Author Note: I do not own Severus Snape, Sirius Black, Albus Dumbledore, Fawkes, or any other characters that are in the Harry Potter series. They are proudly owned by J. K. Rowling.

Chapter 1 - Introductions and Orphanages

I don't hear the spell whispered from another's lips, but the last thing I see is the bright white light heading at me, and then I'm falling off the bed, hitting the wood floor, and screaming in pain and anguish, clawing at my face.

Somebody has hexed me. Somebody has hexed me. Why is it so dark? Why is the darkness so complete? These questions run through my head so many times. Who hexed me? Why did they hex me? Why do my eyes feel so painful? I can't see!

I hear someone screaming and it takes me several minutes to realize that it's me.

But let me go back two weeks first, to explain how it all led up to this. It shouldn't take too long.

Two Weeks Ago (Last Day of Term)

I go to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. It's the last day of the term, and everybody except me is rejoicing. I'm an orphan as of the beginning of this school year. My parents worked for the ministry and were killed by death eaters that serve Voldemort. And so now, I have nowhere to go since I don't have any family left. Headmaster Dumbledore has 'kindly' arranged for me to go to an orphanage in London, but no witch/wizard orphanage is ever much good. They usually take away your wand and any other magical items of value that you have, or so I've heard.

I get on the train like everyone else, so as not to draw embarrassing attention, and get off at the train station like everyone else. When all the kids are reunited with their loved ones, it makes my stomach tie up in a knot and I feel tears coming.

Dumbledore places a comforting hand on my shoulder as the station starts to clear out. "Have you ever apparated before?" he asks.

"No sir," I say loudly over the noise of the station.

"Take my arm."

Not sure what's about to come, I grab his arm lightly. "You'll want a better grip than that," he says. I grip like my life depends on it, and he smiles.

Then we're whipping every which way and my stomach is now in my throat along with my heart and half my other organs. I see glimpses of things rush by, and I squeeze my eyes shut. The next thing I know we're on the ground again, and I'm clutching my stomach for dear life.

"Most first-timers vomit," he comments as I struggle not to.

My stomach starts to settle again now that the horrorcoaster is over.

I follow Dumbledore inside a tall brick building. A few younger children are playing on a playground, but otherwise the place looks deserted. Of course, other kids go to school too, and haven't arrived back here yet.

I don't listen while he fills out forms for my admittance. The person in the orphanage is a middle-aged lady who looks pretty stern and tired. She leads both of us upstairs to a bedroom. It has a window that looks out over the playground area and buildings beyond. The sky is appropriately gray today, I note with satisfaction.

"This will be your room," she says with kindness. "You can put your things in the cupboard over here," she says, pointing. "You've got the room to yourself since you're older than most of the other kids and we have the rooms to spare."

"Thank you," I say, putting my bag on the bed.

"The WC on this floor is at the end of the hall. There's a bathroom chart, but none of the younger ones seem to ever follow it," she notes with annoyance, "I've already added your name, so you can check that. Feel free to go outside and chat with the other kids, swing, whatever you want to do, but you can't leave the property without permission and an adult, OK?" she asks as I stare out the window.

"Yes ma'am," I say gloomily.

She turns to go and says, "If you need anything just tell me, OK dear? Oh yes, and my name's Penelope Finch, you may call me Ms. Finch or Madam Finch, understood?"

I nod and she leaves Dumbledore and me alone for goodbyes. "If you need anything, send me an owl," he says.

"I don't have an owl," I tell him.

He gives a faint smile and says, "Of course you don't have an owl."

He turns and leaves, "I'll see you when term begins again, Danielle."

"Goodbye," I say quietly, wondering if he was making fun of me not having an owl.

A few moments later as I'm still sitting on the bed, feeling miserable, a tapping comes at my window. I go to the window and open it to find a young owl perched outside.

That's what he meant! He got me an owl!

The owl has a piece of parchment in its talons. It reads:

To Danielle

From Dumbledore

It's a female Northern Hawk Owl.

