September 1, 1993
It was the last article of clothing to pack- at least she thought it was- though there was much doubt to when it would actually be worn. It was a Christmas sweater that Aunt Mara had knitted for her years ago and while it was comfy and quite colorful, she was unsure if Hogwarts was ready for the likes of her Aunt’s sweaters.
The suitcase shut with a click and she triumphantly placed her hands on her hips. The clock to her right read 10:20; she wasn’t running too late. A childish giggle made her movement still as she went to lift the suitcase- it was the picture to the right of the clock.
She loved that photograph- it was one of the only few magical ones in the house, not that they were necessarily allowed anyway. It was she and her parents, but she was just a child and so full of life all packed into her chubby little cheeks.
And her mom- who people always said she looked just like- was scrunching up her nose and smiling at her husband with mischief in her green eyes. And her husband was making funny faces at the toddler in her arms, which prompted all three of them to erupt into a fit of laughter.
She set down the photo and sighed to herself, pushing away old memories that best stay old. A huff and a puff was what it took to lug the suitcase downstairs and sit in front of the front door.
“We gotta go Mara! We can’t be late!” A rumble of footsteps from the kitchen followed shortly after her yell and Mara appeared with a tired smile on her face and a biscuit in her hand.
“I was waiting for you, you lazy bum. Let’s go! You miss that train and you’ll find yourself helping me at work for the year and ah out the door she goes.” Mara smiled to herself and shut the door behind her, locking the lock and walking to car, smiling at her niece in the passenger seat.
“You know, one of these days I’ll ask that Dumbledore fellow-“
“He’s the Headmaster!”
“Okay, Headmaster, to give me a tour of your school. I don’t ever truly know where I’m sending you off once you run through that bloody platform and frankly you could be running off to hell knows where and I’m none the wiser.” Mara gave her niece a pointed look as they drove down the street,
“But since I can’t do that I’m relying on you to send me an owl at least every two weeks, just so I know your okay.” Mara gave her a smirk, “Or if there’s anyone giving you trouble I need to wrangle.”
Eliza gave her Aunt a look that read ‘you can’t do that Auntie but you never listen so who cares’. It was quiet for a few more minutes and then Mara decided she might as well ask some questions to pass the time. “So, are you taking anything interesting this year?”
“Well after Lockhart’s extreme failure as the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher I assume we’ll be getting a replacement this year that will hopefully teach us something more than how to sign autographs.”
Mara snorted something that suspiciously sounded like a word that would get her a slap on the wrist. “And luckily there was a new class in Care of Magical Creatures, and Potions as always.” And of course, Mara asked “And is Potions still taught by uhm, what’s his name- Snoop?”
Eliza let out a wild laugh, “You damn well know its Snape. And he’s…”
She paused for a moment to think of the right word to say. Was he mean? Not really, well at least to her. He wasn’t cruel as most people liked to say, but he sure as hell wasn’t kind.
He had a permanent look of disdain of his face that she was sure had been on his face since birth. But then again, he wasn’t ever cruel to her, nor her friends, and she truly had no reason to hate him as much as the rest of the school did.
“He’s just Snape. Nothing ever really changes at Hogwarts.” She stepped out of the car and walked to the trunk, popping it open and grabbing her things.
Mara was behind her with a sorrowful smile- it was like this every time she left for the school year. It never got any easier to take herself away from Muggle London in her Aunt’s flat and go back to the magic of Diagon Alley and Hogwarts- but she’d be a red-faced liar if she said she didn’t miss it once in a while. And besides, having to do ones own laundry was a drag.
“You have everything? Not missing your wand or anything else you wizards use?” Mara stuffed her hands in her jumper and rolled on the balls of her feet.
“Yep. And I’ll owl you if there’s anything important or I’ve lost something or if I just miss home. C’mon, gimme a hug.” The two women hugged at Platform 9, just halfway to Platform 10. It was sweet embrace that grew tighter just before they pulled away.
“Bye love. Have fun!” Mara waved at Eliza and watched as he niece ran into a pillar wall, disappearing from sight.
Eliza came through to Platform 9 ¾, where it was bustling with students and parents alike who were all rushing to get themselves on the train. She apologized to more than a handful of people when they bumped into her and scowled at one particularly rude platinum haired woman who seemed to widen her eyes at her mere presence, though quickly scurried away into the crowd.
A gaggle of red hair caught her attention and the familiar height of two red haired twins brought a smile to her face. Her steps raced forward and beamed when she caught Mr. Weasley’s eyes, and he returned the smile.
