In the beginning, there was a couple on vacation. They were young, very much in love, and the wife was a light drinker while the husband often drank too much.
Because of this fact, the wife had one too many and went to a local hotel with the wrong man while the husband kept pouring more into his glass.
When the wife woke up the next day, she had no idea she had accidentally cheated on her husband. However the couple wouldn't realize the consequences of that night until the woman found out she was pregnant.
However when the child was born, no one was aware that the girl wasn't James' daughter. Primarily because she resembled her mother so much that people didn't look past it.
And since James named little Ruby his heir, the goblins could care less that she wasn't a Potter by blood. She was a Potter by magical adoption, as far as they were concerned. At least until the man produced another heir that was of his bloodline.
Lily was four months pregnant when Voldemort found the couple and killed them both.
The deer was eating peacefully. It knew of the predator that stalked the woods, but the creature was active during the night more than during the day. It was usually absent during the high points of the day.
The air went quiet. The deer's head went up...there was something here.
A near silent 'whoosh', and the deer felt a sharp pain before it knew no more.
A small figure dropped down from the trees. It was female, roughly six to seven years old in appearance. In one hand was a bow, and on her back was a rather large quiver of homemade arrows. She reached down to her oversized boots and pulled out a sharp hunting knife.
It took her less than two hours to clean the deer and leave all the parts she didn't want for the scavengers. Eating plants was tricky, because you never knew if it was safe or not. Animals were easier.
The girl went into the den that she created with her power. It was important to work fast, because the rangers in charge of the forest knew there was an illegal hunter who was killing the deer, and they were determined to catch them. And to do that, they put electronic tags on every deer they found.
Because she didn't use guns, they couldn't exactly find her through the sound. And homemade arrows made it easy to break them and turn them back into simple firewood. What she didn't eat, the scavengers cleaned up. Waste not, want not.
Once inside her den, she started the fire to cook the meat.
One of the things she often did without was spices, but fortunately she learned to do without or to scavenge for things like edible berries. A well worn copy of a field guild explaining edible plants and berries lay in the corner, too far from the fire to be in any danger.
Once the meat was on it's way to becoming a meal, she checked outside the den that was hidden by the tree's root system. It had three openings.
One was the main entrance, which lead straight out the tree and was partially obscured by a bush. Because it was so small, only a child could really fit in it, or someone equally small. It got a little bigger the more she used it, but it was still a tight squeeze for any adult of average size. The second was close to the river, where the best wild berries grew. It was how she got her water and hid the signs of her using the bathroom. Well, except in winter months, when she usually broke into the vacant houses that were deeper in the woods.
That was where her spice collection and the field guild came from. She took it from the same ranger station that was trying to catch her, but she was too good at hiding.
The third was the emergency exit. It was in case the rangers (or a dangerous animal) ever found her den and managed to corner her. The emergency exit wasn't on the ground, or covered up like the river entrance.
Instead it went straight up the same tree the first entrance was hiding. The tree itself was hollow, but still very much alive. Because of how thick it was, she could climb up if she was very careful and dragged the bag behind her, and then escape through the branches.
There was a sound at the entrance, and she tensed...at least until the small pair of fox twins she had rescued by feeding after their mother was killed by a poacher showed up.
The two had treated her like a mother, despite having learned how to hunt on their own. They were usually the first to her kills, feeding well on anything she left behind before leaving some for the other animals. However during school hours, which was when she had to be away from her 'home', they mostly wandered around the forest collecting food.
Being around her for so long made them extra intelligent, a side effect of the power she had inherited from her mother. Not that she was aware of it. All she knew was that she healed quickly, poisonous plants usually just gave her a high fever, and that she could understand snakes.
As a side effect of befriending the local snake population, she slowly developed an immunity to snake venom, mostly from when she couldn't hunt and they shared their kills.
