Author Note

Here it finally is, Lunar Phases Part 1. Hope you enjoy the first chapter! It and the next two chapters are really a very long prologue, as they are the chapters that explain the events that set in motion this AU story.


Warnings

This is an AU. Maybe not so much in Part 1, but certainly in Part 2, 3 and 4. If you don't like AUs, move on now.


Chapter 1

Into the Lake

It was Friday morning and Myra Kinney woke up to a blurry, odourless and quiet world. She was barely able to breathe, it sounded like her ears were full of cotton and her eyes were runny and full of goo. She tried to sit up, but the effort made her dizzy and made a splitting headache shoot through her head. With a loud groan she fell back into the bed.

"Something wrong, Myra?" she heard a voice say as if from very far away.

Myra tried to answer, but only a hoarse sound came out. The far-away voice grew a head as it appeared inside the curtains around Myra's bed. Myra rubbed her eyes and squinted, trying to see who it was.

"Oh, my," the voice said in concern, "you look awful." The voice sounded more and more like Myra's best friend, Hestia Jones. And sure enough, as she rubbed her eyes again, the light blurb developed somewhat familiar facial features surrounded by dark hair.

Myra tried to clear her throat; it wasn't nice to listen to. But it helped her croak out one word, "Thick," only to crumble in a coughing fit. Every heaving of her chest made her head hurt a million times worse, and she pressed her hands desperately around her head in an effort to make the pain go away.

Once the fit was over, Hestia spoke. "You mean 'sick'." She sat down on the side of the bed and put her wrist to Myra's forehead. "No kidding. You're burning up. But you're thick too; I told you that you should have gone to Madam Pomfrey for a Pepperup last night. However, I expect you'll be kept there for several days now, since you were so stupid and didn't go the moment you came out of the lake." Hestia shook her head as if she was talking to a child.

Myra just glared back, as her ability to speak was minimal.

The glare didn't even faze Hestia. She'd been on the receiving end of them too many times the last four and a half years to care. "Skip classes today, go see Madam Pomfrey. You're too sick to get anything useful done today. I'll take extra good notes, and make sure all your teachers are notified."

Myra nodded sadly. She had her favourite subject today, Care of Magical Creatures, right after lunch. But since that class was the one who had gotten her sick in the first place, maybe there wasn't any point in going today. It was supposed to be an outside lesson, and pneumonia was most likely next if she went outside. It may be just early October, but it was already windy and cold. Still, it would be wonderful to be there for the last lesson on grindylows.

"Cadt I judt sweep do do lund? De kwasses adt dat ibortadt. Ad den go to Cade o' Bagikal Keatud?"[*] This was followed by another coughing fit, thankfully shorter than the last.

Hestia caught herself before she laughed at Myra's words. "No, two hour extra sleep won't help you. And you might create an epidemic if you're let out into the public. You are going to see Madam Pomfrey. And that's final."

Hestia sounded frighteningly like Myra's mother. Another glare was sent in direction of Hestia, and then Myra managed to get out of bed, find some clothes and stumble into the bathroom, all the while her head pounded from the effort.

Doing the morning routine as quickly as she could in the state she was in, she finally got the clothes on and dared herself to look in the mirror. Hestia hadn't been lying; she did look awful. Her shoulder length brown hair looked dry and greasy at the same time. She was ghostly pale, making the feverish flush stand out. Not to mention the bright red nose, the nose that now denied her half the required oxygen amount to function normally.

It would have to do. She couldn't look more presentable until Madam Pomfrey had cured her. By now the rest of Gryffindor house had gone to breakfast, but Hestia was waiting patiently in the common room. Myra couldn't tell if it was out of concern or to make sure she did go to the hospital wing. They went on their way and said goodbye on the third floor. Myra reached the doors to the infirmary, gently opening them and stepping inside.

No one was in sight, so Myra coughed as carefully as she could to avoid another fit.

Madam Pomfrey came bustling out from her office and took in Myra's state with a frown.

"I'b sobby to bobber you so eadly, Badab Pobrey,"[*] Myra said thickly, feeling lightheaded from the effort of pushing the words out after the long trek from Gryffindor Tower. But before she was able to say anything else, she was thankfully being guided towards the nearest bed.

