The Snake in the Lion's Den
Iris Riddle knew she was hated. She could feel the harsh gazes aimed towards her everywhere she turned. She could hear the whispers of her fellow classmate saying You don't belong. Even though she was put into Gryffindor, she still had to prove that she wasn't some murdering psychopath who thrilled in suffering.
She knew why she was hated. She knew of her own mass murdering great grandfather, Tom Riddle, otherwise known as Voldemort. She knew all of that. She resented the fact that despite his death, people still connected her to him, no matter how hard she proved otherwise. They had allowed her to go to Hogwarts to learn magic. But all the normalcy stopped there. Everyone knew she was Voldemort's heir.
So why didn't James Potter hate her? She wouldn't have blamed him. Her blood kin had killed his grandparents and made his father's life a living hell. And yet, he didn't hate her. And because James didn't hate her, none of his family hated her either. Wary of her, yes. Suspicious, maybe. But she didn't feel that black energy whenever she went to the Potter-Weasley family. They were open, kind people. Iris found that weird but – nice. She still remembered that fateful day she was sorted into Gryfindor, and met her only true friend.
"Riddle, Iris." The headmistress called. Eleven year old Iris winced as all eyes turned to her and whispered followed her as she sat nervously down on the stool as the sorting hat was dropped on her head unceremoniously and waited for the dreadful word to be called: Slytherin.
"Ah the heir of Slytherin has returned to Hogwarts," the hat's voice echoed in her mind. Iris frowned and fought back tears. Even a dumb hat was judging her!
"I am not my grandfather!"She yelled mentally. "And I never will be! Put me where you want to, but I'm going to prove everyone wrong!"
"Is that so?" The sorting hat mused. "That's very brave of you… GRYFINDOR!"
The hat had yelled the last word aloud to the whole hall. Immediately Iris took off the hat and ran to the table, ignoring the stunned glances her way. She heard soft claps… someone was trying to start applause for her. Hesitantly the hall clapped but that was short lived.
Iris wondered what would happen next as everyone else got sorted. Was that enough to prove to people she didn't mean any harm? Probably not. She jumped as the room went into wild applause and she saw a raven haired boy sit beside her. To her surprise, he turned to her ignoring the protest of some red- head nearby him. He gladly put out a hand to shake.
"I'm James. You're Iris right?"
Iris blinked and hesitated not quite sure how to handle this new situation. Someone had actually talked to her in a polite tone. Not only that, he had called her Iris. Not Iris Riddle. Not the granddaughter of He Who Must Not Be Named. Simply Iris.
"Yes," she said as she took James' hand. "Just Iris."
That had been six years ago. James Sirius Potter had been beside her ever since. And no one dared mess with James, the head auror's eldest son. So most of the time she was ignored, except for James' family, who took her in as their own. She reflected on all of this as she laid down on the grass of the quidditch pitch, studying the clouds up above. She closed her eyes and sighed. James was the only one who truly knew her. He was her friend, her protector, her all.
Iris sat straight up, immediately recognizing her caller. James ran toward her, his red and gold quidditch uniform dancing in unison with his messy raven hair in the breeze. The young man collapsed right beside her.
"Are you okay?" He asked, his hazel eyes staring right into her own ice blue. "There isn't anyone I should go hex is there?"
Iris gave a light smile, "No James."
James cocked his head. "No, what? No you're not alright or no there isn't anyone I should hex?"
"No, there isn't anyone you should hex!" laughed Iris. "Really James I'm just thinking."
"Do you want to share? You looked pretty sad."
It was surprising what James could notice about her. "I'm not sad… well I was a bit but then the thought of someone cheered me up – what do you have in your hand James?"
Grinning, James revealed a pure white iris in his palm. But that didn't explain the nervous grin on his face. Indeed, her friend was almost acting shy.
"It's umm… it's for you," he said and gently placed the flower in her dark brown hair. "Happy seventeenth birthday, Iris."
"James, you did remember!" She threw her arms around him.
"Have I ever forgotten?" he laughed, looking a bit more like himself.
"And I never will, I will always be here, Iris."
Iris' heart started to flutter as she looked right back at him. He had a strange look on his face. His hazel eyes seemed to turn warmer and he had a small smile – all just for her.
"HEY CAP'T! AREN'T WE GOING TO PRACTICE OR WHAT!"
The two teens startled and turned to see Fred Weasley waving at James, who was clearly annoyed.
"COME ON JAMESIE! QUIDDITCH!"
James sighed and muttered something that sounded like "That's captain to you Freddie my dear cousin." Iris gave a small giggle and grinned as James gave her a hug. She felt his lips kiss her hair and she felt her eyes widen in shock.
"Well, duty calls. We're going to flatten Slytherin this year!" Despite his attempt at humor, Iris saw that James looked just as shocked as her and – was he looking nervous? "Meet you under the tree by the lake after practice?"
"JAMES! HURRY UP MAN!"
"Yeah," Iris nodded. "I'll meet you by the lake. You better go; you're team looks like they're about fed up with you."
"Ah they can just stick a wand up their –"
"FOR MERLIN'S SAKE, I'M COMING!" James bellowed back at the team. "EVERYONE 20 LAPS ROUND THE FIELD NOW!"
Iris watched, amused as James hopped on his broom and joined the team. Typical quidditch obsessed James. My quidditch obsessed James, she laughed. She conjured a mirror to gaze at the iris he had placed in her hair and she touched where she had felt James' lips on her head.
Yes, she was Iris Riddle; the hated heir of Slytherin. But yet, thanks to James, she became just simply Iris.