Alexsis never knew who her parents where, or if they were even alive. All she knew was that she was a witch with no known family. Her current appearance was not her own, allowing her to go out and make sure she could never be recognized. Her hair was ashen blonde and her eyes were a light shade of blue. Her light beige skin was covered in dirt, blood, and other grime that had accumulated over the years. Alexsis has been living on the streets of London for as long as she could remember. It wasn’t easy beng an eleven year old girl on the streets. In fact, it was nearly torture. She had never liked going out into the crowds and pickpocket innocent people of their hard earned money. But it was the only way she could survive.
Alexsis was walking through a crowd of strange people wearing expensive looking cloaks in front of an old looking tavern. The building looked just as out of place as the unusual crowd. The people seemed to be celebrating, or mourning someone's death.
"No one wears cloaks anymore," Alexsis muttered to herself as she decided that there should be a few loose coin purses among the crowd. Hopefully she could knick enough that she could buy something to eat, and even some to save before winter hit. Winter made pickpocketing harder, leaving her with no way to easily get food without begging and she didn't want to do that again. Alexsis calmly made her way through the crowd trying not to draw too much to herself as she searched for a person or two she could get some coin off of. The first person she took money off of was an elderly woman who seemed more enamored by what was going on than the unassuming eleven year old girl stealing her coin purse. The second person she was going to take from seemed to be rather rugged and poor, and looked like he needed the money just as much as she did. She decided against it and moved on to person number three, grabbing his coin bag swiftly and turning to leave before she got caught and turned in to the police. Sadly, Alexsis didn't make it far from her last victim when her shoulder was grabbed harshly. The person grasping her turned her around to find not only the third person she stole from, but the shabby man she had left alone.
"And where do you think you're going miss?" The third man asked in a voice that was deep and commanded respect. He wore black from head to toe, had black, greasy hair that went to his shoulders, and a hooked nose that looked to have been broken and never put back into place. The second man wore a cloak covered in patches, making it look very similar to the clothes on her own back. He had scars littering his face that made him appear older than he really was. His sandy brown hair hadn’t been washed in weeks, and from the circles under his eyes she would guess that he had not gotten much sleep, either.
"Nowhere, sir. I was just looking for my mom. I lost her in the crowd and can't seem to find her." The lie fell from Alexsis's mouth quicker than she could think. Alexsis could see by the looks on the two men's faces that they knew she was lying to them.
"Oh, really?" the greasy haired man drawled, dragging out the 'L'. "And what would your mother look like, by chance?" He was smirking and definitely knew he had backed her into a corner..
"My mom..." Alexsis started to panic a little as she struggled to find a way out. "Well, she has uh," Alexsis could feel her heart rate start to rise as she looked around, trying to figure out what to say. "She has dark brown hair, tall, and has brown eyes." Alexsis forgot that she had made her hair blonde and her eyes blue.
"Really? Well maybe we should help you find her. Then we can talk to her and ask why her daughter is going around and taking money from other people,” the greasy-haired man said smoothly.
Alexsis's heart dropped into her stomach and she knew she was done for. With no other options, the last thing she could think of was to run and hide. Alexsis ripped her shoulder out of the man’s grip. The rough movement reopened the scratches beneath his hand as her shoulder began to bleed again. Ignoring the pain, she ran as fast as she could through the crowd of people that seemed to have gotten bigger since she had first arrived. Alexsis ran, her feet sliding in the remnants of the rain as she darted into an alleyway and ducked into a wet box behind the dumpster, it’s only contents a threadbare blanket, and an now empty can of soup from her dinner last night. She curled up and clamped her hand over her mouth, hoping they wouldn't hear her breathing if they passed by.
A put-upon sigh preceded a drawling voice."You do know that hiding is only going to prolong the inevitable.” Alexsis felt tears prick her eyes. She was caught red handed. Though her life on the streets wasn’t easy, she figured it must be easier than dealing with orphanages and foster homes, being bounced from one place to the next. It was better to be alone than to feel unwanted. She felt something start to rise in the pit of her stomach reflecting her growing anxiety.
"You're scaring the poor girl, Severus!" a new voice snapped. Alexsis heard some more shuffling before the damp top of the box was ripped off. Two sets of feet stood before her, one dressed in black and another in patched up boots. She slowly looked up, once again face to face with the two men from the tavern.
