say anything, we were hauled up (I grabbed the letter and stuffed it in the pocket of my robes) and dragged toward the gates of Hogwarts.





“That toe-rag Potter! Ugh, I can’t wait till tomorrow. We are going to stay at the DD and not see a bit of him for two weeks! Maybe, if I’m lucky, he’ll have moved on by then.”





I highly doubt that, Lily.





The next day, we stepped off the Hogwarts Express and went into Muggle London. Lily made Riz and I run (practically) out of the station to avoid Potter at all costs. As soon as we were out of Muggle eyes, Riz stuck out her wand and hailed the Knight Bus.





“Where to?” The guy asked us.





“Diagon Alley,” Lily said quickly and handed him the amount of Knuts.





We sat down and the bus jerked forward.





“Oof,” I mumbled as my trunk slide on my toe. “They should really get racks in this thing.”





“I’ll be sure to tell the owner, Ms.” The guy laughed.





I glared and stood as we came to our stop.





“Diagon Alley,” He said and opened the doors of the bus for us.





Riz, Lily, and I stepped off the bus and walked into the Leaky Caldron. Tom grinned at us and nodded. I think he may know about the DD. Ha, I wonder if he participated in anything.





“Hey,” I said when we reached the entrance. “What’s this week’s pass?”





“Erm, is it ‘paraskavedekatriaphobia’?”  Lily asked. Hmm, fear of Friday the 13th?





“No,” Riz frowned, “isn’t it ‘phasmophobia’?





Fear of ghosts? May as well try.


“Phasmophobia,” I said aloud.





“Okay, let’s go,” Lily said as the password was accepted. We went through the entrance and into the First Hall. “We’d better unpack.”





I don’t know what we would do if the main champions weren’t allowed to stay in their chambers. This could be our home.



We entered the empty female’s quarters and went straight to the back door. Riz pulled out the key and turned it. Suddenly jumpy, I pushed past her and ran through the door, leaving my stuff behind.





“Ahh,” I breathed as my body hit one of the soft couches. “That’s nice.”





“So you’re just going to sit there while we do the work?” Lily asked me.





“That was the idea,” I mumbled.





“You’re lucky you have great friends,” Lily said to me before I closed my eyes in sleep.





Over the week, Lily, Riz and I spent most of our time in the DD practicing. If you go down a few flights of stairs, you would eventually come to a gray door. Inside is a large room full of Muggle workout equipment and fake people to duel against. Some of the dummies even had wands that shot random spells out of them when someone was in close proximity.





We went twice into Diagon Alley. And of course neither trip worked out well.





The first time we went, Potter, Lupin, and, Sirius found us in Madam Malkin’s. It was horrible. Potter tried to ask Lily out again, Lily went into a fit of rage, Lupin tried to pull Potter away before Riz could knock him out and Sirius was flirting with some out-of-Hogwarts girl. Me, well, I was, as Riz put it, ‘Staring at Black longingly and glaring in the direction of the girl at the same time.’





Two days later, Riz suggested getting some ice cream (The DD does provide food, but it gets gross. Fast.). Lily didn’t want to go at first, but soon agreed. We were sitting at a table eating our treat when Riz grumbled a particularly bad curse under her breath. I had looked up to see the same three boys walking toward us, the front-most one having a huge grin plastered on his face.





“Ms. Evans,” he said when they reached us. “How are you this fine day?”





Lily ground her teeth together. “Fine, Potter.”





“A little hostile, are we, Evans?” Sirius smirked.





“Shut you’re trap, Black,” Riz growled.





“Oh, Burby, didn’t see you there,” Black said, “So, Ladies, how’s your break been going?”



“Stop trying to be civil, Black,” Riz continued, “We all know how difficult it must be for you.”





“Padfoot come on,” Lupin tried to stop the fight that was brewing.





“No, Remus,” Sirius pulled his arm out of Lupin’s grasp. He faced Riz, “What the hell is your problem?”





“My problem?” She asked sweetly. A little too sweetly, oh no, Riz.





“Riz, you shouldn’t,” I tried to reason with her.





“Shouldn’t what? I don’t believe I’ve done anything. Now this mutt here however—“





I heard a scraping and quickly glanced at Lily and Potter.





“Anyway, Ms. Evans, I came over to ask you a question,” Potter bent down so that he was eye-level with Lily.





“Potter—,” Lily glared.





“Will you accompany me to the first Hogsmeade trip, once we get back?”





“Oof!”





“Oww!”





“Hey!”





“Potter!”





Riz had swung her fist around and punched Sirius in between the nose and eye. Blood started to come out of his nose. Riz let out a noise of pain and spun around. But, when her fist kept going, it hit the back of Potter’s head, hard enough to knock him over, right onto Lily. 


Yeah, it was interesting.





“Alright, you two ready for this?” Riz asked us, hand completely fixed. It’s almost time for the first tournament to begin.





“Yeah,” Lily laughed, “I was born ready for this.”





“And you remember how we did it our first time?” Riz asked me.





I nodded, “Accept this time you aren’t going to fall while entering the arena.”





Riz scowled at the memory.





“NOW, FOR OUR OPENING DUEL IN THE WINTER TOURNAMENT OF 1977!” The announcer’s voice boomed above us, “PLEASE WELCOME THE JUMPING JARVEY’S AND THE PHANTOM PHOENIX’S INTO THE ARENA!”


I take a deep breath and lead the Phoenixes into the arena. Knowing to expect the unexpected, we didn’t jump (the Jarvey’s did) when we saw half the arena covered in water and the other half in ice. I rubbed my hands up and down my arms. I knew our uniforms should’ve had sleeves on them.





~~~~~~~~~~~~***~~~~~~~~~~~~





“Ugh,” I moaned as I turned over on the couch.





“These last days been too difficult for you Tills?” Lily grinned, sitting on the chair across from my couch.





I sat up and stretched, “Yeah.”





I heard Riz’s laugh from behind me. “Think of how I feel?”





I raised an eyebrow, “What are you talking about? You’re all bubbly and giddy.”





“Yeah, but on that last duel, I held out the longest against that guy.”





“But in the first duel, Tilly and I battled against those other two for almost twenty minutes,” Lily countered.





“Yeah, well, that was on the first day,” Riz faced both her hands upward, “And I just did that yesterday.”





“True, but I’m still sore,” I countered.





“Well, our last duel of the week is in an hour, so you’d better make that pain go away,” Lily stood up.





Riz bit back a snort, “make that pain go away?”





Lily turned and glared.





“Is that the best you could think of?” Riz continued.





“Well, I am, unlike you, thinking of different moves to kick ass!”





“Good for you, Lily,” I grinned and went over to my trunk to put on my uniform.





Lily grabbed her stuff and headed to the restroom. I high-fived Riz.





“Now she’s all fired up, with her like that, no way will we loose this,” My grin widened.





When we were ready, we walked to the arena. The walk seemed shorter as we were about to end the Tournaments this year.  I wonder who we’re dueling.


“WELCOME TO THE FINAL DUEL IN THIS YEAR’S WINTER TOURNEMENT!” The voice boomed for the last time until spring. “PLEASE WELCOME THE ALBINO ACROMANTULA’S AND THE PHANTOM PHOENIXES’ INTO THE ARENA!”





Here we go. Riz lead us into the arena this time. Well,  it no longer looked much like an arena. The walls were covered with dark green ivy and trees were growing out of them. There’s no ice or sun, though there is a small patch of trees in the far corner. Across from us the ‘Acromantulas’ were looking at their surroundings. Oh, for the sweet life of Godric Gryffindor.



 The Albino Acromantulas are huge. They must weigh at least 200 pounds each and are probably a foot taller than Riz. Though the 200 pounds is mostly muscle, they must have some sort of a weakness. The only question is, ‘what could that be?’





I heard Lily gasp next to me as we neared the start line. They seemed to be getting bigger by the second, there is no way these guys are seventeen or younger.





“WANDS OUT IN TEN!”





I fingered my wand in my back pocket.





“10…” The crowd joined in. “9…”


“8…”





“7…”


“6…”





“5…”





“4…”





“3…”





“2…”





I saw one of the Acromantula’s smirk wickedly. Slightly frightened, I returned the strongest looking glare I could muster.


“1!”


“AQUA ERUCTO OPPUNGO!” I yelled my opponents. A jet of water shot out of my wand and proceeded to attack one of the Acromantulas.





“Prote—,” He was too late; the water was already circling him. I grinned as he fell to the floor, unconscious from lack of air.





Looking around, I saw Lily dueling another. She put up shield after shield to protect herself from his hexes. Just as I was about to swish my wand, another jet of light hit her in the back. Before it hit though, she sent a stunner at the guy she was dueling and out of shock, he didn’t put up a shield charm. Wait, was that shock? Can these people even perform a correct shield-charm? I wonder…





I put up a charm to stop the other Acromantula from stunning me. Where is Riz?





“Incarserousus,” I yelled in my head, hoping that Riz and Lily’s lessons in wandless magic have paid off.





“Yes!” I breathed when he kneeled over, unable to get a charm up in time. Now to find Riz.





I ran toward the trees and looked through. Riz was dueling the biggest guy in front of a small, muddy pool. I lifted my wand to stun him when Riz disarmed him. He put his hands behind his back in shame and I grinned. She can handle this.





As she closed in on him, ready to perform a hex, he smirked and lifted a small boulder above his head. Before Riz could do anything, he had flung it toward her.





“STUPEFY!” I screamed at him, hitting his forehead. I turned to try and stop the object from hitting its target.





Too late.





The large rock had slammed into Riz’s shoulder, pushing her now unconscious body into the water. I ran over as the doors opened to help the wounded. Tears streamed down my cheeks as three medi-wizards sprinted to get her on a bed. I saw blood, too much, flowing down the side of her head and neck.





Next thing I knew, I fell into darkness.


Chapter 11: Non-Masculine Matters
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Non-Masculine Matters-Sirius Black



“Back already?” Remus asked me as I opened the door.



I threw a chocolate frog at him, “Yeah, short line.”



He raised an eyebrow, “You realize you were at the food cart for over a half an hour, right?”



“Oh, Moony, you have so much to learn,” I smirked and sat next to James. He pulled out his wand and flicked it, mumbling something.



“Why’d you do that, Prongs?”



“Because, I wanted to talk about the DD,” James sighed. “Honestly, Padfoot.”



 “Thanks, Mr. Potter,” I said when he opened the door for me. I pulled my trunk inside the Potter home.



“Want to play Quidditch?” James asked me when I got in. Remus sighed.



“Prongs—“



“How about you three sit down,” Mr. Potter suggested.



James shrugged, “Alright, I guess we have all break to fly.”



I followed Mr. Potter into another room and I sat on a couch. “Ah.”



“Now boys, to relax is not the only reason I asked you in here,” Mr. Potter started. “I received a letter the other day—“



“From the DD?”



“It’s not polite to interrupt, James,”Mr. Potter said, “But yes, it was from the DD.”



I sat up straighter.



“They invited me to join them for the Winter Tournaments,” He continued, “They also invited you three to come along.”



“I’d love to,” I said without hesitation. Remus nodded with me.



“The only problem is that I have an assignment I need to do, so I won’t be able to join you,” Mr. Potter looked between the three of us. “So you will need to go alone .Of course, I will tell you all you need to know, and I will be held responsible if you accidently reveal your identities.”



“So this will be just like the, err, ‘Summer Games’?” James asked his father.



“Not exactly, these will be held over five days, quick tournaments each day, the competitors trying their hardest to stay in the games. And another difference is the groups competing will need to sign up, and then compete.”



“Fascinating,” Remus mumbled.



“And then the first day we saw Evans,” I threw back my head in laughter. “Oh, Prongs, you got—“



I was silenced with a look from Remus. “Sirius—“



“Sorry,” I said to James. “And what about the DD? Sure the tournaments were interesting, though I wish we could’ve stayed somewhere other than the Leaky Cauldron.”



“No, we are going to figure out the mystery to which is the Phantom Phoenixes,” James said.



The girl knocked out one of the Acromantulas. She glanced around and looked for her final teammate. Settling on a patch of trees, she ran toward the small, hidden pond. The other girl was dueling the last Acromantula. She disarmed him and he put his hands behind his back. I got a clear view of him picking up a large rock.



‘No! Look out!’ I wanted to yell, though I knew the girl could not hear me. I closed my eyes as I heard the sound of impact. The stone hit its target. I heard a scream and opened my eyes to see the other girl stun the Acromantula and run to her friend. Oh no.



The Medi-wizards came into the arena. Some sprinted to the girl and pulled her onto a stretcher. The other girl was crying, and soon passed out when she saw the blood of her friend.



“Merlin,” James breathed from my side. In the ‘Werewolf Box’, the three of us were pushed up against the glass. Watching, waiting, and wondering about the life of the Phantom Phoenixes.



“I hope she’s alright,” I mumbled.



“We know she’s fine, remember, the girl told us. That kind of thing happens all the time,” Remus frowned. “Apparently they’re all used to it.”



“She didn’t look ‘used to it’ when she was bawling her eyes out,” James said.



We walked with the crowd, leaving the Dueler Dungeon. As we walked past the booths, Remus walked away from us.



“We’re you going?” I whispered, though he could not hear me.



James and I saw him walk up to a masked girl, no one else seemed to notice her, but she was the one from the Phantom Phoenixes.



I heard Remus say, “I’m sorry about you’re teammate.”



The girl snorted, “You act like she’s dead or dying.”



I saw Remus grin. So the girl did have some life in her.



“Are you allowed to be out here?” He asked her.



“Nope,” She smiled sadly, “But my friend asked for some Bertie Bott’s beans. I had to get her some.”



“She actually likes those?”



“Yeah, even the weird flavored ones. She’s told me her favorite is Cut Grass,” The girl pulled a face.



“I don’t believe I have ever heard of a person who likes those things,” Remus said.



“Well,” the girl grinned, “I’d better get them to her, the medi-wizards left and she’s not supposed to be talking yet.”



“You’d better hurry then.”



“Yeah, well, bye,” she gave a little wave and walked off.



“We’re here,” Remus stood up when the Hogwart’s Express stopped.



I sighed, back to school already.




~~~~~~~~~~~~***~~~~~~~~~~~~




After being back at Hogwarts for around a week, James had asked Lily out around fifteen times and been rejected by her around twenty times. When will he give up?