"Nothing to worry about, Miss Kinney," Madam Pomfrey said and shook her head, while firmly making Myra lie down. Myra did, feeling relief when her head hit the pillow, the pounding in it decreasing a bit when she didn't have to hold it up. The matron waved her wand over Myra in a series of intricate patterns, sometimes shooting small red sparks that made her sneeze. "Worse than I thought, Miss Kinney. Not only do you have a terrible head cold, but this has settled in the chest as well. No one has reported in to me about flu symptoms, and the season is not for months yet. How did you manage to get so sick?"

Myra cleared her throat. "Cade o' Bagikal Keatud yedteday, gwindylowd wid de bedpeople. I fedd id." [*] Once again she fell into a coughing fit. Madam Pomfrey summoned a glass of water and a vial of some potion, put some of the potion in to the water and gave it to Myra, who emptied the glass in one gulp. Instantly her throat cleared and the itch was gone.

"You studied grindylows with the merpeople in Care of Magical Creatures yesterday and you fell into the lake?"

Myra nodded. Apparently Madam Pomfrey knew the language of the oxygen deprived.

"I'll have a word with Professor Kettleburn about this; there are just too many accidents in his class. Now, just lie here and I'll fetch some more potions for you."

While Madam Pomfrey was in her storage room, Myra heard the rumble of students downstairs. Breakfast must be finished and they were all on their way to classes. She would have been on her way to Magical Living [1] now, not a favourite class, but it could sometimes be quite interesting.

She sighed at her misfortune as Madam Pomfrey returned with a tray of potions and put them on the bedside table. "Take a small sip from this one first," she said pointing to a murky yellow potion. "It's to clear out your sinuses."

Myra uncorked the bottle and quickly gulped down a tiny amount of the gooey substance. Almost immediately she felt air start to come through her nose again. And with more oxygen her brain felt clearer and the pounding decreased significantly.

"Now, take the Pepperup." The matron pointed at one of the three small vials containing a grey liquid. "Just one, the other two are for later."

As instructed, Myra swallowed the familiar Pepperup potion. Steam started pumping out through her ears. Thankfully not so much, she was still able to see the room, but Myra always felt so strange about it.

"You have a very high temperature, so I need you to stay here the rest of the day and at least until tomorrow evening. You will have to stay longer if your fever hasn't gone down by morning. Now, try to get some rest while the potion works. There's a light Sleeping Draught there too, if you need one. And take a small sip of the Congestion Potion [2] if you feel that you need it, but not more than once every 4 hours."

"Thank you, Madam Pomfrey," Myra said, surprised to hear her voice like normal again, though a bit hoarse.

Madam Pomfrey waved her hand at that. "No matter, no matter. Just make sure you rest. Sleep is a very efficient medicine for a head and chest cold." Then the matron went back into her office.

Instead of brooding about missing Care of Magical Creatures, she decided it would be better to sleep like Madam Pomfrey ordered. Myra took a small sip from the Sleeping Draught, and then rolled over to her right side and closed her eyes. It was a little bit uncomfortable to feel the steam from her right ear blowing directly into the pillow, but before she could think about doing anything about it, she had fallen asleep.

...

It was right before dinner when Myra woke up again. She felt a little disoriented. There was a faint grey fog around her head, but she noticed that her ears had thankfully stopped producing steam. She didn't feel much better than before she fell asleep, her nose was congested again and she felt a bit flushed, but at least her headache was gone.

Rolling over she took in her surroundings. It seemed that no one had been up to see her; there were no school books or class notes on her bedside table. Hestia always made sure Myra got her schoolwork if she was unable to go to class. She'll probably be up after dinner, Myra thought hopefully.

"Ah, you're awake! And just in time for dinner and another dose of Pepperup." It seemed like Madam Pomfrey had a bell in her head signalling when a patient was awake, because Myra hadn't even been up for two minutes before the matron came out from her office bringing along a tray of food. "Take the potion first, and then you can eat."

"I have to eat with all the fog around me?" Myra sat up, pulling her pillows up towards the headboard.

"Do you want to get well or not?" Madam Pomfrey said sternly. "Potion."

Grudgingly, Myra did as she was told, but not before taking a small sip of the Congestion Potion first. Another gush of steam came out of her ears, not as powerful as earlier, but still enough to make Myra not see exactly what she was about to eat.

