· Credits: None of the characters or concepts associated with J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter novels belong to me, everything else does.
· Summary: Sixteen years ago a prophecy was made, and now it's time that it came true. As Harry, Ron, and Hermione begin their fifth year at Hogwarts, they are about to discover a secret, a secret that may very well be exactly what Voldemort is looking for.
· Author's Note: This story started out as a historical fiction project for one of my English classes. Obviously it somehow mutated from that to a Harry Potter fanfic. This fanfiction was written with two goals: (1) to allow me to work on developing characters, which explains the large troop of original characters incorporated (2) to have fun with overdone, and frankly often annoying, previous Harry Potter fanfic stereotypes. I suppose I was feeling rebellious when I started, so I purposefully included American exchange students, weird powers, long-lost relations - generally hated things like that - and then tried my hardest to try and write a salvageable fic using the most difficult material to work with. Comments, both good and bad, are welcome; though, constructive criticism is preferrable. So please share!
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Chapter 1: Salem
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The pink hues of summer morning crept silently through the gaps in the drawn curtains. The early morning rays moved expertly along the floor, engulfing all in its path in an eerie bath of warmth. As the room became brighter, the bath of light reached the far corner and moved up the peaceful body lying tangled in bedsheets. And as the rays of morning reached the top of the bed, where jet black hair laid strewn wildly, contrasting sharply against the pure white pillowcase, Adrienne Miles' eyes snapped open.
Adrienne looked bemusedly around her dormitory, currently void of her six roommates. She reached up and swept a strand of hair from her face as her eyes took in the unearthly glow of the room. With great hesitation, she sat up and tumbled out of her bed.
"Damn," she yelled, tangled on the floor in her sheets, her hair hanging wildly in her face. She struggled to untangle herself, managing to stand, just to tumble over sideways, knocking into the uninhabited bed nearby.
"OW, someone's going to hang!" she yelled, battling with her sheets some more, finally liberating herself from her cloth prison. She shook her head and glared around the room.
"This is getting really old," she mumbled, throwing the sheet at the open window. "One day, that's all I ask, one day without falling out of bed... is that too much?"
* * * * *
The teachers sat in the cafeteria, chatting subduely.
"First week of vacation!" sighed a brunette in navy blue robes.
A man next to her looked up from his bacon: "Right on, Mia! No more little brats for two months!"
"Joe, come now," began Mia.
"No more playing mommy and daddy to rude and obnoxious teenagers," Joe finished.
"No real responsibility," piped up a younger, sandy-haired man at the other side of the table.
Everyone nodded their agreement and sat relishing the peaceful silence that only graced the Salem Academy of Magical Studies for two months a year.
"Listen, isn't it quiet!" the sandy-haired man sighed.
"OW, someone's going to hang!" came a voice, pounding through the open window nearby.
"New definition of quiet, eh, Ralph?" asked Joe, rolling his eyes.
"I knew it was too good to be true," Ralph muttered.
"I wonder what she'll do this summer?" Mia mused.
"Well, she's already blown up a potions laboratory," remarked Joe.
"And don't forget transfiguring all the doors into brick walls," piped up a middle-aged teacher named Leslie.
"And that time when she froze the lake."
"No, she topped it when she enchanted all the brooms to fly only vertically."
"There's always the time when she managed to turn the hallways into quicksand," Mia replied.
"Can I help it if I'm a little clumsy?" came a new voice. A tall black-haired girl strode into the cafeteria, her green school robes billowing behind her.
"Ah, Adrienne, we were just discussing your superb magical abilities," said Joe, his eyes twinkling.
Adrienne glared at him, her green eyes glinting ominously. "So I heard, Professor Glenn," she said, pulling out an empty chair.
"So, Adrienne, what was it this morning? Set your hair on fire trying to dry it?" asked Mia.
"Find a Boggart in your closet?" asked Ralph.
"What would it turn into, Ralph, a mishap proof day? That would surely ruin her hilarious reputation," joked Professor Glenn.
"It was my sheets," muttered Adrienne, embarrassed.
Leslie looked at her curiously. "What did you do, transfigure them into bed bugs?"
"Sorry to disappoint your thirst for humor, but no magical mishaps thus far, Professor Sloan. Just had trouble detangling myself from my sheets."
"Sheets can be tricky, Adrienne," began Professor Glenn, smiling mischievously. "You got to keep an eye out for them - they'll just sneak up on you and before you know it, WHAM!" he brought his hand crashing down on the table. All the dishes rattled.
"Professor Glenn!" called a wizened witch at the table's head, her eyebrows raised.