"Look, I'm sorry I took your money, sir. I really am! All I wanted was to buy something to eat. Begging for money is degrading, and it draws too much attention. They’ll take me away, and I don't want to be taken somewhere that I don't know. I don’t want to be bounced around like a burden. I don’t want to be adopted by people who will likely hate me, beat me, or give me up when they have a child of their own!" Alexsis was now in tears, cracking under the pressure. She glanced around once more, finding she truly had no escape.
"I know how you feel, miss." Alexsis looked over at the shabby looking man, her eyes widening. “Life isn’t easy out here, especially not for one so young.”
She locked eyes with him, keeping her arms curled around her knees as she pleaded with the man. "Please don't take me to police station. I don't want to go to jail or to a home. I just wanted to buy some food to last a while,” She said, averting her watery gaze to her feet.
The men stayed silent for a while, and she didn’t dare look up and risk seeing their anger or disgust. She remained still, waiting as they decided her fate. What the man she now knew was named Severus said next shocked not only her, but his companion as well.
"How about I take you somewhere where you can get a decent meal and a shower?" Alexsis glanced up slowly, locking eyes with the man as she weighed him. She was wary, unsure if she could trust the man. He seemed to guess at her thoughts as he continued. "I know that you're special. I can feel your magic. I can take you to a place with people like you, Like Remus and I, and I bet they will let you stay until you can go to school. If not, we can see what arrangements can be made, but we don’t abandon our own to the muggles, the non magical people, when it can be avoided."
Alexsis’s heart began to pound as she processed the new information. She wasn’t alone. There were people out there with magic just like hers. But she didn’t trust him fully. “Prove it,” she demanded. She may not be in the best position to do so, but she found the request quite reasonable.
Both men withdrew long wooden sticks from their cloaks. They bent forward, hiding their hands behind the dumpster so those on the main street wouldn’t see as bright sparks emitted from the wands they held. Alexsis watched with wonder as she exhaled the breath she hadn’t realized she was holding.
“So? What do you say? Will you take a chance and trust us?” the man named Remus asked kindly.
She glanced from one man to the other, her decision made. If she was going to trust them, she might as well put her full trust in them. The roots of her ashen blonde hair darkened, slowly shifting through shades of red and brown until it had reached its natural black color.THe blue tint began to fade from her eyes as they returned to their light gray color. The shape of her nose and her cheekbones shifted a bit, returning her face to the one she had been born with. To the one she had kept hidden for years. Alexsis slowly looked up at the two men, not the least bit surprised by their shock. It was one of the few types of magic she could do, along with levitating objects.
"I figured if I’m going to trust you to take me somewhere, and since you’ve been kind enough to offer me a chance to eat and get cleaned up, I may as well trust you with my real appearance." Alexsis unravelled and stood slowly, her gaze still on the ground. "I never knew that there were others like me. That other people existed who could use magic. I’ve always thought that I was alone.”
"There is a whole world out there of people just like us, Miss. We’ve hidden ourselves well, but..." Remus trailed off as he studied the young girl before him. Her appearance looked so familiar to him, as if he had grown up with someone who looked just like her. He wondered if perhaps he had found his friends missing child. If perhaps he had met this girl before, ages ago when the world was a bit kinder. What had happened to Sirius’ daughter was even more mysterious than what had happened to his godson. It was as if she had simply vanished. He had no way of knowing for certain yet as he took in her current state of grunginess.
The jeans she wore were dirty, and her shoes looked to be at least one size too small. Her green t-shirt was tattered with various holes visible in the fabric, and her flannel jacket was rather wet and covered in patches. Her hair hair hung down her back in clumps and tangles, and neither man seemed to know where the blood on her shoulder was coming from.
The friendlier man, Remus, held out his hand and she hesitated a moment before she took it. Alexsis suddenly felt like she had been sucked into an airtight tube as she was stretched and twisted about. When her feet finally hit the ground, she staggered, doubled over and lost what little food she had in her stomach. She felt rather bad for ruining both her shoes and the patched old boots near hers.A hand gently rubbed her back as she fought through her dry heaves.
