November passed with no other unusual events. Alexis was too busy maintaining her current grades to even think about the possibility of future attacks. Everyone seemed to be hit hard with homework, even Zack joined the three girls in their evening practice sessions. To keep the others happy, he became Eloise’s target whenever they practiced offensive spells from their DADA class. Alexis finally entered a normal routine; classes were going by smother, nobody gossiped about her, and she had made good new friends.
It wasn’t until December arrived that everyone talked about Christmas. Where they were going, what big family reunions they were having, or how Hogwarts itself celebrate the holidays for those who remain behind. Alexis was happy to head back to London, the Dragon’s Scroll and the modern era. It was a week before holidays began when Skye and Eloise grilled her on her plans.
“You should stay here with me.” Skye said. “My parents are going away – business. Hogwarts has a great feast and it’ll be nice to spend time with someone I like over the holidays.”
The four of them had gathered in an empty classroom to work on the Arrow-Shooting spell they had just learned in Charms. For once, Alexis had been the first to master the spell. She was now helping her friends by moving their targets around with the levitation spell – forcing them to practice their aiming. Both Zack and Eloise protested the loudest.
“Sorry Skye, I’m looking forward to heading back to techno land.” Alexis said with a grin. Just as she yanked the Zack’s target to the right. He let out a yell and muttered something to himself, then prepared to try again.
“It would be safer.” Eloise said, missing her target – the third in a row.
“Crow’s place would be safe enough. It was over the summer.” Alexis reminded them. They had all become more protective of her, which was annoying the teenager. Nothing had happened now for almost two months, she doubted anything else would happen before the break.
“I guess having your Uncle around would be alright.” Skye mumbled in a disgruntled tone.
“He won’t be, actually.” Alexis said with a sigh. “He sent a message this morning, he’s heading to Spain for the holidays.”
“Oh! How lovely, I would love to head south too.” Eloise said with a distracted expression on her face. Her next spell bounce off the ceiling and hit a desk.
“Wow, an empty house – that sounds like a good vacation.” Zack said with a grin. “What I wouldn’t give to get rid of everyone at my place for two weeks. So, party at your place?”
“It won’t be empty. If Minky stays behind she’ll be watching over things, then there’s Jason and Kaylee, they will be working the Dragon’s Scroll.”
“The Dragon’s Scroll? The Night club?” Zack asked excitedly. He dropped his wand as the spell shot out and hit the floor a few feet from Alexis.
“Careful! Watch where you’re pointing that thing!” Alexis shouted, jumping away from the sparks. “So you’ve heard about it, huh? Seems popular.”
“Yeah, it’s supposed to be awesome. Hey, maybe you can sneak me in for the New Year’s celebrations?”
“I’m not even allowed down there, I doubt I can sneak you in as well. Like I said, Minky has a good eyes on everything, there’s no sneaking around her.”
Zack sighed and look defeated, but he at least managed to hit his target before they called it a night.
A week later, those going home for the holidays were packed and departed Hogwarts in the waiting carriages. The platform was crowded with students, it looked that most of the school was going home this year. Alexis felt guilty Skye had to stay behind, but promised to make it up to her when she returned. Her face brightened as Lilly Potter, along with a few of her other family members sat with her on the way home. Their conversation was light and upbeat, and included Alexis with them.
“Rumour is you’re going home to an empty house.” Lilly said, a handful of snacks in her hands.
“Not exactly. My uncle’s away but Kaylee and Jason will be around and the house elf Minky.” Alexis clarified.
“Still, you shouldn’t celebrate Christmas alone.” Lilly urged.
“It’s no big deal, Christmas back in Japan isn’t celebrated like it is here.”
“Yyou had to go to school?” Hugo asked.
“Well, yes. It’s Christmas eve that’s the highlight. With all the lights and romantic dinners … it’s a second Valentine’s day.” Alexis laughed. “All this excitement I’ve seen the past couple of weeks is new. I’m glad Eloise explained all the gift giving protocols or I may have offended someone.”
The Potters and Weasley’s laughed with Alexis as they continued to share past christmas stories and compare them with Alexis’s upbringing. They answered her questions and told her the same old stories they heard as a kid. From music to rhymes, snowmen to Santa, someone was always talking.
“Why don’t you come over for Christmas diner?” Lilly asked as the train pulled into the King’s Cross station. “Think of it as my way of apologizing for how I’ve treated you this past semester.”
“Thanks, but I’m good. It sounds like you will have a full house, I don’t want to get in the way.”
“Seriously, there’s so many of us, nobody will even notice you.” James added as they disembarked.
