© Ariana Veelagrace and Clara
Maplewood, year 2000-2001
Disclaimer: We own Cecilia Evans, Perry Mifflebey and his mother, Chantel Merceles, Chrissy and Nicky Johnson. And of course, anything else you see that isn't featured in the Harry Potter series.
The Lily Series
Mrs. Cecilia Evans
walked down the familiar street cheerily, the red maternity dress not hiding
the bulge in her stomach. Even the faintest of acquaintances stopped to
congratulate her and to tell her that she looked wonderful, even though she
really didn't. It was an experience that could go to any woman's head, but not
Cecilia's. She just smiled and thanked them, reminding her four-year-old
daughter, Petunia, to do so as well. It was odd, though, that she had gone down
this street so many times before, but she now was seeing shops in places that
had formerly been simply alleyways. But then, she hadn't gone shopping here since
she found out that she was pregnant, and a lot could happen in seven months.
"Petunia, dear? How would you like to go into that candy shop over there?"
"What candy shop, mum?"
"Why, the one with 'Rimpkin's Candy' over the door in silver letters."
"I don't see any Rimpkin's Candy. Do you feel all right, mum?" Petunia asked concernedly.
Cecilia stared hard at the shop then touched her hand to her head as though she had a headache. "I'm fine." She mumbled, then kept on walking. This was sincerely odd. She then passed a shop that she was certain had not been there before. "Allen's Broomsticks for All Occasions?" she read aloud. "What in the world...?"
Petunia looked up at her mother with wide eyes and slid her hand out of her grasp, placing her arms akimbo. "What do you mean? That's just a little space between the grocery and the book shop!"
She drew her breath in sharply and bent down as far as she could to pick up Petunia's hand again. "Never mind. Come along."
The phenomena didn't cease, but most of the new stores looked fairly orthodox, and Cecilia was careful not to ask Petunia whether she could see any more of them. After coming in and out of several of the old shops, she spotted a new one at the very end of the street. "Ah! Perfect!" She said, starting across the road to it. 'Mifflebey's Gifts for All Occasions,' read the pale yellow sign above the door. It looked to be radiating sunshine. "Let's go in there so you can pick out a gift for your new baby sister. Or brother," she added, not knowing why she had said 'sister' with such conviction.
"But mum..." Then Petunia fell into a definite and almost fearful silence. Due to the small jolt of surprise she gave when they walked through the door of Mifflebey's, Petunia had had no idea of its existence until then.
Everything inside Mifflebey's was the same pale yellow color of the sign, which explained its soft glow. A porcelain bell rang as Mrs. Evans stepped into the shop, immediately falling in love with it. It was a curiously quaint little place without even an electric lamp, just several unlit candles. The sunlight streamed in through the several arched windows, compounding the yellow theme, and instead of a cash register, there was just a pad of paper, a quill, and a long stick of wood that Cecilia imagined was a giant, unsharpened pencil. But the old-fashioned air wasn't what made her fall in love with it. It was the aura of mystery, of magic, of something not quite within her comprehension...yet.
"May I help...you?" A thin, tawny-haired woman with bright hazel eyes appeared behind the counter. When she glanced over Cecilia and Petunia, the welcoming smile faded from her face and the brightness was replaced with a fog of confusion. Then, as though the woman had come to some explanation to her question, the smile returned and the fog lifted.
"Go ahead, Petty," Cecilia whispered to the wide-eyed little girl clinging to her hand.
Petunia said in an impossibly quiet voice, "I'd l-like to b-buy a gift for my b-baby s-s-sister or b-brother."
The woman looked quizzically over the counter at Cecilia. She looked down at Petunia. "Why are you so afraid?"
Petunia looked like she was going to cry. "I didn't see this store until we walked into it, mummy! It just wasn't here and I don't know what's going on, but I want to go hooome!" She started wailing into her mother's skirt.
"Oh, dear..." The woman behind the counter pursed her lips and looked as though she was trying to find the right way to phrase her next words. "I can't say as this has ever happened before."
"What? What's going on here?" Cecilia demanded, sounding far braver than she actually felt. "Your daughter couldn't see this shop?"