“Elizabeth Jones! It’s been ages dear, how have you been? Are the Muggles treating you right? Tell me, how was it been without the use of magic all summer? Molly! It’s Elizabeth, come say hello.”
Molly Weasley was one of the kindest woman know to the Wizarding World and treated her like she was one of her own. She had even offered Eliza a room in the Burrow if she truly ever needed it, which she never took but thanked her for the offer every time.
“Ah! Elizabeth!” Molly gave her a massive death like grip of a hug, “I feel like I haven’t seen you in ages you look so much older and yet still so lovely. How have you been?” A reply was on the tip of her tongue but the train let out a massive noise that alerted the students that they needed to get their asses on the train. Moly laughed it off and spoke about next visits and wishing her a swell school year before ushering her off.
Getting onto the train was the easy part but finding a seat was not as easy. It seemed that every goddam seat was full, or the mostly full ones were first years waiting for their second year friends.
The back of the train was typically Slytherins and she just didn’t feel like dealing with their overzealous attitude today. It was becoming clear the farther she went down that there was no hope for a free seat.
And then she saw it- well; it was close enough to exactly what she wanted. It must have been the last empty compartment, though it wasn’t empty for there was a man as there was no way he was a student leaning against the window.
She tapped her finger on the glass and was taken aback when he promptly looked at her square in the face with his eyebrows raised in expectance.
He nodded and she beamed, sliding open the door and grunting when her case was too heavy to lift over her head. The weight disappeared from her hands most abruptly and she watched as her case was lifted up and over hear head and placed above the seat below.
Her breath stuttered at the mans effortless task that hadn’t required his presence, and turned to thank him.
She stared into his green eyes, and he into hers, and neither spoke. He was taller than her by more than a few inches so she craned her neck to look up at him and well.
He was gorgeous, no doubt in that as she took in his messy brain hair and brilliant emerald eyes. She noted his face had a few thin scars but knew not to stare. Her eyes drifted ever so slightly down to his pale neck, which held together his long green coat.
All of his clothes were slightly rumpled and it gave him a tired look, though she truly did not mind; it made him looked like a kicked puppy in a way. She failed to notice his eyes were taking in every detail on her face to memory and gazing at the clothes adorning her body.
He moved away first, sitting down in his previous seat and folding his fingers in his lap as is waiting for her to follow. And she did, sitting under her luggage and staring at the man across from her.
He spoke first, “Hello. I’m Remus Lupin but you may call me Remus. If I may know your know your name it would bring me great pleasure.” Ending his sentence with a smile, he waited patiently for her answer.
She responded, “It’s a pleasure to meet you Remus. I’m Elizabeth Jones; my friends call me Eliza or Lizzie. Either is fine really.”
Remus nodded, “May I call you Elizabeth? It is quite a lovely name that needs no level of shortening.” Her head nodded and they sat for a moment in silence. It was quite awkward for a moment, though Eliza let her curiosity get the better of her and said,
“May I ask why you are on this train? Not that you’re not allowed but I’m just curious is all.”
“It is quite alright. I was requested by Dumbledore and well, here I am. Simple as that. And you?” He raised an eyebrow at her and she nearly laughed at the look on her face.
“I am very obviously a student but you never know.” They both chuckled but Remus still held his raised eyebrow, and she in turn raised hers. “You look very familiar but I can’t place it. Have we met before?”
She shook her head and brushed a piece of hair behind her ear, “No I can assure you we haven’t. But everyone says I look quite a lot like my mother.
She went to Hogwarts many years ago. Ismelda Jones. You might have known her.” He let out a joyous laugh as if he’d found the needle in the haystack. “Yes right you are! I knew I’d seen that lovely face before. Daughter of Ismelda and Eton I assume. We always use to call your father Eton-“
“-Mess. Like the ice cream.” They both laughed at the silly nickname and Eliza felt a sense of warmth spread through her chest. It was nice to laugh with someone and seeing as he was a particularly handsome made it even better.
The small room was silent for a while and Remus lifted his cloak over his head and spoke in a tired tone, “ I do believe I am need of some shut eye. If you could, wake me when we arrive love.” He didn’t wait for an answer and closed his eyes, drifting to sleep and leaving Eliza alone for the remainder of the trip.
Or at least, that’s what she thought until the glass doors slid open to reveal three first ones- only two of which she recognized. The red hair could only belong to a Weasley and the lightening scar was Harry Potter, the girl with them she didn’t know but she was the one to ask if they could sit there, which of course she said yes to.