So I was walking along the Halls of Hogwarts, headed to the Potions classroom when I saw Channing and Burby up ahead of me. I walked faster and caught up to them.



“Hello ladies,” I drawled.



Burby stiffened and parts of her hair turned a dark red, “Black.”



The other girl just nodded and it seemed as if she was eating a particularly hot pepper. Who knew a face could get that red. Good Godric, that’s even worse than Lily’s when she’s yelling at James.



“On your way to Potions, I presume?” I asked politely.



“Actually yes,” Burby glared at me, “Surprising, I mean, that we’re in the same class.”



I narrowed my eyes and the other girl tried to subtly jab Burby with her elbow.



“Well, I’d better be off,” Burby started to walk faster, “See you at Potions, Tilly.”



Tilly?



“Yes?” she asked. I raised an eyebrow.



“Pardon?”



“Um,” She got even more flustered. “You just said my name?”



“Oh,” I nodded. Must’ve said that aloud. “So, you’re friends with Burby?”



“Yes,” The look on her face turned confused. “Why?”



“How can you stand her? I mean, honestly, she’s so…so…annoying!”



Channing snorted, “Eh, once you get to know her, she’s not so bad.”



“Yeah right, she probably hexed you to say that,” I mumbled.



“Hey!” Channing stopped and grabbed my arm. “Don’t talk about her like that!”



“Oh come on, name some good things about her,” I scoffed.



“She’s smart, a great friend, nice, and helpful!” The girl looked like she would slap me.



Well, Sirius, you did just directly insult her friend.



I snorted.



“Not to mention, she’d do anything for her friends!” The girl screamed.



“Whoa, now calm down, I was just saying—“



Her eyes seemed to seethe with anger. “Now I can see why she thinks you’re an egotistical, conceited, dim-witted, vulgar, revolting, obnoxious, GIT!”



And with those adjectives, she stormed off.



“That was…new,” I commented and continued my walk to the Potions room.



I pushed open the door to find that Slughorn had not come in yet. I found my seat and leaned back. Burby was already sitting next to Remus, talking about some potion. The streaks in her hair suddenly turned a light orange as she laughed.  Does she really think I’m an ‘egotistical, conceited, dim-witted, vulgar, revolting, obnoxious, git?’



I sighed as Julianne Greengrass entered the room with her Slytherin posse. She smirked at me and walked over.



“Hello blood-traitor,” She grinned.



“Death Eater,” I nodded in her direction and Slughorn waltzed in. She scowled and pulled out her potion’s book.



“Today you are going to finish up your potions and hand them in. I have provided vials for grading; I expect one from each of you by the end of the class period. Good luck,” Slughorn said to the class.



I stood up and got a vial. Greengrass was reading through the book when I got back.



“The final step is to stir the potion three and a half times in the clock-wise direction,” She told me. “You do that.”



“Why don’t you?”



“Because I told you to,” She smirked. “Now, go ahead. Get stirring.”



I ripped the stick out of her hands and started the stirring.



1…



2…



3…



“And a half,” I said aloud. “Simple.”



I put some into a vial and took it up to Slughorn. He pointed in the direction of a holder and I set my vial in a hole. Remus and Burby’s was already in there.



I walked back to the desk and sat down.



“Why did you disgrace your family’s name?”



“Excuse me?” I turned to Greengrass, “Those people are not my family.”



“Oh yes, I forgot you were disowned,” she cackled. “At least you’re in a good place.”



I took a deep breath, “And what would you know of what’s good for me?”



“Not only good for you, but good for any pureblood male out there would like to be,” She smiled sickly. “A place in the Dark Lord’s ranks.”



“I am a Gryffindor, and would never join that filthy scum you call master,” I spat. “How dare you suggest such a thing?!”



“I realize you are a Gryffindor, which is why I am saying this. I believe you should think about…joining both sides.”



“A spy?!”



“Pretty much, yes.”



I swear the potion flew up and drenched her on its own accord. I don’t even remember pulling out my wand and muttering the incantation. But, next thing I knew, she was standing there, shrieking, covered in a purple gunk, sprouting thorns all over her person.



“Mate, that was great,” James said to me as we walked out of the classroom. “I swear it looked like she would burst.”



“Yeah, it was,” I smiled and pulled my bag up farther on my shoulder. “But hey, I had to do it.”



“What did she say to you?” Remus asked me.



Oh, just spoke on how I should betray all of you and join Voldemort.



“Oh, nothing, just something about Gryffindor,” I said smoothly.



“Ah,” James nodded in understanding. Remus looked skeptical.



“Well, we’d better get to Transfiguration,” I said and before Remus could say anything, I was off to the other side of the castle. They caught up with me quickly and walked on wither side of me all the way to McGonagall’s classroom.



We walked into the room and toward our usual seats in the back of the room. McGonagall glanced up in surprise, as we were the first there. Yeah, I’m slightly surprised too.



When the rest of the class entered, the Hufflepuffs went to the left side and grouped up, while the rest of the sixth year Gryffindors sat together in the middle.



I leaned back and put my feet on the ground as McGonagall started to lecture about human transfiguration. Well, considering all that I’ve done with this topic…



I pulled out my quill and a piece of parchment.  Am I really this bored?



Known Facts About the Grffindor Girls:




Lilian Evans
 -Known as ‘Lily’
 - Prongs has a strange fascination with her
 - Red hair, green eyes




Matilda Channing
 -Known as ‘Tilly’
 -Can have an extremly red face
 -Blonde hair, blue eyes




Grizel Burby
 - Known as ‘Riz’
 - May need anger management
 -Hazel eyes, brown hair that changes color?




Apperently I am.



 I handed the parchment to James. He read it over, sent me a look and scratched out something. He wrote over it and gave it back to me.



-Red hair, emerald eyes



To think he didn’t even care about his ‘strange fascination’.


Chapter 12: Coral-Colored
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Previously-Tilly Channing





As she closed in on him, ready to perform a hex, he smirked and lifted a small boulder above his head. Before Riz could do anything, he had flung it toward her.





“STUPEFY!” I screamed at him, hitting his forehead. I turned to try and stop the object from hitting its target.





Too late.





The large rock had slammed into Riz’s shoulder, pushing her now unconscious body into the water. I ran over as the doors opened to help the wounded. Tears streamed down my cheeks as three medi-wizards sprinted to get her on a bed. I saw blood, too much, flowing down the side of her head and neck.





Next thing I knew, I fell into darkness.





Coral-Colored- Lily Evans





Pain. The first thing that came to mind when I regained consciousness, pain. Pain in my head and back. Then, the memories hit. The last duel, the Albino Acromantula’s huge muscles and slow spell work. Putting up shield after shield, letting my mind wander and leaving a spot open for a spell to hit. Did we win? Are the others alright? I opened my eyes.





The first thing I saw was the blank, red walls of the ‘Lair’ of the Phantom Phoenixes. Why are they blank? We should have put up photos of us or something like that, they look so…boring. Lying on the couch, I got a clear view of the ceiling. That’s boring too.





“Ugh,” I groaned as my body rejected my attempts to stand. I tried again, but my head fell back onto the pillow in defeat. Sighing, I looked around. No medi-wizards, no Mr. Burns, no Tilly or Riz. I was alone.





My eyes closed of their own accord and I found myself drifting back into unconsciousness.





“Lily?” I heard a voice. “Lily?” Tilly!





My eyes flew open and I tried to sit up. No more pain.





“Tilly? What happened?” I yawned. “Where’s—”





I looked at her tear-stained face and gasped.





“Oh Lily!” She started sobbing and threw her arms around me. “It was h-h-horrible! She lost so much blood, and I couldn’t breathe! I passed out before they could even get her on the stretcher, and oh Lily! I should have stunned him while I had the chance, this is my entire fault. Maybe if I hadn’t gotten into that argument and—and had been angry with her, my subconscious would have saved her! He threw a boulder, Lily! A boulder! Right at her, and I did nothing, nothing! And the medi-wizards still haven’t let anyone in to see her! I don’t think she’s even awake! Will she ever wake up? Oh, Lily, this is my entire fault!”





She kept rambling on and on about what happened after I went down. Her tears even got me crying, and just when I thought she would stop talking, she started cursing herself.





“Tilly, shh,” I sighed as Riz’s vocabulary went through her. “Tilly, come on now. Tilly. Tilly. MATILDA CHANNING!”





“What?” She glared at me through her tears, “Our friend could be in there dying, DYING! And this could, no, is all my fault!”





“It’s not your fault, Tilly, and blaming yourself is probably the worst thing you could be doing right now. Riz is strong, and those medical people are probably in a state of shock right now because she is pulling through. It is not your fault!” I yelled through my own tears.





“Lily is right, Matilda, you should not blame yourself,” Mr. Burns said from behind me.





“Mr. Burns!” Tilly stood up faster than the Golden Snitch could fly, “How is Riz?”





“Doing well, the medi-wizards left for a moment and are allowing visitors,” Mr. Burns held up his hand as we made to run. “But, she is not supposed to be talking, though she is—”





“Of course,” I grinned.





“And cannot feel anything, so please don’t touch her as it could damage weaker parts of her already weak body,” Mr. Burns finished, “She is in the back room.”





Tilly and I sprinted like our legs were on fire toward the back room. Though it was only forty steps away, it felt like it took years to get to the pitch black door. I let Tilly open it silently and we stepped through.





The entire room was white. White bed, white sheets, white floors, white walls. It resembled the Hospital Wing at Hogwarts, actually. Along the walls of the white room, hundreds of bottles filled with hundreds of different potions lined hundreds of white shelves. The ceiling had five hanging lights that seemed like five different mini suns, brightening the universe. As I looked around, I heard Tilly gasp and turned my head. In the middle of the room stood the small, white bed. On that small, white bed lay the body of Riz.





Her bottom half was covered with a thin-looking, white sheet. As the sheet stopped near her navel, the bandages began. Wrapped from the sheets to her left shoulder in somewhat of a toga fashion were what must have been meters and meters of pale bandages. They went around her stomach and over her left shoulder and around her chest, leaving her right shoulder bare. Taking a deep breath, I dared to look at her head.





There were no bandages around her head, but what looked like a strip of red paper going from the top of the left side of her head to her neck where it met some sort of a brace. The streaks in her hair were black.





“Oh, Riz,” Tilly softly said as she bent down next to the girl. “I am so sorry.”





“Noh vahllt ourrz,” Riz mumbled, eyes open and glancing around the room.





Tilly sobbed, “But it is my fault! It’s all my fault.”





It looked as if Riz was grinning, but I couldn’t tell. “Pllets doht ky.”





“What can I do to help you?” Tilly sucked in a breath, “Anything that will help you get better.”





“I lyeck Brty Bohttz Beans,” Riz looked hopefully to Tilly.





Tilly grinned through her tears, finally convinced that Riz is going to be alright, “Gross.”





Though thoroughly disgusted, Tilly saluted and ran from the room. I stepped forward from my place in the doorway.





“Alright?” I asked my friend.





She tried to shrug.





I nodded in understanding, “I would give you a hug, but the medical asses said that I might hurt you.”





Riz looked thankful.





“Any pain?”





“Noh.”





“Right, you’re on the, um,” I glanced at the bedside table, which had several different bottles of potions on it.





Riz pulled a face.





“Well, you’ve got five days to heal before Hogwarts,” I sighed, “I’ll never leave your side.”





She tried to grin again, but frowned as the medi-wizards came back into the room.





“Time done, OUT!” One pointed to the door and yelled.





I squeaked and ran to the door. As I opened the door, I turned around and sent a look of apology toward Riz. She tried to shrug again.


The five days were horrible. Though Tilly now knew that Riz would live, she felt that she was in debt to her. Not only that, but the first two days, Riz went into some intensive thing where she was out into a mini coma and operated on. The wizard way, of course.





 Those two days pretty much went the same. Wake up to a teary-eyed Tilly, comfort her, eat breakfast, talk about the fun times we’ve had with Riz, go to the workout room, eat lunch, comfort Tilly some more, speak with Mr. Burns, eat dinner, visit Riz, go to bed.





It’s not like I’m a bad friend, it’s just, I realize that Riz is going to be fine and don’t believe she would like Tilly and I dwelling on the fact that she got a little beat up. Okay, really beat up. And, I have cried, at night. I show my feelings, just not to the public.





Then, on the third day, I was woken to the sounds of Tilly weeping. Getting ready to comfort, I realized she was smiling.





“Oh, Lily,” She’d been doing that a lot lately. “Mr. Burns told me this morning, Riz is waking up today and will be well enough to eat with us!”





I grinned and hugged her.





At lunch time, Tilly and I were led by Mr. Burns to a room we’d never been in before. It was small, with only a single table in it and four chairs. The three of us sat at the table and waited.





A few minutes later, the door reopened to reveal Riz clad in jeans and a tank top that showed the bandages on her shoulder. Her neck brace was gone, along with the red bandage that had lined her face. She grinned at us and spread her arms.





“EEK!” Tilly jumped up and smothered Riz in a hug. I joined in a split second later.




                                               ~~~~~~~~~~~~***~~~~~~~~~~~~



Hogwarts looked as beautiful as ever when the train stopped in Hogsmeade. The lights were on and the shadows danced on the walls of the old castle. Riz, Tilly, and I stood up from our compartment and got in line to enter the castle.





Some days later, the three of us were sitting around in the Owlery waiting for the letter. The letter which would tell us the options we have for future DD functions.





“I have something to say,” Riz and I looked to Tilly.





“Yes?” I asked, leaning my head back to rest against the wall. A small and plump grey owl hooted above me and I flicked my wand to avoid any unwanted droppings.





“I have realized my mistake and after thinking about it,” She sighed, “Well, I no longer fancy Sirius Black.”





Riz snorted, “I knew you’d come to your senses sooner or later.”





Options. Do we want to continue with the DD? Are we allowed to? As we are going into Seventh Year at Hogwarts, we will receive a letter that will explain what so many before us have had to decide. No one knows what the letter will hold, whether they be secrets, or useless facts, but anyone seventh ear and above. New laws. There could be a new law that only these older duelers know about. What will it state? Will it force a team to retire? When do the teams retire? Or do they? And what about the threats that come with this ‘new world’? What would happen if a Deatheater got into the DD and sabotaged the lives and secrets of hundreds?