That's all it says, but it's enough. I wonder how Dumbledore could get the owl here so quickly…Of course, he's a very smart old wizard, so I'm not too surprised. I've heard that only powerful wizards are able to apparate long distances, especially with a passenger.

I unpack my belongings, which reminds me of how I'd be unpacking now at home if my parents were still alive. A lot of my belongings are still there in that empty house…what's going to become of my home? It will probably be sold, I realize. What about my stuff? I could only bring so much with me to Hogwarts; there's still a lot left…

I shake my head, banishing the thoughts as tears come to my eyes. I wonder what time supper will be…I decide to just lie down on my bed and stare out the window at the dreary sky. My new owl perches on the bed post and I start coming up with names for her.

She's a Northern Hawk Owl, so I think of Hawkeye, and Owly, and all those cliché names, but then I think harder and start to come up with names that none of my friends have. I pull out a piece of parchment and start brainstorming with a quill and ink.

After half an hour, I've got this:

Darlene, Cheryl, Darby, Dart, Hawkeye, Delilah, Tara, Feathers, Stripes, Domino, Dominique, Hungry (because that's what she is at the moment, and so am I), and Lily, (because there are some lilies growing outside, and she's as sweet as a flower.)

I start crossing out names, and am finally left with Lily because it's simply the best name on there. "So, Lily, are you going to go out and fly tonight?" I ask the dozing owl.

She perks up and hoots at me. I smile at her and open the window for her. She goes out and lifts off into the dark. Surprised at how late it's getting, I head downstairs. I meet Madam Finch halfway down the stairs. "I was just coming up to get you," she says cheerily. "Supper's ready."

I have good timing apparently. I go into the large dining/interview room and take one of the empty seats. It seems that everyone else is already here. I don't see any faces that I recognize, which is both relieving and disappointing at the same time.

Before the meal begins, Madam Finch makes everyone introduce themselves to each other, and I realize that I'm not the only new kid here this year. There are a few kids near the other end of the table who look around my age. There are both girls and boys here. One boy looks particularly menacing, and as he introduces himself, I remember the name. Canon Newhart. He has black hair (obviously dyed or charmed that way) and piercing blue eyes that dart every which way, as if he's suspicious of everything, or guilty of something. I try not to stare; I wouldn't want to get off on the wrong foot with anyone here. Three months is a long time to avoid everyone, but I will if I can. I'm only here until I can go back to Hogwarts.

Unsurprisingly, the supper goes mostly silent, with just a few of the little kids talking and people asking others to pass things to them. The meal is chicken soup, and is pretty good. There's bread that I dip in the broth of the soup, and I just drink some ice water even though there is juice and tea.

It seems when you're finished you're supposed to ask to be excused, and so I do so. The older kids aren't going up towards the rooms, but down some stairs instead. One girl says, "We usually hang out in the basement until bedtime, you wanna come with us?"

I nod and head down, just curious. "You're Danielle, right?" she asks.

"Yeah, you're Patricia, right?" I question.

She nods. "Yep."

We enter a carpeted basement that has been converted into a game room. There is a table on one side with art supplies, a table on the opposite side that appears to be a study area with a book case, a large beat up red couch in the center of the room, and a coffee table. It seems pretty cozy.

The one boy that creeped me out goes to the art side of the room. Patricia goes to a door that I thought was a closet, but turned out to be a game storage center. She pulls out a deck of cards and says, "I hope you like Rummy,"

I reply, "Yeah, are we all playing?"

She nods. "Yeah, we always play Rummy the first day back. It's kind of a ritual, right guys?" she asks the other three, all boys.

"Of course," the tallest boy said. I think his name is Henry.

When bedtime rolls around, I'm ready for it. I'm glad I don't have to share my room with anyone. I won a couple of rounds of Rummy 500, but in the end lost all but one. Lily is still out flying, so I leave the window just a tiny bit open to let in the breeze and so she can open it if she wants in. I pull the covers back and the day comes crashing back. Dumbledore leaving me here to spend the whole summer. Because my parents are dead.

MY PARENTS ARE DEAD! My mind screams it over and over, and I'm not sure what time it is when I finally fall asleep.

Author Note: Don't forget to review!