"Mon Dieu!" Alex yelped as a brilliant flash of flames enveloped his midnight coco, which disappeared only to be replaced by a familiar, incredibly smug looking phoenix.
"Alex?" called a sleepy-sounding Remy. Alex panicked.
"Jus' spilled some!" he yelled back, trying to keep his voice calm. He could almost hear the phoenix – annoying ball of chicken fluff – laughing at him.
"Yo' righ'?" asked the tired Cajun.
"Yeah!" Alex turned to glare at Fawkes. "What are you doing here!" he whispered forcefully. A parchment envelope covered in swirling green ink appeared on the table in front of him.
Mr H. J. Potter
The Round Table, Attic Room
Xavier Mansion, NYC, USA
"No, you pile of feathers, I'm not touching your spelled letters!"
The bird tweeted reproachfully.
"I know there are spells on it," Alex bit out, "I can feel the compulsions and the energy they produce from here."
The phoenix chirped in alarm, before burning the letter and reproducing a replica, sans spells.
"Thanks," he muttered, still annoyed that the flaming chicken could find him so easily, as he picked up the letter delicately. He held it between two fingers, as though it could infect him with some nasty disease with a mere touch.
'Dear Mr Potter,' the letter began. Alex sighed, frustrated, looking at Fawkes.
"Is he this desperate?" he asked. The bird nodded, looking surprisingly sarcastic. Alex sighed again.
'Dear Mr Potter,
It has come to the attention of the Order that you are no longer with your relatives. They say that they travelled to America at the beginning of the summer for a few days, and that you ran away in one of the busy cities. I implore you to send your location back with Fawkes so that I may come and collect you and send you back to your worried relatives. They miss you, my boy; please come home.
Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore
Order of Merlin (First Class), Supreme Mugwump, Grand Sorcerer, Headmaster of Hogwarts, Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot'
"Does he really think I'm that stupid?" he asked Fawkes. The bird's ruby shoulders moved in a parody of a shrug, trilling slightly.
"Yeah, those compulsions probably would've helped… Could you stop trying to take me back?" he asked the bird. It looked at him with a hard eye.
The bird continued to glare, as if to say 'you're needed in England'.
"I have a family, Fawkes," he muttered to the phoenix, "Remy Blood Adopted me and Kurt's my first real friend. I have new powers now; I need to be trained. Can you leave me be?"
The looked to be considering at first, its regal head bobbing in a nod before trilling in defiance. Alex smiled; Fawkes would keep the meddling old codger in his place.
"Thanks," he whispered as the ancient firebird disappeared in a flash of flames. In its place on the table was a fresh cup of hot coco and a beautiful red feather.
"I don't want to go!" Hermione stomped her foot, glaring at her mother as she yelled. June sighed, running a hand through her long brown hair.
"It's only for the rest of the summer, hun," she said tiredly. Although brilliant, her daughter was far too stubborn and spoiled for her own good.
"That's too long! I don't even like her!" she screeched. June snapped.
"That's too bad for you, Hermione Jean Granger," she scolded, "your father and I have a business trip out of the country, and you can't come."
"Why not?" huffed the ticked-off teen, "I've always gone with you before!"
"It will interfere with your Hogwarts education," explained her mother. Hermione sighed; if it was going to interfere with her learning then she'd have to go visit her horrible aunt.
"Fine, mum," she grouched, "when am I leaving?"
"We're flying together until we reach the States, and then John and I will be leaving to for China. Your aunt will fly with you to back to England so you can catch the train. Besides, she's not in Massachusetts anymore; she's teaching at a different school in New York."
Hermione perked up; she hated Massachusetts almost as much as her, but having them together made the experience altogether unbearable. At least she'd only have to put up with one of them for the next six weeks.
"When are we leaving, then?" she asked.
"Day after next," answered June, "the flight leaves at ten. Be ready to go at 6:30am."
"Yes mum," she sighed as she walked slowly up the stairs. She spent the next two hours packing for her trip – her extended stay with her – before Flooing to Hogwarts.
"Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Headmaster's Office!" she cried as she stepped into the emerald flames.
