Chapter 1 – Missed Again
Isabelle, or as she liked to be called, Izzie, cursed to herself as she stood with her trunk in hand on platform 9 3/5 as the train rolled out of sight.
"Fuck! Again?" She groaned, letting the trunk fall on the stone floor. The platform was already empty as the last parents apparated out when she arrived. "Remus will love this." She rolled her eyes.
With a last look at the empty train station, she walked back through the stone wall. King's Cross itself was packed with muggles going to work, presumably. She hauled the trunk behind her as she pushed through the crowds. She couldn't go back home, she really couldn't. Off to the Leaky Cauldron then, just like last year. Last year she arrived at the platform an hour after the train had left, due to some unpleasant circumstances at home. She went to Diagon Alley to send a letter to Professor McGonagall, to ask what her options were. She advised her to floo over from the Leaky Cauldron to The Three Broomsticks and head to the castle. So, now she would do the same, minus the letter to the professor, she would arrive before the others anyway. But her friends would get worried soon if they didn't find her on the train, and as she was still under-aged, she couldn't send them a message. And sending an owl to a moving train was nearly impossible, she figured that out last year. She wouldn't want another owl to get hurt.
She stepped out of the train station and sighed as the rain came pouring down. "Of course, when am I ever lucky." She took her coat out of her bag and placed the hood on before trudging through a cold and wet London with a slight limp and a visible pained face under her hood.
Lily was walking through the train with a fast and steady step, glancing into every cabin. But with each cabin she passed, she grew more worried and nervous. She nearly reached the end of the train when she spotted Potter and his friends. She pulled the door open in a frenzy and they all looked up at her in surprise.
"Hey, Evans." James Potter smiled, but she didn't look at him, she looked to Remus with large, frightened eyes. Remus jumped up immediately and put his hands on her shoulders.
"Lily, what's wrong?"
"Have you seen Izzie?"
"No." He frowned. "Isn't she with you?"
"No, and I searched the whole train. Remus, I can't find her!" Her voice was frantic.
"Alright, let's not panic." Remus started but his eyes looked frightened too.
"What's the big deal? So, she missed the train." Sirius said, lifting his feet until they covered the seat Remus was sitting in a minute ago. He placed his hands behind his head casually. "She missed it last year, and she arrived at the castle before us."
Lily and Remus shared a look of pure terror. James stood up with a frown. "What are you two not telling us?"
Lily and Remus turned to look at Potter, Black and Pettigrew. "Nothing." Remus said, ducking his head, avoiding the looks his friends shot him.
"No, Black." Lily snapped, close to tears. "You - you don't know her. Don't pretend like any of you care."
"Lily." Remus warned, rubbing her arm reassuringly.
"Oi! We do care." James said aghast. "We've known her for six years."
"And it's not like Remus is so close with her, he just knows her because of you." Sirius said casually, and Remus and Lily turned to glare at him.
"You really have no idea, do you?" Lily laughed hoarsely. Sirius let his feet drop to the floor and leaned forward frowning. But Lily turned back to Remus before he could say anything. "What do we do?"
"Let's find the head girl, Anaïs. She can send word to Professor McGonagall."
"Yeah, okay." She said softly, nodding her head. Remus wrapped a slightly trembling hand around her shoulder and steered her out of the cabin. He looked over his shoulder to his friends.
"I'll be back later."
"Moony." James and Sirius said questionably, but he had closed the door behind him. Leaving three confused sixteen-year-old boys behind him.
Izzie shook herself as she stepped in the Leaky Cauldron, droplets falling to the floor. She felt a warm wind over her body, and the next second she was dry. She smiled as she pulled her caramel brown hair in a ponytail. "Thanks, Tom."
The bar owner grunted before turning back to cleaning his glasses. She made her way to the fireplace in the corner of the pub but frowned when she saw someone cleaning it. She turned back to the grumpy bartender, who's secretly a big softy. "Hey, Tom. How long do you think it will take?"
"He just started, would be about another hour or so." He glanced at her with a frown. "Do you want me to send word to your father, miss Miller?"
"No, no." She said a little too quickly, waving her hands frantically. She took in a deep breath, trying to calm herself. "That's okay, Tom. I'll just have lunch and then I'll be off."
