Mrs. Weasley, who was a short, plump woman with a very kind face, beamed at Phoenix as soon as she stepped out of the fire place, just behind the twins. She smiled at Mrs. Weasley before she was pulled into one of her big, warm hugs.
"Hi Mrs. Weasley, thank you for allowing me to stay for the rest of the summer," Phoenix said, smiling as Mrs. Weasley released her from the hug and placed her hands on both of Phoenix's shoulders to get a better look at her.
"For the last time Phoenix, you can call me Molly!" She said, shaking her head before saying, "Where's Arthur? He better not be-"
"Looking at the plugs again," George finished his mother's sentence with a smirk on his face.
"Merlin's beard," Molly sighed as a loud hoot came from behind Phoenix. She turned round to see Silvano shoring gracefully through the open front door and landed in front of her on the arm of the chair. "I given him a few treats if that's alright with you Phoenix. Anyway, boys! Take her things up to Ginny's room while I make you all some sandwiches."
The twins nodded, George picking up Silvano's cage and Fred taking Phoenix's trunk. Phoenix followed the twins as they carried her things up the rickety staircase.
"So, tell us truthfully, how was your summer?" George questioned as he, Fred and Phoenix all slumped down in the twin's room, Phoenix sitting crossed legged on George's bed, George beside her and Fred lying down on his bed. They had a large plate of ham and cheese sandwiches in between them and they were all digging in hungrily.
"What? I told you it's been okay," Phoenix replied, half way through chewing her food. She swallowed and gulped down some pumpkin juice, looking over at George who had a look on his face as if to say do-you-think-I'm-an-idiot? "What? You don't believe me?"
"I know when you're lying Pixy," George said defiantly, looking over at his twin, who nodded at him and looked at Phoenix, with his mouth full of food.
"Wou wook wiserable" Fred said through a mouthful of food, causing Phoenix to look at him with an expression between disgust, amusement and confusion.
"Is it really that obvious?" She asked, moving some of her hair, which was now a bright lilac, out of her face and bit her lip softly. The twins nodded, causing her to sigh and lean her head against George's shoulder, who put his arm around her shoulder before he grabbed two sandwiches for the both of them. "My summer hasn't been terrible," she assured them, "I've had fun but it's just – been really lonely at home. Will has been spending loads of time with me, I just feel," she paused for a moment, "Isolated."
"What do you mean?" inquired Fred.
"Well," began Phoenix, "all of my family seen to be having hushed conversations about something and then I walk in and they just busy themselves and pretend that they weren't talking. I tried to listen to what they were talking about but I think they have been casting Silencing Charms so I can't hear them."
"That is suspicious," said George.
"I know," Phoenix said miserably, "I think it has something to do with my mother."
"Why do you think that?" said Fred.
Phoenix clicked her tongue and pulled the sandwich in her hands apart, "Well, when you put things into perspective and really think about it, why else would my family keep things from me? I mean, I'm the only who doesn't really know how she died," she said, "unless they're planning me a really late surprise birthday party or something, but I highly doubt that."
"Well," said George, "whatever it is – with our help – you will find out eventually."
"Anyway, how did you do in your O.W.L.s?" Fred asked Phoenix, by the look on her face the twins already guessed that she passed her exams with flying colours.
"I got an Outstanding in everything, apart from-"
"Divination" Fred and George both finished for her, causing her to blush and laugh at her best friends.
"How on earth did you know?" She laughed; Divination was by far her least favourite subject. She disliked it even more than Potions with Snape. Their teacher, Professor Trelawney predicted Phoenix's death in much detail every single lesson, varying from her drowning in the lake to falling down the staircase. "How did you two do anyhow?" She noticed Fred and George glance at each other, identical smirks on their faces "Did you do that bad?"
"We got three O.W.L.s each." George said proudly and Phoenix's eyes widened but then she snorted with laughter. "We both passed Charms and Defence Against the Dark Arts, we passed them with flying colours. Fred got an Outstanding in Transfiguration and I got an Outstanding in Herbology."