"Isn't that obvious?"
"Well, I think we had better have a talk in the back." She strode over to the door, turned the sign to 'closed,' and beckoned for Cecilia to follow her. When they went into a little annex, the woman turned her back and did something, then produced two cups of tea. "Mrs..."
"Mrs. Evans, I think that you ought to know something...Perry!" She pushed back her chair and exclaimed in surprise. A brown-haired, two-year-old boy ran out from under the table. His mischievous hazel eyes and broad smile marked him as the woman's son. He was carrying one of his mother's shoes. "Perry, it's not nice to steal people's shoes! Now, come on. Hand it back."
Perry shook his head, grinning widely. He wrinkled his freckled button nose in a laugh at his mother's futile attempts to get the shoe back.
"Perry, mummy can't play right now, all right?" She said through gritted teeth. "Be a good boy and give me the shoe." Still, he persisted. "We can't play Accio Shoe now! I'm with a customer!" Her desperate tone got through to Perry, either that, or he was bored with the game. He dropped the shoe and ran back out. "I'm sorry about that."
"Perfectly all right, but you still haven't explained all this."
"Mrs. Evans, as you were walking down this street, did you notice that there were some stores there that weren't there before?"
"Yes, but I haven't been here for seven months."
"Exactly. That child-" the woman pointed at Cecilia's stomach. "-must be magical."
"What do you mean, 'magical?'"
"I mean that there is an entire other world going on. A world of witches and wizards and all sorts of impossibilities, that people like you are completely excluded from. Sometimes, two Muggles - people who aren't part of that world - have a child who IS magical and IS part of this world. So, now that you have magic blood in you in the form of that baby, you can see these shops and your daughter can't. Do you understand?"
Petunia set her jaw defiantly. "I don't believe you! That's stupid because witches and wizards aren't real, so ha ha!" She stuck her little pink tongue out.
"Petty! That isn't nice at all!" Cecilia stroked her daughter's long blonde hair distractedly, turning again to the storekeeper. "You absolutely can't be serious."
"I'm quite serious, I assure you. There wasn't a drop of untruth in what I just told you."
Cecilia shook her head. "No. No, that just can't be. And I don't appreciate you talking such nonsense in front of Petunia! She's only a little girl, and you never know what she's going to believe!" She stood up and cast the woman a toxic glare with her piercing green eyes. "You can be sure that you won't be getting any more business from me or my family. Come along, Petunia."
The storekeeper knew she had to act fast. If she fired the memory charm now, it could hurt Mrs. Evans or Petunia. She leapt up and forced them both back into their chairs. "Obliviate! Obliviate!" Immediately, they both took on the stunned appearance of those who had just had their memories modified. "All right. Both of you saw this shop, and you'll just go home after this without taking any notice of the new stores along the road. I told you nothing about the magical community. You know nothing."
When Cecilia came to her senses, she felt a little groggy and wondered why she was there. She remembered a light yellow shop, and a friendly storekeeper, but why was she in this room? Then, the storekeeper came back in, holding a light yellow, egg-shaped object. "What do you know, Mrs. Evans, we do have a music box left. Just the kind you wanted, too. And look," she opened up the lid and took out the delicate glass skater. "She even has little emeralds in her eyes, just like you. I'll bet that baby's going to be just the same way."
"Er...thank you. Petunia? What do you think of it?"
~*~*~*~*~*~*~End of Prologue~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Something more than eleven years later...
A girl sat in a compartment on the Hogwarts Express, all
alone. Every so often, she would tuck a stray lock of her bright red hair
behind one ear, glance out the window at the countryside speeding past, then bring
her quick green eyes back to The Standard Book of Spells, Grade 1, skipping the
boring parts and dwelling on illustrations.
This girl, as you may already have guessed, was Lily Evans, an important witch, to be sure.
Lily closed the book and looked back to the ever-changing view outside her compartment window. A flock of small brown birds flew out of a wheat field, the marshes and bogs zipped by with only the slightest fume, and once, Lily even fancied that she saw a gigantic purple bus go by and honk its horn, but she quickly abandoned this as a product of the strange candy she had bought and eaten from the trolley only a few minutes before.