"The usual then?"
"That's fine." She said as she took place at a table near the window. Even though Tom was loyal to her father, he knew he wasn't the easiest. He was always a little protective over her, ever since she was young. She never really knew why, but on days like this, it came in handy. Fifteen minutes later, Tom came over carrying a large plate of eggs Benedict and a cup of tea.
As he placed it in front of her, he said. "Do you want me to contact the school or..."
Izzie shook her head. "No, once your floo is open, I'll be on my way. We don't need anyone to worry. I'll be there soon enough."
He looked at her for a bit with a contemplated look before he gave a brisk nod and turned to the bar where an impatient wizard in dark robes was waiting.
Izzie ate her lunch slowly as she watched the elderly wizard clean the pub's fireplace. The wizard was done cleaning before she finished her lunch. It was nearly half past twelve when she pushed herself away from the table. She felt eyes on her when she walked to the fireplace with her trunk. She turned to see the wizard in dark robes look at her. He looked somewhat familiar, but she couldn't put her finger on it. She looked away quickly. Maybe it was one of her father's spies. Tom nodded at her with his typical grim face. She offered him a smile before she walked in the fireplace.
"The Three Broomsticks." She muttered quietly, not wanting the unknown, yet slightly familiar, wizard to hear. She stepped out of the fireplace, into a nearly empty tavern. "Hello, madam Rosmerta."
"Hello, dear." She greeted warmly. "Did you miss the train?"
"Yes." She smiled softly. "I can't seem to get there on time." She chuckled trying to hide her pain.
Madam Rosmerta smiled kindly. 'Do you want something to eat?'
'No, thank you. I already had lunch.' She answered.
'Alright, let's go then.'
'Let's go? What do you mean?'
'It's pouring outside, and the carriages of Hogwarts aren't here yet. So, you can take my carriage.'
'Oh, no, madam Rosmerta, that's not necessary. I'll get to the castle on my own.'
'I won't dream of it. You'll take the carriage; I won't take no for an answer.' She said already taking the trunk out of her hand and walking to the side entrance of the tavern. She followed her outside, standing underneath a shelter. In front of them was a large carriage with a beautiful dark brown horse attached to it. 'This is Frans.' Rosmerta patted the horse's back. 'He'll take you to Hogwarts.'
'How will he get back?' She asked as Rosmerta pushed her trunk in.
'He knows his way.' She smiled. 'What year are you in, dear?'
'Sixth year now.'
'See that you catch the train next year, so you can ride with your friends for your last year.'
'I'll certainly try.' She offered a strained smile at the owner of one of her favourite spots. 'Thank you.'
'You're welcome, dear. Have a nice year at Hogwarts.'
'I'll see you in a couple of weeks.' She smiled as she climbed in.
Lily and Remus just parted ways in the train, Lily going back to her girlfriends while Remus went back to James and the others. Anaïs had sent her owl ahead to inform the headmaster. There wasn't more to be done. When he entered the compartment, he noticed that Peter had gone. He took his place at the window, and his leg started to bounce nervously up and down, biting his lip as he glanced out the window. Sirius and James shared a look before turning to Remus.
"Moony, are you okay?"
"Hm? Yeah, fine." He said not turning away from the window. His bottom lip was starting to break.
"Moony, stop!" Sirius voice was hard, making Remus turn to him. "You barely have your lip as it is. So, tell us what the fuck is going on."
Remus glared at him, but Sirius wasn't backing down. "Like Lily already stated." He said through gritted teeth. "Izzie didn't make it on the train."
"Sorry if I don't see the problem here." He rolled his eyes. "Her parents will just drop her off."
Remus paled even more at that. James approached a little more carefully. "She doesn't get along with her parents?"
"It'-" He turned to James before closing his mouth. "I –" The two marauders looked at him curiously. "Let me worry about her, alright. Neither of you took a chance to get to know her, even though you've known her for six years and is best friends with Lily, who if I'm not mistaken, has a hold on your interest since first year."
"But since when do you care? You know her as well as us."
"That's where you are mistaken, Pads." He rose from his seat, towering over the two. "She is my best friend. I've known her since I was six. So, yeah, I think I know her better than you." He said before walking out of the compartment, leaving two stunned boys behind.
