Curses & Flashbacks
Sunlight shone into the sixth years boy's dormitory and through the open window, a cold blast of wind passed through into the room. Phoenix stirred and shuddered at the sudden cold, opening her eyes blearily and looking around. One thing she knew was that the pillow she was lying on was comfy and… moving. Her first immediate thought was that Fred and George had transfigured her pillow into a racoon or something crazy but then she realised that her pillow wasn't in fact a pillow, but somebody's chest. Looking up, tentatively, she saw George's freckled face. He was still asleep, his mouth ajar as he murmured words that she could not hear nor understand. He had a loose hold around her waist and she blushed when she realised this and looked around the rest of the dormitory.
Fred and Angelina were in the most peculiar position that Phoenix had ever seen, Fred was half dangling off the bed, his arms wrapped around Angelina's legs as she slept, her body lying across his. Lee was spread eagled out on the floor by his bed, snoring loudly and Alicia was asleep on one of the beds, looking the most peaceful.
"Hmm," George began to stir as Phoenix sat up a little straighter. She looked down at him as his eyes opened blearily and then, looking up at her, he gave a gasp of surprise, "er – sorry Phoenix, I–"
"Hey," she said, grabbing her forehead as her head began to pound, "It's okay. I'm just glad you aren't Lee."
George laughed and sat up beside her, "Yeah you'd wake up the whole of the school if you woke up next to Lee."
"So… how exactly did I end up here?" she asked, "I remember falling asleep… on… well… on you," she blushed.
"You fell asleep, so I picked you up and put you on my bed," said George, seemingly unfazed by what Phoenix had just said, "and then you sort of woke up and kept saying, don't go, and called me several rude words that I never knew were in your vocabulary, like you nob and you minger, and so I sat down, and you just fell asleep on me again."
Phoenix's blush crept over her cheeks and spread to her hair, which turned a bright red, "Sorry," she mumbled.
"It's fine, you were – um – pretty comfy," he said, not exactly embarrassed, but slightly awkwardly.
She nudged him and smiled, "So were you," she said, before looking back over at Fred and Angelina, "What happened there?"
George shrugged, "I have no idea. I think they were wrestling or something and then they sort of just fell asleep like that," he said, "Do you remember what you told me about them?"
Phoenix frowned, "No? Wait…" she said slowly and then her eyes widened as she remembered what Angelina had told her and about her and Fred. "… they kissed didn't they?"
"Well they snogged each other, yeah," George smirked. "But that wasn't the best bit. You told me that he calls her Angel…"
"Angel?" Phoenix laughed in a whisper, "What else happened?"
"Well… Lee was sick out of the window and I think it landed on a statue, rather impressive but that's a different story. Alicia was just singing off-key most of the night," George said. "Me and you just talked all night…"
She nodded, really, she could remember most of the night. It was blurred, like the memories of last night were playing behind a foggy window. She could however remember the most parts. She could remember talking to Angelina, talking to George while 'cuddling' on his bed, dancing with him and Lee being boisterous, as usual.
"I remember promising you that I would show you my skateboarding," She smiled. "We should go now, so that Fred has to deal with Lee."
George laughed as they both got off his bed, "Yeah sounds like a plan."
"So I'll go get ready and get my skateboard and you can get dressed and I'll meet you in the Great Hall," Phoenix said, pulling out her wand and pointing it at the door. "Alohomora," she said and the door clicked and stood ajar. "You better go and see if the coast of clear, I don't want to walk into anybody while coming out the boys dormitory."
After George went to check that she could leave the dormitory undetected, Phoenix went back up to her empty dormitory and went straight into the shower to get the smell of Firewhiskey and Butterbeer off her body and washed her hair. She dressed in jeans and a jumper before performing a Hot-Air Charm to dry her bubble-gum pink hair. When she was ready, she grabbed her skateboard and made her way out her dormitory and down the marble staircase, towards the entrance hall.
"You took your time," George greeted as she slid on the bench beside him. "I took the liberty to prepare your breakfast," he said, placing a plate of bacon and sausage in front of her.