"Good. Now eat. Just call on me if you need anything." And with that Madam Pomfrey disappeared into her office once again.

In quiet and solitude Myra ate her dinner, the tray floating in front of her. She was trying hard to ignore the tickle in her ears as they produced steam and the occasional shiver that ran through her.

Halfway through the Shepherd's Pie, the hospital wing doors opened and Hestia came through.

"Hi," Myra greeted as Hestia sat down on the empty bed next to hers.

"How are you feeling?" Hestia asked.

"Flushed and tired, but at least I can breathe properly now." She pushed the floating food tray to the foot of the bed, not having much of an appetite. "Did you bring me any notes?"

"I brought notes and your books. I've got Anna's and Ashley's notes too." Hestia reached for the book bag she had brought with her. "I haven't had time to copy them yet though." She pulled out several sheets of parchment, all covered in extensive notes, and her wand. After tapping the wand once to the stack, they doubled in number. One half was put back in the bag and the other was given to Myra. Then she levitated three books out of the bag, putting them on the bedside table. "You're going to have to get the rest of the notes from Henry yourself. I'm not speaking to him unless it involves Quidditch." She was referring to Care of Magical Creatures, one of the classes Myra didn't share with Hestia, Ashley Ainsworth or Anna Carmichael, all fifth year Gryffindors. Myra shared that class with Henry Goldstein, another Gryffindor in her year, but Hestia didn't like him much, at least that's what she kept saying.

"Thanks," Myra said putting the parchment away for later. "At least I'll have something to do now."

"How long is Madam Pomfrey keeping you?"

"At least until tomorrow morning, longer if-" Myra paused, her eyes big in a revelation. "Patrol! I have patrol tonight with Abigail! I have to get out of here!"

"Oh no you don't!" Hestia said and jumped over to Myra's bed and pinned her forcefully to it. "I'll find York and she can get someone to cover for you."

"No, she'll just go on her own and we'll both get in trouble."

"Myra! Stay, I'll find York before practice. If I can't find her, I'll just find Lily, or better yet, Hanson or Ivory."

"Company, Miss Kinney?" Madam Pomfrey's voice came from her office door. "Have you finished your dinner?"

"Some of it, but I don't have any appetite. Besides, I have prefect patrol, I can't stay here!"

"I told her I'd find her partner or the Head Boy or Girl so someone can cover for her," Hestia said quickly.

"Very good, Miss Jones, because you, Miss Kinney, are not going anywhere. It's quite normal to not have any appetite, but it means you're far from fine. I'm going to do another check up now, to see how much work the Pepperups have done." The matron looked pointedly at Hestia.

"I should go find York then, before I have to be at practice," Hestia said. "See you later, feel better!"

"Thanks," Myra mumbled.

As the door closed behind Hestia, Madam Pomfrey began with her diagnostic spells again. The sparks didn't make Myra sneeze this time.

"The Pepperup didn't lower your fever," Madam Pomfrey concluded. "You need a dose of Acon Elixir [3]." With a small flick of the wand a measuring cup and a vial appeared. The right amount was poured into the cup, and given to Myra. "Now rest, no homework today. You need to save your energy."

After shuddering from the awfully sweetened taste of the potion, Myra asked: "I can't even read through my notes?"

Madam Pomfrey shook her head.

"Not even for just Care of Magical Creatures?"

"No, complete rest. Sleep would be preferred. Take the last Pepperup before night, but I'll be back to check on you later."

"Great," Myra muttered to herself.

The Acon Elixir started working, and Myra felt warmer than before. She began sweating slightly, and her eyelids drooped. Lying down to rest her eyes, she quickly fell asleep.

...

The next morning Madam Pomfrey woke Myra a good while before breakfast for more diagnostic spells and Pepperup. Myra felt better, but tired and lazy. And she was convinced it wasn't healthy to wake up this early on a Saturday.

Apparently Myra's fever was still quite high, so she was not allowed to leave come evening. But she was allowed to do homework now, as long as she didn't tire herself out too much.

So Madam Pomfrey fed Myra with a couple more potions and conjured a tray of breakfast. She then left to tend to a patient Myra only now noticed at the far end of the room. Apparently they had come in during the night. There were screens around the bed that had to be spelled with Silencing Charms, because not one sound came from the area as Madam Pomfrey was most likely busy with diagnostics or treatment or just her usual fussing about.

