Disclaimer: I do not own any of the Harry Potter characters or the stories, but I do own Eileen Pierce and her pet kneazle Mephistopheles! I also own Lucas Beowulf, Page Beowulf, Cheryl Applegate, Winnifred Miller, and any other random characters that appear in the story that were not originally in the Harry Potter series, since it's no fun if I don't have my own characters to play with. Enjoy!
Eileen arrived at the Hogwarts train platform just in time to hear the whistle blow its warning, telling her it was time to hurry. Quickly, she boarded the train and found nearly all the compartments full except for one containing the rowdy twins she met her first year at the magical school.
"Oi, Fred, it's our 'White Dove'! Come on in, we've got plenty of space!" George said cheerfully upon seeing Eileen peek into their booth. They had taken to using nicknames in the letters they had sent back and forth over the summer.
"So Dove, did you have a safe trip here?" Fred grinned as he took her trunk and with the help of his brother managed to heave it onto the rack over the seats. Tucking Mephistopheles basket into the overhead next to it, she said, "Quite safe, Mischief."
"Mischief?" Lee looked at them curiously and the boys laughed, George explaining, "We came up with code names so in case our letters got intercepted, no one would know who we were. Fred was Mischief and I was Mayhem."
"What suitable nicknames, the Chaos Twins!" Lee smirked at them as they sat on either side of Eileen with proud grins.
"Yep, and we called Eileen 'White Dove' cause she's been quite the little birdie with the gossip over the past year!" Fred winked as he hooked his arm around her neck playfully. They laughed and the train got under way, setting out for the long journey to Hogwarts.
The hours passed on as the Hogwarts Express plodded along down the old tracks, passing through empty countryside as students continued to chatter and laugh the time away. As they reached a rather scenic area by a lake, the sky outside got dark as if it were going to rain, the windows becoming foggy and cold to the touch.
Fred looked out the window and muttered, "Looks like we got pleasant skies waiting for us when we arrive at school, look at that weather."
"That sucks, oh well...we can sling mud at Malfoy on the way to the carriages." George snickered and the boys spirits rose again.
Standing, Eileen said, "I'm going to go change into my uniform, I'll be back."
"We'll keep the seat warm for ya!" The twins said in unison as she went out the door. Making her way down the hall, she joined the queue for the bathroom and watched patiently, listening to snatches of conversations here and there as students talked about school and their new classes. Finally, Eileen got her turn at the bathroom and changed quickly but before she could leave, the lights went out. Cautiously, she peeked out into the corridor but it was empty and startlingly cold, setting alarms off inside her head as she eased out and closed the door behind her. She tried to make for the cabin but a ghostly form further down the corridor stopped her in her tracks.
It was floating slowly along, another just like it journeying along behind it and peeking into random cabins most likely to the dismay of any within it. The black figure seemed to be sailing on an invisible breeze, the cloak it wore shrouding it in a disturbing darkness that set Goosebumps all over Eileen's body. She watched in terror as it turned its head in her direction, slowly gaining speed as it approached her and raising a gnarled hand menacingly. Drawing her wand, she shouted, "Go away!"
A burst of light radiated from her wand tip and seemed to push the figure back, causing it to tumble into the floor unceremoniously just as the other was knocked into the wall by another flash of light further down the corridor. Her opponent attempted another attack and she fought it off again with the light she was controlling, sending it retreating out an open window with its partner quickly following suit. Heart racing, Eileen kept her wand at the ready in case they decided to return, jumping slightly as the lights came back on.
Several heads peeked out of the cabins as an adult came walking in her direction, obviously having seen her defense against the creature as he bore a puzzled expression on his scared face.
"Were you attacked by that dementor?" The man asked in a soft yet firm tone.
Something about him unnerved her, yet she was oddly excited by his presence.
"It tried but I fought it off...was that what it was? I've only seen them in text books." Eileen explained, stowing her wand away in her robe.
"Yes. How old are you?" His blue eyes stood out behind his graying sandy hair, sharp as a knife and locking gazes with Eileen's own blue eyes.
"12 years old, sir." She answered simply. Blinking, he said in slight amazement, "You have a Patronus?"
"Yes, a kneazle, why? Oh right...I'm not suppose to know that charm yet. You must be the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, I saw you attack the other dementor before the lights went back on."