I sighed and stood up. “Let’s go, I don’t think it’s going to come today.”

                                           ~~~~~~~~~~~~***~~~~~~~~~~~~


“Come on, Riz, we’ve got History of Magic next,” Tilly groaned as the girl stopped in the middle of the hallway.





“Listen,” Riz rounded on Tilly, “I have been through multiple bloody operations on my back in the past bloody week, and I think I bloody deserve to take my bloody time on my bloody way to ruddy class.”





Tilly looked to me for help, but I was tired too. McGonagall had us transfiguring tables, Slughorn had us making more than one potion at a time, and even Flitwick had us doing that non-speaking type of magic. All I want to do is slack off.





When we eventually made it to the History of Magic classroom, it seemed everyone shared my views. The Hufflepuffs were whispering things to each other or sleeping, and the other Gryffindors didn’t even bother showing up. Gits.





I sat between Riz and Tilly in the back row and pulled out my textbook. Professor Binns rattled on about some Goblin Rebellion and I let my mind wander. I can’t believe I used to enjoy this class. What was wrong with me in Fourth Year?





Riz had taken out a piece of parchment and had her quill in her hand. For a second, I thought she was actually taking notes, but that thought flew through my head when she set the parchment in front of me.





What do you think the letter is going to say?





I frowned and scribbled back a reply.





I have no idea; I hope it’ll have some valuable information though.





I bet it’ll tell us we’ve got to retire after Seventh.





Why do you say that?





It just seems to fit, doesn’t it?





Yeah, I guess.





What are you two doing?





Passing notes.





Ha-ha, I feel like the Marauders.





I growled and glared at Tilly.





Don’t even write that name in my presence.





Not like she wrote James Potter.





I took a deep breath and glare at Riz. She smirked.





Why do you hate him, Lily?





Don’t ask that, we all know the reason.





Which is?





She is altogether madly in love with him.





I knew it!





I hit Riz on the shoulder. Lucky for her she’s on my left side.





Ouch.





You deserved it.





I think she may be right, Lily.





I smacked Tilly on the hand. She let out a little yelp which caused some people to look around. Binns kept teaching.





Why do you hate him then?





Because he’s an egotistical, git-faced prat.





That’s obviously the reason, right? Damn you Riz.





I plopped on the couch in front of the fire in the Common Room a week later. After a horrible week of difficult lessons, Potter, and the worry about what the letter will contain, I think I deserve a little rest.





This is defiantly the most difficult thing I ever have had to do. Waiting around for this letter is killing me from the inside. It’s the letter that’s killing me, not Potter. Whatever possessed Riz to say that was wrong. Horribly wrong. She was probably joking, even. But I know for a fact that I am not, and I never will be, in love with a Potter. Or madly in love with a Potter, for that matter.





I mean, so what if he’s Gryffindor’s star Chaser on the Quidditch Team, that’s not what matters. And his hair isn’t even all that great; I have no idea what all those other girls see in it. I mean, I personally think it resembles a rat’s nest. And so what if his grades are tied with mine, that doesn’t matter either. All that matters is his personality, and that is what ruins him. His head is too big for its own good, and he’s slowly becoming a stalker.  I mean, can’t he just give up on me?





I opened my eyes to see Riz and Tilly sitting down across from me. Riz grinned at me and Tilly frowned.





“What?” I asked them cautiously.





Riz’s grin turned into a smirk, “Today’s the day.”





“What is she talking about?”





“The day that I predicted the letter would come,” Riz continued. “And Tilly is going to own me five sickles.”





“Come off it, the day’s almost over and the letter has yet to come,” Tilly said, “You could be in debt to me.”





“You guys made a bet?” I laughed.





“Yep, and I am going to win,” Tilly grinned.





Riz rolled her eyes, “You keep telling yourself that.”





“You never know what the—”





Tilly was cut off as three boys came loudly into the Common Room. I clenched my teeth as they sat on the corner chairs.





“Calm, Lily, calm,” Riz took a deep breath, “Breath.”





I continued to glare at the back of the messy haired teen. As if sensing my glare, he turned in my direction and gave a cheesy wink.





“Oh, that boy’s asking for it,” I mumbled when he made to stand. He sat back down though, as a tapping came from the window.





“Thank Merlin, whoever’s letter that is I am going to send a letter of thanks,” I sighed in relief.





A fourth year boy with blonde hair ran up to the window. The Common Room went silent so he could read the name on the coral-colored letter.





Wait. Coral-Colored?





“Ms. Evans?” The boy looked around the room and saw me. “A letter.”





“Thanks,” I grinned when he handed it to me.





The Common Room went back to the normal chatter after the letter was put into rightful hands. I looked to Riz’s face of utter joy and Tilly fishing sickles out of her pockets and motioned my head toward the dorms. We stood and made our way up the stairs to read what the letter had to say.





I looked around with one foot on the first step.  I turned back to meet the eyes of the only people in the room that were not making a sound.





The three Marauders were staring at me with large, suspicious eyes.


Chapter 13: Words and Wondering
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Words and Wondering- Remus Lupin




For a minute the common room vanished, the couches gone, the fireplace gone, the noise and people…just, gone. It was only James, Sirius, myself and the letter. It seemed like everything else just disappeared.




Lily looked back toward our faces, gave a slightly confused glance, and continued up the stairs to the girls dorms. The coral-colored letter dangling from the fingers of her left hand.




The letter. A coral-colored letter given to Lily Evans (and possibly intended from Riz and Matilda as well). Coral-colored letter. Where else have we seen a coral-colored letter? Coincidence? I think not, how many people send letters that just happen to be colored in a unique coral color?




So does this automatically mean they are in the DD? It’s possible, they are excellent witches and the three could be a group. Or do they have connections to the DD? Impossible, Lily and Matilda are Muggleborn, but Riz? No, if that were so then why was the letter addressed to Lily Evans?




Forty-seven seconds later, my mind returned to the room. The common room returned and the chattering of some first years across the room reached my sensitive ears.




Did you see that letter? It was orange! Odd, right?”




“Odd indeed,” I murmured to myself.




“Well guys, I think I’ll go on up, Quidditch practice was rough today,” James stood and stretched his arms above his head.




“You know what, I think I should go up as well, feeling a bit ill, myself,” Not that far from the truth, next  full moon in two weeks.




James and I glanced at Sirius from our standing positions. We stared at him. He looked to be off in his own world.




“Padfoot!” James hissed.




“Right,” He shook his hair out of his face and stood up, “I’d better get to the snoozing.”




I blinked as my dark-haired friends practically jumped up to the dorms.




Ah, home. The ‘Marauders’ boys dorms were more than likely considered a death trap to most people, but as it is my home for the majority of the year it’s like a friend to me. With the far bed covered in Quidditch supplies and magazines, another one unmade with a potion on the nightstand, an empty one smelling oddly of something unknown, and my own nicely made freshly scented bed, one would find it a strange room. Add to that the discarded robes hanging over a mirror and the random discolored objects (from spells gone wrong) most people wouldn’t even step foot near the door. Except for us three.




Calmly stepping over what looked like a Slytherin-clad doll with needles sticking out of it, I sat back on to my bed and yanked off my tie. As I tossed it onto the growing pile, James cleared his throat.




“Well, um, that letter did seem to be of a slightly strange color, didn’t it?” He chuckled, though it was strained.




“You don’t think—”




“Actually,” I cut Sirius off. “It is possible.”




“Do you think Lily would—?”




“Possibly, I mean the three of them could be a group. They have the skills.”




“True, have you seen Lily in Charms? She’s amazing...” James trailed off.




Sirius shook his head, “Ugh, I guess Burby would have to let out that personality somewhere.”




I coughed, “Yes, well, we shouldn’t assume…”




“Assume?! It was a damn coral-colored letter! Moony, honestly, you’re supposed to be the smartest of The Marauders!”




“Fine, I admit the odds are leaning towards the possibilities of them being part of the Dueler Dungeon,” I sighed, “Alright, I am almost positive they are a team.”




“I don’t ruddy believe this!” Sirius groaned. “How many Hogwarts students do you think are in on this thing?”




“Who knows,” James mumbled.




Good point. I wonder how many people really are part of the DD. It honestly could be anyone. Even Slytherins. Probably Slytherins, considering the Purebloods must have connections. Yet, Lily is a Muggleborn. I wonder how they found out about it.




“Hey,” Sirius suddenly shot up. “Do you think we may have watched them duel?”




“It is a possibility,” I replied. “I wonder what their team name is.”




James smirked, “I wonder how good they are.”




After those words, we went into a frenzy of laughs throwing out random suggestions of the team name and how good we though they might be. I was the first to retire to bed, but as I fell asleep, all I thought about was what I would talk to Riz about in Potions the next day.




Lucky enough, I have Potions second, so I won’t wait long. Throughout my first class (Transfiguration) I half listened to what McGonagall said and half thought of how I would gently bring about the topic of what she does over winter and summer breaks.




After class, James, Sirius and I sped down to the Potions classroom. The door wasn’t open yet, so we waited.




“Are you going to just go ahead and ask her?” Sirius asked me




I raised an eyebrow, “Yes, I’m just going to up and say, ‘hey, Riz, I was just wondering if you and your friends participated in an underground duel every so often’.”




Before Sirius could respond to my sarcastic comment, Slughorn opened the door and we shuffled inside, other Slytherins behind us.




He started talking about how we would be making a fast-brew potion today and he expects them in by the end of class when the three Gryffindor girls walked in.




“Sorry we are late Professor, we had to—,” He cut Lily off.




“Oh,” Slughorn chuckled, “it’s perfectly fine, I was just explaining about the Potion we would be brewing today, I’m sure you’ve heard of it, Ms. Evans, the—”




Riz came over and sat down while Slughorn spoke with Lily. She set her heavy looking bag next to her chair and turned to me. Parts of her dark brown hair seemed to turn brighter.




“So what did Sluggy say we’d be doing today?” She asked me.




“Oh um…I believe we are just doing a simple dreamless sleep potion,” I looked at Slughorn who was still chatting with Lily.




“Perfect,” Riz grinned. “So, what where we last talking about? Out of Hogwarts, was it?”




“Yes, you were telling me you want to be an Unspeakable,” I nodded.




She grinned, “Yes, my father’s mother was one.”




“Ah, yes,” And she had died from a bad potion? What did she tell me?




“A bad potion, same one that took my father,” She mumbled.




I silently nodded and she walked to get the ingredients, her bright hair getting darker by the second. When she came back I had already started to boil the water.




“So what did you say you want to do when you get out of Hogwarts?” She asked.




“Oh,” If I can get a job. “Sirius, James and I were thinking of studying to become Aurors.”




“Of course,” She grinned, “Typical Gryffindors.”




I shrugged, but laughed all the same. She pored in some green rocks and the potion bubbled.




“Ugh,” She scrunched up her nose as the horrid smell reached her face, “Well, at least we know its working.”




“Hey,” I suddenly remembered what I was supposed to be doing. “What do you like to do over breaks?”




“I’m sorry?” She raised an eyebrow and her mouth twitched. “I don’t think you need to—”




“It’s not that,” I hurriedly explained, “I’m just curious. I mean, do you hang out with Lily and Matilda, or travel…?”




“I’m with Lily and Tilly most of the time, Remus,” Riz laughed, “But yes, during the summer we can’t be separated.”




“Do you go places?”




She thought for a minute, “Eh, mostly just stay around…Diagon.”




Well that’s….interesting.




“How about during the winter and spring breaks?”




“Oh, um, pretty much the same,” She hesitated, “We like to relax around town.”




“And that’s all you do?” I asked with an eyebrow raised.




“Um, we also enjoy exploring a bit…but that pretty much it.”




I nodded, “So you stay at the Leaky Cauldron?”




“Yep,” She said quickly. “Oh, time to put in that, um, pus?”




I picked up the short bottle of fluid and poured it into the cauldron. She changed the subject. Well, there’s a hint. Exploring…I wonder…




Secrets. Throughout everyone’s lives they at least have one major secret that they keep to the grave. Members of the DD, it can’t be that difficult to just not let anyone in. Well, except those times when they disappear as if going to a sporting event.




I sighed. And then of course, there’s my secret. My big, depressing, secret. Being a werewolf isn’t just painful and life wasting, it’s also annoying. Your life is fine (minus the whole turning into a crazed creature once a month) until you tell someone or they find out. Then instead of a nice friendship, you get sympathy. I know I’m lucky to have friends like I do, but the looks from Pomfrey every time I step in the Hospital Wing...sometimes, no, all the time I wish I could change that one thing in my life.




Now that’s a secret that’s hard to keep. Seeing your ill mother once a month can only happen so many times before people get suspicious. I mean, Sirius and James figured it out. In their second year. Thing of who else might know, and just be waiting for the right moment to blurt it out in front of the entire school.




And then I’d be shunned from society.




“Ouch,” I heard Riz curse while stirring the mixture.




“What happened?” I asked as her shirt rose a bit and I saw the bandages. It looked as if her entire back was covered with them.




“I—err,” She coughed and continued stirring; “I just fell over winter break and…sprained m—something.”




I was concerned, “Are you alright?”




“Oh, yeah, nothing major or anything,” She shook her head in disbelief that she had just said that. I wonder why…




And then, suddenly my mind pieced it all together. Right there, in the potions classroom, Riz sitting next to me.




What was that Sirius had said before? He had went back to get a book and saw Tilly and Riz in the hallway…Riz had bandages covering her arm? Yes…she must get hurt a lot.




And that girl in the DD, she gets hurt a lot as well, falling on that rock, getting a small boulder thrown at her. Her two friends, a blonde and a red-head. Her, having dark hair.




 Riz, with her two friends, Lily and Tilly. A red-head and blonde.




I glanced up at Riz’s dark brown hair from my Potions book.




All three great students…all three great duelers…all three around the same height, one just being maybe an inch taller…three girls…in the DD…bandages…




“You alright, Lupin?”




“Hmm,” M head shot up toward Riz.




Her eyes widened at my speed, but she grinned, “You just kind of, um, spaced out for a second…sorry.”




Sorry.




Just like that, I remembered that voice.