"Overall three Outstanding's is pretty damn well good." Fred smiled, his hand placed over his chest in pride "Mum isn't very impressed however" He said glumly.
"I don't see how on earth you only got three O.W.L.s each though. You are both really smart when you concentrate. I mean, I'm surprised you didn't at least pass Potions, I mean with all the experiments you two do."
Fred rolled his eyes, "We didn't pass potions because we didn't want to pass potions, we purposely did so terrible that we had no way of passing and not having any more lessons with Snape" He sniggered.
"I want to become an Auror so I have to do Potions, Defence Against the Dark Arts, Transfiguration, Herbology and Charms. And I am taking Ancient Runes from my N.E.W.T.s. You two are sorted, you have only two more years to do what you want, I have about five years and that includes Auror training!" Phoenix groaned, making Fred and George roll their eyes as she ranted.
"For a Metamorphmagus you really haven't changed much."
Phoenix spent the rest of the evening helping Mrs. Weasley preparing dinner with Ginny and Hermione while Ron, Bill, and Charlie were all playing a game of exploding snap on the kitchen table, Fred and George were watching them play, sniggering about something. Mr. Weasley was also sat at the table reading the Daily Prophet. Phoenix and Hermione were cutting up the vegetables when Percy came storming into the kitchen, shrieking and pointing to his hair which had turned in a furious shade of pink. Everyone in the kitchen roared with laughter, excluding Mrs. Weasley who shot a withering look at her husband, who immediately stopped laughing and looked instantly at the twins.
"Don't tell me you are a Metamorphmagus too Perce." George said through fits of laughter.
Percy shot his brothers a murderous stare before he bellowed, "I HAVE HAD ENOUGH OF YOUR TROUBLE MAKING! I AM SUPPOSED TO BE HANDING IN A REPORT ON CAULDRON BOTTOMS ON TUESDAY AND ATTENDING THE WORLD CUP WHERE ALL MY BOSSES WILL BE AND DO YOU THINK MR. CROUCH WILL TAKE ME SERIOUSLY WITH HAIR LIKE THIS?!"
"Ay, watch it, Nix is perfectly respected and she has different hair every day, take a leaf out of her book." Sniggered George and Phoenix shot him a look that could rival even Mrs. Weasley.
"And anyway Perce, if Mr. Crouch can't take you seriously then certainly you should know that we can't." Fred said, crossing his arms over his chest and trying his very best not to laugh.
"Boys," Mrs. Weasley said sharply and the twins jumped and turned to face their mum, an identical look on their faces that looked like a child who had been caught taking sweets when they weren't supposed to be, "you need to stop pranking your brother. You should be taking a leaf out of his book, in fact, take a few leafs. Take all the leafs you can!"
Phoenix and Hermione looked up at each other, both sensing the impending wrath of Mrs. Weasley, and quickly began chopping the vegetables madly, but Mrs Weasley yells never came. Phoenix let out a yelp of pain before Mrs. Weasley could even get on the topic of their O.W.L.s results. Everyone looked as Phoenix pulled her bloody finger away from the vegetables and the knife, trying to stop the flow of blood from her cut.
"Oh dear!" Molly came bustling over, immediately stopping glaring at the twins to fuss over Phoenix's cut finger. Mrs. Weasley pulled her over to the sink and turned on the cold water, putting Phoenix's finger under it, making her wince slightly. Mrs. Weasley then pulled out her wand, swishing it through the air and Phoenix watched as her cut glowed a pale purple colour and slowly healed itself, leaving a small scar there.
"Thank you Mrs Weasley, I mean, thanks Molly," Phoenix smiled gratefully up at her.
Mrs. Weasley smiled back at her, placing her wand in the waist band on her dress "Next time dear, be careful when cutting vegetables."
The next day at the Burrow, Mrs. Weasley kept both the twins, Ginny, Hermione, Ron and Phoenix all busy, making them first de-gnome the garden then feeding the chickens and finally helping Molly prepare lunch for everyone.