The curiosity in Myra started bubbling, she felt suddenly more awake and was itching to go over and see who was hiding there. It had to be a special case of something, because of the spelled privacy. But she forced herself to stay put and eat her porridge, only glancing at the screens hoping to see something, shadows, spells, anything...

A few minutes later Madam Pomfrey appeared again, pulling the screens shut and waving her wand to make them stay.

"Who's behind there?" Myra couldn't help but ask.

"A patient that needs rest and privacy," Madam Pomfrey answered in a short tone. "Eat up." The woman disappeared into her office.

Myra strained her ears as she slowly lifted spoonful after spoonful of porridge to her mouth, trying to hear anything from behind the screens. But it seemed like they were still charmed into silence. What if the person behind needed something? How would Madam Pomfrey hear the cries for help?

Well, she did seem to have a way of knowing when her patients woke up, so she probably had a way of knowing if they needed her help too.

Once Myra was done eating, she couldn't help herself anymore. She made sure the matron wasn't on her way out of the office and carefully stepped out of bed, slipping her feet into a pair of slippers that materialized on the floor.

As carefully as she could, Myra moved towards the bed, breathing slowly and quietly, stepping lightly, afraid of doing anything that might set off some kind of alarm in Madam Pomfrey's head or wherever she had it.

When she was halfway across the room, she heard the hospital wing doors open. "Myra?"

Myra winced and froze.

"Myra, what are you doing?" It was Hestia.

Putting on an innocent face, Myra turned around. Ashley and Anna were there too. "Nothing important. Just... investigating."

All three girls looked very sceptical.

"What are you investigating?"Ashley asked as they sat down on the bed next to Myra.

Defeated, Myra trudged back to her bed and climbed in. "I was trying to find out who is behind those screens." She pointed at the hidden someone. "They must have been brought in some time during the night and the area has been silenced. I just wanted to see who it was, it's clearly something serious."

"What good would that do?" Hestia asked.

Myra had no answer to that.

"Do you feel any better?" Anna asked.

"Meh," Myra answered, but very glad the subject was changed. "I've been sleeping with the help of a Sleeping Draught, but I'm still tired. Not to mention sticky and sweaty." She made a grimace. "Have you spoken to Marie today, Hestia?" Marie was Myra's little sister, a first year in Hufflepuff. And as Myra's best friend, Hestia was like a big sister to Marie as well.

Hestia cast a Scourgify on Myra before answering. "Yes, I saw her just before we came up here. She wanted me to tell you this, and I quote: 'I hope you feel better. Sorry I can't come see you, but I have too much homework.'"

"Mum would be pleased."

All four girls grinned. Myra and Marie's mother had been in Ravenclaw, and lived by the motto 'study first, responsibilities later'.

"If you want, I can have her come later today, I'm sure Ambrose would escort me into the Hufflepuff common room if I ask nicely," Hestia offered.

"No, that's okay. If she's really studying, we should leave her to it."

"We should go," Ashley then said. "Hestia promised to help us with the Transfiguration essay for Monday."

Anna groaned at being reminded of this.

"I hope you have time to help me too," Myra said. "I'm going to need all the help I can get since I'm stuck here."

"Of course, I'll come by this evening." Hestia said with a smile. The three other girls liked to call her 'our genius', as she always did her homework to the tee, had colour coded schedules for everything, and the inside of her school bag resembled a Ministry approved filing cabinet, rather than an actual bag.

"Thanks."

"Please try to stay in your own bed," Anna said with a playful smile.

"And feel better," Ashley added.

...

The rest of the day went by quite uneventful, not to mention slow, as it often does when you're sick and bedridden. Myra did get some studying done, but found that she would have liked some notes or input from Henry about what they had done in Care of Magical Creatures while she was away. If Hestia or any of the other girls came by, she would have to ask them to fetch Henry for her.

Amazingly enough Myra managed to curb her very curious nature, and left whoever was hidden behind the screens alone. It wasn't easy, but the look Hestia had sent her before the girls had left that morning kept her in place. Madam Pomfrey had gone behind the screens a few times more during the day, hovering potions and bandages and other remedies with her each time. This also helped Myra to stay put, clearly the person behind was badly injured, and her poking about would not help.