So the three first years and one 6th year sat in the compartment as the train made its way through the watery air.
Typically the scenery to Hogwarts was lush grasslands and more trees than the eye could see. But today, there were grey skies and the sky seemed to crying for hours on end. But the cold was the worst of it all- you could see your breath in front of you and it was chilling Eliza to the bone. She should’ve worn the damn Christmas sweater.
“Did you see that?”
She believed Molly had mentioned her youngest as being named Ron so Ron he shall be- Ron was looking out the wet grey window with fear. The others had called the girl Hermione- “Ron there’s nothing for miles. Just go to sleep.”
It seemed Ron’s friends couldn’t convince him to calm down as he let out a whimper at the cold outside the window. “Something’s out there. Watching us. I swear I saw something.” Eliza was ready to tell him to rest his eyes or she’d do it for him when a chill went up her spine as she saw a flash of black through the glass.
“What if it’s Sirius Black? What if he’s come to kill us?” Eliza wanted to throttle him but Hermione beat him to it. “Sirius Black can’t fly you dolt.”
“You don’t know that!” All four students jumped when the train came to a halt, something that in all of Eliza’s years had never happened before. Something was wrong. She leaned over and whimpered Remus’s name as loud as she could but she was truly scared and it seemed that wasn’t enough to wake him up.
The flights flickered before completely shutting off, leaving the train in darkness. It was truly terrifying, not knowing what was going to happen next. They all sat with baited breath as screams echoed through the train, only to be quickly silenced a moment after. Ron was the one to whisper ‘Harry?’ into the silence and Eliza tried to keep tears from staining her cheeks.
It became clear that they were next, as the screams were so loud behind her head, but they only lasted for a moment.
She knew what it was instantly, as she’d seen pictures and had heard descriptions that did it no justice. It was one of the keepers of Azkaban, a creature that ate your soul and left your body as nothing more than a husk.
The stories of people who’d faced these things and survived were nonexistent; you didn’t just come out from a fight with it. You died, end of story. It was a Dementor, and it was truly horrifying. The cape it wore hid it’s skeletal figure, though it’s long boney hands were what opened the door and stood in the doorway.
Eliza couldn’t look away and neither could it, though as she felt its stare pierce her soul even though it had no eyes but simply a gaping hole of a mouth that would truly haunt her nightmares for the rest of her young days. At first it felt like a vacuum, a simple suction on her face but then the pain started growing gradually that she would scream if she could but her voice was suddenly nothing more than a breath of air.
Her mind was in pain- and she wished that she could look away but she was stuck in a trance and was starting to fade.
A voice told her that it would end soon, that resisting it would only make it worse which seemed to be true so she did, falling into a void of her happiest memories and out of reality, She was lost in a sea of her mothers warm arms and her fathers sweet laughter when something real gripped her and pulled her through the void and back to the train compartment, -back to herself.
Her eyes widened and she took a shuddering breath at the feel of Remus’s arms holding her against him. She wanted to stay awake, to watch him fight off the Dementor and save the day like a white knight on a horse but she never was able to resist a good nights sleep, even if it was neither good nor night.
Eliza awoke to Dumbledore’s kind face flashing her a smile that didn’t quite reach his eyes. She sat up in the white hospital bed and winced at the quickly forming headache, though Dumbledore was quick with a wave of his hand and her headache was gone. She sighed and leaned back into the fluffy white pillow and waited as he started to speak as to hear him out,
“Words cannot describe how sorry I am for the situation that has befallen you as I truly was unaware that Dementors would go as far as to attack a student. I do not want you to think that you are unsafe at Hogwarts for you are and always will be.”
He paused and stood, turning to the door. “Hogwarts is your home. Do not ever forget that.” He left in a billow of his purple coat but stopped as he reached the door, “I do believe you were brought a gift that may brighten your day.” Her eyes shot to the beside table and saw a package, eyes shooting back to the door to hear the click as it closed.
She bit her lip and reached for the gift, inspecting for a name but seeing none. Carefully pulling the ribbon that held it closed the gift opened, revealing a butterscotch lollipop from Zonko’s, her absolute favorite, and a white daisy.
She was confused more than anything. Who had sent it? Why had someone sent it? Did she secretly hope it was Remus? She had no answers to any of these questions but wishes she did.
Unwrapping the lollipop and plopping it in her mouth was an amazing feeling, and she lifted the daisy to her nose and took a sniff. The sweet butterscotch and flowery daisy scent were enough to push thoughts of Dementors out of her mind for the night.