When Mrs Weasley was busy cutting some bread, she had told Phoenix that she didn't want her to hurt herself again, and Phoenix was pouring pumpkin juice into some cups, Mr. Weasley bustled into the kitchen, followed closely by Bill, Charlie and the twins, who both had rushed out of the room when Mrs. Weasley asked them to help with lunch.
"Ah, I see that lunch is almost ready." Mr. Weasley said brightly as Hermione set a plate of sandwiches on the table.
Phoenix sat in her usual seat, opposite Mr. Weasley and in between the twins. Mr. Weasley always loved to ask her and Hermione all about muggels whenever they ate lunch, dinner or breakfast together.
"Who is coming to fetch Harry this afternoon?" Mr. Weasley asked as everyone sat down at the table and began to dig into their lunch.
"We'll come!" The twins both said, Phoenix kicked both of them from under the table, but they didn't flinch. She didn't want them to proceed with this prank on Harry's cousin. She knew that Mrs. Weasley would go ballistic and the fact that Dudley was a muggle would get them into more trouble than they probably bargained for.
"Nix do you want to come? I assume you would because the twins are coming," Ron asked her, but Phoenix shook her head.
"There's already enough going and I'm not going to be of much help. I will just stay here; the twins will be fine without me. They'll be miserable, but they'll be fine." Phoenix joked; it was her turn to receive a kick from the twins.
Mr. Weasley, Ron and the twins left shortly after lunch. Phoenix ventured out into the Weasley's garden, it was large there were plenty of weeds, grass that looked as though it needed cutting, plants that Phoenix had never encountered at her small cottage that were spilling from their flowerbeds and a big green pond that was full of frogs. She sat down beside the pond, resting her back against a tree. She closed her eyes as the warm breeze swept across her face, her hair turning to an electric blue colour. When she opened her eyes, she saw Ginny and Hermione both striding towards her.
"Hello," Phoenix greeted them happily as they both set themselves down beside her.
"Hey Nix," They chirmed back, Hermione quickly pulled out a book and began reading. Phoenix couldn't help but smile at how much Hermione reminded Phoenix of herself, both of them were muggle born and knew more about the Wizarding world than both their best friends did.
"So Nix, how has your summer been?" Ginny asked, sitting cross legged beside Phoenix "By the way I love your hair,"
"Thanks and it was boring. Will had some pretty interesting stories about being an Auror, took me to a few concerts and taught me how to skateboard, it's like riding on a board," she added at Ginny's look of confusion, "you would think Anastasia would have some interesting stories with her training to be a healer but the most interesting one was about a Muggle who had been cursed by some kind of jinxed object, who kept projectile vomiting over her for a good half an hour."
Ginny made a noise between disgust and laughter, "Sounds lovely. I've been waiting for you and Hermione to come all summer, all my family talk about it either dragons or Quidditch. Don't get me wrong, dragons are interesting and I love Quidditch, but sometimes I just want to gossip and not hear about Percy's report on cauldron bottoms,"
"How is his report coming along by the way?" Phoenix asked and Hermione giggled from behind her book.
"It's going as great as your summer Nix," Hermione said, closing her book and setting it down on the grass in front of her.
From somewhere behind them, a sound of footsteps could be heard. The three girls looked around, expecting to see one of the Weasley's, but instead it was a gaggle of gnomes emerging from the overgrown bushes.
"Dad is too nice to them," Ginny sighed, shaking her head and getting to her feet, "come on, let's go into my room before Mum comes out and gets us to de-gnome the garden again," Hermione and Phoenix followed Ginny happily.
They all entered Ginny's room; it was a small room but a bright room. The walls were painted pink and there were large posters around the room. On one wall, there was a poster of Gwenog Jones, the Beater and captain for the Holyhead Harpies, on the other wall was a poster of the wizarding band the Weird Sisters. Ginny's desk stood in front of a large window where the orchard that the Weasley's and Phoenix often played Quidditch could be seen. Her bed was squashed up against the wall and a large mattress was in the middle of the room, where Hermione and Phoenix had both been sleeping, their trunks had been tucked away under Ginny's bed.