Mr. Burns cleared his own throat. The girl with dark-brown hair’s feet twitched and flipped backward. She came to a standing position, the top of her arm bandaged and looking to be in slight pain.




“Sorry,” she grinned.




That voice, that grin.




“Oh good Godric,” I breathed.




The Phantom Phoenixes.


Chapter 14: Phoenix Meet
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Phoenix Meet- Riz Burby



“It’s here!” Tilly screamed as she flung open the door. Well, someone’s excited.



“I can’t believe it came to the Common Room,” Lily was mumbling to herself. “I hope no one noticed it…”



“Bah, you worry too much,” I grinned and looked at the coral envelope thrown on the bed. I saw Tilly move out of the corner of my eye, and lunged for it.



“Back away!”



“I want to read it!”



“Stop!” Lily said with so much conviction, I stopped and stared.



The three of us slowly looked down to the crunched up letter in my hand; it survived. I sighed and carefully opened the envelope. As I revealed the letter, I bit my lip and looked up.



“This is it, the future of the DD for us,” I whispered and took a breath.



I pulled out the letter and handed it to Lily. “Go ahead; you’re the one whose name was called.”



“That’s only because we first used my name,” Lily grinned, “Remember, you didn’t want your name in some scam—”



She looked to Tilly.



“—and you were in the hospital wing.”



Tilly smirked, “Ah, yes, her first trip of many caused by her amazing abilities.”



I rolled my eyes and flashed back to the times I didn’t really know the two.



~~~***~~~



“’Night,” A second year Lily whispered.



The other girl was already snoring.



As I lay there thinking to myself, I wondered what these girls thought of Hogwarts, a Muggleborn and a half-blood who hadn’t known about this world. They must be amazed.



What about me? A girl with a wonderful and kind mother, who just happens to have insane Death Eater family members and a half-blood father whose parents died in a plane crash (some Muggle thing). Not to mention a baby brother on the way that will have to deal with all this as well? I will protect him; he will not have to go into hiding for the rest of his life.



As I fell asleep, I couldn’t help but wonder what I really thought of Hogwarts from my past life. One word came to mind.



Sanctuary.



~~~***~~~



And then, the letter came, the letter proclaiming my fathers death at the hands of my mother’s father. I had heard he was working on something in the Department of Mysteries when it happened. There’s a chance he was murdered because he didn’t give up information to the Death Eaters, though it doesn’t say that in the papers.



My mother’s father was caught and sentenced to Azkaban. My mother cried and spent her days in her room. Well, that’s all I can assume from her few letters.



~~~***~~~



I still remember the night of November 9; I was studying History of Magic in my corner, not even being seen. I letter had come for me, but I hadn’t opened it. I told myself I wouldn’t read what my mother wrote until my work was done. That helped me get through it quickly.



If only I knew it was going to be her last letter, maybe I would have read it and reread it more. Maybe I would have been able to tell Dumbledore she was going to commit suicide. Maybe I could have stopped her. Maybe I could have had a brother.



~~~***~~~



That was a good year and a bad year for me. I got to know Lily and Tilly, and we became gradual friends. That was a definite upside. We did everything together, I finally felt like I belonged with people.



A lot of good happened that year, I had my first snowball fight since my dad was alive, I faced one of my fears, and now I only have one to tackle. My father had always told me I should only fear ‘fear itself’, and I wish I could, but I will forever be afraid of wide, open spaces. You never know who or what could be hiding. Hiding in plain sight.



Of course, that was the year I tried to dye my hair, with Lily’s help, of course. Instead of adding Rigute leaves, Lily didn’t want me to steal from Slughorn, so we used different ones. Ones she said should work the same. They didn’t, instead of black streaks to make a pledge for my parents and brother, I got strips that would change color with my mood. Of course, that year they were often black. Yet again, they were also yellow and orange quite a bit.



~~~***~~~



I watched as Lily’s eyes widened and tears appeared. She looked up and silently handed Tilly the letter. I was last.



~~~***~~~



“Are you guys ready for this?” 15 year old Tilly breathed in a breath of excitement as we walking through the large, hidden building.



I smirked at her, “I was born ready.”



We walked in the direction we were told and stopped in front of the army green door. I looked to my friends and sighed. Then I picked up the simple black door knocker and let go.



~~~***~~~



“How about the ‘Hot Hippogriffs’?” I asked aloud and laughed.



“Already used,” Lily sighed and flipped through the book.



I sat up straighter, “Bloody hell, I was only joking…”



Tilly laughed, “Riz, what’s your favorite mythical animal?”



“What’s yours?” I countered.



“Phoenix.”



Lily gasped, “They’re gorgeous!”



I bit my lip, “Mates, a thought just hit me…”



~~~***~~~



“LILY! Behind you!” I cast a hex at the girl in the pink mask and watched as Lily went down.



This is it, Riz, your first one on one duel; Tilly’s out, and now so is Lily, if you beat this girl, you win your group a spot on the chart for level one.



“Expelliarmus!” I yelled at her and pointed my wand. She was too slow in her shield and my disarming spell knocked her off balance. I ran up to her as she was weak.



“STUPEFY!”



~~~***~~~



“Alright girls, we’ve earned this,” Lily grinned and produced her key for our very own private room. We just won the Spring Championship for the first year and we are practically undefeated.



She pushed open the door, we all grinned.



~~~***~~~



 To the members of the Phantom Phoenixes-



When all your members reach the age of eighteen you must stop your dueling within the Dueler Dungeon. As you are finishing your sixth year of schooling, this means when you finish school, you are finished with participating in the Dueler Dungeon. As you have beaten many scores and teams, you (The Phantom Phoenixes) will be honored with a place in the Silver Hall. This honor is only offered to certain people and groups, therefore in your last year, you must retain your perfect scoring.



As a reminder, the Spring Championship is approaching quickly; we have provided a parchment where you can fill out the necessary information. Updated rule, see below.



Thank you.



Samuel A. Burns


                                                                                    Samuel A. Burns, Owner of the D.D.



Once stunned, unable to move, or incarcerated, the dueler cannot move from the arena and must stay stunned, incarcerated, or unable to move until all teammates get out, or the duel is over. Allowed to duel the Muggle way and the Magical way to enhance the fight. No armor can be worn or a face protection (except for mask). No protective shields to be worn, allowed to cast a shield spell, though. Must wear mask and cover face to keep the identity secret, for privacy purposes. Allowed to harm opponents to near death (actually killing would be counted as murder and is punishable by Ministry Law). In the Championship, teams will duel all at once and the last person standing has won the Championship for their team. If more than one member of the same team is standing at the end, it is not necessary for them to continue the duel.



“For the love of Godric Gryffindor,” I breathed. “A little more than a year left! I don’t effing believe this…”



Tilly let out a wail. Lily tried to shush her, but tears rolled down her cheeks as well.



And me, well, I just sat there, trying to remember the last time I cried from pure sadness.



~~~~~~~~~~~~***~~~~~~~~~~~~



Some days after, I sat down next to Remus in Potions. Again, he looked at me oddly; he’s been doing that lot lately. Luckily this time he didn’t start throwing out questions. That was getting awkward.



I stared on as Slughorn began to talk. I should have slept more last night, ruddy Flitwick and his ruddy essays. I yawned and got a glare from Lily. I shrugged and raised an eyebrow. I stretched out my arms and knocked my wand off the table. Why didn’t I have it in my pocket?



 



I reached down to pick it up and let a hiss shoot out of my clenched teeth as my side started to hurt. Lily keeps telling me to go to Pomfrey, but honestly, what will she think? Oh what do I care…?



Slughorn told us what to do and everyone started working at once. Remus stood and told me he was going to the supply closet. I watched the class move around and thanked Merlin I got a Gryffindor partner.



Sighing as Remus came back, I stood from my stool and started setting up. “Sorry, a bit out of it today.”



He jerked his head up to me, suspicious, “Why—oh, yes, um, that assignment from Flitwick was long last night.”



I stifled a snort and poured the acidic liquid into the cauldron. I glanced over the list and the items he got.



“Oh, I think you forgot the goat milk,” I turned, “I’ll get it.”



“Hey, Moony, can you tell—”



“Ah!” I started to fall and would’ve hit the floor if, I looked up, Black hadn’t caught me.



“Ugh,” I winced as his arm brushed my left side, “Thanks, ouch.”



“Ruddy hell—Professor! Burby’s hurt!” Black shouted to Slughorn. I looked down at my side, and felt something seeping through the cloth. “She’s bleeding, Professor!”



Just as I felt myself going unconscious from the pain, I looked up at Black and wondered what in the seven fiery pits of hell I did to deserve this.



Chapter 15: Spying Saviors
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Previously: Riz Burby



“Thanks, ouch.”



“Ruddy hell—Professor! Burby’s hurt!” Black shouted to Slughorn. I looked down at my side, and felt something seeping through the cloth. “She’s bleeding, Professor!”



Just as I felt myself going unconscious from the pain, I looked up at Black and wondered what in the seven fiery pits of hell I did to deserve this.



Spying Saviors-Sirius Black



“Ugh,” I groaned when I stumbled again. Burby floated in front of me as I ran towards the Hospital Wing.



What the hell happened back there? I didn’t even bump her hard, and she fell anyway. But I caught her? Yet, here I am running her unconscious body to the Hospital Wing as she bleeds to death.



Well, if she really is part of the Phantom Phoenixes like Moony says…that would explain a lot. The Phantom Phoenixes. I won’t believe it until I see it. I guess they may be good, but the Phoenixes are great. Not to mention I’m almost positive I could take Burby in a duel…yet her Phoenix counter part, well, it would be interesting.



And what is with her and Remus? They’re all buddy-buddy in Potions, and it’s like he knows her life story. Not to mention, he would have been the one taking her to the Hospital Wing if Slughorn hadn’t felt that the person that caused her to fall should be the one to help her.



‘And her friends,’ I shivered. It was like they felt her pain. Evans almost yelled out when Burby passed out, and that other girl looked as if she were about to burst into tears. 



I turned the corner and ran toward the door. Throwing it open, I set Burby on a bed before jumping to knock on Pomfrey’s door.



“What is it?!” She yelled at me like I slammed the door onto the ground, which I hadn’t. “Dear Helga…”



She ran over to Burby and took out her wand. She mumbled under her breath and swished her wand. “What in Merlin’s name happened to her?!”



“Um, she, err,” Pomfrey lifted part of Burby’s shirt to expose the bandages and I blanched. “She fell… but didn’t hit the ground…I have no idea how she got those.”



“It looks like it already healed, what could have caused her to…wait; did someone catch her when she fell? It could have rubbed against the wound and caused it to bleed,” Pomfrey looked up and motioned to the shelf behind me, “Could you hand me the last potion on the left? Something must have happened recently to get her in a hyper state, the blood flow is insane.”



I read the label on the bottle before I gave it to her, “Delight?”



“It’s a fancy thing that replenishes blood, created by vampires, nice, isn’t it?” Pomfrey scowled. “I wouldn’t give it to anyone unless they absolutely need it. The history of this potion is awful.”



I decided to not ask and sat on the bed opposite. Right as I sat, Pomfrey said to me, “Go bring me the curtain over there, I need to get her out of this shirt.”



I flushed and walked over to the curtain and set it up around the bed. I walked toward the front of the Hospital Wing and sat on the last bed. I heard Pomfrey curse and the sound of ripping fabric, “I hope this wasn’t her favorite shirt.”



I bit my lip to stop myself from snorting and looked at the clock. Potions is over, I’m never going to make it to Transfiguration on time.



~~~~~~~~~~~~***~~~~~~~~~~~~



“Tardy, Mr. Black?” McGonagall raised an eyebrow at me above her glasses. “Do you have another witty excuse, or will you simply except your detention this time?”



I sighed from my run down from the Hospital Wing. “Professor, I was just—”



“I see it will be the former then, very well, you may continue.”



“Burby passed out in Potions and I had to bring her to the Hospital Wing,” I exclaimed quickly. “Pomfrey—”



“You may have a seat, Mr. Black, and I will check your alibi after class,” She stood from her desk and faced the class. “Today we shall be practicing counter transfig—”



I walked to my usual seat in the back of the room next to James. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Burby’s friend looking at me mouthing words. Well, trying to at least.



‘She’ll be alright,’ I’ve had years of practice speaking without words, so I know she understood me.



I then turned my head to see Remus looking at me with a questioning glance. I shrugged, signaling I’d talk after class. Just right now, I need to think. Really think to myself.



I sat back in my chair, and sighed. James tapped me on the back of my hand with his wand, but I ignored him as well. He could wait until after class, they both could and will. Besides, I still need to think about how the hell I’ll ever be able to look at Burby the same.

                                                    ~~~~~~~~~~~~***~~~~~~~~~~~~



“What in the name of Godric Gryffindor happened?”



I threw my pack on the ground and myself on the bed. Long day, thank Helga the last few classes went by fast.



“Did you see her? Now that was unnatural,” James looked from me to Remus. “If I didn’t believe you before, I do now.”



Remus looked down at me, “Padfoot, what happened at the Hospital Wing?”



I groaned, “Pomfrey just started healing her, I’ve no idea what’s going on now. It was fast, one minute I set her on the first bed, and next Pomfrey’s pushing me away.”



“Riz didn’t wake up or anything while you were there?”



“No! Godric, just…ugh,” I slammed my head on my pillow.



I heard a sigh, “We really need to find out some stuff.”



“Prongs, I like being in the dark about as much as you, but honestly, what can we do?” Remus mumbled.



I rolled over to look at the two. I wonder…. Maybe there is a way to…



I sat up, “Guys, have you noticed we haven’t done many pranks this year?”



“I blame it all on the DD, if we never even heard of it, we would have had a fun sixth year,” James closed his eyes, “Not one spent like this.”



“Where are you going with this, Padfoot?” Remus raised an eyebrow.



“We are Marauders.” I smirked. “We can figure out anything. And right now, I think we need to figure out a little bit more about the DD. And I think we all know how we can do that.”



Remus’ other eyebrow went up. James just looked at me.



“Come on,” I motioned with my hands to where the girl’s dorms are. “We can search their room.”



My statement was met with silence.