After a couple of minutes, Alexsis composed herself and took off her flannel jacket. She intended to use it to wipe herself off with, and to give it to the man who's shoes she had just puked on. But before she could even kneel down to wipe her own shoes off, the mess had vanished. She saw Remus returning his wand to his cloak, having magically removed the mess. She thanked him quietly as she glanced up to see where they were.
They seemed to be in an overgrown field. One rather strange building rose above them at the end of a small path. She wondered how the home managed to stay up. It’s structure was topsy turvy, and a bit crooked as it went up several floors. It’s windows were of all different shapes but shown with light and warmth. Despite its odd appearance, the home looked friendly and welcoming.
She had entirely forgotten about Severus who walked quietly behind them, observing her closely. He too felt that the girl looked familiar, though he couldn’t quite place how. While the girl seemed rather reserved and closed off, she was rather receptive to their help and attention, something he doubted she had ever received before. He couldn’t particularly blame her. He would have been much the same in her position. He noticed the blood begining to seep through the shoulder of her jacket and wondered just what had happened to her. But he also knew that she wouldn’t tell them yet. She didn’t trust them enough.
Remus took her hand as he guided her forward. She had a feeling it was to make sure she didn’t run away again rather than to offer her comfort, but she didn’t mind. She glanced around the yard as they approached, watching little creatures dart about the gardens mischievously. They went to what appeared to be the front door and Remus knocked lightly.
It didn’t take long for a plump, middle aged wom to open the door, her face a picture of surprise. "Remus, Severus!" she greeted warmly. "I wasn't expecting you two until late this evening."
The women has wavy red hair that fell just past her shoulders, and she wore an orange and white checkered dress with an apron tied around her middle. Her eyes flitted down to Alexsis as she took in her appearance with a sort of sadness in her eyes.
"And who is this sweet looking girl?" the woman asked in a caring, yet firm voice that reminded Alexsis of the voices she heard mothers use with their children in the crowds. She wasn’t sure what she thought of it being directed at her. It was strange, and utterly foreign to have someone concerned enough about her to be motherly.
"We don't quite know, Molly." Remus. "Severus caught her stealing some money off of him at The Leaky Cauldron. We followed her into an alleyway because she showed signs of magic as she ran away."
"Where are her parents?" Molly asked, looking at Remus sternly.
"That's just it, Molly," Severus drawled as Alexsis caught his eyes. "She appears to have been living on the streets for most of her life." She glanced away, studying her feet with mild embarrassment.
"Oh, you poor thing," Molly said as she took Alexsis’ hand from Remus and led them into the kitchen of the house. She quickly scanned the girls appearance, noting that she was far too thing, and carried more bruises and wounds than any child should have to endure. "What's your name?" Molly asked as she knelt down eye level.
"My name is Alexsis, Ma’am," She said softly, her eyes on the ground. She missed the shocked glances of the three adults. She missed the recognition and understanding that seemed to pass between them.
"And, do you know your last name perchance?" Severus asked, recovering himself first.
"No, sir," Alexsis murmured as her eyes began to well with tears. She was unaccustomed to such attention and scrutiny. She wasn’t sure how to handle the caring displayed by Molly and Remus, and even the reserved kindness that Severus gave. It was all too much, her anxiety building as her head filled with thoughts. Alexsis's hair began to rapidly shift in color. It flitted from black to blue to green to red, changing without her knowledge or control in her overwhelmed and confused state of mind. She drew in a deep breath, hoping it may help calm her but it didn’t feel deep enough. Her tears began to fall, rolling silently down her cheeks and creating tracks in the dirt there.
"I'm sorry, but I don't know. All I know is my first name. I've tried to find my parents but I can't- I haven’t-" She dropped her head into her hands, at a loss for words as she crying turned to sobbing.
"Oh, you poor, sweet thing," Molly said as she wrapped her arms around the girls frail body. "How about I take you upstairs and get you in the shower? We’ll be having lunch soon, and i’m sure you would like to get washed up. "
When neither Remus or Severus objected, Alexsis nodded and let Molly lead her through the house her vision was still a bit blurred as they made their way through the living room and up several flights of stairs. They stepped into a bathroom and Molly started the water before handing her a hairbrush. “My daughter is about your size and I’m sure she’s got some clothes to spare. See what tangles you can get out while I go find you something clean, okay?”