Adrienne smirked and poured herself a glass of orange juice. She leaned back in her chair, raised the glass to her lips, and looked around her. The cafeteria was empty of its usual hundreds of circular tables, a sure sign that the school was closed for the summer vacation. All the students had left to spend their two months leave with their families, that is, all except for Adrienne. She stole a glance at her professors; she was with her family too, or at least the closest thing she had to a family.
"No nightmares last night, Adrienne?" asked the Headmistress, Julia Bell.
"We would have all heard her if she did," said Professor Glenn quietly. Adrienne glared at him, and he shrugged his shoulders as if to say, 'Its the truth.' Adrienne looked down to the end of the table.
"No, Professor Bell, none last night."
* * * * *
"Oh please, someone, help!" she screamed, looking around wildly. She tried to move to stop the man, but she couldn't do anything. She shut her eyes as he swung the knife. Seconds past and she forced herself to look. The boy was still tied, blood pouring out of a cut on his right arm. Suddenly, he looked at her and their eyes met. She couldn't speak, move, or look away. She just stared transfixed, praying that the boy wouldn't die.
* * * * *It was dark, black, cold. She saw him. He was there, in front of her. She wanted to help him: He was in danger. She raised her wand to free him from the ropes but nothing happened. She couldn't do anything but watch in horror as the crazy man advanced on him with a knife.
"Oh please, someone, help!" she screamed, looking around wildly.
She tried to move to stop the man, but she couldn't do anything. She shut her eyes as he swung the knife. Seconds past and she forced herself to look. The boy was still tied, blood pouring out of a cut on his right arm. Suddenly, he looked at her and their eyes met. She couldn't speak, move, or look away. She just stared transfixed, praying that the boy wouldn't die.
Adrienne's eyes snapped open, her breath ragged, her heart pounding, trying to leave her chest. Her knuckles were white from gripping her sheets. She stared wildly around the room.
"It was just a dream, Adrienne, only a dream," she whispered.
Adrienne closed her eyes, took a deep breath and reopened them. Her dormitory came into focus. Shadows reflected off the walls in the moonlight. Her curtains rippled in the breeze. Everything was normal.
"Just a dream," she muttered as she slid out of bed and made her way over to the desk where she kept her journal. July 30, 1995, she wrote and then proceeded to describe as much of her dream as possible. As she signed the paper with a flourish, Adrienne Lily Miles, her mind drifted back in time.
She had been eleven when she received the letter. She had been sitting in bed at the 5th Street Children's Home in New York City, crying silently. It was July 31st, 1991, her 11th birthday and no one had remembered. The day had been no different from any other before it: She had been pushed, kicked, slapped, and told off. She sat silently with her head on her knees. Then she felt it, a flutter of soft wings on her shoulder. It was an owl, the largest, most beautiful tawny owl she had ever seen. Adrienne wiped the tears form her eyes and picked up the letter it had deposited in her lap. The owl settled itself neatly on the metal stand of her bed, as if it were waiting for something. Adrienne ripped open the envelope and a heavy parchment fell out. She slowly unfolded the parchment and began to read:
The Salem Academy of Magical Studies
Headmistress: Julia Bell, Ph.D. Magical Philosophy
Dear Miss Miles:
It is our deepest pleasure to inform you that you have been accepted to the Salem Academy of Magical Studies, the most prestigious school of magic in the Americas. Please find enclosed a list of supplies required and directions to the Gallows. We await our owl by August 15th.
Adrienne stared flabbergasted at the parchment. That had been the beginning, the beginning of her new life. She had friends now at Salem; she felt at home there, and the best part was, they agreed to let her stay over the summer until she graduated. It hadn't been all great though, that was also when her nightmares began: Horrific ones ranging from flashes of green light and evil laughter, to two boys battling a troll, to a boy and a giant snake, a hoard of Dementors, and now, beginning tonight, a boy tied in a graveyard. Adrienne didn't know who this boy was, but she felt a strong connection to him, like she knew him somehow. "But he's only a dream, only a figment of my overactive imagination," she reminded herself. Adrienne put her journal away, walked over to the window, and stared at the moon. She was glad her dream had ended before anything else happened to that poor boy.
* * * * *
"There aren't going to be any little surprises this time, will there boy?"
Harry Potter looked up from his book so he could see his uncle. "No. They're Muggles," he replied shortly.
His uncle raised his eyebrows. "Muggles?"
Harry rolled his eyes. "Yes, Muggles. You know, people not like me... people like you," he replied, trying to think of a way to describe Muggles without saying the "M" word. He knew that if he didn't make his uncle mad everything would go a lot easier. Harry stole a glance out the living room window; the Grangers still hadn't arrived. He sighed and turned back to his book, marveling at his luck. The letter had arrived a week ago, written in Hermione's ever so familiar perfect handwriting.
