As one walked into number twelve, Grimmauld Place, London, there was a definite sense of abandonment that filled the air. It would correct in thinking that the old house had not been inhabited by human life for many years. The silver cutlery was rusting, the rare dark artefacts were tethering from disuse and a thick layer of dust blanketed the once extravagantly beautiful furniture. The house was dark and gloomy, cobwebs adorning the staircase and walls.
There was no light in the house, apart from the kitchen, located towards the back of Grimmauld place. There was quite a commotion in the kitchen, which created a lot of noise, not that the muggles who lived in numbers eleven and thirteen would notice. For the Most Noble and Ancient House of Black was currently being used as a meeting point for a band of witches and wizards looking to rid the world of evil, to stop an impending war.
At this very moment in time, the members of this group were about to commence their first meeting, which did not explain why there was so much noise. Surely, a group of intelligent and talented magical folk knew of the staidness of the current situation, of Voldemort's return. Then why were they creating such a fuss?
The answer was found in the owner of Grimmauld Place, the falsely accused mass murderer Sirius Black, and the fact that he had just revealed himself to a group of witches and wizards who still thought him responsible for the heinous crime of betraying Lily and James Potter to You-Know-Who.
Albus Dumbledore surveyed the man who a few minutes ago took the form of a loveable stray dog, and then looked to the outraged disbelieving group members before deciding it was time to call order; once again, to start the Order of the Phoenix.
"Excuse me," he called over the commotion, "May I have your attention? I think it is time we start."
Chairs scraped the dusty floorboards as the Order members seated themselves around the long ornate wooden table; the half-giant known as Rubeus Hagrid stood, as the seats were much too small for him.
"Welcome," began Dumbledore, "To the first meeting of the newly-reinstated Order of the Phoenix. We all know why we are here; to convince the Wizarding world of the truth, of Lord Voldemort's return."
Several Order members nodded or murmured in agreement (some were still shaky from the professor's mention of You-Know-Who's name), as Dumbledore continued. He introduced each member to the group.
First, it was Sirius Black, the wrongfully accused murderer and godfather to Harry Potter; the real Alastor 'Mad Eye' Moody, ex-auror who would be vital in strategising and fighting; Moody's protégé and auror Nymphadora Tonks, the youngest member; Remus Lupin, who would help with convincing werewolves not to join You-Know-Who and Severus Snape, with connections to the Dark Arts. These were just some of the elite witches and wizards that would aid the Order of the Phoenix.
This then brought Dumbledore to another important aspect of the meeting; Harry James Potter, the boy who had witnessed Voldemort's return.
"There are several concerns regarding Mr Potter, few of which I can address at the present time," declared Dumbledore seriously. "I do not doubt that Lord Voldemort wishes to seek revenge on him, nor that Harry is in serious danger.
"Firstly, I would like to ask that we place a guard at Harry's house. Perhaps if it is done in shifts it shall be easier…would anyone like to take me up on this offer?"
Nymphadora Tonks, Bill, Charlie and Arthur Weasley, Remus Lupin, Dedalus Diggle, Mundungus Fletcher and Emmeline Vance all raised their hands.
"Good, good," said Dumbledore, his blue eyes twinkling merrily. "With that out of the way, I would like to address you all on another related matter- the safety of Harry Potter's friends and family. There are wards around Harry's house which protect he and his relatives, but as some of you well know Voldemort likes to - ah - play with his food. It is imperative that we find a secure place for Harry's friends to stay- I am afraid that the Burrow may not suffice, Molly and Arthur."
The redheaded couple nodded in understanding. It was then that Sirius Black spoke up.
"Why don't they stay here?"
Dumbledore seemed to think this over before clapping his hands together, "What a splendid idea. What say you, Arthur, Molly?"
Molly and Arthur Weasley whispered to each other for a few moments before Arthur agreed. "That would be wonderful, and thank you, Sirius," said the balding Weasley patriarch, making eye contact with the last Black, "But you do realise that there will be six of us?"
"It's perfectly fine, Arthur, there are plenty of rooms- but won't there be seven extra people staying if we count Hermione Granger?"