The girls all sat down on Ginny's bed and once again, Hermione opened her book and began reading. Ginny rolled her eyes at Phoenix, who merely gave her a small smile.
"Has Fred and George told you about Weasley's Wizard Wheezes?" Ginny asked Phoenix as they both crossed their legs on the small bed, Phoenix shot Ginny a confused look and she began to explain, "Mum found a huge stack of order forms when she was cleaning their room, there were price-lists for practical jokes they've been developing in their room. All sorts of things, fake wands and tricks sweets, absolutely brilliant I must say. But some of the things were – well, all of it, really – was a tad bit dangerous. They said they were planning to sell them at Hogwarts and make some money but – well you know Mum – she was furious. You know as well, she was mad at them for not getting as many OWLs as she had hoped," Ginny sighed and Phoenix felt her stomach flipped, she hated hearing about the twins arguments with their mother, "And then there was the big row, because well, mum wants them to go work in the Ministry of Magic like Dad and Percy, but they told her all they wanted to do was open a joke-shop."
"Oh dear," Phoenix looked down sadly at her hands, she felt slightly hurt that the twins had not told her about any of this.
"Yeah, she burned all the order forms, I've never seen Fred or George so mad at her," Ginny absentmindedly twirling her long red hair, "I'm surprised they didn't tell you."
Phoenix coughed awkwardly, "Yeah me too."
Their conversation was broken by an angry yell that could be heard from beneath Ginny's room "That wasn't funny, Fred!" The unmistakeable yell of Mr. Weasley seemed to reverberate throughout Ginny's room, "What on earth did you give that Muggle boy?" Phoenix had never heard Mr Weasley so angry.
"Here we go again," Ginny sighed, grabbing her pillow and covering her ears with it, "I kind of want to know what they are talking about but-"
"You dropped it on purpose!" Phoenix winced slightly as Mr. Weasley's yells grew louder, "You knew he'd eat it, you knew he was on a diet—"
Hermione had even dropped her book down in curiosity, "I think they've pulled some sort of prank on Harry's cousin. That must mean Harry's here!"
"I think they've given him some of their Ton-Tongue Toffees," Ginny said, trying to fight back a smile and failing miserably.
"It was four feet long before his parents would let me shrink it!" Mr. Weasley yelled and then loud laughter could be heard from downstairs, but it was immediately broken when Mr. Weasley began to yell again, "It isn't funny! That sort of behaviour seriously undermines wizard Muggle relations!"
Ginny shot to her feet, "We should go downstairs, maybe we'll be able to save them and say hi to Harry."
Phoenix and Hermione mirrored her actions, getting to their feet and walking out of Ginny's room.
"What on earth have those twins done now?" Phoenix almost fell down the stairs when she heard Mrs Weasley mumble angrily behind her, "Sorry Phoenix dear,"
"It's okay Mrs – I mean Molly," She smiled at Phoenix as they all walked down the staircase and towards the kitchen.
"That's not the point!" Mr. Weasley's yells became slowly louder as they stood in the entrance to the kitchen, "You wait until I tell your mother—"
"Tell me what?" Mrs. Weasley stood in front of Phoenix, Ginny and Hermione, her hands were placed on her hips and I looked around the scene in front of me. Fred, George and Arthur all looked like a dear caught in headlights, Ron, Charlie and Bill all had their arms crossed over their chests, grimaces on their faces that looked as though they were trying desperately not to laugh. And standing, looking rather awkward was Harry Potter, the only known wizard to survive the killing curse and get away from the most powerful dark wizard of all time, Lord Voldemort.
"Oh hello, Harry, dear," Molly said, her voice sweetening slightly as she gave him a warm smile but her eyes quickly snapped back to Mr. Weasley. "Tell me what, Arthur?"
Mr. Weasley looked nervously at his wife briefly, while the three girls that stood beside Mrs. Weasley all smiled at Harry, who returned the smile. Phoenix looked over at Fred and George, who both quickly adverted their eyes from her icy glare and focused their attention back onto Mrs. Weasley who was staring at her husband.
