The Adventures of Emily Black

Disclaimer: I own nothing

Chapter 2

Salem

There exist many phobia inducing situations. Being locked in a coffin and listening to the dirt hitting the roof was one of them. Not being able to do anything to stop it only increased the fear.

Emily fought against her paralysis, screaming silently and without moving, wanting someone to save her. But no one could. She was dead to them. Her funeral only heightened this sense.

The funeral was one of the most devastating moments of her life, and that included her father's heartbreaking farewell. At the wake she had listened to the conversations going on around her. She had learnt two very important things. The first was that her father had been arrested for "betraying" the Potters and murdering Peter Pettigrew, and that was why he wasn't there by her side. Emily was particularly upset that she would never see him again, for no one escaped Azkaban sane.

The second bit of news was that the Dark Lord had been defeated. The story going around was that he had killed James and Lily before turning his wand on the two children. Emily had been killed first and Harry, displaying powerful magic for a one year old, managed to reflect the curse back on the caster, thus ending the reign of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.

One of the most horrible moments during the funeral was listening to her Uncle Moony talk about her childhood and what he expected her to be when she got older. His sobs penetrated to wood of the coffin and Emily could feel tears slide down her cheeks.

Uncle Moony – Remus Lupin – finished his eulogy to a scattering of applause. It was after that the coffin was lowered into the ground. Emily's panic had increased, despite her inability to move, and she struggled against her paralysis.

The dirt continued to fall, becoming fainter and fainter until she was completely buried. Emily was crying, tears fell down her cheeks and her eyes fluttered. The darkness was complete, not a sliver of light made its way into the coffin.

Emily fought in fear as she realised that she was beginning to move again. Her body arched as her heart started to beat again and her lungs screamed for air. The shock of her magic revitalizing her removed the paralysis as if it had never been. She opened her mouth and screamed. The loud sound in an enclosed area was deafening but that didn't seem to bother Emily as she had a panic attack.

Her fingers scratched at the roof of the coffin in desperation and she panted for breath as the air quickly became too thin to breathe in. Tears continued to flow as her screams became pants in the darkness.

"Let me out, let me out, let me out…" she started to whisper to herself. She was finding it difficult to breathe and her struggles were becoming weaker.

A sudden rush of energy shocked her as the air compressed around her. She disappeared from the coffin with a loud pop.

Clean, fresh air surrounded her and she took a deep breath in reflex. She began to cough and rolled over onto her stomach. She was outside but all she could think of was breathing, which was difficult in her current state of panic.

She crawled to her knees so she crouched like a dog, her black hair dangling around her and on the ground like a shield from danger and her eyes wide open, unblinking. She was oblivious to the world around her and as such didn't see a woman approaching her.

When the woman put her hand on her shoulder she jumped backwards and stared at her. The woman had short, curly brown hair that didn't fall below her shoulders and compassionate brown eyes that helped to calm her down. She couldn't be any older than thirty-five.

"What's wrong child?" she asked in concern. Emily put her hand on her chest.

"Can't…breathe…" Emily managed to say. The woman pulled her into a hug and started to rub soothing circles on her back while forcing her head between her knees.

"Take slow breaths alright," the woman instructed. "You have to be calm." Emily nodded and did as she was told. Slowly, her breathing returned to normal and Emily collapsed against the woman helping her. She was exhausted.

"All better now?" the woman asked. Emily nodded tiredly.

"Who are you?" Emily asked softly.

"My name is Ruby White," the woman said. "And what is your name child?"

"Emily. Thank-you for helping me Miss," Emily replied.

"No problem Emily and please, call me Ruby," Ruby said kindly. "Where are your parents?"

"Gone," Emily murmured, her eyes focused on her knees. With her mother being dead and her father in Azkaban she had no false hopes of seeing either before she died properly.

Ruby sighed in sympathy. She had seen the child appear in the middle of the park and knew that she was a child who possessed the magical gift. She would have continued walking but seeing the state the little girl was in encouraged her to help out.

There was blood on her fingers from where bits of wood had become lodged in them and she didn't look like she was aware of where she was. Ruby was glad that she could help but she figured she could take it one step further.

"Emily?" she asked softly. Emily made a noise to show that she was listening. "Would you like to come home with me?" Emily looked up at her in confusion.

"What?" she asked.