Being early at Hogwarts wasn't that bad to be honest. Professor McGonagall was waiting for her at the entrance, letting her trunk fly up to her dorm. She offered her a sad, knowing smile as she led her inside. Izzie couldn't meet her eye and looked straight forward.
"The others won't be here for a few hours. You can go to your dorm and unpack if you want. The library and the great hall are already open. The password is Gigglewater."
"Thank you, Professor McGonagall. I think I'll go up to my dorm for a bit."
The professor eyed her for a moment. "Do you need to see Madam Pomfrey?"
Fuck, if McGonagall noticed, Remus and Lily definitely would. "No, that's not necessary. I just tripped stepping out of the carriage."
She knew she didn't believe her, but she nodded her head anyway. Izzie gave her a small smile before heading up the stairs slowly. Once she reached the sixth years dorm, she unpacked, choosing the same bed for the past six years. After placing everything in the cupboards, she grabbed her favourite book and headed down. She flopped down on the couch, stretching her legs and arms before settling in a reading position. She must've dozed off because she woke up at the sound of shuffling. She opened her eyes to see a house elf place a tray of food on the table next to her. When the elf noticed Izzie was awake, she popped out of there. Izzie pushed herself up and looked out the window, seeing it was already dark. They must've arrived. She furrowed her brows, deciding what to do. She didn't want to draw attention to herself and appear in the great hall when everyone was already eating, she wasn't a marauder. Professor McGonagall probably had the same idea and asked the house elves to send something up for her. She ate her dinner in the silent common room.
After dinner, she stood up with her book in her hand and winced. Pain coursed through her hip, and she stumbled to the floor. Her book laid open upside down next to her. She breathed in slowly, trying to ease the pain away. It took over ten minutes before the pain had subsided. She picked up her book, and a letter fell out from the back. She picked up the letter with still trembling hands and crawled to a dark corner of the common room. She pulled her knees up to her chest carefully and placed the book and the letter on top. She unfolded the old letter carefully and her eyes scanned the words her mum once wrote.
Remus stayed in the girls' compartment for the rest of the trip as he and Lily tried to reassure each other. Once they arrived at Hogwarts, dear, old, clueless Peter, coax him into riding with him, James and Sirius to the castle. To say that the carriage ride was uncomfortable was an understatement. They never had such an awkward and silent ride to the castle. Peter didn't seem to notice as he chatted about his nerves for potions.
Remus expected to see her sitting in the great hall, just like last year. But when he and the others arrived the great hall was empty except for the professors. He sat down next to Peter, Sirius and James in front of him. He was biting his lip again.
"Where is she?" Lily slides up next to him, her voice a bit frantic. He just shook his head, not trusting his voice. Where the bloody hell is she? He was fearing the worst. Afraid of what her father might've done to her, or her uncle. It wouldn't be the first time. James and Sirius were still eyeing him, and he knew they wouldn't drop the subject and needed more explanation but that wasn't his decision, it never was. But for the past six years it wasn't a problem as they never asked about her. They talked to her, yes but it was mostly about schoolwork. Remus never really thought much about it since he always had her by his side, but now he had thought about it as he sat with the other girls earlier. James, Sirius and Peter all got along great with Lily, Marlene and Mary but they never got close to Izzie. And for the life of him, he couldn't understand how that happened or didn't happen in this case.
The new first years trickled in after McGonagall. The professor glanced his way and gave a short nod and his shoulders slacked in relief, he let out a shuddering breath, just like Lily next to him. She reached over and squeezed his hand. Feeling better, he joined in the conversation with the others at the table. Not like he was fully engaged, but he was never one of many words.
Sirius was talking to everyone enthusiastically, winking at the girls a little down the table who were watching him. He tried to pull Remus into the conversation. "Moony, remember that time we transfigured Snivellus' robes into that one of a girl's?"
"Hm." He said looking up from his plate. "Not one of our best."
"Well, no, you're right. But it was damn funny." Sirius booming laugh filled the hall.
"Yeah." He smiled a little before turning back to his plate. Sirius watched him for a moment before turning his attention to James.
Just a heads up, this story will NOT contain Voldemort or the first war, but will have dark wizards and material (like Izzie and Regulus parents, doing awful stuff)