"You're a very clever girl...I look forward to seeing you in class. If you'll excuse me, I need to have a word with the conductor of this train...oh, and have some chocolate, it'll make you feel better." He handed her a piece of chocolate before stepping past her and continuing down the corridor past several curious students.
Quickly munching on the chocolate, she headed back to her cabin and was greeted by worried friends.
"What happened? Are you okay? We thought it got you!" Fred exclaimed.
"We saw it going down the hallway then there was a flash of light and - " George rambled.
"It's okay, they're gone and I'm perfectly fine." Eileen assured them as she took her seat.
"They? Wait, there were more of...of...whatever that was?" Lee stared wide-eyed, rubbing the Goosebumps away.
"It was a dementor, dummy, remember? They guard Azkaban, those were probably looking for Black." Fred explained.
"Azkaban? Who's Black?" Eileen looked clueless and George exclaimed, "Blimey, haven't you heard? Azkaban is the wizard prison where criminals are locked away and driven mad by the dementors, most people die in there before their sentence is served."
"But one of the criminals escaped, a deadly man by the name of Sirius Black." Fred said in a hushed, dramatic voice.
"They say he's killed a dozen Muggles in cold blood and laughed about it! He's insane and it's rumored he's looking for someone at the school." George added to the suspense.
"Looking for someone? Who?" Eileen looked worried.
"Don't know, the Daily Prophets not keen on divulging that information." Fred shrugged, taking his seat next to her.
Pondering this new information, she settled in for the rest of the ride to Hogwarts, her mind whirling with the prospects of the new year.
The students flooded out of the train an hour later, eager to get away from the memory of the dementors and longing for the warmth of the welcome dinner. The first years followed Hagrid down to the lake as usual where they journeyed across to make their grand entrance, while the rest of the students climbed into the carriages.
Fred sat next to Eileen while George and Lee sat across from them, chattering happily.
"You know, I always wondered how they made these carriages move, do you suppose it's some kind of advanced magic? I can't wait to learn it so I can make stuff move around on its own!" Lee said, sounding excited.
"None of you have witnessed death, have you?" Eileen asked curiously and they stared back at her blankly.
"Um...no, why?" Fred asked in return, looking puzzled.
Staring out the window at the foggy night, Eileen muttered, "If you had, you'd know how the carriages moved."
"Really? That must be some spell if you have to see someone die to understand it. Hey, Fred, keel over!" George commanded.
Fred pretended to die and they looked around curiously, Lee finally saying, "Don't see any difference...so what is it? Can you see what's making it move?"
"Yes..." Eileen whispered and they fell silent, watching her closely as they approached the schools.
"Well, I don't know about you, but I see something deathly black and lurking around the grounds. Look, there's one now!" Fred said gravely, pointing out the window as everyone leaned over to see. Outside, spread out everywhere were dozens of dementors patrolling the area thoroughly and slowly.
Leaning back, Eileen scrunched down in her seat and muttered, "I don't like those things..."
"Who would, they make life miserable just with their presence. It's like being around Snape - " Lee started to say before the twins hissed at him, motioning to Eileen who seemed to have ignored his comment and was staring out the window solemnly at the moon above.
"It'll be a full moon soon." Eileen whispered, though none of them understood why as they rode on in silence.
Minutes later, they had come through the front gates and were disembarking, marching up to the castle in a river of black robes to enter the great hall and have a hot meal to bring their spirits up. Eileen sat with her house for once, just for opening ceremonies so she didn't start a rebellion right at the beginning of term. There weren't many students sorted into Slytherin and the ones that did looked quite malevolent, perfectly suited for her house in her opinion. But one particular new student caught her eye, he was rather tall for his age with shoulder length brown hair that hung in his eyes as he awaited his sorting.
The hat took a while to decide where to put him and he seemed to grow redder with every waking moment it took to come to its conclusion. Finally, it sorted him into Ravenclaw where he sat with his back to Eileen, right across from her. She stared at him for a while before the Ravenclaws noticed and began to whisper, catching his attention as he turned to see whom they were pointing at.
They met gazes and Eileen smiled kindly, saying, "Welcome to Hogwarts, Lucas."
"Th-thank you..." He smiled gently back before turning back to his own table and bowing his head, obviously embarrassed by her attention.