One thing had happened to make the day interesting though. Around noon three boys from the year above Myra had tried to enter, Sirius Black, James Potter and Peter Pettigrew, three quarters of the Marauders. Madam Pomfrey had come running out of her office at their noisy arrival and tried to usher them out. They kept saying something about a moon they needed to see, and Madam Pomfrey almost pulled her wand on them. But then they noticed Myra and suddenly they went out the door without a struggle.

Myra frowned at this behaviour. She knew she wasn't the prettiest girl in the school, but certainly she wasn't so revolting as to send three teenage boys running in the opposite direction? There had to be something else about her presence here that made them leave, and the only thing Myra could think of was that it had something to do with whoever was behind the screens. Why else would those three boys come into the hospital wing? If not from some prank that went wrong, then it would have to be to visit someone.

That evening Hestia came to visit again, and this time she had Marie with her.

Marie bounced happily over and sat on the opposite bed. The little Hufflepuff looked very much like her older sister. There was no lie that could convince people they weren't related. The same face shape, same eye colour and eye shape. The only difference was while Myra's hair was a regular shade of brown, Marie's was a pretty golden brown. And of course, one was much shorter than the other.

"How are you?" Marie asked. Hestia nodded in greeting.

"Better, thanks," Myra answered, happy to have someone to talk to, other than the occasional word with Madam Pomfrey. "Finished your studying for the weekend?"

"Merlin, no. I have two essays to finish before Monday," Marie moaned. "Is it normal for first years to get this much work?"

"Yes," Hestia replied. "Your first year is almost the most important one, getting your magic under control and everything. You have a lot to learn."

"I suppose... Still not fun though."

Hestia had no answer to that, since she was quite fond of studying, but Myra sympathized. "It'll get easier in time, even though the workload increases," she offered to her little sister. "And in sixth year you'll get free periods. Oh, how I look forward to the free periods."

"You should use them for studying," Hestia said in a stern voice.

Myra shrugged at that.

"When are you getting out?" Hestia asked then.

Just as Myra was about to answer, the door to the hospital wing opened, but no one came through it. Marie and Hestia followed Myra's gaze just as the door closed again. They all frowned.

"I hope I'm out tomorrow, it depends on my temperature, apparently," Myra answered distractedly. She could hear a strange and very faint shuffling sound.

"What is it?" Hestia wondered.

"You can't hear that?"

"Hear what?"

Marie looked at bit scared at the conversation.

The sound stopped. Myra listened closely for a few seconds, before shrugging. "Hm, guess it was nothing. Probably a rush in my ear from the head cold."

The girls began talking again, mostly giving Marie helpful tips for her homework, until Madam Pomfrey interrupted. "There's just a few minutes left before curfew, don't you think it's time to go back to your houses, Miss Kinney, Miss Jones?"

Hestia checked her pocket watch. "Oh, right. I'll help you with schoolwork tomorrow, Myra. Good night. Let's go, Marie."

"Feel better, Myra," Marie said with a wave, and the two girls left.

"I'll just check your temperature for the evening."

"I'm sure it's gone. It feels gone."

"Yes, well, we'll see about that," Madam Pomfrey said in an I-know-best tone. She waved her wand over Myra, waited for some kind of response, and then huffed. "It's back to normal."

Myra kept from smirking triumphantly. Instead she frowned. If arguing over her fever was this interesting, she definitely needed to get out of here.

"If there is no change in the morning, you're free to go. One last Pepperup and then sleep." The matron held out a bottle, which Myra took, gulped down and handed back. Only a very faint fizzle came out of her ears now.

With a nod of acknowledgement, Madam Pomfrey went over to check on her mystery patient.

Once Myra put her head on the pillow and dimmed the oil lamp beside her bed, she fell quickly into oblivion.

After what felt like only a second later, Myra woke with a start. The hair on her neck stood on end and she looked frantically around for the source of whatever it was that gave her the shivers. She saw nothing, it didn't look like the mystery patient had gone from their sanctuary of screens, but someone, or something, was watching her.

"Who's there?" she called out. "Show yourself, you pale ass."