James started to grin.



~~~~~~~~~~~~***~~~~~~~~~~~~



“How did I get talked into this?” Remus asked as we floated up the stairs the next day.



“Moony, honestly, we’ve been up here a hundred times. And besides, everyone’s at lunch, we won’t get caught,” James smirked. “This may have been one of the best thoughts Padfoot has ever had.”



I glared at him as I reached the top of the staircase.



“Remember that the alarm goes until the actual dorms,” Remus said from behind me.



I heard James tell him to not be nervous. I laughed and looked for the sixth year girl’s dorm. Second to last, just like in ours. Simple. I floated in that direction carefully and looked at the door for a minute. Remus and James came up behind me.



“This is it,” I mumbled and moved my wand. The door unlocked and opened. I took a step forward.



“Wait!” Remus grabbed my arm. “They might have extra protections.”



I looked around and sighed. Remus moved in front of me and swished his wand, mumbling things under his breath. Something seemed different as I walked through for a second time.



Wow. I glanced around the room. Four beds, same as ours. The one to the right when you walk in is directly in the sun coming from the large window. It has books and such scattered on top of it. Must be for…extra stuff? We should do that with Peter’s.



The next bed over was neatly done, as if the House Elves didn’t even need to make it. On the night stand sat an empty glass and a photo. In the photo were three girls: Lily, Riz and Matil—Tilly. On the actual bed was a book on Ancient Runes. Above the nightstand was a Muggle calendar.



The second bed wasn’t made. There was a lamp on the bedside table and a small book, like a diary. There was also a picture, of the same three girls, but in a different place. Sticking out from under the bed was a pair of…slippers? I couldn’t tell.



In the corner of the room was the only bed in darkness. This one wasn’t made either and had nothing on it or under it as far as I could tell. The only thing on the table next to the bed was a broken alarm clock. Interesting.



“This is nice,” I said and let Remus and James in.



James nodded and walked over to the first bed, “Why didn’t we think of this with Peter’s?”



Remus pointed to the neat bed, “I bet this is Lily’s.”



“I’ll take this one,” James practically sprinted to look around the red head’s bed.



Remus silently walked over to the broken clock and picked it up, “Well, Riz said she could never wake up in the morning.”



I sighed as he walked over to Burby’s bed, “Guess I’ll take this one.”



I walked around the bed looking under the sheets. Nothing. I looked under the bed. Nothing except some dust. On top of the night stand. Nothing. One would think she’d be the most likely to have something in the open. I pulled open the drawer; it was locked. I grinned and fished my wand out of my pocket to unlock it.



“Hey guys,” I said. “I think I found something.”


Chapter 16: The Strength in Battle
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The Strength in Battle- Tilly Channing



“We should have kept you there. I knew, I JUST KNEW that you weren’t completely healed.”



“Lily, honestly,” Riz rolled her eyes while picking up some potion bottles. “Pomfrey’s letting me out, I’m fine now.”



“You are NOT fine!” Lily threw her hand over her eyes and sighed angrily.



“Actually Ms. Evans, she is.” I turned to see Madame Pomfrey come out of her medi-closet with something I couldn’t recognize. “I admit this is only my sixth year as the resident Healer, so if you feel Ms. Burby needs to return the moment you leave, feel free to bring her back.”



“Oh,” Lily smacked her hand away from her face and looked to Pomfrey, blushing. “I’m sorry, I didn’t know—err, I didn’t mean...”



I hadn’t seen Lily this flustered since the time Potter actually proposed.



“Try not to strain your self dear,” Pomfrey looked at Riz when she said it, but I felt it was meant for Lily. “And I hope to not see you in here for a very long time.”



Riz grinned, “You’re probably the only one who can say that politely.”



“One of the many perks of this job,” The woman smiled, but ushered us towards the doors, “Now GO! I have many patients!”



I glanced quickly around the empty Wing and she winked at me before I was pulled along with my friends.



When we turned the corner at the end of the hallway, Lily stopped us in front of a picture of a horse and carriage; the horses were pulling the carriage along a never ending dirt road with a forest behind it. Wouldn’t it be nice to live in a peaceful world like that? No wars, no evil, simply what you were painted with. As I thought this, a man came out of the forest and fired a small jinx at the horses to make them fall. He then unlocked the carriage door and was knocked off his feet by a spell the woman inside threw at him.



I looked towards the clapping in the next portrait and widened my eyes at the table of drunken monks that were now exchanging money.



“Alright, Tilly?” Riz asked me.



Wait, Riz asked me…



I carefully worded my sentence. “Um, yes. That would be…wonderful?”



“Great!” Lily grinned. “I had wanted to get that done today.”



Heh, guess my wit is building. I followed my friends toward Gryffindor Tower while looking at the paintings.



Before we’d gotten down the hallway I’d seen a fairy hide in a tree, some wizards dueling on a rock, and what looked like Rowena Ravenclaw running into a forest. There are definitely some odd portraits here at Hogwarts.



“Os Malum,” Lily said to the Fat Lady. The kind women in the painting nodded and let us pass through.



When I came through, the first thing I noticed was the fact that the only people actually in the Common Room were the Marauders. Second thing I noticed was that all they did when we entered was staring at us as we walked in. Apparently they noticed us noticing them and they put their heads back down in discussion.



I rolled my eyes at their obvious childish chatter. Probably another prank or something…ugh, if it’s as bad as the hair dye in third year…



When we got to our dorm, Lily was the first one in. Riz gently laid herself down on her bed, though she knew she was completely healed. Pomfrey really did do amazing work, no scars and no side effects. Lily reached to her side table and opened her drawer. She pulled out here note book and wand and flicked the latter. Writing started to appear.



“This meeting has been brought together—”



Riz muttered a quick spell as to not let any sound escape to unknowing ears before Lily continued.



“—to figure out an excuse.”



“Yes, yes,” Riz groaned. “We do this every year, get together, figure out an excuse to get all three of us out of Hogwarts for the Spring Championship, tell Dumbledore, watch him smile knowingly…Merlin, we all know he knows everything!”



Lily sighed, “But we are bound by law, so we can’t outright tell him anything. Now, let’s see…”



I walked over to my own bed and fell face down on it. Riz made a ‘humph’ sound and Lily skimmed through the pages in her diary –thing.



“In the past we’ve used such excuses as ‘Riz’s sister is getting married and we all were invited’ and ‘My mother is ill and Tilly’s visited to help, getting herself ill and they need the daught—’; Basically, I know we can do better and hopefully this won’t be the last one we have to make, so, ideas?” Lily looked up from her book in thought.



Well, she’s usually the one that figures up these ridiculous excuses, and Riz just adds in her sarcasm from time to time. Now is your time to suggest the perfect one!



“Um,” I started. “How about you need to visit your sister, Lily…and uh, Riz and I are sick with a highly contagious forty-eight hour ailment?”



“Dumbledore knows Petunia and I don’t get along, Tilly,” Lily frowned. “But—”



“And he knows where we go and what we do. I’ve been telling you guys this for years,” Riz tilted her head. “I wonder—”



“As I was saying,” Lily continued raising her voice a bit. “The whole sickness thing is a good start, though all the trips to the Wing we’ve been making—”



Riz coughed at ‘we’.



“—RIZ has been making, I have a feeling someone will get suspicious.”



“Can’t we just say there was a death in my family and you both want to support me in this hard time, Dumbledore loves that sentimental rubbish,” Riz smirked.



“Bloody hell, you should’ve been a Slytherin!” Lily gasped.



I laughed in slight shock at her word choice, but grinned as she smiled.



Lily got a thoughtful look on her face and Riz and I looked at her. “Actually though, that’s a really good idea…”



Great, now Riz is having bursts of brilliance…well, she’s always been intelligent…what am I to the group?



“Hey, Tilly, we should probably send the letter, you want to get that for us?” Riz asked me.



“Oh, yeah,” I turned over and unlocked my drawer. Everything the same way I’d left it, I pulled out a white book-like object with silver writing on the cover and side.



Dueler’s Handbook



I opened the book of our secrets and took out the letter I’d left inside. Putting everything back the way it was, I rolled back over onto my back and sat up. My head spun a bit, but I stood and walked over to where Riz and Lily were sitting.



“Here you are,” I grinned and handed Lily the book.



The red-head nodded and Accio-d a quill over to write out everything with.



“Full, Real, Names?” Lily started.



“Grizel Burby.”



“Matilda Channing.”



Riz and I both shuddered when we said our names out loud. That is the only reason I would ever have to dislike my parents—their non-existent naming skills.



“Lily Evans, “Lily flicked the quill when she finished, a little habit I noticed she has had since second year. “Signatures and individual information.”



She filled out hers quickly and passed the parchment and quill to Riz. Already knowing what it would ask, I was ready when it got to me.




Matilda Channing.




8-11-59




Phantom Phoenixes




5’6”




I rolled my eyes when I finished and gave the paper back to Lily who would finish bubbling in the rest of the answers.



Really, I understand they have to keep track of everything and everyone. I understand completely that it’s illegal by Ministry law and probably one of the least safe activities school aged witches and wizards can engage in. Without the information they get from competitors, a Death Eater could be in the midst of all of it. Who knows what goes on in this world now?



Lily stood suddenly with the letter. Her hair fell around her shoulders. So effortless.



“To the Owlery!” Riz widened her eyes sarcastically.



Lily rolled her eyes, but grinned, “Glad that you’re so excited.”



“Honestly I’m still in pain…”



Lily whipped her head toward Riz, “Wha—”



“Bloody hell, I was joking!” Riz raised her hands. “Sorry, sorry, I’ll keep my humor under control.”



“You—ugh.” She shook her head, “Let’s just go.”



We walked out of the dorm and back through the Common Room. The Marauders had left, but judging by the smiles and flushes on the second years in the corner, not very long ago.



On the way to the Owlery, we actually didn’t see anyone. I was surprised every time we rounded a corner to find no one there. I guess they all wanted to enjoy the outdoors…it’s not like we went a secret way or anything.



The three of us began up the short staircase to the Owlery. The railing was cold when I put my hand on it to stop from slipping, Riz wasn’t so lucky.



“Heads!” I shouted for some reason when she slipped in front of me and flailed her arms about. I reached up to stop her from falling back and she steadied herself.



She turned to face me smirking, hair slightly orange, face flushed, “Thanks, Till.”



“Any time,” I nodded.



At the top of the steps, Lily had that look in her eyes, but didn’t say anything. She really does know when to not bother it; I wish I had that ability. When she went around the corner to the large, white-covered owl house, her hair caught in a breeze and a strange sensation pooled in my stomach. 



I’m not jealous…



Well, she has everything I want…looks, brains, and a guy chasing after her. Why is she so lucky? Honestly, she doesn’t even try…or want half the things that are given to her. Not to mention she has a unique fighting style.



And so does Riz, she just goes head-first into anything and doesn’t give a care. Why can’t I be like that? Not to mention she has that hair…she is the epitome of unique.



What am I to our trio? The spare? The one that holds the bags…the ignorant fool without any certain skill whatsoever?



I threw myself down on the one bench in the Owlery that wasn’t covered in any white. It suddenly felt as if the world was on my shoulders…my eyes welled with tears. Oh, perfect.



“Tilly? Are you…alright?” I heard Lily ask.



I looked up, face most-likely red. “Yeah, I’m fine.”



She gasped lightly and Riz looked to me, “What happened?”



“I—nothing.”



“Um…Tills, you know you can tell us anything, right?” Riz looked to me, concerned.



I stood and before I could stop myself from another break-down, I started yelling, “No! I’m not ALRIGHT, alight? I am SICK AND TIRED of not being noticed, of not getting PERFECT GRADES, of not having PERFECT HAIR THAT RUDDY FLOATS IN THE BREEZE!”



There eyes were probably wider than mine, but I continued. “And, I am utterly DONE with being in the shadows. I CAN FIGHT TO! I TRIED TO SAVE you, Riz, I really tried! I’m going to screw up our chances…I can feel it…”



“It’s all just too much, “I finally whispered.



Silence came from the two for a minute.



“Tilly, without you I probably would have been hurt worse. I owe you so much.” Riz put a hand on my shoulder. “And you are not in the shadows, and your hair does float in the breeze…it would a lot more if you took it out of the bun it’s always in, but that bun is YOU. You are unique; you are unique in your own way.”



I looked at my friends and opened my mouth to apologize for another break down, but Lily beat me to it.



“Tilly, I’m sorry for use of it, but this has to be said.” She smiled lightly at me. “Do you know what Matilda means? Don’t give me that look, I apologized before hand.”



I wiped the glare off my face and listened.



“It means Strength in Battle. You will NOT screw up, NONE of us will.” She took a breath and stood to attach the letter to an owl.



“We have not gotten this far for nothing!”



 



Chapter 17: Making Sense
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Previously-Sirius Black



As I flipped through the pages I grinned. Now, what is that spell Remus told me about again? I flicked my wrist and said the copying spell in my head. I now held two of the books in my hands, but I flipped through both to make sure they’re the same.



Putting one back and casting the spell on the drawer to keep it locked until Channing wanted to use it again, I stood with the book held in my left hand.



“Prongs, I think we can go now,” I held up my left hand with the book and motioned to the door.



Making Sense-James Potter



When Sirius and I got back to the dorms that day we weren’t breathing heavily or anything, just smirking. Remus was sitting on his bed writing something…probably an essay.



Padfoot showed him the book he found and Moony started to flip through it. A letter had fallen out; it looked like a form of some sort to enter the DD. More specifically, as we found out, the Spring Championship. 



Moony continued to skim and flip through the book, eyebrows going up and down in confusion and wonder.



“Guys,” Moony had said looking to us. “I think you found their handbook.”



Sirius’ smirk widened and as he was about to say something involving how he did everything, I stepped in.



“Does it say anything we can use?” I asked.



Remus looked to be in thought for a moment, “James, what are we even looking for?”



He then turned to a random page near the back and looked back down to it, leaving Sirius and I in thought.



What are we trying to do? My father was in on this, so is Lily. Us Marauders are in a group of three, well, I doubt Peter’ll be back anytime soon. My own father has a connection to Lily, one that I could have. If Lily and her friends are in it, so can we…



I heard a disbelieving sound come from Remus and looked up. He seemed to be on the same page, just staring at it. Sirius came over and stood by us.



“Well,” Remus got an odd smile on his face—in fact, he may have been smirking. “This may be something we can use.”



Next thing I knew another week had passed and The Marauders were sneaking out to Hogsmeade.



We were out of our uniforms and in all black, sneaking around was hard enough without the sudden bursts of Gryffindor scarlet. I crawled in the front, leading Moony and Padfoot through a damp tunnel under the grounds. The Map in my left hand, wand in my right, we continued stepping around the puddles and strange, miniature, corpses towards the exit. Once we reached the lighter darkness of the outside world, I started moving quicker as to not reveal our selves to insomniac Hogwarts.