The girl looked around the den. One of the walls was looking a bit loose...she would have to push it with her power again to keep it from falling inwards and possibly collapsing the den. It was something she had to do periodically, but it was something she put up with. The taller she got, the higher the ceiling was. Her den look like a small cave, and could easily fit a medium sized black bear...if they could get into the tiny entrances that is.
Her nose, which had always been hypersensitive for some reason, twitched. The meat was almost done. She always knew when meat was done, or about to go bad before it did. It made going into the bigger cities a nightmare...and that was before her sensitive hearing came into play. She hated crowds with a passion. They were so loud.
She clenched her right hand. She always had these weird claw things...likely why she got along so well with the predators. The bone slid out of her hand and she speared the smallest piece of meat with it. She always set aside a few pieces of meat for the foxes, who gobbled up the offering. Once that was done, she ate her own meat, using the claws like spears. Her canines were extra sharp and made ripping it off the bone easier.
Once she had finished the mean, she took her hunting knife which she filched from the ranger station and used it to break the bone in half. She had found out by accident that the inside of the bone was filled with tasty marrow, and that helped to fill her stomach when food was hard to come by in the winter months.
After eating, she took out her small backpack and the homework she had been given for the day. Outside of hunting she didn't have much else to do at night. And the school that happened to be a mile from the border of the forest didn't ask questions about her parents.
Considering how self-sufficient she was, and the fact she could usually fake a signature, the teachers never thought about it. The school was big enough that they had trouble containing the other children, who would rather play than sit quietly like she did. Frankly they were just glad she didn't cause trouble like the rest and put her out of mind so long as the homework was turned in on time.
Once her homework was done, she went to work at making new arrows from sticks the foxes brought her. She had trained them to find sturdy sticks she could sharpen until she could shoot them from the bow she had been lucky to find in one of the abandoned lodges. The man who owned it had been furious, but he rarely came to the lodge near the lake and she had needed something to kill at a distance reliably. It wasn't like he couldn't afford a new one, seeing as how his house had a lot of fancy gadgets that she saw.
By the time the moon rose, she slipped out of the den to get more water. The moon was full, which made her happy. She liked to watch the moon.
The female fox barked a warning, as it saw one of the rangers coming. The smoke had alerted him that their 'poacher' might be nearby.
She slipped into her den, covered the fire with dirt and used her power to usher the smoke out quickly. By the time he reached the area, he was left with no evidence a small girl was there.
And with the help of the larger male fox, he immediately assumed the hole in the trunk was a simple fox den. The girl smirked. It was fun to fool adults.
Charles Xavier was a psychic, and a mutant. He felt it was his duty to seek out mutant children and bring them to his school for their protection and for proper training. And for the most part, he was very good at it. Sure there were the odd bad apples, children who hated humans for various reasons, but they were thankfully few and far between.
For the past three years, he had been getting signals from a rather odd mind. Thanks to Cerebro, he could connect with every mutant mind on the planet...and considering his power that was dangerous. He could quite literally lobotomize every mutant (or human) simply from his wheelchair. It was terrifying to think of a less moral psychic with a grudge against humanity doing just that.
Still, this mind was quite odd. So much so that he sometimes came down to the hidden part of the mansion just to listen to it...once he got past the defense which had originally caught his attention anyway.
The mind was intelligent, but very simple. Where most children (and he knew it was a child) were concerned about games, toys, television or even their friends, this mind cared more about embracing the simple nature of the wild. They hunted, they studied (so as to not arouse suspicion), they played with a pair of foxes they adopted, and they lived in the wilds as a part of nature.
He called the child Artemis in his head, after the Greek goddess of the hunt and moon. Strangely, the child seemed to pick up on his little nickname for her, because she claimed it as her own.
It was because he found her mind relaxing (and hearing the ranger's mind was often amusing as they couldn't catch her) that he 'overheard' a disturbing piece of information. The forest was scheduled to undergo a controlled wildfire, mostly to clear the overgrowth and prevent a disaster. The burn would be slow, since this happened every ten years or so, and the animals would be evacuated beforehand...but the girl was unaware of this fact. She could get caught in the fire and be killed, as could her companions.