Buses can't go as fast as steam engines – and for that
matter, normal buses aren't purple. Then again, she reminded herself, 'normal'
was an entirely different proposition now. 'Normal' owls don't deliver
life-changing letters, or any letters. 'Normal' platform dividers don't
dissolve when you run through them. You don't need to tap a special
combination of bricks to get into a 'normal' alley. And, of course,
'normal' people can't make their sister's ice cream explode in her face when
Lily was shaken from her thoughts when the compartment door
slid open, revealing two girls about her age. They fell into the seats across
from her, giggling madly.
"Did you see the looks on their faces?" screeched one of
the girls. She actually reminded Lily of her friend Mary Partridge from
Muggle school, willowy with golden-brown hair that matched her complexion
perfectly, and eyes that rivaled Lily's for depth and sparkle, except that they
were the color of the sea on a clear day.
The other girl jumped up, checked the hallway to make sure
nobody was there, and then resumed giggling. "Oh, my God. That was
probably the funniest thing we've ever done." She was probably as much
the physical opposite of her friend that she could possibly have been, with a
darker sort of skin tone, grass-green eyes, and black hair pulled into a
braided knot behind her head.
"What was the funniest thing you've ever done?"
The two girls looked at Lily suddenly, as though they had
just seen her. "Oh…nothing. Just flirting…"
"With cute fourth-years…"
"Using some basic Enchanting Enchantments on them…"
"Hoarding their candy, since we're flat broke…"
"Then hitting 'em with the counter-spell and running for
"So we sort of need to hide in here for a bit…that all
right with you?"
"Er…sure." Lily felt a little bewildered after that rapid-fire explanation.
"Great! My name's Chrissy Johnson. Boring, isn't it?" the brown-haired girl said. "It's actually Christina, but that's even worse."
"I don't think it's bor-"
"And I'm Chantel," the dark-haired girl interrupted.
"Chantel Merceles. Makes me sound like I'm ruddy royalty next to her
name, doesn't it?"
"They're both nice," Lily said, fidgeting with her robes, to which she was quite unaccustomed. "I'm Lily Evans. Do either of you know anything about Hogwarts?"
"Muggle-born, are you? I'm a quarter Muggle, anyway. Well, we've got to get Sorted first, of course," Chantel informed her. "Chris, you've got a big brother – did he ever tell you how they Sort new students?"
"'Course. He always said it's painful, like the whole trial-by-fire kind of thing. Load of rubbish – he just wanted to frighten me."
"Well, whatever it is we've got to do, I want to be sorted into Gryffindor."
"Ohh, please don't! I'd positively perish if we got in
separate Houses, and you know I'm a bloody coward!" Chrissy said, hugging
Chantel. "How 'bout you, Lily?"
Lily had grown quieter and quieter as their conversation
continued. "I don't even know what you're talking about." she admitted,
feeling terribly left out.
"Ok. There are four houses: Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, and, unfortunately for everyone else, Slytherin. You get Sorted as soon as you arrive, and you basically have all your classes with other people in your House, and you share a common room, and each House's got a Quidditch team, and all that." Chantel informed Lily.
"The Houses all have some kind of personality. You know, like most Gryffindors are really brave, most Ravenclaws are really smart, Hufflepuffs are loyal – that's where my brother Nick was, but he graduated two years back – and Slytherins are…well, basically filth." Chrissy said.
Lily was still slightly confused. "I guess I'd be fine with anything except Slytherin."
"You," Chantel said approvingly, "Are a very smart girl."
"So where are you from, Lily?"
Lily looked out the window as the light of sunset dimmed
away. "Surrey. Pretty far away…and I've never even been to
sleep-away camp." For a second, she had to push back tears of
homesickness that had been threatening to seep out since she said good-bye to
her parents on the platform.
Chantel made a sympathetic tsking sound. "Me neither,
but I've kind of got a…a messed-up family. Y'see…" she trailed off, and
then fell silent.