"Would you like to come home with me?" Ruby repeated patiently. "My husband Chris and I occasionally foster children who need it. Our last foster child moved out of Salem last year and our house is now feeling empty. We'd be honored if you would move in with us…especially if your parents are no longer around."

Emily thought about it for a minute. Being presumed dead would make it difficult to go back home but it wasn't like anyone could look after her. Her father was incarcerated, her mother was dead, her godparents was dead, her uncle was unable to take her because of the ministry's laws against werewolves and she didn't want to become a ward of the ministry. She looked up at Ruby again who was waiting patiently, if a little bit anxiously, for her reply.

"I'd really like that," Emily whispered. Ruby beamed.

"Let's go home then," she said and before Emily could protest, picked her up onto her hip. Emily was too tired to protest anyway so she settled for wrapping her arms around her new guardian's neck and resting her head under Ruby's chin. Ruby smiled and tightened her grip on the small girl. Together they made their way home.

--

Chris White was having a good day. At thirty-seven years of age he was the chief of staff at the Salem Hospital and very popular amongst his patients. Children in particular loved his easy going and professional nature as he always made them better.

His wife often brought home stray children in need of fostering and he was eager to help out. Whatever made his wife happy made him happy.

Chris had golden blond hair that always looked perfect, never a hair out of place. His brown eyes, so similar to his wife Ruby's, were warm and compassionate and instantly set people at ease.

At the present moment he was strolling down the streets of Salem tossing an apple high into the air and catching it. He looked towards the hill at the end of the street at the school and smiled as he saw several kids throwing water at each other. Being one of the last warm days in Autumn children were amusing themselves with the left over water balloons from Summer before being forced to adapt to Winter.

The amazing thing about the school was that it only selected a few students a year to attend and the rest came from other areas in America. This was because the school was a magic school.

Salem Academy of Magic existed harmoniously with the muggle (non-magic) world and everyone in Salem was aware of what went on in the school. Magical children from Salem attended the school throughout the year but were allowed home on weekends and holidays if they wanted to. Others stayed at the school in the dorms to keep their friends company.

The curriculum for the Academy not only covered magical education but also muggle education so that students were not ignorant of how to behave around muggles. Salem wasn't a large school, only accepting fifteen kids a year from all across America. Many magical children attended the popular schools such as Hogwarts, Durmstrang and Beaubatons, while others were home schooled.

Chris and Ruby had fostered three magical children, all had gone to Salem Academy and either graduated or moved to another school. The kids had had nothing bad to say about the school so neither ruby nor Chris saw fit to forbid them from going.

The Quidditch matches were also open to the public and many attended to see the teams compete against each other. There were four teams in the school, two in the higher years and two in the lower years. It was always interesting to compare the two different groups and watch those with talent fly around in the air on broomsticks.

"Chris!" Chris turned away from the school with a smile on his face as he recognised his wife walking towards him.

"Hello love," he said as she came closer. He kissed her cheek in greeting and looked down at the child in her arms. "Another stray?"

"Her name's Emily," Ruby said smiling as she looked down at the sleeping child. She had fallen asleep not long ago. "She said her parents are gone, I'd like to foster her. And I think she's magical." Ruby explained how Emily had appeared and Chris found himself nodding in agreement. He put his hand on Emily's head gently. She woke up and looked at him with sleepy blue eyes.

"Hello little one," he said smiling. "I'm Chris, your new foster father hopefully."

"Hi," Emily replied. She looked passed Chris' shoulder and gasped. Chris followed her gaze and saw some kids flying around on broomsticks.

"They're from the Salem Academy of Magic," Ruby explained. "I do hope a teacher is looking after them."

"You'll find here that muggles and magic folk exist together, both aware of the other and without prejudice," Chris added. "We are muggles but we aren't ignorant of the wizarding world like the rest of our kind. The same as wizards and witches aren't ignorant of the muggle world. I do believe there are even compulsory classes each student must take that follow the same curriculum as muggle schools." Emily nodded, still watching the children flying around. She had a wistful look on her face that Chris noticed immediately.

"Do you believe in magic?" Ruby asked as the trio began moving again. Emily nodded.

"Daddy says I'm a natural at charms," she admitted.

"Where's your father now?" Chris asked. He spotted her expression change from wistful to sad.

"Azkaban," she murmured. Ruby gasped in shock. Chris himself was astounded. In American wizarding prisons, prisoners simply had their magic bound, as well as having magic suppression wards covering the area. Muggle police guarded the prisoners from themselves and the outside world with the help of trained dogs to detect any intruders or people sneaking away.