After moving through the shrubbery and clean pathways from newly melted snow, we began the silent, long walk to Hogsmeade.



As I stepped in a small pool of water, I thought back to the times in fourth year when we were first really getting out and exploring the grounds at night. The feeling of being free from our studies and the peace of the cool breeze; it suddenly hit me that our last year at Hogwarts was coming faster than the Chasers of Puddlemere United…and they are quite fast. If only the Cannons would get some better players—like me.



I’m a good chaser, Gryffindor winning the last few House Cups has proven that a fact. But no, I am definitely going to follow my father and become an auror. Now that is a job. Soon I’ll be fighting dark wizards with my best friends by my side. Well, as soon as some new laws are passed for Remus.



“Padfoot!” I hissed when I felt a glob of mud hit the back of my leg. Why do I call him a friend again?



“Lighten up, James,” I could hear him smirking. “We’re almost to the Head.”



That handbook really was helpful.



I let Remus walk ahead of me when we reached Hogsmeade. Padfoot and I followed him around to the back of the Hog’s Head Pub where a seemingly normal patch of trees stood. The tip of his wand dimmed and he flicked it with a new spell.



Remus looked to me and I remembered the book. Searching through my robes, I found it and pulled it out. When I handed it to him, he simply skipped to the page he was at before and started reading aloud. It reminded me of those Muggle book-things and their ideas of witches and wizards.



Patefacio est key quod novus est humus ineo. Donum est sententia cedo quod succurro est quis vos dedi. key ut patefacio est ineo,” As he spoke a strange mist rose from around the base of one of the trees.



Remus motioned for us to follow him as he walked through the tree as if it were a door. Sirius ran at it and I trailed behind.



A strange sensation overcame my body as I passed through. Familiar to the likes of Side-Along Apparation, except it felt cold somehow.



I grinned when I stepped out and next to Moony and Padfoot, looking across the path at Madam Malkin’s.



I love magic.



I heard Sirius say something along the lines of amazement, but I didn’t listen. The DD really is a large part of the Wizarding World, whether most know of it, or not.



“We don’t have long,” Remus waved us out of our shock. “We need to get moving.”



We started walking at a fast pace towards the end of the stretch. The familiar buildings passed us on our trek to the building at the end of the pathway.



When we reached the familiar broken down building, Remus once again took out his wand. The windows were still boarded up and the walls had the same holes in them from the last times we came. Everything seemed as normal as everyday life now.



Remus waved his wand again and said a spell from the book under his breath. The three of us took out the masks we used the past few times and put them on. I was even beginning to become used to the silver-grey of the masks.



When we entered the familiar room, it looked a lot different than the last time I’d seen it.



“Well, this is surprising,” Sirius commented on the size.



Apparently with all the people in the room last time, it seemed bigger…or there’s a spell on it? Either way, the black velvet walls with the single white stripe and the white marble floors were still there; only difference was the transformation from the three grey doors to one on the far wall. The walls having also shrunk, making the room a mere third of its original size.



Remus sighed. “Here we go, the moment of truth.”



The three of us made our way to the grey door. Before we even reached it, it swung open and we were forced inside.



“Moony, Prongs,” a fifteen year old Padfoot said, running into the Common Room late one evening. “You’ll never believe what I just found.”



“If this is going to effect my study time, maybe another day, O.W.L.’s are in a few weeks,” Sirius rolled his eyes at Remus’ statement.



“Honestly, you’d think you’d already gone through your Hogwarts years and were earning a—”



“What did you find, Padfoot?” I started to stand, itching to leave the boring area.



“I think,” He lowered his voice down to a whisper. “It’s a secret room of some sorts.”



I noticed Remus’ ears perk up at the mention of a secret room.



“Might as well check it out, right Moony? Come on, you’ve been rereading that book for hours. And,” I raised my eyebrows. “We all know you’re going to get O’s on the DaDA sections anyway.”



He seemed to contemplate his decisions. Luckily he decided to put the book down and follow Sirius out of the Common Room.



Roaming the halls with my two best friends, too bad Peter pissed those Slytherins off…he would have enjoyed this too; though he probably would have been waking up the entire castle. But still, he’s a Marauder…well, we’ll show him later.



These are probably the best times. Hah, who am I kidding? I can’t wait for seventh year and auror training.



“You expect me to believe that you just heard of this and decided what the hell? Might as well try it?” Burns leaned over and looked from Sirius to Remus to me in a sweep of his eyes. “Take off your masks.”



“Life, unfortunately, is not as easy as it sounds.” The Defense against the Dark Arts teacher was telling the class. “When you are released out into the real world, you will realize that the sheltered experiences your parents have created for you are all lies. In a sense, at least.”



“That was a rewarding lesson,” Remus said, still in thought. “He made a lot of sense. I don’t think he realized how intelligent he was sounding.”



“Judging by how he was dressed, he probably wa—”



“Peter, shut up,” Sirius rolled his eyes, “Merlin, mate, do you think before you speak?”



“No, he doesn’t,” I snorted. “Don’t judge a book by its cover, Wormy.”



Burns still had the confused look on his face. “How is the not against the rules again?”



Remus brought out the copied handbook and opened to the page his finger was lodged in. “Rule number 394 is the one you’re looking for, I believe.”



“No! Potter for the last ruddy time!”



I really loved it when her face got all red like that. Paired with her hair, she really is beautiful.



“Aww, come on,” I only had one goal in mind, all my common sense had flown out the window. “One trip to Hogsmeade? You won’t regret it.”



“Yes, yes I will, Potter,” She growled. Her friends were standing, waiting to leave the common room, one was laughing lightly, and the other glaring.



“Lily, we should be going.”The laughing one said.



“Yeah, Lily, you should be going,” Padfoot mocked.



“Black, I swear—”



“Come on, we need to get to,” Lily shook her head. Her hair flowed out. “What ever our first class is.”



“Fare thee well, my Lily-Flower,” I waved and smirked as she walked out the door, anger still present.



“I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it,” Mr. Burns actually smiled at the three of us. “With all the planning this must have taken, I don’t see how you won’t be able to handle the preparations for this.”



I kicked Sirius’ foot before he told of the hour or so planning we had before we came over.        



“For the love of Merlin’s left—” Sirius quickly shrunk down into Padfoot’s form as the wolf-form of our friend came bounding out of the Shack.



Already in my own form, I ran after him to make sure he wouldn’t get into anything he shouldn’t. We can tell our help helps him, but it really is a work out. Tomorrow will be painful.



‘Might as well live life now,’ I thought to myself as a clawed paw came at my right shoulder.



Mr. Burns’ smile widened as I reached across to shake his hand.




“You truly are your father’s son.”








A/N: Well, it’s been a long time since a decent amount of reviews for one chapter, and I’m starting to wonder what I can do to get your opinions on this. I’m going to start with some thank-you’s to all the people that have reviewed this so far.



reach4thestars



Princess Of Hugs



Dilys Derwent



Michael Winges



marauderqueen



nunderwoods



Many thanks to all of you!



 



 


Chapter 18: Slight Surprises
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Slight Surprises-Lily Evans


I turned the key and pushed open the door.


That’s when it hit me, both literally and figuratively.


First, a piece of parchment came flying at me from a small hex that Tilly sent towards Riz, who dodged it just in time. A second before it smacked me in the neck-chin area, Tilly gasped and Riz started lightly laughing.


“Sorry about that!” Tilly stood to take the sheet of paper I had in my own hands away from me. “Yes! Stall seven!”


The other two had sent me out to get our forms for the Championship; so I had walked out to Mr. Burn’s office and receive the pack of parchment Tilly now held. Luckily enough (or with some input towards Mr. Burns) we get to enter the arena through stall 7, as we’ve done since the beginning of our career here.


As Tilly and Riz went to start getting ready and I walked over to my own things, I thought of the second thing that had hit me.


The fact that this might just be our last time spent in this room as the Phantom Phoenixes.


That I admit worries me. This is our life, our very being. Alright, I admit we’d get along fine in life without this…in fact our grades may even rise a bit, but still. Without the DD we wouldn’t have any of the excitement it brings to our otherwise boring lives.


We must, for our sake, win this.


Mind solely on the fact that this could be the last time I put on my shirt to Duel, I slid on the black ‘basic armor’. Good thing about it: protects from minor and major Muggle hits to the abdomen, and it’s legal. After that, I slid the red Phantom Phoenixes shirt over my head. I sighed.


“Are you guys sure this is the correct room?” Tilly asked Riz and I. I was shocked at the size of the room as well.


I pulled the key out of the door and walked over to the couch. Running my hand lightly over it while Riz started to look around, I spoke.


“We really have made it to the top.”


Of course, at that time I didn’t know about all the thing’s we’d be doing in a year or two…maybe if I knew I would’ve chosen my words more carefully. Of course, it was nice to think that we were as high on the ‘list’ as we could get.


I smiled as I held up the perfect one. “Oi, I think I’ve found it.”


The large grins that appeared on Riz and Tilly’s faces at the sight of the dark red told me we’d finally found one. A shirt color, worthy of the Phantom Phoenixes; now to find the rest of our ‘costume’.


Speaking of which, we should probably think about getting a new uniform if we win this—when we win this. Stick with red probably; well…we’ll have a group discussion on the topic. We’ll probably draw the color out of a hat…actually, that may work.


“Stupefy!” I screamed as I stunned my first opponent of the night. The Championship really is the hardest. At that thought, I turned to see a small witch coming straight for me, wand raised.


“Stu—”


“EXPELLIARMUS!” I screamed again. At this rate I wouldn’t be able to speak for a week. Well, at least it’ll help my excuse of laryngitis, though Dumbledore’ll probably see through that one.


It really worried me when I tried to remember all the details of the arena during the Spring Championship last year. All that sticks out are the horrid noises of people falling through random openings and ending up in between a duel. That was a bloody awful set up. Hopefully this one’ll be a lot different.


“Lily, it’s almost time,” Riz waved me out of my thoughts. “Ready?”


“Yeah, yes. I’m ready.” I breathed in and held it for a moment. I let the air flow out in a big sigh. “Ready as I’ll ever be.”


Riz smiled and I could barely see the roots of her hair getting lighter in selected spots. Mr. Burns made her cover up some of the changing strands with a special dye or something, privacy purposes; of course. That’s his main focus.


“ALL DUELERS TO THE OUTER RING.” A voice came from above our heads. “ALL DUELERS TO THE OUTER RING.”


I pulled on the rest of my uniform and tied my hair up in a top knot quickly. Slapping my mask on, I looked over to see Tilly and Riz doing the same thing. The masks may need a bit of editing too, now that I think about it.


I took some more deep breaths and saw Tilly doing the same. I put my hand on her shoulder.


“Remember what I told you, we’re all going to do great.” I tried to smile, but I knew my own nerves showed through. Oh hell. “Change in plans, guys.”


Riz whipped her head around to look at me. When she saw the look in my eyes and hand on Tilly’s shoulder, she started to smirk.


“Formation 13 instead?” She asked me.


“Wait—formation? Thirteen? What?” Tilly moved her head rapidly between Riz and I. “I wasn’t aware of any—”


“Tilly! Don’t worry about it, just instead of going around the right side, go—”


“FINAL CALL, ALL DUELERS TO THE OUTER RING!”


“Just go to the place you feel most comfortable, trust me,” I added when I saw the look on her face. “You’ll know where to go.”


“Speaking of going,” Riz motioned to the door franticly.


We started walking as quickly as possible to the outer ring of the Duel Arena. Luckily, it took us almost no time to get there, as we were able to use some secret passageways Mr. Burns told us about. It wouldn’t have been the best if we ran into a ‘fan’ right when we’re supposed to be going on to basically fight for our lives.


I mean our careers in dueling.


When we got to the golden door that would take us to the briefing room, we slowed our breathing rate and fixed ourselves before walking in.


The nine teams of three that sat around the room all faced us as we walked in. I saw some of the people we’d dueled before, and others I didn’t recognize. My eyes were drawn to a new-looking group of males that looked to be our age. Now, I admit I hadn’t completely memorized the Handbook, but I thought there was a rule against late entries.


“Ah, the grand entrance from the Phantom Phoenixes,” Burns raised his eyebrows in our direction. “Going for the fashionably late intro, ladies?”


“Heh, well,” Riz shrugged and started speaking for us. “We thought it fitting.”


“Yes, well, I was just explaining to the other competitors and the audience about an addition to the lineup.”


I tilted my head a bit, that explains the new group?


“You see,” Mr. Burns was also speaking into his wand now. “A rare, but useful rule is number 394…you see, Rule 394 gives a person the right to enter the Dueler Dungeon at a later time than most. But, this only works if the groups members are all in the proper age range AND can beat at least eight other teams in the Spring Championship.”


I knew my eyes weren’t the only ones that widened then.


“This brings me to an introduction of sorts. Quickly, so we can get to the fun—”


Riz snorted at that.


“I shall present to you the—”


I heard a small noise and I looked out the window into the stands to see a moving picture of the three new guys broadcast throughout the arena.


“ARROGANT ANIMAGI!”


What???Alright, nice name I guess… I swear that name was already chosen…odd.


The crowds went wild at that, probably because they look like they could put up a good fight. But looks can be deceiving…


“Alright duelers, you may go to your stalls,” He winked in our direction. Burns, you are awesome.


We walked past everyone else; they all knew the ways of this competition. The Animagi looked as if they were standing up before we passed them, but one of the other teams motioned towards them. They really shouldn’t treat us like royalty…well, not until we’re but in the Hall at least.


The door to our stall slid open and we stepped in. I heard the noise of everyone else scrambling to their own select areas and started counting in my head.


Tilly took a few deep breaths and Riz closed her eyes. As we were mentally preparing, Mr. Burns was talking to the crowd of hundreds.


“…AND NOW, THE MOMENT YOU HAVE ALL BEEN WAITING FOR…”


56…


57…


58…


“LET US BEGIN THE COUNTDOWN!”


59…


The crowds began to chant along with him as I reached sixty.


“10…


9…


8…”


I took a deep breath along with Tilly.


“7…


6…


5…


4…”


I pulled out my wand and began to clear my thoughts of everything except the best curses and spells to use.


“3…


2…”


“LET THE SPRING CHAMPIONSHIP BEGIN!”


As the doors slid open I realized the Plan may change a bit.


A few groups decided to start off taking people out, I noticed as I saw a green wearing girl fall to my left. About ten feet in front of me, there seemed to be a hole stretching the width of the arena. Tilly had started running at it.


I guess we could stick to plan…


Riz is the fastest so she would have gone to an open area…but I see none—oh Merlin.


There must be something on the other side of those trees! I looked across where Tilly was running to and saw another hole-like thing in the ground…water; I can hear it. That must be where she’s heading to.