It was Chrissy's turn to feel uncomfortable and
out-of-place. "Er… s'pose I'm lucky. Nicky's working right nearby
in Hogsmeade – he's actually going to meet me when the train stops. Be a
nice break for him after cleaning up owl dung all day, I think, since he's
doing an internship at the post office."
This lightened the mood a good deal, and they managed to
keep the good feeling going through the hours that seemed like seconds until
they pulled into Hogwarts Station.
The three new friends emerged into the hustle and bustle of Hogsmeade station. Black-robed students swarmed like gnats all around, some pulling on their robes over normal Muggle clothes even as they looked around for directions where to go. But in the midst of it all, near the entrance to the station, Lily saw a tall, lanky boy talking to the conductor. He couldn't have been more than nineteen, with blonde hair, Chrissy's eyes (though they did look a bit more impressive in his face), and a few splotches of what Lily judged to be owl poop on his shirt. "Chrissy, is that your brother?"
Chrissy turned in the direction that Lily was pointing before a giant smile split her face and she shrieked, "NICKY!!!", trampling several students as she leaped into her brother's arms.
Lily and Chantel followed just in time to see her pull
away, punch him on the shoulder, and begin a thorough chastisement. "And
why exactly haven't you written home in months?"
"Ah, c'mon, Chris, the boss keeps me working dawn to dusk,
when am I supposed to send a letter?"
"You work in a post office!" Chrissy exclaimed.
Nick bowed. "Guilty as charged. I'll get out of
there someday, you can take my word for it. Hi there, Chantel, is
it? Right, you're the little chubby one who was always coming over to
play with Chrissy when I was on holiday from school. Now you-" he turned
to Lily. "You I'm sure I don't know."
"Just met her on the train. Her name's Lily…er…Lily
"Hullo there, Lily Something," he said with a twinkle in
his eye. "Curious sort of last name, that. What nationality is it?"
Lily was about to answer with her real last name when
someone ran into her from behind. She caught herself just short of
smashing into the cobblestones, but it appeared when she stood back up that the
boy who had hit her wasn't quite so lucky. He was sitting back on his
heels, clutching his mouth, his frightened brown eyes flickering. "Are
you all right?" Lily said, offering him a hand.
He nodded and mumbled something, standing up with his lips shut tightly. His expression was drawn and pale, as though he was in some kind of pain that he had to hide.
"Something wrong with your teeth?" Chantel said, a
little bit caustically.
Glancing up at the overcast sky, then over to the horizon
(where a sliver of the full moon was barely evident) he shook his head no and
scrambled out of the station, through Hogsmeade, and up a hill to a tumbledown
old house. "Must be insane or something," Nicky muttered. "Nobody
ever goes in the Shrieking Shack. For as long as I can remember…"
"You've only been working here a year," Chrissy reminded
"As long as I can remember," he drove on, "It's been
"Haunted?" Chrissy said, blanching.
"Yeah, ghosts," said Nicky with relish. "They scream
and yell and crash furniture all the time…and every so often, they like to pick
up a nice juicy first year for an afternoon snack-"
Chantel shivered. "Stop it!"
"And they like the ones with red hair, too," he said,
whirling on Lily. "Rumor has it that a few years back, there was a big
strong Quidditch captain with red hair who-"
Chantel suddenly gasped and jumped onto the ground,
dragging Chrissy down with her. Nick and Lily looked bemusedly at one
another, then to the pair on their hands and knees. "Uhh…want to fill us
in there, Chris?"
"DON'T say my name!" she hissed. "Those fourth years Chantel and I were flirting with are about ten feet away!"
And indeed, there were three fourth year boys, all quite
good-looking, conversing with murderous looks on their faces, and Lily thought
she caught the phrase 'candy-stealing hussies' applied liberally.
"All right, here's what we do," Chantel said in a low
tone. "You and me crawl away 'til we're out of sight. Lily, you and
Nick follow us, but don't stare at us because that'll give it away. On
the count of three. One…two…"
"Hey, you three! Right, you fourth years! I believe I know the whereabouts of someone – or sometwo – with whom you wish to speak!" Nicky called loudly in an overly polite affect. He stepped on the hem of Chrissy's robes.