"Tell me what, Arthur?" Mrs. Weasley repeated, her tone becoming terribly tense.
Mr. Weasley shook his head, trying his very best to smile at his wife, "It's nothing, Molly, Fred and George just—but I've had words with them—"
Phoenix saw Molly's eyes flicker to the twins who had suddenly become very interested in the ceiling, "What have they done this time? If it's got anything to do with Weasley's Wizard Wheezes—"
Hermione managed to drag Harry and Ron out of the conversation and got them all to bring Harry's stuff into Ron's room, Ginny trailing behind them.
"Yeah, we'll come too," George tried following them up the stairs, but Mrs. Weasley shot her son a glowering look.
"You stay where you are!" She snapped, making the twins stop dead in their tracks.
Phoenix wanted to follow the others, but she felt obliged to stay for her best friends, so instead of following everyone up the stairs, she shot the twins an encouraging smile and sat down at the kitchen table with Bill and Charlie and quickly pretended to be perusing the Daily Prophet as Mrs. Weasley rounded on her husband and sons.
"So enlighten me Arthur," said Mrs. Weasley, her hands on her hips, "What did they do?"
Mr. Weasley flinched as he looked at his very angry wife and seem to begin to mumble what had happened, but his voice was so quiet that nobody could hear him.
"Arthur," Mrs. Weasley said in a low and very dangerous voice.
"Well–," Mr. Weasley said in an unnaturally high voice, "they – um – they dropped one of their sweets at the Dursley's," Mr. Weasley began and Phoenix saw out of the corner of her eye, Mrs. Weasley nostrils flare, "Their son, Dudley – well – picked it up and – um – ate it."
"What?" Mrs. Weasley snapped and Fred and George looked at the carpet, looking mildly interested at the pattern and determined not to look at their mother.
"His tongue grew about four feet before Mr. and Mrs. Dursley would let me shrink it," said Mr. Weasley quietly.
The corners of Fred and George's mouth twitched but when Mrs. Weasley looked at the pair of them, their faces reminded rigid and innocent.
"He deserved it Mum," said Fred before Mrs. Weasley could open her mouth.
"Really?" said Mrs. Weasley in a harsh voice and Fred's mouth opened, and then closed, "Care to explain you two?"
"It was a joke," said George, "it wouldn't hurt him or anything."
"Really?" said Mrs. Weasley in very quiet, very dangerous voice, "how do you two know that if your father was not there he would have been perfectly fine.
"Yeah," said Fred with a shrug, "The effects only last for about half an hour."
"How could you be sure about that?" said Mrs. Weasley, "How could you be so sure that it wouldn't hurt him?"
Fred and George remained quite silent at this.
"But he's horrible to Harry," Fred whispered, "Isn't he Phoenix?"
Phoenix looked from the twins to Mrs. Weasley and nodded slowly, "Yeah he is Mrs. Weasley," she said, "Harry says that when they were seven Dudley tried to make him stand in a toilet."
Mrs. Weasley's face softened slightly and Phoenix knew that her adoration for Harry was battling with her disapproval for Fred and George's escapades.
"We were just getting him back!" said Fred.
By the look on Mrs. Weasley's face, Fred had clearly said the wrong thing.
"No matter what Dudley has done to Harry you have absolutely no right to play such a horrible trick on him! The pair of you should have more sense than that! Why on earth do you think that it was funny? In fact, you are lucky that you were not reported to the Ministry! I almost have half a mind to go and report you right now in fact! I hope this isn't how you plan to spend the rest of the year at school, I do not want half as many letters from Hogwarts as I got last year!"
"Bill, Charlie, would you two go and set the table outside?" said Mr. Weasley, Bill and Charlie obliged, walking briskly out of the door.
Phoenix stood up from the kitchen table too, mumbled, "I–I'm going to help," and with that, she walked behind Bill and Charlie made her way out of the door and into the warm summer air.