Molly bustled of as Alexsis tore the brush through her hair, removing a majority of the tangled clumps from her hair as Molly returned. She set a small pile of clothes on the sink and took a towel out of the cabinet. "Let me know if you need anything. I'm just going to be downstairs, and you are welcome to join us for lunch whenever you are ready." With that Molly left, shutting the bathroom door leaving Alexsis to truly bathe for the first time since she could remember.
She carefully read the bottles, not quite sure what to do with all of the products. But the warm water felt heavenly as it washed the blood, dirt and grime from her body. Dark water ran down the drain as she carefully cleaned her damaged shoulder. She couldn’t remember the last time she had been this warm. It had been quite rainy in london, and she hadn’t been dry in ages. She took her time, savoring every moment of this strange but marvelous commodity and utterly unaware of the conversation going on below.
"Where on earth did you find the child?" Molly said as she returned to the kitchen, studying the two men.
“Like Severus said, she managed to get his coin purse off of him but we caught her before she got to the door. You should have seen his face though. Bested by a mere child,” Remus said with a light laugh.
Snape looked towards Remus and gave him a signature sneer. "I caught up to her and asked where she was going, and she said that she was looking for her mother. The description she gave looked nothing like her at the time, but being a metamorphmagus she likely forgot what she looked like then. We offered to help her find her ‘mother’, she then ran off into an alleyway.”
“She was staying in a soaked box behind a dumpster. She was terrified that we would turn her in. We managed to gain a bit of her trust and she showed us her true face. I wondered, but she was so wary of us and I knew you would ask her name, Molly, so I waited.”
“I just can’t believe it. We’ve finally found her. It’s been nearly ten years! And there is no way that she has been out there since she was one. Four or five, maybe, but that begs the question of where she was before,” Molly said hastily, looking rather shocked.
“From her fear of orphanages and foster homes, I’d guess she ran away from one,” Severus said with a scowl.
“But it’s her. She looks just like him. But how do we tell her? How will she take it?”
“Will she be able to stay a while, Molly?” Remus inquired.
“Of course! I won’t turn her back out on the streets! She deserves better than that. No once deserves that, especially not an eleven year old.”
“Then I say we let her eat, and go from there. The others will be returning soon, I’m sure. Whether we tell her before or after they arrive is up in the air. She’s fairly overwhelmed as is, it may be best to wait a while and let her get adjusted. I just hope she doesn’t try to run off again,” Remus said.
They heard shuffling on the steps and all three adults looked over to see Alexsis in an overly large sweater and holding up the jeans that were way too big. Molly summoned a belt, handing it to her. Her black hair free from the knots and tangles, hanging down to her waist in damp curls. Her skin clear of grime. But as she lifted her sweater to put on the belt, the dark bruises were will quite apparent on her skin.
"I'm sorry if I interrupted you," Alexsis mumbled as she put on the belt, thankful for an excuse to avert her gaze.
"Oh, don't be silly. I was just wondering when you would be down," Molly said as she stood and out a chair beside hers at the table. "Come and sit down while I make you something to eat. You are entirely too skinny."
Alexsis gave a small smile as she joined them at the table, keeping her hands folded in her lap. There was a heavy silence as Molly headed into the kitchen.
“Well, I suppose proper introductions are in order. I’m Remus, Remus Lupin. This here is Severus Snape, and the lovely woman in the kitchen is Molly Weasley. I know you're still rather skeptical, but I do hope that you will stay here. Otherwise, we may not be able to find you for school.”
She studied the two men. “What school, Mr. Lupin? And how am I to afford it?”
“Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. They’ll teach you all about magic and how to properly use it. You’re not the first child with no family to speak of to come through the place. They have an account set up for such situations, so everything you need will be paid for for the duration of your school years,” Mr. Snape said.
Alexsis nodded. “I would hate to impose-”
“Nonsense, dear!” Mrs. Weasley said as she bustled back into the dining room. “I’ve got seven kids of my own. Only five of them are currently staying here since the others are grown, but I’ve only got one daughter. I’m sure Ginny would love to have another girl around the place. You can stay in Bill and Charlie’s room, but if they come back or other company needs to stay you'll have to share with Ginny.”
The woman caught her look of apprehension. She sat down as several things floated onto the table. She made a plate up and handed it to Alexsis along with a cup of tea. “I know it’s a big change and a lot of people, but I think you will all get along great.”