She gave him one last lingering glance before looking up at the table and seeing the shaggy professor she had met on the train.
He was watching her curiously, looking surprised by her friendliness toward the new boy and seeming intrigued by her.
But her attention was soon drawn to the man seated a few seats down from him, glaring viciously at him without any concern with being seen doing so. Blinking, she wondered why Snape looked so cross, perhaps they knew each other? After the opening speech and dinner, Eileen made her way out of the great hall and headed for the dungeons to get settled in.
"Excuse me, might I have a moment of your time?" She turned to see the sandy-haired teacher slowing to a quick canter after running to catch up to her.
"Of course, professor Lupin." Eileen responded, having learned his name during introductions.
"I have heard a lot about you from the teachers already, they say you're the best student in all their classes." Lupin smiled gently as they stood aside so as not to block traffic.
"I suppose, sir." She answered humbly, glancing around him to make sure Snape wasn't around to see her talking to him privately.
"I have also been told that the teachers give you advanced homework, is this true?" His eyes locked onto hers intently and she nodded, saying quietly, "I've already mastered everything up to 5th year, I'm fluent in 6th and 7th year work but haven't mastered everything yet. I excel mostly in your field of study, you may find it difficult to find anything I don't know yet."
"You have proved to be a skilled witch for your age already, but I'm sure I can find something that will challenge you in my classes. Perhaps you would consider joining advanced classes with the older students if you find 2nd year work boring?" He asked, glancing around as if expecting someone.
"Would the headmaster allow that?" Eileen looked captivated by his proposal.
"It is my duty as your teacher to teach at your level, is it not? You will still be in my class, just learning at your own level. I would have to give you a test beforehand to figure out what year you'd best be placed in, if it's not too much trouble."
"I would be delighted, thank you, sir." Eileen smiled happily, the prospect of being challenged during class extremely tempting to her.
"Getting acquainted with the students, Remus?" Out of nowhere, Snape floated over to them and glared at Lupin with the same loathing that he emitted during dinner except hidden behind his facade of formality.
"Ah, Severus, I hope the headmaster spoke to you about my request?" Lupin turned his attention to Snape suddenly as if he hadn't been talking to Eileen at all.
"Yes, I have been informed, I will oblige to your needs. Miss Pierce, it would be best if you turn in now, the password for the dormitory is masquerade." Snape glanced at her, his eyes telling her that he didn't want her to be around Lupin any longer.
She nodded and bowed to them both before heading toward the stairs, glancing back to see them staring menacingly at each other as if engaged in a staring contest. Entering the dorm, she headed straight to her new room and found Beth already inside getting settled in.
"Hello, Beth, how was your summer?" Eileen said coolly, still distracted by the thought of the two men most likely still battling it out visually.
"Oh, boring as usual, mother made me take an etiquette course so I can become a proper lady and attract a good husband. It's all rubbish if you ask me, she just didn't want to have to put up with me for 4 months." Beth said indignantly, shutting her trunk with more force than was necessary.
"Well, it's good that you had something to pass the time with..." Eileen reasoned as she let Mephistopheles out of his basket and opened her trunk to get changed.
"Why, what did you do over the break?" Beth looked like she couldn't believe anything could have been worse than balancing books on your head and sipping tea with your pinky out.
"Hide in an empty house with no one but Mephi to keep me company and the hopes of another letter from a friend to pass the time." Eileen responded dully.
"What about your parents? Oh...I'm sorry, I forgot." Beth remembered her telling her about her mother being dead and her father being absent, not aware that she was really hiding from her own father most of the summer. Eileen had also failed to mention the week that Snape had spent visiting her and placing a spell on her home that would hide her from anyone but him. This memory she would keep to herself and cherish fondly as the best days of her life.
"It wasn't terrible, at least I kept in contact with everyone. Though I have missed a lot in the wizarding world, apparently there's a criminal on the loose?" She said nonchalantly.
"Yes, how could you not hear about it? He's deadly and barking mad! I hear that he can kill you just by looking at you!" Beth said in a dramatic hiss, her eyes wild with fear.
"Is that so...I think I'd be more afraid of the dementors than Black, at least he's not attacking students at random for having some hope in their life." Eileen reasoned, pulling her nightgown over her head and crawling into bed where she whispered, "I think I might like to meet this Black character, he sounds like an interesting person to me."