"I'm a girl George," she said as she began to eat her bacon quickly. "I need time to make myself presentable."
"Says the girl who is currently talking with her mouth full."
When they finished their breakfast, Phoenix and George walked out of the oak front doors and down the sloping lawns, in search for a flat area to skateboard on.
"Okay," Phoenix said as she found some flat ground, "so the first rule of skateboarding that Will taught me is safety first," she placed the board on the floor and put one foot upon it, rolling it back and forth. "But I have purposely forgotten my helmet and safety pads so we can ignore that rule."
"I don't think I have ever heard of Phoenix Lancaster breaking any such rules," George smiled and Phoenix shot him a warning look, "continue."
"I forgot the rest of the rules, but balance is important," she jumped on the skateboard.
"Just show me what you can do Pixy," George said and Phoenix smiled as she pushed the ground with her feet and began speeding along a path. Her hair flowed through the air and danced behind her; she leaned to the side slightly and kicked her foot off the ground to turn around. She leaned down slightly so that she could slow down right in front of George, "that was... amazing."
"It felt amazing," she smiled at him, "it's really nice, especially with the wind going through your hair, you should try it! Hop on!" She held out her hand for him. George took her hand tentatively and climbed on to the skateboard behind her.
"What should I–"
"Put your arms around my waist," she instructed, glad that he couldn't see her face that was blushing furiously as his arms slid around her waist, "now just keep your feet still and on the board so we don't fall over," she said breathlessly as, more slowly this time, she kicked off from the ground and they moved slowly over the grass.
"You're right," George said and from his voice she could tell that he was smiling, "this does feel amazing," she smiled and began to speed up ever so slightly.
"I'm always right George," she replied, biting her lip as she speed up even faster.
"You're not always right!" George said as they sped across the path.
"Oh really?" Phoenix smiled as she kicked off the ground again. "When was the last time that I was wrong then George?"
"Just last week!" said George, gripping onto her waist a little tighter as they began to speed up. "You said 'oh, you can't just turn Flitwick's hair neon green. And then I did, so I proved you wrong didn't I?"
"Well okay but that doesn't–"But suddenly George's foot moved and he lost his balance. They both swore as they began to roll down the hill that led to Hagrid's hut.
George gave a loud 'woop' and Phoenix squealed as they began to roll over and over until they reached the bottom of the hill, covered in mud. They both leaned up on their elbows and look up at each other. George's cheeks, nose, neck and shirt were covered in mud and Phoenix had mud covered in her hair, on her nose and on her forehead. Upon seeing each other's expressions, they burst into loud and uncontrollable laughter.
"Oh my…" Phoenix exclaimed as she crawled over to George and sat down beside him, still laughing.
"I am… so… sorry…" George said through his laughter and sat up, "I–"
"Lost your balance?" Phoenix giggled, "I told you balance was important!"
"I forgot," George said sheepishly.
Phoenix smiled at this, "Of course," she said, "I should have known that you wouldn't follow the rules."
"You know me Pixy," George grinned, "Rules are there to be broken,"
"I've never understood your reasons for as to why rules are beneath you," she said softly, a smile cracking across her face. "I told you that balance was important and you didn't listen–" her breath hitched in her throat as her eyes met George's captivating warm brown eyes.
"You have mud on your nose," George said, rubbing the tip of her nose and her eyes closed at his touch.
"You have mud all over your face… and in your hair," her fingers ran through his hair, brushing it softly.
"You two al'right?"
They jumped at the sound of Hagrid's booming voice. He was stood in front of his cabin with a large cage in his hands that contained several what looked suspiciously like Blast-Ended Skrewts, their pale and slimy skin made them look like shell-less lobsters, sparks flew out of several of the Skrewt's ends, moving them forward by a few inches.
"Yeah," said Phoenix, getting to her feet and staring at the Skrewts. "Hagrid…are those Blast-Ended Skrewts?"
"Oh," said George, who was also now on his feet. "Those are the adorable and cuddly creatures Ron told us about."
