Author's Notes: These are going to be really long author's notes. Sorry. Skip to after the long line type thing if you don't care.

Sorry it's been awhile, folks. I can't even offer you a super-long chapter in repayment, but I can offer you the end of The Sorceress Diaries: Book 2. Book 3 will (hopefully) resume on New Year's Day of 1996, and will cover up to the end of Hermione's school year.

I just want to say thank you again to everyone who has been reading and reviewing…you're all super wonderful, and although this fic takes a lot of time and energy to write (I've re-read and/or typed out some sections of OotP for the purposes of this fic so many times that I could probably quote certain scenes by heart) it's totally worth it when someone (read: chlorinator101) writes a Rolling Stones review song. Rock on.

Regarding the pen name, I want to thank everyone for their suggestions, especially Jess, who suggested "Phoenix Argentum" - Silver Phoenix in Latin. I really, really like that name, but the only thing stopping me from using it is that I still want to be recognizable as good 'ol "Silver Phoenix". I also enjoyed "Not Silver Phoenix" from Coughdrop, as that would probably be an extremely effective way of stopping them from picking on me. But, I think I'm going to stick with Silvver with two v's. I've become rather fond of it, actually. So Silvver Phoenix I shall be.

Welcome to the FU, JKRobsessed, ProudMuggleGirl, and sveltskye!

Joanna99: Unfortunately, I cannot bring back the parodies because it is beyond my control…but you can read them on my website (see my profile).

Blue: Yes, I am well aware what "FU" sounds like. That's the point.

Air of Mystery: Ha…Ghost of Emotional Satisfaction.

Phew! Finally, I present…the actual chapter.

Sunday, 31 December

2:00 p.m.

The post-holiday blues have set in.

It started at the end of Christmas Day, when Ginny, Ron, Harry, and I were feeling down because of Neville, and Sirius got upset that we wouldn't join him in being merry and such. The four of us were still kind of down in the dumps on Boxing Day ("I don't understand why Muggles call it that," said Ron confusedly. "Isn't boxing that sport with the big, funny red gloves? What's that have to do with the day after Christmas?") and Sirius was again disappointed that we didn't want to play Gobstones with the brand new set Professor Lupin had bought for him. By the end of Boxing Day Sirius was back in Buckbeak's room. He's been prone to "fits of the sullens", as Mrs. Weasley calls them, ever since.

Like his cheerful mood before, Sirius's gloomy mood has spread just as quickly. Everyone's been bored and listless, and I never thought I'd say it, but if we have leftover Christmas puddings for lunch one more time I think I'm going to go mad. Even the beautiful Christmas decorations we put up are beginning to lose their cheerfulness. The tinsel hanging from the banisters has gone kind of limp and droopy, the fake snow just seems to be cluttering the place up now, and the pieces of furniture that Sirius charmed to sing Christmas carols are beginning to sound hoarse. The boudoir on the second floor has taken to heaving a great sigh before launching into its now-raspy version of "We Wish You a Merry Christimas", which is now peppered with phrases like "Good something's we bring…to you and your…something, good tidings for…oh, bother…"

Mrs. Weasley won't let us take the decorations down, though, because she says the holidays aren't really over until after New Year's Day. Sirius brightened up for a little while at the thought of a New Year's Eve party at Grimmauld Place like the Christmas Eve party we had, but when he found out that most of the Order was busy on New Year's Eve, he got sullen again. I think Mundungus and Tonks might stop by tonight, and possibly Professor Lupin, but everyone else seems to have plans.

Fred and George are making an effort to be cheerful, at least; but really, the joke about the vampire and the werewolf was only funny the first time, and I think Lupin gets slightly more offended every time they tell it, although he'd never admit it.

Sirius finally found Kreacher (he was in the attic), but instead of being glad everyone just seemed to get even more bitter and grumpy. Kreacher hasn't thanked me for my Christmas present yet…but I'm sure it's just because he's shy.

Speaking of Christmas presents, I haven't mentioned the laundry detergent perfume to Ron since Christmas Day and he hasn't mentioned it to me. I think he was trying to hint at something yesterday at breakfast, though, because he very loudly asked his mother if she was wearing new perfume and then glanced over at me, but that might be reading too much into things.

Crookshanks disappeared last night and proudly pranced into my bedroom this morning with the largest dead rat I have ever seen dangling from his mouth. Ginny and I fought for half an hour over who should dispose of it. Finally we just called George, who did away with the rat with magic, but not before "accidentally" turning Crookshanks purple. The point of this story? There are enormous rats running around Grimmauld Place. As if the dead Puffskeins in the closets and the knickknacks that try to hypnotize you weren't bad enough.

As bad as Grimmauld Place is - I can't believe I'm actually going to write this - I'm not looking forward to going back to Hogwarts, either. I've been trying to do some revision (after all, O.W.L.'s are only six months away!) but I find I can't concentrate nearly as well as I could when I was revising in the summer and there was a wonderful new year of learning to look forward to. Now, every time I think of going back to Hogwarts, I think of Umbridge and shudder. She's ruined Hogwarts for everyone.

I actually confessed my negative feelings about going back to the boys a few days ago, and after Ron feigned an over-dramatic bout of shock, the two of them also admitted that they weren't looking forward to going back.

"What's the point?" Ron said gloomily. We were sitting around the kitchen after lunch, doing absolutely nothing. "She's ruined Defense Against the Dark Arts, she's completely ruined Gryffindor's chances in Quidditch, she's going to sack Hagrid…she's taken away everything good about Hogwarts."

"Not the DA," Harry reminded him. "We still have the DA…"

"Yeah," Ron said. "Yeah, there's still the DA."

"If it weren't for you two and the DA, I reckon I wouldn't go back at all," Harry sighed.

"Harry!" I exclaimed. "But what about O.W.L's?"

Harry groaned. "I'd forgotten about O.W.L's. Oh boy, something else to look forward to," he said sarcastically.

Sadly, I almost felt as though I could agree with him.

I have to get out of this mood. I have to get motivated again. O.W.L.'s are just around the corner, and I've barely started revising. We have to know everything. Anything we've learned in four and a half years is fair game. I mean, I've only gotten through half my notes from first year so far…it's appalling how behind I am…

Well in a few hours' time it will be a new year, and hopefully things will start to change for the better. If this were a perfect world, in the new year the Order would find and defeat Voldemort for good, all the Death Eaters would check themselves into Azkaban, Sirius's name would be cleared, the Ministry would admit what idiots they've been, and Umbridge would retire from her teaching post in humiliation and there would be much rejoicing.

Unfortunately, we don't live in a perfect world…but here's hoping that the new year will at least be better than this one has been.

To be continued in…

The Sorceress Diaries: Book 3