Dumbledore nodded, stroking his white beard. "I'm thinking eight, actually," he said casually, "You see, I have great reason to suspect that we must protect Harry's - ah - girlfriend, Parvati Patil."
"Patil? As in Auror Amar Patil?" Kingsley Shacklebolt, tall and dark, spoke up suddenly. "The reason why half the Death Eaters are in Azkaban?"
"Yes. One of his two daughters, Parvati, as I just said, is Harry's girlfriend. She is also a Seer, and Saw Voldemort's return. Miss Patil could prove to be both an asset and a clever bargaining chip for him."
Sirius Black didn't think twice; he would do anything for Harry. "Then she can stay too."
Dumbledore's eyes twinkled as he smiled, "Excellent! Now," he said, "To the heart of the matter: I'm sure you have all heard of a place within the Ministry of Magic known as the Department of Mysteries…"
The train had arrived later than usual at the London station because of the rather extravagant departures of the Beauxbatons and Durmstrang students, and as the Patils arrived home it was nightfall.
"Oh, I'm so glad to have you both home again!"
Parvati and Padma Patil traded amused glances as their mum swept them into a lung-crushing hug.
"Mum!" they cried in unison, "We need to breathe!"
Leah Patil laughed and just pulled her two girls closer, and even though they had protested, the twins did not let go of their mum. It felt so good to be home!
Once free of her mother's embrace, Parvati surveyed her home, feeling content. It was the same old home in the heart of Eastleigh, Hampshire; cream walls with lined with endless amounts of photographs and her mother's paintings, the creaky wooden stairs, the dent in the wall where a three-year-old Padma ran into it and the Muggle telephone book that supported the rickety dining room table.
Mum had gone into the kitchen after magicking her daughters' trunks up to their room, and was preparing dinner, humming off-tune to a Celestina Warbeck song. Parvati's thoughts soon strayed to her boyfriend. She wondered what Harry's home was like; he hadn't spoken to highly of his family. She wondered how he was coping after all that had happened…
Parvati spun around to face Padma, who was wearing a concerned look. "You just went quite for a bit," continued the teen, "that's all."
"I'm fine," replied Parvati absently as a brightly coloured book on the dining table caught her eye.
Padma made an irritated sort of noise as Parvati leant over to see the book. "Liar," Parvati's twin said, "I know you better than you know yourself, Par. You're not fine."
As Padma came closer Parvati looked into the eyes of her sister; the carbon copy of her eyes and said reasonably, "Yeah, well, I'm not about to off myself, so you don't have to worry too much." Padma leant over to read the title of the book.
"You know," said Parvati, cocking her head to one side, readjusting her butterfly clip, "You'd look really good with shoulder length hair and bangs…"
Padma rolled her eyes; about the only thing that the twins could not agree on was Parvati's obsession with fashion. While her sister had a keen eye for it, Padma would be more interested in reading a good novel.
"Then so would you, duh," replied Padma before exclaiming, "'Simple Signs and Solutions For Seers and Their Parents'?!"
Parvati blinked. "What?"
"This book Mum's bought!" said Padma, gesturing to the brightly coloured novel. Parvati raised an eyebrow and Padma laughed.
"Suck to be a Seer," she cried, and Parvati stuck her tongue out childishly.
"Girls!" Leah Patil called from the kitchen. "Come set the table, it's time for dinner!"
Ten minutes later and their soup almost finished, Parvati and Padma were discussing their year with their mum.
Leah took a long sip of her wine; they had just gotten onto the subject of Parvati's boyfriend. Even though Leah did not blame the boy for her daughter's kidnapping she still had her reservations, which did not impress Parvati one bit.
"Isn't he a bit, uh, dangerous for you, sweet?" queried their mum.
"What about Dad?" asked Parvati, an edge to her voice. "He was off fighting Dark wizards every other day!"
Leah looked to think over what her daughter had said, sighed and conceded. "Okay, okay. I just want to hold on to my baby girl forever."
The woman sighed before patting Padma's hand saying, "At least I've got you to hold onto for a bit longer, sweet."