"Something about candy, I believe?"
"Nick! Let me go! They'll kill me!"
"My job to look after the family name, isn't it? And
such conduct will most certainly not go unpunished!" He was still playing
the ever-exasperating high-and-mighty big brother.
Chantel sprang up, kicked Nick in the shins, and pulled
Chrissy and Lily along as she bolted away from the pursuant fourth year
boys. The gap was closing quickly when Lily heard a cannon-like voice
shouting, "Firs' years! Firs' years this way!" They were apparently
running in the right direction, because the voice was getting ever closer. "No
more'n four ter a boat! Firs' years this – oomph!"
Chrissy, Lily, and Chantel had all simultaneously collided
with a gigantic, wild-looking man with more frizzy black hair on his face and
head than ought to be allowed. He picked them up one by one by the scruff
of their necks, rather like a lioness with cubs. "'ere now, where're you
three goin' in such an 'urry?" He took notice for the first time of the fourth
year boys in quite an equal hurry. "Ohh, I see 'ow et is…tell yer what,
then. Name's Hagrid. I'm groundskeeper at Hogwarts, so if y'get any
problems with…BIG BULLIES WHAT'D BE BETTER OFF PICKIN' ON PEOPLE THEIR OWN
SIZE," he rumbled, looking straight at the boys, "Jes' tell me. Into the
boats." Hagrid swept them into the nearest boat, handed Chantel a
lantern, and waded out to the first vessel in the line.
"Ev'ryone in? Right, forward!" The boats lurched
and moved forward as a unit. Lily sat in awe, gazing at the spindly turrets and
sweeping buttresses of the faraway castle.
"There it is," Chrissy breathed. "Can you
imagine? We're going to be living there for seven years."
"It looks like something out of a Muggle fairy tale book,
doesn't it, Lily?" Chantel said.
Lily smiled quietly to herself and thought about all the
strange and wonderful things that had happened even in the few hours that she
had been part of this new world. "I think my whole life's going to be
pretty much out of a Muggle fairy tale book from now on."
They were almost halfway across the lake when Chrissy shrieked suddenly and scrambled against one side of the boat, pointing fearfully over the side. "Look at that thing!"
There was a giant grey squid propelling itself lazily along next to the tiny craft. One black eye shone curiously up at them, as though contemplating what kind of silly creatures these must be if they needed big wooden bowls to get through the water. Chantel rolled her eyes. "Ah, don't be afraid, Chrissy. He's probably just a big baby, is all." She reached out a hand and patted the squid just above its eye. "There you go, Cal."
"Calimari," Chantel explained. "It's fried squid."
The squid's placid eyes narrowed angrily, and he dove
aloofly into the depths of the lake, despite Chantel's apologetic pleas for him
to return. The only response was a haughty, dismissive wave of one of his
tentacles before it arced down, down, down…
The wave that Cal sent up by that one insulted slap of the water capsized the boat.
Lily felt cold panic flood her brain as she was submerged in the water. She'd never learned how to swim, and now she flailed around hopelessly, trying to find something that would pull her to the surface. "Help!" She screamed, but only a large air bubble popped out of her mouth.
She didn't see Chantel or Chrissy (or anything, come to
think of it) in the muddy water, but she felt a large tentacle seize her around
the waist and drag her through the lake, soon tossing her a little roughly into
the reeds on a muddy bank.
Lily hoisted herself, sopping wet, out of the water and caught her breath before wandering in what she presumed to be the general direction in which the boats had been heading. Was it the eeriness of the warped old trees and feral cries, or perhaps only the chill night air that made her shiver so? As she wound her way deeper into the woods, a long, low howl and the sudden emergence of the full September moon distracted her attention from the wooden sign nailed crookedly onto an old dead oak. It read, in chipping black medieval script:
"Here was sought a
Which in a Fierce Spleen
Didst slay a Chylde of Hogwarts
Hereafter be these Woods
9 Apryle, A.D. 867
G.G. S.S. R.R. H.H."