“Exactly what I mean.” Alexis said with a frown. She watched the seventh year walked towards their waiting parents.
“Think about it.” Lily said. Alexis sighed, she had troubles saying no to people like her.
“Fine, I’ll think about it. Here I’ll give you my cell.” Alexis said, and reach out for Lilly’s cell phone, but she didn’t carry one. “How about my address instead? I’m above the Dragon’s Scroll.” Alexis said as Lily fished out a piece of paper.
“The Dragon’s Scroll?” Lilly’s mom said coming up to them, a confused and worried look on her face. “Who’s going to The Dragon’s Scroll?”
“Mom, it’s alright, Alexis lives there.”
The look on Ginny’s face made both girls laugh.
“I’m sorry Mrs. Potter.” Alexis said, “My uncle owns the nightclub and runs it out of the basement, I’ve got orders not to step down there.”
“I see. Still, not the best place to raise a child.”
“Mom, please don’t embarrass me!” Lilly said blushing.
The group, along with several other families made their way off of Platform 9 3/4 and back into the muggle world. At once, Alexis’s cell phone went off with a series of text messages. Kaylee had been called back to the nightclub. Another bartender called in sick at the last minute. She actually sent several, almost explaining the entire circumstance. She also included all the bus information Alexis may need to find her way back home.
“Alexis, do you need a ride?” Harry Potter asked. They had reached exited the train station onto the dark twilight street. Alexis didn’t realize how late it was, and cold.
“Ah, no. I think I’ll be alright. I have some cash to take a bus.” Unlike the other Potter kids, Alexis had packed light enough that getting onto a bus wouldn’t be a big deal.
“Nonsense, we’ve brought the car, we’ll take you home.”
“You just want to get a peak at the Dragon’s Scroll.” Ginny grumbled in Harry’s ear. He gave his wife a smile and a wink in reply.
There was no turning down THE Harry Potter, Alexis caved and followed the family to their car. Alexis’s body froze. A pressing dark aura filled the air around the family. It was like a vice, wrapping its way around Alexis’s heart. This was a dark spirit, a nasty spirit full of hate and malice. The sudden sensation almost made her collapse on the sidewalk.
“Did you trip?” Ginny asked as she reached out a hand to Alexis.
“Ah… no… no.” Alexis shook her head, but took the arm for support. Where was it coming from? She turned her head back and forth, trying to locate its origin with her silver eyes. There was nothing out of place, nothing to validate what she was feeling.
“Alexis, are you alright?” Lily asked, “The car’s this way.” She said pointing in the direction where her family were walking towards.
“I… you don’t feel anything – odd – do you?” She asked, running to catch up to them.
“Like what?” Albus asked.
“Something… dark, heavy?” Alexis answered. It sounded stupid the moment the words came out.
“Maybe you’re getting sick?” James said from a few feet a head of them.
“Another reason to get you home quickly.” Harry pointed out.
Alexis said nothing but clutched her bag that contained her bow tight to her body.
The feeling never left as they traveled through the city streets. It was as if the spirit followed them – her – through every twist and turn they made. It never came close enough to show its true form or eyesight of the teenager. What bothered Alexis was how nobody else sensed it. Everyone kept talking, laughing and chatting away like nothing was wrong. Lilly asked once more as they neared the Dragon’s Scroll to have dinner with them, and once more Alexis turned her down.
A few minutes later they pulled up in front of her house. The sign of the Dragon’s Scroll was lit up in the darkness with the steady beat of the base and hum of voices coming from within.
“Thanks for the ride.” Alexis said, grabbing her bags and jumped out of the car before any of the Potters could join her. She could sense their eyes on her back until she entered the front door. The second she had the door closed behind her, Alexis let out a sigh of relief. The heaviness of the dark spirit was lighter and more bearable inside Crow’s house, but it hadn’t left with the Potters.
“Mistress Alexis is back.” Minky said, popping out of thin air a foot next to teenage girl. Alexis gave a yell of surprise.
“Don’t sneak up on me, please.” Alexis said, moving to the nearby window to peer out onto the street. Nothing, not a goblin, dark wizard, or other dark entity in sight.
“Is Mistress alright?” Minky asked.
“Yes, I think so.” Alexis dropped her bag and bow case by the stairs. She wanted to confide in the house elf, but something inside held her back. It was safe inside, whatever it was wouldn’t be able to penetrate the protective barriers Crow had put in place. She was worrying over nothing. After a good meal and powering up her laptop, Alexis’s mind was diverted to the virtual world.