“And while you stay here, we can look into finding out who your parents are. There are detailed records of wizarding families. I’m sure we can find a match somewhere,” Mr. Snape said.
She caught his eye and saw a strange gleam in it. She narrowed her brows at him. “YOu already have a guess, don’t you?” He blinked at her in mild shock and she felt a warry smirk pull her lips. “You learn to read people, living the way I have. I know it will be an adjustment, but I can’t pass up on schooling, nor can I pass up such a generous offer from you, Mrs. Weasley. No one has ever actually seemed to care before, and it would be rather rude of me to just vanish after all of your trouble. It will be strange, but so long as I am welcome, I will stay.”
“That is a relief to hear,” Mrs. Weasley said. “Now, eat up! We need to get some meat on those bones. Have as much as you like. There is always more than enough food in this house.” The woman began fussing with her tea, asking how she liked it and making pleasant conversation with Mr. Lupin and Mr. Snape. They didn’t pry, but they included her in the conversation and before she knew it they had her laughing. It seemed that the men had quite a history, and the stories they could tell were delightful.
And it was sitting there in the kitchen of this warm and caring home that she finally felt is if she might have a chance for something more. It was there that she felt emotions she didn’t know she was capable of having. For the first time that she could remember, Alexsis was hopeful. Hopeful at what the future may bring and with her lot in life. For the first time in forever, she felt cared for. For the first time in her life, Alexsis was well and truly happy.
Chapter 2: Chapter 2
Chapter by The_Multi_Fandom_Writer
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
Alexsis was amazed by the sheer amount of food Mrs. Weasley had made. Finding food had always been her biggest struggle. She had often stayed near restaurants in hopes of finding decent scraps and had saved every stray penny she could find to buy meager meals. Having spent so long going without and struggling to find a meal, it was mind boggling to Alexsis to have such a plethora of food offered to her. Not to mention the fact that the food was the best she had ever eaten.
“Thank you, Mrs. Weasley, for the delicious meal.” Mrs. Weasley smiled at the small child before her, still quite thrown by her eventful morning. She still had no idea how Sirius Black’s daughter had ended up living on the cold and dirty streets of London.
“Of course, dear! As I said, we have more than enough food so you are welcome to help yourself.” Alexsis blushed and ducked her head, unaccustomed to attention and kindness from anyone, let alone the true care that Molly, Severus and Remus displayed.
“My husband and children should be back from their trip to Diagon Alley any minute.”
As if on cue, a green fire roared to life in the fireplace. Alexsis watched with wide eyes as a young girl with flaming red hair stepped out. She appeared to be a bit younger, and so did the next child. The redheaded boy was thin and lanky.
Behind the first two came a pair of twins. They were taller than her, but looked to be about the same age. They were laughing about something as a man stepped out behind them. He appeared to be a bit older than Severus and Remus. His receding hair was flecked with gray and his blue eyes were fatherly and protective, yet gentle and friendly. It was strange to see such a combination, but Alexsis’ entire day had been strange.
“Ah, right on schedule!!” Mrs. Weasley chimed as she rushed into the living room. Remus and Severus followed her, and Alexsis hesitantly rose from her seat. She walked in behind them, trying to be as inconspicuous as possible. Mrs. Weasley hugged her husband and each of her children in turn. Alexsis felt a strange pang of jealousy at the motherly display, just as she used to in the market. But after how kind Molly had been to her, the emotion faded quickly.
Molly asked her kids about their trip, listening intently as they told her all about it. Mr. Weasley broke away from them, shaking Remus and Severus’ hands,
“Remus! Severus! I thought you were arriving later this evening! It’s good to see you both!”
Blue eyes flickered from the men down to her with a befuddled expression. Partially hidden behind Severus’ large robes, she watched him with keen eyes. Alexsis made no attempt to move forward or offer her hand, content to let Remus, Severus or Molly answer the coming questions.
“Well, hello there,” Arthur said as he crouched down to eye level with Alexsis. “What might your name be?”
Arthur asked her. Wondering the same thing the other three adults did. She looked just like their once friend. How on earth did Sirius’ daughter end up here?