He wasn't about to let such an interesting mind be killed or harmed by such an event. It was time he collected the girl from the woods of Ireland. The only reason he had abstained was because he feared she would react badly to being brought to the institute...and because of legal issues since she was European.
Considering she had been fooling her teachers about her parents, she might even help with that endeavor. It was one of the few times he would look the other way with using powers on humans.
"So...any idea why the Professor seemed so interested in this one?" asked Jean to Ororo.
"No idea. I think this is the kid he keeps sneaking off to listen to with Cerebro though," admitted the other woman. It was a badly kept secret among the older mutants like Jean, Scott and Ororo that their old teacher would go down to where Cerebro was and listen to one mind in particular whenever things were stressful. Apparently he found listening to the child's mind relaxing because while it was highly intelligent, it was also rather simple.
When he told them where to locate the girl and her 'pets' (he called them companions, but no matter how you looked at it that translated to pet) and why they needed to collect the girl as soon as possible. Something about a scheduled fire.
To the three that said only one thing.
A two-day camping trip. One the Professor encouraged because they rarely got to do anything fun and it meant getting a few days off.
Ororo would have her own tent, since Scott and Jean would be sharing one. Everyone knew the two were a couple, and she didn't want to overhear them by accident.
"So what exactly are we supposed to be looking for anyway?" asked Scott.
"The Professor said the girl had a mind like a thick briar patch. If I find a spot where the mind is rather closed off and somewhat painful to try and enter, then we've found her. He doesn't really have a physical description because the girl rarely looks at her own reflection whenever the Professor is listening in. There's also a pair of foxes that live with her," said Jean.
Scott didn't get why this one kid had gotten the Professor's attention, but he did get that this was basically a vacation while they tried to find another mutant child. At least he could put his rarely used camping skills to work.
"Camping?" said the ranger incredulous. People rarely wanted to camp in these woods because they were so thick unless they owned a cabin near the lake. There were also the large amount of snakes, the bear and the fact it was hard to get any supplies because the camp sites were too far from the road, and it wasn't traveled enough to make it worth it.
To be perfectly honest, only the real outdoors-men, the rangers, and the resident poacher/thief would even consider it a good camping location.
"We heard it was a good place to go camping without having to deal with the nuisance of cell phones, and my boyfriend here really needs to learn not to check his e-mail so often," said Jean with a straight face.
Scott made one of his own, like he couldn't believe his girlfriend was using him as an excuse.
"Well we don't exactly have any camp grounds you can use, but I don't see why you couldn't camp around here. Just be out before the end of the week. We're undergoing a scheduled wildfire to clear out the brush, and if you get lost, use one of these flares to let us know," he said, handing her a flare gun.
Jean nodded and thanked him.
With their cover story in place, the trio went deep into the woods, using Jean as a guide to find their target.
By nightfall it was too dark to do anything more than set up camp. Fortunately there was a river that was relatively clean since it wasn't a forest most people camped in and wasn't too close to the lake. Odds were the girl they were trying to find used the same river to drink from, so it was likely safe for them as well.
Scott, when he went to get some firewood, came face-to-snout with a rather odd fox. It seemed to dart into the undergrowth and grab sturdy branches or sticks, then run off with it in it's mouth.
"I just saw a fox grab a stick and run off with it like a dog," said Scott to Ororo.
"Very strange indeed," agreed Ororo.
"What's this about a fox?"
"I saw a fox grab a stick and act like a dog would," explained Scott.
Jean froze. The Professor specifically mentioned the girl had trained foxes with her.
She started scanning the area, letting her power get to work.
At first there was nothing...but then she hit an odd spot. It almost felt painful, like she had brushed up against a particularly thick briar patch that was determined to hang onto her clothes. Honing in on that, she started looking around. The Professor mentioned the girl had a den of sorts, and that it wasn't particularly easy to locate.
Because it was too dark, she resolved to wake early and look in the morning.