You will not believe this! I can hardly believe it! My parents are taking me to America for the holidays, and they told me I could invite you and Ron. Please say you can come. It will be so much fun, and you need something to take your mind off of things. Think, New York City, Broadway, Wall Street, and... the Gallows - only the most famous American wizarding town. I have to visit it! Ron has already agreed. Please come - you have no excuses, it'll be my treat.
How could he say no? As she said, he didn't have any excuses. Not even his aunt and uncle could stand in his way, just one mention of Sirius and it was settled.
A soft knock summoned Harry from his reverie. Uncle Vernon made his way slowly towards the front door, straightening his best suit. Aunt Petunia stood nervously in the middle of the room; Dudley had locked himself in his bedroom and from the loud grunts and scrapes, Harry was quite certain he had hid, or tired to hide, under the bed. Uncle Vernon opened the door and scowled, only to be met with the friendly smiles of Mr. and Mrs. Granger.
"You must be Mr. Dursley," said Mr. Granger politely, thrusting his and forward. Uncle Vernon didn't take it. "I'm Doctor Richard Granger and this is my wife, Elizabeth."
Harry silently heaved his trunk into the air and smiled at the Grangers. Mr. Granger looked nothing like Hermione. He was tall with a dark crew cut; his hair was flecked with sparse gray hairs. Mrs. Granger, though, looked like an older, more sophisticated version of Hermione, except instead of curly hair, she had a bluntly cut shoulder-length mane. She was very pretty, and Harry thought she looked like the kind of mother who had hot chocolate-chip cookies and milk ready each day after school. She looked like the kind of mother who made hot cocoa and told stories by firelight on snowy evenings. She looked like the kind of mother he had been denied his entire life. Harry shuddered and walked towards the Grangers. They stepped out of his way, and Mr. Granger took his trunk.
"Thank you, sir," Harry said as he turned to face his uncle, who stood stiffly in the doorway, refusing to talk.
"See you next summer then," Harry said, and to his surprise, Uncle Vernon replied, "Watch yourself boy, you mind whatever manners you have then." And with that, slammed the door in Harry's face.
"Well, that's an improvement," Harry muttered.
* * * * *
Harry had never once been in a Muggle airport, nor had Ron; however, Hermione, having traveled all through Europe, had.
"I just love to fly!" she exclaimed giddily as the three followed Mr. and Mrs. Granger through the crowded Heathrow Airport. Ron shot a very nervous glance at Harry, who just shrugged and tried not to burst into hysterics at Hermione's enthusiasm.
"Look you two - that's a plane," she said, expecting excited remarks, but they didn't come.
"Wow, that's a plane!" said Harry sarcastically.
Ron looked very skeptical, his freckly face screwn up into a confused expression. "You have to be kidding me! You can't get that piece of metal to fly!" he exclaimed.
Hermione narrowed her eyes. "Must I remind you that you were the genius who decided to fly a car to Hogwarts!"
"But that used magic. There's no way that thing is going to get off the ground!" he exclaimed matter-of-factly while glaring at her.
"Shhh, people are staring at us," hissed Harry, looking around fervently.
Several people around them had stopped in their tracks to hear the conversation. Hermione shot a dirty look at Ron and placed her carry-on bag onto the x-ray's conveyer belt. Ron stood silently, not following Hermione's lead.
"They aren't going to let you through unless they scan your luggage, Ron," she said shortly.
"Will I get it back?" he asked hesitantly.
"Of course!" she exclaimed, grabbing his bag and tossing it onto the conveyer belt. "You are so naïve Ron," she muttered.
"And you, Hermione, are a know-it-all," Ron shot back.
* * * * *
Adrienne ran into the teachers' lounge and flung herself backwards onto a well-loved couch. Professor Joe Glenn and Professor Mia Hartel looked up at her questioningly.
Adrienne raised an eyebrow and smiled an unsure half smile. "Quick question. Let's say, hypothetically speaking, of course, someone was trying to help the kitchen elves, er, work faster, and um, by mistake, made them age more rapidly instead. What would happen?"
Professor Glenn rolled his eyes, as did Professor Hartel. "Hypothetically speaking, Adrienne, this person would end up in quite a lot of trouble."
"Especially as this person is underage and can't legally do magic without her professors' permission," finished Professor Hartel.
"Ok, fine, but what would this person do to counteract the charm?" Adrienne urged.
"Tell her professors and ask them politely to fix it," replied Professor Glenn.
"So, if this person asked you for help, you'd help them?" asked Adrienne, tumbling off the couch and scrambling to her feet.
"Hypothetically, yes," replied Professor Hartel.