Parvati grinned wickedly, suppressing a giggle. "Not if Anthony Goldstein has his way!"
Her mouth dropping open in shock, Padma growled and threw a hunk of bread at her sister, crying, "Parvati!"
Parvati sighed, taking pity on her sister and changed the subject. "Mum, you must meet Harry- can he come over in the holidays?"
Leah frowned. "Yes," she said, "but he's not staying overnight."
"Why not?" Parvati whined.
"I was a teenager once, too! I know exactly what you two might get up to."
Parvati rolled her eyes, lifting up her bread, ready to stuff it in her mouth. "Mum, puh-lease; Harry and I hardly at that stage," said the brown haired girl, leaving out the 'yet'.
Padma snorted. "You better explain that one to Dean Thomas after he walked into his train compartment with you and Harry press-"
Parvati shoved the bread in her sister's mouth quick smart, colour rising in her cheeks. Grabbing her plate and putting it in the sink, Parvati raced out of the dining room and away from her hysterically laughing twin sister and slightly amused mother.
Sirius surveyed the room. The meeting had just ended and the members were chatting amongst themselves. It was weird seeing old friends, schoolmates and teachers around him. Just as he was about to take a drink from his fire whisky, Sirius was tapped on the shoulder. He turned and faced the grinning form of Nymphadora Tonks, her smile as bright as her violet hair.
Tonks threw her arms around her cousin and hugged him tightly. "It's great to see you, coz!"
Sirius grinned as he let go of the young witch. "You've grown up so much, Nymphadora; you must have been what, five when I last saw you?"
Tonks scrunched her nose up in distaste. "For future reference, I go by the name of Tonks, and Tonks only. You do not want to call me by my first name- ask Remus, he'll tell you."
The spiky haired witch looked over to where the prematurely greying man was opening a Butterbeer and yelled, "Remus! Get over here!"
Remus Lupin started to walk over, only to be stopped by Molly Weasley who seemed to be inquiring as to why Remus was so thin, and Sirius frowned. "How do you two know each other?"
"We've been dating for around about a year, now," answered Tonks casually, and Sirius' mouth dropped open.
"Are you serious?"
A mischievous look crossed Tonk's elfin features before she broke out into laughter.
"No! Oh, man, you should have seen your face! Remus and I are just friends; we met at this Werewolf rights protest. He's not exactly my type."
"You have a type?"
"Oh, hush, you," Tonks replied good-naturedly before changing the subject. "So, you're Harry Potter's godfather, right?"
"Yes," replied Sirius, brightening at the mention of his godson.
"That's so awesome! I can't wait to go on duty and see what he's really like- never believed all the rubbish Rita Skeeter came up with last year."
"What did she say about him?"
"Oh, just that he was in this love triangle with his best friend and Viktor Krum."
Sirius almost choked on his drink. "Who, Ron Weasley?"
Tonks laughed loudly. "No, his girl best friend…Hermione, I think her name is. Skeeter said some pretty awful stuff about her too. But Harry has a girlfriend, right? Dumbledore mentioned that earlier, the Seer girl; Auror Patil's daughter."
Sirius nodded as Tonks' brown eyes twinkled with mischief. "Ahh," she said, reminiscing, "Dating at Hogwarts- there's nothing like it, is there? Snogging in broom closets, escaping Filch- I remember one of my friends did it with her boyfriend in McGonagall's classroom…"
This time, Sirius did choke on his drink. "You don't think- Harry would-?"
"Nah," commented Tonks, "From what everyone's been telling me he sounds like a good kid."
"He is," said the ex-convict with decided confidence. Sirius Black surveyed the home he had not lived in for near twenty years before taking another long drink and grinning at his old friend Lupin who had come to stand beside him.
"I think," Sirius commented wisely, "That it is going to be interesting year."
Parvati settled herself onto her bed, sighing contentedly. After escaping her mother and sister Parvati had retreated to her and Padma's shared room. The brown haired girl sighed as she looked down at the empty parchment she was about to write on. Parvati twirled the quill in her fingers before dipping it in the deep purple ink. Quill poised, she lined up her parchment and began to write.