Nothing. No sound, no movement.

She slowly lay her head down again, mentally telling herself it must all have been a reaction to a dream she didn't remember.

Then the light shuffling sound from earlier came back, and the door opened, then closed a few seconds later.

Myra lit the oil lamp again, took a deep calming breath and closed her eyes.

I'm still asleep, she thought. I'm just dreaming. You can see ghosts. There is nothing like invisible ghosts because you are a witch. So I'm just dreaming. Just dreaming.

...

It was just in time for breakfast the next morning when Myra was let out with strict orders to not do any outrageous activities for three days. She did a quick detour to Gryffindor Tower to shower away the feeling of sickness, and was just on time to meet Marie in the Great Hall for their Sunday breakfast tradition.

Since the two sisters were in different houses, Myra decided already during the first week that term that they would always have breakfast together on Sundays. It would be just the two of them, alternating between the Gryffindor and the Hufflepuff table. They'd stuck to it just fine for a month and a half so far, but now Myra was a bit distracted that day.

"Professor Biggar is such a great teacher, isn't he, Myra?"

Myra vaguely heard someone talking to her, but her mind couldn't process who was talking and what they were saying. She was musing about the mystery patient in the hospital wing and how she hadn't been able to find out who it was or what was wrong with them. And now it was too late. There was no chance that Madam Pomfrey would let her in unless she got deadly sick again. She was also wondering about that strange thing that woke her up in the middle of the night, giving her the shivers.

"Myra!"

This registered in Myra's head, but only because she got a kick in the shin under the table. She snapped out of her thoughts and focused on her sister. "I'm sorry, Marie. What did you say?"

"Don't you think Professor Biggar is a great teacher?"

"I can't say he's my favourite teacher, but he certainly knows his subject well," Myra answered while looking carefully around just in case the professor in question was near. She honestly didn't like Professor Biggar one bit. Myra had always been excellent in Charms, and fairly good in Transfiguration, but she could not get a proper grasp on Defence Against the Dark Arts. None of the four former teachers she'd had in the subject was able to help her enough, but with Professor Biggar she was plain miserable. She could not understand his teaching methods and he certainly didn't understand her when she tried to explain her problems.

Of course, with a new teacher every year, it was bound to get difficult.

"Well, I think he's great," Marie finished, and then went straight into a new subject.

Myra smiled and mentally shook herself free of distracting thoughts. It was Sunday, it was breakfast, and her sister craved attention. There were plenty of other opportunities to get distracted at Hogwarts.


Notes

[*] What Myra is trying to say, in the language of the oxygen deprived:

"Can't I just sleep through to lunch? The classes aren't that important. And then go to Care of Magical Creatures?"

"I'm sorry to bother you so early, Madam Pomfrey."

"Care of Magical Creatures yesterday, grindylows with the merpoeple. I fell in."

[1] The Magical Living class is the wizarding equivalent of Home Economics, one of several new electives I've invented with the help of the lovely people at the HPFF forums.

[2] Congestion Potion is one I've invented myself, a viscous liquid, murky yellow in colour. One small sip clear out the nasal cavities in relation to a head cold, chest cold, influenza, etc.

[3] Acon Elixir (Full name: Pyrexia Acon Elixir) is a potion I've invented myself, it's to reduce fever. Pyrexia is the technical name for fever. There are several kinds of potions to reduce fever, but this one has Aconite as a dominant ingredient, which according to some homeopathic sites say is good for fever. In a non-lethal amount of course :)


Author Notes

A beta or two will look through this soon, I just promised my readers that I'd have this out today, and because I'm an expert in procrastination, I just sent a beta-request a couple of days ago.

I'm not sure when the next chapter will be out, I probably won't have a fixed schedule for this story, as I did with A Wolf's Soul, for those who read that. But 4 chapters are done, and all through November I will be writing on this story for the NaNo. That means I won't post anything in November, but I will write as much as possible. 4 chapters are done now, so I will try to post 1 or 2 more before November. No idea when though.

Please review with any thoughts you have! Cookies for everyone!

Coming: Chapter 2 - A Fertilized Accident

At the top of the stairs Myra stopped. The effort of climbing the stairs had caused the blood to pump furiously through her body. "I don't feel so good," she said quietly, feeling her legs give away under her.