"Yeah, they're for my fourth years," Hagrid beamed fondly at them, his beetle black eyes twinkling. "They're bo'utiful 'ent they?"
Beautiful wasn't really the word to describe them. Some of the Skrewts appeared to have what looked like suckers and the others had stingers. They made Snape look positively cuddly.
"Yeah," Phoenix said slowly, "do they… er… Have names?"
"Of course! That one," he pointed to the largest of the Skrewts, "is called Buzzy–" George began to laugh but passed it as a chesty cough, "–that one there is the smallest female, she's called Bibbles."
"Wow," Phoenix exclaimed as George began to vanish off the mud over his clothes with a cleaning spell so he could hide his laughter. "their names really… um… suit them."
"That was what Harry said," Hagrid laughed, shaking his shaggy mane of hair. "What the ruddy hell happened to you two?"
Thankful for a change of subject, George explained what had happened. Hagrid looked bemused but roared with laughter when George had explained how they had both rolled down the hill.
"Trust yer George to not follow the rules eh?" Hagrid chuckled.
Phoenix frowned as George began to vanish the mud from Phoenix's clothes and face. "That's what I said!"
"Well, I 'ave to go and see Dumbledore, yer two 'ave a nice day," Hagrid said, "and don't go falling down any hills again… see yer… George… Phoenix…."
"You know," George said as they watched Hagrid trudge up the path towards the castle. "The Skrewts names make them seem almost less terrifying,"
Phoenix shook her head, laughing, "Bibbles. Who on earth calls a Blast-Ended Skrewt Bibbles?"
"This is same man who had a three-headed dog called Fluffy and had a Norwegian Ridgeback Dragon called Norbert," said George. "A couple of Blast-Ended Skrewts looks like a bag of kittens compared to them,"
"I suppose," said Phoenix, picking her skateboard before they too began to walk back up towards the castle. "But they look like they only hatched a month or two ago, in a couple of months they will be about ten feet long!"
"It makes me feel happy that I didn't take Care of Magical Creatures this year," said George.
"I don't know… Angelina says that they're learning about dragons… Dragons are really interesting! Like did you know that an Antipodean Opaleye eyes are multiple colours and they are amongst the only dragons that don't kill humans and–"
"You are beginning to sound like Charlie," groaned George as they walked into the Entrance Hall. "If you don't stop now, you'll be trying to smuggle in a dragon and calling it Tilly." Phoenix snorted with laughter and smacked his arm as they climbed up the marble staircase.
The very next morning, a sign was stuck at the very foot of the marble staircase. Fred and George, both being quite tall and having perfect Beaters build, they pushed their way to the front of the crowd with Phoenix following.
The delegations from Beauxbatons and Durmstrang will be arriving at 6 o'clock on Friday 30th October. Lessons will end half an hour early – students will return their bags and books to their dormitories and assemble in front of the castle to greet our guests before the Welcoming feast.
"Oh no!" exclaimed George in a high pitched voice. "Our Transfiguration lesson finish half an hour early!" Phoenix glared as evidently, George was doing an impression of her.
"Very funny George," she replied as they entered the Great Hall and walked towards the Gryffindor table, where Lee, Angelina, and Alicia with Katie were already sat.
"Did you two see the sign?" Lee asked excitedly.
"Yeah!" said Fred. "We'll have to start making the potion soon,"
George buttered his toast as he said, "We have two free periods before lunch, we could start then–"
"So Angelina–," said Phoenix, cutting him off. "–are you definitely going to enter then?"
Angelina nodded, smiling sheepishly. "It would be great to compete; I heard that Cedric is planning to enter."
"Diggory? That bubbler head?" said Fred so loudly that a few Hufflepuffs passing the table to glare at him.
"Fred!" snapped Phoenix, "Cedric is really nice and polite–"
"You only like him because he's good looking," said Lee in a bored voice.
Phoenix glared at him. "No actually I don't. I don't base the type of people I like because of their looks," she said fiercely, her hair turning velvet red. "If I did, why would I be friends with you?"
Everyone roared with laughter and the corners of Lee's mouth twitched.