As I watched Tilly not even think about stopping and taking a huge leap across the small canyon, I felt a swell of pride well up. Then I remembered where I am and turned to look how many others are still standing.


Looking around, I realized not that many are left…maybe seventeen at the most.


“PROTEGO!” I yelled as one of the others threw a hex in my direction. “Stupefy!”


The shorter male fell on his side and I decided to follow Tilly’s lead.


I sprinted through duelers toward the ditch; wonder the entire time if anyone had followed her, or if anyone is following me. I let up on my pace just a small amount to give myself more energy to jump the hopefully not as long as it looks, jump. As I propelled myself across the rock-y and dirt covered trench, I looked down briefly to realize that not only was it at least five feet deep, but it also had some sort of colorful flowers growing at the bottom.


Maybe they’re trying out new cursed flowers now, since Riz took a long time healing from the rock…


“Ooff,” I groaned when my feet hit the ground, but kept running.


“STU—”


“Damn!” I cursed as I just missed the hex. I whipped my head around to face my attacker. A tall girl about Riz’s height came flying at me.


“EXPELLIARMUS!” I flicked my wand towards her. She dodged it and came at me again, mouth forming a hex.


“Petrificus Totalus!” I whispered before she could finish hers. I cringed as she fell to the ground in her jumping position; extremely uncomfortable.


I turned around to go to the trees but had to do a double take.


Those aren’t trees…


What I thought were trees was actually a short cliff colored to look like plants from a far…though there are some trees scattered around the base of the cliff…


Where did Tilly go….oh. I guess she really did understand what I was trying to tell her. Well, if she stays hidden until the very end, we will have more than a chance of winning this all.


Apparently not that many people decided to jump the gap, Burns won’t be pleased with that. Well, hopefully Riz is doing all right.


I stood up on my toes to see into the battle, but all I could see was dust and outlines of people. I started walking back to where the duels were taking places and held my wand at the ready.


When closer, I saw that Riz was dueling one of the Animagi. From this distance they both looked familiar; it’s probably the dust. But his sand-colored hair really brought back memories of some kind…strange.


I was looking around at the two other duels and I didn’t hear him. I probably wouldn’t have heard him if I wanted to, so quiet he must have been sneaking places all his life. I owe it all to Tilly. If she hadn’t come up behind the guy and stunned him before he could stun me, I would’ve been out for the count.


“Thanks,” I grinned at my friend and raised an eyebrow in the direction of a dark haired Animagi. “Don’t know how that happened…I owe you.”


I turned around at the sound of Riz’s laugh. The guy must’ve been surprised that his friend would go down like that or something, but Riz incarcerated him. I grinned, there couldn’t be many more left.


“Merlin!” Tilly let out the name as she was stunned by a passing girl. Riz got her so fast I didn’t even have time to blink. Just as I thought the voice would ring out signaling the end, I looked at Riz.


Her smile seemed to be frozen on her face.


Crunch.


I held up my wand and spun around quickly. Bloody—another Animagi, these guys can’t be that good. He must’ve used a non-verbal spell. Damn it.


We faced each other, both realizing that we are the last two. One of us wins, one of us looses. He already reached his point, his group can stay in the DD…but if the Phoenixes lose this, we are done.


I looked into his eyes through his mask and he seemed to freeze before me. A hazel-ish color, why do they look so familiar?


As that thought went through my head, I ignored it and saw an opening. I flicked my wand lightly and stunned him silently. I’m not even sure if he realized it, it was like he just kept staring into my eyes.


And when the cheering rang out, he kept staring. Though I admit he didn’t have a choice…but it was still…off. He kept staring.


Like he knew me from somewhere.


 



A/N: *sigh* Alright, I expect reviews from you ALL. Complaints, questions, comments, anything. I need some oppinions on this. 

Thanks to:
theendisnearand

Sara C.

for the reviews!


 


Chapter 19: Crashing Down
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Crashing Down-Remus Lupin



“Ugh,” I moaned and reached a hand to my head. Suddenly receiving flashbacks from the previous duels, I understood why the pain was there. Looking around, I assumed I’m in an infirmary of sorts. The walls were a light brown, almost beige color and the ‘room’ I’m in seems to be cut off from another room.



I glanced to my right to see Sirius and James on the beds near me. This is one of those moments where I wonder who actually had the sense to create the DD. I admit I did not have the time to completely read the book Sirius copied…except those three pages discussing the importance of the way to enter the DD. I assume it was one of Mr. Burn’s relatives, what other way would he have gotten in on it? If James’ father had been a part of it then it only makes sense that it would have been around for a long time.



 “Excuse me,” one of the Healer’s came up to me. “Your group is needed in Burn’s office at this time.”



I looked from him to James and Sirius.



“Ah, yes,” He cleared his throat behind the snow colored mask. “They should be awake any second, you weren’t hit with anything damaging.”



I raised an eyebrow, even that caused me slight pain. It probably wasn’t a horrible hex, but I guess I’m just not used to being cursed. I scoffed lightly and heard a groan from Sirius, then movement from James.



“Come on, Animagi, we have a meeting to get to,” I gave a rare smirk. We are in.



Once James and Sirius were coherent, I asked one of the Healers for directions to Burn’s office from here. The older woman, probably a past contender, seemed to smile behind her mask. She continued to point us in the correct direction and we began our trek to his office. On our way we didn’t pass any people, oddly enough. The infirmary must be in a place for duelers only; that would make the most sense.



“Wait, so is this going to be an initiation?” James asked as we rounded a corner and was met with another entrance to Burn’s office. “Or are we getting some sort of mark?”



“We aren’t joining the Death Eaters, idiot,” Sirius glared slightly at James. “Though you have a point, what are we doing here?”



I shrugged as we reached the door, “One way to find out.”



In my head I told myself that obviously there would have been more than one way to find out. Every time someone had said that to me in the past I always responded with that statement. I guess it’s just the moment; this would seem like a good time to forget past thoughts.



Burns had told us before, before as in when we first came to him, that after our first duel we would feel different…especially if we got past our goal. When I got up I felt different, but not obviously so…and I can blame that on the massive headache I was suffering from. Now however, I can clearly state that I feel different, like I’ve accomplished something bigger than anything before. We have truly gotten in to the DD.



Since neither James nor Sirius had yet, I raised my hand to knock on the door. I hit it once and as I pulled back it opened. Surprised, I almost hit Mr. Burns on the forehead with my closed fist.



“Welcome, boys,” He smiled at us. “Or should I say Animagi?”



The three of us wore matching grins as we stepped inside his office.



“Now, before you start asking, yes, this is an initiation of sorts. Since you’ve already had your test and you have passed…this is the awarding of the prize, I guess you could say,” Burns pulled something off his desk and brought it to a table in the corner. “Take a seat.”



I sat in the lone chair around the table and James and Sirius took the couch. It being extremely bright in the room, I had to squint at Burns. Barely being able to make out objects behind him, I noticed it changed a bit since the last time we’d been here. The walls and carpet are the same, but there seemed to be more books in the case now then were there before. He probably switched it a bit, I wouldn’t have trusted us either come to think about it.



Burns laughed a bit, “Congratulations are in order…in fact, I would be presenting you in front of the crowds if not for the fact that The Phoenixes won the Championship and have successfully pulled ahead of the scores of your father’s group, James. You three, as new comers may not realize how important this is, but let’s think of it as a life or death matter to these girls. If they can make it through another year as perfect as this, they will go further in history than anyone ever has before.”



He sighed with a smile, “They truly are unbelievable.”



The realization that I knew the Phantom Phoenixes’ real identity gave me a feel of confusion. How could we not have expected that? They really have kept it under wraps…never showing off in class, except Lily, but that’s only in answering questions. The only clues we’ve looked over were the decent amount of wounds Riz gets.



“Sorry, got a bit off topic,” Burns reached a hand to his chin. “As I was saying, I already ‘presented’ you three to the crowds as you know.”



I flashed back to the projections of James, Sirius, and I in the middle of the arena.



“But, for the current moment I have a certificate,” Burns continued. “Yes, only one unfortunately. Here at the Dueler Dungeon we give our returning duelers a booth of sorts, where they can prepare and such. Yes, we separate the males and females, but I will show you more about that later. Here you are congratulations again.”



James reached up and took the piece of paper from Burn’s hand. I leaned over to read the curly script on the coral colored parchment.



This certifies that the



Arrogant Animagi



Are official Duelers in the Dueler Dungeon and can participate in any duel they are liable to duel in.



Samuel A. Burns, Owner of the Dueler Dungeon



“When I show you to your booth, you may put that in the frame provided. Then you may copy it up to three times…mind you never to show anyone outside of the DD,” Burns had a thoughtful look for a moment. “Well, James, you could probably tell your father. He’ll be so proud.”



James seemed to hold his shoulders higher when that was said.



At that moment I had a sudden surge of perfection. It seemed right then that nothing bad was in the world. I felt as if I didn’t turn into a horrible beast once a month. I felt as if He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named never was. If only I knew how wrong I was with that thought.



Less than a second later, our world came crashing down.



A small alarm went off on Burn’s desk. He got one of the strangest looks on his face before moving quickly to his desk to grab his wand. He flicked it a few times and the alarm went off.



“I’m sorry boys; we seem to be having an issue of sorts. Everyone should be in the ceremony room at the moment; you guys should head down there. Leave this room, go back the way you came, but turn left at the fork…second door on your right,” Burn’s went back to his desk and the alarm. “Congratulations again.”



I looked to James and Sirius and shrugged. “Thank you.”



Burns waved us out and shut the door behind us.



Sirius raised an eyebrow, “Rude?”



I shook my head, “I think something’s happening.”



With those words an even louder alarm went off than before. This one was a ringing noise, not unlike a Muggle school bell…amplified about three five times.



“Come on, you guys,” I started running through the halls toward the room Burns told us of. If I’m over reacting and we look like idiots…ugh.



I ignored my thoughts and kept running. Something in the back of my head was telling me this is not a drill of any kind; something is happening.



When we turned at the fork, we heard the foot steps. Not ‘damn it we need to hide’ footsteps… but ‘there is a ruddy heard of something coming around this corner’ footsteps. I slowed my pace and tentatively looked around. A crowd of more than half the population of the DD was hurrying around the bend.



As the three of us were backed against the wall, I reached out my hand. All the people were silently, quickly, walking, so it was easy to hear the man I asked.



“Code 13…someone’s attacking the building, you three need to get out of here,” He seemed out of breath. “This has never…in all my years…happened…dear Merlin…if this is a joke…”



He continued with the crowd as someone else rang out, “This is not a joke! I’m betting on Death Eaters…they’ve FOUND US.”



My eyes widened at her hysterical words and behavior. What I assumed as a friend of hers helped her along, a fearful look in her eyes as well.



“We’d better follow them,” Sirius said and began in the direction of the crowd. “Another exit?”



James nodded, unbelieving, “Of course this happens.”



We caught up with the back of the group and I saw sunlight up ahead. At least they have a good evacuation planned…well, they have everything planned. Still extremely confused as to what is going on, I followed my friends toward the light.



That’s when we heard the scream.



If we weren’t at the end of the group, we wouldn’t have heard it. In fact, everyone else continued on their way…not us. That ruddy Gryffindor bravery took hold and James, Sirius, and I turned around in the direction of the noise.



When we turned another corner in what must be the most confusing area of the building, I saw flashes of color, I heard voices yelling hexes and spells, and I smelled something burning.



This was a real duel.



On one side of the room stood two masked people firing spells at a red…haired…girl…



“Oh no,” I mumbled. This cause James to look in the direction I was. The look that passed through his eyes…I will never forget it. With a slight growl he pulled out his wand, cursed one of the two, and ran over to the girl I now fully recognized as Lily Evans.



Not quickly enough, I realized we were probably in a fight to the death. I turned around to see what else was going on and didn’t see Sirius. I heard a curse fly and turned to see what must be Riz completely cage a Death Eater in stone. Her hair was literally on fire and her eyes may as well have been red. She had told me what happened to her hair…this must be another side effect?



Idiot, I thought to myself, She’s fighting three men twice her size…help her.



I started to run toward her, but stopped when one of the Death Eaters fell back, shaking. I heard another scream and looked around until I saw Matilda lying in the corner behind Riz cradling her leg and screaming.



I picked up my pace again toward her, finding someone to help. I passed Riz and Sirius, who were fighting double the amount of Death Eaters than before, back to back. I would question it further, had I not been running to Matilda without a second thought.



When I reached her, I slid down and put a shield around us. I looked around her to see shards of glass scattered around.



“Are you alright?” I asked.



She stopped shaking for a minute and just stared at me. Realizing she probably recognized me, I pulled out my wand to remove some of the glass in her legs.



“Are you out of your bloody mind?” I looked up at her in confusion.



“I’m sorry?”



“I have glass in my legs, one of which is probably broken, and a slit the size of my ruddy…ugh! No, alright, no I am not bloody alright. Death Eaters are ruddy attacking, my friend’s hair is ON FIRE, damn it, and my other friend is probably about to pass out! ME? Yeah, I’m just doing the best, I could probably do a bloody jig I’m so happy right now. You know what? I have h—”



It was one of those moments, one of those hysterical moments that I had no control of my movements. I just wanted to shut up her rambling so I could help…I didn’t want to end up like what happens in those horrible Muggle move-things or something.



I kissed her.



On the lips.



To shut her up.



Bloody hell, I’ve gone into hysterics. I pulled back and ignored the look on her face. She was silent after that, so I got a chance to completely take out the shards from her legs and wrap the one I deemed broken up.



Taking down the shield I saw most masked people had disappeared, except one still fighting James who stood above a hopefully unconscious Lily. James found an opening and shot a stunner towards the guy, who fell back unmoving.



I stood up with Matilda and helped her over to where Sirius and Riz stood, out of breath.



“We need to get out of here,” I said to the two. “I remember the exit, come on.”



Riz started to mouth something, like she recognized my voice. She looked over to James, who had picked up Lily bridal style and was carrying her over to us, and up to Sirius, who looked down at her as well.



Interesting.



“Here,” Riz came towards me. “I can help her.”