"Good evening, Professor," she greeted as she took her usual seat in front of Headmaster Dumbledore.
"Good evening, Miss Granger," he responded in turn, "how may I assist you today?"
"My mum is shipping me off to America to stay with my aunt," she sneered at the word, "and I thought I could offer to provide foreign surveillance for Harry; I miss him, sir!"
"Mr Potter is being difficult," sighed Dumbledore, placing his silver-haired head in his gnarled hands, "I sent a letter with Fawkes which was returned unopened."
"But that means that he couldn't find Harry!" exclaimed the suddenly distraught girl, "what if something's happened to him?"
"Be calm, Miss Granger," interrupted Dumbledore, raising a single hand, "Fawkes informed me – rather touchily, I might add – that he had indeed located and examined the health of Mr Potter. He refused quite adamantly, however, to reveal his findings to me. He's been quite grumpy lately, but I cannot ascertain why."
"Maybe his Burning Day is coming up?" asked Hermione, "and anyway; if Owl Post isn't working, the Muggle post can find just about anyone they want to." Dumbledore looked pensive.
"Maybe," he muttered, shuffling around the things in his desk-drawers and pulling out two silver hand-mirrors, engraved in elegant runes and gleaming in the firelight.
"These are communication mirrors," he stated, handing one to the ecstatic witch, "and are used to connect people over long distances. I believe that Mr Potter owns one that is connected to Remus'…" A bright light lit in his eyes. "Yes, that could work…" Hermione eyed the man strangely, a little impatient.
"Professor?" she prodded, "the mirrors?"
"Oh yes," he snapped back to attention, cerulean eyes twinkling, "please excuse an old man's mental wanderings. If you will simply state my full name into the mirror, you shall be able to speak to me. If I'm unavailable at the time, you will be able to leave a message, and the mirror will ring and bounce around incessantly until I answer it."
Hermione giggled a bit, holding the shining trinket reverently.
"Thank you, Professor," she murmured. He nodded.
"Of course, Miss Granger. I believe that you should be making your way home at this time, as your parents may begin to worry."
"Of course, sir," she nodded in respect.
"Granger Residence!" she yelled into the flames, stepping through and back to her room.
Almost immediately, Albus Dumbledore began penning another letter to the elusive Harry Potter. That boy would be back under his thumb by Hogwarts time; he'd make sure of it.
"Who's H. J. Potter?" asked Kitty. Alex sighed.
"An old friend of mine," he sighed, taking the letter and running a hand through his hair. Looking at the envelope, he hoped it was just a bank statement.
He hissed several curses in Parseltongue when he saw the flashy scrawl of Dumbledore. Tearing the letter to pieces, he threw it away, ignoring the shocked looks he was receiving.
"I thought you said that was your friend's letter, Alexandre," scolded Professor Xavier lightly, rolling forward in his little motor-wheelchair. Alex shrugged.
"It's from someone he's not very fond of," he muttered. A gentle brush against his shields made him scowl.
"Wouldn't it have been better to wait and see if he consented to that rather unnecessary reaction?" asked Jean Grey. They hadn't had much contact over the past days (although that may have been because Alex had been avoiding her at all costs).
"He told me to do that every time a letter from that person appeared in the mail," he grit out. Kurt and Remy were still in the attic room, probably sleeping in.
"How would you even know who sent the letter?" asked Bobby curiously. Alex snorted.
"His hand-writing and language is very distinctive," he answered, "trust me; you couldn't mistake it."
"Leave him be," came the collected voice of Emma Frost as she entered the kitchen, "I'd rather not have to deal with any childish behaviour today, as my prissy niece is being sent to me for safe-keeping this summer."
Alex looked up, surprised. He and Emma had been talking a great deal, but she'd never mentioned a family before. Emma looked at him sharply.
"She's very arrogant and self-assured, so try to stay away from her," she stated, although you could hear the subtle warning.
"She a mutant?" grunted Logan from the coffee-pot. Emma shook her head.
"No," she said coolly, "she's a witch."
Alex's world spiralled downwards as he fell to the floor in a dead faint. It really is a small world, he thought as the room went dark.