"Thanks babe," said Lee.
"I didn't mean that Lee," Phoenix said, smiling at him apologetically. "I mean you are good looking–,"
"Wait!" said Lee, digging around in his bag and producing, a quill and ink bottle. "Can I get that in writing?"
After writing, I find Lee Jordan positively dashing and extremely good looking, signed Phoenix Augusta Lancaster, on Lee's napkin, Phoenix went to her first lesson, Ancient Runes with Angelina, where they had to translate several runes and begin an essay. At break, they began their essay and finished it at the end of their free period just in time for lunch, where Fred and George announced that the brewing of the Aging Potion (which took on average four days to mature) had begun, before they all headed to their Defence Against the Dark Arts class.
"They're not going to get away with it," Angelina whispered to Phoenix as they sat in their desks at the front of the class.
"I know," replied Phoenix. "But I'm not going to stop them, they're persistent."
Moody clunked in barely a few seconds later and the class fell silent immediately as he took the register.
"Now–," Moody began, his magic eye whirling round in its socket, "You have learnt more about how to cast nonverbal spells," he said, pacing down the rows of desks, the clunk, clunk, clunk, of his wooden leg echoed through the silence of the students. "I think that we should begin on Curses. These come in many strengths and in many forms. According to the Ministry of Magic, I am allowed to show you what illegal Dark curses look like," he laughed, as he stood pacing to return to stand in front of his desk. "So… do any of you know which curses are the most heavily punished by wizarding law?"
Phoenix, as usual, raised her hand into the air, along with both Fred and George's and several others. Moody's magic eye darted at each of the students, before pointing at somebody in the far back of the classroom.
"I know about one," said Arista Lacewell, who Phoenix shared a dormitory with, she was a dark skinned girl, with big, curly hair and brown eyes, "The Imperius Curse."
Moody nodded, "That one gave the Ministry a lot of trouble a few years ago," he moved heavily over to his desk, and picked up a glass jar. Phoenix and Angelina gave a small squeal when they saw that three, very large black spiders inside of it. Moody pulled one of the spiders out of the jar, holding it in his scarred and battered palm. He pointed his wand at it and said clearly, "Imperio!"
The spider flew out of Moody's hand and began to scurry down the rows between the desks; everyone turned their hands and watched as it began to jump high, high, high into the air, as though it was on a trampoline, doing cartwheels through the air. There was an uneasy laughter through the classroom as an equally uneasy feeling in Phoenix's stomach.
"I could make the spider do anything," Moody said darkly, and the laughter immediately ceased, "Anything I want it to. I could sneak this into your common room and into your dormitories. Imagine if this was one of you." Phoenix shared a scared kind of look with Angelina as Moody began to pace again, the spider scuttling over to him and suddenly flew back onto his palm, as though it was attracted by a magnet. "This is what gave the Ministry so much trouble. They never knew who was under the Imperius Curse and who was acting on their own accord," he said impressively into the silence, "it can, however, be fought. I will be teaching you how to fight it. It will however be a test of strength of character and sadly not everyone has got it."
Moody threw the spider back into the jar, making Phoenix jump slightly.
"Does anybody else know another illegal curse?" Moody asked and George's hand was the first into the air and Moody pointed to him.
"There's the Cruciatus Curse," said George in an uneasy tone.
"Yes," said Moody. "A nasty curse."
He grabbed another spider from the jar and placed in on his desk. It stood there, motionless, seemingly, too scared to move like the previous spider.
"The Cruciatus Curse," began Moody, pointing his wand at the spider, "Engorgio!"
Both Phoenix and Angelina moved their chairs backwards as the spider began to enlarge itself so it was almost larger than a tarantula.
Moody pointed his wand back at the spider and said, "Crucio!"
Phoenix watched as the spider's began to twitch horrifically, rolling over madly and rocking itself. The spider was making a small, shrieking noise and she knew, her stomach turning uncomfortably, that if it had a voice it would be screaming in absolute pain. The spiders movements became more violent, as though the pain became too much to bare. Phoenix closed her eyes, squeezing them tight shut, she didn't want to watch the spiders twitching anymore, as she could almost imagine in her mind a human being the spiders' body, screaming in pain.