“Oh,” I looked to Matilda, whose eyes were half lidded as she leaned against me. “Yes, um, of course, here.”



I switched positions with her and brought my thoughts back to earth. “This way.”



Beginning the quick walk, I led the group out of the room and through more twisted halls. I thought I was going to get us lost, but I turned at the correct moment and saw light illuminating the dark skies. I smiled and took another deep breath as we began our walk forward to the rest of the world.



“NO!”



I turned at the blast and my eyes widened at the Death Eater holding his wand up to Lily and James. I whipped out my wand and fired the first hex I could think of at him. The guy was hit with three different purple blasts.



I looked to Sirius and Riz to see their wands up as well. The guy was blasted off his feet and thrown through a wall, covered in layers of stone. I knew we’d be able to get out without any deaths; we always had that type of luck together.



“Oh Godric,” Riz breathed. “I don’t believe this.”



I didn’t want to look down, but I knew I had to. Sadness burst through my veins as I realized who actually yelled.



Mr. Samuel Burns lay on the ground with a green mist surrounding his corpse, his eyes wide open. He held some type of magical box in his right hand, his wand in his left. I saw Riz’s eyes dart to the box and she let out a gasp.



“We have to get out of here, right now.” She took off toward the door with Matilda as fast as she could, which wasn’t fast at all. I stepped up to her and reached for the limping girl.



“I’ve got her,” I lifted her into my arms and started for the door, which was looking more like a blank hole every second. I turned my head to see James right behind me with Lily and Riz and Sirius running at the end.



The light at the end of the hall began to go out.



I started to sprint and practically jumped out of the hole. I heard James set foot down behind me, then Riz and Sirius.



Sirius headed toward some trees and stopped. I heard him mutter a curse. Riz ran up behind him and I knew she had put the pieces together when she went to the tree we came in and opened up a path to Hogsmeade.



We moved through slowly and entered the streets of Hogsmeade. I knew exactly where we had to go and began heading in the direction I knew so well. I heard no questions from the rest of the group as I led them up the small hill to the entrance to the Shack.



I pushed open the door with my foot and it creaked. We walked into the open area by the boarded up window and I set Matilda on the floor. She moaned in minor pain and I realized we would have to come up with an excuse for Madame Pomfrey.



I sat down next to her and watched as James sat Lily next to Matilda and he sat next to Lily. Riz sat on my other side, Sirius to her right. I stared ahead to the scratched and battered wall in front of us. I turned to Riz slowly, thinking about my words.



“The…box…um, in his hand,” I stopped, hoping I wouldn’t need to continue on. Burns must have meant a lot to her.



She glanced at me, then back to the wall. “He told me about it only once. I had been talking to him a lot that day; he was like a father to me. He said it would hide anything until it absolutely needed to be found, and then it could only be found with that box you saw.”



I sighed in realization.



Riz looked up to Sirius, “In other words…The DD may as well have never happened.”



Oh, Godric.


Chapter 20: Everything Changes
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Everything Changes-Riz Burby




I remember that year every day, every hour, every minute. From the moment we got on the Express…no, before that. From the minute, second, that I was rudely awoken on that day; the day of the duel that would change my life to the night of the attack. Horrid thoughts had held my mind captive for the past ten years. Memories of the war that we had all been in, memories of all the duels I had been in, memories of the attack. I knew from the moment it happened that I would never forget the events of that night.




Times like these I wasn’t forced to look back, I commanded myself to. This time I cautiously remember the main events of that night. The anger that coursed through my veins, the heat on the back of my neck, the blood I was on the hunt for. I had snapped. The moment the Death Eater broke the wall and the mirror fell on Tilly I snapped. Next thing I knew I was fighting along side a masked man, which shouldn’t have had the effect on me that it did as I saw masked men everywhere at the DD…but I blame the hysterical moment. Everyone was going insane from the shock and adrenaline that came with the Death Eater attack. The last thing I remember was passing out in some sort of shack with another group from the DD.




What else could we do after that? The next day was full of depression and questions being answered. I look back and thank Merlin it was a free day. Once it was over however, we all just went back to schooling, as if none of it had ever happened. That’s what everyone did, everyone who knew of the DD, it was really like it had never happened.




Except we knew it did.




We never really spoke about it, though after that night we became considerably closer with the Marauders. No, it really didn’t take anything for us to start being friendly with them; unless you count them saving our lives.




The weeks that followed were filled with even more sadness and depression. It was like the attack on the DD was the official start of the War, even though more than seven eighths of the population never knew it existed. Letters came in the mail everyday, the poor children that received them would take one look and do a number of things; either cry, run, or let anger take control.




Another year passed and it was our final year. Dumbledore made Lily and James Heads…really, no surprise there. I completely saw it coming, with everything that had changed in the year before. The Marauders really didn’t play ‘pranks’ anymore…the teachers must have thought it was age that helped them stop; if only they knew the real reason. Oh, they began dating, by the way. Lily and James, I mean. I saw that one coming as well; all in all and no matter how she adored denying it…they’d always been perfect for each other.




That year held many deaths as well, but sadly most of us were used to it by then. Mr. Potter passed in battle, his wife in the same one. Sirius’ family made it far, just not on the side he was. The Pettigrew kid came back in seventh year…he had no idea what was wrong, what had happened, and I felt bad for him. His friends weren’t the same; they had changed more than he ever could. When we completed our final year, there were smiles; not as many as past years, but that was expected. Some time after graduation, Dumbledore tracked down the flat Tilly and I shared and he invited us to join an organization he was creating. He called it the ‘Order of the Phoenix’. I’ll never forget the look he gave us when he said that. He had known all along, he had known everything, he probably still does. Turned out he had invited the ‘whole gang’ to join, along with few others; because of this we were able to fight crime while training for our future careers.




As we had all known it would happen eventually, James and Lily married. He became an Auror along with Sirius and Lily went into helping at St. Mungo’s while Tilly began to become a Healer. That was something she had always wished to do with her life. Tilly and Remus began dating out of Hogwarts, she had finally convinced him to begin a relationship; I never got the true story on how that began. Remus had shared his secret with the lot of us, I had no idea how he could’ve handled it all these years and Tilly began working with other Healers in the potions section. So sweet of her to try and develop a cure.




When I thought no happiness could come into the world, I met Harry James Potter. The sweetest boy I had ever met, and it made me cry inside as I thought of the brother I could have had. I spent a lot of my free time watching him, his green eyes shining up at me, telling me everything would be alright.




I never expected things to get worse.




Then, Halloween of 1981 struck. I was in a pub that night, the night I lost everything. First hearing about it from Tilly, I didn’t believe her. Three weeks passed for me to realize they really were dead, another two for me to understand that Sirius murdered them and Peter. I thought I deserved to lock myself up in my room, and then I remembered how Remus must feel. It hurt too much.




When I had gotten out of Hogwarts I knew where I wanted to be. When I began my internship in the Department of Mysteries, I knew I’d made the right choice. I was often asked what I did there, but I knew I could never tell a soul. Around March of 1982 I was offered a promotion, but only if I transferred to the branch they held in the States. I didn’t know how to feel about it at first, so I said I would think about it. I went home that night to the dark rooms of the flat Tilly and I shared still. She had been going out a lot lately; a lot at night. I didn’t know how to talk to her about anything anymore, so I made my decision.




When I went abroad I expected a complete change; sadly there really wasn’t. The only thing different from the British Ministry and the North American was the accents. Of course I buried myself entirely in my work, trying my hardest to not think, to not remember.




Five years went by; ten long years spent wondering why no one cared to come look for me after I disappeared without a note. Everyone had better things to do, I’m sure.




After five years I was transferred again, only to a deeper department though. I was told I was their hardest worker, their most trusted. I found it ironic that I had gotten this far only because of death, and now that was my main specialty. I was asked one day if I could take part in a special task that would be going on. Since I had nothing outside of the ‘office’ and no one that would wonder what I was doing, I agreed.




They told me I needed to get a new, completely different identity. They sent me to Magical Editing and I was transformed. The wizards there wanted to give me red hair, I almost snapped for the fourth time in my life. They gave me the darkest black I had ever seen, and then cut it to my ears. They cast more spells on me, changing my eye color, my facial structure, and my skin tone. The hazel eyed, tan woman I had grown into was changed into a pale, brown eyed one. I then went by the name Mona Freeman.





The contract I signed said that I would live in the Department for eight years working on an assignment no one else would ever know about.






“This is it…the moment of truth,” Barry Johnson spoke to me and two others.




There were only four of us sent down, far below the regular Ministry building. The ministry couldn’t make too many people disappear.




Eight years ago I was in an elevator with these three other people. They introduced themselves as Stacy Port, Joseph Harrison, and Barry Johnson, and I gave them the name Mona Freeman. We all knew each other was lying.




Now, we were in that same elevator, going up and back into a world we hadn’t seen in eight years.




We had been sworn in by Unbreakable Vows when we went in, never were we to mention what had gone on down there…but I can say the Department of Mysteries will never been the same.




“How much do you think has changed?” Stacy asked aloud.




Joe scoffed, “How much? Eight years, Stace, eight years is a long time.”




“That much is obvious,” I rolled my eyes, “The question is, what changes will affect our lives?”




Stacy sighed, “And how much have we changed?”




“Well, I definitely have grey hairs that weren’t there before…and I may have become even more anti-social, as if that were possible,” Joe continued. “Not to mention the few people I knew before probably think I’m dead.”




They never did tell us how they got us to disappear so quickly, of course none of us really had lives outside the office. That’s why we were chosen, because of our lack of social ability and skills in our department.




After ten minutes, the magical elevator was brought to a halt. Slowly, the doors creaked open and we were hit with the light of the white hallway.




“Welcome back, Department Negative 66.”




Barry laughed his deep chuckle and shook the hand that was held out to him. “I’m happy to see this position hasn’t changed.”




“Mr. Johnson, good to see you again, good to see all of you again,” the man in charge of this operation spoke to us. “Ms. Port, you’ve fared well I see. And you, Ms. Freeman, congratulations.”




He shook our hands as well, some of the first human skin contact I’d had in years; it felt different.




“Nice to see you too, Mr. McGruss, I’m glad to hear the familiar humor,” Joe stuck out his hand to the man that took away eight years of his life. “The years have treated you well.”




McGruss chuckled, “A pleasure to see you as well, now, if you may we have some information to brief you on…and then, you may go home.”




Home; A foreign word, did I even have a home anymore? He seemed to think so…and he is the Head of the American Ministry still it looks like, so I guess he knows best.




We followed him down the halls, passing common wizards and witches with their wands out talking to co-workers. They gave us odd looks, never seeing or hearing of us before obviously, probably thinking to them selves, ‘Who are these people walking with the highest person in the American magical world?’




Being informed of all the changes in the world, both magical and not, was disappointing. Much had happened, yes, but nothing would really affect us in the United States. He did mention the war that had happened in Europe and reminded us of how the barely one year old boy had defeated the single most deadly wizard in the country. He looked to me when he said that, I didn’t respond, they had to know my life history before having me in this particular occupation.




He explained that no harm had come to our previous homes and we could return to our new lives. I didn’t pay as much attention to him as I should have. I remembered where my apartment was and how to get there, and I knew I would be back here in the morning ready to start my first day on the job.




“You may all return to your previous jobs in the morning, same hours, different people and rooms most likely…a lot has changed,” McGruss reminded us.




I stood along with the three people that I spent eight years of my life with. Day in, day out, we knew every detail about each other; except our real identities. I shook McGruss’ hand again and was led out of the room and out of the building by what I assumed was an Auror.




When I stepped out of the taxi in front of the slightly run down apartment complex, I reached into my pocket for the key McGruss gave me. He was right, a lot had changed.




The first thing I did was take a shower. Washing the layer of oil away, I cleared my mind of all thoughts. It felt as if I could see through my skin, not seeing sunlight for so long could do that to a person, and the black hair had grown to past my shoulders, a length I was actually comfortable with. I stepped out, wrapped myself in an old towel and wiped my hand at the dusty mirror. The brown eyes that looked back at me were still unfamiliar and strange, but I knew I would get used to them the more I looked at them.




I went into my old bedroom and looked through my clothes. They provided clothes for us, ones that wouldn’t affect our work. The long sleeved shirts and pants got old after a while, I was happy to put on jeans and a simple, black, t-shirt along with a belt of the same color. They had fed us well, but there wasn’t much time to eat.




I put my hair up in a clip without brushing it, I would when it dried. Wandering around the small three room apartment I thought of how I would use my time. I looked on one of the shelves and pulled a book off. I sat down on a chair and began reading, twenty pages in I found a torn sheet of paper being used as a bookmark. I couldn’t remember beginning this book.




Apparently I had fallen asleep. I was awoken by a buzzing noise and rubbed at my eyes.




“Who the hell—”




I got up slowly and walked over to the door. I looked through the peep hole and almost dropped the book I brought with me. I unlocked the door as quickly as I could and swung it open.




“Good to see you, Ms. Burby,” the elder man said, blue eyes twinkling, “I have a favor to ask of you.”







A/N: Yes, I'm in a state of shock as well. It's been a long time since I began this fic, and I just wanted to say thank you to you all that have read this far and helped me along the way! Thank you all so much for taking the time to review, it has helped me so much. Ah, and yes...I admit this is probably the 'largest' cliffhanger I've ever written...but it was needed. Well, in my mind it was. Thanks again for sticking to this untill the end!


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