Alexis said nothing in return, still wary of the man. After years of fending for herself to get by, she didn't like the patronizing way he knelt beside her. The other kids were watching now, studying her with such intense curiosity that she began to feel even more uncomfortable. The bit of ease that she had began to feel evaporated, replaced by fear and anxiety. She crossed her arms over her chest protectively and stared at the floor.
Remus gently laid a hand on her shoulder. “It's alright, Alexsis. Arthur is a friend. We found Alexsis pickpocketing outside of The Leaky Cauldron. When Severus caught her with his coin purse, she ran off. Her magic was apparent, and no child should be in the streets, so we brought her back here,” he explained.
Nodding, the man stood. “She looks rather like… but...” Arthur murmured, not wanting his kids to overhear. “Didn’t she die with Marlene?”
"Only Marlene’s body was ever recovered, so there's no way to know of yet,” Severus replied. “Time, and perhaps a visit to the Healers or the Goblins, shall tell.”
“Okay!” called the overly bright voice of Mrs. Weasley. “Let’s continue this in a moment. Alexsis, dear, let me introduce you to our children.
Molly held a hand out and gestured to her expectantly. With her arms still wrapped tightly around her, Alexsis reluctantly stepped out from behind Severus and Remus to join her.
“Now, I know I mentioned Ginny when I went to find you some clothes. She's the youngest of our seven.”
“Pleased to meet you,” the red headed girl replied on cue.
“Ronald here is one year older than her.”
“Hi. Mum, can I go fly on my broom?” he replied, looking a bit bored.
“Oh, me too!” Ginny called excitedly. Ron looked a tad annoyed, and Molly rolled her eyes.
“Stay on the property and be back in time to wash up before dinner. Charlie, why don't you, join them and fly with Ginny, Yes?”
“I'm Charlie! If you need anything, just let us know.” Charlie seemed older, but one other boy seemed to be the oldest. Charlie was short and stocky, and waved for the others to follow him. “Well? Come on, then!”
“Don't break anything!” Arthur called after them.
Ron and Ginny followed Charlie outside. A boy with curly red hair, glasses and a rather serious face stepped forward.
“If they are going to go fly, then i'm going to go study my new book! I need to get ahead in Ancient Runes!”
Molly sighed. “Alright then, Percy. Be down for supper and you're not to bring the book to the table!”
“Ponce,” one of the two younger boys left muttered.
“Prat,” the other replied as if to clarify.
“Fred! George! Mind your language. Alexsis, these two are the same age as you are. You'll all be in school together. I only hope their tendency to misbehave doesn't rub off on you. Bill, will you keep an eye on them?”
“Sure thing, Mum,” said the oldest boy. He was tall and thin with long hair and an earring. With a friendly smile, he reached a hand out to her. “Nice to meet you, Alexsis! I'm Bill.”
She hesitantly shook it, glad that there were fewer eyes on her now. “Alexsis, obviously,” she replied.
“We don't need a babysitter!” The twin boys chimed.
“I disagree,” Molly replied. “Be on you best behaviour! No pranks, no dung beetles, just behave! Alexsis, we'll be in the next room if you need us,” Molly replied. The woman was unaware of the rude faces the twins made at her back as she turned, and Alexsis tried to hide her smile at their antics.
As the door to the kitchen closed behind Molly and the men, the duo groaned.
“It's like she thinks we’re going to destroy the furniture,” the first said.
“Or blow up the fireplace,” the other replied.
“Or set the place on fire,” they chimed together.
“Well, considering you've done all three on multiple occasions, can you really blame her?” Bill asked with an amused smirk.
“Yes!” they replied and their eldest brother rolled his eyes.
“Alexsis, why don't you come have a seat with us in the living room?” he offered. “Hopefully I can keep these two out of trouble.”
“Alright, then.” They seemed friendly enough, and it was far easier for her to relax with fewer people around. If she was going to be around these people for a while, she would have to get to know them eventually and it was easier to do in smaller groups. Hoping it would go well, she followed Bill towards the living room with the twins chatting just behind her.
Sorry this took so long to get posted. I hope chapter 3 doesn’t take as long to get up so I don’t keep all you amazing people waiting.
I do want to give a huge thank you to my best friend Brittney for being my editor and helping me keep my story on track and to flow better. Please go and check out her works as she is an amazingly talented writer and her fics are amazing!