"Reducio," She heard Moody mutter and slowly, Phoenix opened her eyes when she knew that the curse had been lifted. She saw Angelina was looking at her worriedly, but Phoenix didn't say anything and simply shook her head.
"Pain," said Moody darkly, his magical eye dancing around in its socket. "The Cruciatus Curse is the worst form of torture. You don't need knives or thumb screws to evoke pain when you can perform the torture curse." Moody's voice was so low and dark now that Phoenix began to feel uncomfortable, especially when both of Moody's eyes fixed upon her, he clapped his scarred hands together. "Right…anyone know any others?"
For the first time in a class, Phoenix did not want to answer a question that she knew the answer to, for she did not want to see the fate of the last spider.
Moody pointed at Angelina, who had a shaky hand raised into the air.
"Avada Kedavra," She said in a voice, even shakier than her hand.
Phoenix bit her lip and looked at Angelina, who too looked very uneasy.
"Yes, Avada Kedavra," Moody said, a smile twisted on his face, making Phoenix's stomach turn uncomfortably again, "the Killing Curse."
Moody grabbed the spider, who tried to scarper, but Moody trapped it, and threw it upon his desk. It tried to scuttle away as Moody raised his wand and pointed it at the spider once again and Phoenix braced herself on what was to come.
"Avada Kedavra!" Moody said, very loud and very clearly.
As the flash of green light erupted from Moody's wand and there was a rushing sound and in that moment something happened.
It was as though Phoenix's mind has burst open. She could still see the flash of green light, but when the light had faded, she didn't see a dead spider upon the table, she saw a body fall to the floor, clearly dead. And then she could hear screaming and then crying and even more screaming, a terrifying, bloodcurdling scream. And then there was another scream and suddenly she suddenly became aware of her surroundings.
Phoenix was on her feet, staring at the dead spider; her eyes were wide with complete and utter fear. Her mouth was wide and she realised in a fraction of a second that she had been the one to scream and now everybody was staring at her as she shakily slammed her chair under the desk.
"I-I have to go." She said before she ran from the classroom, not even looking back to grab her bag.
It was as though the flash of green light had triggered a long forgotten memory. Her hands shook violently as she pulled open door after door, not completely sure where she was going but trying desperately to put as much between her and that lesson.
What had happened? She asked herself as she raced down a staircase, her heart beating almost as fast. What was that picture that seemed to be implanted so clearly in her mind? Was it the curse that trigged it? She thought.
She reached an empty passage, where she sat down upon one of the benches, her head in her hands as she closed her eyes and tried to bring back the event that had just happened. The image, or whatever it was, seemed to flash in front of her eyes as the Avada Kedavra Curse was cast, that was a fact. But what, what was the image? Had she had some sort of vision? No, Phoenix shook her head at the thought, she didn't have 'the inner eye' otherwise why hadn't anymore visions occurred while in Divination. Maybe it was a memory? Maybe the blinding flash of green light had in fact trigged it. With a sudden thought that made her stomach turn, she gasped. She looked around the passage through the gaps in her fingers, her heart rate fast.
The bell for break rang as Phoenix raced up the steps to the Owlery. The bitter air bit at her exposed neck and she shuddered as she opened the Owlery door. Hundreds of owls looked inquisitively down at her as she walked into the room, peering around for Silvano. There was a loud hoot and the large Tawny Owl landed gracefully beside the window. Phoenix smiled at Silvano and stroked his head before she pulled out her wand from the pocket of her robes and waved it in the air. A piece of yellowish parchment and a quill materialised out of thin air and Phoenix grabbed them.
She leaned against the wall of the Owlery as she began to write, pausing every few moments as she searched for the words to say.
I'm sorry if I am interrupting your Auror training, but this is really important so please don't tell Dad or Cecilia. I was just in Moody's lesson and he was telling us about the Unforgivable Curses, he was performing them on some spiders so that we know what they look like. But then we got to the last curse, the Avada Kedavra Curse, something really weird happened.