No dementor was employed by the American Ministry and they did not need to subject prisoners to their worst nightmares. It was inhumane treatment that wasn't tolerated in the States.

"What was his crime? Do you know?" Ruby asked curiously holding tightly to the child to give her comfort.

"They said he killed Uncle Peter, I know he wanted to but I don't think he could have done it," Emily said sadly. "But he was distressed after Aunty Lily and Uncle James were killed. I don't know anymore."

"I am so sorry child," Chris said. Emily shrugged.

"At least I have someone to look after me now," she said hoping to steer the conversation into less depressing matters. Ruby nodded in agreement.

"That's right," she said. "No we'll go to Salem Academy to enroll you, if you want that is?" Emily nodded firmly.

"Great," Chris stated. "Now, how old are you? Six? Seven?"

"Nine," Emily said frowning. "I'm ten on the first of August."

"You're awfully small for your age then," Chris replied.

"I know, but daddy used to say that my mother was short too," Emily pulled on her clothes nervously.

"Where is your mother?" Ruby asked gently.

"She died when I was born," Emily said looking up at the school. "Do you think they'll accept me?" Chris frowned at her past. Such hardship to a child not even in double digits yet.

"Of course they will," Ruby stated. "And while we're there we'll get you officially fostered. Do you want to keep your name or take ours?"

"Emily White," Emily said slowly, as if tasting the name. "Can I take your name?"

"No reason why not," Chris said as they arrived at the school. "Let's get you enrolled."

--

Three hours later the White family left Salem Academy. Emily's head was buzzing with all the new information she had been told.

When she was ten she would be allowed to attend officially. She had expected the attendance age to be eleven but was informed that because Salem was such an out of the way school they lowered the attendance level but had an extra year of schooling to train specifically for their choice in career after they completed their NEWTs.

The first six years of schooling allowed the students to compete on the Quidditch teams. The last two years were supposed to be for studying and career training but students were allowed to join the teams in training or to give ideas.

There were two uniforms, the boy's uniform and the girl's uniform. The boy's uniform consisted of black shoes, dark pants or black shorts, a grey shirt long or short sleeved, and a black vest with the school logo on it. There was also the compulsory floor length cloak with a customary hood, once again with the school logo on it. The girl's uniform consisted of black shoes also, black tights or white socks, a dark skirt, a grey shirt or a long sleeved grey shirt with a hood attached (boys didn't have the hooded shirts as part of their uniform), a black vest with the school logo on it, and the cloak. Each student also required a wand holster to be strapped to their forearms and a change of clothes to exercise in.

Classes consisted of the usual wizarding requirements such as Transfiguration, Charms, Potions, Herbology, Defense Against the Dark Arts and Astronomy. Also included was History (both wizarding and muggle), Physical Education, Art and Music. Once students entered their third year of schooling they were allowed to take extra subjects that they would like to take or may need for future careers.

"So what did you think?" Chris asked as they exited the school grounds.

"Wow," Emily answered. "Why can't other schools do this too?"

"The larger schools focus on wizarding culture," Ruby admitted.

"And ignore muggle culture," Emily added. Ruby nodded her agreement.

"True, but they have higher expectations. Smaller schools such as Salem Academy are able to combine teachings because it doesn't have high expectations placed on its students to be the best." Chris nodded in agreement to Ruby's explanation.

"But shouldn't you try to be your best anyway?" Emily asked in confusion.

"Yes," Chris answered immediately. "But the only people expecting you to do well are you parents or guardians, teachers and yourself. Schools such as Hogwarts, Durmstrang and Beaubatons are very prestigious schools and in the lime light often."

"But isn't it better to go there to get better job applications?" Emily asked again.

"It does work in your favor," Ruby admitted. "But you still need to do all the hard work. It's just that the bigger schools have better teachers, so people expect students to be better than others." Emily frowned.

"That's not fair for others though," she muttered. Chris grinned and threw an arm around the nine year old's shoulders.

"Life's not fair," he told her. "You just have to make the best of what you're given." Emily smiled up at him and took Ruby's hand in her own.

The three of them continued walking home, Emily grateful that she had someone to look after her now that her parents and god parents no longer could, Chris and Ruby happy to have another child in the house to call their own.

A/N What do you think? Please review...I need to know what you all want to read, or even if you have any questions concerning something I've written or gotten wrong.

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