I am not entirely sure what it was, but when Moody cast the curse, I saw the flash of green light, but then an image sort of came out of nowhere and it really scared me and I left. The image, or vision, or whatever it was, was of a body lying on the floor and I heard screaming and crying and I have no idea what happened but I have feeling that it was a memory of my mother's death.
Phoenix paused at this point; the quill in her hands shook violently so the last words were barely recognisable.
I need to know the truth about what happened. I wrote to you because a) you won't tell Cecilia or my Dad what happened, b) you understand how I feel. So if you can, try and dig around at the Ministry for some papers or at Lavender Cottage for anything about my mum or even me and meet me in The Three Broomsticks in the next Hogsmeade weekend (the 21st of November) if you can. Please.
Hope you're doing well and that this isn't too much of an inconvenience.
- Love, Phoenix.
She tied the cord around Silvano's leg and he took off. She watched as he soared around one of the towers before disappearing out of sight.
Phoenix squeezed her eyes tight shut, trying to block out the images of, as she fully believed, her mother's body falling to the ground. She felt tears threaten to fall and Phoenix determinately bit down on her lip, refusing to cry because Phoenix Lancaster never cried. Until now, she never really had a reason to cry or at least she had more reasons to be happy than sad. She was a carefree person, but with this image in head, she felt trapped and she hated it. She hated crying.
Her hair turned a pale blonde as a stray tear ran down her cheek and she rubbed her cheek harshly, feeling like a child. She could hear the scream in her ears; it was as if the screaming was reverberating through the air around her. A thought clung to her mind that she couldn't seem to shake off, that was one of the only memories that Phoenix had ever of mother, seeing her dead.
"Don't cry, don't cry," she murmured into her hands as more tears escaped from her eyes and an unfamiliar lump rose in her throat, "don't cry–"
She froze and hastily wiped her eyes and putting a smile on her face, her hair turning to the brightest lilac as she turned to the Owlery door.
"Cedric," she said, trying to sound happy, but her voice had cracked slightly and her hair turned quickly back to a pale blonde, "Wha-What are you doing here?"
"I'm sending a letter to my Dad," he said, his grey eyes staring at her worriedly; "I had a free period so I thought I would tell him that I'm entering the tournament, but what's wrong with you? Fred and George just told me that you ran out of Defence Against the Dark Arts…"
"Yeah… I felt sick…" she whispered. "But anyway, Happy Birthday."
"Thanks," said Cedric, taking a step closer to her. "Are you sure you're okay?"
"I'm fine," she choked as she tried to cover a sob. "It's nothing,"
Cedric put a hand on her shoulder, "Sure Phoenix," he said, unconvinced. "I may be a blubber head but I'm not an idiot,"
"Fred didn't mean that," she said, smiling slightly, "he's just still upset that you bet us at Quidditch last year."
"Still?" Cedric laughed.
Phoenix shrugged, "Fred can hold a grudge and so can George for that matter."
Cedric grinned at her and began to look around at the school owls. "I told Fred and George I would tell them if I found you–"
"Please don't!" Phoenix said quickly and Cedric turned to her, concerned. "I'm sorry – I just want to be alone right now, so just tell them that I was in the Library or something..."
"Please," Phoenix said, grabbing his hand and staring into his eyes. "I really just need some time to calm down." Cedric studied her for a moment before he sighed and nodded.
"Okay," he said, "and I won't tell them I found you crying either."
"I wasn't crying," she whispered as she shook her head, taking her grip off his arm. "I don't cry."
Cedric grabbed her wrist and shook his head, "Bottling up your emotions won't make you feel any better Phoenix," he said, "Nobody should have to deal with things by themselves."
Her lips quivered as she felt her eyes burn. He was right. She did feel though, that something like this, she should deal with by herself. She decided that she would tell Fred and George about the image she saw and what she believed that she had seen, but she would not tell them what she was planning to do. Which was try and get to the bottom of her mother's death, it was something that she had to do alone.